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Catholic Dictionary

Term

ACTS OF THE MARTYRS

Definition

Actual accounts of early Christian martyrdoms. The most reliable are those that follow the official shorthand reports of the trials and executions. Among the best known are the Acts of St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, the Martyrs of Lyons, and the Passions of Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas, and St. Irenaeus. In the Western Church the Acts of the Martyrs were carefully collected and used in the liturgy from the earliest times, as witnessed by St. Augustine.