The commemoration of the Christians martyred in Rome under Nero. Two-thirds of Rome burned in July, 64. Nero was accused of starting the fire, or at least not trying to have it put out. He announced that the Christians were responsible and ordered their arrest and execution. Tacitus, the Roman historian, who was nine years old at the time, later wrote that Nero “persecuted with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians."
In 1066, at Salanigo, near Vicenza, blessed Theobald of Provins. Theobald (or Thibaut) was the son of the Count of Champagne. Inspired by stories of the desert fathers, he became a hermit and pilgrim before settling at Salinigo, where he led a small group of followers. Shortly before his death, he made religious profession as a Camaldolese.
In 1646, at Tyburn, Blessed Philip Powell, monk and martyr. He went to school in Augustine Baker’s home town of Abergavenny and studied law under Baker in London. He joined the Benedictine community in exile at Douai and was ordained in 1619. He worked as a missionary in Devon and Cornwall for twenty years, but was arrested on a ship bound for Wales. He was jailed, and later tried and convicted. His fellow prisoners drew up a testimonial to his goodness. He died bravely, saying: “Oh, what am I, that God thus honors me and will have me die for his sake?”
Our daily martyrology was written by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB. Copyright © 2008 by the Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, ID 83338.