Vitalis of Milan
Saint Vitalis of Milan
The martyrdom of Saint Vitalis. This 14th-century French manuscript depicts Vitalis being buried alive.
|Died||~1st century or 2nd century|
|Attributes||with Saint Gervase and Saint Protase|
|Patronage||Ravenna and Granarolo dell'Emilia, Italy; Thibodaux, Louisiana|
Vitalis was a wealthy citizen of Milan, perhaps a soldier. He was married to Saint Valeria. They are supposed to have been the parents of the (perhaps legendary) Saints Gervasius and Protasius. According to legend, when he encouraged Saint Ursicinus of Ravenna to be steadfast at his execution, Vitalis was discovered to be a Christian. A judge named Paulinus ordered Vitalis to be racked and then buried alive.
The date of his martyrdom is uncertain: some sources say that he was a victim of Nero, others of Marcus Aurelius. He was martyred in Ravenna, but all else in the story is suspect. Some writers argue that he may have been a character in a work of fiction that was mistaken for history.
The feast of Saint Vitalis occurs on April 28. Churches are dedicated in honor of Saint Vitalis at Rome, Faenza, Rimini, Como, Ferrara, Venice, and Verona in Italy and at Jadera (now Zadar) in Dalmatia (now Croatia), but by far the most famous church bearing his name is the octagonal Basilica of San Vitale at Ravenna, a masterpiece of Byzantine art, erected on the purported site of his martyrdom. He is also the patron saint of Granarolo and Marittima in Italy, as well as of Thibodaux, Louisiana, in the United States.
The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral recognizes Saint Vitalis as its patron. A Mass to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Cebu's elevation to an archdiocese and the feast day of Vitalis was held on 28 April 2009, with the Archbishop of Cebu Cardinal Ricardo Vidal presiding.
A statue of Vitalis is one of those on the colonnade of St. Peter's Basilica.
The Martyrdom of Saint Vitalis, by Federico Barocci.
Vitalis being buried alive. From the Martyrs Mirror.
Vitalis among the saints, in Heaven, from the 6th century Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, in Ravenna.
- Patron Saints: Vitalis of Milan
- (in Italian) San Vitale
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Wood, James, ed. (1907). The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne. Missing or empty
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "St. Vitalis". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
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