Tarcisius

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Saint Tarcisius

Alexandre Falguière, Tarcisius, Christian martyr, 1868, musée d'Orsay.
Martyr
Died3rd century
Honored inRoman Catholic Church
Major shrineSan Silvestro in Capite, Rome
FeastAugust 15 (Roman Martyrology)
Patronagealtar servers and first communicants
 
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Saint Tarcisius

Alexandre Falguière, Tarcisius, Christian martyr, 1868, musée d'Orsay.
Martyr
Died3rd century
Honored inRoman Catholic Church
Major shrineSan Silvestro in Capite, Rome
FeastAugust 15 (Roman Martyrology)
Patronagealtar servers and first communicants

St. Tarcisius (or Tarsicius) (Italian and Spanish: San Tarsicio or Tarcisio) was a martyr of the early Christian church who lived in the 3rd century. The little that is known about him comes from a metrical inscription by Pope Damasus I, who was pope at least a century later.

He preferred death at the hands of a mob rather than deliver to them the Blessed Sacrament, which he was carrying. As Damasus compares him to St. Stephen, who was stoned to death, this may have been the manner of his end. His story was greatly expanded by Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman, who portrays him as a young acolyte in his novel Fabiola, or the Church in the Catacombs.

He was originally buried in the Catacombs of San Callisto, but today his relics rest in the San Silvestro in Capite church in Rome. His feast day is celebrated on 15 August, but, since that day is occupied by the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, he is not mentioned in the General Roman Calendar, but only in the Roman Martyrology.

He is the patron saint of altar servers and first communicants. The municipality of Saint-Tharcisius in Quebec, Canada, is named after him,[1] as well as a 35 kilograms (77 lb) bell in the Stephansdom in Vienna, Austria. Blessed José Sánchez del Río was nicknamed "Tarcisius."

Text of the poem by Damasus

A poem in Latin, composed by Damasus, serves as the only positive historical evidence of the saint's existence:

Par meritum, quicumque legis, cognosce duorum,
quis Damasus rector titulos post praemia reddit.
Iudaicus populus Stephanum meliora monentem
perculerat saxis, tulerat qui ex hoste tropaeum,
martyrium primus rapuit levita fidelis.
Tarsicium sanctum Christi sacramenta gerentem
cum male sana manus premeret vulgare profanis,
ipse animam potius voluit dimittere caesus
prodere quam canibus rabidis caelestia membra.

Damasi Epigrammata, Maximilian Ihm, 1895, n. 14

References

  1. ^ "Saint-Tharcisius (Municipalité de paroisse)" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. http://www.toponymie.gouv.qc.ca/ct/ToposWeb/fiche.aspx?no_seq=57686. Retrieved 2012-01-27. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

External links