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Saints Curig and Julitta

Curig Lwyd (Curig the Blessed) is believed to have been a 6th century bishop of Llanbadarn, Wales where several churches are dedicated to his honour.  But in Norman times the dedication to the Welsh saint could have given place as in other Welsh churches to the child martyr Cyriacus (or Cyricus) and his mother Julitta.

When persecution against Christians was raging under the 4th century Roman emperor Diocletian a wealthy and pious noblewoman named Julitta was widowed with a three year old son named Cyricus.  As a Christian Julitta decided that life in her native Iconium (in central Turkey) was too dangerous.

Taking her son and two maids she fled to Seleucia and to her alarm found that the governor, Alexander, was savagely persecuting Christians.  The four fugitives journeyed on to Tarsus but unfortunately Alexander was paying a visit to that city when the fugitives were recognised and arrested.

Julitta was put on trial and brought her young son with her to the courtroom.  She refused to answer any questions about herself except to say that she was a Christian.  The court pronounced that Julitta was to be stretched on a rack and then beaten.  The guards about to lead Julitta away separated the son Cyricus from his mother - the child was crying and the governor Alexander in a vain attempt to pacify him took Cyricus on his knee.

Terrified and longing to run back to his mother Cyricus kicked the governor and scratched his face.  Alexander stood up in rage and flung the toddler down the steps of the tribune - fracturing the boys skull and killing him.

Cyricus's mother did not weep - instead she thanked God and went cheerfully to torture and death.  Her son had been granted the crown of martyrdom.  This made the governor even angrier and he decreed that Julitta's sides should be ripped apart with hooks and then be beheaded.

Both Julitta and Cyricus were flung outside the city on the heap of criminals bodies but her maids rescued the corpses of the mother and child and buried them in a nearby field.

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