- 1 Saint Cecilia
- 2 St. Cecilia – Saints & Angels
- 3 Cecilia
- 4 The Story of St. Cecilia – St. Cecilia Catholic Community
- 5 The Story of Saint Cecilia
- 6 About St. Cecilia – Patron Saint Article
- 7 More About St. Cecilia
- 8 The Patronage of St. Cecilia
- 9 St. Cecilia in Art
- 10 Prayers of St. Cecilia
- 11 The remarkable story of St Cecilia, the patron saint of music who’s celebrated today
- 12 When is St Cecilia day celebrated?
- 13 Help Musicians’ annual Festival of St Cecilia
- 14 Saint Cecilia
- 15 Saint Cecilia Facts for Kids
- 16 Images for kids
- 17 The St Cecilia myth
- 18 Who was St Cecilia?
- 19 St Cecilia, First incorruptible Saint
- 20 Now Available!
- 21 Learning to Love God
Home PhilosophyReligion Personages associated with religion Scholars SaintsPopes Martyrdom in the Roman Empire Alternative titles include: Saint Cecily is a saint who is venerated in Italy. From c.101 to c.300, the civilization flourished. Italy St. Cecilia, also known as Cecilia or Cecily, (flourished in the 3rd century in Rome; feast day November 22), one of the most famous virgin martyrs of the early church and one of the most debated figures in church history. She is revered as the patron saint of music and artists.
When she was forcibly married against her choice to the future saint Valerian, who was then a pagan, she informed him that an angel of God intended her to continue to be a virgin.
She said that he would if he were baptized in the church.
She then persuaded his brother Tiburtius, who had also witnessed the angel, to accept Christ.
- It was because she gave away her goods to the needy that the prefect Almachius became incensed and ordered her to be burnt.
- The Martyrdom of St.
- It is titled The Martyrdom of St.
- It measures 135.89 by 98.425 centimeters.
- The Ahmanson Foundation made a gift of AC1996.37.1 to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
- Callistus, which are located near Rome.
- Praetextatus at the beginning of the 9th century and ordered that they be transported to Rome, where they are today housed in a basilica in Trastevere that bears her name.
- Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Melissa Petruzzello was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.
St. Cecilia – Saints & Angels
In the fourth century, a Greek holy romance based on the Loves of Cecilia and Valerian was composed in praise of virginal life with the goal of displacing the then-popular sensuous romances of the time period. As a result, unless stronger evidence is available, we must assume that St. Cecilia was not recognized or worshiped in Rome until about the time when Pope Gelasius (496) first included her name in his Sacramentary, a conclusion that is supported by the evidence. It is reported that in the fifth century, in Rome, there existed a cathedral dedicated to St.
- Despite its flaws, the narrative of St.
- She is claimed to have been extremely close to God and to have prayed frequently: The city of Rome once had a virgin named Cecilia who hailed from an incredibly wealthy family and who was given in marriage to a young man named Valerian.
- The virgin fasted, wore sackcloth next to her skin, and prayed to the saints, angels, and virgins, imploring them to protect her virginity.
- Valerian demanded to see the angel as proof, and Cecilia assured him that he would have eyes to see after he reached the third milestone on the Via Appia (Appian Way) and had been baptized by Pope Urbanus, which he eventually did.
- As a result, the angel crowned Cecilia with a chaplet of rose and lily.
- In the end, both brothers were apprehended and brought before the prefect, where they were both killed for refusing to make a sacrifice to the gods.
- Cecilia devoted her time preaching and was able to convert over four hundred individuals throughout her lifetime, the vast majority of whom were baptized by Pope Urban.
Cecilia was imprisoned for one night and one day while flames were piled high and pushed to a terrible temperature – but she did not even break a sweat.
Because the executioner was unable to decapitate her after three strikes, he left her bleeding for three days, during which time she remained alive.
She died on the third day and was buried by Pope Urban and his deacons, who were present at her funeral.
Cecilia is revered as the patroness of music because, although she was married, she heard heavenly music in her heart.
In 1599, officials excavated her remains and discovered that she was incorrupt, making her the first of all incurrupt saints.
Officials merely peeked through the veil as a gesture of spiritual reverence, and they did not conduct any additional exams or investigations.
