During the persecution of Diocletian, in 304, a Roman priest and an exorcist, named respectively Marcellinus and Peter, were apprehended and thrown into prison. While there, they zealously strengthened others of the faithful and made new convert, among whom was their jailer Arthemius together with his wife and daughter. They were all condemned to death; and Marcellinus and Peter were led to a wood called the Silva Nigra, where they were beheaded in secretso that their place of burial would remain unknown.
By an irony of Divine Providence, the Partyr’s names that were doomed to oblivion have been inserted in the Roman Canon (that is, Eucharistic Prayer I) at Mass where they have been perpetuated over the centuries. Pope Damasus composed an epitaph for the tomb of these two Martyrs and stated that he learned about them from their executioner, who had subsequently become a Christian.
PRAYER: God, You surround and protect us by the glorious confession of Your holy Martyrs, Sts. Marcellinus and Peter. Help us to profit from their example and be supported by their prayer. Amen.