Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha

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Saint Tryphon
Tryphon of Campsada.jpg
Serbian Orthodox icon of St. Tryphon of Campsada.
Great martyr, Holy unmercenary
Born Kampsade, Phrygia
Died250 AD
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church; Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast 1 February [ O.S. 14 February] in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox calendars
10 November (formerly in the Roman Catholic Church);
Attributes falcon
Patronage gardeners and winegrowers; Kotor, Montenegro; Moscow, Russia; invoked against rodents and locusts

Saint Tryphon of Campsada (also spelled Trypho, Trifon or Triphon) was a 3rd-century Christian saint. He is venerated by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches as a great martyr and holy unmercenary.


Saint Tryphon was formerly celebrated jointly with Saints Respicius and Nympha on 10 November in the liturgical calendar of the Latin Church from the eleventh century until the twentieth. [1] Saint Tryphon continues to be celebrated (separately) on 1 February [ O.S. 14 February] on both the Orthodox liturgical calendar and the Roman Calendar of Saints.


Saint Tryphon is said to have been born at Kampsade (Campsada, in Phrygia, now Turkey, [2] and as a boy took care of geese. His name is derived from the Greek τρυφή (tryphe) meaning "softness, delicacy". He acquired fame as a healer, especially of animals, and is considered one of the Holy Unmercenaries, particularly invoked on farms. [3]

During the Decian persecution he was taken to Nicaea about the year 250 and was tortured in a horrible manner. He was beheaded with a sword after he had converted the heathen prefect Licius. Fabulous stories are interwoven with his hagiography. [4]


His feast day is on 1 February [ O.S. 14 February] in both the Eastern Orthodox Church [5] and (now) in the Roman Catholic Church. [6]

He is greatly venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church, in which he is also the patron saint of gardeners and winegrowers. [7] In Serbia, North Macedonia and Bulgaria, St Tryphon is celebrated by vine growers. [7] [8] The celebrations are a fertility rite intended to encourage the growth of the vines, and it is also thought that human infertility can be cured on this day. [9]

In Russia, Tryphon is venerated as a patron of birds. [4] In Russian icons of the saint, he is often shown holding a falcon, [4] a reference to a miracle attributed to his intercessions. Prayers attributed to him are used against infestations of rodents and locusts; one such prayer appears in the Great Euchologion . [10] Saint Trifon is often depicted with a merlin on hand as he was traditionally venerated by Moscow hunters.

Many churches were dedicated to him, and the Eastern Emperor, Leo VI the Wise (d. 912), delivered a eulogy in Tryphon's honour. He is the protector saint of the town of Kotor in Montenegro, and one of the patron saints of Moscow. [4] The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon in Kotor is dedicated to him.

In Italy, Saint Tryphon is venerated on the 10th of November in the town of Adelfia-Montrone, province of Bari, region of Puglia under the Italian version of his name, San Trifone. Legend has it that in the late 1800's a sailor originally from Montrone while serving on a mercantile ship was caught in a terrible storm in the Adriatic sea, facing sure death, the seaman prayed that his ship would be saved, soon after, the storm subdued and the ship found itself on the shores of Montenegro near the town of Cattaro in Dalmazia where the seaman hurriedly went to the local church to thank God for his salvation, here he found the remains of the Saint whom the cathedral is named after, he then took back to Montrone, who at that time was coping with an outbreak of the plague, an image of the Saint and asked the towns people to pray to Saint Tryphon for help. Legend says the plague which afflicted the small town miraculously disappeared, thus the towns people adopted San Trifone as their patron saint. Since then, he has been the patron saint of the town of Adelfia-Montrone and his feast day is celebrated on the 10th of November and is considered by many the "Queen" of feast days offering spectacular fireworks displays, and open air street food specializing in Grilled Lamb and local wine called Primitivo. The feast day generally attracts around 25,000 pilgrims from all over Italy, Montenegro, the U.S. and Europe every year where his sacred image is paraded though the streets of Montrone in pomp and ceremony. His sacred image can be found in the Parish S. Nicola di Bari Church of Adelfia-Montrone which is situated in the cobblestone "old district" of the town.[ citation needed ]


His relics were first buried in his native city of Campsada. Later on, they were translated to Constantinople, and then to Rome. [4] [5] His head is kept in the Kotor Cathedral. [11]

Respicius and Nympha

In the Latin Church, 10 November was formerly a feast day associated with Saint Tryphon and two other saints, of whom little is known: Respicius and Nympha. [2] While Saint Trypho is still listed in the Roman Martyrology, Respicius and Nympha have been omitted.

In about 1005, the monk Theodoric of Fleury wrote, on the basis of earlier written legends, an account of Tryphon in which Respicius appears as Tryphon's companion.[ citation needed ] The relics of both were preserved, together with those of a holy virgin named Nympha, at the Hospital of the Holy Ghost in Sassia. The church of this hospital was a cardinal's title, which, together with the relics of these saints, was transferred by Pope Pius V to the Church of St. Augustine in 1566.

One tradition held that Nympha (Ninfa) was a virgin martyr from Palermo who was put to death for the faith at the beginning of the fourth century. According to other versions of the legend, when the Goths invaded Sicily, she fled from Palermo to the Italian mainland and died in the sixth century at Savona. The feast of her translation is observed at Palermo on 19 August. [2] Some believe that there were two saints of this name. Before 1624 Palermo had four patron saints, one for each of the four major parts of the city. They were Saint Agatha, Saint Christina, Saint Nympha, and Saint Olivia. Their images are displayed at the Quattro Canti, in the centre of Palermo.

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  1. Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 145
  2. 1 2 3 Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. Parry, Ken; David Melling, eds. (1999). The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. Malden, MA.: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN   0-631-23203-6.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Martyr Tryphon of Campsada Near Apamea in Syria". Orthodox Church in America . Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  5. 1 2 Great Synaxaristes: (in Greek) Ὁ Ἅγιος Τρύφων ὁ Μάρτυρας. 1 Φεβρουαρίου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  6. Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN   88-209-7210-7)
  7. 1 2 "Plovdiv Region Welcomes Diplomats in Celebration of Day of Saint Tryphon". Guide-Bulgaria. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  8. E. V. N. (14 February 2012). "Obeleženi Sveti Trifun i Dan zaljubljenih" [Saint Tryphon and Saint Valentine celebrated] (in Serbian). Večernje Novosti . Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  9. Nicoloff, Assen (1975). Bulgarian Folklore, Folk Beliefs, Customs, Folksongs, Personal Names. A. Nicoloff. p. 22. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  10. Parry, Ken; David Melling, eds. (1999). The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. Malden, MA.: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN   0-631-23203-6.
  11. Quarterly Review of the Michigan Alumnus. UM Libraries. 1960. pp. 113–. UOM:39015071119427.