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The massacre of the martyrs of Lyons with their bishop, St. Pothinus, took place during the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius in the year 177. Marcellus, a priest, we are told, by Divine intervention, managed to escape to Chalon-sur-Saone, where he was given shelter. His host was a pagan, and seeing him offer incense before images of Mars, Mercury, and Minerva, Marcellus remonstrated with and converted him. While journeying toward the North, the priest fell in with the governor Priscus, who asked him to a celebration at his house. Marcellus accepted the invitation, but when he found that Priscus was preparing to fulfill religious rites, he asked to be excused on the ground that he was a Christian. This raised an outcry, and the bystanders tried to kill Marcellus there and then by tying him to the tops of two young trees in tension and then letting them fly apart. The governor ordered him to make an act of worship before an image of Saturn. He refused, whereupon he was buried up to his middle in the earth on the banks of the Saone, and died in three days of exposure and starvation. Butler mentions with St. Marcellus, the martyr St. Valerian who is named in the Roman Martyrology on September 15th. He is said to have escaped from prison at the same time as Marcellus, and was beheaded for the Faith at Tournus, near Autun. St. Valerian's feast day is September 15th.
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