jeudi 7 mai 2015

Sainte FLAVIA DOMITILLA, sainte EUPHROSYNE et sainte THEODORA, martyres


Pierre Paul Rubens. Sainte Flavie Domitille en compagnie de Saint Maur et Saint Grégoire, 1608

Sainte Flavia Domitilla

Martyre romaine ( v. 95)

De la famille consulaire des Clemens, apparentée à l'empereur Domitien l'un des plus cruels persécuteurs des chrétiens. Elle fut déportée dans l'île de Pandateria*, une île de la mer Tyrrhénienne où avaient déjà été exilées les impératrices Agrippine et Octavie. Elle y témoigna du Christ avec bien d'autres martyrs.

* actuellement Ventotene, au grand large de Naples.

À Rome, commémoraison de sainte Domitille, martyre. Nièce de l’empereur Domitien et épouse du consul Flavius Clemens, elle fut accusée d’athéisme comme son mari, en réalité parce qu’ils étaient devenus disciples du Christ. Déportée avec d’autres dans l’île de Ponza, elle y mena un long martyre jusque vers l’an 95.

Martyrologe romain


Flavie Domitille

Vierge, Martyre, Sainte

† ca. 95
Nous apprenons d'Eusèbe que cette Sainte était fille de la sœur du consul Flavius Clemens, martyrisé pour la foi, et conséquemment petite nièce de l'Empereur Donatien. Ce prince la bannit dans l'île de Pontia, après avoir condamné son oncle à mort. Elle y vécut avec saint Nérée et saint Achillée, ses eunuques, dans les exercices de la piété chrétienne. Les cellules dans lesquelles ils demeuraient chacun séparément, subsistaient encore trois cents ans après leur martyre. On lit dans saint Jérôme, que sainte Paule allant de Rome à Jérusalem, les visita respectueusement, et qu'elle se sentit, en les voyant animée d'une nouvelle ferveur. Le même père appelle le bannissement de sainte Domitille un long martyre.

Nerva et Trajan rappelèrent les personnes exilées par Domitien ; mais il n'est pas certain qu'ils aient rappelé les parents de ce prince. Quoiqu'il en soit, on lit dans les actes de saint Nérée et de saint Achillée, que sainte Domitille alla à Terracine, et qu'elle y fut brûlée sous Trajan, pour avoir refusé de sacrifier aux idoles. On garde ses reliques avec celles de saint Nérée et de saint Achillée, qui ayant été ses domestiques sur la terre, sont présentement associés à sa gloire dans le ciel[1].

Sainte Flavie Domitille trouvait une vraie félicité dans ses souffrances, parce qu'elle aimait Jésus-Christ. Le sort des pécheurs est bien différent, même au sein des honneurs et des plaisirs ; des amertumes secrètes empoisonnent continuellement leurs plus beaux jours. Ils évitent de se considérer dans le silence de la retraite, parce que la simple vue de leur intérieur les fait trembler. C'est pour ne se pas voir eux-mêmes qu'ils sont perpétuellement plongés dans la dissipation, et qu'ils se livrent à des amusements dont l'expérience leur a fait sentir le vide et la frivolité. Mais qui pourrait exprimer la violence des remords et des frayeurs qui les agitent, lorsque la maladie ou quelque autre accident les force à soutenir l'affligeant spectacle de leurs misères ? De quelles transes, de quelles angoisses leur cœur n'est-il pas alors déchiré ? Il n'y a que le chrétien fidèle qui goûte, dès cette vie, un solide bonheur ; il porte son paradis dans son cœur, et les plus terribles épreuves ne sauraient lui ravir le bien dont la jouissance inonde son âme de consolations.

SOURCE : Alban Butler : Vie des Pères, Martyrs et autres principaux Saints… Tome VI – Traduction : Jean-François Godescard.

