Protus and Hyacinth

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St Damasus (c. 304—384)

Bede (c. 673—735) monk, historian, and theologian


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Roman martyrs of unknown date,

but mentioned in the 4th-century list of martyrs, in the early sacramentaries, and the Naples calendar of stone. This ancient cult received striking confirmation in 1845 when the tomb of Hyacinth was discovered in the cemetery of Basilla, with his name and the date of his burial (11 September); inside it were charred bones, indicating death by fire. Near it another inscription was found bearing the name of Protus M(artyr), but this tomb was empty, probably because the relics were translated into Rome by St Leo IV. An inscription by Damasus says they were brothers; the Martyrology of Jerome calls them ‘teachers of the Christian Law’. Their cult was early and widespread: the feast is mentioned in the OE Martyrology, the Martyrology of Bede, and the Sarum calendar. A church in Blisland (Cornwall) called St Pratts is probably dedicated to Protus. Feast: 11 September (9 September in OE Martyrology).

C.M.H., pp. 501–2; AA.SS. Sept. III (1750), 746–62 (fictitious Acts make them the household slaves of Eugenia, daughter of the prefect of Egypt, and join Basilla to them, converted by their persuasions); B.L.S., ix, 97–9.

Subjects: Christianity.

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