Feast of Saint Pancras

Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 13:30

Saint Pancras train station (copyright - istockphoto .com)

There is no reliable information about Saint Pancras, who gave his name to a very old church (see below) and thus to a borough and then a railway station in London (which is a direct route to Faversham).

The main source of his life is a very short account of his martyrdom. According to that, Saint Pancras was born to a wealthy Christian family somewhere in modern day Turkey. After his parents died, he moved to Rome with his guardian. Here they gave shelter to the many Christians being persecuted by the Emperor Diocletian, which eventually led to their arrest. According to the story, Diocletian hoped to persuade Pancras to repent, so that he could adopt him as his son (Pancras was only 14), but Saint Pancras held true to his faith. In anger, Diocletian had him beheaded and martyred around 287 AD. Saint Pancras was buried in the cemetery of Calepodius in Rome. 

Pancras became popular because of the miracles associated with his tomb and relics. An oath on his relics was seen as so impressive that it could be held up in court as proof of testimony. Thus his relics were distributed throughout the Christian world including far away places like Britain.

The dedication to an early Roman saint suggests that Saint Pancras (Old) church was first built in earlier times and probably around 314AD. Despite a major restoration in 1848, which added the 'Norman' porch, it is still possible to see Roman bricks. The large Saint Pancras New Church opposite Euston Station opened in 1822 as the successor to the 'Old' church, so it stopped being used for a while. However by 1863 as the population grew, Saint Pancras Old Church was needed again and today will have a packed congregation.  

Saint Pancras is the patron saint of children, jobs and health.

May Saint Pancras inspire us to always hold true to our faith. 

Saint Pancras, pray for us; Saint Jude, pray for us. 

Saint Pancras Old Parish Church (photo - Matthew Betts)