Easter: April 22nd
Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
Other Commemorations: Saints Soter and Caius, popes and martyrs; Saints Epipodius and Alexander (RM)
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of Sts. Soter and Caius. Soter succeeded Anicetus as Pope in 166, and died a martyr in 175, under Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Caius, whose relics are preserved at the sanctuary of St. Silvester in Rome, governed the Church a century later and died on April 22, 296. The popes of the first centuries suffered the heavy anxiety of the persecutions which continually threatened their flocks; the pontificate of Caius, however, was marked by a long period of peace, some ten years before the terrible persecution under Diocletian.According to the Roman Martyrology, today is the feast of Sts. Epipodius and Alexander, two Christian young men of Lyons—both unmarried and of good position. During the fierce persecution of Marcus Aurelius in that city (178), they were arrested, imprisoned, and finally brought before the governor. Their ready acknowledgment of being Christians elicited astonishment of the governor who was well aware of the fierce tortures and executions that had already been meted out to Christians.
St. Soter, the successor to Pope Anicetus, died a martyr's death in 175. He was noted for his kindness to certain Greeks who had been condemned to the mines because of their faith in Christ. When he ascended the chair of Peter he forbade consecrated virgins to touch the sacred vessels and palls, or to carry censers in church. He also obliged the faithful, except those in mortal sin, to receive holy Communion on Maundy Thursday. Soter is the author of a letter to the Corinthians.
St. Caius (pope from 283 to 296) was closely related to the Emperor Diocletian. So that he might live to serve the faithful, he remained in concealment a long time and would not leave Rome. Ordinarily it was in the catacombs that he hid, and there he celebrated the holy mysteries and instructed many pagans. It was Pope Caius who decreed (according to the false Decretals) that the following steps must precede consecration to the episcopate: porter, lector, exorcist, acolyte, subdeacon, deacon, and priest. He died a natural death and was buried in the catacomb of Callistus on April 22. St. Susanna was his niece. Pope Urban VIII revived his memory in Rome by restoring his church, naming him as its patron saint, raising it to the rank of a station, and enriching it with the saint's relics.
- Read more about Sts. Soter and Caius at Catholic News Agency.
Saints Epipodius and Alexander
Born during the 2nd century, Epipodius and Alexander became best friends while growing up and attending school together. They were both raised Christian and shared a similar passion for their faith. It was not long until these two young men were put to the test during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.
- Read more about Sts. Epipodius and Alexander at Bartleby.com.