Saint Of The Day For January 14: Saint Felix Of Nola, Priest
Felix, also called in Pincis (Nola, 3rd century – Nola, 14 January 313), was a Christian priest, venerated by the Catholic Church as a saint and considered a Myroblite.
The Life Of Felix
The little information about his existence is provided to us by St Paulinus of Nola in his Christmas Carols, written between 395 and 409, collecting in writing the oral tradition learned in the Nola area.
According to St Paulinus, Felix was born in Nola in the second half of the 3rd century, the son of a rich Syrian who had moved to Italy for work.
He became a priest and close collaborator of Maximus, then bishop of Nola.
He was imprisoned and tortured during the Christian persecutions.
Tradition has it that it was an angel who freed him and provided care for the ailing bishop Maximus, who had meanwhile taken refuge in a secret place.
When the persecutions resumed, Felix escaped capture by taking refuge inside a cistern. In 313 he returned to Nola, where he refused the episcopate and spent the rest of his days in poverty, serenely accepting enormous sufferings, so much so that he deserved the appellation ‘martyr’ even though he had not shed his own blood.
The cult Of Saint Felix
The Roman Martyrology fixes the liturgical memory on 14 January.
Although Saint Felix was not killed, he was recognised as a Martyr by the Church for the many sufferings he underwent during his lifetime.
His body is buried at the Early Christian Basilicas of Cimitile.
His tomb was called Ara Veritatis, because it was attributed particular efficacy against false witness.
Felix, Celebrations in Cimitile
Solemn celebrations are dedicated to the patron saint ‘Felice’, attracting large crowds of people.
On 5 January, the preached novenary begins: it features a short procession through the old town centre a’ sagliut’e san Felix that commemorates the statue’s ascent (located in the major basilica of San Felice in Pincis) to the parish.
On the evening of 13 January, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade children sing during the Eucharistic celebration in the church.
After the evening Mass, adults also have the opportunity to sing the hymn of St Felix in the early Christian basilicas, where a torchlight procession begins and ends in the parish for the vigil.
But the most eagerly awaited celebration by all takes place on 14 January each year.
From early morning, the tolling of the bells announces the feast day with great emotion in the hearts of the Cimitilese people, who are already awake from 4.00 a.m. to the joyful notes of the brass band that marches through the streets of the town, accompanied by the firing of firecrackers in the traditional ‘DIANA’, known in the vernacular as a’ rian’, which evokes the arrival of pilgrims from all over Campania and beyond.
At 6 a.m. the first mass announced by the ringing of the ancient bell used only on this occasion, the 6 a.m. mass is followed by the 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. masses usually celebrated by a bishop.
Around 10 a.m., everything is ready for the procession, which starts and winds its way through the streets of the village, through the crowds, while the notes of a hymn sung by children rise up.
And the feast continues on the first Sunday, eight days after the 14th, the so-called ‘octava’. It is an entire day that is dedicated to Saint Felix, taking him through all the streets and alleys where fireworks are fired to salute the Saint.