Anthimus of Nicomedia
(martyred 303 or 311–12), was the bishop of Nicomedia
, where he was beheaded during a persecution of Christians
, traditionally placed under Diocletian
), in which "rivers of blood" flowed.
Nicomedia was Diocletian's chief place of residence and was half-Christian, the palace itself being filled with Christians. Christian sources memorialized the "20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia
". The main Christian church of Nicomedia was destroyed on February 23, 303, and the First Edict was published on the following day. The massacres transpired in the Christian communities of Bithynia after altars were set up in the marketplaces, in which no transactions were permitted until a token sacrifice to the gods and the daemon
of the Augustus had been performed.
Anthimus took refuge in the small village of Omana, where, when the soldiers of Maximinus were sent to find him, he welcomed them and fed them before he revealed who he was. The detail referring to Maximinus suggests that two persecutions have been conflated
and Henry Wace
note that a fragmentary letter preserved in the Chronicon Paschale
, as written in prison by the presbyter Lucian of Antioch
awaiting death, mentions Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia, as having just suffered martyrdom. Schaff and Wace note that Lucian was imprisoned and put to death during the persecution of Maximinus Daia
(in 311 or 312) and therefore conclude that, if the... Read More