Saint Nicomedes

Aug 11, 2021 / Written by: Tonia Long

Feast September 15

Priest and Martyr

Little is known of the early life of this heroic Christian martyr. What can be known for sure is derived from the historical texts of Holy Mother Church as follows.

Early Christian martyrs
Stained glass depiction of scene common in the days of the early Christian martyrs and the time of St. Nicomedes. Stained glass window in St. Catherine’s Church in Honfleur, France.

The Roman Martyrologium and the historical Martyrologies of Bede and his imitators place St. Nicomedes’ feast date on September 15.

The Gregorian Sacramentary contains under the same date the orations for his Mass. A titular church of Rome, mentioned in the fifth century, was dedicated to him (titulus S. Nicomedis). Three seventh-century Itineraries make explicit reference to his grave, and Pope Adrian I restored the church built over it (De Rossi, Roma Sotterranea, I, 178–79).

The saint is without doubt a martyr of the Roman Church.

St. Nicomedes was a Roman Catholic priest who was arrested for helping martyrs and for giving them Christian burial. One tradition states that he buried the remains of St. Felicula and was arrested.

As punishment for his “crimes” he was beaten to death with whips and buried in the catacomb on the Via Nomentana, about 90 A.D. Some of his relics have been transferred to churches in Milan and Parma, Italy.

Holy Line Up
A holy “line up” including: St. Dominic, St. Nicomèdes, Our Lady and Jesus, St. Claude and St. Fiacre. These sculptures are found in the interior of the Chapelle de Kermaria-an-Isquit in France.

From the much-referenced Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73)*:

HE was a holy priest at Rome, who was apprehended in the persecution of Domitian for his assiduity in assisting the martyrs in their conflicts, and for interring their bodies. Refusing constantly to sacrifice to idols, he was beaten to death with clubs about the year 90. His tomb was on the road to Nomento, and he is commemorated on this day in the sacramentary of St. Gregory the Great, and in the Martyrologies of St. Jerome, Bede, &c. See the Acts of SS. Nereus and Achilleus.


Stay close to Your people, O Lord, so that the brilliant merits of Your blessed martyr Nicomedes may help us, and his prayers win for us Your unfailing mercy. Through our Lord . . .

*[Volume IX: September. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.]

Header Image: Window in the parish church of St. Remigius, Dunston, Norfolk, with stained glass by George King representing St. Nicomedes. The window was made in 1874 but the saint's head is late fourteenth century.