samedi 11 mai 2019

Saint CATALDO de RACHAU (de TARANTO), (10 MAI), évêque


Mosaico raffigurante San Cataldo nella Cappella Palatina di Palermo

Saint Catalde

Évêque de Tarente (VIIe siècle)

Cataldo ou Cartault...

Moine irlandais, il dirigea pendant plusieurs années une école monastique dans son pays. Parti en pèlerinage à Jérusalem, comme tant d'autres à cette époque, il s'arrêta sur le chemin du retour pour convertir à la foi chrétienne la population de la région de Tarente, revenue au paganisme après avoir été, selon la tradition, convertie par saint Pierre lui-même.

...On note un buste de saint Cartault, évêque de Tarente, compagnon de saint Savinien, martyr... (Histoire des communes de l'Yonne - Maurice Pignard-Péguet livre III - 1913 - Bibliothèque numérique icaunaise)

...Dilo fut le siège d'un monastère de Prémontrés fondé en 1135... (La chapelle Saint Cartault à Dilo diocèse de Sens-Auxerre

...L'église a été restaurée en 2002... (Tourisme Yonne

...Le 6 août 1692, la Chapelle Saint Cartault est solennellement bénite et livrée au culte. Voûtée de lambris, longue d'environ 8x5m, ouverte à l'est par deux fenêtres cette Chapelle demeurera l'église paroissiale du petit village desservi par les Prémontrés... Depuis 300 ans, cette Chapelle réservée aux paroissiens de Dilo, possède toujours son maître-autel ionique et le buste de son saint patron: St Cartault. (Eglise Saint Cartault de Dilo) 

Un internaute nous signale: saint Cartault, ami de saint Patrick - Vénéré à Sens où lui était consacrée une ancienne paroisse; vocable à Dilo (Yonne); sans doute des transferts de reliques. Il serait, avec Vincent, patron des vignerons en Auxerrois 

À Tarente en Apulie, vers le VIe siècle, saint Catalde, moine pèlerin, venu, dit-on, d'Irlande, et considéré comme évêque de cette ville.
Martyrologe romain


Statua di San Cataldo che si venera nella Basilica Cattedrale di San Cataldo di Taranto, 
realizzata da Orazio Del Monaco.

Saint Catalde a vécu au deuxième siècle, il était natif du comté de Munster en Irlande. 

Résumé de la vie des predictions et des visions dont fut favorisée Saint Catalde.

Saint Catalde a vécu au deuxième siècle, il était natif du comté de Munster en Irlande.

Catalde devint moine, il enseigna pendant plusieurs années dans une école monastique dans son pays : la grande école de Lismore. A la mort de Saint Carthag, il la dirigea.

Parti en pèlerinage à Jérusalem comme tant d'autres à cette époque, et après avoir visité les lieux saints, il reprit la route vers sa patrie.

Il s'arrêta sur le chemin du retour pour convertir à la foi chrétienne la population de la région de Tarente, dans les Pouilles, en Italie du Sud, et, peut-être en Sicile, où il constatait que la foi et la pratique chrétienne avaient subi les dommages des invasions barbares. Il décida de séjourner dans l'île pour en ré-évangéliser la population. Sa prédication avait tellement de succès qu'on le choisit comme évêque de Tarente.

On fixe en 170 l’arrivée de Saint Catalde à Tarente où il fut vite renommé pour ses miracles.

On attribue aussi à Saint Catalde une prophétie singulière touchant la destruction du royaume de Naples.

« Catalde, homme religieux et évêque de Tarente, avait apparut la nuit à un ecclésiastique de Tarente, homme vertueux et nouvellement sacré dans les ordres. Il l’avertit de chercher un livre, rempli de divins mystères, qu’il avait écrit de son vivant, et caché dans un certain endroit, et de le présenter au Roi. Mais l’ecclésiastique n’ayant point fait cas de cette apparition, Catalde parut dans ses habits pontificaux avec la mitre sur la tête, se présentant devant lui le matin, alors qu’il était seul dans l’église.

Il lui ordonna sous peine de punition, de chercher le livre dont il avait déjà parlé et de le présenter au Roi.

L’ecclésiastique rassembla le peuple de Tarente le lendemain et ils marchèrent en procession vers l’endroit indiqué.

Il déterra un livre enveloppé de lames de plomb, fermé avec des agrafes de fer.

