Saint Desiderius the Reader suffered martyrdom for Christ with the hieromartyr Januarius Bishop of Benevento, and the deacons Proculus, Faustus, and Sossius, Eutychius and Acution about the year 305 during the persecution ordered by the emperor Diocletian (284-305).
Deacon Faustus and the Reader Desiderius wept at the sight of the bishop’s suffering. The pagans surmised that they were Christians, and threw them into prison with St Januarius, in the city of Puteolum. At this prison were two deacons who had been jailed for confessing Christ: Sts Sossius and Proculus, and also two laymen, Sts Eutychius and Acution.
On the following morning they led out all the martyrs into the circus to be torn to pieces by wild beasts, but the beasts would not touch them. Menignus claimed that all the miracles were due to sorcery on the part of the Christians, and immediately he became blinded and cried out for help. The gentle hieromartyr Januarius prayed for his healing, and Menignus recovered his sight. The torturer’s blindness of soul, however, was not healed. He accused the Christians of sorcery, and gave ordered the martyrs beheaded before the walls of the city (+ 305).