A.D. VII Kal. Mar.

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The Vigil of St. Matthias the Apostle.

At Smyrna, the birthday of St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John the Apostle, by whom he was consecrated bishop of that city, and appointed primate of all Asia. Under Marcus Antonius and Lucius AurĂˆlius Commodus, when the proconsul and all those assembled in the amphitheatre cried out against him, he was delivered to the fire, but since it did not harm him, he received the crown of martyrdom by the sword. With him, twelve others who came from Philadelphia met their death by martyrdom in the same city. The feast of St. Polycarp is kept on the 26th of January.

At Sirmio, blessed Sirenus, monk and martyr. He was arrested by order of Emperor Maximian and beheaded for confessing that he was a Christian. In the same place, the birthday of seventy-two holy martyrs, who suffered martyrdom in the same city and who took possession of the everlasting kingdom. In the city of Astorga in Spain, St. Martha, virgin and martyr, under Emperor Decius and the proconsul Paternus. She was cruelly tortured for the faith of Christ and was finally slain by the sword.

At Constantinople, St. Lazarus, monk. The Iconoclast emperor Theophilus commanded him to be tortured with severe punishments because he had painted some sacred pictures. His hand was burned with a hot iron, but it was healed by the power of God, after which he repainted the holy pictures that had been destroyed. He ended his life in peace.

At Brescia, St. Felix, bishop.

At Rome, St. Polycarp, priest, who with blessed Sebastian converted many to the faith of Christ, and by his exhortation led them to the glory of martyrdom.

At Seville in Spain, St. Florentius, confessor.

At Todi in Umbria, St. Romana, virgin, who was baptized by Pope St. Sylvester, led a life of holiness in dens and caves, and wrought glorious miracles.

In England, St. Milburga, virgin, the daughter of the king of Mercia.

And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.