December 13rd

"Santa Lucia, il giorno più corto che ci sia"

Although it is not so (the shortest day of the year is 21st or 22nd December), this Italian rhymed proverbis nice and helps us to remember a loved and revered Saint in many cities of Italy and Europe. Lucia was born in Sicily, Siracusa, in the year 281. Her father died quite young. Her young mother Eutichia suffered from severe bleeding so Lucia decided to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Agatha in Catania to implore her mother recovery. But Agatha appeared in a dream telling Lucia that she had the power to heal her mother. Simultaneously, the mother of Lucia healed from her sickness. When she returned to Siracusa, Lucia decided to devote herself to God, giving all her possessions to the poor and refusing to marry to her promised young countryman. But he got very  angry and denounced her to the prefect of the city on charges of being Christian. It occurred during the last  most ferocious persecution of Christians by Diocletian. The young woman was brought to trial, during which she was asked to renounce her Christian faith, but in front of  her disagreement, she was tortured (the eyes were also torn, was thrown into the flames, she was made a sword pierce in her throat ) and was sentenced to death by decapitation, on the 13th December 304. The body of Lucia was buried in Siracusa, in the catacombs that are in her name, and over her tomb it was built a church, that is today destination of many pilgrimages. Saint Lucia became the patron saint of the city. Her body remained in Siracusa until 1039, when she was transferred to Constantinopoli to be protected by the Saracens. In 1204 the Venetians carried her  to the monastery of Saint George and Saint Lucia who were elected co-patron saint of Venice. A large church was also built and her  body was kept there until 1863, when it was decided to demolish the church to build the railway-station (which has the name of Saint Lucia). Since then, the body of the saint is preserved in Venice in the church of Saints Geremia and Lucia, but some of hers relics are scattered in many cities of Italy and of Europe, and this explains why the cult of Saint Lucia has spread also in the Nordic countries.

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Created by Andrea Poidomani