Today we celebrate the Feast of Nereus and Achilleus. Their Basilica in Rome is believed by many to be one of the oldest standing Churches in Rome. The Oratory has a close connection to them. Cardinal Baronius became the Cardinal Priest of the Church in 1596, a year after the death of St. Philip.
Cardinal Baronius, the second Provost of the Roman Oratory after St. Philip, chose this Church because it was established by St. Gregory the Great and he preached in this Church.
Little is known about these two saints. We know that they are early martyrs and were Roman soldiers. It is believed they refused to carry out orders to kill Christians.
It is said that the name Neri is possibly derived from Nereus. The relics of St. Nereus and Achilleus can be found in the Roman Oratory Church near the body of St. Philip. The Fathers of the Roman Oratory care for the Basilica of St. Nereus and Achilleus to this day.
Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, pray for us!
Sts. Nereus and Achilleus are pictured with St. Domitilla, whose Feast is also historically celebrated today in both the East and West. Sts. Nereus and Achilleus were martyred and buried in the Catacomb of St. Domitilla.