Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume XI: November. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
SS. Narses, Bishop, and Companions, Martyrs
IN the fourth year of the great persecution raised by Sapor II. were apprehended Narses, bishop of Schiahareadat, (the capital of Beth-Germa, a province in the heart of Persia,) and Joseph his disciple, whilst the king happened to be in that city. When they were brought before him he said to Narses: Your venerable grey hairs, and the comeliness and bloom of your pupils youth, strongly incline me in your favour. Consult your own safety and advantage; receive the sacred rites of the sun, and I will confer on you most ample rewards and honours; for I am exceedingly taken with your persons. The blessed Narses answered: Your flattery is very disagreeable to us, because ensnaring, and tending to draw us over to a treacherous world. Even you who enjoy whatever the world can give, and who promise it to others, will find it fleeing from you like a dream, and falling away like the morning dew. As for my part, I am now above fourscore years old, and have served God from my infancy. I pray him again and again, that I may be preserved from so grievous an evil, and may never betray the fidelity which I owe him by adoring the sun, the work of his hands. The king angrily said: If you obey not without more ado, you shall this instant be led to execution. Narses replied: If you had power, O king, to put us to death seven times over, we should never yield to your desire. The king then pronounced sentence and the martyrs were immediately put into the hands of the executioners. The king was there in a manzal or chan, that is, a resting place on his journey. The martyrs were led out of the tents, and followed by an incredible multitude of people. At the place of execution Narses cast his eyes round about him on the crowd, and Joseph said to him: See how the people gaze at you. They are waiting that you dismiss them and go to your own home. The bishop embracing him replied: You are most happy, my blessed Joseph, who have broken the snares of the world, and have entered with joy, the narrow path of the kingdom of heaven. Joseph presented his head first to the executioner, which was struck off. They suffered on the 10th day of the moon of November, in 343.
In the same acts, the martyrdom of several others about the same time is recorded. John, bishop of Beth-Seleucia, was put to death in the castle of Beth-Hascita, by order of Ardascirus, prince of Persia, probably a son of Sapor. Isaac, priest of the town Hulsar, was stoned to death without the walls of Beth-Seleucia, by the command of the president of Adargusnasaphus. Papa, priest of Herminum, was put to death in the castle of Gabal, by prince Ardascirus, when he was viceroy of Hadiabus. Uhanam, a young clergyman, was stoned to death by certain apostate gentlewomen of Beth-Seleucia, by order of the same prince. Guhsciatazades, a eunuch in the palace of Ardascirus, refused to sacrifice to the sun; whereupon that prince commanded Vartranes, an apostate priest, who had shrunk at his trial and renounced his faith, to kill him with his own hand. The wretch advanced; but at first sight of the holy martyr trembled, and stopped short, not daring for a considerable time to give a thrust. The martyr said to him: Do you, who are a priest, come to kill me? I certainly mistake when I call you a priest. Accomplish your design, but remember the apostacy and end of Judas. At last the impious Vartranes made a trembling push, and stabbed the holy eunuch. The martyrs, whose names follow, were of the laity: Sasannes, Mares, Timæus, and Zaron, sealed their faith with their blood in the province of the Huzites. Bahutha, a most noble lady of Beth-Seleucia, was put to death for the same by order of the president. Tecla and Danacla, virgins of the same city, suffered death soon after her, under the same judge. Tatona, Mama, Mazachia, and Anne, virgins and citizens of Beth-Seleucia, suffered martyrdom without the walls of the city of Burcatha. The virgins Abiatha, Hathes, and Mamlacha, of the province of Beth-Germa, were massacred by order of King Sapor, when he made a progress through that country. See their genuine Chaldaic acts published by Steph. Assemani, Act. Mart. Orient. t. 1, p. 97.