Sunday, May 12, 2019
Sts. Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla And Pancras

Semi Double (1955 Calendar): May 12

Like many of the lesser-known saints which were forgotten by the Church after the destruction of the Liturgical Calendar in 1969, today's saints, Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancras, are no exception. If you polled 100 average Catholics today, would any of them even know anything about these saints? Yet, the inscription etched to the Arch of Constantine in the city of Rome bears witness to their extraordinary importance: 

"To Flavia Domitilla, Nereus and Achilleus, the Senate and People of Rome. On this sacred way, whereon so many Roman Emperors received triumphal honours for having brought various provinces into subjection to the Roman People, these martyrs receive to-day a more glorious triumph, for that they con quered, by a greater courage, the conquerors themselves."

Nereus, Achilleus, and Domitilla earned the crown of martyrdom early whereas Pancras did so under Diocletian, which was the last effort of pagan Rome against the Church. 

The Roman Breviary includes the following account of their holy lives:
The brothers Nereus and Achilleus were in the service of Flavia Domitilla, and were baptized, together with her and her mother Plautilla, by St Peter. They persuaded Domitilla to consecrate her virginity to God: in consequence of which they were accused of being Christians by Aurelian, to whom she was betrothed. They made an admirable confession of their faith, and were banished to the isle of Pontia. There they were again examined and were condemned to be flogged. They were shortly afterwards taken to Terracina; and, by order of Minucius Rufus, were placed on the rack and tormented with burning torches. On their resolutely declaring that they had been baptized by blessed Peter the Apostle, and no tortures should ever induce them to offer sacrifice to idols, they were beheaded. Their bodies were taken to Rome by their disciple Auspicius, Domitilla’s tutor, and were buried on the Ardeatine Way.
Flavia Domitilla, a Roman lady, and niece of the Emperors Titus and Domitian, received the holy veil of virginity from the blessed Pope Clement. She was accused of being a Christian by Aurelian, son of the Consul Titus Aurelius, to whom she had been promised in marriage. The Emperor Domitian banished her to the isle of Pontia, where she suffered a long martyrdom in prison. She was finally taken to Terracina, where she again confessed Christ. Finding that her constancy was not to be shaken, the judge ordered the house where she lodged to be set on fire; and thus, together with two virgins, her foster-sisters Theodora and Euphrosyna, she completed her glorious martyrdom on the ninth of the Nones of May (May 7), during the reign of the Emperor Trajan. Their bodies were found entire, and were buried by a deacon named Cæsarius. On this day the bodies of the two brothers and that of Domitilla were translated from the Church of Saint Adrian to the Basilica called Fasciola.

The Roman Breviary on St. Pancras:

Pancras was bom in Phrygia, of a noble family. When but a boy of fourteen, he went to Rome, in the reign of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. He there received baptism from the Roman Pontiff, and was instructed in the Christian faith. Shortly afterwards he was seized, as being a Christian; but upon his firmly refusing to offer sacrifice to the gods, he was condemned to be beheaded. He suffered death with manly courage, and obtained the glorious crown of martyrdom. During the night a matron, by name Octavilla, took away his body, and had it buried, after embalming it, on the Aurelian Way. 


O Lord, may the blessed feast of Your martyrs Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla, and Pancras fire us with zeal to serve You more worthily. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

1 comment(s):

del_button May 12, 2020 at 10:14 AM
Anonymous said...

�� AMEN!��

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