St. Erasmus of Formia

St. Erasmus of Formia (died c. 303), also known as St. Elmo, was an early Christian martyr who lived in the 3rd century AD. He was a bishop in Formia, a town in Italy, and is venerated as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, a group of saints revered for their intercession during times of illness and distress. According to tradition, during the persecutions under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, St. Erasmus was subjected to various tortures but miraculously endured them. One notable story depicts him being tortured by having his intestines wound around a windlass, yet he remained steadfast in his faith. Eventually, St. Erasmus was martyred by beheading. He is considered the patron saint of sailors and abdominal pain due to his association with sailors’ superstitions and his legendary fortitude. His veneration spread throughout Europe, and he became a popular figure in medieval and Renaissance art.


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