Germanic Prince's Martyrdom Exemplifies Church Doctrine: There Is No Sacrament in Heresy (VIDEO, Transcript)

Originally appeared at: Nicodemos Hagiorite



St. Hermenegild - his martyrdom and shunning of the communion of heretics

(From the synaxarion of Simonos Petra on Mount Athos)

Saint Hermenegild was the son and heir of Leovigild, King of the Visigoths, who, like many other barbarian princes embraced the "Christianity" of the heretical Arians. But Hermenegild was brought into the pure light of Orthodoxy through the teaching of the holy Bishop (St.) Leander of Seville.

The King would not tolerate his son's conversion and when promises of earthly glory and threats of dire punishment alike failed to persuade him, he had the young prince locked up in prison.

On Pascha day, he sent one of his (Arian) priests to give his son communion. But the young man refused to accept it, for he knew that to partake of the communion of the heretics signifies sharing their belief and sinking with them into darkness. He said, besides, that their communion was nothing but ordinary bread and wine and that the Body and Blood of Christ are found only in the Offering made by the Holy Church*.

The King was enraged and sent soldiers who put him to death in the depths of the prison.

Later on, the King repented of this deed and called on Bishop Leander to instruct in the Orthodox faith his youngest son Recared, through whom the entire Visigoth people were converted to the wholesome doctrine of the Church.

*This was not simply the personal opnion of the Saint, but is rather the teaching of the entire Orthodox Church - which has always taught that there is no baptism, priesthood, Eucharist or grace-filled Mysteries (of any kind) outside of her saving enclosure.

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