Martyr Gervasius of Milan

The Holy Martyrs Gervasius, Nazarius, Protasius and Celsius of Milan suffered during the reign of the emperor Nero (54-68).

Saints Protasius and Gervasius were twin brothers from Mediolanum (Milan), the sons of wealthy Roman citizens, Vitalius and Valeria. When they received their inheritance from their parents, they distributed the money to the poor, freed their slaves, and occupied themselves with fasting and prayer. The pagans locked them up in prison because they were Christians. St Nazarius met them when he was visiting Christians in the Mediolanum prison. He so loved the twins that he wanted to suffer and die with them. The ruler heard that he was visiting the prisoners, so he had St Nazarius beaten with rods, then driven from the city.

Sts Nazarius and Celsius went to Milan and visited Gervasius and Protasius in prison. They were brought before Nero, who ordered that Sts Nazarius and Celsius be beheaded. Soon after this the holy brothers Gervasius and Protasius were also executed. The relics of all four martyrs were stolen by a Christian named Philip, and were buried in his house.

Many years later, during the reign of the holy Emperor Theodosius (408-450), St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (December 7), discovered the relics of Sts Gervasius and Protasius through a revelation from God.

In the reign of Arcadius and Honorius, St Ambrose also discovered the relics of Sts Nazarius and Celsius. The holy relics, glorified by many healings, were solemnly transferred to the Milan cathedral.