12 February: St. Saturninus, priest and martyr

Today is the feast of Sts. Saturninus and companions who died in North Africa in 304.

By happy chance on my long Sunday afternoon walk yesterday I visited the Basilica of Sts. John and Paul.  There I happened to take a shot of the altar of a St. Saturninus therein.  Saturninus was a common name in the ancient world. 

The photo to the right is not the same Saturninus as today’s feast.  The Saturninus whose relics are in part held in the Basilica on the Coelian are of a martyr of the same year (+304 together with Sisinius) when Diocletian was really busy killing Christians. 

So, it isn’t the same Saturninus, but who cares?  It is interesting to look at these martyrs anyway and honor their memory.

Here is the entry in the Martyrologium Romanum for St. Saturninus (+304) and all those who died with him.  Time presses me, so I will leave it to one of you to render into your perfect English version.



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  1. Raphaela says:

    OK, I should be working, but apparently I can resist everything except the temptation of a nice chunk of Latin — and apparently peccandi occasiones proximae can be found lurking even on the pages of a priest’s blog!! ;) Here goes my best shot under pressure of time:

    In Carthage, the commemoration of the holy martyrs of Abitine¹, who were arrested by the city magistrates and the military officer during the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian for coming together against the emperor’s prohibition to celebrate the Lord’s day as was their custom. They were taken to Carthage and interrogated by the proconsul Anulinus, and all confessed themselves to be Christians even under torture, declaring that they could not abandon the Lord’s sacrifice; therefore they poured forth their blessed blood (in martyrdom) in various places and at different times.

    ¹Their names were: Saints Saturninus, priest, with four sons, Saturninus the younger and Felix, lectors, Mary, and Hilarion, a baby; Dativus, also called Sanator, and Felix; Another Felix, Emeritus, and Ampelius, lectors; Rogatian, Quintus, Maximian or Maximus, Telica or Tazelita, another Rogatian, Rogatus, Ianuarius, Cassian, Victorian, Vincentius, Caecilia Ianuaria, Saturnina, Martinus, Clautus, Felix the younger, Margarita, Maior, Honorata, Regiola, Victorinus, Pelusius, Faustus, Dacianus, Matrona, Caecilia, Victoria, a young girl of Carthage, Berectina, Secunda, Matrona, and Ianuaria.

  2. Raphaela says:

    For “sons” read “children”, of course, in the footnote. *grrr*

  3. John Giglio says:

    Hi Father, my traditional calendar (produced by Tan Books) has St. Saturninus, Pr. & Comps. (304), Ms. (Historical) Feast Day as February 11. Today, February 12 is the Feasts of the Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites (1233)and St. Eulalia (304), V. M. (Historical). My point is, was St. Saturninus’ Feast Day changed? If so, I need to change my calendar.
    Dcn John

  4. Interesting, I did not know about this Saint Saturninus.

    I do have a devotion to the Saint Saturninus which you have pictured:

  5. Andrew says:


    Macte virtute! Decorem et elegantiam in translatione conservasti nec verbum de verbo sed sensum de sensu transposuisti.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    Does anyone know the new rubrics for the new Roman Martyrology? I’ve heard that it is prescribed for the Office of Readings, and possibly something else, though I have not read anything “official,” since the text has not yet been officially translated into English. Just curious!

  7. Father Z:
    Thank you for the enlightening moment on martyrdom of St. Saturninus and
    his companions, for it brings to mind the white martyrdom of suffering–
    mentioned so often by the late Fr. John Hardon, S.J.–of those chosen by
    Almighty God to bear out by living instead of dying virtually the same
    intense sufferings of those who spill their blood for the Lord. Here we can
    be, especially, cognizant of the white martyrdom of those traditional Catholics
    who have suffered for years and years, awaiting the Lord’s intervening hand
    in healing this deep wound of liturgical chaos since Vatican II and the NO.
    One wonders what has caused this white martyrdom of suffering other than the
    rejection of Our Lord’s message of the importance of His sacrificial atonement
    for sin which the Tridentine Latin Mass so poignantly and convincingly professed
    but the “Novus Ordo Missae” so pulsillanimously ignores. If one doubts the veracity
    of this, simply compare the sacrificial language of the two masses. May peace
    come soon by the saintly hand of our dear pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI and our
    prayers! God bless us everyone!

  8. Raphaela says:

    Andrew: Gratias tibi!

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