Ce livre contenait une prédiction sur le royaume de Naples, les temps déplorables, et les calamités dont nous avons vu l’accomplissement, par une terrible expérience. »

Le roi Ferdinand fut tué au premier conflit, son fils ainé fut mit en déroute par ses ennemis et mourut en exil. Le fils cadet fut tué dans la fleur de l’âge pendant la guerre, et Fréderic, le petit fils, vit piller, brûler et saccager tout le royaume de Naples.

Saint Catalde est toujours vénéré à Tarente et à Palerme où une Eglise porte son nom. On le fête le 10 Mai. 



Statua di San Cataldo che si venera nel Duomo di San Cataldo (CL)


Prophéties

Saint Catalde, évêque de Tarente prédit :

« Un roi sortira de l’extraction et tige du lys très illustre, ayant le front élevé, les sourcils hauts, les yeux longs et le nez aquilin.

Il rassemblera de grandes armées, chassera les tyrans de son royaume, qui fuiront devant sa face pour se cacher dans les montagnes et les cavernes ; car tout aussi que l’épouse est jointe à son époux, la justice sera associée avec lui.

Jusqu’aux 40 ans de son âge, il fera la guerre avec contre les Chrétiens (hérétiques) puis subjuguera les Anglais et autres insulaires.

Les rois chrétiens lui rendront hommage.

Après quoi, il passera la mer avec des armées très nombreuses, entrera dans la Grèce et sera nommé Roi des Grecs.

Il subjuguera ensuite les Colchiens, Chypriens, Turcs et Barbares.

Il fera un édit que quiconque n’adorera le Crucifié sera mis à mort.

Il n’y aura roi qui puisse lui résister, d’autant que le bras du Seigneur sera avec lui et aura domination sur toute la terre. Cela fait, il donnera repos aux Chrétiens et à son peuple.

Puis, entrant à Jérusalem et étant monté sur le mont des oliviers, il y fera ses prières à Dieu. Et, ayant ôté sa couronne de dessus sa tête et rendu grâce à Dieu le Père, Dieu le Fils et Dieu le Saint-Esprit, avec des signes admirables, il rendra son âme à Dieu. » 



Statue de Saint Cataldo, Taranto

Saint Catald of Taranto


Also known as
  • Catald of Tarentum
  • Catald of Rachau
  • Cataldus of…
  • Cathal of…
  • Cattaldo of…
  • Cathaluds of…
  • Cathaldus of…
  • Cataldo of…
Profile

Student at the monastic school of LismoreWaterford under Saint Carthage. Later a teacher there, and then headmaster. Pilgrim to the Holy Land. On his way home a storm shipwrecked him in TarantoItaly. As he recovered, his holiness was such that he was chosen by the people to be their bishop. He lived the rest of his life in the region, teaching and caring for his parishioners. There are towns in Sicily and southern Italy named for him.

Born


Chapelle San Cataldo à Tarente

CATALDUS (Saint) Bishop (May 10) (7th century) The most illustrious of the several Irish Saints of that name. Born in Munster he became the disciple and successor of Saint Carthage in the famous School of Lismore. He is believed to have been consecrated a Bishop in Ireland. But on his return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the people of Taranto in Southern Italy constrained him to accept the government of their Church. Many miracles are attributed to his intercession. He flourished early in the seventh century.

MLA Citation

  • Monks of Ramsgate. “Cataldus”. Book of Saints1921CatholicSaints.Info1 October 2012. Web. 9 May 2019. <http://catholicsaints.info/book-of-saints-cataldus/>


Chiesa di San Cataldo Palermo


Chiesa di San Cataldo Palermo

Catholic World – Saint Cathaldus of Taranto, by J F Hogan


“Me tulit Hiberne: Solymae traxere. Tarentum
Nunc tenet. Huic-ritus, dogmata, jura dedi.”

About seven hundred years before the birth of Christ a band of Spartan adventurers founded the city of Tarentum. In retaliation for the insults and wrongs that were inflicted on them at home, on account of their Parthenian origin, they conspired against their native government; but, failing to accomplish] their designs, they were driven out of Greece, and condemned, with their leader, Phalanthus, to perpetual exile. They betook themselves, in their misfortune, to the northern part of Magna Graecia, and settled by the shores of the great gulf of the Ionian Sea. After searching for a site that might prove favourable to commerce, they fixed on the isthmus that separated the large bay from the little harbour now known as the “Mare Piccolo.” There were some scattered houses already there, and as these were steadily growing into a town, the place was called after Taras the Giant, a fabulous son of Neptune, who, according to superstitious traditions, had banished fever and pestilence from the marshes around. The Parthenians took possession of the settlement, and, by their enterprise and intelligence, laid the foundations of a city which grew, in after years, to splendid proportions.

