St. Secundus

S. Secondo
St. Secundus of Asti was no doubt one among the first martyrs of the Piedmont area but should not be confused with other two saints having the same name and venerated in the same region: St. Secundus of Salussola, also worshiped in Turin and Ventimiglia, and St. Secundus of Pinerolo, both traditionally included among the soldiers of the Theban Legion. Greater mystery surrounds the earthly existence of the greatly venerated saint from Asti, whose Acts collected by the Bollandists in four codices portray him as a deeply religious man and very famous in Asti, though associating him with figures of doubtful historical authenticity. It is said that Secundus came in contact with Christianity thanks to St. Calogerus of Brescia, whom he would usually visit in prison. Hearing that the prefect Sapricius had arrived in Asti, sent by the emperor Hadrian instead of Antioch, Secundus went to him to ask why Calogerus had been imprisoned. The reason given him was that he taught the people to disdain worldly possessions He added that it had come to his attention that in Tortona there was a Christian by the name of Marcianus and that he intended to meet him. Secundus asked to accompany the prefect. Once there, Calogerus predicted to the saint that he would be baptized in Tortona and that upon his return to Asti he would have suffered martyrdom. Marcianus, bishop of Tortona, predicted the same. Secundus then moved to Milan, where he met Saints Faustinus and Jovita. Faustinus baptized him and administered Holy Communion to him, also entrusting him with a consecrated Host to bring to Marcianus and Calogerus, as a sign of his baptism. Once he returned to Tortona, Secundus when to visit Marcianus in prison and brought him Communion, also asking him to pray for him. The following day, Marcianus was called to appear before Sapricius, who ordered him to make a sacrifice to the gods. But the Christian refused and was later decapitated outside the city. Sapricius was surprised at the news that Secundus had buried the body of the martyr and called for him. But he did not show up feeling that the prefect was guilty of spilling innocent blood. Having refused his summons three times, he was arrested and forced to appear before the authorities, where he did not hesitate to confirm that he was a Christian. Consequently he was tortured and returned to his cell. The story is then seasoned with elements of fantasy, according to which the following day Secundus had disappeared, in spite of the fact that the cell was locked. Sapricius, increasingly more infuriated, gave the order to return to Asti to take revenge over Calogerus. There, as if by miracle, they found Secundus locked in the cell with his friend. Both refused yet again to make a sacrifice to the pagan gods. Calogerus was imprisoned again and only later suffered martyrdom near Albenga on the western Ligurian shore, while Secundus was immediately taken outside the city and beheaded. It was circa the year 119. According to the new edition of the Piedmontese proper of the Roman Missal, the tragic slaughter took place on March 29th, 119-120. In fact, the Roman Martyrology places the commemoration of St. Secundus on March 30th. In the diocese and in the city of Asti, which worship him as their patron saint and preserve his relics, he is however solemnly celebrated on the first Tuesday in May.