Southern Italy

Saints In Southern Italy

First Class Relics
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Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and doctor – August 1st
St Alphonsus Liguori (d. 1787, Pagani, Italy) (Relics: Pagani, Italy)
Basilica di Sant’Alfonso
(Basilica of Saint Alphonsus)
Piazza Sant’Alfonso 1
84016 Pagani, Italy
*A wooden statue of St Alphonsus Liguori rests under an altar to the left of the main sanctuary. This statue is so life like that at first glance one may think that the entire body of St Alphonsus Liguori is incorrupt. However, this is not the case. Some relics of the saint, nevertheless, are present. They rest on a silver carriage below the wooden statue.

Andrew, apostle – November 30th
St Andrew (Relics: Amalfi, Italy; Florence, Italy; Patras, Greece; Edinburgh, Scotland; Cologne, Germany; Kiev, Ukraine)
Duomo di Sant'Andrea
(Cathedral of Saint Andrew)
Piazza Duomo
84011 Amalfi, Italy
*Tradition claims that St Andrew was martyred and buried in Patras, Greece. Later most of his relics were relocated to Constantinople. Following the sacking of this city in 1204 AD they were transferred to Amalfi, Italy and placed within this church. Most of these relics remain here today and are located within the crypt below the main altar.

Bartholomew, apostle – August 24th

St Bartholomew (Relics: Rome, Italy; Benevento, Italy; Lipari, Sicily; Frankfurt, Germany)
According to the Roman Martyrology St Bartholomew suffered martyrdom in the Roman province of Armenia. It is recorded that he was first skinned alive and then put to death by decapitation. Five centuries later and half-way across the Mediterranean his relics were found in Lipari, Sicily. Most likely they arrived here through normal means; however, a pious tradition contends that this transfer occurred miraculously. This tradition claims that the sarcophagus of St Bartholomew was thrown into the sea by infidels. It then floated upon the water until it finally and miraculously came to the shores of the tiny island of Lipari. Regardless, how the relics arrived they remained on this island until the middle of the 9th century. At this time they were transferred to Benevento, Italy and then in the latter part of the 10th century they were brought to Rome by the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto III, where they were interred in the church of San Bartolomeo all’Isola on Tiber Island. This final transfer, however, is contested by the city of Benevento which continues to claim possession of the true relics of St Bartholomew.
Basilica di San Bartolomeo
(Saint Bartholomew’s Basilica)
Piazza Federico Torre
Benevento, Italy
*As noted above the tradition in Benevento holds that the relics of St Bartholomew remain within this church. An exhibit near the front of the church portrays a recent analysis of these relics and provides support for this claim. Also a monument upon the side-wall recalls the 2001 declaration by St John Paul II which reopened the cult of St Bartholomew in this church.
*The relics of St Bartholomew rest within a porphyry urn below the main altar. An additional bone fragment is placed within a bust of the saint. Twice a year, on August 24th and October 25th, the city celebrates his feast.

Cajetan, priest – August 7th

St Cajetan [Gaetano in Italian] (d. 1547, Naples, Italy) (Relics: Naples, Italy)
San Paolo Maggiore
(Saint Paul the Greater)
Piazza San Gaetano 76
80138 Naples, Italy
*The remains of St Cajetan rest within a beautiful tomb in the crypt of this church. Access to this crypt is through a door to the right of the double staircase that leads into the church. St Cajetan was a religious reformer of the early 16th century. He and several others founded the Theatines in 1524.
Gregory VII, pope (May 25th) and Matthew, apostle and evangelist (September 21st)

St Gregory VII (d. 1085, Salerno, Italy) (Relics: Salerno, Italy)
St Matthew (Relics: Salerno, Italy)
Duomo di Salerno
(Salerno Cathedral)
Via Duomo 1
84121 Salerno, Italy
*Despite being the legitimate pope, St Gregory VII was forced out of Rome in 1084 as a result of his ties to the Normans and the political pressures created by the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, and the antipope, Clement III. A year later St Gregory VII died in Salerno as an exile. His remains now rest under an altar in the right transept of this church.
*The relics of St Matthew were brought to Salerno in 954 AD. This event is celebrated annually with a festival on May 6th. His relics are preserved within the richly decorated crypt of this church.

