Monday, June 01, 2015

St. Marcellinus, the Priest, and St. Peter, the Exorcist, Martyrs

On June 2, we honor Sts. Marcellinus and Peter -- two Roman martyrs who suffered under the Diocletian persecution, around the year 304.  Marcellinus was a priest, Peter an exorcist.

Peter was thrown into prison at Rome, under the emperor Diocletian, by the judge, Serenus, for stating that he was a Christian. While in prison, he freed Paulina, the daughter of Artemius, the prison keeper, from an evil spirit which plagued her. When this occurred, Artemius and his wife and their entire household, along with their neighbors had run to witness this bizarre event. When they arrived, all were amazed and instantly converted to Christianity. Thus, Peter brought them to Marcellinus the priest, who baptized them. 

When Serenus heard of this, he called Peter and Marcellinus before him, and threatened to harm them, unless they denied Jesus Christ. Marcellinus refused, which resulted in his being separated from Peter, and shut up naked, in a prison scattered with broken glass, without food or light. Peter was also confined. But when both became stronger in faith and courage, they were beheaded, unshaken in their testimony, confessing Jesus Christ by their blood. 

Both men were beheaded in the forest and buried in the same place. The location of the saints' bodies remained unknown for some time, until a devout woman named Lucilla received a revelation informing her of where the bodies of the martyrs were buried. With the help of another woman, Firmina, Lucilla recovered the bodies and had them buried in the Roman Catacombs. 

Pope St. Damasus stated that he heard the story of these two martyrs from their executioner, who converted to Christianity after their deaths.

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