Martyr who made the emperor smile: Acacius 3rd century

Acacius was a third-century priest who provided support to the Christian community in Antioch during persecution under the Roman emperor Decius. Acacius encouraged Christians to pray for the emperor, but he would not participate in emperor worship. He was arrested, tried and sentenced to death, although the priest’s wit and wisdom at his trial reportedly made the emperor smile when he read a transcript of the proceedings.

Acacius’ faithful witness so impressed the governor, Maximus, that he became a Christian, for which he also was killed.

Lord teach me your wisdom

Let all my members truly belong to you

In this time of sacrifice.

You alone are the true God, for you alone

I will suffer and die.

To die for you is to live.

Arcadius of Caesarea (fl. 300)

Originally published in Heroes of Our Faith by Patrick Sookhdeo (Isaac Publishing)