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St. Ursus

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Patron of the principal church of Solothurn (Soleure) in Switzerland, honoured from very early times, as a martyr of the Theban Legion, and recorded in the Roman Martyrology, with St. Victor, on 30 September. Relics of him are shown in many churches of Switzerland, and since the twelfth century the baptismal name Ursus is very common in the neighbourhood of Solothurn. The legend, by St. Eucher of Lyons (Acta SS., Sept. VIII, 461), classed by Delehaye ("Legends of the Saints," New York, 1907, p. 120) among the historical romances, says that Ursus, after many cruel torments suffered for his constancy in refusing to sacrifice to the idols, was beheaded c. 286 under the Emperor Maximian Herculeus and the Governor Hyrtacus. Between the years 473 and 500 the body of St. Victor was brought to Geneva by the Burgundian Queen Theudesinde; it is probably that about the same time a church was built over the remains of St. Ursus. In 1519 the old coffin was found and the event was commemorated at Solothurn and Bern. The Roman urn containing the relics bears the inscription:

Conditus hoc sanctus
Tumulo Thebaidus Ursus.

( Buried in this tomb is the holy Ursus the Theban.)

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