The Feast of San Marco of Atina – 1 October
According to tradition San Marco di Galilea, or St Mark of Galilee, was converted by St Peter the Apostle and became one of his disciples. He is said to have accompanied St Peter to Rome. St Peter consecrated him as a bishop and entrusted him to spread Christianity in certain regions of Italy such as Marsica, Ciociaria and Campania. Marco sought to convert many of the local people to the new faith and fought passionately against paganism. However during this era the Roman Emperor Domitian persecuted followers of Christianity. According to the Chronicle of the Church of Atina Marco was eventually captured, tortured and put to death in Atina in the year 96 AD.
Marco was subsequently canonized as a saint and a martyr. His liturgical feast day is celebrated on the 28th April. However in Atina another festival is held on the 1st October of each year. This relates to the dedication of his name to Atina’s Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. This is beacause the former Collegiate of Santa Maria and San Marco, situated near to the cemetery, was destroyed during the bombing in the Second World War. Therefore the Cathedral now houses the relics of San Marco and he has become the patron of the town of Atina. He is also known as the patron saint of earthquakes.
Below is a copy of a 17th century etching depicting San Marco and the old walled city of Atina. The artist was D. Mautone.
San Marco Inside the Cathedral of Atina
The Statue of San Marco and His Relics
The Procession of San Marco of Atina
Festival Lights on the Feast of San Marco of Atina
After the procession an orchestra gives a grand concert in an ornate band-stand in Piazza Marconi.
The evening’s festivities are always concluded by a grand firework display. Some beautiful photos by Italo Caira below.
Photos have been accredited to the photographer / owner.
All other photos I have taken myself © Louise Shapcott