Ordinary Time: July 28th
Friday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: Saints Nazarius and Celsus, martyrs; Saints Victor I, martyr, and Innocent I popes
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of Sts. Nazarius and Celsus, first century martyrs, whose bodies were found by St. Ambrose in 395. It is also the feast of Sts. Victor I and Innocent I both Popes of the early Church. St. Victor I was pope from 189 to 198; he regulated the date for the celebration of Easter throughout the Church in accordance with the Roman tradition. St. Innocent I (401-417), a contemporary of St. Augustine and St. Jerome, was one of the greatest early popes. He was one of the great champions of the primacy of the Holy See.
Sts. Nazarius and Celsus
Nazarius was baptized by the blessed Pope Linus. He went into Gaul, and there baptized a child named Celsus whom he had instructed in the Christian doctrine. Together they went to Treves, and in Nero's persecution were both thrown into the sea, but were saved by a miracle. They proceeded to Milan, where they spread the faith of Christ; and as they with great constancy confessed Christ to be God, the prefect, Anolinus, condemned them to death. Their bodies were buried outside the Roman gate, and for a long time remained unknown. But through a divine revelation they were found by St. Ambrose, sprinkled with fresh blood, as if they had but just suffered martyrdom. They were translated to the city and buried in an honorable tomb.
St. Victor I
Victor, an African by birth, governed the Church in the time of the Emperor Severus. He confirmed the decree of Pius I, which ordered Easter to be celebrated on a Sunday. Later on, Councils were held in many places in order to bring this rule into practice, and finally the first Council of Nicea commanded that the feast of Easter should be always kept after the fourteenth day of the moon, lest the Christians should seem to imitate the Jews. Victor ordained that, in case of necessity, baptism could be given with any water, provided it was natural. He expelled from the Church the Byzantine, Theodosius the currier, who taught that Christ was only man. He wrote on the question of Easter, and some other small works. In two ordinations which he held in the month of December, he made four priests, seven deacons, and twelve bishops for different places. He was crowned with martyrdom, and buried in the Vatican on the fifth of the Calends of August, after having sat nine years, one month, and twenty-eight days. He died in the year 199 A.D.
St. Innocent I
Innocent was born in Albano, Italy. He lived during the time of Saints Jerome and Augustine. He became Pope, on December 22, 401. Jerome, writing to the virgin Demetrias, says of him: "Hold fast to the faith of holy Innocent, who is the son of Anastasius of blessed memory and his successor in the apostolic throne; receive no strange doctrine, however shrewd and prudent you may think yourself."
- Read four letters of Correspondence between Innocent and Saint John Chrysostom.