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.
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