· Calendar of Saints 

Saint Sabinus and his Companions, Martyrs
  December 30th  

    According to the legend, Sabinus, claimed as a bishop by several Italian cities, and several of his clergy were arrested during the persecution under Diocletian; Venustian, the governor of Etruria, had them before him and offered for the veneration of Sabinus a small statue of Jupiter. The bishop threw it contemptuously to the ground and broke it, whereupon Venustian ordered the hands of Sabinus cut off. His two deacons, Marcellus and Exsuperantius, also made a confession of faith, and were scourged and racked, under which torments they both died. Sabinus was taken back to prison and the bodies of his two deacons were buried at Assisi. A widow named Serena brought her blind son to Sabinus, who blessed him with his handless arms and the boy was healed. Whereupon a number of the bishop's fellow-prisoners asked for baptism. This, it is said, led also to the conversion of the governor Venustian, who had an affliction of the eyes, and he with his wife and children gave their lives for Christ. St. Sabinus was beaten to death at Spoleto, and buried a mile from that city. St. Gregory the Great speaks of a chapel built in his honour near Fermo, for which he asks relics of the martyr from Chrysanthus, bishop of Spoleto. These martyrs are remembered today in the Roman Martyrology, which on December 11 names another St. Sabinus, bishop of Piacenza, during the fourth century. He was a man of so great learning and holiness that St. Ambrose used to submit his writing to him for criticism and approval before publication.

The story told above depends upon a worthless passio which was fabricated in the fifth or sixth century. There is no evidence that Sabinus was bishop of Assisi or Spoleto or any other place. The passio was first published in the Miscellanea of Baluze-Mansi, vol.i, pp. 12-14. See further, Delehaye, Origines du culte des martyrs, p. 317, who does not dispute that there was, in fact, a martyr of this name who was buried a short distance from Spoleto, though we know nothing of his story. Consult also Lanzoni, Le diocesi d'Italia, vol. i, pp. 439-440 and 461-463; with G. Cristofani, Storia di Assisi, vol iii, pp. 21-23.

Butler's Lives of The Saints, Herbert J. Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater