According to tradition, prior to his conversion to Christianity Eustace was a Roman general named Placidus, who served the emperor Trajan.
One day, while he was pursuing a large deer, it suddenly turned and stood still. Placidus was astonished to see between its antlers a Crucifix, surrounded by a bright light, and to hear from its mouth the same words which our Lord had spoken to Saul, the persecutor of the first Christians: “Placidus, why dost thou persecute me? I am Jesus, who died for love of thee, and who will save thee.” Placidus, greatly surprised, fell upon his knees and said: “What dost thou wish me to do?” “Go into the city,” was the answer; seek a priest, and be baptized, with thy wife and children; and then return hither.”
Placidus obeyed the heavenly voice, went into the city, sought and found a priest, who instructed and baptized him, his wife, and his two sons. Placidus received in baptism the name of Eustace (Greek: Ευστάθιος (Eustáthios), “well stable”, or Ευστάχιος (Eustáchios), “fruitful/rich grain”). His wife, who had been called Tatiana, was named Theopista; the elder son, Agapius, and the younger, Theopistus. After this had taken place, Eustace returned into the forest, humbly praying that God would further make His holy will known to him. The Saviour appeared to him as before, saying: “Thou hast done well; thou hast been obedient. Now, being a Christian, prepare thyself to suffer. A great struggle is approaching; but fear not; be constant. I give thee the assurance of my assistance, and promise thee the crown of eternal glory.”Read More »