According to Saint Ambrose, Vitalis was a slave owned by Agricola. And the latter was a man greatly beloved for his goodness. From this Agricola, the slave Vitalis learned to be a Christian, and live for Christ. And from the slave Vitalis, his master Agricola learned how to die for Christ. Both of them were arrested at Bologna, in the fourth century, during the persecution under Diocletian and Maximian, for preaching Jesus Christ. Vitalis, the more he was implored and threatened, to make him change his mind, so much the more proclaimed himself a worshipper and servant of Christ, and after bravely bearing divers tortures, gave up his soul in prayer to God. The execution of Agricola had been put off, in the hope that the agonies of his servant might scare him into denying Christ. But the sight only hardened him. He was therefore crucified, and so became sharer and fellow in the glorious witness of his slave Vitalis. Their bodies were laid in the Jews’ Burying Place, where they were found by Saint Ambrose, who removed them to an hallowed and honorable sepulchre.
|Saints Vitalis and Agricola, Martyrs|
Antiphon on the Benedictus: Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered: * fear not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Collect:O God, who vouchsafest unto us to keep the heavenly birthday of blessed Vitalis and Agricola, thy holy Martyrs: grant, we beseech thee, that we may rejoice in the perpetual felicity of their fellowship in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Antiphon on the Magnificat:
In the heavenly kingdom the souls of the Saints are rejoicing, even such as walked in the footsteps of Christ their Master, for love of whom they gave without stint their very life-blood; * therefore with Christ they now do reign for ever and ever.