|The Four Crowned Martyrs|
From ancient times the relicks of four unknown Martyrs have been venerated at Rome, under the name of the Four Crowned Ones. Thereby the people of God have had a continuous memorial of the many unknown soldiers of Christ, whose faithfulness is crowned in heaven, even if they be without honour in this world. The earthly remains of these Four Crowned Ones were at first buried in the Catacombs of Saints Peter and Marcellinus, on the Lavican Way. In the same place were the remains of other Martyrs, which are said to have been translated thither from Pannonia, in a region southwest of the Danube. These latter are wont to be identified with five Martyrs who suffered in that country under Diocletian, early in the fourth century, and whose Acts, probably written in the same century, are generally regarded as authentic. From which we learn that they were Five Christian Artisans, named Claude, Nicostratus, Symphorian, Castor, and Simplicius, who were renowned stonemasons and sculptors; and that, because they refused to carve idols for the pagans, they were tortured, and then put into leaden caskets, and drowned in the Save River. A basilica was built in Rome in the fifth century in honour of the Four Crowned Martyrs, and thither about the middle of the ninth century Saint Pope Leo IV translated the relicks of the nine Saints. But because of the great devotion with which the Four Crowned Martyrs have ever been regarded, the commemoration to the Five Holy Artisans, who are their companions in glory, is made under the title, and on the feast, which is peculiar to their common shrine ; that like as we venerate their common constancy in the confession of the Faith, so we may feel the common succour of their loving intercession. It is also because of the association of the four unknown ones with the Five Holy Artisans that stone-masons have been wont to claim the Four Crowned Martyrs as their heavenly patrons ; in token of their desire for a like fellowship with such as prefer to suffer persecution rather than to do dishonest work, or to earn a livelihood sinfully.
Collect:Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that, like as we have known thy glorious Martyrs to be constant in their confession of thy Faith, so we may feel the succour of their loving intercession, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.