We know not how long Tarentum Lacedemonian Tarentum, as it was called by Horace preserved the simplicity of its Spartan manners; but we know that, like Sybaris, Metapontum, and the other cities of the great Grecian colony, it became famous in history for its luxury and corruption. The country around it was uncommonly fertile. The fleeces of the sheep that grazed on the banks of the Galaesus, which flows into its harbour, were of a finer texture than those of Apulia; and the “murex,” which gave to its wool the famous red-purple dye, abounded in the seas around. Its honey rivalled that of the mountain of Hymettus; and it was in the midst of the vineyards of Aulon, which rose in fertile slopes behind it, that was to be found that spot of earth that was so dear to Horace:

“Ille terrarum mlhi praeter omnes
Angulus ridet.”

These, and many other resources on sea and land, became, in the hands of the sturdy Greeks, the materials of an extensive trade, which brought with it, in the course of a century or two, a tide of wealth and prosperity that was scarcely surpassed by any other city in Southern Italy. It reached the summit of its splendour under Archytas, its famous philosopher and lawgiver, and under his wise rule assumed the proportions of a vast and magnificent city. It had its temples, its schools, its theatres, its baths, its palaces. When Plato came from Athens to visit it, its buildings displayed the classic symmetry so pleasing to the eye of the great philosopher, the ideal line of Grecian architecture, the line that evokes life, and gives a form which Plato and his disciples regarded as eternal.

The lives of the people accorded well with these outward evidences of prosperity. But from prosperity to vice the road is wide and the distance short. That road the people of Tarentum travelled, till they vied with their neighbours of Sybaris in luxury and crime. Then trouble came upon them, and they had good reason to regret the departed virtues of the race from which they sprung. In their extremity they sought the aid of the King of Epirus; but, in spite of his daring and bravery, Pyrrhus was driven back to Greece. And now one of those strange developments of fortune which sometimes mark with a touch of irony the vicissitudes of history occurred to the Greeks of Tarentum. Its foremost citizens were banished by the inexorable Consul Pacuvius, and compelled to take refuge in the very land from which their forefathers had been expelled. As unwilling as were the original Spartans to leave their native Lacedemonia, just as unwilling were their descendants to return to it. Indeed they felt this exile more keenly than if they had been driven to any other country. The poet Leonidas gave expression to the general sentiment of the exiles when he said: “I languish far from the land of Italy, and from Tarentum my country and this banishment is more bitter to me than death.”

After the defeat of Pyrrhus, the Tarentines next put their trust in Hannibal; but Hannibal, who at one time seemed to have secured the whole of Southern Italy against Home, was obliged to return to Carthage, and old Fabius “Cunctator” was entrusted with the task of chastising the Tarentines.

The city was now subjected to one of those systematic forms of pillage peculiar to the old Eoman Eepublic. Thirty thousand of its citizens were sold as slaves. Its treasures of gold and silver were transferred to Rome, where they exercised an immediate effect on the currency and money-market ‘of the empire. Its temples and theatres were despoiled of their statues and of their paintings. The superstitious old general respected only the figures of those divinities that were represented in an attitude of anger Jupiter, launching his thunderbolts against some rebel of earth or of Olympus; Apollo, piercing with his darts the children of Niobe; Perseus, despatching the Gorgon with his dagger; Hercules, trampling on the Amazon; Minerva, threatening Medusa with her spear, or changing Arachne into a spider. He gave expression in. a few pregnant but tragic words to the dispositions of Pagan Borne towards her vanquished rebels, when he said: “Let us leave to the Tarentines their irritated gods.”

From its capture by Fabius down to the early days of Christianity, Tarentum dwindled into comparative insignificance. As a part of its punishment, Brundusium was substituted for it as a port of embarcation for the East. Its trade was ruined by this unfortunate change, and it has never since recovered from the blow which shattered the very foundation of its mercantile prosperity.

Who was the first to preach Christianity to the citizens of Tarentum? At what period were they converted? Did they remain steadfast after their first conversion, or did they fall back again into paganism, and require to be rescued a second time? These are questions which are involved in great obscurity, and have given rise to a great amount of research and speculation among the native historians of Calabria. We can only give what appears to be the general conclusion at which they have arrived.

