EUSTACHIUS, yu-stê'ki-vs (EUSTATHIUS), SAINT : According to a late tradition, a Roman martyr who, with his family, was put to death in 118. Before his baptism he was called Placidus, and he is said to have been converted by a vision as he was hunting in the forest, of a cross between the antlers of the stag he was pursuing, while a voice cried to him: " Why persecutest thou me? " After being exposed in vain to the lions in the amphitheater, Eustachius and his family are said to have been burned to death in an oven shaped like a stag. In the Western Church the martyrdom of Eustachius had been commemorated on Sept. 20 since the early Middle Ages, while the Greek Church appoints Nov. 20 for this feast. A basilica of St. Eustachius existed in Rome in the eighth century and apparently even in the time of Gregory the Great, and relics of the saint were taken thence to various places, including St. Denis and Paris. Eustachius is the patron saint of Madrid, and he is also one of the fourteen " helpers in need " (q.v.), being the special protector of pious hunters.
(O. ZÖCKLER. )