After Emperor Maximian ordered the church at Nicomedia burned, along with the 20,000 Christians praying inside of it, he thought he had killed all the Christians in the city. However, many members of his court were secret Christians, brought into the religion by the bishop, St. Cyril. One of these, Zeno, was a soldier and regimental commander under the emperor. One day, as Emperor Diocletian offered a sacrifice to a statue of the goddess Ceres, Zeno laughed and ridiculed the pagan practices. He was seized, his jaw was shattered, and he was beheaded. His feast day is December 22.
- When have you witnessed a practice that offended your religious beliefs? How did you react? If you kept silent, what do you wish you might have said if you could replay the event today?
- Think about people who have sacrificed their lives for their beliefs (religious or otherwise) this year. Who comes to mind? How can we be sure they did not lose their lives in vain?