Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day –23 September – Saint Sosius (275-305) Confessor, Deacon and Martyr.

Saint of the Day –23 September – Saint Sosius (275-305) Confessor, Deacon and Martyr. His holiness and wisdom drew many Prelates to his feet, seeking spiritual assistance. St Sosius was a Deacon of Misenum, an important naval base of the Roman Empire in the Bay of Naples. Born in 275 in Miseno, Italy and died by being beheaded on 19 September 305, along with St Januarius, at Pozzuoli, Campagna, Italy. Patronages – ailments of the bones, of Frattamaggiore, Italy, San Sossio Baronia, Italy. Also known as – Sosius of Misenum, of Miseno, Sosius of Puzzuoli, Sosier, Sosio, Sosius, Sossio, Sossius, Sosso.

The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Capo Miseno in Campania, St Sosius, Deacon and Martyr, who, as Pope St Symmachus reports, wishing to save his Bishop from death, instead found death together with him, obtaining equal glory at the same price.””

Sosius was born in Miseno in 275, as reported by the Martyrology of the Venerable Bede. He was one of the most ardent leaders of early Christian groups. Giovanni Diacono defined him as “a man in whom all the charisms of Grace were crowded.

To demonstrate the fame of holiness which he enjoyed, while still alive, it is enough to remember that illustrious Prelates felt the need to come to Miseno to confer with the seraphic Deacon. Pope Symmachus shows him very zealous to the point of sacrifice and he was so full of the Holy Spirit that his advice was also requested by the great Neapolitan Bishop, St Januarius. During one of these visits, in 304, St Januarius,, celebrating the Holy Mass on the third Sunday of Easter, saw a flame similar to that descending on the forehead of the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, appear on the head of Sosius, while he was reading the Gospel. St Januarius, evealed the vision to many there.

Sts Sosius and Januarius

The persecution started the year before by Diocletian had, in the meantime, reached its peak and Misenus, seat of the imperial praetorian fleet, was an extremely dangerous place for Christians. But not for this reason, not for any dangers, would Sosius limit his work, continuing with fervour in the preaching of the word of Christ against false idols.

Betrayed by informers, he was taken to prison in Pozzuoli and tortured to deny his faith. St Januarius himself, who was not unaware of the danger to which he was exposed, went to visit him in prison and on that occasion, he too was imprisoned, along with Sts Desiderius and Festus. All were destined to be fed to the beasts in the Amphitheater of Pozzuoli but, a series of miraculous events did not allow the condemnation to be carried out, “…when the animals came near the Saints, they fell affectionately at their feet and refused to harm them,” therefore, they were condemned to be beheaded.

Sosius’ body was transferred to Miseno on 23 September of the same year, which was set as his feast day. The destruction of Miseno by the Saracens caused the migration of the population towards the interior, with the subsequent foundation of Frattamaggiore. here the Misenati brought with them the cult of the Saint, making him the Patron Saint of the City.

The Benedictines, who, at the beginning of the 10th Century, found the remains in the ruins of the Church of Misenate, kept the body in Naples, at the Convent of St Severinus, preserving it from the raids of the Saracens. Thanks to them, the cult spread in Campania, in Lazio and even in Africa.

In 1807, following the suppression of the Convent by Napoleon, the remains of the Saint, together with those of the Apostle of Norico St Severinus, who for many centuries had rested next to the Benedictine Convent, were translated to the mother Church of Frattamaggiore, where still today, they are the object of the love and veneration of all.

St Sosius is also particularly venerated in Castro dei Volsci (Frosinone). The people effectively invoke him against the ailments of the bones.

Saint Sossius (right) with Saint Severinus, Altar painting from the eponymous Church of Saints Severinuaande Sossius in Naples, late 15th Century.