It's Saint Cecilia, patron Saint of Music.

santa cecilia

On November 22nd Christians and Orthodox celebrate Saint Cecilia, protector of music. But what is the story of Santa Cecilia? Born in one of the noble families of ancient Rome, Cecilia lived between the second and third centuries. It is said that on the day he was married he sang these words to himself: "Keep my Lord and my body immaculate, so that he does not remain confused".

His vow of chastity leads his husband, the noble Valerian, to convert to Christianity. Returning home from baptism, Valeriano finds Cecilia in prayer with a young man, who claims to be his guardian angel. Seeing distrust in the eyes of the Christian, the angel makes two wreaths of flowers appear and rests on the heads of the spouses. The delighted young husband finally convinces his brother, Tiburzio, to convert.

In those days, Christian persecutions were harsh and cruel, and one of the biggest bans was to bury the bodies of Christians, who were left on the streets to discourage other conversions. Valeriano and Tiburzio began to give as many burials just as they could find, while Cecilia continued her work of conversion between the Romans.

Judge Almachio arrested the two brothers, who were tortured to induce them to deny God but without success. They were then sentenced to death by beheading. Cecilia was instead destined to be suffocated alive by the vapors of the bathroom of her own house, but she emerges unharmed singing the praises of the Lord. She was then arrested and sentenced first to the stake, but the flames did not burn her, and then to beheaded after having suffered a period of torture.

But the three blows of the executioner's sword were not enough to kill her. The head never broke away, and Cecilia died after three days of agony, during which she converted all her family members to Christianity and asked Pope Urban I to transform her house into a church. His spiritual guide buried Cecilia in the catacombs of San Callisto, next to the Crypt of the Popes.

In 821 Pope Pasquale I moved the remains of the Saint to the Basilica dedicated to her in Trastevere. And in 1599, during the restoration of the Basilica of Santa Cecilia organized on the occasion of the 1600 jubilee by Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati, the sarcophagus was found with the body of Cecilia intact, despite the 1400 years since his martyrdom.

The cardinal asked the artist Stefano Maderno to create a statue that portrays Cecilia in the exact position in which it is located: the head turned to the side due to the beheading, three fingers of a hand in honor of the Trinity, and a finger of the left hand to indicate God.

Saint Cecilia is the only saint besides the Virgin Mary to be mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. She is also one of the most known and celebrated saints, because she protects instrumentalists and singers. During the nineteenth century the Ceciliano Movement was born, in Italy, France and Germany, which gathered all the musicians, liturgists and other scholars. The objective of the movement was to bring the liturgical music back into fashion and "save" it from the influence of melodrama and popular music.

Today, Santa Cecilia protects anyone with Music , any music, in their hearts.