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Friday, 25 August 2017

Saint Patricia of Naples

Patron saint performs a miracle every week


The Chapel of Saint Patricia inside the Church of  San Gregorio Armeno in the centre of Naples
The Chapel of Saint Patricia inside the Church of
San Gregorio Armeno in the centre of Naples
The feast day of Saint Patricia is celebrated every year in Naples on this day.

The saint, who is also sometimes referred to as Patricia of Constantinople, is one of a long list of patron saints of Naples.

She is less well known than San Gennaro, also a patron saint of the city, who attracts crowds to Naples Cathedral three times a year to witness the miracle of a small sample of his blood turning to liquid.

But Saint Patricia’s blood, which is kept in the Church of San Gregorio Armeno, is said to undergo the same miraculous transformation every Tuesday morning as well as on August 25 each year - her feast day - which was believed to be the day she died in 665 AD.

Saint Patricia was a noble woman, who may have been descended from St Constantine the Great.

Saint Patricia
Saint Patricia
She was a devout virgin and travelled to Rome to become a nun in order to escape an arranged marriage.  She received the veil – symbolising her acceptance into the monastic community – from Pope Liberius.

When her wealthy father died, she returned to Constantinople and, renouncing any claim to the imperial crown, distributed her wealth among the poor.

She was planning to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but was shipwrecked after a terrible storm on to a small island off the coast of Naples, which is now the site of Castel dell’Ovo.

Patricia died shortly afterwards from disease, but according to a legend, a man pulled out one of her teeth after her death, which caused her body to haemorrhage. Her devoted followers collected the blood, which they preserved.

Patricia’s remains were transferred in the 19th century to the monastery of San Gregorio Armeno in Naples.

Every Tuesday morning, Saint Patricia’s blood liquefies after the service at the Church of San Gregorio, as it does on August 25, her feast day.

Patricia’s remains lie inside a coffin at a side altar in the church, but during Tuesday mass, a vial of her blood is hung from the main altar covered with a cloth. Worshippers queue up to kiss the receptacle containing the blood, which is said to turn into a dark liquid.

San Gennaro performs his miracle at the Duomo in Naples three times a year but attracts a lot more publicity.

Via San Gregorio Armeno is famous for its stalls selling hand-made presepi
Via San Gregorio Armeno is famous for
its stalls selling hand-made presepi
Travel tip:

The Church of San Gregorio Armeno, where Saint Patricia’s remains are kept, is in Via San Gregorio Armeno, a street well-known for its stalls of hand-made presepi - Christmas crib scenes - which are for sale all the year round. Construction of the Baroque Church began in the 16th century and much of the decoration was done by Luca Giordano, in particular the cupola, which is painted with the Glory of San Gregorio.

Travel tip:

The Duomo in Naples, in Via Duomo, off Via Tribunali, was built over the ruins of two earlier Christian churches for Charles I of Anjou at the end of the 13th century. One of the main attractions inside is the Royal Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro, which contains many precious works of art. The Duomo is also sometimes referred to as Cattedrale di San Gennaro. It is open to the public from 8.30am to 1.30pm and 2.30pm to 8pm Monday to Saturday and 8.30pm to 1.30pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm on Sundays.



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