A tradition of immemorial standing seems to ascribe the first conversion of Tarentum to Saint Peter and his disciple and companion, Saint Mark. Seeing that it is held by many writers that Saint Peter paid two visits to Rome, during the second of which he suffered martyrdom, it is natural enough to suppose that, on his way to or from the East, he may have passed through Tarentum, and have preached the good tidings of Christianity to its people. However this may be, it is certain that the seeds of Christian life did not take deep root there on its first sowing, and that in the political turmoil which followed the transfer of the seat of Empire to Constantinople, its young shoots were almost completely smothered. In these disturbances Tarentum passed from Romans to Greeks, and from Greeks to Romans. It was handed about to all kinds of freebooters. For a time it was held by Belisarius for Justinian; then it was occupied by Totila and his Goths. These in their turn were expelled by the Imperial arms, and the citadel was held for the empire until the arrival of the Longobardi, whose commander, Romoald (Duke of Beneventum) got possession of the town and province.

It must be acknowledged that such stormy conditions of life were not very favourable to the spread of Christianity. No wonder, therefore, that little trace should have been found of the Christian settlement that had once been established at Tarentum when Saint Cathaldus first appeared within its walls.

That Saint Cathaldus was a native of Ireland, is a fact which cannot be seriously questioned. Indeed it is not denied by anybody worthy of a moment’s notice. It has been the constant tradition of the Church of Tarentum; and in every history of the city or of its apostle that is of Italian origin, there is but one voice as to the country from which Saint Cathaldus came. The most valuable biography of the saiat which we possess was written in the seventeenth century by an Italian Franciscan named Bartolomeo Moroni, As this work professes to be based on very ancient codices and manuscripts of the Church of Taranto, we must conclude that it contains a good deal that is accurate and trustworthy, whilst a very cursory examination is sufficient to convince us that fable and fiction have entered not a little into its composition. It tells us, at all events, that Cathaldus was a native of Ireland; that he was born at a place called Kachau according to some, at Cathandum according to others; that as a happy augury of his future mission to the half Greek, half Italian city of Taranto, his father’s name was Euchus, and his mother’s Achlena or Athena.

A good deal of discussion has been indulged in as to the identity of his birthplace. The general opinion seems to be that Kachau was the place from which he took his title as bishop, and that Cathandum was the place of his birth. This Cathandum is supposed to be identified either with “Ballycahill,” in the Ormond district of North Tipperary, and in the diocese of Killaloe, or with a place of the same name not far from Thurles, in the diocese of Cashel. As for Rachau, it is believed to be intended either for Eahan in the King’s County, where Saint Carthage had his famous monastery, and where he ruled as a bishop before his expulsion by the Hy Niall of Meath, or for one of the numerous places called Kath in the immediate neighbourhood of Lismore; or, finally, as Lanigan thinks probable, the place now called Shanraghan in Southern Tipperary and on the confines of Waterford. It is distinctly stated that the place was, at all events, in the province of Munster, and not far from Lismore. Nothing more precise can be laid down with certainty.

What does not, however, admit of the slightest doubt, is the fact that Saint Cathaldus was surrounded by spiritual and religious influences of a very special kind from his infancy upwards. These influences found in his soul a most sympathetic response, and when they had lifted the thoughts and aspirations of this fair youth above earthly things, he was sent by his parents to the neighbouring school of Lismore. This school, although it had been established only for a very short time, had already acquired widespread fame, and had attracted students from all parts of England and Scotland, and from several continental countries besides.

What a busy place this famous southern university must have been in the days of its prosperity ! When we read the account of it that has come down to us, glorified though it may be, and exaggerated, as no doubt it is, by the imaginations of its admirers, writing, some of them, centuries after its decay, and seeing it chiefly through the scholars and apostles that it produced, we cannot help being struck by the features of resemblance, and yet the strong contrast, it presents with those Grecian cities that, in far-off times, gathered to their academies and their market-places the elite of the world orators, poets, artists, grammarians, philosophers, all who valued culture or knew the price of intellectual superiority. Lismore had no spacious halls, no classic colonnades, no statues, or fountains, or stately temples. Its houses of residence were of the simplest and most primitive description, and its halls were in keeping with these, mere wooden structures, intended only to shut off the elements, but without any claim or pretense to artistic design. And yet Lismore had something more valuable than the attractions of either architecture or luxury. It possessed that which has ever proved the magnet of the philosopher and the theologian truth, namely, and truth illumined by the halo of religion. It sheltered also in its humble halls whatever knowledge remained in a barbarous age of those rules of art that had already shed such lustre on Greece and Borne., or had been fostered in Ireland itself according to principles and a system of native conception. Hence it drew around it a crowd of foreigners Saxons and Britons, Franks and Teutons, Sicambrians and Helvetians, Arvernians and Bohemians:

“Undique conveniunt proceres quos dulce trahebat
Discendi stadium, major num cognita virtus
An laudata foret. Celeres vastissima Eheni
Jam vada Teutonici, jam deseruere Sicambri.
Mittit ah extreme gelidos Aquilone Boemos
Albis, et Arverni coeunt, Batavique frequentes,
Et quicumque colunt alta sub rape Gehennas.
Non omnes prospectat Arar, Ehodanique fluenta
Helvetica; multos desiderat ultima Thule.
Certatim hi properant, diverse tramite ad urbem
Lesmoriam, juvenis primes ubi transigit annos.”

