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Alfredo Dionisio
Mario Mauro
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  Festa of Sant'Ippolito
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Over the years there has been some confusion about the history of S.Ippolito. There are several Saints by that name and their histories have been at times confused, but the one venerated in the town by the same name, is the Roman soldier cited in the Martyrdom of S. Lawrence.

Following is a description of the life of S.Ippolito as it appears in a pamphlet published many years ago on be-half of the Santuario:

 - When The Romans captured S. Lawrence, they put him in the custody of a Roman citizen called Ippolito who, after seeing the miracles and marvelous things performed by the prisoner in his custody, like restoring the sight of the blind with the sigh of the Cross, converted to Christianity and was baptized by S. Lawrence along with his entire family of 19.

So fervent Ippolito became in his new faith that he was willing to die for it. At S. Lawrence departure Ippolito wanted so much to follow him, even die with him that he was loudly proclaiming his Christian faith and had to be restrained by S. Lawrence who told him to wait for the opportune time which would soon come.

Pursuing in the Christian faith withsteadfastness and high spirit, S.Lawrence was eventually roasted on a grill as it is written in the Acts of his Martyrdom. His body was retrieved and buried by Ippolito and Giustino Prete.

When Emperor Valeriano learned of this, three days later, he had Ippolito arrested and brought to his presence where he told him: “you too are sorcerer and magician like Lawrence, is it true that you buried his body?” to which Ippolito answered: “it is true that I buried his body but as a Christian not as a Magician”.

The tyrant was furious and had Ippolito hit in the face with a rock several times and ordered him stripped of his white robe which he was wearing as a recently baptized Christian and Ippolito said:” you have not undressed but dressed me”. The emperor made Ippolito lay on the ground and had him hit with rods, to which Ippolito answered thanking God for making him worthy of this torment.

Becoming  indignant because Ippolito was joyfully accepting all that beating, the emperor ordered that Ippolito’s body be poked with thorns to which Ippolito cried “I am a Christian and suffer for Christ.” When the soldiers became tired of torturing Ippolito, the tyrant had him dressed as a roman soldier and talking to him in a friendly way, exhorted him not to be so pertinent but continue to be his friend and enjoy the benefits and privileges of being a roman soldier. Ippolito rose and said in a clear voice: ”my honor and military glory is to be a soldier of Christ and to die under his flag”.

Becoming more furious, the emperor ordered that Ippolito be stripped of all his possessions, taken away and his family beaten in his presence as they were all Christians. Among them was a holy woman named Concordia who had been Ippolito’s wet nurse. She was asked by the emperor to consider if, at her advanced age, she also wanted to die with the rest of them to which she answered:  “I and all of us here would rather die with Ippolito then live as cowards without him”. The emperor replied:” Slaves and servants never change unless beaten” and had Concordia beaten repeatedly and severely until she expired in the presence of Ippolito who remained calm and consoled seeing  go to her glory, before him, the woman whose milk had fed him.

 Finally Valeriano ordered that the entire family be taken outside the walls of Rome and all be decapitated in Ippolito’s presence and then he was to be tied to two wild horses and dragged thorough the rough terrain till he also died.

During the night his body was buried by Giustino Prete and other Christians in the “Campo Verano”not far from where S.Lawrence body was buried.

It was the year 261 under the rule of emperor Valeriano and his son Galieno. The church celebrates his Martyrdom on August 13. -

According to some historians the Martyrdom occurred not in the year 261 but in 258.


~ on line dal 10 Ottobre 2005 ~

Created by Valentina & Lorenzo Coscarella