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Saints Chrysanthus and Daria
The martyrdom of Sts Chrysanthus and Daria. From a 14th century manuscript
Born 3rd century AD, Rome, Roman Empire
Died c. 283, Rome
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Coptic Church
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Feast October 25 (Western Christianity)
March 19 (Eastern Christianity)

Saints Chrysanthus and Daria (3rd century - c. 283) are saints of the Early Christian period. According to legend, Chrysanthus was the only son of an Egyptian patrician, named Polemius or Poleon, who lived during the reign of Numerian. His father moved from Alexandria to Rome. Chrysanthus was educated in the finest manner of the era. Disenchanted with the excess in the Roman world, he began reading the Acts of the Apostles.

He was then baptized and educated in Christian thinking by a priest named Carpophorus. His father was unhappy with Chrysanthus' conversion, and attempted to inculcate his son in the secular world by tempting him with prostitutes, but Chrysanthus retained his virginity. He objected when his father arranged a marriage to Daria, a Roman Vestal Virgin. Chrysanthus converted his new bride and convinced her to live with him in a chaste state. Since Vestal Virgins take a vow of chastity during their 30-year term of service Daria's agreement to live in a chaste marriage would not be surprising.

They went on to convert a number of Romans. When this illegal act was made known to Claudius, the tribune, Chrysanthus was arrested and tortured. Chrysanthus' faith and fortitude under torture was so impressive to Claudius that he and his wife, Hilaria, two sons named Maurus and Jason, and seventy of his soldiers became Christians. For this betrayal, the emperor had Claudius drowned, his sons beheaded and his wife went to the gallows. Daria was sent to live as a prostitute, but her chastity was defended by a lioness. She was brought before Numerian and ordered to be executed by stoning and then burial alive in a deep pit beside her husband. They were entombed in a sand pit near the Via Salaria Nova, the catacombs in Rome.

Historical Notes

We should note, however, that historians believe Numerian was not in Rome at the time of the martyrdom of Chrysanthus and Daria but that his brother Carinus was. It is more likely that Carinus was the one who ordered Daria to be executed.


Their tomb became a pilgrimage site for early Christians soon after their death. Soon after the death of Chrysanthus and Daria, when several followers, among them Diodorus, a priest, and Marianus, a deacon, were found praying in the catacombs on the anniversary of their martyrdom, they were all entombed within the crypt alive. Diodorus and Marianus were also canonized as well. A church was later built above the sandpit. The two martyrs were particularly popular in 4th century Rome, and their names appear in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum. In the 9th century, some of the remains of Chrysanthus and Daria were brought to Prum in modern-day Rhineland-Palatinate, but the cult remained largely local. In 1011 Pope Sergius IV gave Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou, some of the martyrs' relics upon his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Fulk gave them to the monastery of Belli Locus which he had recently established.

A column made of calc-sinter ("Eifel-Marmor"), in the church St. Chrysanthus und Daria, Bad Münstereifel, Germany.

Chrysanthus is also venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Troparion associated with him is: "Let us honor the like-minded pair of Martyrs,/ Chrysanthus scion of purity, and supremely modest Daria./ United in holiness of faith, they shone forth as communicants of God the Word./ They fought lawfully for Him and now save those who sing:/ Glory to Him Who has strengthened you; glory to Him Who has crowned you;/ glory to Him Who through you works healings for all." The Kontakion associated with Chrysanthus is: "O Chrysanthus, in the sweet fragrance of holiness/ thou didst draw Daria to saving knowledge./ Together in contest you routed the serpent, the author of all evil,/ and were worthily taken up to the heavenly realms." His was a precongregational canonization. The feast day of Sts Chrysanthus and Daria is celebrated on October 25 within Western Christianity, and on is March 19 in Eastern Christianity.

The relics of Sts Chrysanthus and Daria are found in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Rome.

External links

This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.



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