Saint Cyriacus and his Companions

Saint Cyriacus and his Companions

Martyrs
(† 303)

Saint Cyriacus, born of a noble patrician family, embraced the Christian religion and gave all his wealth to the poor. He was ordained a deacon at Rome, under Pope Marcellinus. Diocletian was emperor at that time, assisted by Maximian, his favorite. The latter decided to build a beautiful palace for the emperor, with magnificent baths, and to make the Christians work at the construction. Among the new slaves were elderly gentlemen and persons of the highest rank, clerics and priests. The labor was hard and the food scanty. A Roman nobleman desired to relieve the sufferings of these laborers and sent four Christians with alms and encouragements; these were Saint Cyriacus, Saint Sisinius, Saint Largus and Saint Smaragdus. They pursued their charities at the risk of their lives, and they worked vigorously alongside those who were growing very weak. When Maximian heard of it, he had Saint Sisinius and an old gentleman whom he had helped, decapitated. Continue reading

Fourteen Holy Helpers

Fourteen Holy Helpers

During medieval times, particularly during the Black Plague, devotion arose for the Fourteen Holy Helpers or Auxiliary Saints. This lists the saints and their patronage.

The Fourteen “Auxiliary Saints” or “Holy Helpers” are a group of saints invoked because they have been efficacious in assisting in trials and sufferings. Each saint has a separate feast or memorial day, and the group was collectively venerated on August 8, until the 1969 reform of the Roman calendar, when the feast was dropped. These saints were often represented together. Popular devotion to these saints often began in some monastery that held their relics. All of the saints except Giles were martyrs. Devotion to some of the saints, such as St. George, St. Margaret, St. Christopher, St. Barbara and St. Catherine became so widespread that customs and festivals still are popular today. Continue reading