Benjamin the Deacon and Martyr

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Saint Benjamin
Benjamin von Persien.jpg
Deacon and martyr
Born AD 329
Died c. AD 424
Venerated in Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
Feast Orthodox Church/Byzantine Catholic Church: March 31
(with Abdas of Susa)
October 13
Roman Catholic Church: March 31
Patronage Preachers[citation needed]

Benjamin (AD 329 – c. 424) was a deacon martyred circa 424 in Persia. Benjamin was executed during a period of persecution of Christians that lasted forty years and through the reign of two Persian kings: Isdegerd I, who died in 421, and his son and successor, Varanes V. King Varanes carried on the persecution with such great fury that Christians were submitted to the most cruel tortures.


Benjamin was imprisoned for a year for his Christian faith, and later released with the condition that he abandon preaching or speaking of his religion. His release was obtained by the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II through an ambassador. However, Benjamin declared that it was his duty to preach about Christ and that he could not be silent. As a consequence, Benjamin was tortured mercilessly until his death in the year 424, specifically, "sharpened reeds [were] stuck under the nails of his fingers and toes."[1]

According to his hagiography, when the king was apprised that Benjamin refused to stop preaching, he "... caused reeds to be run in between the nails and the flesh, both of his hands and feet, and to be thrust into other most tender parts,[2] and drawn out again, and this to be frequently repeated with violence. Lastly, a knotty stake was thrust into his bowels, to rend and tear them, in which torment he expired...."[3]


Benjamin's feast day is celebrated on October 13 in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Churches. Benjamin's feast day is celebrated on March 31 by the Roman Catholic Church. He is mentioned also in the Roman Martyrology,[4] but has not been included in the General Roman Calendar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ March 31, 2010.
  2. ^ Into his urethra, by this account: Collin (1738), p.57, the stake finally thrust up his anus was studded with sharp nails according to the same source, * Collin, Johann E. (1738). Der Kampff und Sieg der ersten Blut-Zeugen Jesu Christi: durch Glauben und Gedult, nach alphabetischer Ordnung entworffen, und in Kupffern vorgestellet. Frankfurt and Leipzig. 
  3. ^ Saint Benjamin
  4. ^ Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)

Further reading[edit]

  • Delaney, John P. (1980). Dictionary of Saints (Second ed.). Garden City, NY: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-13594-7. 

External links[edit]