The Martyrs of Rome

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Saint Of The Day

This day commemorates all those who died in the persecutions of Nero in the late first century and always falls after the feast of St Peter and St Paul. Little is known about many of these early Christians. Because of the lack of information, after 1969, several individual names were left out of the list of saints. Remembering them as a group in this way makes up for those whose histories have been lost.

There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus.

In 49-50 AD the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews and Jewish Christians, from Rome. Perhaps many came back after Claudius' death because, in 54 AD, St Paul's letter was addressed to a Church with members from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds.

In July of 64 AD, more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumour blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, a "great multitude" of Christians was put to death because of their "hatred of the human race." Peter and Paul were probably among the victims.