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Article: July 10 + The Seven Holy Brothers

July 10 + The Seven Holy Brothers - VENXARA®

July 10 + The Seven Holy Brothers

The martyrdom of these Saints happened in Rome, under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. The seven brothers were the sons of St. Felicitas, a noble, pious, Christian widow, who, after the death of her husband, served God in a state of continency and employed herself in prayer, fasting, and works of charity. By the public and edifying example of this lady and her whole family, many idolaters were moved to renounce the worship of their false gods, and to embrace the Faith of Christ.

This angered the heathen priests, who complained to the emperor that the boldness with which Felicitas publicly practiced the Christian religion drew many from the worship of the gods, who were the guardians and protectors of the empire, and that, in order to appease these false gods, it was necessary to compel this lady and her children to sacrifice to them.

Publius, the prefect of Rome, caused the mother and her sons to be apprehended and brought before him and addressing her said, “Take pity on your children, Felicitas. They are in the bloom of youth, and may aspire to the greatest honors and preferments.” The holy mother answered, “Your pity is really impiety, and the compassion to which you exhort me would make me the most cruel of mothers.” Then turning herself towards her children, she said to them, “My sons, look up to heaven, where Jesus Christ with his Saints expects you. Be faithful in his love, and fight courageously for your souls.”

Publius, being exasperated at this behavior and commanded her to be cruelly buffeted. He then called the children to him one after another, and the brothers were condemned to be scourged. After being whipped, they were remanded to prison. Antoninus gave an order that they should be sent to different judges, and be condemned to different deaths.

Januarius was scourged to death with whips loaded with plummets of lead. The two next, Felix and Philip, were beaten with clubs till they expired. Sylvanus, the fourth, was thrown headlong down a steep precipice. The three youngest, Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis, were beheaded. Finally, four months afterwards, their mother gained the same palm of martyrdom.

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