Martyrs of Milan, probably in the second century, patrons of the city of Milan and of haymakers; invoked for the discovery of thieves. Feast, in the Latin Church, 19 June, the day of the translation of the relics; in the Greek Church, 14 Oct., the supposed day of their death. Emblems: scourge, club, sword.
The Acts (Acta SS., June, IV, 680 and 29) were perhaps compiled from a letter (Ep. liii) to the bishops of Italy, falsely ascribed to St. Ambrose. They are written in a very simple style, but it has been found impossible to establish their age. According to these, Gervasius and Protasius were twins, children of martyrs. Their father Vitalis, a man of consular dignity, suffered martyrdom at Ravenna under Nero(?). The mother Valeria died for her faith at Milan. The sons are said to have been scourged and then beheaded, during the reign of Nero, under the presidency of Anubinus or Astasius, and while Cajus was Bishop of Milan. Some authors place the martyrdom under Diocletian, while others object to this time, because they fail to understand how, in that case, the place of burial, and even the names, could be forgotten by the time of St. Ambrose, as is stated. De Rossi places their death before Diocletian. It probably occurred during the reign of Antoninus (161-168).
St. Ambrose, in 386, had built a magnificent basilica at Milan. Asked by the people to consecrate it in the same solemn manner as was done in Rome, he promised to do so if he could obtain the necessary relics. In a dream he was shown the place in which such could be found. He ordered excavations to be made in the cemetery church of Sts. Nabor and Felix, outside the city, and there found the relics of Sts. Gervasius and Protasius. He had them removed to the church of St. Fausta, and on the next day into the basilica, which later received the name San Ambrogio Maggiore. Many miracles are related to have occurred, and all greatly rejoiced at the signal favour from heaven, given at the time of the great struggle between St. Ambrose and the Arian Empress Justina. Of the vision, the subsequent discovery of the relics and the accompanying miracles, St. Ambrose wrote to his sister Marcellina. St. Augustine, not yet baptized, witnessed the facts, and relates them in his “Confessions”, IX, vii; in City of God XXII.8; and in “Serm. 286 in natal. Ss. Mm. Gerv. et Prot.”, they are also attested by St. Paulinus of Nola, in his life of St. Ambrose. The latter died 397 and, as he had wished, his body was, on Easter Sunday, deposited in his basilica by the side of these martyrs. In 835, Angilbert II, a successor in the See of Milan, placed the relics of the three saints in a porphyry sarcophagus, and here they were again found, January, 1864 (Civiltà Cattolica, 1864, IX, 608, and XII, 345).
INTROIT Psalm 84:9
The Lord God will speak speak peace unto his people: And unto his saints: and unto them that are converted to the heart. Ps 84:2 Lord, thou hast blessed thy land: thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. The Lord God will speak speak peace unto his people: And unto his saints: and unto them that are converted to the heart.
O God, Who gladden us by the annual festival of Your Martyrs, Gervase and Protase, grant that we may be inspired by the example of those in whose merits we rejoice. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
Collect of the Souls
From all perils of soul and body defend us, O Lord, we beseech thee, and by the intercession of blessed and gloriosus ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and of blessed N. and all the Saints, graciously grant us safety and peace that all adversities and errors being overcome, thy Church may serve thee in security and freedom…
for the Church
Mercifully hear the prayers of thy Church, we beseech thee, O Lord, that all adversities and errors being overcome, she may serve thee in security and feedom. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
LESSON 1 Pet 4:13-19
Lesson from the first letter of St Peter the Apostle: Dearly beloved: If you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you be reproached for the name of Christ, you shall be blessed: for that which is of the honour, glory, and power of God, and that which is his Spirit, resteth upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a railer, or a coveter of other men’s things. But if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God. And if first at us, what shall be the end of them that believe not the gospel of God? And if the just man shall scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God, commend their souls in good deeds to the faithful Creator.
GRADUAL Exod 15:11
God is glorious in holiness, terrible and praiseworthy, doing wonders? Exod 16:6
V. Your right hand, O Lord, is magnificent in power; Your right hand has shattered the enemy. Alleluia, alleluia. Eccli 44:14 V. The bodies of the Saints are buried in peace, but their name lives on and on. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 6:17-23
In that time, Jesus coming down with them, he stood in a plain place, and the company of his disciples, and a very great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast both of Tyre and Sidon, Who were come to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases. And they that were troubled with unclean spirits, were cured. And all the multitude sought to touch him, for virtue went out from him, and healed all. And he, lifting up his eyes on his disciples, said: Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for you shall laugh. Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Be glad in that day and rejoice; for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For according to these things did their fathers to the prophets.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 31:11
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye just, and glory, all ye right of heart.
Be appeased by the gifts we offer You, O Lord, and through the intercession of Your holy Martyrs, Gervase and Protase, safeguard us from all dangers. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
Of the souls
Hear us, O God, our salvation that through the power of this Sacrament thou mayest defend us from all enemies of soul and body and bestow upon us grace here and glory hereafter…
for the Church
Protect us, O Lord, who celebrate thy mysteries, that holding fast to divine things, we may serve thee with body and soul. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 78:2; 78:11
They have given the dead bodies of thy servants to be meat for the fowls of the air: the flesh of thy saints for the beasts of the earth. According to the greatness of thy arm, take possession of the children of them that have been put to death.
May this Communion, O Lord, cleanse us of sin, and through the intercession of Your holy Martyrs, Gervase and Protase, make us sharers of heavenly salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Of the souls
May the offering of this divine Sacrament cleanse and protect us, O Lord we beseech thee, and by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of blessed N. and all the Saints, may it purify us from all sin, and free us from all adversity…
for the Church
We beseech thee, O Lord, our God, that thou permit not those, to whom thou hast given a participation of divine things to be subjected to human dangers. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.