Key to Umbria: Cesi

Saints of Cesi

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St Onuphrius or Humphrey (12th June)

The Roman Martyrology records under 12th June: “In Egypt, St Onuphrius, an anchorite, who for sixty years led a religious life in the desert: renowned for great virtues and merits he departed for heaven.  His admirable deeds have been recorded by Abbot Paphnutius”.   He seems to have died in ca. 400.

There is no record that this saint ever came to Italy.  Nevertheless, local tradition insists that he did so and that the ancient monastery of Sant’ Onofrio (see the Walk from Cesi) was built on the site of his hermitage.

St Erasmus (2nd June)

St Erasmus (Sant’ Erasmo or Sant’ Elmo), a martyr from Gaeta, is the patron saint of sailors.  Sant’ Elmo’s fire is phenomenon caused by lightening.  Sailors sometimes see it during storms, when bright lights appear to the sides of the mast.  

The ancient Greeks believed that the lights were sent by Castor and Pollux to help ships in trouble, and it seems that the cult of St Erasmus represented a Christian adaptation of this myth.

The church of Sant’ Erasmo (see the Walk from Cesi) may have been built on a site that had previously been associated with the cult of Castor and Pollux.

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