Eustachius, also known as Placidus, was a Pagan Roman general in the army of the emperor Trajan. He converted to Christianity following a hunting trip during which he saw a glowing cross between the antlers of a stag, after which he received a prophecy that he would suffer for Christ. He was baptized with his wife and two sons, and given the name Eustachius.
Denounced as a Christian, he lost his property, was reduced to abject poverty, and Roman authorities took his wife and children. However, being a capable general, he was recalled to duty by Trajan to help repel barbarians from Rome, which he did. He and his family were reunited with the expectation they would sacrifice to idols in thanks for a military victory. When they refused, an enraged Trajan ordered them thrown to the lions; the big cats played like kittens around them, so they were martyred together by being cooked to death in a brass pot in 188.
His Feast Day is September 20 (Western Church) or November 2 (Eastern Church)
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Updated 2005-10-07 @ 1000