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Acacius


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(no date),

martyr, supposedly with 10,000 companions. The cult of these purely mythical martyrs seems to have begun in Armenia; their Acts closely resemble those of Maurice and the Theban legion. The place of their death was claimed to be Mount Ararat. There is no early evidence for a cult: the Acts date from the 12th century and their popularity from the time of the Crusades. These include a story that Acacius asked God just before their death by crucifixion at the hands of a pagan army, that whoever venerated their memory would enjoy health of mind and body; for this reason, Acacius was often included among the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His cult thrived in Switzerland and Germany; it is attested by several notable works of art from the 13th to the 16th centuries, including a 15th-century stained glass window at Berne, which provides the most complete pictorial record of the martyrdom. Relics were claimed by Cologne, Prague, and other towns. Eventually these saints were included in R.M. on 22 June, but are omitted from its most recent edition (2001).

AA.SS. Iun. IV (1707), 175–88 with Propylaeum, pp. 249–50;Réau, i. 13–15.

Subjects: Christianity.


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