The Sixth Day in the Christmas Octave
Madonna of San Luca / Nostra Signora della Guardia / Our Lady of Saint Luke of La Guardia, Bologna, Italy (433) – 30 December:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This picture was in the Church of Santa Sophia, at Constantinople, with this inscription: “This picture, painted by Saint Luke, must be taken to the mountain of La Garde and placed over the Altar of the Church.” A Greek monk set out for Italy about the year 433, with the picture entrusted to him and deposited it on the mountain of La Garde.”
The account mentioned by the Abbot above, is also told in the chronicle of Graziolo Accarisi, who wrote of a Greek hermit who went on pilgrimage to Constantinople where he received from the Priests of the Church of Santa Sofia, the icon of Our Lady of La Guardia. This image was attributed to Saint Luke the Evangelist and there was an inscription on the painting itself that it should one day be taken to the “mountain of the guard.”
The hermit took the Icon,and walked throughout Italy in search of the place where the Icon was meant to be,but it was not until he reached the City of Emilia near Bologna that the authorities of the City came out to greet him and processed with the icon back to the mountain. The Icon had finally found its home and it is now more commonly known as the Madonna of San Luca.
Among the many miracles attributed to the image is especially noted the “miracle of the rain,” which occurred on 5 July 1433. An extremely heavy spring rain came late in the season, threatening to destroy the crops. Facing the prospect of famine, the people turned to the Blessed Virgin for assistance. The storm and rain stopped suddenly, with the arrival into the City, of a procession carrying the miraculous Icon. Since that time these processions have been repeated annually. There is even an incredible arched walkway that is only a little short of four kilometers in length, that is meant to protect the Icon from the elements, as well as those on procession.
The Icon shows the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus in blessing. She wears a blue-green robe, with a red tunic. The nose, eyes and fingers appear somewhat elongated. The Divine Child wears a tunic of the same colour as His Mothers’, with His right hand in a gesture of giving a blessing and his left hand being closed. In 1625 the image was covered with a silver panel which leaves only the faces of the figures uncovered.
The Icon was crowned in 1603 by the Archbishop Alfonso Paleotti. The Sanctuary of Saint Luke, where the Icon is kept, was declared a national monument in the year 1874. In 1907 the Church was raised to the dignity of a Minor Basilica by the holy Pope Saint Pius X.
The Sanctuary is situate some 300 metres above the City plain, just south-west of the historical centre of the City. While a road now leads up to the Sanctuary, it is also possible to reach it along a 3.8 km monumental roofed arcade (Portico di San Luca) consisting of 666 arches, which was built in 1674–1793. It was meant to protect the Icon as it was paraded up the hill. A yearly procession from the Cathedral of San Pietro in the centre of Bologna to the Sanctuary goes along this path. The arches held sacred images or Chapels erected by patron families. There is also a cable car which takes tourists up to the Basilica.
St Anysia of Thessalonica
St Anysius of Thessalonica
St Egwin of Worcester OSB (Died 717) Bishop of Worcester, England, Benedictine Monk, Reformer and Penitent, miracle-worker. Egwin was devout and lived for God from his youth. His biographers say, that king, clergy and the faithful, all united in demanding Egwin’s elevation to Bishop.
About St Egwin:
St Elias of Conques
St Eugene of Milan
St Pope Felix I
Blessed Giovanni Maria Boccardo (1848-1913) He is remembered as “Father of the Poor” – Priest, Founder of the Poor Daughters of Saint Cajetan.
St Hermes of Moesia
St Jucundus of Aosta
St Liberius of Ravenna
Blessed Margherita Colonna (c 1255-1284) Virgin, Nun
St Perpetuus of Tours
Bl Raoul of Vaucelles
St Raynerius of Aquila
Bl Richard of Wedinghausen
St Ruggero of Canne
St Sebastian of Esztergom
Martyrs of Alexandria – (5 saints): A group of Christians martyred in the unrest caused by Monophysite heretics. We know the names for five of them – Appian, Donatus, Honorius, Mansuetus and Severus. They were martyred in c 483 at Alexandria, Egypt.
Martyrs of Oia – (6 saints): A group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. The only details to have survived are the names – Cletus, Florentius, Papinianus, Paul, Serenusa and Stephen. They were martyred in Oia, Greece.
Martyrs of Spoleto – (4 saints): A group of Christians martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian – Exuperantius, Marcellus, Sabinus and Venustian. They were martyred in 303 in Spoleto, Italy.