Saint of the Day – 8 May – St Victor Maurus the Moor (Died c 303) Martyr, Layman, Confessor, ex-Soldier. Born in the 3rd Century in Mauretania, Africa and died by beheading in c 303 at Milan. Patronages – Asigliano, Italy, Balangero, Italy, Borghetto, Italy, Canale, Italy, Caselle Torinese, Italy, Feletto, Italy, Odolengo, Italy, Quagliuzzo, Italy, Rho, Italy, San Vittore Olona, Italy. Varese, Italy, Verbania, Italy. Also known as – Victor the Moor, Viktor; Vittore; Vittorio.
The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Milan, the birthday of the holy Martyr Victor, a Moor. He became a Christian in his youth and served as a soldier in the imperial army. When Maximian wished to force him to offer sacrifice to idols, he persevered with the greatest fortitude in the confession of the Lord. Being first beaten with rods but without experiencing any pain, through the protection of God and then, having melted lead, poured over him, which did him no injury whatever. He at length terminated the career of his glorious Martyrdom by being beheaded.”
Victor, born into a Christian family, was a soldier in the Roman Praetorian Guard under Maximian. In the “Acts,” which date to the 8th Century, it is said that Victor refused to continue his military service. Dragged to the Hippodrome of the Circus in the presence of Maximian Herculean and his adviser Anulinus, he refused to betray his beliefs, despite the torments to which he was subjected. Whipped and imprisoned, after an almost miraculous escape, he was again captured. He was dragged into a nearby elm wood and decapitated.
His bones were later buried at an ancient Basilica on the site of a former Roman mausoleum. They were later moved to the Oratory of San Vittore in Ciel d’Oro, originally a free-standing Chapel, commissioned by Bishop Maternus to hold the relics of Saint Victor. It is now part of the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, built by St Ambrose, as the Bishop of Milan, and initially called the “Basilica Martyrum.”. Victor’s cause was promoted by St Ambrose.
St Gregory of Tours claimed miracles occurred at Victor’s grave. In 1576, Bishop St Charles Borromeo had the relics returned to the rebuilt San Vittore al Corpo. Forensic examinations conducted in 2018 indicated a male in his mid-twenties, with clear signs of decapitation.
Numerous Churches have been dedicated to him in the City of Milan itself and throughout the Diocese of Milan and its neighbouring towns.