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Sts. Maris, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum

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All martyred at Rome in 270. Maris and his wife Martha, who belonged to the Persian nobility, came to Rome with their children in the reign of Emperor Claudius II. As zealous Christians, they sympathized with and succoured the persecuted faithful, and buried the bodies of the slain. This exposed them to the imperial vengeance; they were seized and delivered to the judge Muscianus, who, unable to persuade them to abjure their faith, condemned them to various tortures. At last, when no suffering could subdue their courage, Maris and his sons were beheaded at a place called Nymphæ Catabassi, thirteen miles from Rome, and their bodies burnt. Martha was cast into a well. A Roman lady named Felicitas, having succeeded in securing the half-consumed remains of the father and Sons and also the mother's body from the well, had the sacred relics secretly interred in a catacomb, on the thirteenth before the Kalends of February (20 January). The commemoration of these four martyrs, however, has been appointed for 19 February, doubtless so as to leave the twentieth for the feast of St. Sebastian.

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