Cassian of Imola
|Saint Cassian of Imola|
Martyrdom of Saint Cassian, ca. 1500. Innocenzo Francucci.
|Died||August 13, 363|
|Venerated in||Eastern Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church|
|Patronage||Imola, Mexico City, schoolteachers, shorthand-writers, parish clerks.|
Little is known about his life, although the traditional accounts converge on some of the details of his martyrdom. He was a schoolmaster at Imola, but rather than sacrifice to the Roman gods, as so ordered by the current emperor, Julian the Apostate, he was condemned to death and turned over to his own students (some authorities write that this event took place during the reign of Diocletian). Since they were eager for revenge for the many punishments he had inflicted on them, they bound him to a stake and tortured him to death by stabbing him with their pointed iron styli, the devices then used to mark wooden or wax writing tablets.
His traditional date of martyrdom is August 13, 363, hence August 13 is his feast day on the Roman calendar. Cassian is the patron saint of Mexico City, Imola (Italy) and of parish clerks. Comacchio Cathedral is dedicated to him.
There are at least two references in modern literature to Cassian. In the novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, protagonist Ignatius Reilly informs one of his professors that "St. Cassian of Imola was stabbed to death by his students with their styli." (Grove Press edition, p. 128). Annie Dillard also makes a reference to him in her 1992 novel The Living. Bethel College had a Cassianus Lounge in the faculty offices area. Saint Cassian is also mentioned in Frederick Buechener's novel The Storm.