RSS

Tag Archives: Roman empire

ST ERASMUS OF FORMIA, BISHOP AND MARTYR

ST ERASMUS OF FORMIA, BISHOP AND MARTYR

ST ERASMUS OF FORMIA, BISHOP AND MARTYR – FEAST: JUNE 2

Originally from Antioch, St Erasmus (St Elmo) became Bishop of Formia, Campagna, Italy. To lie low during Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians (c. 303), he fled to Mount Lebanon, living a life of prayer and penance. Throughout this time he was miraculously fed by a raven.

The Bishop was tracked down and sent to Diocletian, imprisoned, and freed by an angel. After having converted many more souls he was discovered once more and martyred by being disemboweled. Some sources report that this was done by winding his intestines on a windlass.

“ST ELMO’S FIRE”

St Erasmus is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and invoked against gastrointestinal illnesses such as cancer and Crohn’s Disease. His intercession is asked by soldiers and sailors, too; the blue static electrical discharges which would sometimes appear on the masts or riggings of their ships (“St Elmo’s Fire”) was seen as a sign of his protection.

PRAYER:

O God, who gladden us each year by the feast of your holy Martyrs, Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus, graciously grant that, as we rejoice in their merits, we may be inspired by their example. Through our Lord Jesus Christ…

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SS NEREUS, ACHILLEUS, DOMITILLA THE VIRGIN, AND PANCRATIUS

SS NEREUS, ACHILLEUS, DOMITILLA THE VIRGIN, AND PANCRATIUS

SS NEREUS, ACHILLEUS, DOMITILLA THE VIRGIN, AND PANCRATIUS, MARTYRS – MEMORIAL: MAY 12

The brothers Nereus and Achilleus were eunuchs who served Flavia Domitilla. They were baptised with Domitilla’s mother, Plautilla, by St Peter, and the brothers persuaded Domitilla to consecrate her virginity to God.

Because of this, Aurelian, who had been engaged to her, accused them of being Christians, and they were banished to the isle of Pontia.

THEY WERE ACCUSED OF BEING CHRISTIANS 

To force them to sacrifice to idols, they were scourged and then taken to Terracina where they were beheaded after being racked and burned. Their disciple Auspicius brought their bodies to Rome and they were buried on the Ardeatine Way.

Flavia Domitilla, who had received the veil from blessed Pope Clement, was also banished to Pontia. After a long imprisonment she was taken in chains to Terracina where the judge ordered her lodging set afire.

THE PAGAN JUDGE ORDERED HER LODGING TO BE SET ON FIRE

She and her foster sisters, the virgins Theodora and Euphrosyne, thus died gloriously on the Nones of May in the reign of Trajan. The deacon, Caesarius, buried them.

Pancratius [St Pancras], who was born in Phrygia of a noble family, was baptised at Rome when a boy of fourteen. In the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, he was apprehended, and after he firmly refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods, offered his neck to the executioner and was martyred. A lady named Octavilla secretly buried his body on the Aurelian Way.

PRAYER:

May the holy feast of your Martyrs, Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancras, ever comfort us, we beseech you, O Lord, and make us worthy to serve you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ…

From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SS. JOHN AND PAUL, MARTYRS

SS. JOHN AND PAUL, MARTYRS

SS. JOHN AND PAUL, MARTYRS – MEMORIAL: JUNE 26

The brothers John and Paul, Romans, gave to the poor of Christ the riches left to them by Constantia, Constantine’s daughter, whom they had piously and faithfully served. Being invited by Julian the Apostate to enter his household, they boldly said that they had no wish to be in the company of one who had forsaken Jesus Christ.

THEY HAD NO WISH TO BE IN THE COMPANY OF ONE WHO HAD FORSAKEN JESUS CHRIST 

On this account, a period of ten days was fixed for them to be induced to sacrifice to Jupiter. When they most steadfastly refused to commit such a crime, by order of Terentianus, the judge, they were beheaded in their own house and merited the palm of martyrdom [A.D.362]. Their glorious passing was made public by the unclean spirits who were tormenting the bodies of many, along whom was the son of Terentianus, who, being troubled by a devil, was freed at the sepulchre of the Martyrs. By this miracle, both he and his father believed in Christ. The life of the blessed Martyrs is said to have been written by Terentianus himself.

