Martyrs: d. ca. 212
+ Ferreolus, a priest, and Ferrutio, a deacon, were ordained by Saint Irenaeus of Lyons and sent as missionaries to the area around Besançon (in the eastern part of what is now France). According to legend they had studied in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) and were converted to Christianity by Saint Polycarp.
+ The two men ministered in Besançon for 30 years, serving a community that was often a target of persecution. During the great pagan festivals, the local Christians would often have to go into hiding.
+ Ferreolus and Ferrutio were arrested, tortured, and beheaded during a persecution around the year 212. Their reported relics were found in 370 and they were enshrined by the local bishop.
+ Devotion to these saints was quite popular in the early Middle Ages, and Saint Gregory of Tours includes a full Mass in their honor in the missal he composed.
According to an ancient and largely trusted tradition, Saint Polycarp, the martyred bishop of Smyrna, had been a disciple of the apostle John and had been baptized by Saint John while he was still a child. Irenaeus, who had become a missionary bishop, had been a disciple of Saint Polycarp. The writings of both of these saints are considered an important link between the Early Church and the age of the Apostles.
“Let no one think of death, but only of immortality; let no one think of suffering that is for a time, but only of glory that is for eternity.”—Saint Cyprian of Carthage
Lord, hear the prayers of the martyrs Ferreolus and Ferrutio
and give us the courage to bear witness to your truth.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Liturgy of the Hours: Common of Several Martyrs)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.