Cecilia, Saint

views updated May 17 2018

Cecilia, Saint (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 (1942).

Cecilia, St

views updated May 14 2018

Cecilia, St (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.

Cecilia, St

views updated Jun 11 2018

Cecilia, St (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.

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Saint Cecilia

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Saint Cecilia