Right in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic is the city of Anzu, Italy. There is a basilica in Anzu where the relics of St. Victor and St. Corona have been preserved since the 9th century. The word Corona is Latin for crown. Ironically, St. Corona is considered as one of the patron saints of pandemics.
The Coronavirus sweeping the globe is also named for “crown.” The Economist explains:
Little noticed by doctors, let alone the public, until the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) that began in Guangdong in 2002, the coronavirus family was first recognised by science in the 1960s. Its members got their name because, under the early electron microscopes of the period, their shape seemed reminiscent of a monarch’s crown. (It is actually, modern methods show, more like that of an old-fashioned naval mine.) There are now more than 40 recognised members of the family, infecting a range of mammals and birds, including blackbirds, bats and cats. Veterinary virologists know them well because of the diseases they cause in pigs, cattle and poultry.
Little is known about St. Corona, but she and the man she prayed for, St. Victor, are listed in the Roman martyrology and the Hagiography of the Church. There is ambiguity surrounding the dates and locations of St. Victor’s and St. Corona’s martyrdom. Most sources say it was in Syria, which was under Roman rule. Some say Damascus; others, Antioch. Most agree they were put to death in the year 170 A.D. Most historians agree they died during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and that they were put to death by order of a Roman judge named Sebastian.
The story (legend) tells the tale of a Roman soldier named Victor. The Romans discovered that Victor was a Christian. The soldiers brought Victor before a judge, named Sebastian, who despised Christians. He decided to make an example out of Victor. He was bound to a pillar and summarily whipped until his skin was hanging from his body, and then Sebastian had his eyes gouged out. Through it all, Victor never denied Christ.
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