(Died 371) In Christian legend, bishop of Verona, invoked for children learning to speak and walk.
Feast, 12 April.
The bishop is noted for his kindness to children. The Life of Saint Zeno, Bishop of Verona by Peter and Jerome Ballerini tells how the daughter of Emperor Gallianus was grievously tormented by the devil and was healed by the saint.
One day when she was nearly suffocating she cried out, “I can never be relieved of this torture but by Zeno.” The devil added, “And I will never quit my abode here unless compelled to do so by Zeno.”
The emperor sent for the saint, who arrived quickly and entered the room where the young girl lay. As soon as he entered the devil cried out, “Zeno, you are come to drive me out, for here I cannot abide in the presence of thy holiness.”
The saint replied, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command thee to quit the body of this young maiden.” The devil came out and said as he left, “Good-bye, Zeno, I am off to Verona, and there you will find me on your return.”
Saint Gregory the Great, in his Dialogues, explains Zeno’s connection with the Adige River (Etsch). One day when the clergy and people of Verona were assembled to celebrate the festival of Saint Zeno (he was now dead and sainted), the River Adige overflowed its banks, but though the doors of the church “were wide open, the waters were afraid to enter.”
Instead they formed a wall around the church. Zeno’s symbol is usually a fish, stemming from his legend.
Last updated: November 19, 2012 at 22:40 pm
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