Saint of the Day – 22 April – Saint Leonides Adamantius of Alexandria (Died 202) Martyr – Layman – Father of Origen (Adamantius), Husband and Father, Philosopher, Rhetorician, a great scholar. Died by beheading in 202 at Alexandria, Egypt. Patronage – large families. Also known as Leonidas.
The Emperor Severus, in the year 202, during the tenth of his reign, raised a bloody persecution, which filled the whole empire with martyrs but especially in Egypt. One renowned Martyr, whose triumph ennobled and edified the City of Alexandria, was Leonides, father of the great Origen.
Leonides was a Christian philosopher learned in both the profane and sacred sciences. He had seven sons whom he raised with abundant care. The eldest son, Origen, took after his father with a love for learning and piety. Leonides loved his children with paternal affection, seeing each as a temple of the Holy Spirit.
When the persecution raged at Alexandria under Lætus, the Governor of Egypt, Leonides was cast into prison. Origen, who was then only seventeen, burned with fearless zeal for the Gospel but was spared martyrdom for some divine design which he could discern at the time.
Cautioned and impelled by his mother toward temperance and courage, rather than recklessness, Origen cared for his family and his mother’s well-being. He then wrote to his father in very moving terms, strongly exhorting him to look on the crown that was offered him with courage and joy, adding this clause, “Take heed, sir, that for our sakes you do not change your mind.”
Leonides was accordingly beheaded for the faith in 202. His estates and goods were confiscated and his widow was left with seven children to maintain in the poorest condition imaginable. Divine Providence was both her comfort and support andthe Lord worked great signs through her family and children. The extant works of Origen inspired Christian Science and formed Christian thought and doctrine ever since and still does.
The Roman Martyrology for oday states: ” At Alexandria, the birthday of the holy and learned Martyr, Saint Leonides, who suffered under Severus.”