Home  »  Volume II: February  »  St. Sadoth, Bishop of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, with 128 Companions, Martyrs

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

February 20

St. Sadoth, Bishop of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, with 128 Companions, Martyrs

        From his genuine acts in Metaphrastes, Bollandus, and Ruinart; but more correctly in the original Chaldaic given us by Assemani, t. 1. p. 83. Orsi, Hist. t. 5. l. 13. See Le Quien, Oriens Christ. t. 2. p. 1108.

A.D. 342.

SADOTH, as he is called by the Greeks and Latins, is named in the original Persian language, Schiadustes, which signifies “friend of the king,” from schiah, king, and dust, friend. His unspotted purity of heart, his ardent zeal, and the practice of all Christian virtues, prepared him, from his youth, for the episcopal dignity, and the crown of martyrdom. St. Simeon, bishop of Selec, or Seleucia, and Ctesiphon, then the two capital cities of Persia, situate on the river Tigris, being translated to glory by martyrdom, in the beginning of the persecution raised by Sapor II., in 341, St. Sadoth was chosen three months after to fill his see, the most important in that empire, but the most exposed to the storm. This grew more violent on the publication of a new edict against the Christians, which made it capital to confess Christ. To wait with patience the manifestation of the divine will, St. Sadoth, with part of his clergy, lay hid for some time; which did not however hinder him from affording his distressed flock all proper assistance and encouragement, but rather enabled him to do it with the greater fruit. During this retreat he had a vision which seemed to indicate that the time was come for the holy bishop to seal his faith with his blood. This he related to his priests and deacons, whom he assembled for that purpose. “I saw,” said he, “in my sleep, a ladder environed with light and reaching from earth to the heavens. St. Simeon was at the top of it, and in great glory. He beheld me at the bottom, and said to me, with a smiling countenance: ‘Mount up, Sadoth, fear not. I mounted yesterday, and it is your turn to-day:’ which means, that as he was slain last year, so I am to follow him this.” He was not wanting on this occasion to exhort his clergy, with great zeal and fervour, to make a provision of good works, and employ well their time, till they should be called on in like manner, that they might be in readiness to take possession of their inheritance. “A man that is guided by the Spirit,” says St. Maruthas, author of these acts, “fears not death: he loves God, and goes to him with an incredible ardour; but he, who lives according to the desires of the flesh, trembles, and is in despair at its approach: he loves the world, and it is with grief that he leaves it.”
  The second year of the persecution, King Sapor coming to Seleucia, Sadoth was apprehended, with several of his clergy, some ecclesiastics of the neighbourhood, and certain monks and nuns belonging to his church, to the amount of one hundred and twenty-eight persons. They were thrown into dungeons, where, during five months’ confinement, they suffered incredible misery and torments. They were thrice called out, and put to the rack or question; their legs were straight bound with cords, which were drawn with so much violence, that their bones breaking, were heard to crack like sticks in a faggot. Amidst these tortures the officers cried out to them: “Adore the sun, and obey the king, if you would save your lives.” Sadoth answered in the name of all, that the sun was but a creature, the work of God, made for the use of mankind, that they would pay supreme adoration to none but the Creator of heaven and earth, and never be unfaithful to him; that it was indeed in their power to take away their lives, but that this would be the greatest favour they could do them; wherefore he conjured them not to spare them, or delay their execution. The officers said: “Obey! or know that your death is certain and immediate.” The martyrs all cried out with one voice: “We shall not die, but live and reign eternally with God and his son Jesus Christ. Wherefore inflict death as soon as you please; for we repeat it to you that we will not adore the sun, nor obey the unjust edicts.” Then sentence of death was pronounced upon them all by the king; for which they thanked God, and mutually encouraged each other. They were chained two and two together, and led out of the city to execution, singing psalms and canticles of joy as they went. Being arrived at the place of their martyrdom, they raised their voices still higher, blessing and thanking God for his mercy in bringing them thither, and begging the grace of perseverance, and that by this baptism of their blood they might enter into his glory. These prayers and praises of God did not cease but with the life of the last of this blessed company. St. Sadoth, by the king’s orders, was separated from them, and sent into the province of the Huzites, where he was beheaded. He thus rejoined his happy flock in the kingdom of glory. Ancient Chaldaic writers quoted by Assemani say, St. Schiadustes, or Sadoth, was nephew to Simeon Barsaboe, being son to his sister. He governed his church only eight months, and finished his martyrdom after five months imprisonment, in the year 342, and of King Sapor II. the thirty-third. These martyrs are honoured in the Roman Martyrology on this day.  2