St. Vitus

Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 06/15

Patron Of: Against Animal Attacks, Against Oversleeping, Against Lightning, Against Storms, Comedians, Czech Republic, Dancers, Dog Bite, Epilepsy, Lightning, Snake Bite, Storms

Also known as

    15 June

    Legend says Vitus was the son of a pagan Sicilian senator named Hylas. Converted to Christianity at age twelve by his tutor Saint Modestus and his nurse Saint Crescentia. His father showed his objection to the conversion by having all three arrested and scourged.

    Freed from prison by angels, they fled to Lucania, then Rome. There Vitus freed Emperor Diocletian's son from an evil spirit. When Vitus would not sacrifice to the pagan gods in celebration, his cure was attributed to sorcery, and he and his household were arrested again. Tortured, and condemned to death, they were thrown to the lions; the lions would not touch them, so they were thrown into boiling oil. At the moment of their deaths, a immense storm destroyed several pagan temples in the region, which led to the tradition of protection against stormy weather. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

    For obscure reasons, some 16th century Germans believed they could obtain a year's good health by dancing before the statue of Saint Vitus on his feast day. This dancing developed almost into a mania, and was confused with chorea, the nervous condition later known as Saint Vitus' Dance, the saint being invoked against it. His connection with such "dancing" led to his patronage of dancers, and later to entertainers in general and in particular.

    A rooster was thrown into the oil with him, sacrificed as part of the ritual against sorcery. A rooster became a symbol for Vitus, and its connection with early rising led to Vitus's patronage and protection against oversleeping.

    boiled in oil c.303 in Lucania, Italy

    against animal attacks
    against dog bites
    against lightning
    against oversleeping
    against storms
    against wild beasts
    Badia Calavena, Italy
    Czech Republic
    dog bites
    Forio, Italy
    Prague, Czech Republic
    rheumatic chorea
    Saint Vitus Dance
    snake bites
    Vacha, Germany
    Wetsens, Netherlands
    Zeven, Germany

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All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.


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