The Roman Martyrology and The Roman Martyrology


Over at Argent we find a blurb about Sant’Eustachio (St. Eustace) and companions from, as he writes, The Roman Martyrology.  Here is his offering:

From the Roman Martyrology: At Rome, the holy martyrs Eustace, and Theopistes, his wife, with their two sons, Agapitus and Theopistus. Under Emperor Hadrian they were condemned to be cast to the beasts, but by the power of God they were uninjured by them, so they were shut up in a heated brazen ox, and thus completed their martyrdom.


This is clearly from an older edition of the MartRom.  The newest edition of 2004, has only this:

2. Romae, commemoratio sancti Eustachii, martyris, cuius nomen colitur in antiqua diaconia Urbis. … At Rome, the commemoration of Saint Eustace, martyr, whose name is honored at the ancient diaconal (titular church) of the City (of Rome).

You can see what is going on.  In the newer, 2004 edition there was a choice to eliminate some of the more "hagiographical" elements that crept into earlier editions.  You can decide for yourselves if that was a good choice or not.  In any event, this whole thing reminds us to identify which edition we are dealing with.  I think it is sometimes assumed that when something is cited, the most recent edition is being used.  


By the way… what is with the "brazen ox" thing?   When the thing was heated and the poor person inside began to suffer, his or her moans would resonate inside and the ox would seem to bellow.  Great entertainment for banquets, etc.

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  1. Henry Edwards says:

    And from today’s entry about St. Faustus in the 1956 edition of the Roman Martyrology:

    “Of these [holy martyrs] Fausta was made bald and shaved by the said Evilasius, a priest of idols, in order to debase her, and then hung up and tortured. Afterwards when he wished to cut her asunder and the executioners could not injure her, ….. Fausta, her head being bored through, and her whole body transfixed with nails, and was placed on a heated gridiron and, called by a voice from heaven, passed with him to the Lord.”

    None of this faith-convincing detail in the newer nicer cleaner 2004 version, I’ll guess. Am I right?

  2. Yah… I guess “noble simiplicity” has been applied.

  3. Henry Edwards says:

    The 2004 Martyrology from Paxbook is over $160 (including shipping from Rome). The 1956 Martyrology from Angelus Press is about $40 (including shipping). It looks like more sometimes gets you less.

  4. But there’s no english translation for the new version, right? (and even if you favor Latin liturgy, IIRC, the Martyrology was allowed to be read in English translation in at least some usages.)

    Hence, you can probably legitimately continue using the old version until an English translation is published.

  5. Samuel: Remembering that the MartRom is an official liturgical book of the Church, it does have its proper uses. At the same time, those who don’t have any obligation to use the MartRom can feel free to look at and read anything they want. Similarly, lay people who want to recite the Office, and who have no obligation to do so, can use any book they want. So, I think we can relax a little about this. There are not very many people who are obliged to use the MartRom.

  6. Tim Ferguson says:

    Looking over the reform of the calendar and the office, it seems that not only were references to the gory, yet edifying deaths of some of the martyrs excised, but the martyrs themselves were pared down considerably. We now have no annual commemoration on the general calendar of any of the Persian martyrs or of those martyred at the hands of the early Muslims.

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