Invoked during the current pandemic;
Patroness of treasure hunters
Feast Day: May 14
I received a catalog from Sophia Institute Press recently, and on the cover was a depiction of St. Corona. I thought they had taken an obscure saint to attribute to the current pandemic, and I had to know more. Reaching out to several internet sites, I found that indeed there was a St. Corona during the first century A.D. Little is known about her, but she and the man she prayed for, St. Victor, are listed in the Roman Martyrology and the Hagiography (biographies of saints and venerated persons) of the Church.
The legend is that a Roman soldier named Victor was found to be a Christian and brought before a judge named Sebastian. Making an example of him, Victor was tied to a pillar, whipped viciously, had his eyes gouged out and was finally beheaded. He never denied Christ.
During his suffering, a 16-year-old girl named Corona, the wife of another Roman soldier, tried to help him. She announced she was a Christian and hurried to help Victor by kneeling, praying, comforting and encouraging him. Sebastian was furious of Corona’s disrespect, and imprisoned and tortured her. Then he tied her to the tops of two trees bent to the ground. On his order, the trees were cut and sprang to an upright position, ripping Corona’s body apart. Then she was beheaded. It is surmised that Victor and Corona died in 170 A.D., perhaps in Syria or Cypress.
Outside the town of Feltre in Northern Italy is the Church of Sts. Victor and Corona, erected by the Crusaders from the First Crusade. St. Corona is especially venerated in Austria and Eastern Bavaria in a chapel dedicated to her in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Passau. A statue of her stands in Munster Cathedral.
Around 1000 A.D., Holy Roman Emperor Otto II brought St. Corona’s relics to Aachen in western Germany. They were discovered during excavation of the Cathedral in 1910. In 1943 and 1981, these remains were examined, showing cedar pollen from the Mediterranean Basin. Archeologists confirmed it would have been from Syria and Cypress where, allegedly, Corona and Victor were killed.
Sts. Corona and Victor are considered pre-Congregation saints, since the canonization processes were not Canon Law until the 13th century. The devotion surrounding her as patroness during epidemics/pandemics is said to be verified in various German-language sources and with common devotion in Austria and Bavaria. In March 2020, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh suggested invoking St. Corona for support during the current Coronavirus pandemic, although she was not historically a patroness against this type of disease.
Remember that “corona” means “crown,” and in her case, the crown of martyrdom. Many thousands around the world have been “martyrs” in some sense to the rampant disease for which we have little understanding, no vaccine and at time little help for those affected. Like St. Corona, all we can do is pray, aid, comfort and encourage. Please pray fervently to St. Corona for an end to this scourge upon nations and that we may be blessed to recognize what God may want from each of us to help.
Prayer to St. Corona in a Time of Epidemic
Lord, Jesus Christ, You came into this world for our salvation.
Look kindly on us now, we pray, that we, and all those who serve You, might be kept safe from this epidemic. Heal those who are sick, comfort the suffering, bring back those who have gone astray, and above all, increase our faith, O Lord. Give us the grace to follow You and, like the martyr St. Corona, who gave her life for love of You, to take up our crosses daily without fear or hesitation. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on us and on the whole world. St. Corona, patroness of epidemic victims, pray for us.
By Angela M. Orsini, The Catholic Witness