The Church honours to-day several Saints who lived at different times and in different countries.
Nazarius, baptized by Pope St. Linus at Rome, in his turn baptized young Celsus who was born at Cimiez near Nice. They betook themselves to Milan, where they were arrested by the pagans and beheaded about the year 68. In 395 their bodies were discovered and in the tomb of St. Nazarius was found a phial of his blood as red as if it had been shed that very day.
From his youth Nazarius decided to devote his life to preaching Christ and to aid wandering Christians. With this intent he left Rome and arrived in Mediolanum (Milan).
Saint Nazarius met Protasius and Gervasius when he was visiting Christians in the Mediolanum prison. He so loved the twins that he wanted to suffer and die with them. The ruler heard that he was visiting the prisoners, so he had Saint Nazarius beaten with rods, then driven from the city.
Saint Nazarius proceeded to Gaul (modern France), and there he successfully preached Christianity and converted many pagans. In the city of Kimel he baptized Celsius, the son of a Christian woman who entrusted her child to the saint. Nazarius raised the boy in piety, and acquired a faithful disciple and coworker in his missionary labors.
The pagans threw the saints to wild animals to be eaten, but the beasts would not touch them. Afterwards, they tried to drown the martyrs in the sea, but they walked upon the water as if on dry land. The soldiers who carried out the orders were so amazed that they themselves accepted Christianity and released the holy martyrs.
Saints Nazarius and Celsius went to Milan and visited Gervasius and Protasius in prison. For this, they were brought before Nero, who ordered that Saints Nazarius and Celsius be beheaded. Soon after this the holy brothers Gervasius and Protasius were also executed. The relics of all four martyrs were stolen by a Christian named Philip, and were buried in his house.
Many years later, during the reign of the holy Emperor Theodosius (408-450), Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (December 7), discovered the relics of Saints Gervasius and Protasius through a revelation from God.
In the reign of Arcadius and Honorius, Saint Ambrose also discovered the relics of Saints Nazarius and Celsius. The holy relics, glorified by many healings, were solemnly transferred to the Milan cathedral.
Victor I, born in Africa, succeeded St. Eleutherius, on the pontifical throne. He fixed the date of Easter for the whole Church according to the rules observed still now. He decided that any one might baptize in cases of necessity with unblessed water. He was martyred under Septimus Severus, A.D. 202.
Innocent I was born at Albano and was a contemporary of St. Augustine and of St. Jerome. The latter wrote of him: “Keep the faith of St. Innocent who fills the Apostolic Chair and who is the successor and spiritual son of Anastasius, of happy memory; receive no other doctrine, however wise and attractive it may appear.” He died A.D. 417.
INTROIT Ps 78:11; 78:12; 78:10
Let the prisoners’ sighing come before You, O Lord; repay our neighbors sevenfold into their bosoms; avenge the shedding of Your servants’ blood. Ps 78:1 O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; they have defiled Your holy temple, they have made Jerusalem as a place to keep fruit. v. Glory be…etc
May the martyrdom of Your Saints Nazarius, Celsus, Victor and Innocent, give us courage, O Lord, and may it give us a help to counter-balance our weakness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
EPISTLE Wis 10:17-20
Lesson from the book of Wisdom: God gave the holy ones the recompense of their labors, conducted them by a wondrous road, and became a shelter for them by day and a starry flame by night. He took them across the Red Sea and brought them through the deep waters – but their enemies He drowned in the sea, and cast them up from the bottom of the depths. Therefore the just despoiled the wicked; and they sang, O Lord, Your holy name and praised in unison Your conquering hand, O Lord, our God.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Ex 15:11, 6.
God is glorious in His Saints, wonderful in majesty, a worker of wonders. V. Your right hand, O Lord, is magnificent in power; Your right hand has scattered the enemy. Alleluia, alleluia. Sir 44:14 V. The bodies of the Saints are buried in peace, but their name lives on and on. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 21:9-19
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; these things must first come to pass, but the end will not be at once. Then He said to them, Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be great earthquakes in various places, and pestilences and famines, and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all these things they will arrest you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, dragging you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It shall lead to your bearing witness. Resolve therefore in your hearts not to meditate beforehand how you are to make your defense. For I Myself will give you utterance and wisdom, which all your adversaries will not be able to resist or gainsay. But you will be delivered up by your parents and brothers and relatives and friends; and some of you they will put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake; yet not a hair of your head shall perish. By your patience you will win your souls.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps 67:36
God is wonderful in His Saints; the God of Israel is He Who gives power and strength to His people. Blessed be God! Alleluia.
Grant, almighty God, that we may please You by these gifts which we bring in honor of Your Saints Nazarius, Celsus, Victor and Innocent, so that by offering them we may be strengthened by Your accepting them. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Wis 3:4-6
For if before men they be punished, God tried them; as gold in the furnace, He proved them, and as sacrificial offerings He took them to Himself.
Be appeased by the prayers of Your Saints Nazarius, Celsus, Victor and Innocent, O Lord, and grant, we beseech You, that the rites we perform in this life may avail for our eternal salvation. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.