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. They were later translated to Tino, now within the diocese of La Spezia, in a solemn ceremony.
The island of Tino has restricted access as part of a military zone. However, an exception is made on 13 September, the Feast of Saint Venerius. On that day, a statue of Venerius is carried out to the sea from La Spezia to the island, accompanied by a blessing by the bishop of all of the boats in the Gulf of La Spezia.
- ^ No reliable account exists of Venerius' life. Some scholars place it in the ninth century.
- (in Italian) San Venerio e i Santi Spezzini