Sts. Vitalis and Valeria
Sts. Vitalis and Valeria, a married couple, were both martyred for their faith in the early Church.
They were wealthy—Vitalis might have been a soldier of rank—and were parents of Sts. Gervase and Protase, brothers who were both later martyred as well. The family lived in Milan at a time when Christians were being actively persecuted.
Vitalis visited a fellow Christian who had been arrested and sentenced to death. When Vitalis encouraged him to remain steadfast, he was suspected of also being a Christian and was arrested. He declared his faith and was tortured and buried alive. This image shows his martyrdom, with St. Valeria depicted in the bottom left corner.
Later, the pope organized a group of people to collect bodies of martyrs who had been recently killed, and to bury them in the catacombs. Valeria was asked to assist with this work.
When she was discovered recovering bodies of martyrs, she professed her faith and was tortured and beheaded. Her body was then gathered and buried in the catacombs with other martyrs.
The relics of both Sts. Vitalis and Valeria rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica.
Sts. Vitalis and Valeria, the husband and wife who both died for professing their faith, pray for us!