Venerius the Hermit
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Saint Venerius ((in Italian) San Venerio) (ca. 560–630) was a monk and hermit. He is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church and is the patron saint of the Gulf of La Spezia and, as of 1961, the patron saint of lighthouse keepers.
It is thought that a sanctuary was constructed at the place of Venerius' death to contain his relics and that this was extended to form a monastery in eleventh century. The remains of the monastery can be seen on the northern coast of the island.
The relics of the saint seem to have resided in Luni, but due to attacks by Vikings and Moors, the bishopric transferred its seat to Sarzana. The relics of Venerius were sent, however, to Reggio Emilia, where they were placed side-by-side with those of Saint Prosper of Reggio (San Prospero) and those of Cosmas and Damian. The relics were later transferred to Tino, now within the diocese of La Spezia, in a solemn ceremony.
Saint Venerius' feast is celebrated annually on the island of Tino on 13 September. A statue of Venerius is carried out to the sea on this day from La Spezia to the island, accompanied by a blessing of the fishing boats.
- ^ No reliable account exists of Venerius' life. Some scholars place it in the ninth century.
- (in Italian) San Venerio e i Santi Spezzini