Today, February 16th, the universal Church honors a brave martyr, St. Daniel.
Daniel and his four companions, Elias, Isaias, Jeremy and Samuel were Egyptians. They decided to visit the Christians who were condemned to work in the mines of Cilicia during the persecution of Maximus, so that they could talk with them, comfort them and give them hope.
Note: Cilicia (colored dark red in map below) was an early Roman province, located on what is today the southern (Mediterranean) coast of Turkey. Annexed to the Roman Empire in 64 BC by Pompey, Cilicia remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for several centuries, until falling to the Islamic conquests.
They were apprehended at the gates of Caesarea, Palestine, and then brought before the governor, Firmilian. The crime they were charged with was being Christians. Daniel and his three friends were all brutally tortured and then beheaded in 309.
Porphyry, servant of St. Pamphilus, requested that the bodies be shown respect and that they be buried. Because of this demand, he, too, was tortured and then burned to death, because his persecutors determined that he was also a Christian.
Seleucus saw Porphyry executed, wherein he applauded his loyalty to his faith in spite of the terrible torture he endured. Accordingly, then Seleucus was arrested by the same soldiers who executed Porphyry, and by order of Firmilian, he, too, was beheaded.
Daniel and his friends, as well as Porphyry and Seleucus, showed their great love for Our Lord Jesus Christ when they attempted to visit the persecuted Christians who were working in the mines. That kindness became the jewels in their martyrs’ crowns, being murdered for their courage and charity. Let us look to these heroes as incredible examples of true Christians, not afraid to love their neighbors, not afraid to “see Jesus in disguise” in those Christians who were so miserably treated at the mines. Dear Lord, we hope to have that same courage and love!
With respect and love,
Sources: Vatican website; catholic.org