Sunday, March 30, 2003

See, now, this is interesting, with all kinds of contemporary applications:

St. Benjamin, whose memorial is March 31 (that would be Monday) has his story told at Catholic Exchange, and it begins in a roundabout way:

It was the fifth century and Yezdegerd, son of Sapor III, was ruling Persia. There was little persecution of Christians during this time, however, a Christian Bishop named Abdas changed that. Abdas, in his zeal and out of righteous anger toward idolatry, burned the Temple of Fire, the sacred sanctuary of the Persians. This act infuriated King Yezdegerd and he declared that Bishop Abdas would either rebuild the Persian Temple or the king would burn all the Christian churches.

When Abdas refused to obey the King’s command, he carried out his order and had all the Christian churches utterly destroyed. Abdas was put to death and a great persecution of Christians in Persia began which lasted for the next forty years. Even though Yezdegerd died in 421, his son, Varanes continued the persecution. Under the reign of this ruler, Christians were subject to heinous and cruel torture.

So, there's just one cautionary precedent for the often irritating, sometimes puzzling and even scandalous thing we call Vatican diplomacy....

Oh, and Benjamin? Well, go read the rest to find out, however the CE account is slightly different from the account found here.