Pontifical Academy of Martyrs

Pontifical Academy of Martyrs
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The Pontifical Academy of Martyrs or Pontificia Academia Cultorum Martyrum (original founded as the Collegium Cultorum Martyrum) is an academic honorary society established in Rome by the Catholic Church for the advancement of the cult of saints and martyrs, the promotion and worship of the saints and the study of related early Christian history[1] including the catacombs.

Is operates with guidance and support from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the Roman Curia and is one of the ten such Pontifical Academies established by the Holy See.



The Academy was established on 2 February 1879 by Mariano Armellini, Adolfo Hytreck, Orazio Marucchi and Enrico Stevenson (four distinguished scholars of sacred antiquity) and the Papal Academy, in conjunction with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments [2].


The Academy is tasked with promoting the cult of the Holy Martyrs and increasing, through study, knowledge of the saints including examples of Witnesses of the Faith.

It is also responsible for the monuments to these saints from the first centuries of Christianity, including the catacombs beneath Rome. The Academy organises and promotes celebrations of ancient Christian cemeteries, the catacombs and other sacred places, as well as religious functions and archaeological conferences. To this end it works closely with the Pontifical Academy of Archaeology.

The Academy holds at least two General Meetings each year, close to the Papal Institute of Christian Archaeology and the Collegio Teutonico in The Vatican.

The Papal Academy "Cultorum Martyrum" supports also, during Lent, the unwinding of the ritual stand in honour of Carlo Respighi, Magister from 1931 until 1947.

Membership and leadership

The Academy consists of Sodales and Associates of both sexes. At the age of 80 a Sodales becomes an Emeritus. Sodales who become Cardinal or Bishops are appointed Defences.

The Academy's administrator is referred to as the Magister; an office appointed (and renewed) by the Pope. The Magister, in accordance with the Academy's Guiding Advice, can affiliate the Academy with other Pontifical Academies which have business related to a particular Martyrs' Sanctuary.

Its current Magister is Fabrizio Bisconti[3].

See also



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