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St. Erasmus

Facts

Feastday: June 2
Patron: of sailors, Gaeta, Formia, colic in children, intestinal ailments and diseases, cramps and the pain of women in labor, cattle pest
Death: 303

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Image of St. Erasmus

Erasmus was also known as Elmo. He was the bishop of Formiae, Campagna, Italy, and suffered martyrdom during Diocletian's persecution of the Christians. He once fled to Mount Lebanon during the persecution and lived a life of solitude there for some time, being fed by a raven. After the emperor discovered his whereabouts, he was tortured and thrown in prison. Legend claims that an angel released him and he departed for Illyricum, eventually suffered a martyr's death and was one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Legend records that when a blue light appears at mastheads before and after a storm, the seamen took it as a sign of Erasmus's protection. This was known as "St. Elmo's fire". The blue electrical discharges under certain atmospheric conditions have also been seen on the masks or riggings of ships. Erasmus is also invoked against stomach cramps and colic. This came about because at one time he had hot iron hooks stuck into his intestines by persecutors under Emperor Diocletian. These wounds he miraculously endured. His Feast day is June 2nd.

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