Januarius, bishop and martyr – September 19th

St Januarius [Gennaro in Italian] (d. 305) (Relics: Naples, Italy)
Duomo di Napoli
(Naples Cathedral)
Via Duomo 147
80138 Naples, Italy
*St Januarius is most well known for the liquefaction of his blood. This miracle occurs annually on September 19th, December 16th, and the first Saturday in May.
*The relics of St Januarius can be found in three different locations within this church. His blood, which is sealed in a reliquary, is placed upon the altar in the second chapel on the right side of the nave. This exquisite chapel also contains fifty-one silver busts, each depicting a different saint. They were donated to this church by various guilds and ecclesial institutions in the city. The bones of St Januarius are found in the confessio below the main sanctuary. These bones, which are visible, rest within a vase below the altar in this confessio. Finally, fragments of his skull rest within a bust placed within an upper room of the museum located next to this church.

Joseph Moscati

St Joseph Moscati (d. 1927, Naples, Italy) (Relics: Naples, Italy)

Gesù Nuovo
(The New Jesus)
Piazza del Gesù Nuovo
80134 Naples, Italy
*The remains of St Joseph Moscati rest within a tomb placed within the second chapel on the right side of the nave of this church. In life he was a medical doctor and researcher who practiced great charity in his profession. In particular he was known to never charge the poor for his services. A museum just a short distance from his tomb preserves his memory. Within this museum are both the bedroom in which he died and his study. Also preserved here are many of the medical instruments that he used in life.

Paulinus of Nola, bishop – June 22nd
St Paulinus of Nola (d. 431, Sicily) (Relics: Nola, Italy; Sutera, Sicily)
Cattedrale di Nola (Cathedral of Nola)
Piazza Duomo 1
80035 Nola, Italy
*Annually on June 22nd crowds of people fill the square in front of this church to celebrate the feast of St Paulinus. A silver bust of the saint is processed into the crowd and eight festive obelisks and an ornamental wooden boat are blessed. The obelisks and boat harken back to a legendary story of the saint. It is said that as Barbarian tribes were invading Italy, St Paulinus offered to be taken captive in exchange for the return of a widow’s son. This action of selfless love is said to have so impressed the leader of this invading party that he chose to grant St Paulinus his freedom. St Paulinus then returned to Italy and was warmly welcomed by the people of Nola.
*Apart from this celebration relics of St Paulinus rest within this church in the fourth chapel on the left side of the nave.

Philomena, martyr
St Philomena (d. 304) (Relics: Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy)
The remains of St Philomena were found in 1802 in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome. In 1805 they were transferred to the following church in Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy.
Santuario di S. Filomena
(Sanctuary of Saint Philomena)
Piazza Umberto 1
83027 Mugnano del Cardinale, Province of Avellino, Italy
*The remains of St Philomena rest within this church in the second chapel on the left side of the nave. They are placed within a life-sized paper mache reproduction of her likeness that rests above the altar in this chapel.

Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor (January 28th)

St Thomas Aquinas (b. 1225, Roccasecca, Italy) (d. 1274, Fossanova, Italy) (Relics: Toulouse, France; Aquino, Italy; Naples, Italy)
San Domenico Maggiore
(Saint Dominic the Greater)
Piazza San Domenico Maggiore 8
80134 Naples, Italy
*St Thomas lived in this priory from 1272-1274. Within the cell in which he lived is preserved the miraculous crucifix that exclaimed, “You have written well of me, Thomas.” Also within this same cell is preserved a bone from his left arm. Access to this cell is only given by special permission.


Agatha, virgin and martyr – February 5th
St Agatha (d. 251, Catania, Sicily) (Relics: Catania, Sicily)
Chiesa di San Biagio / Sant’Agata alla Fornace
(Church of Saint Blaise / Saint Agatha at the Furnace)
Piazza Stesicoro
95124 Catania, Sicily, Italy
*This church marks the spot of St Agatha’s final suffering. It was here that she was placed into a furnace and martyred.
Duomo di Catania (Catania Cathedral)
Piazza del Duomo
95131 Catania, Sicily, Italy
*The relics of St Agatha are located within the apse of this church in the Chapel of St Agatha. Unfortunately, this chapel is not accessible to the public. However, every year on February 4th and 5th the relics are brought out and the faithful are given the chance to participate in the procession of her relics through the streets of Catania.
Sant’Agata al Carcere
(Saint Agatha at the Prison)
Via del Colosseo
95124 Catania, Sicily, Italy
*This church is just behind the church of Sant’Agata alla Fornace (listed previously) and is considered to be the site of St Agatha’s imprisonment. Also two lava slabs within this church show the imprints of St Agatha’s little feet.