At Lismore Cathaldus edified his brethren by his extraordinary piety as well as by his great love of study. In due time he passed from the student’s bench to the master’s chair, and whilst he taught in the schools, he was not unmindful of the world’s needs. He raised a church at Lismore to the glory of God and the perpetual memory of His Virgin Mother. Frequent miracles bore testimony at this period to the interior sanctity of the young professor. So great was the admiration of the people for him that one of the princes in the neighbourhood grew jealous of his influence, and denounced him to the King of Munster as a magician, who aimed at subverting established authority and setting up his own in its place. The King accordingly sent his fleet to Lismore, where Cathaldus was taken prisoner and confined in a dungeon until some favourable opportunity should offer to have him conveyed into perpetual exile. The King, however, soon found what a mistake he had committed, and, instead of banishing Cathaldus, he offered him the territory of Rachau, which belonged to Meltridis, the Prince who had denounced him, and who was now overtaken by death in the midst of his intrigues. Cathaldus refused the temporal honours which the King was anxious to confer upon him, and proclaimed that he vowed his life to religion, and sought no other honours. He was, therefore, raised to the episcopate, and constituted the chief spiritual ruler of the extensive territory of the deceased Meltridis, whose tanist rights were made over on the church.

After Cathaldus had ruled the see of Kachau for some years, he resolved to set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He committed the care of his diocese to his neighbouring bishops, and set sail, without any retinue, for the Holy Land. It is probable that he was accompanied by hisbrother, Donatus, who afterwards became Bishop of Lupiaer now Lecce, in Calabria. In due course he reached his destination, and had the supreme happiness of kneeling at the great sepulchre, or as Tasso expresses it:

“D’adorar la Gran Tomba e sciorre il voto.”

With all the love and reverence of a pilgrim he sought out the holy places that had been sanctified by the presence of his Heavenly Master; and so great was his joy to live in these solitudes, and dwell on the mysteries of man’s salvation, amidst the very scenes in which it had been accomplished, that he earnestly desired and prayed to be relieved of his episcopal burden, and allowed to live and die in the desert in which our Lord had fasted, or in some one of the retreats that had been made sacred for ever by His earthly presence. Whilst engaged in earnest prayer on these thoughts, his soul was invaded by a supernatural light, which made clear to him that Providence had other designs about him. He accordingly started on the journey that Heaven had marked out for him; and, having been shipwrecked in the Gulf of Taranto, he was cast ashore not far from the city of which he was to become the apostle and the bishop. The cave in which he first took refuge is still to be seen in the neighbourhood of Otranto, not far from the point of the Japygian promontory.

The shipwrecked pilgrim, henceforward an apostle, soon made his way to the eastern gate of Tarentum. At the entrance of the city a blind man was to be seen, asking for assistance from those who passed by. His condition was symbolical of the darkness that prevailed within. Cathaldus addressed him, spoke to him of Christ and of the Blessed Trinity, and, as he found him amenable to Christian teaching, he instructed him in the mysteries of salvation; and whilst he imparted to him the light of grace through the Sacrament of Baptism he restored to him the light of natural vision through that supernatural power that had been vouchsafed to him. This whole circumstance was regarded as a happy omen, and as a symbol of the change to be wrought by the apostle within the city.

A parallel has sometimes been drawn between tbe condition of Taranto, when Saint Cathaldus first entered its gates, with that of Athens when it was first visited by Saint Paul. The parallel holds good in some respects, but not in all. Taranto was, to all intents and purposes, as deeply plunged in paganism as Athens was. There was scarcely a vestige left of the early religious settlement that had been made there by Saint Peter and Saint Mark, or by whoever had preached the Gospel to its people in early times. Paganism reigned supreme; but, in so far as it constituted a religion at all, it was paganism in its most corrupt and repellent form. The days of Archytas and of Pythagoras were now left far behind. The artistic splendour which had never entirely disappeared from Athens, had long since vanished from Taranto. There was no culture now, but ignorance and barbarism, the result of centuries of war and strife. With minds thus steeped in ignorance, with hearts corrupted by licence and perverted by superstition, the people of this neglected city did not offer a very encouraging prospect to the new missionary who appeared among them. His success, nevertheless, was greater than that of St. Paul at the capital of Greece. He won his way to the hearts of the people by his eloquence, his zeal, his power of working miracles; and when the prejudice entertained against his person and speech was once removed, the divine origin of the Gospel that he preached was acknowledged readily enough. We have, unfortunately, but very meagre details as to the methods of his apostolate; but we are assured, at all events, that they were so effective as to win over the whole city in a few years. Certain it is that Cathaldus was acknowledged without dispute, during his own lifetime, as Bishop of Tarentum, and that he has ever since been revered as the founder of the Tarentine Church and the patron saint of the converted city.

