Primus and Felician

Primus and Felician

Infobox Saint
name= Saints Primus and Felician
birth_date=early 3rd century
death_date=c. 297 AD
feast_day=June 9
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church

caption="Saints Primus and Felicianus, from a 14th century manuscript of the "Golden Legend"
birth_place=Nomentum (modern-day Mentana)
death_place=on the Via Nomentana, Rome
attributes=As portrayed at their martyrdom: St Felician is nailed to a tree and St Primus is forced to swallow molten lead.
major_shrine=Church of Santo Stefano Rotondo, Rome

Saints Primus and Felician (Felicianus) ( _it. Primo e Feliciano) were brothers who suffered martyrdom about the year 297 during the Diocletian persecution. The "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" (ed. G. B. de Rossi-L. Duchesne, 77) gives under June 9 the names of "Primus and Felician" who were buried at the fourteenth milestone of the Via Nomentana (near Nomentum, now Mentana).

They were evidently from Nomentum. This notice comes from the catalogue of Roman martyrs of the fourth century.


They appear to be the first martyrs of whom it is recorded that their bodies were subsequently reburied within the walls of Rome. In 648 Pope Theodore I translated the bones of the two saints (together with the remains of his father) to the Church of Santo Stefano Rotondo, under an altar erected in their honor ("Liber Pontificalis", I, 332), where they remain. The "Chapel of Ss. Primo e Feliciano" contains mosaics from the 7th century. The chapel was built by Pope Theodore I. One mosaic shows the martyrs St Primus and St Felician flanking a jeweled cross.

Other depictions of the saints can be found at Venice, in the St Mark's Basilica (13th century) and at Palermo, Sicily, in the Cappella Palatina (12th century).


Their feast is kept on June 9. In the past they were also included in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints to be celebrated wherever the Roman Rite is used, but because of the limited worldwide interest in them, it was decided in 1969 to leave to individual dioceses the decision whether to include them in their local calendars. ["Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 125] Since they are included in the Roman Martyrology, they may be celebrated throughout the Roman Rite on days on which there is no obligatory feast. Traditional Roman Catholics continue to commemorate the feast day of "Sts. Primus and Felician, Martyrs" on June 9 (see the General Roman Calendar as in 1954 and the General Roman Calendar of 1962).


Their unreliable "Acts" relate that Sts Felician and Primus were brothers and patricians who had converted to Christianity and devoted themselves to caring for the poor and visiting prisoners.

Arrested, they both refused to sacrifice to the public gods. They were imprisoned and cruelly scourged. They were brought separately before the judge Promotus, who tortured them together and endeavored to deceive them that the other had apostatized by offering sacrifice. This had no effect on the brothers, and the two were subsequently beheaded under the Emperor Diocletian at Nomentum (12 miles from Rome). ["Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year," edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O.Cist., Ph.D., New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1955, p. 220] St Primus was eighty years old at the time of his death. A church was built over their tombs on the Via Nomentana.

Veneration in Bavaria

A Bavarian tradition holds that Sts Primus and Felician were Roman legionaries who became missionaries in the region of Chiemgau, where Primus found in a forest a fountain with curative properties. The two brothers preached the Gospel there and cured the sick by virtue of their prayers and the virtue of the source. When they returned to Italy, they were martyred under Diocletian. The fountain, known as the "Fountain of Saint Primus," can still be seen at Adelholzen, an area of hot springs where a chapel constructed in 1615 can be found, dedicated to these saints, who are much venerated in the area. []

Veneration at Agen

During the 9th century, the cult of Saint Faith was fused with that of Caprasius of Agen (Caprais) and Alberta of Agen, also associated with Agen. [Alban Butler, David Hugh Farmer, Paul Burns, "Butler's Lives of the Saints" (Liturgical Press, 2000), 139.] Caprasius' cult in turn was fused with that of Primus and Felician, who are called Caprasius' brothers. [ St. Caprasius - Saints & Angels - Catholic Online ] ]

One legend states that during the persecutions of Christians by the prefect Dacian, Caprasius fled to Mont-Saint-Vincent, near Agen. He witnessed the execution of Faith from atop the hill. Caprasius was condemned to death, and was joined on his way to execution by Alberta, Faith’s sister (also identified as Caprasius' mother), and two brothers, named Primus and Felician. All four were beheaded.


External links

* [ Catholic Encyclopedia: "Sts. Primus and Felician"]
* [ Saints of June 9: "Sts. Primus and Felician"]
*it icon [,%20Siro%20e%20Feliciano.2.htm "Santi Primo e Feliciano"]
*it icon [ "Primo e Feliciano"]

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