In the ancient city of Catana, Sicily, during the year 304, under the rule of Dioclesian and Maximian, a pivotal event occurred on the 12th of August that became emblematic of the Christian faith’s resilience.
Saint Euplius, a devoted deacon, was ushered into the governor’s chamber. Even before his formal introduction, he boldly declared, “I am a Christian and will gladly die for Jesus Christ.” The governor, Calvisianus, took note of his fervor.
A notable man in Calvisianus’s circle, Maximus, criticized Euplius for carrying forbidden Christian writings. These writings, contradicting the edicts of the emperors, were held close by Euplius. When questioned, Euplius revealed he was arrested with the sacred texts and had no intention of parting with them.
Intrigued, Calvisianus asked him to share a verse from the book. Euplius recited verses emphasizing the blessings on those persecuted for their beliefs and the calling to take up one’s cross in the name of Jesus. When asked to explain, Euplius firmly stated, “It is the law of my Lord, given to me by Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.”
This response led Calvisianus to order severe punishment. Euplius was subjected to excruciating torment. Throughout, he clung to his faith, repeatedly declaring his unwavering dedication to Christ. Calvisianus offered him freedom in exchange for worshiping the gods Mars, Apollo, and Æsculapius. Euplius refused, asserting his worship for the Holy Trinity and his identity as a Christian.
The torments escalated, but Euplius’s spirit remained unbroken. His prayers during the ordeal were heartfelt thanks and pleas for strength from Jesus Christ. He persisted even when his voice failed him, moving his lips in silent prayer.
Eventually, Calvisianus made the grave decision to execute Euplius. As a final mark of scorn, the Christian scriptures were hung around Euplius’s neck. The crier announced his crimes against the gods and the emperors as they led him to his fate. Yet, even in his final moments, Euplius continued to give thanks and pray, ultimately offering his neck to the executioner.
The faithful later retrieved his remains, providing a proper burial. Today, the legacy of Saint Euplius lives on, celebrated in martyrologies across the western church.