Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Today, May 12, the Church remembers 1st century martyrs Saints Nereus and Achilleus and 4th century martyr Saint Pancras.

"According to Pope Saint Damasus, Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers of the 1st century who became Christians and refused to remain in the service. They were martyred for the Faith and buried in the cemetary of Domitilla on the Via Ardeatina. The bas-relief of Achilleus being stricken is the oldest known representation of martyrdom.

The legendary Acts of these martyrs state on the other hand that they were servants of Flavia Domitilla, a niece of the Emperors Titus and Domitian, who became a Christian. They further relate that she was banished to the island of Pontia and was finally martyred at Terracina together with Nereus and Achilleus.

Saint Pancras was a Phrygian of noble birth who was baptized at the age of 14 and proceeded to give all his possessions to the poor. This drew the attention of the authorities to him and ultimately to the fact that he was a Christian. When he refused to renounce his Christianity, he was decapitated under Diocletian about the year 304.

PRAYER: Almighty God, we have seen Your glorious Martyrs Nereus, Achilleus, and Pancras remain steadfast in their profession of Faith. May we also experience their piety in their intercession for us before You. Amen."

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