August 8, 2018: SS. CYRIACUS, LARGUS AND SMARAGDUS
August 8, 2018: SS. CYRIACUS, LARGUS AND SMARAGDUS, MARTYRS
God will wipe away every tear from the eyes of the saints: and there shall be no more neither mourning, nor crying, nor pain; for their first state is now over.
O God, who by the yearly solemnity of thy holy Martyrs, Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, comfortest us thy people; mercifully grant, that, as we rejoice at their merits, we may likewise be encouraged by their example. 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.
To-day a precursor of Laurence appears on the cycle, the deacon Cyriacus, whose power over the demon made hell tremble, and entitles him to a place among the Saints called helpers. He and his companions in martyrdom form one of the noblest groups of Christ's army in that last and decisive battle, wherein the eagerness of the faithful to show that they knew how to die, won victory for the Cross. Rome, baptized in the blood she had shed, found herself Christian in spite of herself; all her honours were now to be lavished upon the very men whom in the time of her folly she had put to the sword. Such are thy triumphs, O Wisdom of God!
Mention of the three martyrs celebrated to-day is to be found in the most authentic calendars of the Church that have come down to us from the fourth century. If then, as Baronius acknowledges, there is some reason for calling in question certain details of the legend, their cultus is none the less immemorial upon earth; and the unwavering devotion of which they are the objects, especially in the sanctuaries enriched with their holy relics, proves that they have great power before the throne of the Lamb.
Cyriacus, a deacon, underwent a long imprisonment together with Largus, Sisinius and Smaragdus, and worked many miracles. Amongst others, by his prayers, he freed Arthemia, a daughter of Diocletian, from the possession of the devil. He was sent to Sapor, king of Persia, and delivered his daughter, Jobia, in like manner from the devil. He baptized the king, her father, and four hundred and thirty others, and then returned to Rome. There he was seized by command of the Emperor Maximian, and dragged in chains before his chariot. Four days afterwards he was taken out of prison, boiling pitch was poured over him, he was stretched on the rack, and at length he was put to death by the axe, with Largus, Smaragdus, and twenty others at Sallust's Gardens on the Salarian Way. A priest named John buried their bodies on that same way, on the 17th of the Calends of April, but on the 6th of the Ides of August, Pope Marcellus and the noble lady Lucina wrapt them in linen with precious spices, and translated them to Lucina's estate on the Ostian Way, seven miles from Rome.
Another account of Ss. Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus and their Companions
St. Cyriacus was a holy deacon at Rome under the popes Marcellinus and Marcellus. In the persecution of Dioclesian, in 303 he was crowned with a glorious martyrdom in that city. With him suffered also Largus and Smaragdus, and twenty others, among whom are named Crescentianus, Sergius, Secondus, Alban, Victorianus, Faustinus, Felix, Sylvanus, and four women, Memmia, Juliana, Cyriacides, and Donata. Their bodies were first buried near the place of their execution on the Salarian way; but were soon after translated into a farm of the devout Lady Lucina, on the Ostian road, on this eighth day of August, as is recorded in the ancient Liberian Calendar, and others.
To honour the martyrs and duly celebrate their festivals, we must learn their spirit, and study to imitate them according to the circumstances of our state. We must, like them, resist evil unto blood, must subdue our passions, suffer afflictions with patience, and bear with others without murmuring or complaining. Many practice voluntary austerities cheerfully, only because they are of their own choice. But true patience requires, in the first place, that we bear all afflictions and contradictions from whatever quarter they come; and in this consists true virtue. Though we pray for heaven our prayers will not avail, unless we make use of the means which God sends to bring us thither. The cross is the ladder by which we must ascend.
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. IV, Dublin, Edition 1901;
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. Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, pray for us.