Bartholomew, apostle – August 24th
St Bartholomew (Relics: Rome, Italy; Benevento, Italy; Lipari, Sicily; Frankfurt, Germany)

Cattedrale di San Bartolomeo
(Saint Bartholomew’s Cathedral)
Via del Concordato
Lipari, Sicily, Italy
*A relic of the thumb of St Bartholomew rests within a silver arm reliquary in this church. This relic is exposed for veneration during feast days of the saint.

Blaise, bishop and martyr – February 3rd
St Blaise (d. 316, Armenia) (Relics: Rome, Italy; Maratea, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia)
Basilica di San Biagio
(Basilica of Saint Blaise)
Via Castello
Maratea, Italy
*Relics of St Blaise were brought to this city in 732 AD and now rest within this church. They are located within a white marble urn located below a silver bust of the saint. Also of note is the large 68 foot tall statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks the sea just a short distance from this church.

Bruno, priest - October 6th
St Bruno (d. 1101, Serra San Bruno, Italy) (Relics: Serra San Bruno, Italy)
Certosa di Serra San Bruno
(Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno)
Via Santo Stefano 1
89822 Serra San Bruno, Italy
*The remains of St Bruno rest within the main sanctuary of the church at this monastery. He lived here for ten years following the establishment of this monastery.

Francis of Paola, hermit – April 2nd
St Francis of Paola (d. 1507, Plessis, France) (Relics: Paola, Italy)
Basilica di San Francesco di Paola
(Basilica of Saint Francis of Paola)
Largo San Francesco di Paola
87027 Paola, Italy
*In 1482 King Louis XI of France requested the presence of St Francis of Paola at his side as he neared death. St Francis was at first reluctant to accept the king’s request because he did not want to leave his native Italy. However, upon the urging of Pope Sixtus IV he acquiesced. St Francis of Paola then remained in France for the next 25 years providing counsel to the French kings. He died in 1507 and was buried in Plessis. In 1562 his tomb was forcefully opened, his incorrupt body plundered, and the majority of his relics destroyed by French Huguenots. The few bones that escaped destruction were later taken to Paola, Italy. These bones now rest within this church.

Louis – August 25th
St Louis (d. 1270, Tunis, Tunisia) (Relics: Monreale, Sicily; Saint Denis, France)

In 1270 St Louis set out across the Mediterranean to begin the Eighth Crusade. Upon reaching the shores of Tunis his group met a number of setbacks. As they waited for reinforcements to fortify their position many within the group including St Louis caught dysentery and died. As the defeated crusaders returned to Europe they brought the remains of St Louis through Italy and France attracting many crowds of mourners along the way. His remains were then buried in Saint-Denis Cathedral in Paris, France. The Sicilian city of Monreale also continues to claim to have some of his relics.
Cattedrale di Monreale
(Cathedral of Monreale)
Piazza Guglielmo II 1
90046 Monreale, Palermo, Sicily, Italy
*The innards of St Louis rest within an urn in the left transept of this church. These relics were acquired during the transfer of St Louis’ body from Tunis to Paris.

Lucy, virgin and martyr – December 13th
St Lucy (d. 304, Syracuse, Sicily) (Relics: Syracuse, Sicily; Venice, Italy)

The Sicilian city of Syracuse lost most of its relics of St Lucy through the transfers carried out by Faroald II and Giorgio Maniace during the 8th and the 11th centuries. Therefore, the following relics have been at various times returned to the city.

