Saints Emeterius and Chelidonius

In Calahorra, Spain, the natal day Not their birthday but the day they were "born again" into Heaven of Saints Hemiterius and Cheledonius, martyrs and brothers. When they were soldiers encamped at the city of León in Gallaecia a storm of persecution arose. They were both taken to Calahorra, where for confessing the name of Christ they were put to a number of tortures and then received the crown of martyrdom. – Roman Martyrology for March 3

These two saints were brothers in the Roman army, stationed in Spain when Diocletian's persecution began. As Christians they were tortured and beheaded in the city of Calahorra. They are the patron saints of the city of Santander, Spain.

The various legends all say that upon their death the handkerchief of one brother and a ring of the other were taken up into the heavens. One would think that the ring and handkerchief would serve as attributes, but in most images they are identified only by their youth, their military garb, and the fact that there are two of them of similar countenance.

In the first picture at right it is possible that the thing in Emeterius's left hand could be a bit of cloth, but Chelidonius holds something that looks like a miniature ladder. There is no ladder in these martyrs' legends.

Prepared in 2018 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University.

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An 18th-century English engraving of the two saints. (Source: Wikimedia Commons.)


This statue is one of the few examples of St. Emeterius being portrayed alone, without his brother. (See the description page.)

DATES

  • Died in on the same day in 304
  • Feast day: March 3

NAMES

  • In Catalonia Emeterius's name is Sant Medir.

HAGIOGRAPHY