Romulus of Fiesole
|Saint Romulus of Fiesole|
Saint Romulus, Cathedral of Fiesole.
|Roman Catholic Church|
|Major shrine||Fiesole Cathedral|
|Attributes||depicted with a wolf due to confusion with the legend of Romulus and Remus; bishop with an arrow broken above his breast; depicted at martyrdom of 4 companions or enthroned among four martyrs|
According to tradition, he was a disciple of Saint Peter and had been converted to Christianity by the apostle. This tradition states that Romulus became the first bishop of Fiesole and was martyred during the reign of Domitian along with four companions: Carissimus, Dulcissimus, Marchis(i)anus, and Crescentius.
He was not named as a bishop or martyr in documents dating from 966; however, a document from 1028 names him as such. From then on, Romulus was considered a martyred bishop of Fiesole, and his companions were named as Carissimus, Dulcissimus, Marchis(i)anus (Marchiziano), and Crescentius. Their feast day was listed as July 6 in the 1468 Florentine edition of the Martyrology of Usuard, and in the 16th century, his name began to appear in the Roman Martyrology, where he was named as a disciple of Saint Peter.
As Antonio Borrelli remarks, sometime between the end of the 10th century and the beginning of the eleventh, Romulus was “upgraded” from being considered a Confessor of the Faith to a martyr, possibly by a local abbot named Teuzo.
An 11th-century legend associated with him, considered “worthless”, makes him an illegitimate son of a woman named Lucerna, who had a child with her father’s slave, who was named Cyrus. Like the Romulus of ancient Roman legend, this Romulus was also abandoned, suckled by a wolf, and captured and raised and baptized by Saint Peter and Peter's companion Justin. Romulus then evangelized much of central Italy and was put to death by the governor Repertian.