Key to Umbria: Massa Martana

St Faustinus (29th July)

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An entry in the Roman Martyrology under 29th July reads:

  1. At Todi in Umbria, St Faustinus, confessor”.

According to local tradition, St Faustinus was a follower of St Felix of Civitas Martana and was with him when he was martyred in the reign of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian.  He was among the group of Christians that recovered the body and buried it near a church that stood on the site of the present church of San Felice.  St Faustinus himself was martyred shortly afterwards at Todi and was buried in the Christian cemetery near the catacombs that are named for him.  A Roman villa nearby was later adapted as the church of San Faustino.

When the crypt of San Faustino was filled in in the 18th century, two sarcophagi there and used to form a new high altar.  This was demolished  in 1948, at which point one of the sarcophagi was found to contain relics of  St Faustinus, identified by an inscription.

This saint shares his feast day with a Roman martyr, St Faustinus of Orvieto.  The reason for his veneration in Orvieto is unknown, and it could be that the legends of a local and a Roman martyr were confused at an early date.