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Babylas of Antioch

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The Hieromartyr Babylas was the Bishop of Antioch from 237 to 253. His feast day is September 4.


Little is known of the life of Babylas. He was named Bishop of Antioch in 237 as successor to Bishop Zebinus. Babylas is noted for his defense of Christianity before the Roman emperor Decius that led to his martyrdom. Various sources place the events differently. [1] [2] [3] [4]

The most common version notes that during a visit to Antioch by the emperor Decius as part of an arranged a festival to the pagan gods, Decius attempted to witness a Divine Liturgy served by Babylas. Babylas barred the emperor from entering the church, for which the emperor had the church burned. After Babylas declared the emperor unworthy because he desecrated God sanctuary, Decius ordered Babylas to worship the pagan idols or face execution.

Convinced that Babylas would remain true to his faith, Decius ordered Babylas to be placed into heavy chains. The chains, Babylas told the emperor, were as important to him as the imperial crown was to the emperor, suffering for Christ was as desirable to him as imperial power was to the emperor, and death for the Immortal King was as precious to him as life to Decius. In the end the emperor condemned Babylas to be beheaded in the year 253.


  1. Eusebius. H. E. vi. 39
  2. St. Chrys. de St. Bab, c, Gentes, tom. i.
  3. Epiphanius (de Mens. xviii.)
  4. St. Jerome (de Scriptt. Eccl. Iiv. Ixii.)


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