Samson of Arbil

d.123. First known martyr east of the Roman Empire. Deacon to Paqida, the first bishop of Arbil (104-114) in what is now N Iraq, he himself succeeded to the diocese when in 120 he was consecrated by the bishop of Bait Zabdi. Samson carried out successful evangelism among surrounding villages whose inhabitants followed a debased form of fire- worship involving annual child-sacrifice. Arrested in 123 by nobles and Magians, he was tortured and decapitated.