Master of the San Lucchese Altarpiece (Florentine, active mid 14th century)
Tempera and gold on panel
18.6 x 29.6 cm
Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, Edinburgh
Monday is the memorial for the Roman Martyrs Saints Marcellinus and Peter who died AD 304
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
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
In The Passionary of Weissenau made in the Premonstratensian monastery of Weissenau, Germany (Diocese of Constance)
Cod. Bodmer 127, f 73
Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cologny
The pope composed an epigram or epitaph for their tomb in the Catacombs
"XXII.Marcelline tuos pariter Petre nosse triumphospercussor 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 sepulcracandidule, 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"