September 11, 2017: SS. PROTUS AND HYACINTH
September 11, 2017: COMMEMORATION OF SS. PROTUS AND HYACINTH, MARTYRS.
“For to them belongs the kingdom of heaven who despising the life of this world, have obtained the rewards of the kingdom, and washed their garments in the blood of the lamb.”
We beseech thee, O Lord, in memory of thy holy martyrs Protus and Hyacinthus, may be an encouragement to us in our sufferings; and that, by their prayers, we may find a continual protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
The saints whose victory the church commemorates on this day are honoured among the most illustrious martyrs that ennobled Rome with their blood, when the emperors of the world attempted, with the whole weight of their power, to crush the little flock of Christ. Their epitaph, among the works of Pope Damasus, calls them brothers, and informs us, that Hyacinthus sustained the first conflict, but that Protus obtained his crown before him. They are said, in the Acts of St. Eugenia, to have been eunuchs and retainers to that virtuous lady and martyr, who is honoured on the 25th of December [St. Eugenia of Rome]. Their martyrdom, and that of Eugenia, is placed in these acts under Valerian, in 257; but the Liberian Calendar assures us, that St. Basilla, who seems to have been a companion of St. Eugenia, received her crown on the 22nd of September, in the persecution of Dioclesian, in 304, and was buried on the Salarian Way. St. Avitus of Vienne, about the year 500, Fortunatus, and others, make mention of St. Eugenia among the most celebrated virgins and martyrs. The ancient calendar, drawn up in the pontificate of Liberius, mentions the festival of Ss. Protus and Hyacinthus on the 11th of September, as celebrated at their tomb on the Salarian Way, in the cemetery of Basilla, who lay buried at some distance. Her name ought rather to be written Bassilla, as it is in the Liberian Calendar; for it is derived from Bassus. This cemetery was afterwards comprised under that of St. Priscilla, who was buried not far off on the new Salarian Way. Ss. Protus and Hyacinthus are honoured in the Sacramentary of St. Gregory, in the ancient Martyrology, published by F. Fronto, and in those of Bede, Usuard, Vandelbert, &c.
Placement of their Relics.
Pope Damasus, in 336, removed the earth which hid the tomb of these two martyrs from the view of the faithful; and during his pontificate, a priest, named Theodorus, built over it a church, as appears from an ancient epitaph published by Baronius. Anastasius relates, that Pope Symmachus afterwards adorned it with plates and vessels of silver. Pope Clement VIII, in 1592, caused the sacred remains of Ss. Protus and Hyacinthus to be removed from this church into the city, and to be deposited in the Church of St. John Baptist, belonging to the Florentines; of which translation an account is given us by Sarazanius, an eye-witness, in his notes on the poems of Pope Damasus. A considerable part of their relics was given to the Benedictin abbey at Mulinheim, now called Saligunstat (i.e. seat of the blessed) in the diocess of Mentz, in 829, as Eginhard and others relate; part to the Church of St. Vincent, at Metz, about the year 972, &c.
Taken from: The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, Vol. II; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.
Ss. Protus and Hyacinth, pray for us.