The relics of St. Cecilia were carried to Cecilia’s titular church in Trastevere, where they were interred under the high altar. The church of St. Cecilia was completely restored in 1599 by Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati, the nephew of Pope Gregory XIV.
There are many myths and traditions about the early church martyrs, but little factual knowledge about them. Feast Day: November 22Canonization: Before the Council of Trent Saint Cecilia lived most likely in the second or third century AD, and according to legend, she died around the year 177 AD. Despite the fact that we do not know much about her life, Saint Cecilia was one of the most revered early virgin martyrs of Rome, as indicated by the fact that her name appears in the Roman Canon of the Mass (Roman Canon of the Mass) (Eucharistic Prayer 1).
- Evidence of a church named in her honor reaching back to the late fourth century has been discovered.
- Cecilia was born into a rich Roman family and was raised as a Christian by her parents.
- Cecilia made a commitment to Valerius that she would stay a virgin, and she was successful in convincing him to respect her virginity on the night of their wedding.
- The two brothers dedicated their lives to burying Christian martyrs, which was against the law at the time of their conversion.
- They were caught and put to death because they refused to abandon their religious beliefs.
- When she passed away, she wanted her home to be maintained as a church for future generations.
- She was tried and sentenced to death.
- Although she died after several days, it is reported that she converted a large number of those who came to care for her while she was dying.
- The position of her fingers—three extended on her right hand and one on her left—served as her last quiet statement of faith in the Holy Trinity, the Three Persons in One God, which she had previously expressed verbally.
- During the Middle Ages, Saint Cecilia gained widespread acclaim as a patroness of women.
- There is a legend that when Saint Cecilia was compelled to marry the heathen Valerian, she was believed to have heard heavenly music inside her heart.
As a result, Mary was designated as the patron saint of musicians. Because of this narrative, several artistic works, including musical compositions, poetry, artworks, and festivals have sprung up. Here are just a few samples of the numerous artistic works inspired by Saint Cecilia:
- In his “Second Nun’s Tale,” Geoffrey Chaucer pays tribute to Saint Cecilia
- Handel adapted John Dryden’s poetry “A Song for Saint Cecilia’s Day” to music in his “Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day.”
- Charles Gounod created the Saint Cecilia Mass
- Benjamin Britten composed the “Hymn to Saint Cecilia.”
Saint Cecilia reminds us of the many ways in which our music and art may inspire us to worship the Almighty and express our gratitude. Making a connection to the book Blest Are We ®Parish and SchoolGrade 1, chapter 20
The Story of St. Cecilia – St. Cecilia Catholic Community
There was a virgin named Cecilia living in the city of Rome, and she had been given in marriage to a young man named Valerian. She fasted and summoned the saints, angels, and virgins, pleading with them to protect her virginity. She wore sackcloth close to her skin and prayed to them. Afterward, she told her husband, “I will tell you a secret if you promise me that you will not share it with anyone.” Following his swearing, she said that “there is an angel who watches over me, and she keeps anybody who would want to touch me away from me.” “Dearest, if this is real, please show me the angel,” he demanded.
After he was baptized by Pope S.
Tibertius, Valerian’s brother, came in shortly after and exclaimed at the aroma and beauty of the flowers, which he had never seen before at that time of year.
The Story of Saint Cecilia
During her lifetime in the Roman Empire, Saint Cecilia lived in the third century A.D. She was born into an aristocratic family in the Italian capital of Rome. Even though she had promised herself to remain virgin, her parents married her off to a young pagan nobleman called Valerian against her pledge of virginity. In reaction to this, she donned sackcloth and fasted for many days. She also summoned the saints and angels, pleading with them to keep her virginity a secret from the world. Before the marriage could be consummated, Saint Cecilia informed Valerian of her vow of virginity and the fact that she was protected by an angel at all times.
- When Valerian inquired about seeing this angel, Saint Cecilia informed him that he would first need to go to the third milestone on the Appian Way and be baptized by Pope Urbanus before seeing the angel.
- Both brothers devoted their life to ensuring that the saints who had been persecuted and executed by the prefect of their city, Turcius Almachius, were properly burying them.
- When he demanded that they offer a sacrifice to the pagan gods, they refused and were put to death as a result of their defiance.
- Saint Cecilia was hit three times by the executioner, yet he was unable to remove her head from her body.
- While she was in her final three days of life, Saint Cecilia continued to preach and give her prayers to the throngs of people who had gathered in her vicinity.
