Sts. Gordian and Epimachus (Gordianus and Epimachus), 10 May

Sts. Gordian and Epimachus (Gordianus and Epimachus), 10 May

Martyrs, suffered under Julian the Apostate, 362, commemorated on 10 May. Gordianus was a judge but was so moved by the sanctity and sufferings of the saintly priest, Januarius, he embraced Christianity with many of his household. Being accused before his successor, or before the prefect of the city, Apronianus, he was cruelly tortured and finally beheaded. His body was removed by the Christians, and laid in a crypt on the Latin Way beside the body of St. Epimachus, who had been recently interred there. The two saints gave their name to the cemetery, and have ever since been joined together in the veneration of the Church.

There is another Gordianus who suffered martyrdom (place uncertain) with two companions, and commemorated by the Roman Church on 17 September; and another, commemorated on by the Romans on 13 September, who with several companions was martyred in Pontus or Galatia.

There are also several martyrs named Epimachus, and, owing to the meagreness of the information possessed concerning them they are often confused one with another, with little agreement on their number or identity.

There is an Epimachus, martyr, commemorated by the Greek Orthodox Church on 6 July; an Epimachus and Azirianus, martyrs, venerated by the Copts and Abyssinians on on 31 October; an Epimachus of Pelusium in Egypt, venerated by the Greek Orthodox Church on 31 October; an Epimachus and Alexander, martyred at Alexandria in the persecution of Decius, commemorated in the Roman Church on 12 December; as well as the Epimachus who, with St. Gordianus, is honoured on 10 May. Some have denied the existence of an Epimachus martyred at Rome, and account for the relics honoured there by asserting that the body of the Alexandrian Epimachus was transported there shortly before the martyrdom of St. Gordianus. However, the evidence for the Roman Epimachus is too strong to be doubted.