SS. PROCESSUS AND MARTINIAN, MARTYRS
By the preaching and miracles of SS. Peter and
Paul at Rome, many were converted to the faith, and among others
several servants and courtiers of the emperor Nero, of whom St. Pau11
makes mention.* In the year 64 that tyrant first drew his sword
against the Christians, who were in a very short time become very
numerous and remarkable in Rome. A journey which he made into Greece
in 67, seems to have given a short respite to the Church in Rome. He
made a tour through the chief cities of that country, attended by a
great army of singers, pantomimes, and musicians, carrying instead of
arms, instruments of music, masks, and theatrical dresses. He was
declared conqueror at all the public diversions over Greece,
particularly at the Olympian, Isthmian, Pythian, and Nemæan
games, and gained there one thousand eight hundred various sorts of
crowns. Yet Greece saw its nobility murdered, the estates of its rich
men confiscated, and its temples plundered by this progress of Nero.
He returned to Rome only to make the streets of that great city again
to stream with blood. The apostles SS. Peter and Paul, after a long
imprisonment, were crowned with martyrdom. And soon after them their
two faithful disciples Processus and Martinian gained the same crown.
Their acts tell us that they were the keepers of the Mamertine jail
during the imprisonment of SS. Peter and Paul, by whom they were
converted and baptized. St. Gregory the Great preached his
thirty-second homily on their festival, in a church in which their
bodies lay, at which, he says, the sick recovered their health, those
that were possessed by evil spirits were freed, and those who had
forsworn themselves were tormented by the devils. Their ancient
church on the Aurelian road being fallen to decay, pope Paschal I.
translated their relics to St. Peter’s church on the Vatican
hill, as Anastasius informs us. Their names occur in the ancient
Martyrologies. See Tillemont, Hist. Eccl. t. 1, p. 179. and Hist. des
Emp. Crevier, &c.