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November 26, 2014

Saint Mamas

SaintMamas

St. Mamas (second century) is ranked by the Greeks among the great martyrs. Born in prison to parents who had been jailed because they were Christian, Mamas became an orphan when his parents were executed. After his parents’ death, Mamas was raised by a rich widow named Ammia, who died when he was 15 years old.

Mamas was tortured for his faith by the governor of Caesarea and was then sent before the Roman Emperor Aurelian, who tortured him again. The Mamas legend states that an angel then liberated him and ordered him to hide himself on a mountain near Caesarea.

Mamas was later thrown to the lions, but managed to make the beasts docile. He preached to animals in the fields, and a lion remained with him as companion. Accompanied by the lion, he visited Duke Alexander, who condemned him to death. He was struck in the stomach with a trident. Bleeding, Mamas dragged himself to a spot near a theater before his soul was carried into heaven by angels.

The center of his cult was situated at Caesarea before shifting to Langres when his relics were brought there in the 8th century. The Cathédrale Saint-Mammès, in Langres, is dedicated to him. Mamas is the chief patron of the diocese.

Saint Mamas is also a popular saint in Lebanon with many churches and convents named in his honor. He is the patron saint of Deir Mimas in Lebanon and of Kfarhata, which is adjacent to Zgharta. The Church of Saint Mamas Church in Ehden was built in 749 A.D. and is one of the oldest Maronite Catholic churches in Lebanon. Lebanon is also home to the Saint Mamas Church of Baabdat, which was built in the 16th century.

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