Mike Aquilina

The Martyrs du Jour

Thursday August 17th 2006, 3:00 am

Today’s martyr actually perished after the age of the martyrs, but still within the age of the Fathers. He was a Catholic martyr under King Hunneric, the Arian ruler of Carthage in North Africa.

In the seventh year of his reign, Hunneric decreed that all the monasteries of the Catholics should be leveled. Liberatus was abbot of one of the condemned monasteries. The officials first tried bribes and then torture to get Liberatus and his six monks to renounce the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity. Cast into a dungeon, the monks continued to receive visitors, whom they instructed and blessed. Hunneric, upon hearing of this, ordered that the tortures be increased.

They faced an odd sort of martyrdom. First they were condemned to be bound to an old ship, which would be set on fire at sea. The project was begun, but the executioners were unable to get a good blaze going. So the king commanded that their brains should be dashed out with oars and their bodies cast into the sea. When the corpses washed ashore, they were buried in a monastery at Bigua. All this took place in the year 483. Their memorial is August 17.