- The Catacombs of St.
- Her remains were then moved to the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, where they remain today.
When her remains was unearthed by church officials in 1599, they discovered that she was not corrupt.
A number of songs, poems, and works of art have been written in her honor.
The first one took place in 1570 in the Normandy town of Évreux, and her feast day is well-known as a venue for concerts and music festivals across the world.
A few examples are the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, which is one of the oldest musical organizations in the world and is named for her.
It is the Sisters of Saint Cecilia, a group of religious sisters that shear wool for the palliums worn by newly appointed metropolitan archbishops.
Every year on June 29, on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the Pope confers the pallia on the newly appointed metropolitan archbishops. Has Saint Cecilia had an influence on your life? Tell us about it. Tell us how you did it!
About St. Cecilia – Patron Saint Article
Saint Cecilia is Performing Musical Instruments Has there ever been a time when music has been a source of comfort for you? Regardless of whether it was an upbeat song that got you into the zone for your workout or a soothing ballad that helped you relax after a stressful day, music has a way of assisting us in expressing our emotions and getting into the right mindset for various situations and activities. Some people listen to music on occasion for comfort, while others listen to it on a daily basis for the pleasure of themselves and others.
- One can understand why such a potent mode of expression would be attributed to one of the most venerated martyrs in Christian history.
- It is said that she, the daughter of a wealthy family, was betrothed to a Roman pagan named Valerian, despite the fact that she had already vowed to God that she would keep her virginity, and that she had fasted and prayed for her promise to be kept.
- It was she who informed Valerian that she was betrothed to an angel, who jealously guarded her body, and warned him that he must take care not to violate her virginity while in her company.
- He was baptized by the Pope and returned to Cecilia, where an angel appeared and lavished them with roses and lilies as a wedding gift.
- In addition, it is said that the brothers Cecilia converted became steadfast witnesses to Christ, distributing generous alms and burying those who died in Christ’s name.
- We know these facts about their martyrdoms as historical fact, despite the fact that the stories that preceded them were based on tradition.
- Maximus, the officer tasked with carrying out this sentence, was also converted and martyred by the sword alongside the two brothers, along with the rest of the Roman army.
Just before she was taken prisoner, she built a church in her home, which she intended to use after her unavoidable martyrdom.
Despite having spent an extended period of time in the overheated room, Cecilia remained unharmed, much to the frustration and consternation of her Roman captors, and the prefect dispatched an executioner to complete the mission.
The Romans abandoned her, leaving her to die in a pool of her own blood.
Pope Urbanus interred St.
Her soul had been transferred to God at that point.
Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians, and she is usually depicted with a crown of martyrdom or an organ.
She has a feast day on the 22nd of November, which is celebrated worldwide. By opening the doors to liturgical music, St. Cecilia has reminded us of the importance that faith-filled song has played in the lives of Christians throughout history, including the history of the church.
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More About St. Cecilia
St. Cecilia is frequently shown holding a musical instrument, and many artists may pray to her for assistance before giving a performance or giving a concert. But why is St. Cecilia known as the patroness of music in the first place? I’m curious to know what happens next in the life of this lovely and well-loved Saint. St. Cecilia was born into a rich Christian household in the second or third centuries AD. She had been promised to marry a guy named Valerian since she was a kid, despite the fact that he was a pagan.
- Cecilia had entirely given herself to God, and she had dressed in sackcloth, fasted, and prayed in the hopes of being able to keep her commitment to God of virginity by persuading Valerian to marry someone else in order to keep her virginity.
- Cecilia and Valerian were eventually married.
- Cecilia heard beautiful music in her heart, while the rest of the guests indulged in bawdy and inappropriate conduct in the surrounding area.
- Valerian requested to meet with the angel, and St.
- While many accounts exist of how Valerian came face to face with St.
- Cecilia’s vow to God, and he himself was baptized as a Christian as a result.
- Cecilia, they were both visited by an angel, who gave a celestial crown on both of their heads as a token of his love for them.
Valerian and Tibertius, both freshly baptized and enthusiastic for the Faith, determined to make it their goal to provide a dignified burial for the Christian martyrs of the period, which they accomplished.
This did not deter St.
When the deeds of the Roman prefect were exposed, she was put to death as well.
The flames blazed on for hours and hours, yet St.
