Catholic Encyclopedia – Saint Genesius of Rome

small pewter statue of Saint Genesius, artist unknownArticle

A comedian at Rome, martyred under Diocletian in 286 or 303. Feast, 25 August. He is invoked against epilepsy, and is honoured as patron of theatrical performers and of musicians. The legend relates: Genesius, the leader of a theatrical troupe in Rome, performing one day before the Emperor Diocletian, and wishing to expose Christian rites to the ridicule of his audience, pretended to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. When the water had been poured upon him he proclaimed himself a Christian. Diocletian at first enjoyed the realistic play, but, finding Genesius to be in earnest, ordered him to be tortured and then beheaded. He was buried on the Via Tiburtina. His relics are said to be partly in San Giovanni della Pigna, partly in S. Susanna di Termini and in the chapel of Saint Lawrence. The legend was dramatized in the fifteenth century; embodied in later years in the oratorio “Polus Atella” of Löwe (died 1869), and still more recently in a work by Weingartner (Berlinn 1892). The historic value of the Acts, dating from the seventh century, is very doubtful, though defended by Tillemont. The very existence of Genesius is called into question, and he is held to be a Roman counterpart of Saint Gelasius (or Gelasinus) of Hierapolis (died 297). He was venerated, however, at Rome in the fourth century: a church was built in his honour very early, and was repaired and beautified by Gregory III in 741.

MLA Citation

  • Francis Mershman. “Saint Genesius of Rome”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 May 2016. Web. 7 May 2021. <>