SS. Justus and Pastor, Martyrs
THEY were two brothers, who in their tender age overcame, with an heroic courage, the rage and power of Dacian, armed with all the instruments of cruelty. This judge was governor of Spain under Dioclesian and Maximian, and one of the most furious ministers of their cruelty in persecuting the Christians. In his progress through his province in search of the servants of the true God, he arrived at Complutum, now called Alcala de Henares, and having caused the bloody edicts to be read in the market-place, began to put to the most exquisite tortures the Christians who were brought before him. Justus and Pastor, children who were then learning the first elements of literature in the public school of that city (the first being thirteen, the latter only seven years old), hearing of the torments which were inflicted on the generous soldiers of Christ, were fired with a holy zeal to have a share in their triumphs. They threw down their books, ran to the place where the governor was interrogating the confessors, and by their behaviour about the racks and other engines on which the martyrs were tormented, gave manifest proofs of the holy faith which they professed. They were soon taken notice of, apprehended, and presented to the judge. He foamed with rage to see children brave his power and authority, and not doubting but a little correction would allay their courage, commanded them to be most severely whipped. This was executed in the most barbarous manner; but he who makes the tongues of infants eloquent in his praise, gave them strength to baffle all the efforts of the world and hell. The soldiers and spectators were filled with astonishment to see the modest constancy with which in their turns they encouraged and exhorted each other to bear their torments for Christ, and for an eternal crown; and the wonderful cheerfulness and readiness which they discovered to suffer every torture that could be inflicted. The judge, being informed that it was in vain to expect their resolution could ever be vanquished by torments, to cover his shame, gave an order that they should be privately beheaded. This sentence was executed in a field near the town, and their bodies were buried by the Christians on that very spot which their blood had sanctified. A chapel was afterwards built on the place. Their relics are at present enshrined under the high altar of a great collegiate church at Alcala, of which they are the titular patrons. Their martyrdom happened in 304. See Prudentius, hymn. 4. alias 7. St. Isidore, F. Flores, &c.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VIII: August.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.