Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Caesarius

detail from a fifteenth century fresco of the Madonna della Delibera showing an image of Saint Caesarius of AfricaArticle

Martyr; 300; feast 1 November

At Terracina in Italy it was an impious and barbarous custom, on certain very solemn occasions, for a young man to make himself a voluntary sacrifice to Apollo, the tutelar deity of the city. After having been long caressed and pampered by the citizens, appareled in rich gaudy ornament, he offered sacrifice to Apollo, and running full speed from this ceremony, threw himself headlong from a precipice into the sea, and was swallowed up by the waves. Cæsarius, a holy deacon from Africa, happened once to be present at this tragic scene, and not being able to contain his zeal, spoke openly against so abominable a superstition. The priest of the idol caused him to be apprehended, and accused him before the governor, by whose sentence the holy deacon, together with a Christian priest named Lucian, was put into a sack, and cast into the sea, in 300, the persecution of Diocletian then raging. Saint Gregory the Great mentions an ancient church of Saint Cæsarius in Rome. It had lain long in ruins, when it was magnificently rebuilt by Pope Clement VIII, who created his little nephew Sylvester Aldobrandini cardinal deacon of this church. Saint Cæsarius is mentioned with distinction in the Sacramentary of Saint Gregory, in the Martyrology of the seventh age, published by the learned Jesuit Fronto le Duc and in those of Bede, Usuard, etc. His modern acts in Surius are of small authority.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Caesarius”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 May 2012. Web. 19 January 2019. <http://catholicsaints.info/lives-of-the-fathers-martyrs-and-principal-saints-saint-caesarius/>