Saint Marcellinus and Peter
Bound by the Same Faith
Every June 12, the catholic church celebrates two distinctiveindividuals who are called by the same faith. Although no existingrecords are detailing these two saints’ early lives, it is evident thatthe church revered them.
Marcellinus was a priest and Peter an exorcist. Both are said to befourth-century Roman saints who were murdered during the Diocletianpersecution in Rome about 304 AD.
These two saints paid the price for their faith in God.
Following the decree issued by Emperor Diocletian in Rome againstChristians and clergies, Marcellinus and Peter, just like many othermartyrs, faced the emperor’s wrath for rejecting the Roman gods andfetish practices.
Freedom in Prison
Marcellinus and Peter were identified as Christians and were arrestedand locked up in prison. However, the saints saw their imprisonment asanother opportunity to evangelize and win souls for God. Their bodieswere caged by the walls of the prison but not their spirits. They werefree in mind.
According to hagiography (writing or biography on lives of saints ),Marcellinus and Peter, while in prison, converted their jailer,Arthemius, his wife, and daughter Paulina. Tradition holds that Peterfreed Pauline, the jailer’s daughter, from demonic possession. Havingbeen born witness to the Lord’s wonders, the family became Christiansand were baptized by the clergy Marcellinus still at the prison. Thinkof the Biblical Apostle Paul, Acts 16:25-40.
Their passion and faith in God strengthened other converts who were alsoin imprisonment. They were made to appear before Severus, a magistratedetermined to carry out the emperor’s decree against Christians.Marcellinus testified courageously and was tortured for that.
Marcellinus was scourged, stripped of his clothes, starved, and left ina dark cell filled with broken bottles. Peter also was also questionedand returned to the cell.
Still, none of them would denounce their faith.
Pope Damascus 1 had said he heard of the story of Marcellinus and Peteras a boy from their executioner who later became a Christian.
Plans were made to secretly execute and bury Marcellinus and Peter. Thisis to keep the Christians away from venerating their bodies and prayingat their graves. Both men were marched to a forest later identified asSilva Nigra about three miles from Rome.
They were ordered to clear a spot overgrown with thorns, brambles, andbriers at the place of execution. This was an order they were toocheerful to oblige. At that very spot, they were beheaded and buried.Their grave was unknown till…
Discovery of the Saints
Proverbs 16 vs. 9 ‘ Man plans but God directs.’ Marcellinus andPeter laid in an unmarked grave till the time willed by divineprovidence had come for these martyrs to be known and revered.
Guided by divine revelation, a devout woman named Lucillia was led tothe unknown grave of Marcellinus and Peter. Aided by another woman,Firmina, these two women recovered the bodies of Marcellinus and Peterand had them appropriately buried.
These saints were buried beside the body of St. Tirburtius on the VanLabicana known today as the Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter.
Pope Damascus 1, who was already a great devotee of these two saints,wrote an epitaph to adorn their grave. Veneration of the saints startedin the early church. There is a church at Imbersago, the province ofLecco, Italy dedicated to them.
5 Interesting Facts About Sts. Marcellinus and Peter
- Marcellinus and Peter are among the saints named in the traditional
Eucharistic Prayer of the Church, The Roman Canon.
- If you’re still in doubt that no place should be a barrier to doing
God’s work, look up to Marcellinus and Peter. Even in prison, they
evangelized and won souls for God.
- Math 5:14 You’re the light of the world. Marcellinus and Peter
became a light to their executioner, who later converted to
Christianity after their death because of their strong faith in
God. Be the Light.
- Heard of God’s perfect timing? Their grave was destined to become
oblivion by their executioners, but God’s time willed that the
bodies should be revered.
- According to the passion of Christ performed in the Holy Week about
the 6th century, the jailer and his family, who were converted by
Marcellinus and Peter, also suffered martyrdom. Artemius was
beheaded, his wife and daughter were buried alive under a pile of
Prayer to Sts. Marcellinus and Peter
O God, you surround and protect us by the glorious confessionOf your holy martyrs, Sts.Marcellinus and Peter.Help us to profit from their example and be supported by their prayer.Amen.
Source: Roman Misaal