The Catholic Commentator

Feeling a bit feverish? Or the stone you are trying to shape into something artistic is not cooperating?

Perhaps a prayer to St. Castorius, who is the patron saint of sculptors, fever and cattle, might be in order.

Legend plays a large role in the life and even death of St. Castorius, who is know as one of the “four crowned martyrs” that include Caludius, Nicostratus and Symphorian. All four were carvers in Sirmium, which later became Mitrovica. Their works were apparently good enough to impress Diocletian, a Roman emperor during the third century and the early years of the fourth century.

Diocletian commissioned the four artists for several carvings, and apparently the works met with his approval. But trouble began to set in when he asked them to carve a statue of Aesculapius, a son of Apollo and a doctor of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. Based on their own Christian beliefs, the four carvers refused and ultimately they were imprisoned.

Lampadius, one of Diocletian’s officers, attempted to convince the artists to carve the desired statue but they continued to refuse. When Lampadius suddenly died, his relatives blamed the sculptors for his death and to appease the family, Diocletain had St. Castorius, Claudius, Nicostratus and Symphorian executed.

However, according to a different legend, the four were beaten to death in Rome with leaden whips, buried and later given their names by Pope Militiades. It is believed they are buried in the Four Crowns basilica.

To this day, however, confusion continues to reign regarding the “four crowned martyrs.” St. Castorius’ feast day is Nov. 8.