Feast of Sts. Perpetua, Felicity, and Their Companions (March 7)   Leave a comment

perpetua_felicitas_revocatus_saturninus_and_secundulus_menologion_of_basil_ii

Above:  The Martyrdom of Sts. Perpetua, Felicity, and Their Companions

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT VIBIA PERPETUA (BORN IN 181)

SAINT FELICITAS, ALSO KNOWN AS SAINT FELICITY

SAINT REVOCATUS

SAINT CATHAGINIANS SECUNDULUS

SAINT SATURNINUS

Martyred at Carthage on March 7, 203

According to some accounts, Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (lived 145-211; reigned 193-211) forbade Christians to convert people.  Historian J. G. Davies, author of The Early Christian Church (1965), considered this story dubious, however.  Septimius Severus did, however, certainly preside over a vigorous persecution of Christianity in northern Africa in the early 200s.  Among the martyrs from that period were the five saints featured in this post.

These martyrs were Christian catechumen at Carthage.  Vibia Perpetua was a widow with an infant son.  Felicitas and Revocatus were her slaves.  Cathaginians Secundulus and Saturninus rounded out the group.  These five saints refused to make a mandatory sacrifice to the divinity of the emperor.  In so doing they made themselves enemies of the state, which considered such sacrifices essential to the well-being of the empire.  Perpetua refused pleas from her father to spare her life.  He went on to raise her son.  Felicitas, eight months pregnant at the time of her arrest, gave birth to a daughter, whom she entrusted to Christian friends.

Our saints died at Carthage on March 7, 203.  Animals killed Revocatus, Cathaginians Secundulus, and Saturninus in the arena.  Perpetua and Felicitas died by the sword in the same arena.  The soldier who executed Perpetua failed the first time; he pierced her throat between bones.  Then she guided the sword to its destination.

Perhaps so great a woman could not else have been slain had she herself not so willed it.

The Passion of SS. Perpetua and Felicity

The stories of these saints’ martyrdom has encouraged the faith of Christians since 203.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PEPIN OF LANDEN, ITTA OF METZ, THEIR RELATIONS, AMAND, AUSTREGISILUS, AND SULPICIUS II OF BOURGES, FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS ACROSS GENERATIONAL LINES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY MARY PUCCI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JULIA CHESTER EMERY, UPHOLDER OF MISSIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP II OF MOSCOW, METROPOLITAN OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA AND MARTYR

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O God, the King of Saints, who strengthened your servants

Perpetua, Felicity, and their companions to make a good confession

and to encourage one another in the time of trial:

Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may be encouraged by their prayers

to share their pure and steadfast faith and win with them the palm of victory;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Daniel 6:10-16

Psalm 124

Hebrews 10:32-39

Matthew 24:9-14

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 263

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