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Saint Martina of Rome

Saint Martina was the daughter of a former Consul of Rome who was tragically orphaned at a young age. She sold all of her inherited possessions and gave the proceeds to the poor; afterwards she completely dedicated herself to prayer and remained a Virgin. When the Emperor Alexander Severus began his persecutions of Christians, Saint Martina was arrested and told to give sacrifice to the Roman gods. She refused.

Immediately the jailors began to torture her, first with scourging, then with her flesh torn with books and nails. When she still refused to recant her Christian faith, the jailors scalded her with burning oil and put her in the circus to be devoured by beasts. Miraculously, the beasts did not touch her and instead laid at her feet. Several later writings describe that her faith in Christ was so strong that many of the tortures converted to Christianity, even knowing what tortures they wouldl be subjected to.

Out of rage and and inability to understand how the young woman could survive these tortures, the judge overseeing her case sentenced her to death by beheading. A later author wrote that when she was beheaded, a miraculous voice shouted down from Heaven beckoning Saint Martina to ascend. Her martyrdom took place during the pontificate of Saint Urban the first and it would be Pope Urban the eighth who would rediscover her remains in an Ancient church. The relics were discovered by a painter (Pietro da Cortona) in the crypt of Santi Luca e Martina . This church was found at the foot of the Capitoline hill along side the Holy Martyrs Concordius, Epiphanius and Companions.

Tomb of Saint Martina

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