Unfortunately, these labours of faith were discovered by the authorities. The prefect himself sent for them, calling them to give worship and reverence to his gods.

When they had withheld their adoration, the prefect had Valerian and Tiburtius beheaded, while Maximus was beaten to death.

Cecilia's martyrdom was to be more gruesome:

She was to be suffocated in the bathroom of her own home. This was immediately heated to furnace temperature, and Cecilia placed inside.

To the fear and astonishment of the soldier, she remained unharmed. The prefect then detailed a soldier to cut off her head. The man struck at her neck three times.

Cecilia fell to the ground, but she did not die, and for three days miraculously remained alive. (Catholic Book of Knowledge)

It is said that those who came to see her over these three days were in awe, and came to give up their pagan gods to become Christians.

Upon her death, Cecilia's body was laid to rest in the catacombs. Later, her remains were moved to the church bearing her name in Trastevere in the city of Rome.

While repairs were being made to this church in 1599, her body was found to be whole and uncorrupted.

Following the present Roman calendar, St. Cecilia's feast day is celebrated on November 22. She is a patron saint of music and musicians (especially liturgical); this has its origin from the story of her ignoring her wedding celebrations and instead, singing God's praises in her heart.

In sacred art, Cecilia is often portrayed playing a pipe organ. Though they were not really in existence during her time, Cecilia is often portrayed with this instrument because it has been the Church's preference for liturgical music over many years.

Catholic Book of Knowledge, Rev. Leonard Boase, SJ (Ed), Vol. 2, Chicago; Catholic Home Press Inc., p. 173

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone (Eds). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974.

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