It is said that when the saint felt that his death was at hand, he called around him his priests and deacons and the chief men of the city, and earnestly exhorted them to remain faithful to his teaching.
“I know [he said], that when I am gone dreadful and relentless enemies shall rise up against you, and endeavour, by heretical sophistry, to tear asunder the members of the Catholic Church, and lead astray the flock which I brought together with such pains. Against these enemies of your faith and of the Christian religion, I entreat you to strengthen the minds of the people by your own firmness, ever mindful of my labours and vigils.”

The remains of the holy Bishop were committed, at his own request, to their native earth in his Cathedral Church. They were enclosed in a marble tomb, portion of which is still preserved. For some time the exact position of this tomb was unknown, but when Archbishop Drogonus of Tarentum was restoring the cathedral, in the eleventh century, the tomb was discovered. It was opened by the Archbishop, and the body of the saint was found well preserved. A golden cross had been attached to the body of the saint at the time of his burial. This also was discovered, and found to bear upon it the name of Cathaldus. The relics of the saint were then encased and preserved in the high altar of the cathedral. During the; pontificate of Eugenius III they were transferred to a beautiful silver shrine adorned with gems and precious stones. A silver statue of Cathaldus was also cast, and erected in the church. These and many other memorials of the saint are still to be seen, and are held in great veneration by the people of Taranto.

The miracles attributed to the saints of the Church are often spoken of with derision by those who regard themselves as the children of light. These, whilst they minister to their own vanity, and fancy that nature has taken them specially into her confidence, revealing her inmost secrets to their ardent gaze, sometimes succeed in deceiving others: but they deceive themselves more than all. Indeed it is almost impossible to conceive how those early saints could have succeeded in winning over to Christianity, in the space of a few years, whole cities and districts that had hitherto been steeped in vice and superstition, without the power of working miracles. When that power is once granted, the explanation of wholesale conversion becomes easy and plain. Something is necessary to strike and astonish the multitude, and when wonder and alarm have become general, half the battle is already gained.

That Saint Cathaldus possessed this power in a high degree, is testified not only in the records of his life, but still more authentically in the wholesale nature of the (Conversions that he wrought, and the unfading memory he left impressed on the city to which he ministered. The veneration for Cathaldus was not confined to Tarentum alone. It spread far and wide through Italy, Greece, and the Ionian islands. The village of Castello San Cataldo on the Ionian coast, midway between Brindisi and Otranto, perpetuates his name. Chapels dedicated to the saint, or statues erected in his honour, may be seen in many of the neighbouring towns of Calabria. The Cathedral of Taranto itself is, however, his greatest monument. M. Paul Bourget, the famous French Academician, who recently visited these southern shores, speaks of it as “la belle cathedrale Normande vouee a San Cataldo, l’apotre irlandais du pays.” It is a Norman cathedral, but many of the distinctive features of Norman architecture have given way to new designs, which make of it a curious mixture of many styles. The interior of the church, however, is very rich, many of the chapels being profusely inlaid with “pietra dura.” The shrine and statue of the saint are particularly fine. Notwithstanding the series of successive influences, and of rival civilizations that have passed over these southern lands, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Saracen, Norman, Teuton, and later Italian, M. Bourget is impressed, and not without reason, at the indelible impress that was made upon them by his Norman countrymen.

The Cathedral of Otranto, built by Eoger Duke of Calabria, son of Robert Guiscard, still maintaining its noble severity in the midst of ruin and decay, is a proof of this time-defying impress. There is scarcely a trace to be found in any of these towns of the old Grecian or Roman monuments. They have been utterly swept away; but the Norman tower still lifts it head, defying the centuries and resting on the faultless arch that time seems powerless to disturb. To the onlooker it conveys something of the austere but truthful lesson that is inscribed within on the tomb of one of its bishops:

DECIPIMUR VOTIS. TRADUNT NOS TEMPORA. SED MORS
DELENIT CURAS. ANXIA VITA NIHIL.

