Who was Polyeuktos?

Tracking down information on early Christian saints has been a bit of an education. However, with a little looking and some help, I was able to find a copy of St. Polyeuktos' Martyr Act.

The basic story is: Polyeuktos was a Roman soldier in Cappadocia (present day Armenia). He was a pagan but his best friend, Nearchus, was a devoted Christian. When a persecution of Christians was decreed by Decius and Valerian, Nearchus knew that his time was running out, but he greatly desired to convert his friend Polyeuktos. Polyeuktos did convert and, although tortured brutally, he refused to renounce his faith. So, in ca. 259, Polyeuktos was martyred. His saint day is celebrated on February 13th each year.

Below is the text of his martyr act by an anonymous author, as copied from the Acta Sanctorum, February II, 651-52.

1.
Dum Decii et Valeriani Imperatorum persecution Christiani, maxime in orientalibus partibus, pre merentur; erant duo viri inter se amicissimi, Polyeuctus scilicet et Nearchus. Sed Nearchus christianissimus erat, Polyeuctus vero Paganus. Sed cum Decius et Valerianus, caedibus Santorum saturari non possent, statuerunt edictum, ut, qui vellent Christiani diis immolare, erga eos maiestas Imperii benigne ageret; qui vero nollent, atrociter punirentur. Quibus auditis, Nearchus, qui cupiebat dissolvi, et esse cum Christo, dolebat, quod socium, quem ut alterum se diligebat, in periculo damnationis aeternae derelinqueret. Accedens itaque ad socium suum Polyeuctum, amicitiam eorum in crastinum finituram fore nuntiavit. Cumque ille hoc non posse fieri, nisi morte, responderet; ait illi Nearchus: Verum, inquit, dicis, quia morte separabimur. Et indicavit ei Imperatorum edicta de Christianis. Et, quia ille Paganus et ipse Christianus, amicitium eorum ipsius Nearchi morte finiri.
2.
Tunc Polyeuctus narravit Beatus Nearchus, quod Christus sibi per visionem apparuerat, et sordidam sedem quamdam ab eo sustulerat cum chlamyde militari, qua ipse Polyeuctus indutus erat: circumdans eum chlamyde pretiosa holoserica nimisque splendida, annectens insuper humero eius fibulam auream, et dans sibi stola cum equo pennato. Audiens autem Nearchus, laetus efficituri et exposita visione, de fide Polyeuctum plenius informans, reddidit prefecte credentem, et iam martyrium sitientem.
3.
Cum ergo Polyeuctus publice se Christianum esse diceret, et idololatras reprehenderet, a persecutoribus tentus, diutissime tortus est. Et cum diutissime virgis caesus fuisset, fatigati tortores cum blandis sermonibus et promissis ad cultum deorum reverti suadebant. Sed illo in confessione Domini immobiliter permanente, et eos irridente, in eum acrius saeviebant verberibus.
4.
Tandem supervenit uxor cum unico filio eius, quae clamoribus locum replens, et filium ostendens, foedusque matrimoniale allegens, nunc lacrymis, nunc gemitibus, nunc filii sui ac divitiarum suarum et amicorum consideratione, a martyrio revocare Santum studebat. Sed ille divinitus inspiratus, a christo nullis poterat tentationibus separari; sed sed magis uxorum, ut relictis idolis in Christum crederet hortabatur.
5.
Cum ergo Praesides cernerent, constantiam Martyris nulla posse ratione moveri, dederunt in eum sententiam capitalem. Quod audiens Martyr, dratias egit, et laudans deum, as locum destinatum ultro properabat, confirmans suis sanctis monitis fideles adeo, ut infidelium non parvus numerus crederet. Conversus tamdem ad Beatus Nearchus, ut ex condicto se sequeretur, monebat: et illi valefaciens gloriosa morte consummatus est.

In more recent times, he has been the subject of a play in five acts by the 17th century French dramatist Pierre Corneille, simply entitled "Polyeuktos".