Saint Barlaam of Antioch

St. Barlaam of Antioch (d. 304 A.D.) was an elderly, uneducated peasant laborer from a village near Antioch. He was arrested for his Christian faith under the persecution of Roman Emperor Diocletian. He was detained for a long time in a dungeon before being brought before his judge. At his trial he was severely scourged, his bones dislocated on the rack, and tortured in other ways in an attempt to force him to renounce his faith in Christ and sacrifice to idols. Instead of crying out, there was joy in his countenance. His meekness, answers, and resolute will confounded his persecutors. The judge, determined to not be humiliated by a peasant, then devised a plan that would force Barlaam to offer sacrifice to the gods despite his constancy. He had an altar with a fire prepared, and had Barlaam's right hand held over the fire and filled with incense and hot coals. This would force Barlaam's burning hand to recoil, causing the incense to fall before the pagan altar, which the judge could then proclaim as a public act of sacrifice to the idols. Instead, Barlaam endured the pain in perfect stillness. He held his hand steady until it burned off completely. Irate, the judge ordered his immediate death. St. Barlaam's feast day is November 19th.

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