July 10, 2019

Holy Martyrs Victoria, Anatolia and Audax

Sts. Victoria, Anatolia and Audax (Feast Day - July 10);
 Victoria and Anatolia are portrayed amongst the mosaic Procession of Virgins
in the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna.

These Saints lived in the time of the Emperor Decius (249-251). Anatolia and Victoria were sisters whose marriage was arranged to two noble, pagan Roman men. They resisted matrimony and their prospective grooms denounced them as Christians. They received permission to imprison the women on their estates and convince them to renounce their faith. Anatolia's suitor, Titus Aurelius, gave up, and handed her back to the authorities. Victoria’s suitor, Eugenius, was more persistent, but also ended up returning her to the authorities.

Victoria was stabbed through the heart in at Trebula Mutuesca (today Monteleone Sabino). It is said that her murderer was immediately struck with leprosy, and died six days later. Anatolia was killed at "Thora" (identified with present-day Sant'Anatolia di Borgorose). She was at first locked up with a poisonous snake. The snake refused to bite her, and a soldier named Audax was sent into her cell to kill her. The snake attacked him instead, but Anatolia saved him from the snake. Impressed by her example, he converted to Christianity and was martyred by the sword with her.

Relics of St. Victoria in Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome

Due to the translation of their relics, their veneration spread across Italy. Some relics of Saint Victoria were transferred in 827 by Abbot Peter of Farfa from the Abbey to Mount Matenano in the Picene area (roughly the south of Le Marche) because the Abbey was besieged by Saracens. The town of Santa Vittoria in Matenano is named after her. Ratfredus, a later Abbot of Farfa, brought the body from Farfa to Santa Vittoria in Matenano on 20 June 931. A simulacrum and other relics of Saint Victoria are currently on display at the Santa Maria della Vittoria Church in Rome.

The bodies of Anatolia and Audax were transferred by Abbot Leo to Subiaco around 950. At an unknown date, a scapula of Anatolia was translated to the present-day Sant'Anatolia di Borgorose and an arm of the Saint was translated to the present-day Esanatoglia. The bodies of Anatolia and Audax still rest at Subiaco in the Basilica of Santa Scholastica, under the altar.