d. LATE THIRD or early fourth century. Martyr. A poem by Damasus I (366-84) tells that Tarsicius was attacked by a pagan mob while carrying the sacrament, and accepted death for himself rather than defilement of the holy. Possibly a deacon who carried the Eucharist from the pope's Mass to the principal Roman churches as a sign of unity, he could have been an acolyte or layman appointed to bear the Eucharist to Christian prisoners.