Online Encyclopedia

SAINT AGATHA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 370 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SAINT AGATHA, the patron saint of Catania, Sicily, where her festival is celebrated on the 5th of February. The legend is that she was a native of Sicily (probably of Catania, though Palermo also claims her), of noble birth and great beauty. She repelled the advances of the Roman prefect sent by the emperor Decius to govern Sicily, and was by his orders brutally tortured and finally sent to the stake. As soon as the fire was lighted, an earthquake occurred, and the people insisted on her release. She died in prison on the 5th of February 251. The rescue of Catania from fire during an eruption of Mount Etna was later attributed to St Agatha's veil.
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