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PETRUS EXORCISTA:  text is taken from Caxton's English version of the Golden Legend (Ellis edition)

Life of S. Peter the Exorcist or Deacon

Here followeth the Life of S. Peter the Exorcist or Deacon.

S. Peter the deacon was bound with chains of iron in prison of one Archemius whose daughter was vexed of a fiend, wherefore he was much sorrowful. Then said S. Peter to him that Jesu Christ should well heal her if he would believe in him. To whom Archemius answered: I marvel much of thee because thou sufferest so much for thy God and I see that he may not deliver thee. S. Peter said: He will well that I suffer for to deserve the glory that alway shall endure, but he can well deliver me if he would, and heal also thy daughter. To whom Archemius said: I shall double thy chains, and if then thy God may deliver thee, and also make my daughter whole, I shall believe in him. And when that was done, S. Peter, clad in white clothes, holding the sign of the cross, appeared to him, and then anon Archemius fell down to his feet and his daughter was made all whole. He then with all his house received baptism and he let out of prison all the christian men and all them that would be christian, and he with many other that believed were baptized of S. Marcellin priest. When the provost of Rome heard this he made all the christian men come tofore him, whom Archemius gathered together, kissing their hands, and said that who would come to be martyred should come hardily without dread, and he that dare not come, let him go in peace where he will. And when the provost knew for certain that S. Peter and S. Marcellin had baptized them, he made them come tofore him, and departed that one from that other, and put them so in prison. And S. Marcellin was laid naked upon broken glass, without light or water and S. Peter was imprisoned in a strait place wherein he was strained. Then came an angel from heaven and unbound S. Marcellin, and clad him, and brought him with Peter into the house of Archemius, because they should seven days comfort the people busily. After, when he found not Marcellin in prison whereas he had set him, he sent for Archemius and commanded him and his household to do sacrifice, and they would not obey to him. He put then him and his wife into a pit in the earth. Then when S. Marcellin and S. Peter heard tell the adventure of Archemius, they came to him and sung mass in the same pit with seven christian men that defended them, and after, they said to the paynims: We might well, if we would, deliver Archemius and hide ourselves, but we will do neither. Then the paynims smote Archemius with a sword through the body and killed him, and after, stoned to death his wife and his daughter. Then brought they S. Marcellin and S. Peter to the black isle and there beheaded them, which place is called now Candia, for their martyrdom, and thus they suffered martyrdom the year of grace seven hundred and eighty-seven, and they that smote off their heads saw their souls, adorned with roses and precious stones, borne up to heaven by angels. One Dorotheus, that was one of them that beheaded them, saw it, wherefore he became christian and lived after a holy life and after rested in our Lord.

© The segmented texts, annotations and audio files at are copyrighted by Laura Gibbs, 2006. No copyright is claimed for any images.