PRAYER:

We beseech you, almighty God, that on this feast-day we may have the double joy of celebrating blessed John and Paul, true brothers who obtained eternal glory through one faith and one martyrdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

Tags: , , ,

MARK, DISCIPLE AND INTERPRETER OF PETER, WROTE A SHORT GOSPEL

MARK, DISCIPLE AND INTERPRETER OF PETER, WROTE A SHORT GOSPEL

AT THE REQUEST OF THE BRETHREN AT ROME

Mark, disciple and interpreter of Peter, according to what he had heard Peter announce, wrote a short Gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome. And when Peter heard this, he approved it, and gave it to be read in the Church by his authority. Then, taking the Gospel which he himself had produced, he went to Egypt, where he was the first to preach Christ at Alexandria, and founded a church there, with such learning and austerity of life, that he compelled all the followers of Christ to imitate him.

PHILO RECORDED WHAT HE HIMSELF HAD SEEN AND DONE AT ALEXANDRIA UNDER THE TEACHING OF MARK

Then Philo, most learned of the Jews, seeing the first Church of Alexandria still under Jewish influence, wrote a book concerning its usages, as it were in praise of his own nation. And as Luke relates that at Jerusalem the faithful had all things in common; so Philo records what he himself had seen and done at Alexandria under the teaching of Mark. He died in the eighth year of the reign of Nero, and was buried at Alexandria, being succeeded by Anianus.

– From the book of St Jerome, Priest, on Ecclesiastical Writers; An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

SS. SOTER AND CAIUS, POPES AND MARTYRS

SS. SOTER AND CAIUS, POPES AND MARTYRS

SS SOTER AND CAIUS, POPES AND MARTYRS – MEMORIAL: APRIL 22

Born at Fondi in Campania, Soter passed the decree prohibiting consecrated virgins from touching the sacred vessels or acting as thurifer in the church. He also decreed that everyone except those in mortal sin should receive Holy Communion on Holy Thursday. He was martyred under Marcus Aurelius and buried in what was later called the cemetery of Callistus.

HE WAS BURIED IN THE CEMETERY OF CALLISTUS

Caius was a native of Dalmatia and a relative of Diocletian. He decreed that the office of bishop should be reached through the orders of porter, reader, exorcist, acolyte, subdeacon, deacon, and priest. He hid in a cave for a time to escape Diocletian’s cruel treatment of Christians, but after eight years he and his brother Gabinus were martyred and together were buried in the cemetery of Callistus.

PRAYER:

O Eternal Shepherd, look with favour upon your flock. Safeguard and shelter it forevermore through blessed Soter and Caius, your Martyrs and Supreme Pontiffs, whom you constituted shepherds of the whole Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ST JULIANA OF NICOMEDIA, VIRGIN AND MARTYR

ST JULIANA OF NICOMEDIA, VIRGIN AND MARTYR

ST JULIANA OF NICOMEDIA, VIRGIN AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: FEBRUARY 16

Juliana, from Cumae in Campania, who was first mentioned in the “Martyriologium Hieronymianum”, suffered martyrdom in 304 during the Diocletian persecution. As a Christian convert, she refused to marry the pagan Senator Eleusius, which caused the anger of both her suitor and her pagan father Africanus. She was then detained, tortured and beheaded. In prison, she was said to have been exposed to a vision of a demon who pretended to be an angel of light and asked her to sacrifice to the pagan gods. Juliana recognised the deception and shouted: “Lord God of heaven and earth, do not leave me and do not allow your maid to perish.” She defeated the tempter who admitted to her that the devils suffer especially when Christians assist at Mass. St Juliana has traditionally been called for the safe delivery of women in labour and for protection against fever and infectious diseases.

PRAYER:

May blessed Juliana, Virgin and Martyr, who was ever pleasing to you by the merit of her chastity and by her trust in your power, implore for us your forgiveness, we beseech you, O God. Through our Lord…

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

ST AMBROSE, BISHOP, CONFESSOR, AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

ST AMBROSE, BISHOP, CONFESSOR, AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

ST AMBROSE, BISHOP, CONFESSOR, AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – MEMORIAL: DECEMBER 7

Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, was the son of another Ambrose, a Roman citizen, and received a liberal education at Rome. Under the Prefect Probus, he was made governor of Liguria and Aemilia, and by his command, came with authority to Milan. When the Arian Bishop, Auxentius, died, the most violent disputes arose among the people about a choice of a successor.

“AMBROSE, BISHOP”

Ambrose came to the church  in his official capacity, and urged upon the contending factions, in a long and powerful speech, the necessity of keeping the public peace, whereupon a child suddenly cried out “Ambrose, Bishop,” and the whole assembly took it up and unanimously called for his election. Whereupon he was baptised (for he was still a catechumen) and was admitted to sacred orders. Having ascended all the degrees of orders as prescribed by the Church, he was raised to the rank of Bishop.

