Saint Lucia (Saint Lucy)
Saint Lucy, by Niccolò di Segna mid 14th-century Sienese painting, circa 1340. The saint holds the dagger with which she was ultimately executed and the lamp, her attribute.
|Virgin and Martyr|
|Born||c. 283 |
Syracuse, Roman Empire
Syracuse, Western Roman Empire
|Beatified||Saint Lucy was beatified on December 26 beatified_place =|
|Major shrine||San Geremia, Venice|
|Attributes||cord; eyes; eyes on a dish; lamp; swords; woman hitched to a yoke of oxen; woman in the company of Saint Agatha, Saint Agnes of Rome, Barbara, Catherine of Alexandria, and Saint Thecla; woman kneeling before the tomb of Saint Agatha|
|Patronage||The blind; martyrs; Perugia, Italy; Mtarfa, Malta; epidemics; salesmen; Syracuse, Italy; throat infections; writers; Sasmuan, Pampanga Philippines|
Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), also known as Saint Lucy or Saint Lucia (Latin : Sancta Lucia), was a Christian martyr who died during the Diocletianic Persecution. She is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Churches. She is one of eight women along with the Blessed Virgin Mary who are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. Her feast day, known as Saint Lucy's Day, is celebrated in the West on 13 December. St. Lucia of Syracuse was honored in the Middle Ages and remained a well-known saint in early modern England.
A martyr is a person who is killed because of their testimony of Jesus and God. In years of the early church, this often occurred through death by sawing, stoning, crucifixion, burning at the stake or other forms of torture and capital punishment. The word "martyr" comes from the Koine word -> μάρτυς, mártys, which means "witness" or "testimony".
The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. In 303, the Emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding Christians' legal rights and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. Later edicts targeted the clergy and demanded universal sacrifice, ordering all inhabitants to sacrifice to the gods. The persecution varied in intensity across the empire—weakest in Gaul and Britain, where only the first edict was applied, and strongest in the Eastern provinces. Persecutory laws were nullified by different emperors at different times, but Constantine and Licinius's Edict of Milan (313) has traditionally marked the end of the persecution.
A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the context and denomination. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, and Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation; official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently veneration, is given to some saints through the process of canonization in the Catholic Church or glorification in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
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The oldest record of her story comes from the fifth-century Acts of the Martyrs. [ how? ] in Syracuse, Sicily, in the year 304 during the Diocletianic Persecution. Her veneration spread to Rome, and by the 6th century to the whole Church. The oldest archaeological evidence comes from the Greek inscriptions from the catacombs of St. John in Syracuse. Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda Aurea was the most widely read version of the Lucy legend in the Middle Ages. In medieval accounts, Saint Lucy's eyes are gouged out prior to her execution.The single fact upon which various accounts agree is that a disappointed suitor accused Lucy of being a Christian, and she was executed
The Golden Legend is a collection of hagiographies by Blessed Jacobus de Varagine that was widely read in late medieval Europe. More than a thousand manuscripts of the text have survived. It was likely compiled around the year 1260, although the text was added to over the centuries.
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
All the details of her life are the conventional ones associated with female martyrs of the early 4th century. John Henry Blunt views her story as a Christian romance similar to the Acts of other virgin martyrs.
According to the traditional story, Lucy was born of rich and noble parents about the year 283. Her father was of Roman origin,but died when she was five years old, leaving Lucy and her mother without a protective guardian. Her mother's name Eutychia seems to indicate that she came of Greek stock.
Like many of the early martyrs, Lucy had consecrated her virginity to God, and she hoped to distribute her dowry to the poor.However, Eutychia, not knowing of Lucy's promise, and suffering from a bleeding disorder, feared for Lucy's future. She arranged Lucy's marriage to a young man of a wealthy pagan family.
Saint Agatha had been martyred 52 years before during the Decian persecution. Her shrine at Catania, less than 50 miles from Syracuse attracted a number of pilgrims; many miracles were reported to have happened through her intercession. Eutychia was persuaded to make a pilgrimage to Catania, in hopes of a cure. While there, St. Agatha came to Lucy in a dream and told her that because of her faith her mother would be cured and that Lucy would be the glory of Syracuse, as she was of Catania. With her mother cured, Lucy took the opportunity to persuade her mother to allow her to distribute a great part of her riches among the poor.
Saint Agathaof Sicily is a Christian saint. Her memorial is on 5 February. Agatha was born at Catania or Palermo, Sicily, and she was martyred in approximately 251. She is one of seven women, who, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.
The Decian persecution resulted from an edict issued in 250 by the Emperor Decius ordering everyone in the Roman Empire to perform a sacrifice to the Roman gods and the well-being of the Emperor. The edict ordered that the sacrifices be performed in the presence of a Roman magistrate, and a signed and witnessed certificate be issued to that effect. It was the first time that Christians had faced legislation forcing them to choose between their religious beliefs and death, although there is no evidence that Decius' edict was specifically intended to target Christians. The edict appears to have been designed more as an Empire-wide loyalty oath. Nevertheless, a number of Christians were put to death for refusing to perform the sacrifices, many others apostatized and performed the ceremonies, and others went into hiding. The effects were long-lasting and caused tension between Christians who had performed the sacrifices or fled and those who had not, and left bitter memories of persecution.
