The principal patron of Ancona, St. Judas Cyriacus, may possibly have been a local bishop who died or was killed during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. On the other hand, he has been conjecturally identified with Judas, bishop of Jerusalem, who was slain during a riot in the year 133. The local tradition of Ancona, however, connects its patron with Judas Quiriacus, a legendary Jew who is supposed to have revealed to the Empress Helen, the place in which the Holy Cross lay hidden, and after being baptized and made bishop of Jerusalem, to have suffered martyrdom under Julian the Apostate. A fantastic account of his dialogue with the emperor Julian, and of the torments endured by him and his mother Anna, is furnished in the so-called "Acts" of his martyrdom. Ancona is said to owe to the Empress Galla Placidia the relics of its patron, but the saint's head was brought over from Jerusalem by Henry, Count of Champagne, who built a church in the town of Provins to contain it. His feast day is May 4th.
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By Justin Soutar
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