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  • tradition indicates Nicasius of Rheims completed saying his prayer at his execution after he had been beheaded?

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Saint Nicasius of Rheims
Martyrdom of St. Nicasius: Scene from the life of St. Nicasius. Stained glass window from a chapel of the cathedral of Soissons (Picardy, France), early 13th century.
Died ~407 AD
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Feast December 14

Saint Nicasius of Rheims (French: Saint-Nicaise) (died 407) was a bishop of Rheims from 400 until his death. He founded the first cathedral of Rheims. He prophesied the invasion of France by the Vandals.

He notified his people of this vision, telling them to prepare. When asked if the people should fight or not, Nicasius responded, "Let us abide the mercy of God and pray for our enemies. I am ready to give myself for my people." [1] Later, when the barbarians were at the gates of the city, he decided to attempt to slow them down so that more of his people could escape. He was killed by the Vandals either at the altar of his church or in its doorway. He was killed with Jucundus, his lector, Florentius, his deacon, and Eutropia, his virgin sister.

After the killing of Nicasius and his colleagues, the Vandals are said to have been frightened away from the area, according to some sources even leaving the treasure they had already gathered.

One detail from the account of his martyrdom states that at the moment of his execution, Nicasius was reading Psalm 119 (Psalm 118 in the Vulgate). When he reached the verse "Adhaesit pavimento anima mea," (my soul is attached onto dust) he was decapitated. However, the story goes that after his head had fallen to the ground, Nicasius continued the psalm, adding, "Vivifica me, Domine, secundum verbum tuum." (revive me, Lord, with your words) Nicasius is thus part of the tradition of the cephalophores ("head-carriers"), who, like Saint Denis, carried their heads and sometimes spoke through them. A Benedictine abbey at Rheims was later named in his honor.

Sometimes his date of death is given as 451[2], and that he was killed by the Huns rather than the Vandals. The tradition that he was killed by the Vandals in 407 is believed to be closer to the truth by some scholars.[3]


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