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

January 18

St. Paul, and Thirty-six Companions in Egypt, Martyrs

        From their authentic acts in Ruinart, p. 624.

IN Egypt, thirty-seven Christian noblemen, all persons of high birth and plentiful fortunes; but richer in the gifts of grace, entered into a zealous confederacy to propagate the gospel throughout the country. Their leader and head was one Paul, a true imitator of the great apostle whose name he bore. They divided themselves into four several bands: Paul and nine others went eastwards: Recombus, with eight more, towards the north: Theonas, with the like number, to the south: and Papias, with the remaining eight, to the west. They laboured zealously in extending the kingdom of Christ on every side, planting the faith, instructing the docile, and purifying the souls of penitents who confessed their sins. But the greater part of the inhabitants of that great kingdom loved darkness rather than light. The servants of God were treated with all manner of injuries, apprehended, and laid in irons. The governor alarmed at the news of their enterprise, sent orders for their being brought before him from different parts of the kingdom. He employed both promises and threats to compel them to sacrifice. Paul answered in the name of them all that it was better for them to die, saying: “Do not spare us.” The judge condemned them all to death, those who went to the east and south, to be burned: those from the north, to be beheaded, and those from the west to be crucified. But he was affrighted and surprised beyond expression to see with what joy and courage this brave army marched out, and bowed their heads to death. They suffered on the 18th of January, but in what year it is not mentioned in their acts.