St. Genesius

S. Genesio
When the emperor Diocletian went to visit the city of Rome, he was received with great pomp. The festivities also included theater performances in his presence. To please him, one of the main comedians, Genesius, decided to mock Christian Baptism ceremonies. He was sure this would amuse the audience. He therefore lay down on the stage pretending to be ill and began: “Ah! My friends, I find a great weight upon me, and would gladly be eased.” The others answered: “What shall we do to give thee ease? Wouldst thou have us plane thee, to make thee lighter?” “Ye senseless creatures,” said he, “I am resolved to die a Christian, that God may receive me on this day of my death, as one who seeks his salvation by flying from idolatry and superstition.” Hence, two other actors, dressed as a priest and exorcist, were called. Sitting by his bed-side, they said: “Well, my child, why did you send for us?” “Because I desire to receive the grace of Jesus Christ and to be born again, that I may be delivered from my sins.” Genesius was then baptized and dressed in a white robe, as was usual of Christians, a gesture that was always parodied by actors. As the scene continued, actors dressed as soldiers entered the scene, seized Genesius and led him to the Emperor to be interrogated in the same way they would have Christians. Up to this point, everyone continued to believe that the actors were still performing. However, the Emperor, the players and the audience soon realized that Genesius was no longer acting. In fact, the comedian suddenly turned to the audience, who were laughing heartily, and unaffectedly and frankly said: “Hear O Emperor! and all the court, you wise men and people of this city: When I ever at any time heard the name of a Christian, I was struck in horror, and I insulted others who persevered in the confession of his name; I detested my relations and friends, because of the name of Christian; I despised this religion so far as to inform myself exactly concerning the mysteries of it, in order to divert you by it. But when being naked, washed by the water, and examined, I answered that I believed; I saw a hand coming from heaven, and angels shining above me, who read in a book all the sins I had committed from my childhood; and washed them afterwards in the same water with which I have been sprinkled in your presence, and afterwards shewed me the book whiter than snow. Now therefore, O great Emperor, and all ye people, who have ridiculed these mysteries, believe with me that Jesus Christ is the true Lord; that he is the light and the truth, and that through him you may obtain remission of your sins.” These words left the audience speechless. Diocletian, feeling mocked, had him beaten and handed him over to the prefect Plautia. Genesius was stretched upon the rack, had his ribs broken and was finally beheaded. Throughout the suffering, the martyr continued to repeat: “There is no other Lord beside Him whom I have seen. I will remain faithful to my God. If you had the power to kill me a hundred times, you would not be able to take Him out of my heart or my mouth.”