St. Eulogious

St. Eulogious is known as the main glory of the Spanish church in the ninth century. It was because of his efforts that many Catholics held on to the Faith during violent persecutions.

The Arian threat to the Christian faith was beaten, but now the followers of Mohammed grew quickly spreading over Africa and then attacking Spain. Cordova was in the hands of the Moors and they made it their capital. The Catholics were tolerated but had to pay fines every month so that they could have public Mass. The Catholics were forbidden under pain of death to make any converts.

St. Eulogious was born about the year 819 in the city of Cordova, where his family had been nobles since Roman times. He had four brothers and two sisters. Since the Moors had complete power in Cordova, St. Eulogius was sent into the northern part of the country, where the Christians were still unconquered, to become a priest. He studied under the priests of Saint Zoilus, and when he had learnt all they could teach him he placed himself under the illustrious writer and abbot Sperandeo. He was ordained after finishing his studies and returned to Cordova about the year 850, which was the beginning of what is now called "the epoch of martyrs."

In that year the Mohammedan rulers decided to get rid of all the Christians. Any convert or anyone who converted anyone else was punished with death. Within three years twenty-five leading Christians in the city had been martyred, and the persecution had spread throughout the entire province. Many Catholics denied their faith, and St. Eulogius set about the task of strengthening the Catholics who were left. He wrote a book called "The Memorial of the Saints". In it he told the accounts of those who had bravely gone to death so their examples would help the weaker ones.

After the death of the archbishop of Toledo, the clergy and the people cast their eyes upon St. Eulogius as the most prominent leader of the Church, but although he was canonically elected he did not live to be consecrated. Because of his activities the Moors greatly wished to destroy him.

There was a Moorish girl named Leocritia who became a Catholic at this time. When the officials found out about her conversion, she ran to St. Eulogious for protection St. Eulogious knew they would look for her at his house first, so he took her to his sister's house. The Moors soon discovered this. St. Eulogious and Leocritia escaped from his sister's house just before the Moors arrived. They went from hiding place to hiding place until at last they were caught.

St. Eulogius at his trial offered to show the judge the true road to heaven, and declared the prophet Mohammed an impostor. The judge threatened to have him scourged to death. St. Eulogius replied that it would be to no purpose as he would never change his religion. The judge gave orders that he should be taken before the king's council. One of the councilmen led him aside and said, "Although ignorant people rush headlong to their death, a man of your learning and standing ought not to imitate their folly. Be guided by me. Say but one word _ since necessity requires it: afterwards you may resume your own religion and we will promise that no inquiry shall be made." Eulogius replied with a smile, "If you could but conceive the reward which awaits those who persevere in the faith until the end, you would resign your dignities in exchange for it!" He then began boldly to proclaim the gospel to them, but the council, to avoid listening, promptly sentenced him to death.

St. Eulogius was martyred on Saturday, March 11, 859. The Moors hoped that once her teacher and protector was dead Leocritia would be so frightened that she would renounce her faith and be a Moor once again. But nothing would change her mind. She was beheaded on the following Wednesday, following St. Eulogius's example and protesting to the end her belief in Jesus Christ.

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