Catania is the second largest city of Sicily after Palermo; it is located on the east coast facing the Ionian Sea. It is the capital of the Metropolitan City of Catania, one of the ten biggest cities in Italy, and the seventh largest metropolitan city in Italy. The population of the city proper is 311,584 while the population of the Metropolitan City of Catania is 1,107,702.
Eutychia suggested that the sums would make a good bequest, but Lucy countered, "...whatever you give away at death for the Lord's sake you give because you cannot take it with you. Give now to the true Savior, while you are healthy, whatever you intended to give away at your death."
News that the patrimony and jewels were being distributed came to Lucy's betrothed, who denounced her to Paschasius, the Governor of Syracuse. Paschasius ordered her to burn a sacrifice to the emperor's image. When she refused Paschasius sentenced her to be defiled in a brothel.
The Christian tradition states that when the guards came to take her away, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. Bundles of wood were then heaped about her and set on fire, but would not burn. Finally, she met her death by the swordthrust into her throat.
Absent in the early narratives and traditions, at least until the 15th century, is the story of Lucia tortured by eye-gouging. According to later accounts, before she died she foretold the punishment of Paschasius and the speedy end of the persecution, adding that Diocletian would reign no more, and Maximian would meet his end.This so angered Paschasius that he ordered the guards to remove her eyes. Another version has Lucy taking her own eyes out in order to discourage a persistent suitor who admired them. This is one of the reasons that Lucy is the patron saint of eye illnesses. When her body was prepared for burial in the family mausoleum it was discovered that her eyes had been miraculously restored.
By the 6th century, her story was sufficiently widespread that she appears in the Sacramentary of Pope Gregory I.She is also commemorated in the ancient Roman Martyrology. St. Aldhelm (English, died in 709) and later the Venerable Bede (English, died in 735) attest that her popularity had already spread to England, where her festival was kept in England until the Protestant Reformation, as a holy day of the second rank, in which no work but tillage or the like was allowed.
Sigebert of Gembloux wrote a mid-eleventh century passio , to support a local cult of Lucy at Metz.
The General Roman Calendar formerly had a commemoration of Saints Lucy and Geminianus on 16 September. This was removed in 1969, as a duplication of the feast of her dies natalis on 13 December and because the Geminianus in question, mentioned in the Passio of Saint Lucy, seems to be a fictitious figure,unrelated to the Geminianus whose feast is on 31 January.
Sigebert (1030–1112), a monk of Gembloux, in his sermo de Sancta Lucia, chronicled that her body lay undisturbed in Sicily for 400 years, before Faroald II, Duke of Spoleto, captured the island and transferred the body to Corfinium in the Abruzzo, Italy. From there it was removed by the Emperor Otho I in 972 to Metz and deposited in the church of St. Vincent. It was from this shrine that an arm of the saint was taken to the monastery of Luitburg in the Diocese of Speyer – an incident celebrated by Sigebert in verse.
The subsequent history of the relics is not clear.According to Umberto Benigni, Stephen II (768) sent the relics of St. Lucy to Constantinople for safety against the Saracen incursions. On their capture of Constantinople in 1204, the French found some relics attributed to Saint Lucy in the city, and Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice, secured them for the monastery of St. George at Venice. In 1513 the Venetians presented to Louis XII of France the saint's head, which he deposited in the cathedral church of Bourges. Another account, however, states that the head was brought to Bourges from Rome, where it had been transferred during the time when the relics rested in Corfinium.
The remainder of the relics remain in Venice: they were transferred to the church of San Geremia when the church of Santa Lucia was demolished in 1861 to make way for the new railway terminus. A century later, on 7 November 1981, thieves stole all her bones, except her head. Police recovered them five weeks later, on her feast day. Other parts of the corpse have found their way to Rome, Naples, Verona, Lisbon, Milan, as well as Germany, France and Sweden.
Lucy's Latin name Lucia shares a root (luc-) with the Latin word for light, lux . A number of traditions incorporate symbolic meaning of St. Lucy as the bearer of light in the darkness of winter, her feast day being December 13. Because some versions of her story relate that her eyes were removed, either by herself or by her persecutors, she is the patron saint of the blind.
She is also the patron saint of authors, cutlers, glaziers, laborers, martyrs, peasants, Perugia, Italy; saddlers, salesmen, and stained glass workers. She is invoked against hemorraghes, dysentery, diseases of the eye, and throat infections.
St. Lucy is also the patroness of Syracuse in Sicily, Italy.At the Piazza Duomo in Syracuse, the church of Santa Lucia alla Badia houses the painting "Burial of St. Lucy (Caravaggio)". She is also the patron saint of the coastal town of Olón, Ecuador, which celebrates with a week-long festival culminating on the feast day December 13.
