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Statuary St. Roch / St. Rocco

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St. Roch / St. Rocco

St Roch or Rocco (1295 – 1327) was born in Montpellier, France. He was a Christian saint and confessor whose death is commemorated on 16 August. He is the patron saint of Potenza, Italy. His name is invoked against cholera, epidemics, knee problems, plague and skin diseases.

Traditional Biography

According to his Acta and his vita in Legenda Aurea, he was born at Montpellier, at that time "upon the border of France" as Legenda Aurea has it, the son of the noble governor of that city. Even his birth was accounted a miracle, for his noble mother had been barren until she prayed to the Virgin Mary. Miraculously marked from birth with a red cross on his breast that grew as he did, he early began to manifest strict asceticism and great devoutness; on days when his "devout mother fasted twice in the week, and the blessed child Rocke abstained him twice also, when his mother fasted in the week, and would suck his mother but once that day".

On the death of his parents in his twentieth year he distributed all his worldly goods among the poor like Francis of Assisi— though his father on his deathbed had ordained him governor of Montpellier— and set out as a mendicant pilgrim for Rome. Coming into Italy during an epidemic of plague, he was very diligent in tending the sick in the public hospitals at Acquapendente, Cesena, Rimini, Novara and Rome, and is said to have effected many miraculous cures by prayer and the sign of the cross and the touch of his hand. At Rome, according to Legenda Aurea he preserved the "cardinal of Angleria in Lombardy" by making the mark of the cross on his forehead, which miraculously remained. Ministering at Piacenza he himself finally fell ill. He was expelled from the town; and withdrew into the forest, where he made himself a hut of boughs and leaves, which was miraculously supplied with water by a spring that arose in the place; he would have perished had not a dog belonging to a nobleman named Gothard Palastrelli supplied him with bread and licked his wounds, healing them. Count Gothard, following his hunting dog that carried the bread, discovered Saint Roch and became his acolyte.

On his return incognito to Montpellier he was arrested as a spy (by orders of his own uncle) and thrown into prison, where he languished five years and died on 16 August 1327, without revealing his name, to avoid worldly glory. (Evidence suggests, as mentioned earlier, that the previous events occurred, instead at Voghera in 1370s.) After his death, according to Legenda Aurea,

� "anon an angel brought from heaven a table divinely written with letters of gold into the prison, which he laid under the head of S. Rocke. And in that table was written that God had granted to him his prayer, that is to wit, that who that calleth meekly to S. Rocke he shall not be hurt with any hurt of pestilence."

The townspeople recognized him as well by his birthmark; he was soon canonized in the popular mind, and a great church erected in veneration.

The date (1327) asserted by Francesco Diedo for Saint Roch's death would precede the traumatic advent of the Black Death in Europe (1347–49) after long centuries of absence, for which a rich iconography of the plague, its victims and its protective saints was soon developed, in which the iconography of Roche finds its historical place: previously the topos did not exist. In contrast, however, St. Roch of Montpellier cannot be dismissed based on dates of a specific plague event. In medieval times, the term "plague" was used to indicate a whole array of illnesses and epidemics.

The first literary account is an undated Acta that is labeled, by comparison with the longer, elaborated accounts that were to follow, Acta Breviora, which relies almost entirely on standardized hagiographic topoi to celebrate and promote the cult of Roch

The story that when the Council of Constance was threatened with plague in 1414, public processions and prayers for the intercession of Roch were ordered, and the outbreak ceased, is provided by Francesco Diedo, the Venetian governor of Brescia, in his Vita Sancti Rochi, 1478. The cult of Roch gained momentum during the bubonic plague that passed through northern Italy in 1477-79.

Historical Figure

According to the doctoral thesis of history student Pierre Bolle in 2001, Saint Roch is a hagiographical doublet of a more ancient saint, Saint Racho of Autun who died about 660 AD. Racho was invoked for protection against storms and Bolle believes that his name was the basis of the name of this saint and of his patronage of plague-sufferers via a process of aphaeresis of the Old French word for a storm, ("tempeste") to "-peste" (plague). This also accords with equilibrium of humours theory of medieval medicine that held that illness could be caused by corruption of the air.

Gian Paolo Vico, of the Associazione San Rocco Italia, states that a prisoner of French origin held for five years died in Voghera, Italy the night between the 15 and 16 August, between 1376 and 1379, who according to some sources attained a certain fame for sanctity in Piacenza and Sarmato. According to Vico the 1391 calendar of Voghera records a mid-summer festival in honor of Sancti Rochi (St. Roch of Montpellier, the 16 August) and not Sancti Rochonis(St. Racho of Autun, 25 January), indicating the existence of two different saints. This information proves that a local cult and feast of St. Roch of Montpellier existed at least as early as 1391, starting in Voghera before Montpellier. We also have documentation of the body of St. Roch of Montpellier present in Voghera in 1469 and it being venerated since at least then; and of a feast in his honor being celebrated in 1483 in the presence of his remains. This information has led to the now common belief that St. Roch probably died in Voghera, Italy, instead of Montpellier, France.


