Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, according to St. Eulogius of Cordoba

I’m going to keep going with the story of St. Sabigotho et al from Memoriale Sanctorum, but it may take me awhile. Please be patient with me.

Meanwhile, Fr. Z mentioned Sts. Nunilo and Alodia over at his blog, so I ended up translating their very short chapter in Memoriale Sanctorum. (This will be a repost of that.) They were from the modern day Adahuesca, Huesca, Aragon in Spain. This was part of the Emirate of Cordoba, so it was more of the same persecution in a different town.

Here’s part one of the chapter in St. Eulogius, translated by me for lack of a better source. I’ve left out the first part of the chapter, where he apologizes for ending the book before, when all these other martyrdoms were coming up.

Memoriale Sanctorum, by St. Eulogius of Cordoba.
Book Two, Chapter Seven: Nunilo and Alodia, virgins and martyrs.


2. Therefore, as reported by the consecrated and venerated fatherly care of Venerius, bishop of Compluti (Alcala), we learn in the city of Osca (Huesca) near the town of Barbitanum, there were two virgin sisters (of whom one was called Nunilo and the other Alodia) born indeed to a Gentile [Muslim] father but a Christian mother. After the death of the impious father, they could not stop their mother from entering into a second Gentile marriage, nor could they hold freely to the faith of Christ, opposed by the stiff-necked paganism of the man who won their mother.

However, already the souls of the girls were watered from Christ’s kind fountain. Spurning the maternal marriage, they were warmed again by their most faithful maternal aunt’s encouragement. Immediately, the holy infancy of Christ the Lord begins to stick to them faithfully, and the paternal rite is forgotten — restoring the religion of the Crucified to their very young and sanctified minds, to keep them whole.

And because they were very strong in the bands of birth, and they gleamed with the highest excellences and torches of love, their ways of life could not be hidden from the city; they conducted themselves with such sweet-smelling and shining manners of holy faith. Accordingly, they already had achieved youthful adolescence’s flower, and the rumor of their holiness filled nearly the whole province. And all were astounded by the beauty of double roses leaping forth from thornbushes.

Hence the jealous old enemy would hurl pain at their members; while through terrors from their governor, it was hatefully decided that they could be transformed. While they were sealed beforehand for marriage to the eternal spouse, he is sure they can be separated from the prize through hard deaths’ hastening; he brings it to the sacred virgins.

Therefore, he pushes the pursuit of the holy virgins’ case upon his satellite, the prefect of the city, who immediately directs his gaze to set upon them. Trying to allure them with the vain promise of bribes and plenty of similar things, he urges the famous young women to marriage, if by this their souls would be called away from Christ’s religion and returned to their own natal one, by all means; in addition, he would enrich them with a flow of much wealth.

However, if they disregarded the decree of the governor with a more obstinate spirit, on their final day they would be sentenced to being tortured with torments, then be terminated by a guard’s sword.

To which the blessed virgins, constant and intrepid, roused by the Holy Spirit, said in one confession of faith, “O Governor, in the same way, we order you to turn to God’s piety! Which holy piety, in viewing things by His Light, made us aware that nobody can be wealthier than Christ, nobody can be happier than a faithful Christian woman. Through whom do the just live? Through whom has the power of the saints conquered? Without Him, life is nothing; without Him, death thrives forever. To abide in Him and live in Him is true comfort. To back away from Him is eternal ruin.

“By no means will we abandon partnership with Him while we are in this life, because believing our integrity is from Him, we look forward to someday being admitted into marriage with Him. For you bestow things that perish, of which you speak to entice us. We scorn them, considering them as nothing when one thinks about it; because we were aware that everything under the sun is vanity. Nor are we disturbed by the threat of punishment, which we recognize to be powerful in the short term. Indeed, death itself, which you put forward as the ultimate terror, we long for with the most welcoming love; for through it, we trust to ascend into heaven without delay, to approach Christ, and to be held fast in his embraces, never to be torn apart.”

The governor turning from which steadfastness of faith and courage of declaration, he committed them each separately to certain foolish little women provided with expertise in profane rites to be instructed; and about whatever terrors she can, not alternately but rather whichever they had supported faithfully in the discussion, she warns.

However, the foolish little women, receiving the virgins of Christ into sacrilegious worship, every day set forth the poisonous dogma to them; but unsleeping care from Heaven also restores them with manna, from the stinking bowl of sewer they were given to drink. The foolish little women were worn out with empty labor.

But the foolish little women having reported back to the governor about their stubbornness, the virgins after a few days were led into the forum, set up as a public show, and confessing Christ and standing firm in faith in the face of the enemy, they fell under a sword stroke on the eleventh day before the Kalends of November—and went above the air.

About their bodies, however, which had fallen, left behind — they were watched with the greatest eagerness by the soldiers, lest the Christians secretly steal them away, in order to protect them and hide them. Nevertheless, those virginal cadavers were carried off to a place in which, better hidden than the deep heathen trenches, they are buried; signs and miracles flash out; and where they display to the people the merited consolation of glory, the influence of virtue so faithful. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for an age of ages. Amen.


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6 responses to “Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, according to St. Eulogius of Cordoba

  1. caudex2

    Your “…nor could they hold freely to the faith of Christ, opposed by the stiff-necked paganism of the man who won their mother…” is, I think, more accurate than the original Latin … “obstante cervicoso victrici paganismo…” especially if we should read vitrici for victrici. In general, Christians had the right to practice their religion in the Muslim dominated parts of Spain at this time but the young girls (presumed by the second step-father and, at law, to be Muslims wouldn’t have enjoyed that right.

    Even more interesting is the question of whether Eulogius understood Venerius about the date of Nunilo’s and Alodia’s martyrdom. Your “…and went above the air…. ” for “aera qua supra” should probably be something like “… in the above-mentioned year. But according to the Spanish historian Morales, the event took place in 840, not 851 and was known to a Christian queen somewhere in lands to the northwest still under Christian control. If Morales is right, then it’s possible that the young girls influenced Isaac, the first of the ultronean Cordovan martyrs, and not the other way around. Anyway nothing at all anywhere about rape or consignment to a brothel.

  2. Pingback: 22 October: Sts. Nunilo and Alodia! Virgins and Martyrs | Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?

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  4. Pingback: 22 October: Sts. Nunilo and Alodia! Virgins and Martyrs | Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?

  5. Pingback: 22 October: Sts. Nunilo and Alodia! Virgins and Martyrs | Fr. Z's Blog

  6. Pingback: 22 October: Sts. Nunilo and Alodia! Virgins and Martyrs | Fr. Z's BlogFr. Z's Blog

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