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Saint Agatha and Etna: the miraculous veil

The legend of Saint Agatha’s veil that stopped the Etna’s eruption

The Feast of St. Agatha is the third most important religious festival in the world and takes place in Catania, arount the Etna territory, every year from 3rd to 5th February.

Agatha is the patron Saint of Catania because she was martered there in 251 AD. She was persecuted by Quinzano and the Romans for her Christian faith and for her refusal of the powerful Roman governor. The poor Agatha died after suffering many tortures. The most symbolic torture is the eradication of her breasts, which, however, miraculously regrow.

Many legends talk about the Patron Saint of Catania and about the Etna territory. Certainly, the best known one is that of the miraculous veil that stopped the Etna’s eruption of 252 AD, which is the year after the death of Agatha.

Fercolo Sant'Agata

In 252 A.D., in fact, a great and disastrous eruption hit Catania. People were very scared and did not know what to do. They carried the veil in which the relics of the Patron Saint had been laid, to the places affected by the eruption. Miraculously, the lava flow stopped, avoiding the destruction of Catania.

The miracle of Catania’s safety was attributed, therefore, to the Patron Saint of the city. Saint Agatha, patron saint of Catania, protected the citizens from 251 A.D., keeping the Volcano always active, but quiet.

Did you like this legend? If you are curious and would like to visit the places of Etna, admiring the old lava flows that have marked the history, you could contact us to book an Etna excursion.