Aedesius of Alexandria

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Saint Aedesius of Alexandria
Patara, Lycia
(modern-day Gelemiş, Kaş, Antalya, Turkey)[1]
Died9 April 306
Alexandria, Egypt
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast9 April (Western calendar)
2 April (Eastern calendar)[2]
AttributesShipwrecked with his brother Aphian

Saint Aedesius of Alexandria (also Edese or Edesius[1]) (died 306) was an early Christian martyred under Galerius Maximianus. He was the brother of Saint Aphian (or Amphianus).[3] According to the martyrology, he publicly rebuked a judge who had been forcing Christian virgins to work in brothels in order to break them of their faith, so he was tortured and drowned.[3]

Life and martyrdom[edit]

Western tradition[edit]

At Alexandria, in the time of Emperor Maximian Galerius, the martyr St. Aedesius, brother of the blessed Apphian. Because he publicly reproved the wicked judge who delivered to corruptors virgins consecrated to God, he was arrested by the soldiers, exposed to the most severe torments, and thrown into the sea for the sake of Christ our Lord.

The historian Eusebius of Caesarea[5] elaborates Aedesius' story: like his brother, he was a philosopher that converted to Christianity.[1] Perhaps because of his standing among the educated, he seems to have thought little of professing his faith before magistrates, for which he was imprisoned several times and was sentenced to work in the mines of Palestine.[1] He sought solitude in Egypt after his release, but found the persecution there was harsher under Hierocles. Aedesius was offended by the enslavement of consecrated virgins (who were forced to work in brothels), and so presented himself before the governor, whereupon he was seized by soldiers, tortured, and drowned.[1] The saint's acta are preserved in a Chaldaic text. This story is probably confused,[1] and perhaps conflated with that of the contemporary Neoplatonist philosopher, Aedesius.

Eastern tradition[edit]

The account of the Eastern Church says Aedesius and his brother were born in Patara of high-standing pagan parents.[2] The brothers converted while studying in Beirut, secretly fleeing to Caesarea to be taught by a priest named Pamphylus.[2] It is reported that Amphianus gave himself up to martyrdom, having "a twenty-year-old body but the understanding and greatness of soul of a centenarian."[2] Having tried to stop the pagan governor of the area from sacrificing to idols, he was tortured; his legs were wrapped in cotton and burned, and they threw him into the sea with a stone around his neck. Aedesius was punished by being sent to a copper mine in Palestine, and then to Egypt. In Alexandria, he spoke out against Hierocles, who had been forcing Christian "nuns, virgins and pious women" to work alongside prostitutes in brothels.[2] The account says Aedesius struck the prince, for which he was tortured and drowned in the sea like his brother.[2]


Aedesius' feast day is celebrated on 8 April in the Roman Catholic Church. In Eastern Orthodox Churches, his feast is 2 April.[2]

In art, Aedesius is shown shipwrecked with his brother;[1] the mention of a depiction that has his legs wrapped in oiled linen before he is burned to death is probably a reflection of the Eastern story of his brother's martyrdom.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rabenstein, Katherine I. (April 1999). "Aedesius of Alexandria". Saint of the Day, April 8. Archived from the original on 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "The Holy Martyrs Amphianus and Aedesius". Serbian Orthodox Church. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-01.
  3. ^ a b Jones, Terry. "Saint Aedesius". Archived from the original on 2011-10-23. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  4. ^ Confraternity of Ss. Peter & Paul. "April 8". The Roman Martyrology. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2008.; "Alexandríæ sancti Ædésii Mártyris, qui, sub Maximiáno Galério Imperatóre, cum esset beáti Apphiáni frater, et ímpium Júdicem, quod Deo dicátas Vírgines lenónibus tráderet, palam argúeret, idcírco, a milítibus tentus sævissimísque afféctus supplíciis, in mare demérsus est pro Christo Dómino."
  5. ^ The Martyrs of Palestine (De Martyr. Pales.) ch. 5: "Aedesius, a brother of Apphianus, not only in God, but also in the flesh, being a son of the same earthly father, endured sufferings like his, after very many confessions and protracted tortures in bonds, and after he had been sentenced by the governor to the mines in Palestine. He conducted himself through them all in a truly philosophic manner; for he was more highly educated than his brother, and had prosecuted philosophic studies. Finally in the city of Alexandria, when he beheld the judge, who was trying the Christians, offending beyond all bounds, now insulting holy men in various ways, and again consigning women of greatest modesty and even religious virgins to procurers for shameful treatment, he acted like his brother. For as these things seemed insufferable, he went forward with bold resolve, and with his words and deeds overwhelmed the judge with shame and disgrace. After suffering in consequence many forms of torture, he endured a death similar to his brother's, being cast into the sea."

External links[edit]