Dativus, celebrated senator
Dativus (3), celebrated senator, martyred under Diocletian Feb. 11,
a.d. 304. In spite of orders to the
contrary, a company of the faithful met in the town of Abitina, in the proconsulate
of Africa, to celebrate Christian worship and communion, at the house of one Felix
Octavius. Forty-nine men and women were surprised by the official and magistrates
of the town. They marched cheerfully to their destination, chanting hymns and canticles,
having at their head Dativus the senator and Saturninus the presbyter. They confessed
Jesus Christ, were chained, and sent to Carthage. There the proconsul Anulinus examined
them. Dativus, refusing to say who was the chief of their company, was tortured.
As he lay under the iron, at a second examination, Dativus was accused by Fortunatianus,
advocate, brother of the martyr Victoria one of the arrested, of enticing her and
other young girls to Abitina. Victoria, however, indignantly denied that she had
gone there but of her own accord. The executioners continued tormenting Dativus,
till the interior of his breast could be seen. He went on praying and begging Jesus
Christ for patience. The proconsul, stopping the torture, asked him again if he
had been present. "I was in the assembly," he answered, "and celebrated the Lord's
Supper with the brethren." They again thrust the irons into his side; and Dativus,
repeating his prayer, continued to say, "O Christ, I pray Thee let me not be confounded."
And he added, "What have I done? Saturninus is our presbyter." Dativus was carried
to gaol. Here he soon afterwards died. Many of his companions were also tortured,
and most of them were starved to death in prison. Ruinart, Acta Sinc. Mart.
p. 382; Ceillier, iii. 20, etc.; AA. SS. Bolland. Feb. ii. p. 513.