A fourth-century martyr from Antioch who was killed in Egypt (feast day: 23 Amshir). The Passion of Eusebius, written in Coptic, is related to the Basilidian CYCLE. It is almost completely concerned with events related to Basilides, a general and dignitary at the court of DIOCLETIAN in Antioch, to his son Eusebius, and to his companions Claudius, Apater, Theodorus Anatolius, and Justus (of all these there are the relative Passions). It also dwells somewhat on the martyrdom of Eusebius. It is reported in two ninth-century Bohairic manuscripts (ed. Hyvernat, 1886-87, pp. 1-39).
The text begins with a war in which Eusebius, Claudius, Apater, Theodorus Anatolius, and Justus take part. During this war Basilides remains at Antioch, aware that Diocletian is renouncing the Christian faith. He warns his son Eusebius and his companions, who after the victory come back to Antioch; they stop outside of the city and inform Basilides. He consults with VICTOR (later also a martyr) and decides not to leave the city so that Diocletian cannot be master of the situation. Romanus, Victor’s father, an apostate himself and councillor to Diocletian, informs the emperor, who sends for Basilides.
When he refuses to come, Diocletian shuts the gates of the town, but Eusebius and his companions succeed in getting in. Eusebius looks for Diocletian to throw him out, but the latter has taken refuge with Romanus. Basilides, in an interesting speech with the young men, asks for assurances that they will not usurp Diocletian’s throne. Then he asks Diocletian to show himself in public, which he finally does. Eusebius and his companions decide to become martyrs. Diocletian issues his infamous edict; Basilides confesses his faith in the law court and is sent to die in Africa. Eusebius, also a confessor, is sent to die in Egypt, where he is martyred in Coptos after having been killed and resurrected three times.
- Hyvernat, H. Les Actes des martyrs de l’Egypte tirés des manuscrits coptes de la Bibliothèque Vaticane et du Musée Borgia. Paris, 1886-1887.