Our father among the saints, Vitalis of Ravenna was the leader of a group of Christians who were associated with the founding of Christianity in the Ravenna, Italy area in the second century. He was martyred on the site where the Church of San Vitale was built in the sixth century.


Little is known of the life of St. Vitalis. He is believed to be the husband of St. Valeria and the father of Ss. Gervase and Prothase. Tradition notes that Vitalis was martyred with his children, Gervase and Prothase, on the place in Ravenna, Italy where the Church of San Vitale was built in the sixth century. Since Vitalis was the first martyr in Ravenna, he was seen as the spiritual head of that Christian community and is the patron saint of Ravenna.

St. Vitalis was memorialized in the mosaics in the church. In one of the mosaics in the apse of the Church of San Vitale, St. Vitalis is shown receiving the crown of martyrdom from the seated Christ.

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