Agapitus of Palestrina
Statue of St Agapitus by Marco Antonio Prestinari (ca. 1605-1607) in Museo del Duomo, Milan
|Born||3rd century AD
|Died||c. 267 AD or 274 AD
Palestrina, Lazio, Italy
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
|Major shrine||Cathedral of San Agapito, Palestrina|
|Feast||April 18; August 18|
|Patronage||Palestrina; invoked against colic|
According to his legend, 15-year-old Agapitus, who may have been a member of the noble Anicia family of Palestrina, was condemned to death, under the prefect Antiochus and the emperor Aurelian, for being a Christian. He was thrown to the wild animals in the local arena at Palestrina. The beasts refused to harm him, and he was beheaded.
Saint Agapitus is mentioned in the ancient martyrologies, including the Martyrologium Hieronymianum of Saint Jerome, the Fulda Martyrology. On account of the doubtful historicity of the legend of his martyrdom, some details of which were related in earlier editions of the Roman Martyrology, editions from the end of the 20th century onward give only: "In Palestrina, Lazio, Saint Agapitus, martyr." Around the 5th century, Pope Felix III built a basilica in his honour on the supposed site of his martyrdom. His relics were kept in the basilica, and a cemetery grew around it. At some uncertain date, his relics were transferred to the present cathedral of Palestrina. Some of them were transferred to Besançon.
Saint Agapitus is honoured in the Tridentine Calendar by a commemoration added to the Mass and canonical hours in the liturgy of the day within the Octave of the Assumption. Pope Pius XII abolished all octaves apart from those of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, including that of the Assumption. Accordingly, in the General Roman Calendar of 1960 the celebration of Saint Agapitus appears as a commemoration in the ordinary weekday Mass.
- Saint Agapitus
- Sant' Agapito Martire
- Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN 978-88-209-7210-3), p. 660
- Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN 978-88-209-7210-3), p. 437
- Dom Gaspar LeFebvre, O.S.B., Saint Andrew Daily Missal, with Vespers for Sundays and Feasts, St Paul, MN: E. M. Lohmann Co., 1952, p. 1516
- Saint Andrew Daily Missal, with Vespers for Sundays and Feasts, p. 1516
- Rev. Bede Babo, O.S.B. et al., The Jesus, Mary and Joseph Daily Missal, New York: Benziger Brothers, Inc., 1962, p. 1041
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