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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (29. January) is also the feast day of:

Baculus of Sorrento (?).  This less well known saint of the Regno is one of five early patron saints of the coastal Campanian city of Sorrento (Antoninus, Renatus, Athanasius, B., and Valerius) whose appearance in perhaps 849 to encourage Naples to join in a combined fleet to battle Muslims is recounted in the later ninth- or earlier tenth-century Vita of St. Antoninus of Sorrento.  In that text, which also says that bodies of all five are kept and venerated at Sorrento, B. is described as being of advancing years, with curly locks, and clean-shaven; these details are thought to derive from his late antique or early medieval portraiture in Sorrento.

B. has a legendary Vita (no BHL number) by the later sixteenth-century Campanian ecclesiastical author Davide Romeo (David Romaeus Philocasius).  This tells us that he was a native of Naples who was elected bishop of Sorrento against his will, that today is his _dies natalis_ (probably an inference from the day of his feast in the earlier sixteenth century), that he was buried in the city wall (a borrowing from the Vita of St. Antoninus), and that he later was translated to Sorrento's church of St. Felix, bishop of Nola.  In the later Middle Ages this church, for which Romeo provides a legendary history, was already known by the names of both saints.  A separate chapel in B.'s honor at Sorrento is first attested from 1473. 

Sorrento's chiesa dei Santi Felice e Baccolo (far less often, Felice e Bacolo) now has a baroque overlay both without and within.  Relics believed to be B.'s repose under its main altar.

Best,
John Dillon

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