Aurea of Ostia

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Saint Aurea of Ostia
Basilica di Sant'Aurea.JPG
Santa Aurea church.
Diedmid-3rd century
Ostia, Roman Empire
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Major shrineCathedral of Santa Aurea
FeastAugust 24;[1] May 20[2]
Attributesdepicted as she is thrown into the sea with a millstone around her neck[1]
PatronageOstia, Italy

Saint Aurea of Ostia (or Aura; in Greek, Chryse; both names mean “golden girl”) is venerated as the patron saint of Ostia.[3] According to one scholar, “[a]lthough the acta of Saint Aurea are pious fiction, she was a genuine martyr with a very early cultus at Ostia.”[1]

According to tradition, she was martyred sometime during the mid-third century, either during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus or Trebonianus Gallus.[3] Said to have been of royal or noble blood,[3] Aurea was exiled from Rome to Ostia because she was a Christian.[3] In Ostia, she lived on an estate outside of the city walls and maintained contact with local Christians, including the bishop of Ostia, Cyriacus (Quiriacus).[3]

Miracles associated with Aurea while she was in Ostia relate how a Christian prisoner named Censorinus had his chains miraculously loosened after he had been comforted by Aurea.[3] Seventeen soldiers[4] converted to Christianity as a result of this miracle, and were later beheaded near Ostia's Arch of Caracalla.[3] Another legend states that Aurea and her friends also brought back to life the dead son of a shoemaker.[3] Ulpius Romulus executed Aurea’s friends and tortured Aurea. When she refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods, she was thrown into the sea with a stone tied around her neck.[3]


According to tradition, Aurea was buried on her estate in Ostia.[3] The church of Santa Aurea grew around her tomb. The church was rebuilt in the 15th century. A fragment of a Christian inscription that refers to Aurea was rediscovered near Santa Aurea in 1981 and later relocated to the castle of Ostia.[3] It reads: CHRYSE HIC DORM[IT] ("Chryse sleeps here"). "It may be her original funerary inscription," one scholar states, "but it may also have been added later to the tomb."[3] A marble column from perhaps the 5th century[3] was discovered in 1950 near the same church. It reads S.AVR.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "St. Patrick Catholic Church Saint of the Day". St. Patrick Catholic Church. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  2. ^ "Santa Aurea di Ostia". Santi e beati. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Church of Sant'Aurea". Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  4. ^ Their names are given as Felix, Maximus, Taurinus, Herculanus, Nevinus, Historacinus, Menna, Commodius, Hermis, Maurus, Eusebius, Rusticus, Monaxius, Armandinus, Olympius, Eipros and Theodorus in the Acta

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