Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saints of the Day – 12 May – Sts Nereus and Achilleus

Saints of the Day – 12 May – Sts Nereus and Achilleus

Little is known about Saints Nereus and Achilleus but we know is engraved in stone. Damasus, one of the first popes and later a saint himself, wrote the epitaph for the tombstone of Saints Nereus and Achilleus.   In this epitaph he proclaimed that it was love for Christ and a desire to witness to their new faith that inspired Nereus and Achilleus to “throw away their shields, their armour and their bloody spears.”

Saints Nereus and Achilleus with St Flavia Domitilla by Peter Paul Rubens

It seems that both men were Roman soldiers who obeyed orders in the persecution of Christians until they themselves were converted to Christianity.   Because Christians were not allowed to bear arms, they resigned from the emperor’s army and escaped from Rome.   Eventually Nereus and Achilleus were captured and were removed to the island of Terracina, where they were martyred.   Their bodies were buried in a family vault, later known as the cemetery of Domitilla.      They were among the first martyrs to be venerated as saints.   Excavations by De Rossi in 1896 resulted in the discovery of their empty tomb in the underground church built by Pope Siricius in 390.

Two hundred years after their deaths, St Pope Gregory the Great  (540-604)  Doctor of the Church, delivered his 28th homily on the occasion of their feast.   “These saints, before whom we are assembled, despised the world and trampled it under their feet when peace, riches and health gave it charms.”

“O miracle of faith!” wrote Damasus. “Suddenly they cease from their fury, they become converted, they flee from the camp of their wicked leader.   Professing the faith of Christ, they are happy to witness to its triumph.   Learn from the words of Damasus what great things the glory of Christ can accomplish.”

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings.

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