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Caesarius of Africa

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Saint Caesarius of Africa was a martyr of the Roman Catholic Church. The church of San Cesareo in Palatio in Rome bears his name.

Life

Caesarius was a deacon of Africa, martyred at Terracina in Italy. Caesarius denounced the pagan custom of having one youth per year immolate himself to the demons by jumping off a cliff in honour of the god Apollo. The priest of Apollo had him arrested and taken before the governor. He was sentenced to be sewn into a sack and thrown into the sea. He was martyred together with Julian, a local presbyter. While the death of Caesarius has been placed as early as 60 or 110, it is more likely that he actually lived in the third century and died during the reign of Diocletian.

Cult

His feast is held on 1 November. In the 4th century, Emperor Valentinian was cured at the shrine of Caesarius at Terracina. The emperor then decided to move his relics to Rome. They were taken to a church on the Palatine Hill, and when they were later moved to a new church near the Appian Way which got the name San Cesareo in Palatio.

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