Saint Cecilia

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Saint Cecilia
Guercino - St. Cecilia .jpg
Saint Cecilia playing the pipe organ
Virgin and Martyr
Born200–230 AD
Rome
Died176–180 or 222–235 AD [1]
Sicily
Major shrine Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome
Feast November 22
Attributes Flute, organ, roses, violin, harp, Baritone harpsichord, songbird, singing
Patronage Hymns, great musicians, poets; Albi, France; Archdiocese of Omaha; Mar del Plata, Argentina, Pipe organs

Saint Cecilia (Latin : Sancta Caecilia), also referred to as Saint Cecelia, is a Roman martyr venerated in Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican churches. She became the patron of music and musicians, it being written that, as the musicians played at her wedding, Cecilia "sang in her heart to the Lord". [2] [3] Musical compositions are dedicated to her, and her feast, on 22 November [4] , is the occasion of concerts and musical festivals.

Contents

St Cecilia is one of several virgin martyrs commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass in the Latin Church. The church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, founded in the 3rd century by Pope Urban I, is believed to be on the site of the house where she lived and died.

Life

Saints Cecilia, Valerian, and Tiburtius by Botticini CeciliaValerianTiburtius.jpg
Saints Cecilia, Valerian, and Tiburtius by Botticini

It is popularly supposed that Cecilia was a noble lady of Rome [3] who, with her husband Valerian, his brother Tiburtius, and a Roman soldier named Maximus, suffered martyrdom in about 230, under the Emperor Alexander Severus. [5] [6] Giovanni Battista de Rossi, however, argues that instead she perished in Sicily under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius between 176 and 180, citing the report of Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitiers (d. 600). [7]

According to the story, despite her vow of virginity, she was forced by her parents to marry a pagan nobleman named Valerian. During the wedding, Cecilia sat apart singing to God in her heart, and for that she was later declared the saint of musicians. [3] When the time came for her marriage to be consummated, Cecilia told Valerian that watching over her was an angel of the Lord, who would punish him if he sexually violated her but would love him if he respected her virginity. When Valerian asked to see the angel, Cecilia replied that he could if he would go to the third milestone on the Via Appia and be baptized by Pope Urban I. After following Cecilia's advice, he saw the angel standing beside her, crowning her with a chaplet of roses and lilies. [3]

The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia by Raphael Bologna Pinacoteca Nazionale - Rafael Santi (1483-1520) - Heilige Cecilia in extase met Paulus, Johannes (evangelist), Augustinus en Maria Magdalena - 26-04-2012 9-13-18.jpg
The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia by Raphael

The martyrdom of Cecilia is said to have followed that of her husband Valerian and his brother at the hands of the prefect Turcius Almachius. [8] The legend about Cecilia's death says that after being struck three times on the neck with a sword, she lived for three days, and asked the pope to convert her home into a church. [9]

Cecilia was buried in the Catacomb of Callixtus, and later transferred to the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. In 1599, her body was found still incorrupt, seeming to be asleep. [3]

Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, although some elements of the stories recounted about her do not appear in the source material. [9] According to Johann Peter Kirsch, the existence of the martyr is a historical fact, while some details bear the mark of a pious romance, like many other similar accounts compiled in the fifth and sixth century. The relation between Cecilia and Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, mentioned in the Acts of the Martyrs, has some historical foundation. Her feast day has been celebrated since about the fourth century. [10] There is no mention of Cecilia in the Depositio Martyrum , but there is a record of an early Roman church founded by a lady of this name, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. [11]

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

The church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is reputedly built on the site of the house in which she lived. The original church was constructed in the fourth century; during the ninth century, Pope Paschal I had remains which were supposedly hers buried there. In 1599, while leading a renovation of the church, Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati had the remains, which he reported to be incorrupt, excavated and reburied. [12]

Meaning of the name 'Cecilia'

The name "Cecilia" applied generally to Roman women who belonged to the plebeian clan of the Caecilii. Legends and hagiographies, mistaking it for a personal name, suggest fanciful etymologies. Among those cited by Chaucer in "The Second Nun's Tale" are: lily of heaven, the way for the blind, contemplation of heaven and the active life, as if lacking in blindness, and a heaven for people to gaze upon. [13]

Patroness of musicians

Orazio Gentileschi and Giovanni Lanfranco, Saint Cecilia and an Angel, c. 1617-1618 and c. 1621-1627, National Gallery of Art Orazio Gentileschi and Giovanni Lanfranco, Saint Cecilia and an Angel, c. 1617-1618 and c. 1621-1627, NGA 46172.jpg
Orazio Gentileschi and Giovanni Lanfranco, Saint Cecilia and an Angel, c. 1617-1618 and c. 1621-1627, National Gallery of Art

The first record of a music festival in her honor was held at Évreux in Normandy in 1570. [14]

The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome is one of the oldest musical institutions in the world. It was founded by the papal bull, Ratione congruit, issued by Sixtus V in 1585, which invoked two saints prominent in Western musical history: Gregory the Great, after whom Gregorian chant is named, and Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music.

