"He who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."
St. John 6:35
The Persian monarch Isdegerdes, son of Sapor III, put a stop to the cruel persecutions against the Christians begun by Sapor II, and the Church had been enjoying twelve years' peace in that kingdom. Then, in 420, it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of a Christian bishop who burned down the Pyraeum, or Temple of Fire, the great divinity of the Persians. King Isdegerdes thereupon demolished all the Christian churches in Persia, put to death the offending bishop, and raised a general persecution against the Church, which continued during forty years with great fury. Isdegerdes died the following year, but his son and successor carried on the persecution with greater inhumanity.
The very recital of the cruelties he exercised on the Christians strikes us with horror. Among the glorious champions of Christ was Saint Benjamin, a deacon. The tyrant caused him to be beaten and imprisoned. He had lain a year in the dungeon, when an ambassador from the emperor obtained his release on condition that he never speak to any of the courtiers about religion. The ambassador, wishing to save him, said on Benjamin's behalf, that he would not do so; but Benjamin, who was a minister of the Gospel, declared that he would miss no opportunity of announcing Christ. The king, being informed that he still was preaching the Faith in his kingdom, ordered him to be apprehended and tortured. Reeds were thrust with violence between the nails and flesh of his hands and feet and elsewhere, and this was frequently repeated. Finally a knotty stake was entered into his bowels to rend and tear them; in that torment he expired for love of his God, in the year 424.
Prayer. We entreat you, O most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered most cruel torments for God our Saviour and His love, on which account you are now most intimately and familiarly united to Him, that you pray to the Lord for us, poor sinners. May He infuse into us the grace of God, to enlighten our souls to love Christ as you loved Him!
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).