Ordinary Time: June 26th
These two Saints were brothers, and were officers of the Roman army
in the days of Constantine the Great. They served in the house of
Constance, daughter of Constantine, who was consecrated to God;
their virtues and services to her father rendered them very dear to
her. They would soon glorify God by a great moral victory; after
despising the honors of the world, they triumphed by their martyrdom
over its threats and torments.
With the aid of the liberality of the Christian princess, they were
practicing many works of charity and mercy, until the deaths of both
Constantine and Constance. Then, at the accession of Julian the
Apostate to the imperial throne, they resigned their position in the
palace. Julian had returned to the cult of idols, and was attempting
to re-establish it in the empire. The Christian brothers saw many
wicked men prosper in their impiety, but were not dazzled by their
example. They considered that worldly prosperity accompanied by
impunity in sin is the most dreadful of all judgments, indicating
reprobation. And history reveals how false and short-lived was the
glittering prosperity of Julian.
While still in power, the apostate attempted to win back these
influential officers into active service. When he was refused, he
gave them ten days to reconsider. The officer Terentianus, who, at
the end of that time, brought to their house a little idol of
Jupiter for their adoration, found them in prayer. In the middle of
that night, they were decapitated secretly in their own garden,
since the emperor feared their execution might cause a sedition in
Rome. He instigated a rumor that they had been exiled, but the
demons took hold of possessed persons in Rome, and published the
fact of their martyrdom everywhere.
The son of the officer, who had slain them also became possessed,
and it was only after their father, Terentianus, had prayed at the
tomb of the martyrs that the child was liberated. This so impressed
him that he became a Christian, with all his family, and wrote the
history we have reported.
The martyrs, by their renouncement of favors and their heroic
resistance, purchased an immense weight of never-fading glory, and
were a spectacle worthy of God. Their house became a magnificent
Christian basilica already at the end of the fourth century.