St. Montanus, St. Lucius and Companions
February 24, Saint



Emperor Valerian persecuted Christians with vengeance during the days of the early Church. He had permitted St. Cyprian's execution in September 258. The Roman official who had actually sentenced Cyprian died himself soon after. The new official, Solon, was nearly the victim of an uprising ,which included a plot on his life. It seems he suspected the plot to be in revenge for the death of St. Cyprian. He arrested eight innocent people. All were Christians; most were clergy. Each had been a devoted follower of St. Cyprian.

The Christians were taken down into dark dungeons. They found others there whom they knew. The filth and dampness circled the group. They realized that they would soon be facing death and eternity. The Christians were kept many months in the prison. They worked during the day and often were denied food and water without any reason. Somehow in such inhuman conditions, the little Christian community bonded and helped one another. The lay people protected the bishops, priests and deacons who were especially targets of the emperor's cruelty.
When the Christians were finally called to the place of execution, each was permitted to speak. Montanus, who was tall and strong, spoke bravely to all the Christian crowd. He told them to be true to Jesus and to die rather than give up the faith. Lucius, who was small and frail, walked quietly to the place of execution. He was weak from the harsh months in prison. In fact, he had to lean on two friends who helped him arrive at the spot where the executioner waited. The people who watched called to him to remember them from paradise.

As each of the Christians were beheaded one after another, the crowd became more and more courageous. They wept for those who suffered such injustice. But they were joyful, too. They realized that these martyrs would bless them from heaven. Montanus, Lucius and their companions were martyred in 259.

Reflection: Kindness and love for one another marked these saints’ lives. Today, we might consider thinking of doing something good for someone with whom we do not particularly find it easy to get along.

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