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Saints Gervasius and Protasius


Gervasius and Protasius are believed on good evidence to have been martyred in the second century. And their cultus arose on this wise. When Saint Ambrose was ready to consecrate the great basilica at Milan (which is now known by his name), he desired the relicks of Martyrs to enshrine therein, and caused a search to be made in the burial vaults of Saints Nabor and Felix; where were found the skeletons of two tall men who had been beheaded; which same were identified as the relicks of Saints Gervasius and Protasius, of whom little was remembered except their names and a tradition of their martyrdom. In later times their story was told as followeth. They were said to have been the twin sons of Vitalis and Valeria, both of whom had testified even unto death for the Lord Christ's sake, the father at Ravenna, and the mother at Milan. After the victory of their parents, Gervasius and Protasius gave all their inheritance to the poor and set free their slaves. This act of theirs stirred up the hatred of the heathen priests. And when the Count Astasius was about to set forth to war, the heathen priests told him that their gods had revealed how that he had no chance of conquering in the war, unless he had first made Gervasius and Protasius to deny Christ, and to offer sacrifice to the gods. The holy brothers, being commanded so to do, flatly refused; and Astasius then ordered Gervasius to be lashed until he died between the stripes, and Protasius to be cudgelled and beheaded. This took place on a certain June 19th, at Milan, and a servant of Christ named Philip took away their dead bodies by stealth, and buried them in his own house. And as said above, in after times Saint Ambrose found their relicks, and bestowed them in an honourable place in his basilica, where they are venerated as the Patrons of Milan.


O GOD, which makest us glad with the yearly festival of thy holy Martyrs, Gervasius and Protasius: grant, we beseech thee; that, as we do rejoice in their merits, so we may be enkindled to follow them in all virtuous and godly living. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1249, 1250

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