St. Symphorian was born into a noble Christian family in Autun in Gaul. Though his family was Christian, the city of Autun was particularly obsessed with the worship of Cybele, Apollo, and Diana. One day, because he had not adored the statue of Cybele, Symphorian was seized and brought before the provincial governor Heraclius. When questioned about why he didn’t adore the statue, Symphorian responded that he was Christian and only worshipped the one true God in heaven. Because he was of noble blood, rather than killing him, Heraclius had Symphorian jailed and beaten. He was also presented with bribes to convert to paganism. Symphorian maintained that he despised the offers and the superstitions used in the worship of the pagan gods. Eventually, the order was given to behead him. As he went to his execution, his mother encouraged him, reminding him that he would gain eternal life when he joined God in heaven. His feast day is celebrated August 22.
Questions for Reflection:
- How far would you go to stand up for what you believe in?
- How can you support others in their beliefs?