Peter and Marcellinus, Hidden, Yet Known

Icon in the Catacombs (

Not much is known of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, except that they were martyrs, likely put to death by beheading at the 12th milestone on the Via Aurelia outside of Rome, in the persecution of Diocletian in 304, and that their executioner, Dorotheus, according to the later Pope Damasus I (+384), went on to convert to Christianity. Macellinus was likely a priest, while Peter, an exorcist, back when that was a minor order with an actual spiritual function. The story is that they joyfully cleared the spot where they were to be killed, overgrown as it was with brambles and thornbushes – a fitting image of the spiritual life. Devotion to the martyrs spread throughout the early Church, their catacombs – where they were buried underground, along with many other Christians – became a place of pilgrimage, with Emperor Constantine building a basilica over the spot. Their names appear in the Roman canon – quite the honour, signifying that whoever they were in life, God has called them higher, as He will all of, if we too remain faithful unto the end.