Martyrs: d. ca. 250
+ Victoria and Anatolia were sisters who lived near the Sabine hills, north-east of Rome.
+ An early account of their martyrdom says that they refused marriage and were martyred. The stories about them that have come to us are largely fiction, but historians agree that the two women were true martyrs.
+ The story of Victoria and Anatolia was widely known in Medieval Europe and 8th-century English monk Saint Aldhelm praised Victoria in his writings as a model for virgins. Saint Bede the Venerable also honored the saints in his Martyrology.
+ The supposed relics of Saint Victoria are enshrined in the church of Santa Vittoria in Metanano, Italy, and the relics of Saint Anatolia, as well as those of Saint Audace, are enshrined in the Basilica of Saint Scholastica in Subiaco.
These two martyrs are among the 22 martyrs depicted in the famous mosaics in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinaire Nuovo in Ravenna. They are shown offering their crowns of martyrdom to the Christ.
“These are they who come out of the great ordeal and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. For God’s sake they handed their bodies over for punishment, and they have earned unfading crowns.”—Entrance Antiphon for the Mass “of Several Martyrs”
Almighty ever-living God, who gave Saints Victoria and Anatolia the grace of suffering for Christ, come, in your divine mercy, we pray, to the help of our own weakness, that, as your Saints did not hesitate to die for your sake, we, too, may live bravely in confessing you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For Several Martyrs)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.