Saint Vitus

Saint Vitus is the patron saint of dancers, young people and dogs. There is a disease named after him, Saint Vitus Dance, or Sydenham's Chorea, which can sometimes cause dancing mania.


Saint Vitus the..

Disease Saint Cathedral band Statue


Disease

Sydenham's Chorea links: Sydenham's Chorea got it's name from the Greco- Latin word implying the act of dancing, the word chorea was first applied by Paracelsus to the frenzied movements of religious fanatics who during the middle ages journeyed to the healing shrine of St. Vitus.
chorea
Pronounced As: kr, ko- or St. Vitus's dance, acute disturbance of the central nervous system characterized by involuntary muscular movements of the face and extremities. The disease, known also as Sydenham's chorea (not to be confused with Huntington's disease, a hereditary disease of adults that is sometimes called Huntington's chorea), is usually, but not always, a complication of rheumatic fever. Sydenham's chorea, a disease of children, especially females, usually appears between the ages of 7 and 14. Facial grimacing and jerking movements persist for 6 to 10 weeks and sometimes recur after months or even years. Eventually the symptoms disappear. Although there is no specific treatment, sedatives and tranquilizers are helpful in suppressing the involuntary movements. Technically, it is sometimes called chorea minor or juvenile chorea to distinguish it from several less common choreas, chorea also being a general term for continuous, involuntary jerking movements.


Saint

Vitus, Saint
Pronounced As: vits , 4th cent.?, Sicilian martyr. Vitus is invoked against diseases including epilipsy, nervous disorders, and St. Vitus' Dance (Sydenham's chorea). He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, a collective cult of saints that originated in the 14th-century Rhineland, believed to intercede effectively against various diseases. Vitus is traditionally the patron of dancers and actors. His nurse and her husband, St. Crescentia and St. Modestus, martyred with St. Vitus, share his feast, June 15.

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From: For All The Saints

Died c. 303. Unreliable legend has Vitus, the only son of Hylas, a senator in Sicily, become a Christian when he was very young-- between the ages of seven and 12--by the influence of the servants who tended him. His Christian tutor, Modestus, and his nurse, Crescentia (wife of Modestus), accompanied him on his journeys throughout Sicily. When his conversions and miracles became widely known to the administrator of Sicily, Valerian, he had Vitus brought before him to shake his faith. (Another version says that his incensed father gave him up to Valerian.) He was unsuccessful, but Vitus with his tutor and nurse fled to Lucania and then to Rome, where he exorcised Emperor Diocletian's son of an evil spirit.

When Vitus would not sacrifice to the gods his cure was attributed to sorcery. He, Modestus, and Crescentia were subjected to various tortures, including a cauldron of molten lead, from which they emerged unscathed. For example, when throw into the den of a hungry lion, the beast merely licked Vitus affectionately. One version says that the tormentors gave up and freed the trio when during a storm temples were destroyed and an angel guided them back to Lucania, where they eventually died.

The facts are that their cultus is ancient. We are not really even certain about when they lived, although most place their martyrdom at the time of Diocletian. There is even some confusion about the site of their martyrdom. It appears that they may be two separate groups: Vitus alone in Lucania (whose cultus is the oldest), and Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia in Sicily.

The Vitus who is alone is celebrated in the Gelasian Sacramentary and an early South Italian Book of the Gospels, which assigns to his feast a pericope of the cure from demonic possession and sickness. The Martyrology of Bede and the Old English Martyrology also list Vitus by himself. There is an ancient church dedicated to him on the Esquiline Hill of Rome. Vitus's relics were moved to Saint-Denis in Paris. A great devotion to Vitus developed in Germany when his relics were translated to Corvey Abbey in Saxony in 836. Most of the medieval abbeys in England celebrated Vitus and Modestus without Crescentia, but five who followed the Sarum Rite added her name.

Saint Vitus is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, who, as a group, are especially venerated in France and Germany. The Holy Helpers were believed to possess especially efficacious intercessory power. The relics of Vitus are said to possess many healing properties, especially when epileptics prayed before them (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Sheppard, White).

In art, Saint Vitus is depicted as a boy with a rooster and a cauldron. At times he may be shown (1) with his Modestus and Crescentia as they refuse to worship idols; (2) being put into an oven; (3) with a palm and cauldron; (4) with a palm and dog; (5) with a chalice and dog; (6) with sword and dog; (7) with a sword and rooster; (8) with a book and rooster; (9) with a wolf or lion; or (10) as a young prince with a palm and sceptre (Roeder).

Saint Vitus is the patron of Prague, dogs, domestic animals, young people, dancers, coppersmiths, actors, comedians, and mummers. He is invoked against epilepsy, lightning, poisoning by dog or snake bite, sleeplessness, snakebite, storm, and Saint Vitus Dance (Sydenham's chorea, a nervous disorder) (Bentley, Roeder).


