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Saturday, June 2, 2012

St. Marcellinus and St. Peter

(A.D. 304)

Feast Day: June 2

Peter, an exorcist, was cast into prison at Rome, under the emperor Diocletian, by the judge Serenus, for confessing the Christian faith. He there set free Paulina, the daughter of Artemius, the keeper of the prison, from an evil spirit which tormented her. Upon this, Artemius and his wife and all their house, with their neighbors who had run together to see the strange thing, were converted to Jesus Christ. Peter therefore brought them to Marcellinus the priest, who baptized them all. When Serenus heard of it, he called Peter and Marcellinus before him, and sharply rebuked them, adding to his bitter words threats and terrors, unless they would deny Christ. Marcellinus answered him with Christian boldness, whereupon he caused him to be buffeted, separated him from Peter, and shut him up naked, in a prison strewn with broken glass, without either food or light. Peter also he confined. But when both of them were found to increase in faith and courage in their bonds, they were beheaded, unshaken in their testimony, and confessing Jesus Christ gloriously by their blood.

They were beheaded secretly so that their  bodies wouldn't be venerated. The executioner, however, divulged the location of the bodies to two Christian women who buried them. Their names appear in the first Eucharistic prayer and Constantine built a basilica over their tomb.

In 827 Pope Gregory IV sent their relics to Einhard, former secretary and biographer of Charlemagne, to enrich his monastery at  Seligenstadt; records of the miracles which then took place survive.

Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.

The fortitude of the martyrs is an encouragement to us in our trials.  The image of gold being tested in the fire gives us an insight into the mystery of suffering.
(Wisdom 3: 1-9)

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