Sunday, June 01, 2014

Marcellinus and Peter, Martyrs

Master of the San Lucchese Altarpiece (Florentine, active mid 14th century)
A Martyrdom
c 1350
Tempera and gold on panel
18.6 x 29.6 cm
Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, Edinburgh

Marcellinus was a priest, and Peter an exorcist, both of the clergy of Rome

They perished in the persecution of Domitian

Their tomb was in the now named Catacombs of Saints Marcellino and Pietro Ad Duas Lauros (at the two laurel trees)

The Catacombs have just recently reopened after restoration

Here is a 12th century representation of the deaths of the martyrs by a Ad Duas Lauros, an illuminator

Fr. Ruffilus
The executions of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, Martyrs of Rome
Passio ss. Marcellini et Petri BHL 5231. >Incipit passio sanctorum martyrum Marcellini et Petri< Benignitas saluatoris nostri martyrum perseuerantia 
From The Lives of the Saints
12th century
Cod. Bodmer 127, f 73
Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cologny

Their cult was among those martyrs whose cult was promoted by Passionary of Weissenau (366-84)

The pope composed an epigram or epitaph for their tomb in the Catacombs
Marcelline tuos pariter Petre nosse triumphos 
percussor retulit Damaso mihi, cum puer essem. 
haec sibi carnificem rabidum mandata dedisse: 
sentibus in mediis vestra ut tunc colla secaret, 
ne tumulum vestrum quisquam cognoscere posset; 
vos alacres vestris manibus mundasse sepulcra 
candidule, occulto postquam iacuisse sub antro, 
postea commonitam vestra pietate Lucillam, 
hic placuisse magis sanctissima condere membra"

Of the martyrs Pope Benedict XVI once said of St Stephen protomartyr and the martyrs in general 16th December 2009
"The witness borne by Stephen, like that of the Christian martyrs, shows our contemporaries, who are often distracted and uncertain, in whom they should place their trust in order to give meaning to their lives. 
The martyr, in fact, is one who dies knowing with certainty that he is loved by God, who puts nothing before love of Christ, knowing that he has chosen the better part. 
The martyr is configured fully to the death of Christ, aware of being a fertile seed of life and of opening up paths of peace and hope in the world"

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