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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

February 25

St. Victorinus, and Six Companions, Martyrs

        From their genuine acts published from the Chaldaic by Monsignor Stephen Assemani, Act. Mart. Occid. t. 2. p. 60. See also Henschenius on this day.

A.D. 284.

THESE seven martyrs were citizens of Corinth, and confessed their faith before Tertius the proconsul, in their own country, in 249, in the beginning of the reign of Decius. After their torments they passed into Egypt, whether by compulsion or by voluntary banishment is not known, and there finished their martyrdom at Diospolis, capital of Thebais, in the reign of Numerian, in 284, under the governor Sabinus. After the governor had tried the constancy of martyrs by racks, scourges, and various inventions of cruelty, he caused Victorinus to be thrown into a great mortar (the Greek Menology says, of marble.) The executioners began by pounding his feet and legs, saying to him at every stroke: “Spare yourself, wretch. It depends upon you to escape this death, if you will only renounce your new God.” The prefect grew furious at his constancy, and at length commanded his head to be beaten to pieces. The sight of this mortar, so far from casting a damp on his companions, seemed to inspire them with the greater ardour to be treated in the like manner. So that when the tyrant threatened Victor with the same death, he only desired him to hasten the execution; and, pointing to the mortar, said: “In that is salvation and true felicity prepared for me!” He was immediately cast into it and beaten to death. Nicephorus, the third martyr, was impatient of delay, and leaped of his own accord into the bloody mortar. The judge enraged at his boldness, commanded not one, but many executioners at once, to pound him in the same manner. He caused Claudian, the fourth, to be chopped in pieces, and his bleeding joints to be thrown at the feet of those who were yet living. He expired, after his feet, hands, arms, legs, and thighs were cut off. The tyrant, pointing to his mangled limbs and scattered bones, said to the other three: “It concerns you to avoid this punishment; I do not compel you to suffer.” The martyrs answered with one voice: “On the contrary, we rather pray that if you have any other more exquisite torment you would inflict it on us. We are determined never to violate the fidelity which we owe to God, or to deny Jesus Christ our Saviour, for he is our God, from whom we have our being, and to whom alone we aspire.” The tyrant became almost distracted with fury, and commanded Diodorus to be burnt alive, Serapion to be beheaded, and Papias to be drowned. This happened on the 25th of February; on which day the Roman and other Western Martyrologies name them; but the Greek Menæa, and the Menology of the Emperor Basil Porphyrogenitus honour them on the 21st of January, the day of their confession at Corinth.