St. Nereus, St. Achilleus and St. Pancras
Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers who died around 304. They were probably Praetorian guards under Emperor Trajan. We know little else about them. But what we do know comes from two popes who lived in the fourth century, Pope Siricius and Pope Damasus. In 398, Pope Siricius built a church in their honor in Rome. Pope Damasus wrote a brief tribute to the martyrs. He explained that Nereus and Achilleus were converted to the Christian faith. They left behind their weapons forever. They were true followers of Jesus even at the cost of their own lives. Nereus and Achilleus were sent into exile to the island of Terracina. There they were beheaded. In the sixth century, a second church was built in another part of Rome to honor these two martyrs.
St. Pancras, a fourteen-year-old orphan, lived at the same time. He could possibly have been killed on the same day. Pancras was not a native of Rome. He was brought there by his uncle who looked after him. He became a follower of Jesus and was baptized. Although just a boy, he was arrested for being a Christian. Pancras refused to give up his faith. For that, he was sentenced to death. Pancras was beheaded. He became a very popular martyr in the early Church. People admired him for being so young and so brave. In 514, a large church was built in Rome to honor him. In 596, the famous missionary, St. Augustine of Canterbury, went to bring the Christian faith to England. He named his first church there after St. Pancras.
With the help of the prayers of these three saints, may we understand what it means to be members