Key to Umbria: Nocera Umbra

Saints of Nocera Umbra

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Images below link to pages on the most important saints of Nocera Umbra.

Early Saints

Nocera has been a diocese since the 5th century. Nevertheless, we know little about the early history of Christianity in the area, apart from some shadowy legends of early saints. 

  1. Roman Martyrology, under 19th September: At Nocera, the birthday of the holy martyrs Felix and Constantia, who suffered under Nero. [Hieronymian Martyrology].  [There are two sets of relics, at Nocera in Camoania and Nocera Umbra]

  2. Its first bishop is remembered as St Crispoltus, although it is not clear whether this is the same person as the first Bishop of Bettona.  (In fact, Nocera does not seem to have been a diocese until the 10th century.)

  3. St Felicissimus, a confessor of Nocera at an unknown date is equally difficult to pin down. 

St Raynaldus (9th February)               

St Raynaldus was born in 1157 into the family of the Counts of Postignano, who had extensive feudal possessions in the country around Nocera, Assisi and Foligno.  When aged about twenty, he became a hermit on Monte Serrasanta, near Gualdo Tadino.  According to his legend, he imitated his predecessor St Facundinus of Tadinum, “a man of exceptional holiness and perfect virtue, who eschewed the comfort of a bed as he prayed in the night, and led a harsh life in the desert”.  He subsequently joined the the Eremo di Fonte Avellana, outside Gubbio. 

When Bishop Ugo of Nocera (1190-1213) was too busy in Rome in 1209 to look after his diocese, he secured the services of St Raynaldus, who then succeeded as bishop on Ugo’s death. 

St Raynaldus may well have facilitated the establishment of the first Franciscan hermitage at Gualdo (the predecessor of the Convento di San Francesco there) during his tenure as bishop of the combined diocese.  He was apparently present in 1216 at Santa Maria degli Angeli when St Francis announced that Pope Honorius III had just granted the Portiuncula Indulgence.   (The other bishops present were: Guido II of Assisi, Giovanni de Comitibus of Perugia, Boniface of Todi, Villano of Gubbio, Benedict of Spoleto, and Giles of Foligno.)

St Raynaldus died on February 9, 1217 and was immediately embalmed; a few months later his successor, Bishop Pelagius (1217-1224) proclaimed him a saint.  His relics survived the destruction of Nocera Umbra by the Emperor Frederick II in 1248.

When the reconstruction of the cathedral on the top of the hill began in 1448, St Raynaldus’ name was added to the historic dedication to Santa Maria Assunta.  His body was transferred to the cathedral in 1456.  After the earthquake of 1997, the relics were moved to the church of San Felicissimo.