Saint of the Day – 14 October – Saint Fortunatus of Todi (Died 537) Bishop, Confessor, miracle-worker. Patronage – Todi.
An entry in the Roman Martyrology under 14 October records: “At Todi in Umbria, St Fortunatus, Bishop, who, as is mentioned by blessed Gregory, was endowed with an extraordinary gift for casting out unclean spirits.”
According to the Dialogues of Pope Gregory the Great, Bishop Fortunatus of Todi “He possessed extraordinary power over evil spirits, for on occasions he would expel legions of them and, when they turned their violence against him personally, he would crush them with the weapon of incessant prayer.”
He records the following:
“On one occasion, Fortunatus drove out the spirits which plagued a woman who had sex before attending the dedication of the Church of St Sebastianus. A noblewoman from Tuscany and her daughter-in-law, were due to attend this ceremony. The night before the dedication, the young woman slept with her husband. As soon as the relics of Sebastian were brought out, a spirit possessed the woman. When a Priest threw the linen cloth from the altar on her to cover her, he was attacked by the same spirit. Only Fortunatus was able to drive out the spirit by spending many days and nights in prayer. He also drove a spirit out of a possessed man, which later inflicted itself on a family in Todi.
Fortunatus cured a blind man by making a sign of the cross in front of his eyes. Later, he cured a mad horse, when he made a sign of the cross over it’s head.
When Goths carried off two small boys from an estate on the outskirts of Ravenna, Fortunatus repeatedly asked them to return the boys unharmed. When leaving Todi, the leader of the Goths passed in front of theCchurch of St Peter. His horse slipped and fell and he suffered a broken rib. After the leader of the Goths sent the boys safely to Fortunatus, one of his Deacons sprinkled the rib with holy water, healing it.
Fortunatus was called to revive a dead man called Marcellus. Before dawn on Easter Sunday, Fortunatus went to see the corpse with two Deacons. When he called to the corpse, the man came back to life.”
The Dialogues also state that miracles soon occurred at the grave of St Fortunatus but they do not specify where this was. A lead plaque discovered during a recognition of the relics of St Fortunatus in 1580 was inscribed:
Hec sunt reliquie beatissimi Fortunati episcopi et confessoris DCCVIII
These are the relics of St Fortunatus, Bishop and Confessor (708)
This plaque presumably recorded a formal recognition of the relics in 708. It seems likely that this recognition occurred in the Church that stood on the site of the Cappella Gregoriana which was partly demolished in 1296 to make way for the construction of the present Church of San Fortunato. In the following year, Pope Boniface VIII consented to the translation of the relics of Saints Fortunatus, Cassian and Callistus from the old Church to what became the Crypt of the new one. He granted indulgences to those attending the subsequent translation of these relics, see the Church below. The crypt houses a sepulchre containing the remains of Sts Fortunatus, Cassian and Callistus, as well as the tomb of Fra Jacopone da Todi OFM (1230–1306), the well-known hymnist.