Saints Peter and Marcellinus, and Saint Erasmus, Bishop



    There is a commemoration of the following holy martyrs in the Second Collect, Secret and Postcommunion today.

    June 2 is also the feast of the marytrs Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, the former a priest. They suffered martyrdom under Diocletian. Both are commemorated daily in the Holy Sacrifie of the Mass in the Canon following the Memento of the Dead in the Nobis quoque peccatoribus - "cum Tuis sanctis Apostolois, et Martyribus...Marcellino, Petro". Marcellinus, was a Roman priest, and Peter, an exorcist, Both were renowned for their zeal and piety and named in the Roman canon of the Mass. During the Diocletian persecution, they were secretly condemned to die for their faith. The executioner led them into a forest, so that the Christians would be unaware of their deaths or burial site. It was not until they reached a thicket overgrown with thorns and briers, three miles from Rome, that they were told of the sentence of the judge. Far from being afraid, the saints cheerfully fell to work themselves. They gathered up the brambles and cleared a spot fit for their sepulcher. After they were beheaded, their bodies were buried in the same place. Some time later their burial site was revealed mysteriously to a pious lady named Lucilla. She and another devout woman named Firmina found and honorably interred their bodies near that of St. Tiburtius in the catacombs on the Via Labicana at "the two laurels."

    The consensus is that that they converted their jailer and his family while they were in prison, that the site of their execution was called Black Wood and later White Wood, and that the magistrate who condemned them was named Severus. Evidence of their cultus is strong and early, including feasts in the sacramentaries and calendars and the survival of their tombs. Pope Saint Damasus tells us that, when he was a child, he heard these details from the lips of the executioner himself. The pope inserted them in a Latin epitaph with which he adorned their tomb. Anastasius the librarian testifies, from ancient registers, that Constantine the Great built a church in honor of these martyrs, in which his mother St. Helena was buried, and that he gave to this church a golden paten, weighing thirty-five pounds, as well as many other rich presents. Popes Honorius I and Hadrian I repaired this church and the cemetery of St. Tiburtius.

    It may seem somewhat odd that the bodies of Marcellinus and Peter were translated to Germany. This is how it happened. Blessed Charlemagne's favorite secretary, a German named Eginhard, and his wife Emma mutually agreed to vow perpetual continency. Eginhard became a monk and later was chosen abbot of Fontenelle and, in 819, of Ghent. His letters from Abbot Lupus of Ferrieres reveal that he was terribly grieved at the death of his wife Emma in 836. Eginhard sent his secretary to Rome to procure from Pope Gregory IV relics of martyrs to enrich the monasteries which he had founded or repaired. The pope sent him the bodies of Marcellinus and Peter, which Eginhard translated to Strasburg, France. Later he translated them to Michlenstadt, then to Seligenstadt, between Frankfurt and Aschaffensburg, where, in 829, he built a church and monastery in their honor. The story of the translation of their relics, including the miracles that then took place, is recorded in Eginhard's own writings, as well as in works by Sigebert, Aymoinus, Rabanus Maurus, and others. Pope Gregory the Great preached his twenty homilies on the gospels in the church of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter at Rome (Source: Attwater, Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).

    Grouped with Marcellinus and Peter is Saint Erasmus, a holy bishop in the south of Italy (Campagna) in the See of Formiae, who also suffered martyrdom in the same persecution. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, who were especially venerated in France and Germany for their efficacious intercessory power. Nothing is really known of him, also known as Saint Elmo since accounts of his life were written long after his death and were based on legends that confuse him with a Syrian bishop of Antioch. He is thought to have also been a hermit on Mount Lebanon, and definitely martyred under Diocletian.

    According to accounts passed down, it is believed that when the persecutions of Diocletian began, Elmo fled to Mount Lebanon and lived alone on what wild ravens brought him to eat. Captured by his enemies, he was brought before Diocletian and beaten with clubs weighted with lead and whips. When it was perceived that he was still alive, the saint was rolled in tar and set alight; but still he survived. Thrown into prison with the intention of letting him die of starvation, Erasmus managed to escape. He was recaptured in the Roman province of Illyricum, after boldly preaching and converting numerous pagans to Christianity. This time his tortures included being forced to sit in a heated iron chair. Finally, according to all accounts, he was killed when his stomach was cut open (see image above) and his intestine wound around a winch and stretched. This late legend of his intestines being drawn out and wound around a windlass may have developed from his emblem of a windlass (signifying his patronage of sailors who use the windlass to wind up the anchor of their ships) being confused with an instrument of torture.

    In truth he would gain more fame as St. Elmo than St. Erasmus, having become the patron of sailors because he is said to have continued to preach even after a thunderbolt struck the ground beside him. This prompted sailors, who were in danger from sudden storms and lightning to claim his prayers. The electrical discharges at the mastheads of ships were read as a sign of his protection and came to be called "Saint Elmo's Fire."

    Saint Gregory the Great recorded that his relics were preserved in the Formiae cathedral in the sixth century. When Formiae was razed by the Saracens in 842, the body of Elmo was translated to Gaeta (Source: Benedictines, Bentley, Sheppard, White).

    We want to thank the Friends of Our Lady of Fatima for expediting these resources of the Propers. Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945

COLLECT
    Dominus vobiscum. R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

    Oremus.

    Collect for Sts. Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus
    Deus, qui nos ánnua beatórum Mártyrum tuórum Marcellíni, Petri atque Erásmi solemnitáte lætíficas: præsta, quæsumus; ut, quorum gaudémus méritis, accendámur exémpiis. Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus,
    Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
    R. Amen.
    The Lord be with you. R. And with thy spirit.

    Let us pray.

    Collect for Sts. Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus
    O God, Who dost gladden us with the annual feast of Thy blessed martyrs, Marcellinus, Peter, and Erasmus, grant, we beseech Thee, that as we rejoice in their virtues, we may be quickened by their example. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,
    Forever and ever.
    R.Amen.

    SECRET
    Commemoration of Sts. Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus
    Hæc hóstia, quæsumus, Dómine, quam sanctórum Mártyrum Tuórum natalítia recenséntes offérimus: et vincula nostræ pravitátis absólvat, et tuæ nobis misericórdiæ dona concíliet. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, Qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus,
    Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
    R. Amen.
    Commemoration for Sts. Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus May this sacrifice, which we offer in commemoration of Thy holy martyrs, O Lord, both loose the bonds of our base instincts and win us the gifts of Thy mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God
    Forever and ever.
    R.Amen.

    POSTCOMMUNION
    Dominus vobiscum.
    R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
    Oremus.
    Postcommunion for Sts. Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus
    Sacro múnere satiáti, súpplices te Dómine deprecámur: ut quod débitæ servitútis celebrámus offício, salvatiónis tuæ sentiámus augméntum. Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus,
    Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
    R. Amen.
    The Lord be with you.
    R. And with thy spirit.
    Let us pray.
    Postcommunion for Sts. Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus
    Regaled with Thy sacred gift, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that what we celebrate in the fulfillment of our bounden service, we may feel as the increase of Thy salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,
    World without end.
    R. Amen.
    Return to the ORDINARY OF THE HOLY MASS FOR THE FINAL BLESSING