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Caesarius of Africa

Caesarius of Africa

The basics
Date of birth North Africa
Date of death 200 Terracina, Province of Latina, Lazio, Italy
The details

Saint Caesarius of Africa, also Caesarius of Terracina (Saint Cesario deacon in italian) was a Christian martyr. The church of San Cesareo in Palatio in Rome bears his name.


Caesarius was a deacon of Africa, martyred at Terracina in Italy. Caesarius denounced the pagan custom of having one youth per year immolate himself to the demons by jumping off a cliff in honour of the god Apollo. The priest of Apollo had him arrested and taken before the governor. He was sentenced to be sewn into a sack and thrown into the sea. He was martyred together with Julian, a local presbyter. While the death of Caesarius has been placed as early as 60 or 110, it is more likely that he actually lived in the 3rd century and died during the reign of Diocletian.


His feast is held on 1 November. In the 4th century, Emperor Valentinian I was cured at the shrine of Caesarius at Terracina. The emperor then decided to move his relics to Rome. They were taken to a church on the Palatine Hill, and when they were later moved to a new church near the Appian Way which got the name San Cesareo in Palatio.

Terracina Cathedral (Cattedrale dei Santi Pietro e Cesareo) is dedicated to him and Saint Peter.

Caesarius of Terracina is the saint chosen for his name to replace and Christianize the pagan figure of Julius Caesar.

The patron saint of Caesarean section is Caesarius deacon and martyr.

Saint Caesarius is invoked against the floods of the rivers, the drownings (in memory of his martyrdom), for defense against lightning, from telluric and meteorological calamities.


The relics of the Saint Caesarius deacon and martyr are preserved in the Basilica Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome (basalt urn of high altar), in the Basilica of San Frediano of Lucca, Tuscany (urn with six bones), and in Terracina Cathedral (urn with two shins and a reliquary arm).

Saint Cesario deacon is venerated in St. Michael Church of Netcong, a borough in Morris County, New Jersey, United States . A bone fragment of Saint Cesario is preserved in this church. Other relics of Saint Caesarius deacon are preserved in Saint Anthony’s Chapel in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania); in St. Martha Church in Morton Grove (Illinois); in St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo (New York), and in Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Manila (Philippines).

An Arm Reliquary of Saint Caesarius is preserved in Kunstegewerbemuseum in Berlin.

During the Middle Ages, bone fragments of the saint were translated into England: in Glastonbury Abbey and in Cathedral of Exeter.

Bone fragment of St. Caesarius (with the cartouche in Latin "S. Caesarii diac. m.") are preserved in Sancta Sanctorum of Roma, in Cathedral of Monreale (Palermo, Italy), in Treasury of the Collegiate of St. Peter and St. Alexander in the Museum of the Chapter of the Rectory of Aschaffenburg (Germany), in the Museum Frederic Marès di Barcelona; in the Museum de la Visitation, Moulins (France).

Illustrations life of Caesarius deacon and martyr

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