Saints of the Canon – Saints Marcellinus and Peter

[Saint Peter the Exorcist]Saint Marcellinus was a priest. Saint Peter was an “exorcist,” that means that he had received the second of the minor Orders, or steps to the priesthood. They were both arrested. Peter exorcised an evil spirit out of the daughter of the jailer, Artemius, and in gratitude the whole family were converted and baptized by Marcellinus. Hearing this, the judge, Serenus, sent for the saints and commanded them to renounce Christ. On their refusal they were put into separate cells, without light, without food, and the floor was strewn with broken glass. But this did not break them so they were led secretly into woods called the Black Forest in order that their burial place might be hidden from the Christians. They were ordered to dig their own graves, which they cheerfully did, and then they were beheaded. Their relics were discovered by the Christians who gathered up the bones and brought them to the Catacombs. The wood was afterwards called the White Forest.

Their bones were moved about from place to place until the Secretary of Charlemagne about 800 enshrined them in silver at Selingenstadt in Germany. There today they rest within a magnificent church built in their honour.

They suffered martyrdom under the emperor Diocletian, during the tenth persecution, about the year 303. Pope Saint Damasus (366) wrote a brief account of their martyrdom which he obtained from their executioner.

– from The Saints of the Canon, by Monsignor John T. McMahon, M.A., Ph.D; Australian Catholic Truth Society, 1958