Introductions to Books of the Bible, and Roman Martyrology

I want to tie up some loose ends in this post.

Bible Book Introductions

From 2006-2008, I was writing for a website called I wrote introductions to the books of the Bible and Lectio Divina meditations on the Sunday readings. I also produced a database of saints based on the Roman Martyrology for the site. In 2009, eCatholicHub closed up shop and all the content I had produced was transferred to Catholic News Agency. Their Bible page still houses my introductions to biblical books.

Roman Martyrology

Old Book

CNA already had a saint database, so I’m not sure exactly how (or if) they used the Roman Martyrology data that I provided. I should explain that I did not translate the whole 2004 Martyrology. Rather, I used the Martyrology to piece together the most complete possible list of saints and blesseds. I referred to the Martyrology project in a few previous posts: here, and here, also here. A few years have passed, so quite a few new saints and blesseds would need to be added to a new edition. As far as I know, there is no current English translation of the Martyrology.

On that note, I also wanted to straighten out exactly what editions exist. The most important one is the 2004 editio typica (official) in Latin:

  • Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Martyrologium Romanum. Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2004. ISBN: 978-88-2097-210-3. 844 pp.

The Latin uses some very obscure abbreviations that took me a lot of toil to figure out. Some of that is took place in an interchange with Fr. Z and his readers.

The previous editio typica came out in 2001, but was quickly superseded by the 2004 edition. For the sake of completeness:

  • Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Martyrologium Romanum. Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001. 773 pp.

English translations of older editions:

  • O’Connell, J. B. The Roman Martyrology, in which are to be found the eulogies of the saints and blessed approved by the Sacred Congregation of Rites up to 1961. An English translation from the 4th ed. after the typical edition (1956) approved by Pope Benedict XV (1922). Westminster, MD: Newman, 1962. LCCN: 62-21497. 412 pp.
  • Collins, Raphael J. The Roman Martyrology: The 3d Turin ed., according to the original, complete with the proper eulogies of recent saints and offices. Westminster, MD: Newman, 1946. LCCN: 46-6139. 352 pp.
  • The Roman Martyrology, in accordance with the reforms of Pope Pius X; in which are to be found the eulogies of the saints and blessed approved by the Sacred Congregation of Rites up to the present time, with supplements for the Carmelite, Franciscan and Servite orders, and for the Society of Jesus. London: Burns, Oates and Washbourne, 1923. 516 pp.
  • The Roman Martyrology published by order of Gregory XIII, revised by the authority of Urban VIII, and Clement X. Afterwards, in the year 1749, augmented and corrected by Benedict XIV. Baltimore: John Murphy, 1916. (Based on the 1914 Latin text.) Online at

While not everyone reads the Roman Martyrology on a regular basis, it seems like it might be time for a complete English translation. I’d be happy to help, but I’m sure I’d need to consult some serious Latin experts to bring it to completion.

8 thoughts on “Introductions to Books of the Bible, and Roman Martyrology

  1. Terry H Jones

    Sorry if this shot in the dark seems presumptuous, but do you have any idea where I could order a copy of the 2004 Martyrlogy? I tried placing an order through Paxbook, but after 3 months of waiting I found out that they have shut down the site until at least next summer. They refer me to the Vatican publishing out (LEV), but I get they impression that getting an order shipped to a private individual might be a problem. Would you have any ideas?

    Thanks for your time.

    -Terry H Jones

  2. Jennifer G Miller

    I have been searching for ecatholichub for the Roman Martyrology translation, so I’m glad to see this explanation. I did enjoy while it was up–thanks for your work. I have the old Newman Press translation but I do hope someone tackles an English translation of the 2004 edition.

  3. catholicbiblestudent Post author

    Yes, it’s weird that the Roman Martyrology is so hard to come by, especially in translation. ICEL has not published a translation of the 2004 Martyrology yet, but it is in their work queue. I hope that they can get one out soon.

    As for ordering a copy of the Latin Martyrology, I would call your local Catholic seminary library and see how they got their copy. The librarian would likely be able to give a phone number or catalog website to get one. You might also put in a call to the USCCB bookstore and see if they can order one for you. The Martyrology is not cheap though!

  4. Veronica Brandt

    The Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2014 Catalog lists:
    Martyrologium Romanum ex decreto Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II instauratum auctoritate Ioannis Pauli PP. II promulgatum. Editio typica altera, 2004, pp. 848 [COD. 7210] 75,00

    Do you think it would be any use writing to the Catholic New Agency to ask if they could make your work available again? An up to date Martyrology in English would be so valuable. I’m using a copy from 1916 at the moment.

  5. Graeme Jolly obl OSB

    I’ve been reading with interest about your project to translate the content of 2004 Martyrology. How sad that it’s no longer available on line. A Benedictine novice and I are trying to put together a local Benedictine version of the martyrology in English but don’t have your linguistic skills! How would you feel about sharing the work you did?

  6. catholicbiblestudent Post author

    @Graeme: I should clarify that I did not translate the 2004 Martyrology, but only used it to put together a list of saints. The Martyrology itself includes a liturgical reading for each day. I have not translated these readings. Catholic News Agency owns the rights to the work I did so I can’t publish it on my own.

  7. catholicbiblestudent Post author

    I thought I should add a note on the status of the publication of the Roman Martyrology in English. It looks like ICEL did its homework and actually submitted a draft to the Vatican in 2006–ten years ago! It must be hung up in the approval process. Here’s the notice in ICEL’s 2013 report:

    In October 2001 the Congregation announced the publication of the Martyrologium
    Romanum, a project of some thirty years in preparation. Copies of the Latin text
    became available in November 2001. One Conference of Bishops in ICEL had formally
    requested that ICEL provide a translation and there were also informal inquiries from
    several religious communities. ICEL commissioned a base translator to provide a base
    text for review, which was completed in 2002.

    In 2004 a new Latin text of the Martyrologium Romanum was issued. In 2005 the base
    translator incorporated a translation of any changes and additions. The base translation
    has been reviewed and a report prepared on points of specific terminology that would require
    clarification prior to publication. The draft English manuscript as well as the report
    was sent to the Congregation in 2006.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *