Julius and Aaron
|Saints Julius and Aaron|
Catholic Church of Ss Julian, Aaron and David, Caerleon
|Died||ca. 304 AD
Caerleon, Britain, Roman Empire
|Honored in||Eastern Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church|
|Feast||20 June, 1 July|
Saints Julius and Saint Aaron are celebrated as two British saints who were martyred during the Diocletianic Persecution of Christians in AD 304. Their feast day is traditionally celebrated on 1 July.
In his De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, the British cleric Gildas writes: "God…..in the…..time of persecution…..lest Britain should be completely enveloped in the thick darkness of black night, kindled for us bright lamps of holy martyrs…..I speak of Saint Alban of Verulamium, Aaron and Julius, citizens of Caerleon, and the rest of both sexes in different places, who stood firm with lofty nobleness of mind in Christ's battle."
There is doubt that Diocletian's persecutions were ever carried out in Britain, but churches were nevertheless dedicated to these two saints. Giraldus Cambrensis confirms that two churches at Caerleon were dedicated to Aaron and Julius. Bede repeats Gildas' words, but mistranslated Gildas' Urbs Legionum as Chester rather than Caerleon.
In Gwent, the traditional belief that they were martyred at Caerleon caused many churches there and in the wider Newport area to be dedicated to them, as well as in the suburb of St. Julian's, Newport.
The 2004 edition of the Roman Martyrology, recognises the martyrs, under the Latin names Iúlii and Aarónis, as being martyred after Alban during the persecution of Diocletian, by the legionaries of Brittania Minor, that is, Brittany, in a period at which many 'arrived at the glorious city (of heaven) after enduring painful tortures and severe flogging'.
The Roman Martyrology indexes Julius and Aaron under 22 June, but since this is also the date when Saints John Fisher and Thomas More are celebrated, the current Roman Catholic liturgical calendar for Wales commemorates them together with St Alban on 20 June.
- Gildas, De Excidio Britanniae, 10
- Martyrologium Romanum, 2004, Vatican Press (Typis Vaticanis), page 349.
- National Calendar for Wales, accessed 6 February 2012
- ^ David Hugh Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), 228.
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