Felix (174), bp. of Tubzoca
Felix (174), bp. of Tubzoca (perhaps Thibaris in Numidia). His story illustrates
the first edict of persecution issued by Diocletian in Feb. 303, and the special
severity with which it was worked in the West under the emperor Maximian. This edict
did not authorize death as a punishment, but simply prohibited the assembly of Christians
for religious worship; ordered the destruction of churches and sacred documents,
and authorized torture. Official notice of its publication arrived at Tubzoca on
June 5, and the overseer of the city, Magnellianus, summoned first the clergy and
then the bishop, and demanded the sacred writings. Felix replied, "It is better
that I should be burned rather than the Holy Scriptures, since it is better to obey
God rather than man." Three days were given him for reconsideration, during which
time he was committed to the private custody of Vincentius Celsinus, a leading citizen.
Upon his continued refusal he was sent to the proconsul Anulinus at Carthage, June
24. By him the bishop was twice examined. With the edict there seems to have been
sent by Maximian the praetorian prefect or commander of the emperor's guard, to
secure its due execution. To him, upon his final refusal, Felix and his companions
were delivered for transporation into Italy, arriving after four days' sail in Sicily.
At Agrigentum, Catana, Messana, and Taurominium they were received with great honour
by the Christians. Thence they were carried by the prefect to
367Venusia, in Apulia, where, having again called upon Felix to surrender
the sacred writings, he condemned him to death for disobedience. Felix suffered
by beheading, Aug. 30, on which day he is commemorated by Bede. There is considerable
confusion as to details in different versions of the Acts, which d’Achery and Baluze
have in vain endeavoured to remedy. Martyr. Vet. Roman. Bedae, Adonis, Usuardi;
Baronius, Annal. a.d. 302, cxvii.-cxxiii.;
Ruinart, Acta Sincera; Surius; d’Acherii Spicileg. t. xii. 634; Baluz.
Miscell. t. ii. p. 77; Tillem. v. 202.