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Sts. Nereus Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancras


May 12

Sts. Nereus and Achilleus were servants of St. Flavia Domitilla. She was the wife of the consul Flavius Clemens, cousin of the Emperor Domitian. She died in exile on the island of Pandataria. Her granddaughter likewise Domitilla, also died in exile on the island of Pontia. The virgin whose feast is celebrated today is the second Domitilla.
The fourteen-year old Pancras suffered martyrdom probably in the reign of Diocletian, and was buried by the matron Ottavilla in a property belonging to her on the Via Aurelia, where the basilica dedicated to him still stands. There the station is celebrated on Low Sunday, when the neophytes, newly born in the Spirit, used the put off their white baptismal garments. In the Middle Ages it was the custom that the most solemn oaths should be takin at the tomb of the martyr Pancras, as though the simple innocence of a childhood consecrated by the blood of martyrdom would ensure a safer guarantee of their genuineness. The Romans venerated him with great fervor.

Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS

Introit • Ps. 32, 18-20

Behold the eyes of the Lord are on them that fear Him, hoping in His mercy, alleluia: to deliver their souls from death; for He is our helper and protector, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 32, 1. Rejoice in the Lord, ye just: praise becometh the upright. Glory be …

Collect (Prayer)

Let the blessed solemnity of Thy martyrs, Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla, and Pancras, ever comfort us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and render us worthy of Thy service. Through our Lord.

Epistle • Wis. 5, 1-5

Lesson from the Book of Wisdom
[The fruitless repentance of the wicked in another world: the reward of the just.]

The just stand with great constancy against those that have afflicted them, and taken away their labours. These seeing it, shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the suddenness of their unexpected salvation. Saying within themselves, repenting, and groaning for anguish of spirit: These are they, whom we had some time in derision, and for a parable of reproach. We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end without honour. Behold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints.    
Alleluia, alleluia. This is the true brotherhood, which hath overcome the sins of the world: it hath followed Christ, laying hold upon the heavenly kingdom. Alleluia. The white-robed army of martyrs praiseth Thee, O Lord. Alleluia.

Gospel • John 15, 1-7

Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. John. 

[A continuation of Christ's discourse to his disciples.]

At that time, Jesus said to his diciples, I am the true vine; and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me, that beareth not fruit, he will take away: and every one that beareth fruit, he will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean by reason of the word, which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.
If any one abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you.

Offertory • Ps. 88, 6

The heavens shall confess Thy wonders, O Lord, and Thy truth in the church of the saints, alleluia, alleluia.


Let the confession of Thy holy martyrs, Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla, and Pancras, be pleasing unto Thee, we beseech, O Lord, both to commend our offerings and ever to implore Thy pardon for us. Through our Lord.

Communion • Ps. 32, 1

Rejoice, ye just in the Lord, alleluia: praise becometh the upright, alleluia.


Grant us, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that, quickened by Thy grace, we may ever glory in Thy gifts. Through our Lord.