Cyracius a Baby Martyr
I will tell you now about one or two child-martyrs, I might almost say baby-martyrs, who gave up their little lives to the Father they had been taught to love.
At Antioch, Romanus, a deacon, was put to the torture, and said: "Even the very infants know the truth of the religion of Jesus; ask one if you doubt."
There was a little boy of seven years old, standing near, whose name was Barulas, and when he was asked concerning the faith of the Christians, he answered boldly: "There is but one God, and Jesus Christ is the true God."
The cruel judge ordered the child to be scourged until his little bones were quite bare.
All the people who stood round, cried as they looked at little Barulas suffering so patiently. There was only one who was firm, and that one was his own mother.
Once he begged for drink. She charged him to be brave and not to lose his crown; she carried him in her arms to the place of execution, and gave thanks when her darling was taken to join the ranks of the sweet martyr children who had already laid down their innocent lives because of their love for Jesus.
And at Tarsus, that city, you remember, where the holy apostle, St. Paul, was born, a noble lady named Julitta, and Cyracius, her little child, were brought before the governor.
They had fled from Ternium, thinking to find safety at Tarsus, and when they got there, they found that the Roman Prefect had reached the place that night before.
"Do you think, mother," said the little three year old child, "that we shall ever be martyrs?"
"God only knows, my child, but you will ask Him to enable you to suffer anything rather than worship gods of wood and stone."
I know He will, if I ask Him," answered Cyracius, "for you have told me that He loves little children."
"And little children were His first martyrs, you know, my child, and many children even now have suffered for Him; I have told you about St. Agnes."
"Was she older than I am, mother?"
"Yes she was twelve years old, and she died a glorious death, and is now before the Throne of God, and He has wiped away all tears from her eyes."
"And some day He will wipe away all tears from our eyes, mother, will He not?"
"Yes, my darling, He will, if we are true to Him, and serve Him faithfully."
The next day, the soldiers came to the house where the mother and child and two servants had taken shelter.
"Now, Cyracius, you must confess that Jesus Christ is our Lord and God, and we know no other," said Julitta.
"I will," answered the little boy, "but what will they do to us?"
"I cannot tell you, my darling: only if we deny His before men, when will He deny us?"
"At the Last Day," replied the child.
Then Julitta and her little one stood before the judge. The Prefect ordered that the child should be brought to him, and the lady was asked to deny her faith.
"I am a Christian," was all she said.
Then she was scourged and tortured, and the child struggled to get away from the judge, who held him in his arms. "What are you doing to my mother?" he cried, "I am a Christian too."
"Say that again, if you dare."
"I am a Christian," answered the sweet baby voice.
Then the Prefect, in his rage, dashed Cyracius furiously against the ground, and his head struck the edge of the stone step, and was shattered to pieces.
And Julitta saw it all, and said: "I yield Thee thanks, O Lord, that Thou hast given my son the Crown before me," and the judge ordered her to be beheaded at once.
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