Her feast day became an occasion for musical concerts and festivals that occasioned well-known poems by John Dryden and Alexander Pope [15] and music by Henry Purcell ( Ode to St. Cecilia ); several oratorios by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (In honorem Caeciliae, Valeriani et Tiburtij canticum; and several versions of Caecilia virgo et martyr to libretti probably written by Philippe Goibaut); George Frideric Handel ( Ode for St. Cecilia's Day ; Alexander's Feast ); Charles Gounod ( St. Cecilia Mass ); as well as Benjamin Britten, who was born on her feast day ( Hymn to St Cecilia , based on a poem by W. H. Auden). Herbert Howells' A Hymn to Saint Cecilia has words by Ursula Vaughan Williams; Gerald Finzi's "For Saint Cecilia", Op. 30, was set to verses written by Edmund Blunden; Michael Hurd's 1966 composition "A Hymn to Saint Cecilia" [16] sets John Dryden's poem; and Frederik Magle's Cantata to Saint Cecilia is based on the history of Cecilia. [17] The Heavenly Life, a poem from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (which Gustav Mahler used in his Symphony No. 4 ) mentions that "Cecilia and all her relations make excellent court musicians."

From the name of Cecilia comes Cecyliada, the name of festival of sacred, choral and contemporary music, held from 1994 in Police, Poland.

Legacy

The Martyrdom of St Cecilia by Carlo Saraceni (c. 1610) Carlo Saraceni - The Martyrdom of St Cecilia - WGA20831.jpg
The Martyrdom of St Cecilia by Carlo Saraceni (c. 1610)

Cecilia symbolizes the central role of music in the liturgy. [9]

The Cistercian nuns of the convent nearby Santa Cecilia in Trastevere shear lambs' wool to be woven in the palliums of new metropolitan archbishops. The lambs are raised by the Trappists of the Abbey Tre Fontane in Rome. The lambs are blessed by the Pope every January 21, the Feast of Saint Agnes. The pallia are given by the Pope to the new metropolitan archbishops on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29.

Located on the Isle of Wight, St. Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde was founded in 1882. The nuns live a traditional monastic life of prayer and work, and study in accordance with the ancient Rule of St. Benedict. [18]

The famous luthier Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume produces a line of violin and viola under the name St. Cécile with a decal stamped on the upper back. [19]

Iconography

Cecilia is frequently depicted playing a viola, a small organ, or other musical instrument, [9] evidently to express what was often attributed to her, namely that while the musicians played at her nuptials, she sang in her heart to God, though the organ may be attributed to her erroneously, [10] as the result of a mistranslation. [20]

A miniature Saint Cecilia beneath Worcester Cathedral was featured on the reverse side of the Sir Edward Elgar £20 banknote, which was withdrawn by the Bank of England in 2010.

In music

Renaissance, baroque and classical music

Contemporary music

In literature

See also

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References

  1. Dom Gaspar LeFebvre, O.S.B. (1952). The Saint Andrew Missal, with Vespers for Sundays and Feasts. Saint Paul, MN: E. M. Lohmann Co. p. 1685.
  2. Lovewell, Bertha Ellen. The Life of St. Cecilia, Yale Studies in English, Lamson, Wolffe, and Company, Boston, 1898
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Fr. Paolo O. Pirlo, SHMI (1997). "St. Cecilia". My First Book of Saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate - Quality Catholic Publications. pp. 280–282. ISBN   978-971-91595-4-4.
  4. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cecilia, Saint"  . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  5. Fuller, Osgood Eaton: Brave Men and Women. BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2008, p. 272. ISBN   0-554-34122-0.
  6. Mason, Daniel Gregory (1917). A dictionary-index of musicians (eds. F. H. Martens, M. W. Cochran, and W. D. Darby). New York: National Society of Music. p. 74.
  7. Rom. sott. ii. 147.
  8. The Life of Saint Cecilia Archived 2007-10-11 at the Wayback Machine Golden Legend article
  9. 1 2 3 4 Foley, Leonard, O.F.M., revised by Pat McCloskey. "Saint of the Day: Saint Cecilia". Franciscan Media]. ISBN   978-0-86716-887-7.
  10. 1 2 Kirsch, Johann Peter. "St. Cecilia", The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 24 April 2013.
  11. "Feast: November 22".
  12. Goodson, Caroline J. (February 2007). "Material memory: rebuilding the basilica of S. Cecilia in Trastevere". Early Medieval Europe. 15: 2–34. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0254.2007.00197.x.
  13. Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, The Second Nun's Tale, prologue, 85–119. As the rubric to these lines declare, the nun draws her etymologies from the Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine (Jacobus Januensis - James of Genoa - in the rubric).
  14. "Academyofsaintcecilia.com".
  15. Ode on St. Cecilia's Day (composed 1711) at, for example, www.PoemHunter.com
  16. Published by Novello & Co., HL.14013968
  17. "En bemærkelsesværdig cd" (in Danish). Udfordringen. 29 January 2004. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  18. "St. Cecilia's Abbey".
  19. "J.B. Vuillaume: soloist violin St. Cecile des Thernes".
  20. Verspaandonk, J. A. J. M. (1975). Het hemels prentenboek: Devotie- en bidprentjes vanaf de 17e eeuw tot het begin van de 20e eeuw. Hilversum: Gooi en Sticht. p. 15.
  21. "Judith Shatin - The Passion of St. Cecilia".
  22. noochinator (17 April 2015). "Judith Shatin: Fantasy on Saint Cecilia (1st mvt.) (Gayle Martin, piano)" via YouTube.
  23. "Judith Shatin - Fantasy on St. Cecilia".
  24. "Alfred Momotenko - Cecilia".
  25. "Arvo Pärt: Cecilia, vergine romana". L'Osservatore Romano (in Italian). Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  26. "Foo Fighters release surprise new EP, Saint Cecilia, for free download". 23 November 2015.
  27. "Girls" . Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  28. Hern, Raoul; ez; Fri.; Nov. 20; 2009. "All Times Through Paradise". www.austinchronicle.com. Retrieved 2019-08-19.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

Further reading