Saints of the Day – 25 October – Saint Chrysanthus and Saint Daria (Died c 282) Martyrs, Married Couple Died in c 282, by being buried alive by stones and sand in a sandpit off the Salarian Way, Rome, Italy. Also known as – Crisaunt, Crescentius, Crisanto. Their names appear in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum, an early martyrs list, and a church in their honour was built over their reputed grave in Rome.
The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Rome, the holy Martyrs, Chrysanthus and his wife, Daria. After many sufferings endured for Christ, under the Prefect Celerinus, they were ordered by the Emperor Numerian, to be thrown into a sandpit on the Salarian Way, where, being overwhelmed with earth and stones, they were buried alive.”
Chrysanthus was the only son of a of an Egyptian patrician, named Polemius or Poleon, who lived in the reign of Numerian. Polemius moved from Alexandria to Rome and Chrysanthus was educated in the finest manner of the era. His superior intelligence was quickly appreciated. Convinced of the vanity of idol-worship, he undertook every means at his disposal to learn the truth and deliver his soul from the doubts afflicting him.
An elderly gentlemen was pointed out to him as a sage and Chrysanthus went to him with his questions. The old man, who was a Christian Priest named Carpophorus,.had no difficulty in opening the eyes of the young man. Chrysanthus instantly embraced the truth with ardour and became an apostle.
His father, at first astonished, became irritated and decided to bring his son back, from what he called his superstitions and errors. No means were effectual for this purpose. Thus, influenced by his associates, the father locked him in his palace and sent a courtesan to seduce his purity.
When the first one did not succeed, others were commissioned for the infamous task and finally a vestal Virgin, Daria, priestess of an idol regarded as the Empire’s bulwark, attempted every artifice to corrupt the young Christian. Instead, she herself became the conquest of grace. The two Christians saw themselves united by the bonds of faith, hope and charity and determined to add to these holy chains, those of a virginal marriage. This decision brought about liberty for Chrysanthus and gave him the means to continue his preaching of Christ.
Many conversions among the officers of the Roman society, with which he was already familiar, were the fruit of the apostolate of the young spouses, including that of the tribune Claudius, with his household and seventy soldiers. For this betrayal, the Emperor had Claudius drowned, his sons beheaded and his wife hanged at the gallows.
But complaints began to be addressed to the Prefect of Rome, who arrested the young couple. After enduring torments, Chrysanthus was shut up in the Mamertine prison and Daria was sent to a house of ill fame. But the Lord watched over both of them, as He had done over many others and they surmounted their trials, intact and pure. To be done with them, the irritated Emperor had them buried alive. It appears this torment was chosen in order to inflict on Daria, the death reserved for unfaithful vestals.
In the ninth Century, the principal relics of Chrysanthus and Daria were brought to the Church of Chrysanthus and Daria, Bad Münstereifel, Germany. This is the Church below which contains a beautiful Statue of St Daria.