Being high in the government and very wealthy didn’t save him. The proconsul or governor of Carthage in the late fifth century, St. Victorian was a favorite of Huneric, the Vandal kind of northern Africa. Who was also an Arian, holding the view of Jesus the Council of Nicaea had banned 150 years before.
Christians still fought over it, and the continuing Arians often mistreated the orthodox or Nicean Christians. In the year 480, Huneric started persecuting priests and virgins. Four years later he started persecuting Christians in general.
But not Victorian, not at first. Huneric invited him to join him as an Arian, and promised him even more power and wealth. Good governors are hard to come by.
“Tell the king that I trust in Christ,” Victorian responded. “His Majesty may condemn me to any torments, but I shall never consent to renounce the Catholic Church, in which I have been baptized. Even if there were no life after this, I would never be ungrateful and perfidious to God, who has granted me the happiness of knowing Him, and bestowed on me His most precious graces.”
Huneric, who must not have been used to people saying “no,” had him tortured and killed. St. Victorian died a martyr in 484. We celebrate his feast on March 23rd.
Other Christians died in Huneric’s persecution as well. Among them were two brothers, who’d prayed to die together and to suffer the same tortures. The torturers did as they asked, suspending both in the air and tying heavy weights to their feet.
One, in agony, asked for a break. His brother, worried he’d give in, said, “God forbid, dear brother, that you should ask such a thing. Is this what we promised to Jesus Christ?” His brother responded, “No, no. I ask not to be released. Increase my tortures, exert all your cruelties till they are exhausted upon me.”
Which their torturers did, finally giving up and leaving them. “Everyone follows their example,” they said. “No one embraces our religion now.”
The story is taken from the Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources. The picture of Carthagian soldiers preparing to kill Christians is used under a Creative Commons 4.0 license.