This same endurance of the Norman buildings is noticed all over the province from Brindisi to Reggio. M. Bourget was particularly struck with it at Lecce, the modern capital of the “Terra di Otranto.” There, a little outside the city, Tancred had built a church, which was dedicated to Saint Nicholas and Saint Cathaldus. It is now surrounded by a large cemetery, for which it serves as a mortuary chapel. In speaking of this interesting building M. Bourget says:

“If ever I regretted not having received that special education which enables one to discern at first sight the technical value of a piece of architecture, it was long ago in England, in face of one of those great cathedrals, like Canterbury, and it was here, in view of this Norman facade. I felt that it was really fine. But such sensations, when not supported by some exact idea of their cause, remain incomplete, as when one listens to music without a knowledge of harmony, or reads verses without possessing the secret of metre. And yet I was fascinated by these two doors one in front, the other at the side; by the noble simplicity of the arch, and the elegance, still intact, of the arabesques. It is possible that I may not have been so vividly impressed, were it not that the church arose, solitary and silent, in the midst of this ‘Campo Santo,’ and that the memory of its founder, Tancred, had been inscribed on its architrave in leonine verse.”

As for Taranto itself, M. Bourget tells us that, notwithstanding some remnants of its Norman pride, it has fallen, at the present day, into utter and almost absolute decay:

“Fallen, indeed, it is [he writes]; for this modern Taranto, to which I have just paid a lengthened visit, has not even the charm of unconsoled decay, which makes of Otranto’s lonely pile something greater and more splendid than a ruin. Those who have gone to that point of Sicily which looks across towards Carthage, may remember that little hill of Selinonte, and how much more majestic its temples, shattered by an earthquake, appear now, in their total wreck, than they did when their colonnades looked out in defiance over that African sea in which the Punic galleys were arrayed. The worst decline is that which survives itself in mediocrity. Confined almost exclusively to the island that served merely as an acropolis to the ancient city, modern Taranto is built of sordid houses, which are divided by streets that seem narrower than even the narrowest calle in Venice. The people who dwell in these houses, and circulate through these oppressive passages, look pale and sickly. Living almost exclusively on fish, they are subject to many diseases, and one would look in vain among them for a single type of that grace which they know so well how to impart to the little statues in terra-cotta in which they deal so largely.”

The misery of the city itself contrasts rather strangely with the scenery of the country that stretches away towards the east. As one approaches Otranto the plain becomes a vast field of olives and of orange-trees. It reminds M. Bourget of the valley between Malaga and Bobadilla, in Spain, one of the most picturesque sights in Europe. But, through good or ill, the faith of the people of Taranto has never varied since their final conversion. They have seen many changes, from the days of Robert Guiscard to those of Napoleon; but they still adhere to the creed of the Koman Church, and of the Church of Saint Patrick and Saint Cathaldus.



Chiesa di San Cataldo Palermo

Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Cataldus, Bishop of Tarentum, in Italy


He was a learned Irish monk, who was for some time regent of the great school of Lismore, soon after the death of its founder Saint Carthag. To this nursery of learning and virtue prodigious numbers flocked both from the neighbouring and remote countries. Saint Cataldus at length resigned his charge in quest of some closer retirement, and travelled to Jerusalem; and, in his return into Italy, was chosen bishop of Tarentum, not in the sixth century, as some Italian writers have imagined, much less in the second, but in the decline of the seventh. He is titular saint of the cathedral, the only parish church of the city, though it is said to contain eighteen thousand inhabitants. Saint Cataldus is counted the second bishop. Colgan gives an epitaph placed under an image of Saint Cataldus at Rome, which declares his birth, travels, and death, as follows:

Me tulit Hiberne, Solymæ traxere, Tarentum
Nunc tenet: huic ritus, dogmata, jura dedi.
Which are thus Englished by Harris in his edition of Ware’s Irish bishops:
Hibernia gave me birth: thence wafted o’er,
I sought the sacred Solymean shore.
To thee, Tarentum, holy rites I gave,
Precepts divine; and thou to me a grave.

MLA Citation
  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Cataldus, Bishop of Tarentum, in Italy”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints1866CatholicSaints.Info. 11 August 2018. Web. 9 May 2019. <http://catholicsaints.info/butlers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-cataldus-bishop-of-tarentum-in-italy/>



Chiesa di San Cataldo Palermo


Among the scattered biographies of our Irish Saints, there are few that claim a deeper interest, or present a more fascinating or instructive chain of incidents than the life-tale of Saint Cataldus. And yet there is none, we venture to think, of that long line of heroic apostles whose names fill our national calendars, of whom less is known in the country of his birth.

