(Acta Martyrum) is
(1) with the Protestant a catalogue or list of those who have suffered martyrdom for their religion, including the history of their lives and sufferings; but
(2) with those who believe in the adoration and intercession of saints and martyrs, a calendar of martyrs and other saints arranged in the order of months and days, and intended partly to be read in the public services of the Church, partly for the guidance of the devotion of the faithful towards the saints and martyrs. The use of the martyrology is common both to the Latin and Greek Churches. In the latter it is called Menologion (q.v.).
Eusebius of Caesarea was the first who wrote an extensive history of the Christian martyrs; it was translated into Latin by St. Jerome, but has been long irrecoverably lost. St. Jerome's own work on the same subject — the oldest one now extant — is regarded as the great martyrology of the Latin Church [it is published in the eleventh volume of the collected edition of his works by Vallars]; but it is little used in comparison with later compilations of idle legends and pretended miracles. The latest Greek martyrology or menology extant dates from the 9th century. It was prepared by order of emperor Basilius Macedo (867-886), and was published in 1727 by cardinal Urbini. In the mediaeval period, martyrologies were issued in England by Venerable Bede; in France by Florus, Ado, and Usuard; and in Germany by St. Gall, Nolter, and Rabanus Maurus. The so-called "Roman Martyrology" (Martyrologium Romanum) is designed for the entire Church, both East and West, and was published by authority of Gregory XIII, with a critical commentary by the celebrated cardinal Baronius, in 1586. A still more critical edition was issued by the learned Jesuit Herebert Rosweid. The Protestant Church possesses many accounts of martyrs; but as a true martyrology in English, from a Protestant stand-point, we may mention Fox's Book of Martyrs. SEE MARTYRS; SEE MARTYRDOM.
Martyrology is (3) also applied to the painted or written catalogues in the Roman churches, containing the foundations, obits, prayers, and masses to be said each day. SEE ACTA MARTYRUM.