Thursday, August 26, 2021

Saint Jeiunio of Gerace (+ c. 1000)

St. Jeiunio of Gerace (Feast Day - August 25)

Gerace is a town in the province of Reggio Calabria in Italy. It is located some 10 km inland from Locri. The town stands on a hill formed of conglomerates of sea fossils from 60 millions years ago. The name of the city derives from the Greek Ierax (Ιέραξ, which means "Sparrowhawk"). According to a legend, the inhabitants of the coast, fleeing from a Saracen attack in 915, were led by a sparrowhawk to the mountains commanding the area of Locri, and here they founded the city. After the Byzantine reconquest of Italy (6th century), the town became an administrative, military and religious capital under the name of Santa Ciriaca. In 986 the Saracens briefly conquered the city, but it returned to Byzantine control until the Norman conquest in 1059.

Born around 950 into a wealthy Calabrian family, Giovanni Tripane entered the Monastery of San Filippo d'Argirò, in Gerace, where a large part of his day was dedicated to the transcription of the works of the Church Fathers, of the liturgical books, of the lives of the saints; the other part of the day was dedicated to prayer, reading and memorizing the Psalms. Out of a desire for virtuous perfection, he retired to a cave on Mount Settina (known today as Monte San Jeiunio), most likely to be identified with a cave in the Ropolà district, north of Gerace. Dedicated to prayer and prolonged fasting, he became known by the nickname of Jeiunio, which means "faster" (Ieiunium in Latin). A church was built over Jeiunio's cave, which fell in the 19th century.

Saint Jeiunio is credited with saving properties against fire and burns. Together with Saint Anthony of Gerace, Saint Veneranda and the Mother of God he is locally known as the protector of the city of Gerace in Calabria.
 

 
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