The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (Feast: June 30)
In July of the year 64, more than half of Rome was destroyed by a fire that lasted for nine days. Rumor blamed the tragedy on the Emperor Nero, who was said to have set flame to the grand city.
On the third day of the fire, dressed in theatrical costume and singing with his lyre, he surveyed the flaming ruins (“Nero fiddled while Rome burned” is the often-used phrase).
More and more people began to blame Nero for the desolation. Alarmed, the emperor shifted the blame to the Christians, and had them seized and tortured to death in public. Some were burned as living torches at evening banquets, some crucified and others were fed to wild animals.
Though the Romans were hardened to cruelty by the display of the gladiator’s arena, the brutality toward the Christians caused horror and pity in many of those who witnessed the scenes.
According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death even though no one believed them to be guilty.
DAILY QUOTE for July 12, 2020
SAINT OF THE DAY
St. John Gualbert
John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about fourteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California