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St. Pancras

Saint Pancras


Pancratius, or Pancras, was born to a noble family in Phrygia. Orphaned at a young age, he was adopted by his father’s brother Dionysius, who brought him to Rome. There, Pancras and his uncle were converted to Christianity, by the pope himself according to some accounts. In the persecutions under Diocletian, the fourteen-year-old Pancras was arrested and ordered to sacrifice to idols. The Romans were impressed with his zealous defiance, and offered the boy great rewards if he were to apostatize, but Pancras still refused. He was beaten, tortured, and finally beheaded, on the Aurelian Road, by some accounts in the year of Our Lord 303. Dionysius died in prison, and shares his nephew’s feast day as well as his title of martyr. Saint Pancras is one of the “Ice Saints” whose feasts occur May 11th, 12th, 13th, or 14th, after which it is finally safe to plant seeds. He is hailed as a patron against perjury and false witness, and St. Gregory of Tours attests that false oaths made before the martyr’s relics were visibly punished by God. St. Augustine of Canterbury carried relics of St. Pancras on his mission to evangelize England, and he dedicated the first church in that land to the young martyr. Thus, churches all over England bear the name of St. Pancras.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for May 12th

AT Rome, on the Ardeatine road, the holy martyrs Nereus and Achilleus, brothers, who first underwent a long exile for Christ in the island of Pontia with Flavia Domitilla, whose chamberlains they were. Afterwards they endured a most severe scourging. Finally, as the ex-consul Minutius Rufus endeavored by using the rack and fire to force them to offer sacrifices, they said, that having been baptized by the blessed Apostle Peter, they could by no means sacrifice to idols. They were beheaded, and their sacred relics, with those of Flavia Domitilla, were, by order of pope Clement VIII, solemnly transferred the day before this, from the sacristy of St. Adrian to their ancient church now repaired, in which they were formerly preserved.

In the same place, on the Aurelian road, the holy martyr Pancratius, who, at fourteen years of age, endured martyrdom by decapitation under Diocletian.

Also, at Rome, St. Denis, uncle of the same blessed Pancratius.

In Sicily, St. Philip Argyrio, who was sent to that island by the Roman Pontiff, and converted to Christ a great portion of it. His sanctity is particularly manifested by the deliverance of possessed persons.

At Salamis, in Cyprus, St. Epiphanius, a bishop of great erudition and profound knowledge of the holy Scriptures. He was also admirable for the sanctity of his life, his zeal for the Catholic faith, his charity to the poor, and the gift of miracles.

At Constantinople, St. Germanus, a bishop distinguished by virtues and learning, who with great courage reprehended Leo the Isaurian for promulgating an edict against holy images.

At Treves, St. Modoaldus, bishop.

At Calzada, St. Dominic, confessor.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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