« Fravitta, bp. of Constantinople Fructuosus (1) M., bp. of Tarragona Frumentius »

Fructuosus (1) M., bp. of Tarragona

Fructuosus (1), M., bp. of Tarragona in the 3rd cent. The Acta of his martyrdom and of his two deacons and fellow-sufferers, Eulogius and Augurius, are the most ancient Spanish Acta, and marked by a realistic simplicity which contrasts very favourably with many of the Acta of Diocletian's persecution. Prudentius made use of them in his hymn to the martyrs (Felix Tarraco Fructuose vestris, etc., Peristeph. vi.), and they are largely quoted by St. Augustine (Serm. 273, Migne, Patr. Lat. xxxviii.). Under Valerian and Gallienus in the consulate of Aemilianus and Bassus (a.d. 259), Aemilianus Praeses of Tarragona issued an edict against the Christians, compelling all to sacrifice to the gods. Hearing this, bp. Fructuosus and the whole church of Tarragona gave themselves to unceasing prayer. One night, after Fructuosus had retired, four apparitores appeared at his gate and summoned him and his deacons before the Praeses. This was Sunday, and they remained in prison till Friday, enjoying, however, some intercourse with the brethren outside. Fructuosus even baptized a catechumen within the prison. Appearing before the Praeses, all three simply and steadfastly avowed their faith. Finally the Praeses asked Fructuosus, "Art thou the bishop of the Christians?" He answered, "I am." The Praeses retorted, "Thou wast," and gave orders for them to be scourged and burnt alive. On their way to the amphitheatre Christians and heathens alike crowded around in sympathy. Some offered Fructuosus a cup of aromatic strengthening drink. He refused, saying, "It is not yet time to break the fast " (it being Friday, and ten o'clock; the Friday fast lasting till three). At the gate of the amphitheatre Fructuosus addressed the people. "Be of good cheer; a pastor shall not be wanting to you, nor shall the love and promise of God fail you, either here or hereafter. For this which you behold is but the infirmity of an hour." After the flames were kindled, the ligatures binding their hands were quickly burnt; then Fructuosus, consuetudinis memor, fell on his knees and so passed away.

This is the account of the Acta printed by Tamayo in the Martyr. Hisp. (vol. i. Jan. 21) from a 14th-cent. calendar in the library of the cathedral of Astorga. It omits important points contained in the Bollandist Acta (A.A. S.S. Jan. ii.), which are the same as those printed by Florez (Esp. Sag. xxv.).


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