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St. Vitus

Vitus was born to a noble family in Rome at the end of the 3rd century. His nanny and her husband baptized him and raised him in the Christian faith. Vitus was 12 years old when Emperor Diocletian started persecuting Christians but he refused to give up his faith. With his nanny and her husband, Vitus fled to Southern Italy, where they were apprehended and condemned to death. According to legend, Vitus was thrown to bloodthirsty lions and put in a caldron with hot pitch and molten lead, but he survived. In the year of 305, all of them finally succumbed to cruel torturing. Since the very beginning, the Vitus cult has been very strong in the Western Church, and in the Czech Lands it became even stronger after Charles IV acquired a part of Vitus’ arm and had the Cathedral of St. Vitus built for this relic at the Prague Castle. Thus, St. Vitus became one of the patrons and protectors of the Czech Lands. St. Vitus is usually portrayed as a boy in a cauldron with hot oil, holding a book or a palm branch. His attributes are a raven, eagle or rooster as symbols of vigilance, crown and bread. He is a patron of the Czech Lands and Saxony, a mediator in difficult matters, a protector of coppersmiths, brewers, winegrowers, innkeepers, actors, pharmacists, the deaf, the mute and against epilepsy, hysteria and snakebites.

 

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