Saints Tiburtius and Susanna

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Saints Tiburtius and Susanna
Saint Susanna statue - Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.JPG
Saint Susanna
Died 3rd century
Venerated in Catholic Church
Feast 11 August

Saints Tiburtius and Susanna, according to Christian legend, were two ancient Rome Catholic martyrs, the feast day of each of whom is 11 August. The saints were not related, but are simply venerated on the same day.


The story is related in the legend of St. Sebastian that Chromatius, prefect of Rome, condemned several Christians to death. The prefect, however, was converted by St. Tranquillinus, father of Mark and Marcellian, and baptized by Polycarp.[1]

Tiburtius, the only son of Chromatius, was also baptized through the persuasion of Sebastian, who was his godfather in baptism, according to this legend.

Tiburtius lay hidden during the persecution by Roman Emperor Diocletian in his father's house. Accused by a traitor, he was brought before the prefect Fabianus and tried. He confessed his faith, which he confirmed by a miracle, for, protecting himself only by the sign of the cross, he walked barefoot over red-hot coals without suffering any injury. But the miracle was ascribed to magic and Tiburtius was beheaded at the third milestone of the Via Labicana in the year 286. The spot of execution was called "at the two laurel trees" (ad duas lauros).

Tiburtius is mentioned in 23 epigram of Pope Damasus I (366–384):

Tempore quo gladius secuit pia viscera matris,
egregius martyr contempto principe mundi
aetheris alta petit Christo comitante beatus:
hic tibi sanctus honor semper laudesque manebunt.
care deo, ut foveas Damasum precor, alme Tiburti.


When the sword cut the pious entrails of the mother,
the outstanding martyr, despising the prince of the world,
seeks the heights of heaven in the company of Christ.
Here for you will ever remain saintly honour and praises.
Kind Tiburtius, beloved of God, I beg you take care of Damasus.

Tiburtius is spoken of in the Roman Martyrology for 11 August in the following terms: "At Rome, in the cemetery at the two laurel trees at the third milestone on the Via Labicana, Saint Tiburtius, martyr, whose praises Pope Saint Damasus sang." [2] The commemoration of him that was included in the General Roman Calendar was removed in 1969, because "apart from his name, the only thing known of him is that he was buried in the Inter duas lauros cemetery on the Via Labicana on an 11 August".[3]


Saint Susanna, virgin and martyr, is said to have been the daughter of Saint Gabinus of Rome. According to her Acts, she was beheaded about the year 295, at the command of Diocletian, in her father's house, which was turned into a church, together with the adjoining one belonging to her uncle, the prefect Caius or, according to other accounts, Pope Caius. The church became known as Sancta Susanna ad duas domos (cf. Kehr, "Italia pontificia", I, 61 seq.).

Susanna is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology for 11 August in the following terms: "At Rome, commemoration of Saint Susanna, in whose name, which was mentioned among the martyrs in ancient lists, the basilica of the titular church of Gaius at the Baths of Diocletian was dedicated to God in the sixth century."[2] The commemoration of her that was included in the General Roman Calendar was removed in 1969 because of the legendary character of the Acts of her martyrdom.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, A Dictionary of Miracles: Imitative, Realistic, and Dogmatic (Chatto and Windus, 1901), 11.
  2. ^ a b Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)
  3. ^ a b Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 134