Saint of the Day – 18 October – St Justus of Beauvais (c 278—c 287) Martyr, child of nine – born in c 278 at Auxerre, France and died by being beheaded in c 287 at Beauvais, France. He is a Cephalophores – a cephalophore is a saint who is generally depicted carrying their own severed head.
While on a trip with his father to Amiens to ransom or rescue an imprisoned relative during the persecutions of Diocletian, he was denounced as a Christian. He was executed for confessing that he was a Christian and for refusing to give away the hiding place of his father and uncle.
After he was beheaded, Justus’ body then picked up the severed head and continued to speak. Justus is thus one of the legendary cephalophores, the saintly “head-carriers” who miraculously continued to speak or move despite being decapitated. This legend was elaborated in subsequent centuries and stated that the headless boy managed to convert pagan onlookers.
This miraculous act is said to have happened in a spot between Beauvais and Senlis now named after him – Saint-Just-en-Chaussée.
Veneration for Justus was widespread in France, Belgium and Switzerland –where places named Saint-Just refer to him and his cult spread to England as well. Winchester claimed some of his relics from the 10th century. In England the Annales monasterii de Wintonia reports that in 924 Athelstan donated to the treasury of Winchester the head of this martyr. It is possible that this may not have been the entire head but just a fragment of it, according to one scholar. In the first half of the 11th century, the diocese of Chur in Switzerland received his relics as well. In England the Annales monasterii de Wintonia reports that in 924 Athelstan donated to the treasury of Winchester the head of this martyr. It is possible that this may not have been the entire head but just a fragment of it, according to one scholar. Additionally, the abbey of Malmédy in Belgium asserted that at the beginning of 10th century a monk there, had acquired – at a good price – the body of Justus. Saint-Riquier also claimed his body.
Franciscans brought an additional relic of Justus to Zutphen around 1450 when they established themselves there. A confraternity dedicated to Ewald and Justus was established in 1454. His feast is celebrated on the 11th of October there.
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