Baring-Gould’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Justus, Boy, Martyr

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Justus, a boy of nine, lived at Auxerre, with his father Justin and his mother Felicissima. His father’s brother, Justinian, had been made captive, and was at Amiens, in the house of a certain man, named Lupus. Justin and his son, Justus, set off for Amiens with money to redeem Justinian. They travelled till they reached Paris, where they met a man named Hippolytus, and told him their story. Hippolytus said, “Come home with me, and I will give you wine and pulse.” And when he had regaled them he dismissed them, and they came to the river Oise, and boated across, and came to the house of Lupus, and offered to purchase his slave. Then Lupus ordered his twelve servants before them, but Justinian was not among them. But suddenly Justus noticed his uncle holding a lamp in his hand, kindling the lights in the house, for it was evening, and he cried out, “This is the man we seek.”

So Justin paid Lupus the money, and departed with his brother and son. But Rictiovarus, the persecutor, was in Amiens, and some one told him that Christians had been there redeeming a slave, and he bade soldiers pursue them. Now when the fugitives came to the place, then called Sinomovicus, but now Saint-Justin-Chaussee, the two elder hid in a cave, but the boy remained outside watching. His watch cannot have been very careful, for he was caught by the pursuers, who asked him where his companions were, and when he refused to tell they cut off his head. “And when his head was cut off, the body rose, and stood motionless, and took up the head between its hands, and put it at the entrance of the cave, and his soul prayed to God, saying, ‘Lord of heaven and earth, receive my spirit, for I am innocent and clean of heart.’ And when the servants saw the marvel wrought by his body they were frightened with a great fear, and were scared thoroughly; so galloping away, they told Rictiovarus what had taken place.”

When Justin and Justinian came out of the cave, they were startled and distressed to find the boy holding his head in his hands, instead of on his shoulders. “What are we to do with him?” asked the father of the uncle. “Bury my body here,” said the amputated head; “but take my head home to my mother, that she may kiss it.”

They did so. And when they reached Auxerre, Fehcissima kissed her son’s head, and then wrapped it in a towel, and hung it up to a crook in the ceiHng of her room, where at night it shone like a lamp; and, indeed, so brilliant was the light it emitted that it excited the wonder of the as yet unborn Bishop Amator, who insisted on burying it and building a church over it.

In 949, a portion of the head was removed to New Corbei, in Germany, whither his body had been translated in 946. The house of Saint Justus is still pointed out at Auxerre, in the Rue du Temple.

In 900, the body, or another body, was translated from Sinomovicus to Beauvais; another body, in 940, was in the abbey of Saint Cyprian at Poictiers. Another body at Malmedy, which is entire with head. A head, carried away from Auxerre, at Einsiedeln in Switzerland. Another head at Flums, in the diocese of Chur, on the lake of Wallenstadt. Another body, formerly at Zutphen, and another head at Antwerp, in the church of Saint Charles.

MLA Citation

  • Sabine Baring-Gould. “Saint Justus, Boy, Martyr”. Lives of the Saints, 1872. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 October 2013. Web. {today’s date}. <http://catholicsaints.info/baring-goulds-lives-of-the-saints-/>