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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world


Name

Agatha, virgin and martyr of Catania

Saint ID

S00794

Number in BH

BHL 133-136

Reported Death Not Before

251

Reported Death Not After

251

Gender
Female
Type of Saint
Martyrs, Virgins
Related Evidence Records
IDTitle
E01350The second edition of the Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome between the 530s and 546, in its account of *Symmachus (bishop and confessor of Rome, ob. 514, S00793), lists his building works at, and donations to, the churches of various saints in Rome and its region.
E01419The short Life of *Gregory I ('the Great, bishop of Rome, ob. 604, S00838) in the Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome, probably early in the 7th c., mentions his enhancement of the tombs of the Apostles *Peter (S00036) and *Paul (S00008), so that mass could be celebrated directly over their bodies; his dedication of the church of *Agatha, (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794); and his burial at St Peter's, perhaps on 12 March; all in Rome.
E01916The Martyrdom of *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794) is written in Latin, presumably in Catania (Sicily) between the 5th and the late 7th c. It narrates the trial, martyrdom and burial of the young virgin and aristocrat in Catania. After her death an angel visits her tomb and leaves a prophetic inscription foreseeing Agatha's miraculous power of protection against volcanic eruptions from the nearby Etna (on which see E02035). The Martyrdom, in variant versions, has an early and wide diffusion.
E02007A fragmentary Latin letter attributed to pope Gelasius I (492-496), to a bishop Victor, mentions a church dedicated to *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794) 'in Caclano fundo'. Written in Rome.
E02035The Latin Martyrdom of *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794) narrates that after her death an angel visited her tomb and left a prophetic inscription foreseeing Agatha's miraculous powers of protection. When Etna erupts a few years later, the veil put on her tomb is used to protect the city by its inhabitants. Written, presumably in Catania, and probably between the 5th and 7th c.
E02092The Latin Martyrdom of *Lucia (virgin and martyr of Syracuse, S00846) is written, presumably in Syracuse, at an uncertain date, by the late 7th c. at the latest. It narrates Lucia’s journey to Catania, where her mother is healed at the tomb of *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794); Lucia’s dream vision at the tomb, in which Agatha predicts that she will become the patron saint of Syracuse; her decision to embrace virginity and give away her family property to the poor; her arrest, tortures endured, and death by the sword in Syracuse; the building of a basilica on the site of her martyrdom, where favours are bestowed on those who visit her tomb. Narrative bearing clear connections, with some differences, to a corresponding Greek text (E07563).
E03513The will of the deacon Adalgyselus-Grimo of Verdun, of 634, leaves property to several churches and monasteries in the area around Verdun and Trier (both eastern Gaul). Includes references to churches or monasteries dedicated to *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794), *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), *Vitonus (bishop of Verdun, ob. c. 529, S01458), *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, 00050), *Maximinus (bishop of Trier, ob. c. 347, S00465), and *George (soldier and martyr, S00259). Written in Latin in Verdun.
E03635The Church Calendar of Ioane Zosime, compiled in Georgian in the 10th century, based however on the 5th-7th c. prototype from Jerusalem, commemorates on 5 February *Eusignios (soldier and martyr of Antioch under Julian the Apostate, S01369), *Agapios (from Gaza, martyr in Palestine, S00188), and *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794).
E04501Gregory the Great, in his Dialogues (3.30), describes the re-consecration of an Arian church in the Suburra, Rome, and its dedication to *Sebastianus (martyr of Rome, S00794) and *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00400); visible signs of both God’s presence and the expulsion of evil spirits are described. Written in Latin in Rome, c. 593.
E04622The 6th/7th c. recension of the Latin Martyrologium Hieronymianum, as transmitted in 8th c. manuscripts, records the feasts of a number of saints on 25 January.
E05070The 6th/7th c. recension of the Latin Martyrologium Hieronymianum, as transmitted in 8th c. manuscripts, records the feasts of a number of saints on 31 December.
E05524Bede, in his Martyrology, records the feast on 5 February in Sicily of *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794). Written in Latin at Wearmouth-Jarrow (north-east Britain), 725/731.
E05555Venantius Fortunatus writes eleven books of Poems in Latin, mainly in western and north-western Gaul, 565/600; many of them with reference to saints. Overview entry.
E05796Agnellus of Ravenna, in his Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis, written in Latin, refers to a church dedicated to *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794) in Ravenna (northern Italy). Agnellus claims this church was present between 494 and 570 and that bishops of Ravenna were buried therein; account written in Ravenna in 830/846.
E05852The Calendar of Willibrord, in its earliest version, records the feasts of various saints in February. Written in Latin at Echternach, Frisia (north-east Gaul), 703/710.
E06237Venantius Fortunatus, in a poem on virginity (8.3), gives a list of prominent female virgin saints. Written in Latin in Gaul, probably in the early 570s.
E06350Gregory the Great in a papal letter (Register 4.19) of 593, to Leo, an acolyte, orders him to care for the rents of a church, once a 'den of heretical depravity', now dedicated to orthodoxy and to *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794) in the Suburra, Rome; the church's property is the same as that held 'in the time of the Goths'. Written in Latin in Rome.
E06391Gregory the Great in two papal letters (Register 9.67 and 9.83) of 598/599, to Domitius, abbot of Lucuscanum, deals with a dispute over the property of a monastery dedicated to *Maximus (just possibly the martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00173) and *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794) in Palermo (Sicily). Written in Latin in Rome.
E06541The Latin Gelasian Sacramentary (or Liber Sacramentorum Romanae Ecclesiae), probably compiled around 750 near Paris using earlier material from Rome, records prayers to saints on their feast days in February.
E06576Aldhelm, in his prose On Virginity, names *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794) as an exemplary virgin. Written in Latin in southern Britain, for the nuns at the monastery at Barking (south-east Britain), c. 675/686.
E06578Aldhelm, in his prose On Virginity, names *Lucia (virgin and martyr of Syracuse, S00846), whose name, among others, is recited during Mass, as an exemplary virgin. Written in Latin in southern Britain, for the nuns at the monastery at Barking (south-east Britain), c. 675/686.
E06605Greek version of the Martyrdom of *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794). Skeleton entry
E06659Aldhelm's verse On Virginity lists a range of saints as exemplary virgins, with some variations to the list found in the earlier prose version of the same treatise. Written in Latin in southern Britain, for the nuns at the monastery at Barking (south-east Britain), c. 675/710. Overview entry
E07001The De Locis Sanctis, a guide to the martyrs' burials around Rome, is followed by an Appendix listing 21 churches dedicated to saints within the Aurelianic walls of Rome. Written in Latin in Rome, certainly after 625 and before 790, possibly in 642/683.
E07563The Greek Martyrdom of *Lucia (virgin and martyr of Syracuse, S00846), detailing the martyr's trial and execution by a governor of Sicily, is probably written in the 5th-7th century in Syracuse. In it, Lucia's cult is intentionally presented as modelled on that of the earlier *Agatha, virgin and martyr of Catania (S00794).
E07844Venantius Fortunatus, in a poetic epitaph for a young woman named Vilithuta (Poem 4.26), depicts patriarchs, apostles, and celebrated virginal saints taking part in the judgement of sinners after death, mentioning *Elijah (Old Testament prophet, S00217), *Enoch (Old Testament Patriarch, S00762), *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030), *Mary (the Mother of Christ, S00033), *Agnes (virgin and martyr of Rome, S00097), *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092), and *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794). Written in Latin in Gaul, 565/576.