Saint of the Day – 24 January – Saint Felician of Foligno (c 158-c 250) Bishop and Martyr, Confessor – born in c 158 in Foligno, Italy and died in c 250 just outside the City of Foligno as the result of his tortures and scourgings. Felician was one of the first Christian Bishops of northern Italy. Patronage – Foligno.
Felician was born in present-day Foligno, of a Christian family, around 158. He was the spiritual student of Pope Eleuterus and evangelised in Foligno, Spello, Bevagna, Assisi, Perugia, Norcia, Plestia, Trevi and Spoleto.
In c 204 he was Consecrated as the Bishop of Foligno by Pope Victor I. St Felician was the first Bishop to receive the Pallium as a symbol of his office.
He ordained St Valentine of Rome as a Priest. His Episcopate lasted for more than 50 years. he was one of the first Christian Bishops of northern Italy.
He was arrested at an advanced age (he was in his nineties) for refusing to sacrifice to the Roman gods during the persecutions of Decius.
He was tortured and scourged and died outside Foligno while being conveyed to Rome for his execution.
A Church (now a Cathedral) was built over his grave at Foligno. His relics were transferred to Metz on 4 October 970. In 965 some relics were translated to Minden in Germany; Felician was thus erroneously considered a bishop of that German city (and he had a separate feast day of 20 October), an error that entered the Roman Martyrology. Some of his relics were later returned to Foligno in 1673-4.
Foligno Cathedral preserves a statue of the saint, of silver and bronze.