St. Marius

S. Mario
Marius, of Persian origin, went to Rome with his wife Martha and sons Audifax and Abachum to pay homage to the tombs of the Christian martyrs. This pilgrimage was quite frequent among the new Christians of the 3rd century. They arrived in Rome around 268, during the rule of Emperor Claudius II, at a time when persecutions had practically ceased. It is presumed that Marius and his family settled in Rome, guests of some Christian families. However, the period of tolerance toward Christians was coming to an end and the most terrible persecution of all began under Diocletian. Marius' family joined the priest John and, one day, they offered to respectfully bury a group of 260 martyrs who had been decapitated and abandoned in the open countryside. This pious act did not pass unobserved. They were arrested and taken before the tribunal, where the prefect Flavian and the governor Marcian, in accordance with Diocletian's imperial edicts, interrogated them forcing them to renounce their faith and make sacrifices to the pagan gods. They refused and, according to Roman laws, this meant sentencing to death. The three men were decapitated along the Via Cornelia, while the wife was killed cast in a well in Nimpha or Nymphae Catabassi, not far from Rome. Their bodies were secured by the pious Christian woman Felicitas and were interred on her estate at Buxus, today Boccea. A church later rose on the place where they were martyred, which became a place of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages and of which the ruins can still be seen today. Their relics later suffered various vicissitudes and are currently preserved in various places including the monastery of Seligenstadt and in the Roman churches of Sant'Adriano al Foro and St. Praxedes. Mario is a very common name in Italy, ranking fourth, and also features a number of variations. Contrary to what people believe, the name Mario is not the masculine for Mary but comes from the Roman name Marius. According to martyrology, in the Christian world his memory is celebrated on January 19th.