The prefect then ordered St.
The executioner hit her three times in the neck with his axe, but was unable to totally decapitate or behead her.
As she lay dying, people flocked to her, and she continued to preach and convert a large number of people to God’s love.
Her remains were excavated in 1599 and were found to be completely undamaged.
Cecilia was erected on this site in Rome, and it is the most visited attraction in the city.
Many songs, poetry, and paintings were written in her honor during the Middle Ages in Europe, and the devotion to St.
In 1584, she was elected patroness of the Academy of Music in Rome, Italy, which had been created the year before.
In “The Canterbury Tales,” Chaucer makes reference to her. Even the Andrews Sisters sang a song named “The Shrine of St. Cecilia” in 1941, which was written in honor of St. Cecilia. Beautiful medals in honor of Saint Cecilia may be seen on this page.
The Patronage of St. Cecilia
St. Cecilia is the patron saint of the blind, physical cleanliness, composers, music and musicians, musical instrument builders, poets, and singers, among other things. She is also the patron saint of musicians and composers. The feast day of St. Cecilia is celebrated on November 22.
St. Cecilia in Art
A musical instrument – most typically an organ – is generally represented beside St. Cecilia in artwork, as this is the instrument that has historically been connected with liturgical music. There have been several depictions of her playing a broad array of instruments, with the lute and harp being two of the more regularly seen among them. Clothing indicative to the time period in which she lived (length, flowing robes with the occasional veil or hat) is worn by her. A few times, she is represented with flowers, which represent purity, and with an image of the angel that was sent to protect her when she made her vow of virginity to God.
Prayers of St. Cecilia
Allow Saint Cecilia to be your prayer companion while you repeat the prayers below, or as part of your rosary devotion, as you say the prayers below. Here is where you may find Saint Cecilia Rosary Beads.
Litany of St. Cecilia
Please have compassion on us, Lord. Please, Jesus, take compassion on us. Please have compassion on us, Lord. Please, Christ, hear us. Please, Christ, hear our prayers. Thank you, God, our heavenly Father, for having mercy on us. Please, God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have compassion on us and grant us forgiveness. Thank you, God the Holy Spirit, for having mercy on us. Please have compassion on us, O Holy Trinity, One God. Please intercede for us on behalf of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
- Please, Saint Cecilia, wise virgin, intercede for us.
- Thank you, Saint Cecilia, for your enthusiasm and kindness as an apostle.
- We implore you to intercede on our behalf with Saint Cecilia, who converted thy spouse and obtained for him the crown of martyrdom.
- Cecilia, for your intercession, which stirred the hearts of many pagans and led them into the real Church.
- Pray for us, Saint Cecilia, who saw thy guardian Angel at thy side at all times, and who is now with us.
- Pray for us, St.
- Please intercede for us on behalf of Saint Cecilia, glorious Martyr of Jesus Christ.
Saint Cecilia, comforter of the bereaved, intercede on our behalf.
Please intercede for us on behalf of Saint Cecilia, patroness of sacred canticles.
Please pray for us.
Spare us, O Lord, from the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
Have compassion on us, O Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world.
Let us pray: O Eternal God, Who has given us a powerful protector in the person of Saint Cecilia, grant that after having faithfully passed our days, like her, in innocence and holiness, we may one day attain the land of beatitude, where, in concert with her, we may praise Thee and bless Thee forevermore in eternity, as she has done.
Prayer to St. Cecilia
I admire the courage with which you expressed your religion in the face of tremendous persecution, as well as the generous love with which you dedicated your life as a testament to your conviction in the Blessed Trinity. I join you in thanking God for the magnificent gifts He had bestowed upon you, which enabled you to live a pure and acceptable life even in the midst of the wealth that you had accumulated. I express my gratitude to Him for the honor of obtaining the wonderful crown of martyrdom, which He has extended to you.
Teach us to confess our faith bravely and to be prepared to sacrifice ourselves in order to put our faith into action, so that our good example may draw others closer to Christ and the Church He created in these days of pleasure seeking and lack of faith.
The Hail Mary is sung.
Please pray for us on behalf of St.
