Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated – the world was not worthy of them.
Sixtus was martyred in 258 at a time when the Roman persecution of Christians was at its height. He was captured on 6 August by Roman soldiers whilst preaching to a group of Christians on the Appian Way, Rome. It is not certain whether he was put to death immediately or whether he was first taken away for questioning, but Sixtus was killed by the sword in the same place as he was captured. Six other Christians, Felicissimus, Agapitus and four deacons, were martyred with him.
Sixtus’ body was buried in the cemetery of Callistus and his death became one of the most celebrated of the early Church in Rome.
O Holy Spirit, Who, in all ages hast comforted and strengthened martyrs and confessors; Who hast ever been the sustaining comfort and sweet refreshment of the sorrowful and the suffering; Who sheddest abroad love, joy and peace, in the hearts of the faithful and obedient followers of Christ; grant that we may be filled with all the fullness of Thy gifts of grace; that, by Thy holy inspiration, we may think those things that be good, and by Thy merciful guiding, may perform the same. Amen.