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Saint Cyricus

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Saint Cyricus

For other uses of the name, see Cyriacus (disambiguation).
Saint Quiricus and Saint Julietta
Died ~304 AD
Tarsus, Asia Minor
Honored in Assyrian Church of the East, Roman Catholic Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Eastern Orthodox Church
Major shrine Relics at Nevers, and in the monastery of Saint-Amand, Tournai.
Feast June 16, July 15 (Eastern Orthodox Church)
Attributes From the story involving Charlemagne, Cyricus is depicted as a naked child riding on a wild boar.
Patronage Prayed to for family happiness, and the restoring to health of sick children.

Saint Julietta (also known as Julitta (Greek: Ἰουλίττα)) and her son Saint Quiricus (also known as Kērykos (Greek: Κήρυκος), Cyriacus, Qyriacus, Kuriakos, Keryakos, Kuriakose, Cyricus, Ciricus and Cyr) were martyred in AD 304 in Tarsus, according to Christian tradition.


Some evidence exists for an otherwise unknown child-martyr named Cyricus at Pope Saint Gelasius I.

Feast day June 16


According to legend, Julietta and her three-year (sometimes described as three-month) old Cyricus had fled to Tarsus and were identified as Christians. Julietta was tortured, and her three-year-old son, being held by the governor of Tarsus, scratched the governor's face and was killed by being thrown down some steps. Julietta did not weep but celebrated the fact that her son had earned the crown of martyrdom. In anger, the governor then decreed that Julietta’s sides should be ripped apart with hooks, and then she was beheaded. Her body, along with that of Cyricus, was flung outside the city, on the heap of bodies belonging to criminals, but the two maids rescued the corpses of the mother and child and buried them in a nearby field.

An alternative version of the story is that Julietta told the governor that his religion could not be accepted by a three-year-old child, whereupon Quiricus testified to his faith, and mother and child were tortured before being decapitated.

Cyricus and Charlemagne

A story from Nevers states that one night Charlemagne dreamed he was saved from death by a wild boar during a hunt. He was saved by the appearance of a child, who had promised to save the emperor from death if he would give him clothes to cover his nakedness.

The bishop of Nevers interpreted this dream to mean that he wanted the emperor to repair the roof of the cathedral dedicated to Saint Cyricus.



In Italy, where they are known as Quirico (or Quilico, or Chirico) and Giulitta (or Giuletta or Giulietta ),[1] the place most commonly linked with the saints is the village of San Quirico d’Orcia in the Val d’Orcia area of Tuscany. There a twelfth- or thirteenth-century church (pictured right), based on an eighth-century baptistery, is dedicated to them.[2] The cult, however, is common in many parts of country and more than 200 churches, monasteries, localities, etc. with signs of devotion to one or both of the saints have been identified.[3] Other communes named after them are Corvino San Quirico (Province of Pavia), San Chirico Nuovo (Province of Potenza), San Chirico Raparo (Province of Potenza), San Quirico d’Orcia (Province of Siena), Serra San Quirico (Province of Ancona), and Santa Giuletta (Province of Pavia). Communes of whom they are patron saints include Borgo San Martino (Province of Alessandria), Cavaria in the municipality of Cavaria con Premezzo (Province of Varese), Cisternino (Province of Brindisi), Collesalvetti (Province of Livorno), and Trofarello (Province of Torino).

In parts of Piedmont, including Centallo, Asti and Murisengo, an unconnected Saint Quirico is venerated, regarded as a member of the Theban Legion.[1]

British Isles

There are a few churches in England dedicated to Saint Quiricus and Saint Julietta, including one found at Tickenham[4] and another at Swaffham Prior, in Cambridgeshire. In Cornwall, they can be found in the villages of Luxulyan and St Veep, and there was also once a chapel at Calstock dedicated to these two saints. In Wales there is a least one church dedicated to the saints, in Llanilid, but named as St. Ilid and St. Curig.

The cult of "St. Giric" was formerly much more widespread in Celtic Britain, however. His feast day was one of the principal Welsh holidays, as codified by the laws of Hywel Dda.[5]

Middle East

Cyriacus in particular is mentioned numerous times in the daily office of the Church of the East as attested in the large collection of prayers and services known as the Hudra. The mention of a saint from Tarsus in such East Syrian traditions suggests that there was considerable early sharing of martyrological traditions despite doctrinal differences between churches.


Some relics of St. Cyricus are preserved at St. Kuriakose Malankara Indian Orthodox Chapel at Ayyampilly, India. Even today, many people in India pray to Cyricus and Julietta for family happiness.


External links

Saints portal
  • "St. Julitta, Martyr", Butler's Lives of the Saints
  • Catholic Encyclopedia
  • Saint Julitta
  • England
  • Cyriac Family History Project - Saints Cyr & Julitta page
  • Orthodox Church of America
  • St. Cyricus page at Christian Iconography
  • "Saint Quiricus and His Mother Saint Julitta" from the Golden Legend
  • Syriac Martyrdom of Mar Quryaqus and Yoliti
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