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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

January 3

St. Gordius, Martyr

ST. GORDIUS, martyred at Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, was a centurion in the army, but retired to the deserts when the persecution was first raised by Dioclesian. The desire of shedding his blood for Christ made him quit his solitude, whilst the people of that city were assembled in the Circus 1 to solemnize public games in honour of Mars. His extenuated body, long beard and hair, and ragged clothes, drew on him the eyes of the whole assembly; yet, with this strange garb and mein, the graceful air of majesty that appeared in his countenance commanded veneration. Being examined by the governor, and loudly confessing his faith, he was condemned to be beheaded. Having fortified himself by the sign of the cross, 2 he joyfully received the deadly blow. St. Basil, on this festival, pronounced his panegyric at Cæsarea, in which he says several of his audience had been eye-witnesses of the martyr’s triumph. Hom. 17. T. 1.  1
Note 1. The Circus was a ring, or large place, wherein the people sat and saw the public games. [back]
Note 2. [Greek.] St. Basil. T. 1. p. 452. [back]