Feast of Saints Mark and Marcellian
(d. 286 A.D.)
Saints Mark and Marcellian were twin brothers from a noble Roman family. They had converted to Christianity when they were young and were now deacons in the Roman Church. Although the boys had converted in their youth, their parents remained unconverted. Each brother had a wife and children. When the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian began, the brothers were arrested and thrown into prison. They were threatened with death unless they offered sacrifices to the Roman gods. Friends intervened and obtained a thirty-day reprieve, in the hope of persuading the two brothers to renounce their faith and make the required sacrifices. Their wives and young children, along with their pagan parents, begged them with tears and pleading, to make the necessary sacrifices to spare their lives.
Although they had been released from the prison on a thirty-day reprieve, they were kept under guard under house arrest in the home of the public registrar Nicostratus. St. Sebastian was a Roman officer in the emperor’s household. St. Sebastian visited Mark and Marcellian every day and gave them encouragement to persevere. These discussions, before relatives and friends, caused many conversions to take place, even from Nicostratus, their home confinement host. Another man, Chromatius, who kept the prisoners under guard, also converted. He set the prisoners free, resigned his post and left to live in the country. After their release, Mark and Marcellian were hidden by a Christian official in the imperial household. They were betrayed by a spy and arrested again. Fabian (who had replaced Chromatius after his conversion) condemned Mark and Marcellian to death. The judge, before whom they were at length brought, not being able to induce them to apostatize, condemned them to death. The new Christian converts were eventually martyred alongside Mark and Marcellian. The brothers had their feet nailed to a wood post, and later their bodies were pierced with lances. The tombs of the two martyrs were discovered in the Catacomb of St. Balbina.
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Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.
Sts. Mark and Marcellian, brothers in faith, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family pray for us. Amen.