Spirituality for Today – August 2014 – Volume 19, Issue 1

Saint of the Month
St. Emygdius

August 5

A photo of Saint EmygdiusSaint Emygdius

Emygdius is know by several names, including Emydius and Emidius, but little is known about his life. It is thought that the historical sources were more likely drawn from legend than fact.

Raised a pagan, Emygdius converted to Christianity some time near the end of the third century. He then traveled to Rome, where he tirelessly worked to convert other pagans. Emygdius willingly risked his own safety to promote his faith. He once stormed a temple and destroyed a status of Aesculapius, the Roman god of healing. This act angered many Romans, who clamored for retribution. Although some records say Emygdius turned to Pope Marcellus for protection, it is now believed that Emygdius probably received help from Macellus's predecessor named Marcellinus.

The Pope ordained Emygdius, made him a bishop, and then sent him to Ascoli Piceno, a region just northeast of Rome. Once again, Emygdius eagerly spread the Word of God and converted many. But in 304, the bishop was swept up in the persecution of Christians carried out by Emperor Diocletian, who ordered Emgydius and several of his companions to be beheaded.

Emygdius became particularly venerated in Italy. He was said to offer protection against earthquakes, and Catholics in other areas prone to quakes also turned to him for protection. In 1863, the Vatican approved a request from Catholics in California to name Emygdius the patron saint of what is now the Los Angeles diocese. Several statues of the saint still stand in California, and several parishes bear his name.

Lord God,
You used Your servant Emygdius to spread the Gospel
and do Your will.
Though faced with tremendous obstacles,
the saint acted with courage
and unwavering devotion to You.
Through You and Your son Jesus Christ,
may the Holy Spirit always fill me with a similar fire
to do whatever I must to glorify Your name.


From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives