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August 6, 2019

Holy Martyrs Justus and Pastor of Complutum

Sts. Justus and Pastor (Feast Day - August 6)

When Dacian was governor of Spain, during the reigns of Diocletian and Maximian, a persecution broke out against the Christians, which arrived at Complutum, now called Alcala de Henares, where the edict was read in the marketplace.

At this time Justus, who was thirteen years old, and Pastor, who was seven years old, were attending school, and heard of the torments the Christians were unjustly suffering. Inflamed with divine zeal, they desired to share in their triumphs. Throwing down their books, they ran to the governor who was interrogating the confessors.

There they urged on the Christians in their contests, which brought notice to them and the faith they held. When the governor saw this, he sought to correct the youths by having them flogged. They suffered this cruel torment with great courage, and encouraged each other, which filled the crowd and soldiers with astonishment. And for an eternal crown, they expressed their desire to suffer more torture.

When the governor was informed of their constancy, he ordered for them to be privately beheaded. This sentence was executed in a field near the town, and their bodies were buried by the Christians on that very spot which their blood had sanctified. A chapel was afterwards built on the place. Paulinus of Nola and his wife Therasia, in the year 392, then in Spain, buried their recently deceased infant son Celsus next to the tomb of martyrs at Complutum.

Relics believed to be those of Justus and Pastor were discovered in the eighth century and taken to Huesca. In 1568, they were brought back to Alcalá de Henares and interred beneath the high altar of the city's Cathedral-Magistral of Saints Justus and Pastor (known familiarly as the Catedral de los Santos Niños). Constructed between 1497 and 1514,the ancient cathedral is still in daily use, and the saints' tomb is accessible to the public.