Saint Chrysanthus came from a pagan family who had moved to Rome from Alexandria. He received a fine education, and among the books he read were those in which pagans discussed Christianity. The young man, however, wanted to read books written by Christians themselves. He finally managed to find a copy of the New Testament, which enlightened his rational soul.
Seeking someone to instruct him in the Holy Scriptures, he found the presbyter Carpophoros hiding from persecution, and received holy Baptism from him. After this, he began to preach the Gospel. Chrysanthus’ father tried to turn his son from Christianity, and finally married him to Daria, a priestess of Minerva.
Saint Chrysanthus managed to convert his wife to Christ, and the young couple mutually agreed to lead celibate lives. After the death of the father, they began to live in separate houses. Saint Chrysanthus converted several young men to Christ, and many pious women gathered around Saint Daria.
The people of Rome complained to the eparch Celerinus that Saints Chrysanthus and Daria were preaching celibacy and attracting too many young men and women to monasticism. Saint Chrysanthus was sent to the tribune Claudius for torture.
The torments, however, did not shake the bravery of the young martyr, since the power of God clearly aided him. Struck by this, the tribune Claudius himself came to believe in Christ and accepted holy Baptism together with his wife Hilaria, their sons Jason and Maurus, and all his household and soldiers. When news of this reached the emperor Numerian (283-284), he commanded them all to be executed. The Martyr Claudius was drowned in the sea, and his sons and soldiers were beheaded. Christians buried the bodies of the holy martyrs in a nearby cave, and Saint Hilaria constantly went there to pray. Once, they followed her and led her off for torture. The saint asked that they give her a few moments to pray, and as soon as she finished, she gave up her soul to God. A servant buried the saint in the cave beside her sons.
The torturers sent Saint Daria to a brothel, where she was protected by a lion sent by God. A certain man who tried to defile the saint was knocked to the ground and pinned down by the lion, but the lion did not kill him. The martyr preached to them about Christ and set them to the path of salvation.
They threw Saint Chrysanthus into a foul-smelling pit, into which all the filth of the city flowed. But a heavenly light shone on him, and the pit was filled with a sweet fragrance.
Then the emperor Numerian ordered Saints Chrysanthus and Daria to be turned over to the executioners. After many cruel tortures, the martyrs were buried alive in the ground.
In a cave near the place of execution, Christians began to gather to honor the anniversary of the saints’ martyrdom. They celebrated Church services and partook of the Holy Mysteries. Learning of this, the pagan authorities sealed the entrance to the cave, and those within received the crown of martyrdom. Two of these martyrs are known by name: the Presbyter Diodorus and the Deacon Marianus.