St. Eusebius: The family and his youth

While the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian was terrorizing Rome, Eusebius’s father was taken from Africa to Rome as a prisoner. Before reaching the destination, he died leaving his consort named Restituta, a daughter who was distinguished by her virginity and an only son.

Estatua de Santa Restituta

Born of a noble family of Sardinia, he went to Rome and was baptized there by Pope Eusebius, who imposed his own name. During the persecutions against Christians, the survivors buried with reverence the bodies of the martyrs in the catacombs; the Christians often went down to the catacombs to pray for their families. After Emperor Constantine gave Christians freedom of worship in the year 313 A.D., when Eusebius was in Rome, the catacombs became centers of worship of the holy martyrs.

Eusebius, while visiting the tombs in the catacombs of many anonymous martyrs, used to pray and think about his future: would he also witness his faith with life? It was an assumption that all young Christians of that period would make.

St. Eusebius was distinguished not only by his faith in Jesus Christ, but also learned the liberal arts and taught the Sacred Scripture with competence, because his wisdom was the most important thing of that age. At that time, Eusebius was instituted reader of the Roman Church; he taught through words what he believed in his heart and, during his long stay in Rome, he served God in the prudent and passionate service of the ministry.

The people were satisfied with Eusebius. They used to listen willingly to his teachings and all the people worshipped him. This God’s servant taught with authority. He exposes his doctrine with the authority of the one who practices in actions what he teaches with words.

The readership in the time of Eusebius was the ordinary beginning of church life. It was the reader’s obligation to read the Bible, sing the verses and bless the bread and all the new fruits. The ministry of readership was given by the bishop who would deliver the book of Scripture and say, “Take it and be the preacher of the Word; if this task is fulfilled faithfully you will have place among those who served the Word of God!”.

When Eusebius was in Rome, the readers’ school became a kind of seminar. Many readers had become priests, bishops and even the pope.

Eusebius was sent to Vercelli, in northern Italy, as a bishop of that emerging church; there, he organized the clergy life, working tirelessly to bring those people the Good News of the gospel. The pagan context demanded holy pastors and tireless missionaries. Eusebius was the right person for this evangelization work.

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