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Felix of Thibiuca

(247—303)


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(247–303),

bishop and martyr. Nothing is known of his early life, but he was one of the first martyrs of Diocletian's persecution. The cause of his martyrdom was his persistent refusal to hand over the sacred Scriptures to be burnt. This had been ordered in Diocletian's first edict of 23 February 303, which was promulgated in Thibiuca on 5 June. Not only were all copies of the Scriptures and liturgical books to be surrendered but Christian worship was also forbidden and the churches ordered to be destroyed. A preliminary examination of a local priest and two lectors resulted in the matter being referred to the bishop, then absent in Carthage. On his return to his diocese Felix was arrested and interrogated. For Felix the conflict was clearly between the commandments of God and those of men. He was given three days' grace to change his mind: when he refused, he was referred to the proconsul. Felix admitted that he had the Scriptures, but refused to give them up. For this he was ordered to be beheaded. His last words were: ‘God, I thank you. I have passed fifty-six years in this world. I have preserved my chastity; I have observed the Gospels; I have preached the faith and the truth. Lord God of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, I bend my neck as a sacrifice for you, who abides for ever.’ He was condemned to be beheaded at Carthage on 15 July, which is his feast day.

A.C.M. pp. xl and 266–71;H. Delehaye, ‘La Passion de S. Felix de Thibiuca’, Anal. Boll., xxxix (1921), 241–76; B.L.S., vii. 114.

Subjects: Christianity.


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