[1] Flavie Domitille, surnommée l’Ancienne, était fille de Domitille, sœur de l'Empereur Domitien. Ce prince la maria à saint Flavius-Clemens, son cousin-germain : lequel était fils d'un frère de Vespasien. Flavius-Clemens ayant été mis à mort pour la foi, Domitille fut citée en justice pour cause de religion, et sur le refus qu'elle fit de passer à de secondes noces, on la bannit dans l'ile Pandataria (aujourd'hui de Sainte-Marie) près de Pouzzoles. Il est probable qu'elle retourna à Rome, ou du moins sur le continent, lorsque Domitien eut été assassiné. Elle eut de saint Flavius-Clemens deux fils, auxquels on fit prendre les noms de Domitien et de Vespasien. Comme l'Empereur Domitien les destinait à être ses successeurs, il confia le soin de leur éducation au célèbre Quintilien. Flavie Domitille, dont nous venons de parler, était tante de sainte Flavie Domitille, vierge et martyre. Voyez Tillemont.

SOURCE : http://nouvl.evangelisation.free.fr/flavie_domitille.htm


Flavia Domitilla, Euphrosyna, & Theodora VV MM (RM)

2nd century. There are two saints named Flavia Domitilla: one is celebrated on May 12; this one is her niece. The two are sometimes confused. Today's saint was a great-niece of emperors Domitian and Titus, and also of Saint Flavius Clemens. She became a Christian and on refusing to marry a pagan was banished from Rome. She was eventually martyred at Terracina with her foster sisters Euprosyna and Theodora (Benedictines). In art, Flavia Domitilla is portrayed as a noblewoman with her two sisters, Euphrosyna and Theodora (Roeder).


Flavia Domitilla
A Christian Roman matron of the imperial family who lived towards the close of the first century. She was the third of three persons (mother, daughter, and grand-daughter) who bore the same name. The first of these was the wife of the Emperor Vespasian; the second was his daughter and sister to the Emperors Titus and Domitian; her daughter, the third Domitilla, married her mother's first cousin to Titus Flavius Clemens, a nephew of the Emperor Vespasian and first cousin to Titan and Domitian. From this union there were born two sons, who, while children, were adopted as his successors by Domitian and commanded to assume the names Vespasianus and Domitianus. It is quite probable that these two lads had been brought up as Christians by their pious mother, and the possibility thus presents itself that two Christian boys at the end of the first century were designated for the imperial purple in Rome. Their later fate is not known, as the Flavian line ended with Domitian. Clement, their father, was the emperor's colleague in the consular dignity, but had no sooner laid down his office than he was tried on charges of the most trivial character (ex tenuissimâ suspicione — Suetonius, Vita Domit.). Dio Cassius (lxvii, 14) says that husband and wife alike were guilty of atheism and practice of Jewish rites and customs. Such accusations, as is clear from the works of the Christian apologists, could have meant nothing else than that both had become Christians. Though doubts have been expressed, because of the silence of Christian tradition on the subject, as to whether Clement was a Christian, the affirmative view is considerably strengthened by the further accusation of Suetonius that he was a man of the most contemptible inactivity (contemptissimae inertiae). Such charge is easily explained on the ground that Clement found most of the duties of his office as consul so incompatible with Christian faith and practice as to render total abstention from public life almost an absolute necessity. In the case of Domitilla no doubt can remain, since De Rossi showed that the "Coemeterium Domitillae" (see EARLY CHRISTIAN CEMETERIES) was situated on ground belonging to the Flavia Domitilla who was banished for her faith, and that it was used as a Christian burial place as early as the first century. As a result of the accusations made against them Clement was put to death, and Flavia Domitilla was banished to the island of Pandataria in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Eusebius (Church History III.18; Chron. ad an. Abrahami, 2110), the spurious acts of Nereus and Achilles, and St. Jerome (Ep., CVIII, 7) represent Flavia Domitilla as the niece, not the wife of the consul Flavius Clemens, and say that her place of exile was Pontia, an island also situated in the Tyrrhenian Sea. These statements have given rise to the opinion that there were two Domitillas (aunt and niece) who were Christians, and latter generally referred to as Flavia Domitilla the Younger. Lightfoot has shown that this opinion, adopted by Tillemont and De Rossi and still maintained by many writers (among them Allard and Duchesne), is derived entirely from Eusebius who was led into this error by mistakes in transcription, or ambiguity of expression, in the sources which he used.

