Key to Umbria: Foligno

This church stands on the site of an early Christian cemetery that extended along the Via Flaminia (in what is now the space between the railway line and the main road, SS 3 Flaminia).   This location was recorded as ‘Monterone’ in a document of 1214 in the archives of the Abbazia di Sassovivo, at which point there was a monastery here.  A second document in these archives, the location is given its present name, ‘Mormonzone’.

SS Carpophorus and Abundius and St Felician

This location Monterone/ Mormonzone is often said to correspond to the Mons Rotundus mentioned in two hagiographic accounts on the late 8th century:

  1. In the legend of SS Carpophorus and Abundius (BHL 1622), the saints were martyred outside the walls of civitate Fulginea.  A Christian lady called Eustachia retrieved the bodies and buried them a Roman mile from the city, at a place called  “Thanaritanus”, “sub Montem Rotundo" (at the foot of the round mountain). 

  2. In the legend of St Felician , the aged bishop died on the way to face execution in Rome in 251 AD.  The place of death was described as ‘milaria a civitate sua tertio ad montem rotundum’ (three miles from his city, at the round mountain), and he was buried ‘iuxta Fulgineam civitatem”.

As Guerrini and Latini (referenced below, at p. 51) pointed out, this made perfect sense for Michele Faloci Pulignani, for whom

  1. SS Carpophorus and Abundius were buried a Roman mile from Fulginia, which he located in the area around Santa Maria in Campis; and

  2. St Felician died three Roman miles from his city, Forum Flaminii.

Both these events occurred at almost the same place (respectively under and at Mons Rotundus, which was arguably the location of the later church of San Feliciano di Mormonzone. 

Unfortunately, as Guerrini and Latini pointed out (at p. 53), although St Felician had been the bishop of Forum Flaminii, the legend generally reserves the phrase civitate sua for Fulginia (as in ‘civitatem suam Fulgineas’).  Thus, all we can take from these legends is that the Mons Rotundus was either one or three Roman mile(s) from Fulginia, and since the precise location of Fulginia is still a matter for debate, the legends are of no use in locating the Mons Rotundum.  A later version of the legend of St Felician, which Guerrini and Latini dated to ca. 1400, had St Felician die “extra urbem suam ad locum qui hodie dicitur Mormonzone” (outside his city, in the place that today is called Mormonzone), but, as Guerrini and Latini pointed out:

  1. “It seems likely that, in the late version of the legend, the place of martyrdom, Mormonzone, reflects the presence of a church dedicated to St Felician that was already in this location, rather than [suggesting that the church was built here] because of the memory of the martyrdom” (my translation).

History of the Complex

The church here was first documented in 1339, when Bishop Paolo Trinci gave it to a community of Olivetan monks.  They abandoned the site in ca. 1350, and nothing more is known about it for more than a century.

In 1484, Pope Sixtus IV gave the old church here to the Amedeiti Fathers, a branch of the Franciscan Order, only two years after the death of their founder, the Blessed Amedeo Menez de Silva.  Pope Pius V merged the Amadeiti Fathers with the main branch of the Franciscan Order in 1568, and the friars from San Feliciano  di Mormonzone moved to the Observant convent of San Bartolomeo di Marano in 1576. 

The complex passed to the Carmelites, who carried out extensive restoration of the complex.   They abandoned the site in 1653.

In 1658, Bishop Antonio Montecatini gave the complex to a Benedictine community from Foligno that was under the guidance of the monks of San Pietro, Perugia.  In return, their original complex near what is now the Parco dei Canapé was used for the Episcopal Seminary.

The community was suppressed in the Napoleonic era, and the complex subsequently passed into private hands.

Read more:

P. Guerrini and F. Latini, “Foligno: Dal Municipium Romano alla Civitas Medievale: Archeologia e Storia di una Città Umbra”, (2012) Spoleto

Return to the page on Monuments of Foligno.

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San Feliciano di Mormonzone (14th century)  

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