(d. c. 250)

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(d. c.250),

bishop of Antioch and martyr. Few details are known about him, although he is reckoned to be Antioch's most famous early bishop after Ignatius. According to John Chrysostom he refused the emperor Philip the Arabian entry to the Church in 244 until Philip had done penance for the murder of his predecessor Gordian. Babylas was executed in the persecution of Decius together with three boys whom he had instructed in the Christian faith, traditionally called Urbanus, Prilidianus, and Epolonius. But according to Eusebius he died in prison.

Babylas is the first martyr whose relics are recorded as having been translated, from Antioch to Daphne, in part to counteract the influence of the shrine of Apollo. He is also one of those described in Aldhelm's treatise On Virginity. This helped his cult in England, testified by numerous early calendars. Feast: 24 January, but 4 September in the East.

AA.SS. Ian. II (1643), 569–81 and Propylaeum, pp. 33–4; for confusions in the tradition see H. Delehaye, ‘Les deux saints Babylas’, Anal. Boll., xix (1900), 5–8 and ibid., xlviii (1929), 303–17.

Subjects: Christianity — Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).

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