John of Egypt

John Of Egypt (JOANNES ÆGYPTIUS), a Christian martyr who suffered in Palestine in the Diocletian persecution, is spoken of by Eusebius, who knew him personally, as the most illustrious of the sufferers in Palestine, and especially worthy of admiration for his philosophic (i.e. ascetic) life and conversation, and for the wonderful strength of his memory. After the loss of his eyesight he acted as anagnostes, or reader in the church, supplying the want of sight by his extraordinary power of memory. He could recite correctly whole books of Scripture, whether from the Prophets, the Gospels, or the apostolic Epistles. In the seventh year of the persecution, A.D. 310, he was treated with great cruelty; one foot was burned off, and fire was applied to his sightless eyeballs for the mere purpose of torture. As he was unable to undergo the toil of the mines or the public works, he and several others (among whom was Silvanus of Gaza), whom age or infirmity had disabled from labor, were confined in a place by themselves. In the eighth year of the persecution, A.D. 311, the whole party, thirty-nine in number, were decapitated in one day by order of Maximin Daza, who then governed the eastern provinces. See Eusebius, De Miartyrib. Paloestinoe, sometimes subjoined to the eighth book of his Hist. Eccles. c. 13; Smith. Dict. of Greek and Roman Biog. 2, 585.

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