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

December 19

St. Nemesion, Martyr, &c.

        From St. Dionysius of Alex. quoted by Eusebius, Hist. l. 6, c. 41, p. 307, ed. Cantabr.

A.D. 250.

IN the persecution of Decius, Nemesion, an Egyptian, was apprehended at Alexandria upon an indictment for theft. The servant of Christ easily cleared himself of that charge, but was immediately accused of being a Christian. Hereupon he was sent to the Augustal prefect of Egypt, and confessing his faith at his tribunal, he was ordered to be scourged and tormented doubly more grievously than the thieves: after which he was condemned to be burnt with the most criminal amongst the robbers and other malefactors; whereby he had the honour and happiness more perfectly to imitate the death of our divine Redeemer. There stood at the same time near the prefect’s tribunal four soldiers, named Ammon, Zeno, Ptolemy, and Ingenuus, and another person, whose name was Theophilus, who, being Christians, boldly encouraged a confessor who was hanging on the rack. They were soon taken notice of, and presented to the judge, who condemned them to be beheaded: but was himself astonished to see the joy with which they walked to the place of execution. Heron, Ater, and Isidore, both Egyptians, with Dioscorus, a youth only fifteen years old, were committed at Alexandria in the same persecution. First of all the judge took the youth in hand, and began to entreat him with fair speeches; then he assailed him with various torments; but the generous youth neither would bow at his flatteries, nor could be terrified or broken by his threats or torments. The rest, after enduring the most cruel rending and disjointing of their limbs, were burnt alive. But the judge discharged Dioscorus, on account of the tenderness of his years, saying, he allowed him time to repent, and consult his own advantage, and expressing that he was struck with admiration at the dazzling beauty of his countenance. In the Roman Martyrology St. Nemesion is commemorated on the 19th of December, the rest of these martyrs on other days.
  SS. Meuris and Thea, two holy women at Gaza in Palestine, when the persecution raged in that city under the successors of Dioclesian, bore up bravely against all the cruelty of men, and malice of the devil, and triumphed over both to the last moment. Meuris died under the hands of the persecutors: but Thea languished some time after she had passed through a dreadful variety of exquisite torments, as we learn from the author of the life of St. Porphyrius of Gaza, written about the close of the fourth century. Their relics were deposited in a church which bore the name of St. Timothy; on whom see August 19.  2
  Can we call to mind the fervour of the saints in labouring and suffering cheerfully for God, and not feel a holy ardour glow in our own breasts, and our souls strongly affected with their heroic sentiments of virtue? This St. Macarius of Egypt used to illustrate by the following familiar apophthegm: “As he that goes into a shop, where are ointments and perfumes, and takes a few turns in it, though he neither buys nor tastes of anything, yet he enjoys the scent, and is perfumed thereby: even so he that converses with the holy fathers, (or reads their actions,) derives a salutary influence from them. They show him true humility; and both their discourses and example are of service, and as a wall and fence against the incursions of demons.” 1  3
Note 1. S. Macarius inter Apothegmata ap. Pritium. p. 233. [back]