I got to clicking around the internet, looking at several Roman senators whose feasts are on January 20. I was making the odd connection between the feast of these martyred Roman senators and the American presidential inauguration day, but something more fun came to my attention. More on that in a moment, but first, let's think about saints, senators, and presidents. In the last half century, only four members of the US Senate have made it to the Oval Office.
1. JFK -- martyr, but not a saint
2. LBJ -- definitely not a saint
3. Richard Nixon -- ditto
4. Barack Obama -- insert your own view here
The four martyred senators celebrated on January 20 are St. Bassus, St. Basilides, St. Eutyches, and St. Eusebius. I don't know anything about Bassus' execution except that he was tortured before they killed him. Basilides was tortured, de-limbed and thrown in a pit to bleed to death. Eusebius was tortured, de-limbed and hung up to bleed to death. I figure (all things being equal) that Eusebius would have bled out faster just because of gravity. While I looked for Eutyches, I landed on a page listing 160 individual saints martyred by Diocletian, as well as several aggregates of martyred saints, including the Martyrs of Lichfield, Rome, Tarsus, Trier, Via Lavicana, and the Salarian Way. And let us not forget the Four Crowned Martyrs, the Guardians of the Holy Scriptures, and most especially the Innumerable Martyrs of Saragossa.
That got me to thinking. Diocletian was neither a senator nor a saint, but if he is responsible for more than 160 other people becoming saints -- hell, if he's responsible for innumerable people becoming saints -- then he should probably have a feast day too. And what better day than the feast of the senators he martyred, those senators after all being senators and therefore unlikely to be saints but for their martyrdom.
Happy Diocletian Day.