May 18, The feast of *Saint Venantius of Camerino*
Today, May 18, we celebrate the feast of *Saint Venantius of Camerino* (235-250), a teenage martyr for the faith.
Even as a boy of fifteen, Saint Venantius preached and lived the word of God. Venantius was born at Camerino in Italy, during the persecution of Christians by the Roman Emperor Decius.
Venantius was to be taken into custody at the age of fifteen, having been caught preaching the Gospel of Christ to all who would listen.
Having learned that he was about to be arrested, Venantius presented himself to the governor of Camerino, Antiochus. There, outside the city gates, Venantius preached the Gospel to the governor.
Antiochus condemned Venantius to death. First, he was scourged; but, miraculously, an Angel saved him. Next, he was burnt with torches and suspended over a low fire that he might be suffocated by the smoke. The judge’s secretary, while admiring the steadfastness of the Saint,
saw an Angel robed in white, who stamped out the fire; and, again set Venantius free.
Venantius was then summoned again to appear before Antiochus and was cast into prison. It was then ordered that his teeth and jaws to be broken, and that he be thrown into a furnace to burn to death. Again, an angel of the Lord rescued him.
The governor then sent him to the city magistrate to be condemned to death, but Venantius converted the magistrate, eloquently proclaiming the Gospel.
Upon hearing this, Antiochus ordered Venantius to be thrown to the lions. The lions crouched at the feet of Venantius. Afterwards, Antiochus had Venantius dragged through a heap of brambles and thorns; and he was half-dead; but, the next day, he was cured. God had manifested the glory of his servant once more.
Along with many of the soldiers who had been converted, Venantius was beheaded the next morning. Christians in the community gave an honorable burial to the bodies of these martyrs, who now rest in Camerino, in the church dedicated to Saint Venantius. The Acts of Saint Venantius’ martyrdom have been carefully studied and declared authentic by the Church.
*St. Venantius, pray for us.*