DEFENDER OF THE TRUTH

In this office he strenuously defended Catholic truth and the Church’s laws, not only by word, but also in his writings. He converted to the true faith many Arians and other heretics, among whom he begot St Augustine in Jesus Christ. Having borne so many labours and cares for the Church of God, he died on the day before the Nones of April in the year 397.

PRAYER:

O God, you who have given blessed Ambrose to your people as a help for eternal salvation, grant, we beseech you, that we may be worthy to have him as our intercessor in heaven whom we have had as a teacher of life on earth.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

ST NICHOLAS, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST NICHOLAS, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST NICHOLAS, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: DECEMBER 6

Nicholas was born in the famous city of Patara in Lycia. From infancy, he fasted on Wednesday and Friday. He kept up this custom during the rest of his life. Having lost his parents when he was a young man, he gave all his goods to the poor. A noble example of his charity is seen in the fact that he secretly gave money sufficiently for a marriage dowry for three girls who were in great peril of falling into sin.

HE WENT TO MYRA

After having made a pilgrimage to Palestine, inspired by God, he went to Myra, the metropolis of Lycia, which had lost its bishop by death, and with no dissent but with wondrous concord, he was selected by the provincial bishops.

A MODEL OF EVERY VIRTUE

During his episcopate he proved himself a model of every virtue. Contrary to the edict of Diocletian and Maximian, he had preached the truth of Christian faith, and he was cast into prison where he remained until Constantine became emperor. He took part in the Council of Nicea where the Arian heresy was condemned. After he had returned to his see, he died a most holy death at Myra [ca. A. D. 342]. His body was taken to Bari in Apulia, and is the object of universal veneration in that place.

PRAYER:

O God, you who made the holy Bishop Nicholas renowned for his countless miracles, grant, we beseech you, that by his merits and prayers we may be saved from the fires of hell. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 14

Callistus, a Roman, ruled the Church when Antoninus Heliogabulus was emperor. He instituted the four periods of the year which are known as Ember Days – days on which, in accordance with the apostolic tradition, fasting was to be observed by all. He built the basilica called St Mary across-the-Tiber and enlarged the ancient cemetery on the Appian Way, in which are buried many holy Priests and martyrs. For this reason, it is called the cemetery of Callistus. He reigned five years, one month and twelve days.

HE WAS CROWNED WITH MARTYRDOM

After a long imprisonment, during which he was starved and frequently scourged, he was thrown head-downward into a well. He was crowned with martyrdom under the Emperor Alexander and was buried in the cemetery of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way, at the third mile-stone from the City, on the day before the Ides of October [222]. Afterwards his body was carried to the basilica of St Mary across-the-Tiber, and was placed under the high altar, where it is venerated with the greatest devotion.

From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

PRAYER:

God of mercy,

hear the prayers of your people

that we may be helped by Saint Callistus,

whose martyrdom we celebrate with joy.

Through our Lord…

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ST PAULINUS OF NOLA, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST PAULINUS OF NOLA, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST PAULINUS OF NOLA, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: JUNE 22

Paulinus was born in the year of salvation 353, of a most illustrious family of Roman citizens at Bordeaux and he later attained senatorial dignity. He was made consul of Nola but, struck by a ray of the divine light, he resigned the consulship and returning to Bordeaux, he was baptised by St Delphinus.

HE DISTRIBUTED HIS MONEY TO THE POOR

Then he sold his abundant property, distributed the money to the poor and retired to Spain, where he was ordained a priest. When he returned to Nola, he built a monastery near the tomb of St Felix and entered upon a most strict monastic life with some companions.

HE BECAME A PRIEST AND FOUNDED A MONASTERY 

As the fame of his sanctity spread, he was elevated to the See of Nola. In the fulfilment of his office, he left wonderful examples of piety, patience, and above all, charity. He wrote many things pertaining to sacred doctrine and was highly praised for his eloquence and poetry. When Campania was laid waste by the Goths, he devoted all his resources to feeding the poor and ransoming captives.

HE SOLD HIMSELF INTO SLAVERY IN PLACE OF SOMEONE ELSE AND WAS TAKEN TO AFRICA

And after that, when the Vandals invaded the same region, since he had nothing more to give, he sold himself into slavery in place of the son of a certain widow, and was taken to Africa. At length, being given his liberty by the help of God, he fell peacefully asleep in the Lord at Nola.

PRAYER:

O God, who promised to those who forsake all things in this world for you a hundred-fold reward in the world to come and life everlasting, mercifully grant that, following closely in the footsteps of the holy Bishop Paulinus, we may look upon earthly things as naught, and long only for those of heaven. Who live…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,