Saints of the Week: The First Martyrs of Rome


Died A.D. 64-68

After a raging fire destroyed two-thirds of Rome in 64, Emperor Nero blamed Rome’s Christians to divert suspicion from himself. Those acknowledging their Christianity were arrested and executed. Some were covered in wax and set afire as torches; some were sewn into animal skins and cast into the arena with wild animals; others were crucified. Sts. Peter and Paul died in the same persecution.

The feast of these earliest martyrs of the Roman church is celebrated a day after the joint feast of Peter and Paul. The Roman historian Tacitus said the protomartyrs were to be pitied “for it was felt that they were being sacrificed to one man’s brutality.”

 Copyright © 2021, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

The Central Minnesota Catholic is the magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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