Sts. Marcelinus and Peter, Martyrs
On June 2, we honor Sts. Marcellinus and Peter — two fourth century Roman martyrs who suffered under the Diocletian persecution. 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. When this occurred, Artemius and his wife and their entire household, along with their neighbors ran 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 Marcellinus and Peter 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 holy 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.
O God, who surround us with protection through the glorious confession of the Martyrs Saints Marcellinus and Peter, grant that we may profit by imitating them and be upheld by their prayer. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.