About 236, in the mines of Sardinia, the martyrdom of St. Pontian, pope, and St. Hippolytus, an antipope. Hippolytus, a theologian, was a critic of Pope Pontian and several of his predecessors, whom he thought were tainted with the Sabellian heresy and too lax regarding forgiveness. Hippolytus and Pontian were both arrested and deported to Sardinia and died there of maltreatment.
In 587, at Poitiers, St. Radegund. She was a Thuringian princess who was captured by the Franks and later married to Clothaire, the youngest son of Clovis. Clothaire was a womanizer who became tired of Radegund’s charitable activities. When he murdered her brother in 550, she fled the court. She founded a monastery near Poitiers, which became a center of culture. St. Venantius Fortunatus (December 14) settled there and wrote poems extolling the community. Radegund was a great collector of relics, and when she obtained a relic of the Holy Cross, St. Venantius was inspired to write two hymns (Vexilla Regis prodeunt and Pange lingua gloriosi), which are still sung during Passiontide.
In 662, in the Caucasus, St. Maximus the Confessor. He was born of an aristocratic Byzantine family and became a monk and abbot. He moved to Alexandria to escape the invading Persians and there wrote a number of theological works, some of which opposed Monothelitism, the heresy which held that Christ had no human will. He traveled to Rome in defense of orthodoxy, and there in 653 both he and Pope St. Martin I (April 13) were arrested by the Emperor Constans and sent into exile. Maximus was tried and tortured several times; he died in exile near the Black Sea. His theological and mystical writings are highly regarded to this day.
In 1621, in Rome, St John Berchmans. He was born and raised in Flanders, and joined the Jesuits. He was sent to study in Rome, and died there. His motto was “Prize little things most of all.”
During the Second World War, Blessed Jakob Gapp and Blessed Otto Neururer, two Austrian priests, who were executed for their outspoken opposition to Nazism.
Our daily martyrology was written by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB. Copyright © 2008 by the Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, ID 83338.