THE PRIEST

March 22

From the Prologue

Under Emperor Constantius, Basil endured and suffered much at the hands of the Arians. At that time he was renown as a great zealot of Orthodoxy and a true shepherd of his entrusted flock in Ancyra. When Julian the Apostate ascended the throne, he began to persecute Christians. Because Basil openly unmasked this latest impurity and strengthened his people in the Faith, he was cast into prison. When Emperor Julian came to Ancyra, Basil was brought before him and the emperor tried to persuade him to abandon his faith in Christ, promising him honors and riches. Basil answered the emperor; "I believe in my Christ, Whom you denied and Who gave you this earthly kingdom; but, that will be taken away from you, shortly. Have you no shame of the sacred altar under which you were saved when they sought to kill you as an eight year old child? That is why this temporary kingdom will be taken from you shortly and your body will not be buried when your soul is violently wrested from you in bitter pains." Julian became enraged and ordered that seven strips of skin be pealed from his body everyday. The tormentors did this for several days. When Basil appeared again before the emperor, he took a belt of his own skin and threw it into the face of Julian and crying out to him said, "Take it, Julian, and eat if this kind of food is sweet to you but, for me, Christ is Life." This incident was proclaimed throughout the towns, and the emperor, out of shame, secretly departed from Ancyra to Antioch. They continued to torture Basil with red hot irons until he gave up his soul to God, for Whom he suffered in the year 363 A.D.





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