Saint Pancras of Rome


Saint Pancras the Martyr of Rome was born around 289 AD in the town of Synnada (modern day Turkey). The family was of Roman origin though his mother Cyriada died during childbirth. Tragedy struck again when Saint Pancras was only eight - his father died and he was sent to live with his uncle Dionysius in Rome. While living in a villa on the Caelian Hill, the uncle and nephew converted to Christianity and both embraced their new faith when vigor and determination.


In 303 AD, Saint Pancras was brought to one of the pagan temples and told to perform a sacrifice to the pagan god there under the Diocletian persecution. Saint Pancras refused and was beheaded on May 12th on the Via Aurelia. At night a Roman matron named Ottavilla recovered the body and, after wrapping it in linens and balsam, had it buried in the Catacombs. His dead was placed in a reliquary that is now at the Basilica of Saint Pancras.


Pope Saint Gregory the great sent Saint Augustine of Canterbury to England with relics of Saint Pancras - many churches were named after Saint Pancras because of this. Saint Pancras old church in London is one of the oldest Christian Churches in England. In the revision of the Calendar in 1969, Saints Nereus and Achilleus and Saint Pancras have optional memorials on May 12th.



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