Healy, Patrick. "Flavia Domitilla." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 7 May 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06098b.htm>.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06098b.htm

Flavia Domitilla M (RM)

1st century. Flavia Domitilla was the wife of Titus Flavius Clemens, a Roman consul, and daughter of Emperor Domitian's sister. She was converted to Christianity and was banished to the island of Pandatania (Pandateria) in the Tyrrhenian Sea for her faith after her husband was martyred in 96 AD. A niece my marriage, also called Domitilla, was banished to the island of Ponza for her faith and may have been burned to death when she refused to sacrifice to the gods (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).


In art, Flavia Domitilla is portrayed as a noblewoman holding a palm, crowned by angels, with SS. Achilleus and Nereus (Roeder).


May 12

St. Flavia Domitilla, Virgin and Martyr

SHE was niece to the consul and martyr St. Flavius Clemens, being the daughter of his sister as Eusebius testifies; 1 consequently she was little niece of the Emperor Domitian, who, having put to death her illustrious uncle, banished her for her faith into Pontia. There she lived with her holy eunuchs, Nereus and Achilleus, in exercises of devotion, they all dwelling in separate cells which remained standing three hundred years after. St. Jerom tells us, that St. Paula, going from Rome to Jerusalem took this island in her way, visited them with respect and devotion, and by the sight of them was animated with fervour. That father calls her banishment a long martyrdom. Nerva and Trajan were, perhaps, unwilling to restore the relations of Domitian with the other exiles whom they recalled. The acts of SS. Nereus and Achilleus say that she returned to Terracina and was there burnt under Trajan, because she refused to sacrifice to idols. Her relics are kept together with those of SS. Nereus and Achilleus; who, though her servants here on earth, enjoy an equal honour and condition with her in glory. 2

This royal virgin found true happiness and joy in suffering for virtue, whilst worldly pomp and honours are only masks which often cover the basest slavery, and much inward bitterness. Sinners who seem the most fortunate in the eyes of the world, feel in their own breasts frequent returns of fear, anxiety, and remorse. They are only enemies to solitude and retirement, and to all serious and calm reflection, because they cannot bear to look into themselves, and tremble at the very sight of their own frightful wounds. To turn their eyes from themselves, they study to drown their faculties in a hurry of dissipation, business, or diversion. Nay, though nauseated and tired with a dull and tasteless repetition of follies, they choose to repeat them still, for fear of being left alone, at liberty to think of themselves. But what becomes of them when sickness, disasters, or a wakeful hour forces them to take a view of their own miserable state, and the dangers which hang over them? Their gaudy show of happiness is merely exterior, and only imposes upon others: but their pangs and agonies are interior: these they themselves feel. The servant of God, who in his sweet love enjoys an inward peace and comfort which the whole world cannot rob him of, carries his paradise within his own breast, whatever storms hover about him.

Note 1. B. 3, c. 18. [back]

Note 2. The elder Flavia Domitilla was niece to the Emperor Domitian, and daughter of his sister Domitilla. This sister he had given in marriage to his cousin-german St. Flavius Clemens, son to a brother of Vespasian. After his martyrdom, she was impeached for her faith; and, because she refused to marry another husband, banished to the isle Pandataria, now St. Mary’s near Puzzuolo. She probably returned to Rome, or at least to the continent, after the death of Domitian. She had by St. Clemens two sons, Vespasian and Domitian, whom that emperor destined to be his successors, and appointed the celebrated rhetorician Quintillian to be their preceptor. This virtuous lady was aunt to St. Domitilla, V. M. See Tillemont, Hist. Emp. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/5/122.html