Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
SS. Antony, John, and Eustachius, Martyrs
THEY were three noblemen of Lithuania, and the two first brothers, commonly called in that country Kukley, Mihley, and Nizilo. They were all three chamberlains to Olgerd, the great duke of Lithuania, who governed that country from the year 1329 to 1381,1 and was father of the famous Jagello. They also attended on the great duchess, and were worshippers of fire, according to the idolatrous superstition of that country, till they had the happiness to be converted to the Christian faith, and baptized by a priest called Nestorius. For refusing to eat forbidden meats on fast-days, they were cast into prison, and, after many trials, put to death by order of Olgerd, the great duke; John, the eldest of them, on the 24th of April; his brother Antony on the 14th of June; Eustachius, who was then young, on the 13th of December. This last had suffered many other torments before his execution, having been beaten with clubs, had his legs broken, and the hair and skin of his head violently torn off, because he would not suffer his hair to be shaved, according to the custom of the heathens. They suffered at Vilna, about the year 1342, and were buried in the church of the Holy Trinity, of the Russian-Greek rite, united in communion to the Roman Catholic church. Their bodies still remain in that church, which is served by Basilian monks; but their heads were translated to the cathedral. The great oak tree on which they were hanged had long been the usual place of execution of malefactors; but, after their martyrdom, the Christians obtained a grant of it from the prince, and built a church upon the spot. These martyrs were ordered to be honoured among the saints by Alexius, patriarch of Kiow, of the Catholic communion. Their feast is kept at Vilna on the 14th of April, and they are regarded as the particular patrons of that city. See Kulcinius, in Specim, p. 12, and Albertus Wijuk Kojalowicz, in his Miscellanea rerum ad statum Eccles. in magno Lithuaniæ Ducatu pertinentium. Henschenius, t. 2, Apr. p. 265. Jos. Assemani, in Kalend. Univ. t. 6, p. 254, ad 14 Apr.