Today we visit the church of Santi Marcellino e Pietro. Saint Marcellinus, a priest, and Saint Peter, an exorcist, suffered under the the Diocletian persecutions. While in prison, Peter offered to free his pagan jailer’s daughter from an evil spirit that haunted her.
The jailer told Peter to free himself if his God was so powerful. That night Peter and Marcellinus were miraculously freed from the prison. The jailer, along with his entire family, converted to Christianity and were Baptized by Marcellinus.
Marcellino and Peter were again captured and martyred around the year 304. They were taken into a forest and beheaded privately so that the Christians could not find their burial place. Through revelation, two Christian women found the bodies and brought them back into Rome. They were buried in the catacombs on Via Labicana. Constantine built a basilica over the tomb and dedicated it Titulus Marcellini et Petri. It became one of the first twenty-five parishes of Rome. We remember the two martyrs in Eucharistic Prayer I during Mass.
The church has been restored several times over the years. The current structure dates to 1751 when Pope Benedict XIV had it completely rebuilt. As Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, he was the titular of this church.
The relics of Saints Marcellinus and Peter were moved to Germany. Today, relics of another martyr, Saint Marcia, are located under the altar.