His popularity, originally in central and northern Italy and at Montpellier, spread through Spain, France, Lebanon, the Low Countries, and Germany, where he was often interpolated into the roster of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, whose veneration spread in the wake of the Black Death. The magnificent 16th-century Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the adjacent church of San Rocco were dedicated to him by a confraternity at Venice, where his body was said to have been surreptitiously translated and was triumphantly inaugurated in 1485; the Scuola Grande is famous for its sequence of paintings by Tintoretto, who painted St Roch in glory in a ceiling canvas (1564).

We know for certain that the body of St. Roch was carried from Voghera, instead of Montpellier as previously thought, to Venice in 1485. Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503) built a church and a hospital in his honor. Pope Paul III (1534–1549) instituted a Confraternity of St. Roch. This was raised to an arch-confraternity in 1556 by Pope Paul IV; it still thrives today. Saint Roch had not been officially recognized as yet, however. In 1590 the Venetian ambassador at Rome reported back to the Serenissima that he had been repeatedly urged to present the witnesses and documentation of the life and miracles of San Rocco, already deeply entrenched in the Venetian life, because Pope Sixtus V "is strong in his opinion either to canonize him or else to remove him from the ranks of the saints"; the ambassador had warned a cardinal of the general scandal that would result if the widely-venerated San Rocco were impugned as an impostor. Sixtus did not pursue the matter but left it to later popes to proceed with the canonization process. His successor, Pope Gregory XIV (1590–1591), added St. Roch of Montpellier, who had already been memorialized in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for two centuries, to the Roman Catholic Church Martyrology, thereby fixing August 16 as his universal feast day.

Numerous brotherhoods have been instituted in his honor. He is usually represented in the garb of a pilgrim, often lifting his tunic to demonstrate the plague sore in his thigh, and accompanied by a dog carrying a loaf in its mouth. The Third Order of St. Francis, by tradition, honors him as a member of the Order, and still includes his feast on its own calendar of saints, observing it on August 17.

Saint Roch joined Saint Gerald (San Gerardo) as a patron saint of the city of Potenza, Italy.

The text in this box was generated from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the CC-BY-SA.

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Title: Carved Wood St. Roche Statue
Item Number: KRCM-117
KRCM-117: Carved Wood St. Roche Statue. New carved wood statue of St. Roche with multi-colored paint finish. Also available in hand carved marble or cast bronze utiliz...
Title: Hand Carved Wood Statue of Saint Roche
Item Number: KRSS-490
KRSS-490: Hand Carved Wood  Statue of Saint Roche. These statues are considered by many church professionals to be the finest new statues available today. This statue is...
Title: Hand Carved Wood or Marble Statue of St. Roch
Item Number: KRNM-A1149
KRMUS-1149: Hand Carved Wood or Marble Statue of St. Roch. Hand carved statue of St. Roch that can be sculpted in wood or marble. Finishes and colors to your specificatio...
Title: New Hand Carved Marble or Wood Statue of St. Roche
Item Number: KRNM-742
KRNM-742: New hand carved marble or wood statue of St. Roche. Finishes and colors to your specifications. Dimensions: Available in sizes 3 feet and taller. Call for prici...
Title: New Hand Carved Wood Or Marble Statue of St. Roch
Item Number: KRNM-461
KRNM-461: New hand carved wood or marble statue of St. Roch that can be sculpted in wood or marble. Finishes and colors to your specifications. Dimensions: Available size...
Title: Vintage 5' Statue of St. Roch
Item Number: KRVS-2171
KRVS-2171: Vintage 5' Statue of St. Roch. Antique 1920's plaster statue of St. Roch. Dimensions: Height: 5 feet. Width: 19 inches. Depth: 14 inches. In original condition...
Title: New Hand Carved Marble or Wood Statue of St. Roch
Item Number: KRNM-620
KRNM-620: New Hand Carved Marble or Wood Statue of St. Roch. Finishes and colors to your specifications. Dimensions: 4, 5, 6, 8, or 10 feet in height. King Richard's marb...
Title: New Hand Carved Marble or Wood Statue of St. Roch
Item Number: KRNM-504
KRNM-504: New Hand Carved Marble or Wood Statue of St. Roch. Finishes and colors to your specifications. Dimensions: 4, 5, 6, 8, or 10 feet in height. King Richard's marb...
Title: St. Rocco Statue
Item Number: KRDOM-415
KRDOM-415: St. Rocco Statue This statue is available in resin or bronze. Resin statues are available in faux marble, bronze, silver (color added to composite-suitable fo...
Title: Statue of Saint Rocco
Item Number: KRSS-506
KRSS-506: Statue of Saint Rocco. These statues are considered by many church professionals to be the finest new statues available today. This statue is hand molded with w...
Title: St. Roch Statue- Daprato
Item Number: KRVS-RG-2413
Daprato plaster statue of Saint Roch. In original condition with painted eyes. Approximately 60 plus years old. Dimensions: 52 inches in height. Purchaser is responsib...