Friday, March 11, 2011

Eulogius fo Cordoba

Today we commemorate the martyrdom of Eulogius of Cordoba. I found this information about Eulogius of Cordoba.

Under Muslim rule since the year 711, many Orthodox of Cordoba had settled into an all too ‘comfortable’ relationship with their rulers. Martyrdom was to challenge the conformism and complacency of most of the Christians of Cordoba who, though second-class citizens, lived harmoniously with their Muslim rulers. In reality, they were gradually, almost unnoticeably, being assimilated. Most notably of all, the erastian-minded Bishop of Cordoba, one Reccafredus, placed compromised and co-operation with the Muslim authorities above the Faith. In fact, controversially, and scandalously, he was to side with the Muslims against the martyrs of his own Church that he was supposed to represent. No doubt he feared loss of power and the closure of some of the four basilicas and nine monasteries in and around Cordoba.

It was to challenge this assimilation and erastianism that the monastic-backed martyrs stood up for the Orthodox Faith. It was to defend them and support them that Fr Eulogius, later aided by a pious and educated layman called Paul Alvarus, recorded the acts of their martyrdom. Fr Eulogius composed treatises, letters and a martyrology, justifying and defending the sacrifices of the martyrs against those lukewarm Christians who opposed them. The only manuscript of all of St Eulogius’ writings, Documentum martyriale, the three books of his Memoriale sanctorum and Liber apologeticus martyrum, was found in Oviedo, where the relics of the saint were translated in 884. Much later it was to be printed in the Latin Patrology of Migne and it is the primary source of our knowledge of the events of Cordoba at this time.

St Eulogius was of noble Cordoban descent, one of six children. His mother was called Elizabeth. We are told that his grandfather, also called Eulogius, used to cover his ears and murmur a psalm whenever he heard the call of the muezzin. As a child Eulogius had been given to the monastery of St Zoilus, where he had come under the influence of the Abbot and spiritual father, Speraindeo, a wise and learned man. Speraindeo had written the passion of two Cordoban martyrs of the 820s, John and Adulf, and had also issued a point by point rebuttal of the claims of Islam. Under him Eulogius studied the patristic sources then available in Cordoba, became a priest and in his turn trained other young men as priests. However, his greatest spiritual achievement was to be his own eventual martyrdom, which he had feared he would not be worthy of, and the records he made of the passions of the martyrdoms before him...the authorities arrested the virgin Lucretia for apostasy. ‘Born among the dregs of the gentiles’, Lucritia was introduced to the teachings of Christianity by a relative named Litiosa. At first no one had suspected that Lucretia’s frequent visits to Litiosa’s home were anything more than social. Even after her parents discovered the truth and tried to dissuade her, Lucretia refused to relent. But like Flora, Lucretia began to fear the spiritual consequences of practising her religion in secret.

Using messengers, she sought the advice of Fr Eulogius and his sister Anulo, who, like Litiosa, was also a ‘virgin dedicated to God’. Both encouraged her to leave home. So as to be able to depart without arousing suspicion, Lucretia made it appear as if she were attending a wedding. But no sooner was she out of sight than she hastened to meet Fr Eulogius and Anulo. Like Flora’s brother, Lucretia’s parents responded by applying pressure on the Orthodox community in an attempt to determine her whereabouts. But in this case the search efforts were hindered by Fr Eulogius who made certain that the girl never stayed in any one hiding place for very long. Fr Eulogius continued to meet Lucretia to instruct her in the Orthodox Faith. But after one of these sessions, her appointed escort failed to appear to lead her to her latest hiding place. A betrayal led the authorities to the house, where they not only arrested Lucretia for apostasy, but Fr Eulogius for proselytizing. On 11 March 859 Fr Eulogius, though given a chance to avert his execution, was beheaded. Four days later Lucretia met the same fate.

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