Prayer to St. Cecilia
Gentle Cecilia, wonderful voice and song of the Heart of Jesus; you are my inspiration. As a result, we have come to you to ask for your aid. Pray for us, Cecilia, and teach us to sing to God’s glories as well as for God’s glory, as you have done for us. Give us the ability to sing the “Ave” in the same manner as you did at the hour of your death. Pray for us, O Martyr, with a joyful heart, we beseech you. Amen.
The remarkable story of St Cecilia, the patron saint of music who’s celebrated today
O delicate Cecilia, charming voice and music of the Heart of Jesus, you are a treasure. The reason we’ve come here is that we need your help. We beg you to intercede for us, Cecilia, and teach us to sing to the glories of God as well as for God’s glory. As you did at the hour of your sacrifice, please give us the ability to sing the “Ave.” O martyr, please pray for us from the bottom of your heart. Amen.
When is St Cecilia day celebrated?
St Cecilia Day is celebrated on November 22nd, and musical festivals honoring the patron saint of music are held all around the world around that date. The first mention of a music festival in her honor occurred in Normandy in 1570, according to historical records. There have been many works created in St Cecilia’s honor by composers such as Purcell and Britten, who was born on St Cecilia Day, which is a suitable coincidence.
Help Musicians’ annual Festival of St Cecilia
Musicians’ charitable organization Help Artists organizes an annual celebration of St Cecilia, which is normally held at Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, or Westminster Cathedral, and which involves the great choirs of the three cathedrals, as well as other brilliant musicians and special guests. In the face of the coronavirus epidemic in 2020, the celebrations went forward — but only on the internet. In addition, the organization collaborated with the Cathedral Music Trust, which supports cathedrals and choral music in the United Kingdom and worldwide, to provide great and emotional performances and messages during a time when the classical music world has been put to the test.
The celebration performance was webcast on Help Musicians’ website,here, from 11am GMT on Wednesday 18 November, and is now available to view online on demand.
“We hope that, during this period of increased lockdown and limitations, music lovers from all around the United Kingdom would join us in reflecting on the importance of music in our lives, as well as the value that artists offer to us all.” 2020 is shaping up to be one of the most challenging years in the history of the music industry, with tens of thousands of musicians needing assistance.
on Wednesday, November 18. For more information, to view the video, and to donate, go to www.helpmusicians.org.uk/FOSC20.
The Life of Saint Cecilia Despite the fact that Cecilia is one of the most well-known of the Roman martyrs, it appears that the popular myths about her are not based on historical evidence. There is no evidence that she was ever accorded any sort of accolade in the past. At least as early as 545, an inscription from the late fourth century mentions a church dedicated to Mary, and her feast day was held at least once in her honor. A young Christian woman of great social standing, Cecilia was engaged to a Roman called Valerian, according to mythology.
According to the mythology surrounding Cecilia’s death, she survived three days after being hit three times in the neck with a sword and then requested that the Pope transform her home into a cathedral.
Reflection Cecilia sung in her heart, as every good Christian should, and she also sang with her voice at times.
Click here to meet seven unknown Catholic saints!
Saint Cecilia (Latin: Caecilia Romana, Italian: Cecilia a Roma) – also known as St. Cecilia the Roman – was an early Christian virgin saint and martyr who lived about 200–230 AD. With a sword and a rose in her hand, she is frequently represented standing next to a keyboard (organ, harpsichord) or bowed string instrument, as is customary. Her name appears in the Eucharistic Prayer of the Roman Catholic Church, which is part of the Canon of the Roman Catholic Church. It has been since the 16th century that St.
- According to the Holy Tradition, while she was being taken to the altar on her wedding day, she prayed to God and sung sacred chants as she was being led to the altar.
- As with other musical instruments, the qualities of Saint Cecilia are often represented by these flowers, the most common of which are keyboard instruments (such as the pipe organ, harpsichord, or celesta) and bowed stringed instruments (viols).
- Cecilia was born into a family of Roman aristocracy and came to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ as a child.
- As a result, the primary goal of her life was to provide service to the poor and to maintain her purity and chastity till the end of her life.
- She was successful in persuading her fiancé to accept Christ as his Savior.
- The young people aided the poor and in need in a variety of different ways.
- Valerian and Tiburtius were later killed as a result of their religion, and it was at this time that St.
At first, the executioners attempted to kill her by immersing her in boiling water, but St.
Afterwards, they attempted to execute her with a sword, but the executioner was unable to take off the girl’s head, and instead only managed to inflict lethal wounds on her instead.
