In short

Saint Vitus, dont le nom est parfois rendu Guy ou Guido, était un martyr chrétien de Sicile. Son hagiographie survivante est une pure legend. The dates of his real life are unknown. It has long been linked to the Sicilian martyrs Modestus and Crescentia, but in early sources it is clear that these were originally different traditions which were later combined. The figures of Modestus and Crescentia are probably fictitious.

Saint Vitus

Saint Vitus, the legend

According to legend, Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia were martyrs under Diocletian. The oldest testimony to their veneration is offered by the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum” (ed. GB by Rossi-Louis Duchesne, 78: “In Sicilia, Viti, Modesti et Crescentiae”).

The fact that the note is found in the three most important manuscripts indicates that it was also found in the common copy of these, which appeared in the 5th century. The same Martyrologium has in the same light another mention of a Vitus at the head of a list of nine martyrs, with the indication of the place, in Eboli, "In Lucania", that is to say in the province Roman of this name in southern Italy between the Tuscan Sea and the Gulf of Taranto. It is easily possible that it is the same martyr Vitus in both cases.

The evidence of public veneration of the three saints in the 5th century proves that they are historical martyrs. There is, however, no historical account of them, nor of the time or details of their martyrdom.

During the sixth and seventh centuries a purely legendary account of their martyrdom appeared which appears to be based on other legends, particularly on the legend of Potitus, and adorned with stories of fantastic miracles. According to this legend, which has no apparent historical value, Vitus was a 7-year-old son of a senator from Lucania (some versions give him 12 years old). He resisted his father's attempts, which included various forms of torture, to distract him from his faith.

Il s’enfuit avec son tuteur Modestus et la femme de Modestus Crescentia, qui était la nounou de Vitus, en Lucanie. Il fut emmené de là à Rome pour chasser un démon qui s’était emparé d’un fils de l’empereur Dioclétien. Il a réussi l’exorcisme, mais, parce qu’il est resté fidèle au christianisme, lui et ses tuteurs ont été torturés. Par miracle, un ange ramena les trois en Lucanie, où ils moururent des tortures qu’ils avaient endurées. Trois jours plus tard, Vitus est apparu à une matrone distinguée nommée Florentia, qui a ensuite trouvé les corps et les a enterrés là où ils gisaient.

Vitus is the patron saint of the city of Rijeka in Croatia; the towns of Ciminna and Vita in Sicily; Forio on the island of Ischia, Campania; the contrada of San Vito, in Torella dei Lombardi, in Avellino; the town of Rapone, Italy; the Gooi region in the Netherlands; the Italian colony of San Vito in Costa Rica; and the city of Saint-Vith in Belgium. Various places in Austria and Bavaria are named Sankt Veit in his honor.

The saint's feast day is also the subject of a popular weather rhyme: "If St. Vitus' Day is rainy weather, it will rain for thirty days together." This rhyme often appears in publications such as almanacs; its origin is uncertain.

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Today, Christians celebrate Saint Vitus or Saint Guy. His life is a legend, and this varies from region to region in Europe. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #June 15 #saintvitus


Saint Vitus