Saint of the Day – 23 March – St Ottone Frangipane (1040-1127) Layman, military Knight, Pilgrim, Ascetic, Hermit, Miracle-worker both during life and after his death. Founder of a Pilgrim’s Hospice in Ariano which later became a huge Hospital. Born in 1040 in Rome, Italy and died on 23 March 1127 in Ariano Irpino, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – the City of Ariano Irpino, Italy, the Diocese of Ariano Irpino-Lacedonia, Castelbottaccio, Italy. Also known as – Oddone, Oto, Otto.
According to the Arianesi tradition, Ottone was born in Rome, and was a member of the noble Frangipane family, a powerful baronial family occupying a prominent position in Rome. Around 1058 when Ottone was a young Knight of around 18 years, he had to leave his home on a military campaigns in defence of the Pope. In one of these campaigns,
Ottone was captured and put in chains in a cell in a tower, from which he escaped after beseeching the intercession of the Patron Saint of the imprisoned, Saint Leonard of Noblac, who appeared to him during the night and released him from his chains.
Ottonhe returned to Rome before he went on pilgrimages of thanksgiving to many Shrines in different regions across Italy.
That pilgrimage lasted about 50 years! Traditions state that at that time he wore the Benedictine habit, although he did not take the vows of a Monk and lived for some time in the Abbey of the Blessed Trinity of Cava, dedicating himself to prayer and manual labour. He later visited St William of Vercelli in Montevergine Monastery, spending time there and becoming the spiritual disciple and student of St William.
In around 1110, after the long pilgrimage, the Saint settled in Ariano. At this time the City was a place of transit for the pilgrims travelling from Naples and Benevento towards Bari, where they would take ship for the Holy Land. Ottone dedicated himself to their help and to accommodate them, he founded the Hospice of San Giacomo (Saint James).
Here Ottone worked for three years in a Hospice for pilgrims setting an example of charity, until he decided to retire to lead a life of solitary prayer about a kilometer away from the City and the Hospice near to the Church of San Pietro Apostolo, today called San Pietro dei Reclusiis
Attached to the Church he built a small cell and there he isolated himself. He performed many miracles in the place, increased his austerities, prolonged his prayer vigils, lessened the food and increased the penances. Next to the small cell he dug a grave, as a reminder of death, as a warning to lead a holy life. After ten years of this life, he died.
The Arianesi solemnly transported his body to the Cathedral, where the Bishop had him buried with honour. The cult seems to have started right away and many miracles have been attributed to St Ottone over the centuries. In around 1220, Ottone’s Relics body was transferred to Benevento to avoid desecration in Saracen raids.
The most important miracle recorded of Ottone took place in around 1180, when the Saracens of Lucera, who were besieging Ariano were struck down by a rain of stones, by the intercession of the Saint, who appeared among the clouds. To commemorate this miraculous event, the Arianesi built the Church of Santa Maria della Ferma.
Among others who received miracles by the intercession of Ottone, was Saint Elzéar of Sabran, who became Count of Ariano and is now venerated as its joint Patron Saint.
Particularly noted is the vow made by the Arianesi in 1528 – Ariano was gripped by the plague and the inhabitants turned to Saint Ottone to be freed of it. The Saint saved the City and its faithful people, not then only but on other occasions, his intercession released the Arianesi from epidemics. St Ottone pray for us all, we beseech thee!
In art, St Ottone’s attributes are the monastic habit, a sword and a scourge.
2 thoughts on “Saint of the Day – 23 March – St Ottone Frangipane (1040-1127)”
Another great Saint! I have already said prayers to him for the healing of friends and relatives. I want to meet this Saint one Heavenly day! Amen
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Hughie! How goes your Lent?
Yes – St Ottone and a few others we have had recently – like that Clement of Dunblane, Scotland.
I have found them most fascinating and inspiring.
Please pray for us all St Ottone.