Cecilia survived for another three days, all the while remaining strong in her Christian faith.
Cecilia’s body in the Roman catacombs and prayed over her remains for decades after her death.
Cecilia Church in Trastavere (on the other side of the Tiber River), while also ordering that her head be preserved at the Santi Quattro Coronati monastery on the other side of the Tiber River.
When the relics were finally revealed in 1599, it was discovered that the head had been unearthed with the body.
It was the sculptor Stefano Maderno, who took part in the unveiling of the relics, who reproduced the picture of Cecilia’s corpse that he had seen on a marble statue he had built, which is currently on display at the Santa Cecilia church in Trastevere.
Cecilia and have attempted to duplicate it, including Rafaello Santi, Artemisia Gentileschi, Carlo Dolci, John Melhuish Strudwick, Niccol Renieri, Guido Reni, Matteo Rosselli, and John Waterhouse.
Cecilia.” Pius IX converted this association into an Academy and established the order of perfection for its members, which is still in use today.
It has attracted many musicians from Italy and other countries, many of whom have become actual and honorary members.
The “Odes for St.
Cecilia, and they are among the most often performed today.
Mikhailenko (from the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “ATEX” and the Russian Federal Service for Protection), A.A. Berstein (from “MOSPROEKT N.2” and Workroom N.13), Vladimir N. Lebe (from the Stained Glass Studio of Vadim Lebedev in St. Petersburg).
Saint Cecilia Facts for Kids
Historically, Saint Cecilia (Latin:Santa Caecilia) has been considered the patroness of musicians. She “sang in her heart to the Lord” at her wedding ceremony. Her feast day is observed on November 22 in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox churches, as well as in the Anglican Communion in the United States. She is one of seven women, with the exception of the Blessed Virgin, who are specifically mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. Her presence and sacrifice are recognized historical facts, despite the fact that the details of her narrative appear to be made up.
Santa Cecilia, an early Christian church in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, was erected in the fourth century on the location of the home where she lived, according to legend.
Images for kids
- The National Gallery of Art has works by Orazio Gentileschi and Giovanni Lanfranco (Saint Cecilia and an Angel, 1617-1618 and 1621-1627, respectively)
- Saints Cecilia, Valerian, and Tiburtius by Botticini (c. 1610)
- Saint Cecilia and Saint Valerian by Lelio Orsi (c. 1555)
- Domenichino (Saint Cecilia with an angel holding a musical score, 1617–18)
- Saint An Angel Crowning Saints Cecilia and Valerian (1330s)
- Statue from the porch of St. Cecilia, Trastevere
- An Angel Crowning Saints Cecilia and Valerian (1330s)
- Saint Cecilia by Stefano Maderno, 1599
- Saint Cecilia Wymondley
- Saint Cecilia stained glass by Edward Burne-Jones at All Saints church, Preston Bagot
- Saint Cecilia Wymondley St. Cecilia’s window in Saint Mary’s Chapel, Holy Family Convent Motherhouse in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, promotes vocations. The Crowns
- Cecilia’s Trial, where she gives her wealth to the needy
- The apse
- And the adobe
- And the adobe. Detail on the left side
- Detail on the right side
Unless otherwise specified, all information fromKiddle encyclopediaarticles (including the article graphics and facts) is available for free use under theAttribution-ShareAlikelicense unless otherwise noted. This article’s citation is: Saint Cecilia Facts for Kids. The free encyclopedia Kiddle Encyclopedia
The St Cecilia myth
Roderick Swanston (1948-2018) was a musician, musical professor, writer, broadcaster, and former President of the International Society of Music. He authored this piece for the International Society of Music (ISM) in 2009, in which he delves into the history of the patron saint of music. The feast of St Cecilia is celebrated on November 22nd every year by the Roman Catholic Church, who has designated her as the patron saint of blindness as well as the patron saint of music. Like most such connections, St Cecilia’s greatness was’thrust onto her’ (cf.
- Her work on behalf of the blind predates the invention of music by several centuries, and her relationship with the former may well have paved the way for her association with the latter.
- The Golden Legend, a 13th-century anthology of saints’ lives edited by Jacobus de Voragine, contains the majority of the first known accounts concerning St Cecilia.
