(martyred in Sicily c.
176AD). Patron saint of mus., commemorated annually on 22 Nov. Her assoc. with mus. is very obscure, apparently dating from 15th cent. (There is a theory that it arose from the misreading of an antiphon for her day.) First recorded mus. fest. in her honour c.
1570 at Evreux, Normandy; earliest recorded date of a Brit. mus. celebration 1683. Innumerable paintings and stained glass
windows depict her playing the org.—always one of many centuries later than 176AD. Many comps. in her honour, outstanding examples being Purcell's Ode for St Cecilia's Day
(1692) and Britten's Hymn to St Cecilia
(2nd or 3rd century), Roman martyr. According to legend, she took a vow of celibacy but when forced to marry converted her husband to Christianity
and both were martyred. She was first confined in a hot bathroom in an attempt to suffocate her; later she was beheaded. She is the patron saint of church music
. She is typically shown with an organ or with a lute, and her feast day is 22 November.
Saint Cecilia (səsĬl´yə, –sēl–), 2d or 3d cent., Roman virgin martyr. An ancient and famous account of her life is factually valueless. As patron of music, she is represented at the organ. St. Cecilia is the subject of one of the Canterbury Tales, of a song by Dryden, and of an ode by Pope. Cecily is an English form of her name. Feast: Nov. 22.
(2nd–3rd cent.). A perhaps legendary virgin martyr of the Roman church. Her Acts
date from the 5th cent., and she is unknown to earlier writers. Since the 16th cent. she has been best known as patron saint of music and musicians. Feast day, 22 Nov.