St Genesius of Arles healing oil
St Genesius of Arles a notary martyred under Maximianus in 303. His Feast day is celebrated on August 25. He honoured as the patron of notaries and secretaries. Also, he invoked against chilblains and scurfy.
The Acts attributed to St Paulinus, state: “Genesius, a native of Arles. He at first a soldier, then became known for his proficiency in writing. He made secretary to the magistrate of Arles. While performing the duties of his office the decree of persecution against the Christians read in his presence. Genesius outraged in his ideas of justice. The young catechumen cast his tablets at the feet of the magistrate and fled. He captured and executed. He thus received baptism in his own blood.”
His veneration is very old. A church and altar dedicated to him at Arles known in the 4th century.
Genesius under many titles
According to Serafino Prete, the popularity of Genesius’ cult in other cities of Gaul spread. It also spread beyond France. This gave rise to the multiplication and “localization” of his cult. The saints Genesius of Alvernia, Genesius of Béziers, Genesius of Rome, Genesius of Cordoba and Genesius Sciarensis are actually variations on the same saint.
St. Genesius died as a martyr c. 303 AD. He mentioned in several sources as having martyred under the persecutions of Maximian and Diocletian. Genesius was a legal clerk. On one occasion he was so upset by the edict of persecution against Christians that he left his position. He went in search of baptism but he not trusted by the bishop he found. However, the bishop instead advised him that martyrdom was at least as good in the eyes of God. Genesius eventually beheaded.
The cult of Genesius spread quickly from Arles into other parts of the empire. A titular church built in Rome. It then assumed that he was a Roman martyr: hence “Genesius of Rome”. Later on, even more confusion helped to create an entirely fictional legend. In this one he was a comedian who had converted to Christianity half-way through performing an anti-Christian satire. As a result, he then beheaded. This latter story began in the 6th century at the latest.
The feast day of Genesius is the 25th of August; the dedication of his basilica at Arles on the 16th of December.
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