- Both Chaucer and Voragine relate Cecilia’s name with the ‘lily and the rose,’ a floral association that appears often in folklore: when excellent characters talk, ‘lilies and roses’ are supposed to stream forth from their mouths, as in the story of Cecilia and the Lily and the Rose.
- Neither of them make any mention of her particular involvement with music.
- Her death is attributed to a martyrdom in the year 230 AD; others, more recently, suggest that she died in Sicily during the reign of Marcus Aurelius around 176-180 AD.
- With a strong desire to keep their marriage intact, she informed her husband Valerian that she was protected by an angel who would kill him if he came close to her for passion or love on their wedding night.
- She informed him of the date and location of their meeting, and according to folklore, he converted to Christianity and henceforth respected his wife’s chastity.
Following that, Cecilia herself was arrested and put on trial.
However, she was miraculously shielded and was able to remain in the bath for at least a day without suffering any ill effects, prompting the sending of an executioner to behead her.
History was overtaken by legend, which claims that she lived for three days after her ‘execution’ by preaching to her fellow Christians, who cared for her wounds and prayed to God.
Then she passed away.
It may appear paradoxical that she got connected with music, which is considered to be one of the most sensual arts in today’s society.
Her abstinence, like that of many nuns, which Cecilia was not, led to her receiving supernatural insights.
Possibly, the increased veneration of the Virgin Mary in the fourteenth century resulted in a renewed interest in all female saints, particularly those who appeared to be like the Virgin Mary.
Seizing onto her visions, in particular those she experienced in the closing days of her life, the church began to propose these visions featured music, which was frequently regarded to be the unavoidable accompaniment of visions since it was the language of the angels.
Although she first appeared in images with an organ or other instruments in the 16th century, it was not until then that she became closely associated with music and the organ as a result of this association.
Possibly in memory of a fellow painter, Francesco Francia, who allegedly died after witnessing Cecilia, Raphael painted hisEcstasy of St Cecilia sometime about 1515, according to certain sources.
At her feet lies a collection of discarded instruments, which have been left there to demonstrate the preeminence of the organ, which has become strongly connected with Cecilia.
The religion of Cecilia was now complete, with her visions accompanied by music and the organ, and it was beginning to spread.
In this artwork, she is costumed in a way that is both modern and reminiscent of a classical maiden.
Using the viol to depict her music may reflect not just the intimacy of her compositions, but also the passion associated with secular viol music, which in the 17th century appeared to be more in tune with her spirit than the stylistic objective of contemporary organ music.
Although she appears to be playing an instrument in the painting, she appears to be transcending whatever earthly associations the instrument she is holding may have because she is clearly not concentrating on her playing (patron saint of music students?) because her eyes are once again fixed on an unseen vision.
- As seen by the recent display of J W Waterhouse’s work at the Royal Academy, St Cecilia has not gone unnoticed in recent decades.
- A little organ is tucked away in the background, unnoticed.
- In the midst of the ocean’s border, this innocent virgin / Constructed an organ to amplify her pleading.
- Roland de Lassus was one of the prize winners in this competition, which took place in Paris.
- She became its patron, and it is believed that it was at this time that the 22nd of November was designated as her feast day.
- Painting and music were followed by poetry in the 17th century.
- Cecilia, which took place in the Stationers’ Hall in 1683 and were held every year for the following thirty years, save for three years in the sixteenth century (1686-1688, 1689).
Fishburn attempted to reconcile the sensuality of music with Cecilia’s virginity in this passage: ‘And virtue, thou pure fire, / Made by the powers above / To cool the heat of desire, / Music that fancy utilizes / In rapture of innocent flame,’ he wrote.
Purcell’s biggest ode, “Hail Bright Cecilia,” was written in 1692 to a libretto by Nicholas Brady and was his largest work.
Daniel Purcell authored two odes, while John Blow created the music for three of them.
Cecilian festivities were discontinued under the reign of the Georges, however Handel set Dryden’s lyrics to music again in 1739.
All of these pieces might be considered to be part of a great choral tradition.
Music, and by extension Cecilia, is depicted as a source of rest and forgiveness in this scene.
After hearing her play the organ, it is said that an amazed angel descended to listen, similar to how the birds listened to Landini play the organ in Bocaccio’s Decameron when they heard him play.
Timotheus performed during this event, and he was instrumental in raising mortals to paradise.