Duomo di Siracusa (Cathedral of Syracuse)
Piazza Duomo 5
96100 Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
*In 1988 Syracuse received the left humerus bone of St Lucy from the Patriarch of Venice, Marco Cè. This relic now rests within a silver reliquary placed within the second altar on the right side of the nave of this church. A separate reliquary exposed only on special feasts contains two additional fragments from the left arm of St Lucy.
*Also said to be preserved at this church are the robe, the veil, and the little shoes of the saint.
*Finally, each year on December 13th and also on the first Sunday in May a statue of St Lucy is carried with much festivity through the streets of Syracuse. Within the chest of this statue, which was created by Pietro Rizzo in 1599, are three bone fragments from her ribs.
Basilica di Santa Lucia al Sepolcro
(Basilica of Saint Lucy at the Tomb)
Via Luigi Bignami 1
96100 Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
*This church marks the spot where St Lucy was martyred.
*Within the octagonal baptistery adjacent to this church is the grave where St Lucy was originally buried. Under the altar is a beautiful marble statue depicting the saint.

Paulinus of Nola, bishop – June 22nd
St Paulinus of Nola (d. 431, Sicily) (Relics: Nola, Italy; Sutera, Sicily)
Santuario di San Paolino
(Sanctuary of Saint Paulinus)
Via Madonna del Monte
93010 Sutera, Sicily, Italy
*Relics of St Paulinus of Nola are said to rest within an urn in this church. They are carried in procession annually on the Tuesday after Easter.
*This shrine claims to have received its relics of St Paulinus of Nola in 1336. It is believed that they came from the remains that had been at San Bartolomeo all’Isola in Rome, Italy.


Nicholas, bishop – December 6th
St Nicholas (d. 350, Myra, Turkey) (Relics: Bari, Italy; Venice, Italy)
In 1993 a small grave was found on Gemiler Island east of Rhodes. Historians believe that the body of St Nicholas was originally buried in this grave and then subsequently transferred to Myra. From Myra the bones of St Nicholas were stolen by Italian merchants in 1087 and taken to the two Italian cities of Bari and Venice. The merchants from Bari raided the tomb first and in their haste they took only the large bone fragments. The Venetian merchants came later and took the remaining smaller bone fragments. A scientific study in 1992 confirmed that both collections are from the same skeleton.
Basilica di San Nicolo
(Basilica of Saint Nicholas)
Largo Abate Elia
70122 Bari, Italy
*Relics of St Nicholas rest within a small urn located under the altar in the crypt of this church.

Pio of Pietrelcina, priest – September 23rd

St Pio of Pietrelcina (b. 1887, Pietrelcina, Italy; d. 1968, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy) (Relics: San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy)
Chiesa San Pio
(Church of Saint Padre Pio)
Piazzale Santa Maria Delle Grazie
71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
*The remains of St Padre Pio rest in the crypt below Chiesa San Pio. This is the large modern church located at the far end of the piazza. The entrance to the crypt is on the right side of this church.
*On the other end of the piazza is Chiesa Santa Maria Delle Grazie. This is where St Padre Pio celebrated Holy Mass and heard confessions for 52 years of his life. Immediately to the right of this church is a newer church that was built in 1959. Below these churches is a crypt where the remains of St Padre Pio had rested in the past. This location still attracts much veneration; however, his remains now rest below Chiesa San Pio as previously noted.

Thomas, apostle - July 3rd
St Thomas (Relics: Rome, Italy; Ortona, Italy; Mylapore, India)
A tradition holds that in the 3rd century the bones of St Thomas the Apostle were taken from India and brought to Edessa, Turkey. In 1258 these remains were transferred to Ortona, Italy.
Basilica di San Tommaso Apostolo
(Basilica of Saint Thomas the Apostle)
Corso Giacomo Matteotti 35
66026 Ortona, Italy
*The relics of St Thomas the Apostle rest within a golden casket placed within a white marble altar located in the crypt of this church.
Timothy, bishop – January 26th
St Timothy (Relics: Termoli, Italy)
Cattedrale di Termoli
(Termoli Cathedral)
Piazza Duomo 1
86039 Termoli, Italy
*In 1945 the relics of St Timothy were rediscovered in this church beneath a marble tile that read, “Here rests Blessed Timothy disciple of the Apostle Paul.”  It is believed that they were buried here in 1239 and then over the following centuries forgotten.

*Note: The Memorials and Feasts listed above with an asterisk are specific to the National Calendar of the United States of America as requested by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and approved by the Holy See.