|Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume IX: September.|
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
|SS. Eusebius, Nestablus, Zeno, and Nestor, Martyrs|
|IN the reign of Julian the Apostate, Eusebius, Nestablus, and Zeno, three zealous Christian brothers at Gaza, were seized by the pagans in their houses, where they had concealed themselves: they were carried to prison, and inhumanly scourged. Afterwards the idolaters, who were assembled in the amphitheatre at the public shows, began loudly to demand the punishment of the sacrilegious criminals, as they called the confessors. By these cries the assembly soon became a tumult; and the people worked themselves into such a ferment that they ran in a fury to the prison, which they forced, and hauling out the three brothers, began to drag them, sometimes on their bellies, sometimes on their backs, bruising them against the pavement, and striking them with clubs, stones, or any thing that came in their way. The very women, quitting their work, ran the points of their spindles into them, and the cooks took the kettles from off the fire, poured the scalding water upon them, and pierced them with their spits. After the martyrs were thus mangled, and their skulls so broken that the ground was smeared with their brains, they were dragged out of the city to the place where the beasts were thrown that died of themselves. Here the people lighted a fire, burned the bodies, and mingled the bones that remained with those of camels and asses, that it might not be easy for the Christians to distinguish them. This cruelty only enhanced the triumph of the martyrs before God, who watches over the precious remains of his elect, to raise them again to glory. With these three brothers there was taken a young man, named Nestor, who suffered imprisonment and scourging as they had done; but as the furious rioters were dragging him through the street, some persons took compassion on him on account of his great beauty and comeliness, and drew him out of the gate. He died of his wounds, within three days, in the house of Zeno, a cousin of the three martyrs, who himself was obliged to fly, and, being taken, was publicly whipped. See Theodoret, Hist. l. 3, c. 7, and Sozomen, l. 5, c. 9.|| 1|