Hieromartyr Januarius, bishop of Benevento, and his companions: Sosius, Proclus and Festus, deacons, Gantiol, Eutychius, Acutius, and Desiderius, at Puzzuoli (305)
Commemorated on September 17 and April 21
These martyrs gave glorious witness to Christ during the persecutions of Diocletian. St Januarius, Bishop of Benevento in Italy, was arrested and cast into a burning furnace, but he stood in the midst of the flames, singing praises to God, and emerged unharmed. After other cruel tortures, he was bound and cast in prison in Pozzuoli, along with his deacon Faustus and his reader Desiderius. With them in prison were two deacons from Pozzuoli, Proclus and Sossus, and two laymen, Eutychius and Acutius. All seven were cast to wild beasts; but when the animals came near the Saints, they fell affectionately at their feet and refused to harm them. Finally, all seven Christians were beheaded. Some Christians from Naples secretly took the body of Januarius and buried it in their church. Countless wonders have been worked at his grave, including the restoration of a dead man to life.