From: Catholic Online Saints

St. Vitus
Feastday: June 15

Unreliable legend has Vitus, the only son of a senator in Sicily, become a Christian when he was twelve. When his conversions and miracles became widely known to the administrator of Sicily, Valerian, he had Vitus brought before him, to shake his faith. He was unsuccessful, but Vitus with his tutor, Modestus, and servant, Crescentia, fled to Lucania and then to Rome, where he freed Emperor Diocletian's son of an evil spirit. When Vitus would not sacrifice to the gods, his cure was attributed to sorcery. He, Modestus, and Crescentia were subjected to various tortures from which they emerged unscathed, and were freed when during a storm, temples were destroyed and an angel guided them back to Lucania, where they eventually died. So much for the legend. What is fact is that their cult goes back centuries and that they were Christians who were martyred in Lucania. A great devotion to Vitus developed in Germany when his relics were translated to Saxony in 836. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and is the patron of epileptics, those afflicted with St. Vitus' Dance (named after him}, dancers, and actors, and is a protector against storms.

VITUS

Also known as
Guy
Memorial
15 June; restricted to local calendars since 1969
Profile
Legend says Vitus was the son of a Sicilian senator; Christian at age twelve. Preacher. Miracle worker. Valerian had him arrested and tried to break his faith; he failed. Vitus and some of his household fled to Rome where he freed Emperor Diocletian's son of an evil spirit. Vitus would not sacrifice to the gods, and his cure was attributed to sorcery. Arrested again, this time with the household he had brought with him. Tortured. Freed from prison during a storm in which temples were destroyed; an angel led them back to Lucania. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

For obscure reasons, some 16th century Germans believed they could obtain a year's good health by dancing before the statue of Saint Vitus on his feast day. This dancing developed almost into a mania, and was confused with chorea, the nervous condition later known as Saint Vitus' dance, the saint being invoked against it.

Additional Information
Catholic Online
Died
martyred c.303 in Luciana
Patronage
actors, against animal attacks, against dog bites, against lightening, against storms, comedians, Czechoslovakia, dancers, dog bites, dogs, epilepsy, epileptics, lightening, Saint Vitus dance nervous disorders, snake bites, storms
Prayer to Saint Vitus
Dear Vitus, the one thing we are certain about is that you died a martyr's death. In early times, churches were dedicated to you in important places. In the Middle Ages, your intercession obtained cures from epilepsy so that this disease came to be called "Saint Vitus' Dance". Inspire comedians to make people dance with laughter and so bear goodwill toward one another. Amen.


Genesius

I'm told there are two other patron saints of dance, Genesius and Philemon (Philamus):

This is from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Genesius

(1) Genesius (of Rome)

A comedian at Rome, martyred under Diocletian in 286 or 303. Feast, 25 August. He is invoked against epilepsy, and is honoured as patron of theatrical performers and of musicians. The legend (Acta SS., Aug., V, 119) relates: Genesius, the leader of a theatrical troupe in Rome, performing one day before the Emperor Diocletian, and wishing to expose Christian rites to the ridicule of his audience, pretended to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. When the water had been poured upon him he proclaimed himself a Christian. Diocletian at first enjoyed the realistic play, but, finding Genesius to be in earnest, ordered him to be tortured and then beheaded. He was buried on the Via Tiburtina. His relics are said to be partly in San Giovanni della Pigna, partly in S. Susanna di Termini and in the chapel of St. Lawrence. The legend was dramatized in the fifteenth century; embodied in later years in the oratorio "Polus Atella" of Löwe (d. 1869), and still more recently in a work by Weingartner (Berlinn 1892).

The historic value of the Acts, dating from the seventh century, is very doubtful, though defended by Tillemont (Mémoires, IV s.v. Genesius). The very existence of Genesius is called into question, and he is held to be a Roman counterpart of St. Gelasius (or Gelasinus) of Hierapolis (d. 297). He was venerated, however, at Rorne in the fourth century: a church was built in his honour very early, and was repaired and beautified by Gregory III in 741.


Cathedral

From: FreeDictionary

Saint Vitus Cathedral is a cathedral in Prague, seat of the archbishop, within Prague Castle. It is named for Saint Vitus the patron saint of Bohemia. Containing the tombs of Czech kings, this cathedral is an excellent example of gothic architecture. Construction began in 1344, at first according to designs of Matthias of Arras, and after his death in 1352 it was taken over by Peter Parler. He completed only the choir and part of a southern transept. The cathedral wasn't finished until the 19th century century, when the nave and western twin-tower facade were built. Cathedral
Cathedral from the South
Cathedral Interior
Cathedral Interior