Cecilia was able to turn the situation around. He elevated a mortal to the sky, she dragged an angel down.’ “Let old Timotheus relinquish the prize, or both split the crown.” “Let old Timotheus yield the prize, or both divide the crown.”
Who was St Cecilia?
Who was St Cecilia, the Patron Saint of Music? Here is our brief guide to the melodious martyr… While Cecilia is one of the most renowned Roman martyrs, what we know about her is apparently based on legend. Cecilia was born into a noble family in Rome in the second century AD and was married against her will to an aristocrat named Valerian. On their wedding night, she told Valerian that she had taken a vow of virginity and she was protected by an angel. Valerian asked for proof of the angel’s existence and Cecilia told him to travel to the third milestone on the Appian Way to be baptised into the Christian faith.
Cecilia herself was also arrested, tried and executed: legend has it that after she was struck three times on the neck by the executioner’s sword, she lived on for three more days – with her last breath, she requested Pope Urban to convert the site of her execution into a church.
However, it was over a thousand years before we see a more explicit musical connection, with paintings dating from the 16th century onwards portraying her with a viol or an organ.
Cecilia’s Day on 22nd November also marks the birthday of several notable musicians.
St Cecilia, First incorruptible Saint
Saint Cecilia (177 A.D.) is an unknown saint. The feast day is on November 22nd. St Cecilia, patroness of musicians, is believed to be the first saint whose body was affected by the phenomena of incorruption, according to historical records. Although the exact year of St Cecilia’s birth is uncertain, it is thought that she died about the year 177 A.D. Cecila belonged to a wealthy and illustrious Roman family, and her parents agreed to marry her to a young nobleman called Valerian despite the fact that she had expressed her desire to remain a virgin.
- In subsequent years, Valerian and his brother Tiburtius, who had also been converted by St Cecilia, were called upon to forsake their faith by the early Christian persecutors.
- Cecilia was caught for burying their remains and was offered the option of offering to the pagan gods or being put to death as a result of her crime.
- Because of her nobility and youth, her captors planned to kill St Cecilia in secrecy in order to prevent the predicted condemnation from the general public.
- St Cecilia remained in that suffocating atmosphere for the entire day and night, yet she was uninjured throughout.
- However, he failed to sever her head with the three strikes required by law owing to a lack of bravery in the face of killing such a young and lovely woman.
- She was resting on her right side, with her hands crossed in front of her as if she were praying.
- Her final quiet statement of faith in the Holy Trinity was represented by the position of her fingers, which were three extended on her right hand and one on her left.
It was at her feet that the linen cloths and veils were laid out, which were used to collect her blood.
Callistus, where she had been buried.
His vision of the Saint occurred when he was praying, and she revealed the location of her body to him in a miraculous vision.
Later, the Pope ordered that her body be laid to rest beneath the altar of the cathedral, among the remains of her husband, her brother-in-law, and martyr Maximum.
A pair of white marble sarcophagi were discovered under and near the high altar on October 20, that same year, during the course of work being done under and near the high altar.
The Cardinal ordered the sarcophagi to be opened in the presence of witnesses who were unquestionably trustworthy in their testimony.
With natural emotion, the Cardinal lifted the lid of the coffin, revealing the wealth that had been consigned to the grave by Popes Urban and Pascal.
The gold embroidered garment of the Saint, the lethal wound in the neck, and the blood-stained clothing could all be seen through a silk veil that was discreetly draped over the corpse.
He instead dispatched Cardinal Baronius, who, along with Antonio Bosio, the explorer of subterranean Rome, left us priceless descriptive documents relating to the events of this exhumation.
Stefano Maderno, a sculptor of extraordinary abilities, who it appears was engaged in the practice of his profession during the restoration of the Basilica, created a statue of the Saint, which is regarded as one of the most celebrated and best-known works of art in Italy, and is believed to depict the Saint in the exact posture of her body.
Consequently, Maderno presented a new altar design that was widely emulated after he died.
Cecilia’s family residence is considered to have been the location of the Basilica of St.
In the Caldarium, the second chapel on the right aisle, St.
The ruins of an old Roman bathhouse have been discovered here; the conduits that formerly carried the water that was heated in the lower room have been preserved.
TAN novels, such as The Incorruptibles To return to the Incorruptible Saints page, click here. To return to the Saints Page, click here. Return to the Saints of the Roman Catholic Church page.
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