Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – The Holy Youth, Agapitus, Martyr

detail of an old holy card with an image of a painting of Saint Agapitus; painting on the wall of the Cathedral of Palestrina; artist unknownArticle

Saint Agapitus was but 15 years old, when he was apprehended by the tyrant Aurelian, on account of being a Christian. As he unflinchingly proclaimed his belief in Christ, he was whipped with scourges and then cast into a dungeon, without any food, that he might thus be forced to forsake Christianity. When Antiochus, the prefect, found him, at the end of five days, more determined than before, he ordered a live coal to be put upon his head. The brave youth stood immovably under this torture, and praising God, said: “A head, which would wear an eternal crown in Heaven, must not hesitate to wear suffering and pain upon earth. “Wounds and burns make my head the more worthy to be crowned with eternal glory.” Antiochus, greatly provoked, ordered them to whip the holy youth till his body became one great wound, after which they hung him by the feet over a fire, hoping to suffocate him. But they failed; for, after a long silence, he addressed the prefect saying: “Behold, Antiochus, the people will say that all thy ingenuity, all thy wit, ends in smoke.” Enraged at this remark, the tyrant had him again cruelly whipped and ordered boiling water to be poured into the open wounds. After this, they knocked all his teeth out and broke his jaws with blows. God punished the tyrant for his cruelty; He caused him to fall from is seat and break his neck. Aurelian, hearing of this, ordered the martyr to be thrown to the wild beasts, but as they refused to touch him, he was finally beheaded. Thus ended the glorious martyrdom of the holy youth, Agapitus, in the year 275.

Practical Considerations

“A head which would wear an eternal crown in heaven, must not hesitate to wear pain and suffering on earth.” Thus spoke Saint Agapitus, and it means, that “he who would rejoice in heaven, must be willing to suffer on earth.” The Apostles, the friends of our Lord, and other Saints walked in this path. Christ Himself went to heaven by no other way than the way of the cross. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14) How can you seriously hope to save your soul if you will not suffer? Shall God prepare for you a special path, strewn with roses? Ah! do not believe this. We must suffer, if we would enter the kingdom of heaven, if we would become partakers of eternal joys.

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “The Holy Youth, Agapitus, Martyr”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 April 2018. Web. 19 September 2018. <>