74. Vetius Pagathus
Vetius, Surnamed Pagathus, Put To Death On The River Rhone In France. About The Year 172
[J. Gysius fixes the beginning of this persecution of the Christians, at Lyons and Vienne, on the river Rhone, in the year 179; but other authentic Writers commence it with the year 172.]
When the persecution of the Christians on the River Rhone, at Lyons and Vienne, in France, did not cease, but increased the longer the more, so that those who confessed the name of Christ, were forbidden, first their houses, then their bath-rooms, and afterwards all public places, so that they could stay neither in the house, nor in the city, nor without, which was a cause of much suffering to them, it happened, that, some of the brethren of the church of God there, having been apprehended and brought before the President for examination, a certain brother, called Vetius, and surnamed Pagathus, young in years, but old and strong in the faith, went boldly before the judge, and made himself known as a defender of the apprehended Christians, whose cause he undertook to vindicate. The Judge, when he had heard his defense, refused it, and asked him, whether he also was a Christian, or believer in Christ, upon which he candidly confessed that he was. Immediately he was enrolled among the Christian martyrs, and was called the Advocate of the Christians.
He was so pious and virtuous in his life that Eusebius Pamphilius calls him: “Filled with ardent and divine love of the Spirit; yea, testifies, that he had a perfect love to God, and was upright towards all men; and that his life, though he was a youth, was so tried and acceptable, that he excelled many old persons, since he lived justly and unblamably, being ever ready to minister to the servants of God.”
It is finally stated that he followed the holy teacher Zacharia, who had shown perfect love towards the holy martyrs, and assisted and supported them; and also, that, according to the example of Jesus, his Saviour, he laid down his life for his sheep and friends; that is, gave his life for the truth, from love to the church of God, and to be a pattern of constancy to them. Compare Euseb., 5th book, cap. 1, fol. 80, col. 1, 2, with Abr. Mcll., 1st book, fol. 43, col. 1, 2, on the title Vetius. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 17, col. 3, though he differs with the others in regard to the time.
Thieleman J. Van Braght (1625-1664) was an Anabaptist who is best known for writing a history of the Christian witness throughout the centuries entitled “The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660” (1660).