Martina of Rome

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Saint Martina
El Greco - Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes (NGA).jpg
Virgin Mary with Saint Agnes and Saint Martina, El Greco.
Virgin and Martyr
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Major shrineSanti Luca e Martina
FeastJanuary 30
Attributespalm of martyrdom
PatronageRome; nursing mothers

Martina of Rome was a Roman martyr under emperor Alexander Severus. A patron saint of Rome, she was martyred in 226, according to some authorities, more probably in 228, under the pontificate of Pope Urban I, according to others. Her feast day is January 30.[1]


The daughter of an ex-consul and orphaned at an early age, she was described as a noble and beautiful virgin.[2] She so openly testified to her Christian faith that she could not escape the persecutions under Alexander Severus. Arrested and commanded to return to idolatry, she refused, whereupon she was subjected to various tortures and was finally beheaded. These tortures according to her vita include being scourged and scaled, was condemned to be devoured by wild beasts in the amphitheater but was miraculously untouched by them. She was then thrown onto a burning pyre, from which she also escaped unhurt, and was finally beheaded.

Her hagiography asserts that some of her executioners also converted to Christianity and were themselves beheaded.[3]

The relics of Martina were discovered on October 25, 1634 by the painter Pietro da Cortona, in a crypt of Santi Luca e Martina, situated near the Mamertine Prison and dedicated to the saint.[4] Pope Urban VIII, who occupied the Holy See at that time, had the church repaired and, it would seem, composed the hymns which are sung at her office.[5]


  1. ^ Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN 978-88-209-7210-3), p. 117
  2. ^ John Foxe, Book of Martyrs (E. Hall, 1833) p41.
  3. ^ Martina.
  4. ^ Merz, Jörg Martin (2003). ""Saint Martina Refuses to Adore the Idols:" Pietro da Cortona's Painting at Princeton in Context". Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University. Princeton University Art Museum. 62: 84–104. doi:10.2307/3774822. JSTOR 3774822.
  5. ^ Saint Martina.
Tomb of Saint Martina

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.