Saint Lucy is also the patron saint of the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, one of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles.[ citation needed ]
The emblem of eyes on a cup or plate apparently reflects popular devotion to her as protector of sight, because of her name, Lucia (from the Latin word "lux" which means "light").In paintings St. Lucy is frequently shown holding her eyes on a golden plate. Lucy was represented in Gothic art holding a dish with two eyes on it. She also holds the palm branch, symbol of martyrdom and victory over evil. Other symbolic images include a lamp, dagger, or two oxen.
Lucia appears in Dante's Inferno Canto II as the messenger sent to Beatrice from "The blessed Dame" (the Virgin Mary), to rouse Beatrice to send Virgil to Dante's aid. Henry Fanshawe Tozer identifies Lucia as representing "illuminative grace". [ citation needed ]According to Robert Pogue Harrison, and Rachel Jacoff, Lucia's appearance in this intermediary role is to reinforce the scene in which Virgil tries to fortify Dante's courage to begin the journey through the Inferno.
In the Purgatorio IX:52–63, Lucy carries the sleeping Dante to the entrance to Purgatory. Then in Paradiso XXXII Dante places her opposite Adam within the Mystic Rose in Canto XXXII of the Paradiso. Lucy may also be seen as a figure of Illuminating Grace or Mercy or even Justice.
Her feast day was commonly described as the shortest day of the year, as it is in John Donne's poem, "A Nocturnal upon St. Lucie's Day, being the shortest day" (1627). The poem begins with: "'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's".
Lucia is also the protagonist of a Swedish novel: "Ett ljus i mörkret" ("A light in the darkness") by Agneta Sjödin.
Lucy's feast is on 13 December, in Advent. Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, before calendar reforms, so her feastday has become a festival of light.
This is particularly seen in Scandinavian countries, with their long dark winters. There, a young girl dressed in a white dress and a red sash (as the symbol of martyrdom) carries palms and wears a crown or wreath of candles on her head. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls and cookies in procession as songs are sung. It is said that to vividly celebrate St. Lucy's Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light.
A special devotion to St. Lucy is practiced in the Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, in the North of the country, and Sicily and Calabria, in the South, as well as in Croatian coastal region of Dalmatia. The feast is a Catholic-celebrated holiday with roots that can be traced to Sicily. On 13th of every December it is celebrated with large traditional feasts of home made pasta and various other Italian dishes, with a special dessert of wheat in hot chocolate milk. The large grains of soft wheat are representative of her eyes and are a treat only to be indulged in once a year. In the North of Italy Saint Lucy brings gift to kids between the 12th and 13 December. Traditionally a bouquet of hay is put outside of the house for Lucy's Donkey and food in the house for Lucy to refresh them after the long night bringing gifts to every kid. In small towns, a parade with Saint Lucy is held the evening of the 12th when she goes through the main streets of the town munching sweets and candy from her cart, always together with her donkey.
A Hungarian custom is to plant wheat in a small pot on St. Lucy's feast. By Christmas green sprouts appear, signs of life coming from death. The wheat is then carried to the manger scene as the symbol of Christ in the Eucharist.
In the Philippines, villagers from Barangay Sta. Lucia in Magarao, Camarines Sur, hold a novena to St. Lucy nine days before her feast. A procession of the saint's image is held every morning at the poblacion or village centre during the nine days leading up to St. Lucy's Day, attracting devotees from other parts of the Bicol Region. Hymns to the saint, known as the Gozos, as well as the Spanish version of the Ave Maria are chanted during the dawn procession, which is followed by a Mass.
The feast day is also commemorated in Barangay Sucad inApalit Pampanga after the traditional nine-day novena, where a whole day celebration is observed through Eucharistic masses, festivals and the procession of the religious sculpture of Sta. Lucia in the evening before the evening mass.
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Saint Lucy's Day, also called the Feast of Saint Lucy, is a Christian feast day celebrated on 13 December in Advent, commemorating Saint Lucy, a 3rd-century martyr under the Diocletianic Persecution, who according to legend brought "food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs" using a candle-lit wreath to "light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible". Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a Christian festival of light. Falling within the Advent season, Saint Lucy's Day is viewed as an event signaling the arrival of Christmastide, pointing to the arrival of the Light of Christ in the calendar, on Christmas Day.
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St. Lucia d'Albona is a small chapel in the hamlet of Skitaca, Istria County Croatia. The chapel was named after the patron saint of Syracuse, Sicily, Santa Lucia or Saint Lucy. The chapel became the branch parish in 1632 of the township of Cerovica in the Labinstina peninsula in Istria. This small chapel was built in 1616 and became a parish in 1632. In 1924 it was extended on the opposite (west) side of the bell tower. A door was also placed in the west side overlooking the cemetery. The chapel has three altars; the main one, Santa Lucia, and St Anthony. The holiday of St Lucia is on December 13 and it was a big day for merchants and people who joined in the celebration of this saint.
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