St Protogenes the Bishop of Carrhae and Confessor

Saint Barses and Eulogius, Bishops of Edessa, and Protogenes the Confessor, Bishop of Carrhae, suffered from the Arians in the second half of the fourth century. The emperor Valentius (364-378), wishing to propagate the Arian heresy, fiercely persecuted the Orthodox.

In the city of Edessa he removed St Barses, a champion for Orthodoxy, from the bishop’s throne. He sent him for confinement on the island of Arad. The Orthodox population there received the exiled saint with great honor. They banished him farther, to the Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchos, but there also the warm welcome was repeated. Then St Barses was banished to the very frontier of the imperial realm, to the faraway city of Thenon where, exhausted by his exiles, he died.

At Edessa the emperor Valentius placed an Arian pseudo-bishop upon the episcopal cathedra. Lupus, both by name and by deed showed himself to be like a wolf, scattering the sheep of Christ’s flock. The Orthodox population of Edessa, both clergy and laity, ceased to attend their church, which had been seized by the Arians. They gathered outside the city and celebrated the divine services in an open area.

After he learned of this, the emperor ordered the eparch Modestus to kill all the Orthodox who met for divine services outside the city. The eparch pitied the city, and he informed the Orthodox that they should not attend divine services. The Orthodox, fervent with the desire to receive a martyr’s crown for Christ, went as one to the place where they usually gathered for prayer.

Eparch Modestus, obeying his orders, went there with his armed soldiers. Along the way he saw a woman who hastened to the services with her small child, so as not to deprive him of the martyr’s crown. Shaken, Modestus turned back with his soldiers. Appearing before the emperor Valentius, he urged him to cancel the decree to kill all the Orthodox and to apply it only to the clergy.

They led persons of spiritual rank to the emperor, and in the lead the oldest presbyter Eulogius. The emperor urged them to enter into communion with the pseudo-bishop Lupus, but none of them agreed. After this they sent eighty men of clerical rank in chains to prison in Thrace. The Orthodox met them along the way, revering them as confessors, and furnished them all the necessities. Learning of this, the emperor ordered the martyrs to be taken two by two, and to disperse them to remote areas.

The holy presbyters Eulogius and Protogenes were sent to the Thebaid city of Antinoe in Egypt. There by their preaching they converted many idol-worshippers to Christ and baptized them. When the emperor Valentius perished and was succeeded on the throne by the holy emperor Theodosius (379-395). The Orthodox confessors remaining alive after the persecution were returned from exile. The holy presbyters Eulogius and Protogenes returned to Edessa. In place of the dead and banished St Barses, presbyter Eulogius was elevated to Bishop of Edessa, and the holy presbyter Protogenes was made bishop in the Mesopotamian city of Carrhae. Both saints guided their flocks until their death, which occurred at the end of the fourth century.