Thursday, October 06, 2005

Matyrs of the Coliseum: The Roman General

Placidus was a roman general who, although he was not a Christian, was a good man. One day when he was hunting in the Sabine hills, they found a bunch of stags. Of course they gave chase and Placidus followed the biggest one. While he was following he was excited that he didn't pay attenition to where he was going. After many hours the stag stopped in a valley. From between his antlers a blinding light suddenly shone.
God spoke to Placidus there and he was converted. The next morning he came back to his home and told his wife about the one true God. That night they took their two young sons, ages three and five, to the catacombs to be baptized. These were their new names: Placidus was Eustachius, his wife was now Theopista, and his two sons were Agapius and Theopistan. Their love for God was soon tried. All the servants and animals of their houshold died in a disease and while they were away robbers came and stole all of their belongings. They went on a ship to start a new life in a new land. When they landed Placidus and his children were allowed to go but the evil captain kidnapped Theopista and sailed away with her immediatly. Placidus traveled on with his two sons until he came to a rapid river. There was no way he could take both of the chlidren over at once so, he left the elder one on the bank and began to carry the younger across the stream. When he was very near the opposite bank, he saw with horror a lion come to the boy on the bank and take him away in his mouth. He left the younger on the bank and went to follow the lion.
When he was across he looked back and saw a wolf taking the younger child away in his mouth. Placidus could not move. He knelt down and prayed to God. After kneeling there for a long time he got up and went away.
Fifteen years passed. Placidus was working in some small village. But back in rome Caesar was troubled. In Persia, men were starting to rebel. He needed troops but there were very few experienced soldiers. He remembered his general Placidus and decided to look for him. At last some of his men found him. They persuaded him to come and fight for Rome once more.
Now we must go back to the fate Theopista. God had changed the heart of the evil captain and he had let Theopista off at the next available port. He gave her some money and she bought a small cottage. She had to work very hard to keep it nice, and of course she missed her family terribly.
Ok, back to Placidus. He fought in the wars and gained a wonderful victory for Rome. But he was not the only brave soldier. Two young men in particular, who had met in the wars, worked together wonderfully. Placidus met them and they became friends. Indeed he treated them as he would have treated his lost sons.
On the way back to Rome they stopped in a small village. The three men stayed at the cottage of an old widow.
One day when the two young men were walking in the garden, the elder told the younger the story of his life. When the story was over the younger exclaimed, "Agapius, I believe I am thy brother!!!!!!!!!!" So it was discovered and they went to Placidus and they soon found out that the kind old general was actually their long lost father. Later that day the widow who owned the house came to Placidus and asked him to help her in the search for her family. Then she looked at him and recognized her husband. What a happy day for the reunited family.
In Rome they were expected to sacrafice to the Gods. When they refused it was discovered that they were Christians.
The next day they were brought to the Coliseum. Many wild animals were loosed on them but not one would harm the family. One lion put his head under the foot of the old, unarmed Placidus. Finally after many animals, who once were wild, even ferocious, but now were strangely tame, had been tried loosed on them, they were put in something like a large roasting pan and a fire was lit under them. Although they did die there, their bodies looked as if they were only asleep. That night the Christians stole their remains and buried them.

This is an incredible story, as you can see for yourself. I thought the way the family was reunited sounded sort of like a fairy tale.
Anyways it is a really cool story, and obviously I really liked it.

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