Pontius of Cimiez

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"Martyrdom of Saint Pons": altarpiece by Joseph Castel (1798-1853) of Nice, displayed on the high altar in the church of the former Abbey of St Pons

Saint Pontius of Cimiez, also known as Pons of Cimiez (French: Pons de Cimiez, Ponce de Cimiez) is a Christian saint and martyr. His feast day is 14 May.

Life[edit]

Born at Rome into a pagan family, Pontius converted to Christianity, giving away his property and preaching the Gospel. He is believed to have evangelised the valley of the Ubaye.[1]

He was martyred at Cimiez, now part of Nice, in the south of France in the year 257 under the Emperor Valerian.[2]

His name is preserved in the communes of Saint-Pons in the present department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières in the department of Hérault, where Saint-Pons-de-Thomières Cathedral is dedicated to him, as is the Abbey of St Pons in Nice, founded near the site of his martyrdom.

Devotion to Catalonia[edit]

A local tradition explains that Pontius came to Barcelona and, seeing so much poverty and disease among the people, began to prepare potions with healing herbs. He earned the respect and admiration of the locals, who began to hold a fair of herbs in his honor. San Ponce thus became patron of herbalists and beekeepers. In Catalonia, his feast day occurs on May 11, when revelers sell honey, aromatic and medicinal herbs and candied fruits.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Vallis Montium : Histoire de la vallée de Barcelonnette p.19, Julien Coste, 1932, reissued Sabenca 1995, ISBN 2-908103-18-4
  2. ^ Nominis: Saint Ponce (French)