Innocent, St.

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Bishop of Tortona c. 322350; d. 350. Although his vita is legendary, Innocent did exist and fragments of the legend are true. His family lived in Tortona in northern Italy, and were, by imperial license, exempt from persecution. However, when his father and mother died, Innocent was summoned to court. He refused to sacrifice to the gods, was tortured, and was condemned to burn at the stake. The night before his execution he dreamed that his father directed him to go to Rome; waking, he found his guards asleep and succeeded in making his escape. In Rome, he was received by Pope miltiades, and later he was raised to the diaconate by Pope sylvester. Sent to Tortona as bishop, for 28 years he zealously spread the faith and built many churches.

Feast: April 17.

Bibliography: a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 2:113. Acta Sanctorum April 2:478482. f. savio, Analecta Bollandiana 15 (1896) 377384.

[e. d. carter]