Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Felix (174), bp. of Tubzoca

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Felix (174), bp. of Tubzoca (perhaps Thibaris in Numidia). His story illustrates the first edict of persecution issued by Diocletian in Feb. 303, and the special severity with which it was worked in the West under the emperor Maximian. This edict did not authorize death as a punishment, but simply prohibited the assembly of Christians for religious worship; ordered the destruction of churches and sacred documents, and authorized torture. Official notice of its publication arrived at Tubzoca on June 5, and the overseer of the city, Magnellianus, summoned first the clergy and then the bishop, and demanded the sacred writings. Felix replied, "It is better that I should be burned rather than the Holy Scriptures, since it is better to obey God rather than man." Three days were given him for reconsideration, during which time he was committed to the private custody of Vincentius Celsinus, a leading citizen. Upon his continued refusal he was sent to the proconsul Anulinus at Carthage, June 24. By him the bishop was twice examined. With the edict there seems to have been sent by Maximian the praetorian prefect or commander of the emperor's guard, to secure its due execution. To him, upon his final refusal, Felix and his companions were delivered for transporation into Italy, arriving after four days' sail in Sicily. At Agrigentum, Catana, Messana, and Taurominium they were received with great honour by the Christians. Thence they were carried by the prefect to Venusia, in Apulia, where, having again called upon Felix to surrender the sacred writings, he condemned him to death for disobedience. Felix suffered by beheading, Aug. 30, on which day he is commemorated by Bede. There is considerable confusion as to details in different versions of the Acts, which d’Achery and Baluze have in vain endeavoured to remedy. Martyr. Vet. Roman. Bedae, Adonis, Usuardi; Baronius, Annal. a.d. 302, cxvii.-cxxiii.; Ruinart, Acta Sincera; Surius; d’Acherii Spicileg. t. xii. 634; Baluz. Miscell. t. ii. p. 77; Tillem. v. 202.

[G.T.S.]