23 Mar Saint Victorian and Companions, Martyrs
Today is the feast day of Saint Victorian and Companions. Orate pro nobis.
Saint Victorian, at that time one of the principal lords of the kingdom, had been made governor of Carthage with the Roman title of Proconsul. He was the wealthiest subject of Huneric, who placed great confidence in him, and Victorian always behaved with inviolable fidelity. Now, however, when the king, after publishing his cruel edicts, sent him a message in which he promised, if Victorian would conform to his religion, to heap on him the greatest wealth and the highest honors which it was in the power of a prince to bestow, Victorian could not grant that request. (1)
The Saint, who amid the glittering pomps of the world perfectly understood its emptiness, made this generous answer to the messenger: Tell the king that I trust in Christ. His Majesty may condemn me to any torments, but I shall never consent to renounce the Catholic Church, in which I have been baptized. Even if there were no life after this, I would never be ungrateful and perfidious to God, who has granted me the happiness of knowing Him, and bestowed on me His most precious graces. The tyrant became furious at this answer, and the tortures which he caused the Saint to endure cannot be imagined. Saint Victorian suffered them with joy, and amid them completed his glorious martyrdom. (1)
With Victorian the Roman Martyrology associates four others who suffered about the same time. Two of these, who were brothers, were subjected to the same torture which, more than a thousand years later, was employed by the priest-hunter, Topcliffe, to test the constancy of the Elizabethan martyrs. The two brothers were hung up by the wrists and heavy weights were attached to their feet. We are told that when one of them gave signs that his resolution was weakening, the other exhorted him so powerfully to endure further that the faint-hearted brother cried out to the executioners not to diminish but to augment his pains. Both were afterwards seared with red-hot plates of iron, but bore all patiently to the end. (2)
Two merchants of Carthage, who both bore the name of Frumentius, suffered martyrdom about the same time. (1)
Twelve young children were dragged away by the persecutors, and cruelly scourged every day for many days; yet by God’s grace every one of them persevered to the end of the persecution, firm in the faith. (1)
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff