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Saint Cucuphas
The Martyrdom of Saint Cucuphas (Ayne Bru, 1504-7)
Born 269, Scillis
Died ~304 AD, Sant Cugat
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Major shrine Sant Cugat; Saint-Denis
Feast July 25
Attributes Depicted being beheaded or having his throat cut
Patronage Hunchbacks; petty thieves

His jailers are subsequently converted to Christianity after they find Cucuphas in his cell illuminated with heavenly light. The next day, he is flagellated with iron whips. By means of heavenly intervention, the prefect Maximianus is killed when his carriage catches on fire. Rufus, the new prefect, prudently decides to not practice torture of any kind on the saint and instead orders an immediate execution by sword.

Contents

Textual references

The poet Prudentius honored him in a hymn. Cucuphas is mentioned in the Hieronymian Martyrology; the Prayer Book of Verona (7th century AD); in a hymn called Barcino laeto Cucufate vernans (7th century, recorded in manuscripts in Toledo and Silos, 10th-11th centuries), which has been attributed to Quiricus, Bishop of Toledo[1]; the Liber Sacramentorum (Toledo, 9th century, Mozarabic mass dedicated to Cucuphas); Martyrology of Ado; Martyrology of Usuard (9th century); and the Martyrology of Saint Peter of Cardeña (10th century, presumed copy of 7th century manuscript).

The early medieval hymn Barcino laeto Cucufate vernans runs as follows:

Barchinon laeto Cucufate vernans,
corporis sancti tumulum honorans,
et locum sacri venerans sepulchri,
sparge ligustris.
("Barcino bursts into the vernal joy,
of Saint Cucuphas, honoring his remains,
and spreads privet branches on the burial
mound and on the tomb".)[2]

Relics

When the first Benedictine community gathered at Sant Cugat in the 9th century, the monastery dedicated itself to the pre-existing veneration of Cucuphas. Since the eighth century, Sant Cugat has claimed Cucuphas' relics. In the eighth century, Saint Fulrad took a relic of Cucuphas from Sant Cugat to Saint-Denis. The relics of Cucuphas occupy a place of honor in the apse to the right of Saint Denis to this day.

From the 14th century onwards, Sant Cugat kept the martyr's remains in a small chest, decorated with scenes of the saint's life. This chest was taken to the parish of Sant Cugat del Rec (or "del Forn") in Barcelona after the monasteries were freed from mortmain.

In 1950, Sant Cugat commemorated a relic proceeding from this chest of Sant Cugat del Rec. The relics are now in the crypt of the basilica of Santa Maria del Mar.

Many churches in Europe, from the Middle Ages onwards, claimed his relics, including Reichenau; the cathedrals of Braga, Oviedo; and Lièpvre, whose monastery had been founded by Fulrad, who had already brought some of the saint's relics to Saint-Denis.

Veneration in France

He is venerated at Paris, since some of his relics are enshrined at the church of Saint-Denis, in the Chapelle Saint-Cucuphas. Near Rueil-Malmaison, there is a forest named Bois de St-Cucufa, as well as a tiny lake that carries the saint's name.[3] Property of the state since 1871, the forest was called Bois Béranger (Nemus/Boscus Berengerii) until the Benedictines built a chapel dedicated to the saint in the 13th century. Pilgrimages to the shrine of "Saint Quiquenfat" were practiced until the eighteenth century.

Other place-names that may point to a diffusion in France of Cucuphas' cult include Guinelat, Conat, and Coplian.[4]

Veneration in Spain

The diocese of Girona has several parochial churches dedicated to him.

San Cucao de Llanera is situated in the municipality of Llanera, Asturias.

Concern amongst Catalan devotees of the saint was raised when it was discovered in 2001 that the name of Saint Cucuphas had been removed from the latest version of the Roman Martyrology. However, the saint had been included –under his Latin (and English) name of "Cucuphas" rather than "Cugat." In the martyrology, he was described as a "martyr of the persecution of Diocletian, killed with a sword. Fourth century. African."[5]

Saints Juliana and Semproniana are still venerated at Mataró on July 27. They appear with Cucuphas in the facade of the church of Santa Maria de Mataró.

Patronage

He is not generally associated with any special patronage, although Ángel Rodríguez Vilagrán writes that Joan Amades' Costumari Català mentions that anciently, hunchbacks venerated Cucuphas as their patron saint, as well as those who committed petty thefts.[5] The origins of this patronage are not known.

Gallery

Notes

  1. ^ Anglès, Anglès, Higini. "Hispanic Musical Culture from the 6th to the 14th Century." The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 4. (Oct., 1940), pp. 494–528 (information on p. 497)
  2. ^ Qu. sabem del m.rtir cos 10 Angl.s.FH11
  3. ^ tourist information on Rueil-Malmaison
  4. ^ http://www.buenaprensa.org/Ediciones%20Anteriores/2002/artnue100.htm
  5. ^ a b San Cucufate

External links

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