Sainted Barsis and Eulogios, Bishops of Edessa, and Protogenos the Confessor, Bishop of Caria

Commemorated on August 25

      Sainted Barsis and Eulogios, Bishops of Edessa, and Protogenos the Confessor, Bishop of Caria, suffered from the Arians in the second half of the IV Century. The emperor Valentius (364-378), wishing to propagate the Arian heresy, undertook a fierce persecution against the Orthodox. In the city of Edessa he banished from the bishop's throne Saint Barsis, a champion for Orthodoxy, sending him for confinement to the island of Arad. The Orthodox population there received the exiled saint with great honour. They banished him farther, to the Egyptian city of Oxyrinth, but there also was repeated the warm welcome. Then Saint Barsis was banished to the very frontier of the imperial realm, to the faraway city of Thenon where, exhausted by his exiles, he died (+ 378). At Edessa the emperor Valentius raised up upon the bishop's cathedra an Arian false-bishop by the name of Lupus, which means wolf, and who both by name and by deed showed himself to be like a wolf, in scattering the flock of the sheep of Christ. The Orthodox population of Edessa, both clergy and laypeople, ceased to attend their church, which had been seized by the Arians. They gathered together outside the city and celebrated the Divine-services in an open area.
      Having learned of this, the emperor ordered the eparch Modestus to kill all the Orthodox, appearing for Divine-services outside the city. The eparch pitied the city and he informed the Orthodox, that they should not go to Divine-services. But the believers did contrary: fervent with the desire to receive a martyr's crown for Christ, they all as one went to the place where they usually gathered for prayer. Eparch Modestus, obeying his orders, embarked their with his armed soldiers. Along the way he saw a woman, who hastened to Divine-services with her small child, so as not to deprive him of the martyr's crown. Shaken, eparch Modestus turned around back with his soldiers. Appearing before the emperor Valentius, he urged him to cancel the decree about killing all the Orthodox and to extend it only upon the clergy. They led to the emperor persons of spiritual rank, and in the lead the eldest presbyter Eulogios. The emperor urged them to go into church-communion with the pseudo-bishop Lupus, but none of them agreed. After this in chains they sent 80 men of clergy rank for confinement in Thrace. Orthodox met them along the way with great reverence as being confessors, and furnished them all the necessities. Having learned of this, the emperor gave orders to divide up the martyrs in pairs, and to spread them out to remote places.
      The holy presbyters Eulogios and Protogenos were sent to the Thivean city of Antinea. There by their preaching they converted many idol-worshippers to Christ and baptised them. When the emperor Valentius perished and upon the throne entered the holy nobleborn emperor Theodosius (379-395), the Orthodox confessors remaining alive after the persecution were returned from exile. The holy presbyters Eulogios and Protogenos returned to Edessa. On the place of the dead and banished bishop of Edessa, Saint Barsis, presbyter Eulogios was elevated to bishop, and the holy presbyter Protogenos was made bishop in the Mesopotamian city of Caria. Both saints guided their flocks until their death, which occurred at the end of the IV Century.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.