« Pinianus, husband of Melania the younger Pionius, martyr at Smyrna Pius I., bp. of Rome »

Pionius, martyr at Smyrna

Pionius, martyr at Smyrna, in the Decian persecution, Mar. 12, 250. It was probably this Pionius who revived the cultus of POLYCARP in Smyrna, by recovering an ancient MS. martyrdom of that saint and fixing the day of commemoration in accordance with it.

When taken to prison, Pionius and his companions, Asclepiades and Sabina, found there already another Catholic presbyter, named Lemnus, and a Montanist woman named Macedonia. The divisions of the Christian community were now well known to their persecutors for in the examinations of the martyrs those who owned themselves Christians were always further interrogated as to what church or sect they belonged. The Acts give a long report of exhortations delivered by Pionius to his fellow-prisoners. With Pionius suffered a Marcionite presbyter Metrodorus, the stakes of both being turned to the east, Pionius on the right, Metrodorus on the left. The Acts are important on account of their undoubted antiquity. We only know them by a Latin translation, of which two types are extant—one which seems more faithfully to represent the original, published by Surius and reprinted by the Bollandists (Feb. 1); the other by Ruinart (Acta Sincera, p. 137). The common original was certainly read by Eusebius, who (H. E. iv. 15) gives a description of the Acts of Pionius which agrees too often with those extant for different Acts to be intended. Eusebius, however, represents Pionius as suffering at the same time as Polycarp, while the extant Acts place him a century later, a date attested by the Paschal Chronicle, which makes Pionius suffer in the Decian persecution, and confirmed by internal evidence. On the Life of Polycarp ascribed to Pionius, see POLYCARP. Cf. Zahn, Forschungen zur Gesch. der N.T. Kanons, iv. 271.

[G.S.]

« Pinianus, husband of Melania the younger Pionius, martyr at Smyrna Pius I., bp. of Rome »
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