Monday, March 05, 2007

A Gardener in Karmela

In the middle of the third century a man from Nazareth, known to us by the name of Konon, planted and tended a garden outside of Mandron in the provience Pamphylia, in a place called Karmela. He did very little more than that; he just tended his garden and raised enough vegetables to live on.

As time went on, he began to have a reputation for being a good and simple soul; whenever anyone would greet him, he would greet them heartily in return, with all sincerity and good cheer. News of him came to the governor, who grew curious to see this man who lived so simply and cheerfully; and he sent a messenger asking him to come.

But Konon replied to the messenger, "What does the governor have to do with me? I am a Christian. If he wishes to call anyone, let him call those who believe as he does. I will remain with my garden."

So they tied him up and took him to the governor. Once there, the governor tried to get him to engage in the imperial worship; but he refused, saying he would not do so even if they tortured him.

So they tortured him. In particular, they put nails through his feet and forced him to run in front of the governor's chariot. He did not last long, and thus died Konon the Gardener, saintly martyr.

(It has always struck me, by the way, that if there is anyone fit to be a patron saint for Christians of a libertarian stripe, St. Konon, who just wanted to tend his garden in peace, is the one.)

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