Simeon bar Ṣabbaʿe
Type of Persecution
Nature of Conflict
Seeing how calmly Simeon is facing execution, an old servant of the king named Gushtazad, who was a Christian but had bowed down to worship the sun god, stepped forward and proclaimed himself a Christian in order to atone for his sin through martyrdom.
As his companions are being executed, Simeon exhorts them to stay strong in the faith. Meanwhile, as Simeon watched the executions, a Persian official named Pisaq, who was a Christian, comforted those who were about to die and was subsequently executed by Shapur. Simeon’s own death is not described in any detail.
Martyrdom had an important part to play in crafting Christian identity in the Roman Empire, and with the account of Simeon’s death, Eastern Christians could now also lay claim to that tradition. The significance of Simeon is reinforced by the fact that he was martyred on Good Friday, and the author of the account clearly sets Simeon up as a model of Christ. This is a connection many martyr accounts from the Roman Empire also use, especially those that deal with important martyrs like Peter and Paul.
Barnes, T. D. "Constantine and the Christians of Persia." Journal of Roman Studies 75 (1985):126-36.
Higgins, Martin. "Chronology of the Fourth-Century Metropolitans of Seleucia-Ctesiphon." Traditio 9 (1953): 45-99.
Higgins, Martin. "Date of the Martyrdom of Simeon Bar Sabbae." Traditio 11 (1955): 1-35.
Smith, Kyle. The Martyrdom and History of Blessed Simeon Bar Sabba'e. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2014.Vööbus, A. "Acts of the Persian Martyrs." Encyclopædia Iranica (1983).