Key to Umbria: Gualdo Tadino

Blessed Angelus of Gualdo (15th January)

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The Blessed Angelus (ca. 1265-1324) was born in the parish of San Facondino.  His parents were probably Franciscan tertiaries.  As a young man, he travelled barefoot to Compostella in northern Spain.  He became a lay brother at San Benedetto and then moved to the Monastero di SS Gervasio and Protasio at Capodacqua, outside Gualdo Tadino.  He decided that he needed more solitude, and lived for some 30 years as a hermit walled up in a cell that his parents built for him near the Sorgenti di Capodacqua.

When the Blessed Angelus died, his body was taken in procession to Gualdo Tadino, as the hawthorn bushes (biancospina) miraculously burst into flower.  It was then exposed outside San Benedetto before its burial in the church. 

In 1450, Bishop Giovanni Marcolini consecrated the Eremo del Beato Angelo, which had been built on the site of his cell near the Sorgenti di Capodacqua.

After a process started in 1567, the cult of the Blessed Angelo finally received papal confirmation in 1633.  In 1643, when the cities of the Papal States were required to choose a single patron saint, the people of Gualdo chose the Blessed Angelus.  His cult was reconfirmed in 1825, following the celebrations that had attended the 500th anniversary of his death (see below).


In 1343, Bishop Alessandro Vincioli exhumed the body and placed the body in a new coffin of pietra rossa, which he placed in an altar in San Benedetto that was dedicated to St Michael, who was at that point the patron saint of Gualdo. 

Bishop Antonio Bolognini formally recognised the relics in 1419 and placed them in a painted wooden reliquary.  He rebuilt and reconsecrated the altar in 1442.  

The relics were moved to another new reliquary, this time equipped with a viewing window, in 1553.

In 1824, on the 500th anniversary of the death of the Blessed Angelus, the altar of 1442 was rebuilt.  The relics were then translates in yet another new reliquary and placed under the new altar.

This arrangement was subsumed during the restoration of San Benedetto, and the relics were housed on the high altar of San Francesco in the period 1875-96.  The reliquary was damaged in a fire there in 1881, and the relics were moved to a new one in 1888.  In 1896, the reliquary was translated to the high altar of the restored San Benedetto.

In 1924, on the 600th anniversary of the death of the Blessed Angelus, the reliquary was translated to a new chapel dedicated to him was built as a crypt off the left wall of San Benedetto.  The relics were placed in yet another new reliquary  in 1961, at which the reliquary from 1888 was used for the relics of St Facundinus.