Daily Martyrology for July 17

At Milan, around 400, St. Marcellina. She was older sister and advisor of St. Ambrose. She vowed virginity before Pope Liberius, and St. Ambrose dedicated his treatise on virginity to her.

In 855, at Rome, St. Leo IV, pope. A monk of the monastery of San Martino, near St. Peter’s in Rome, he was elected pope when the Saracens were threatening Rome. He strengthened the defenses of the city by building the Leonine wall and organized a fleet that defeated the Saracens in a sea battle off Ostia in 849. He was a vigorous leader in ecclesiastical matters. He was concerned that the liturgy be properly celebrated and made many gifts to churches. He was a saintly person admired for his personal integrity.

In 1945, in Papua New Guinea, Blessed Peter ToRot. He was the son of a chief, and became a leader among the catechists in his area. He married in 1936. In 1942, the Japanese imprisoned all the Christian missionaries, but allowed Peter to organize prayer services, distribute communion, celebrate baptisms and care for the poor. In 1945 the Japanese imposed a more rigorous regime, forbidding all Christian worship and reintroducing polygamy. Opposing this, Peter was arrested and executed by lethal injection.

In 1960, Blessed Paul Peter Gojdic, bishop and martyr. He was born in Slovakia, near the Ukranian border, the son of a Greek Catholic priest. He was ordained a celibate diocesan priest, but then became a Basilian monk. Just after he made his monastic profession, he was appointed bishop in charge of the Greek Catholic eparchy of Presov. In 1948 the Communists tried to force all Greek Catholics to assimilate into the Russian Orthodox church. When Paul refused to renounce his ties with Rome, he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. After years of mistreatment he died of cancer.

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Our daily martyrology was written by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB. Copyright © 2008 by the Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, ID 83338.