Key to Umbria: Terni

St Abundius of Terni (16th September ?)

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St Abundius appears in the legend of St Valentine, a copy of which (BHL 8460) is preserved under 14th February in the Leggendari del Duomo.  It records that a Greek called Craton invited St Valentine to Rome to cure his son Cherimon, whose spine was so contorted that his head was bent down to his knees.  St Valentine spent the night in prayer with the boy, who was duly cured.  Craton was then baptised along with his household and his students, Proculus, Ephebus and Apollonius.  St Valentine also converted Abundius, the son of the city prefect, Furiosus Placidus.  Some scholars have suggested that “ Furiosus Placidus” could be a mis-spelling of Furius Placidus, who was consul in  273.

The prefect arrested St Valentine and had him beheaded.  SS Proculus, Ephebus, and Apollonius took his body to Terni, where they buried it.  The Consul Leontius arrested and beheaded them, and Abundius buried them beside St Valentine.

An inscription from the demolished church of San Giovanni Decollato, which is now in the Pinacoteca Comunale, records that Cardinal Orsini gave the relics of St Abundius to the Marchesa Eleonora (died ca. 1620), the wife of Giovanni Francesco Castelli, and she arranged for their translation to the church. 

SS Abundius and Abundantius (16th September)

The Roman Martyrology records under 16th September: “At Rome, at a place on the Flaminian Way ten miles from the city, the holy martyrs Abundius, a priest, and Abundantius, a deacon, whom Emperor Diocletian ordered to be struck with the sword, together with Marcian, an illustrious man, and his son John, whom they raised from the dead”. 

According to their legend (BHL 0016), they were buried in a cemetery owned by St Theodora at Rignano Flaminio (on Via Flaminia, some 50 km north of Rome).  (St Theodora is recorded in the Roman Martyrology under 17th September: “At Rome, St Theodora, a matron who zealously ministered to the martyrs in the persecution of Diocletian”.)  In 1000, under the Emperor Otto III, the relics were translated to San Bartolomeo ad Isola, Rome.

The Roman Martyrology records under 29th July:  In the same altar [in SS Cosmo e Damiano, Rome in the reign of Pope Gregory XIII (1572-85)] were also found the bodies of the holy martyrs Abundius, a priest, and Abundantius, a deacon, which were shortly after solemnly transferred to the church of the Society of Jesus [Chiesa del Gesù, Rome], on the eve of their feast.

Cardinal Alessandro Orsini (died 1626) was close to the Jesuits and was buried in this church.  This suggests that he was the cardinal who gave the relics of St Abundius to the Marchesa Eleonora and that the relics in question were those of the Roman priest.  It is, of course, possible that this priest was the person that St Valentine had  converted.

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