Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Vitus, patron saint of animal attacks, oversleeping, being struck by lightening, and bohemia (Just like St. Norbert! But with 100% less spider). I’ll be including him in my prayers from now on, because you just never know. And because I sleep a LOT, like a truly odd amount of time, so the whole overlseeping thing really appeals to me.
Getting on with it– like a lot of early saints, not much is known about St. Vitus. He is revered as a martyr because of accounts of public veneration dating back to the fifth century. His story centers around tradition and legend, which holds that he ran away from home after his father tried to corrupt his faith. His tutor Modestus, his tutor’s wife Cresentia, and he escaped to Lucania, in Southern Italy. From there he was taken to Rome by the emperor Diocletian, where he exorcized the ruler’s son of a demon.
Though he had cured Diocletian’s son, St. Vitus was martyred during one of Diocletian’s persecutions of the Catholics. According to one source, during this, he, along with Modestus and Cresentia were torn apart on an iron horse. I would post pictures, but there is really no way to portray this accurately (and, because this is the internet, the search results are mostly porn). In what appeared to be retribution for the Great Persecution, the Imperial Palace was set on fire. A man named Galerius convinced Diocletian that Christians had conspired with imperial eunuchs in the arson. According to Wikipedia:
An investigation was commissioned, but no responsible party was found. Executions followed anyway, and the palace eunuchs Dorotheus and Gorgonius were executed. One individual, Peter Cubicularius, was stripped, raised high, and scourged. Salt and vinegar were poured in his wounds, and he was slowly boiled over an open flame. The executions continued until at least 24 April 303, when six individuals, including the bishop Anthimus, were decapitated. A second fire occurred sixteen days after the first
After all that torture and killing, they never found the culprit. Nobody hit the snooze, ok?
- St. Vitus’ Vehement Verisimilitude (pragueabroad.wordpress.com)
- And other saints that people pray to, but know nothing about.
- The patron saints of uncontrolled decompression
- St Barnabas and death from above