Far away in that sunny land of Southern Italy where the white-capped waves of the Adriatic break upon the shingly beach, there is an olden city, whose domes and towers and long lines of roofs, grown russet and brown with the shadows of centuries, where the memory of Cataldus of Ireland is preserved as lovingly and as freshly as in that far-off day when its citizens chose him for their patron, and dedicated their noblest temple to his honour. This is the proud city of Tarantum or Taranto, which gives its name to the land-locked gulf of the Adriatic Sea. In its period of classic glory, it seemed to rival Imperial Rome, and in the vastness of its commerce and the fame of Tarantum’s industries and manufactures, it once vied with the famous but fated cities of Sidon and Tyre.

It is, indeed, strange in the paths of history as we trace the footprints of our wandering Irish apostles, that here in this distant foreign city we find the narratives of the life, legends, and miracles of this sixth century Saint handed down as a precious heirloom from sire to son, while at home in the land that bore him, his name and existence awaken little more than the faintest echoes of dim tradition. As our story is unfolded, this reflection – regretful thought as we may call it – cannot fail to suggest itself to our Irish readers as it does to us.

Cataldus – or Cathal, as he is styled in the terse records of our Irish manuscripts – was born in the kingdom of Mononia (our present Munster) in the latter part of the fifth century. The learned Franciscan historian, John Colgan, to whose pen and researches Ireland owes so much, fixes his birthplace in the riding of Upper Ormonde, North Tipperary. Here there is a town-land called Ballycahill, which is identified as the tribal home of his clan, and here we trace one of the faint outlines of his name to which we have just alluded. His father was a minor prince, and Cathal was the eldest and seemingly the only child of his house. Miracles or strange manifestations of the favours with which God was pleased to mark his career, from dawn to close, were vouchsafed from the hour of our Saint’s nativity.

The joy, which his birth brought his parents, was quickly turned to sadness, for a few hours after the child came into the world his mother died. However, we are told that the infant fingers of the babe, having by chance touched the lifeless corpse that lay beside it, life returned, and the young mother, whose loss was mourned, was restored to her husband and child. In connection with the infancy of our Saint, several legends are recorded. One tells us, how an aged hermit who lived in the solitude of the Galtee Mountains, on the night Cathal was born, saw a miraculous light encircle the abode of his parents as he looked down from his cell over the distant plain. Hastening to the scene, the holy man blessed the child and predicted that he was destined by God for great things. Again, we are told that while still very young, by accident, the little boy fell, and his head was dashed against a rude stone. It was believed the fall would have cost him his life, but he was left unhurt, while, like softest wax, the stone received the impress of his head. His preservation was looked on as miraculous – which no doubt it was, since, for years afterwards, water placed within the hollow of the stone was found to possess healing powers for various diseases.

Very early in his life the sanctity of the child led his parents to place him at the famous school of Lismore founded by Saint Carthage.

The fame of the schools of Ireland at that period had spread over Europe. Each would seem to have cultivated some special branch of religious or secular education. But Lismore, in the valet of the Blackwater, had become famous as embodying in its teachings what we would call a general system, providing its scholars not only with the means of acquiring knowledge of the deeper sciences of mathematics and philosophy, but also all the accomplishments and useful crafts of that day. Students flocked to it from England, Scotland, France, Germany, Spain, and even from the shores of the Aegean Sea. It was here, as we learn from history, that at a later time than the period of which we write, that Oswald, of Northumbria, perfected himself in languages and psalmody, and was, on his return home, able to interpret for his people the preachings of the foreign missionaries he brought amongst them. And to the teachings of his Irish masters in Lismore, we may doubtless attribute the sanctity and sacrifices of this holy king, which secured for him a place among the royal Saints of his own country.

Alfred the Great, too, spent years of study in the vale of the Blackwater, and from the Irish bards learned to play the harp, and interweave with its melodies those weird songs with which he charmed his Danish foes, when disguised he visited their camp and perfected the stratagem by which he won back his crown and kingdom.

But let us return to the thread of our story.

Cathal won distinctions without number in the school of Saint Carthage, and when he had completed his course was retained as a teacher, so highly were his attainments estimated. Being, however, filled with a longing to spread afar the tidings of the Gospel, after some time he returned to his native place, where many of his relatives, and other inhabitants were still plunged in superstition and paganism. Success attended his preaching on every side, and miracles seem to bless every effort of the Saint in the course of his Apostolate. For the conversion of so many souls, Cathal was filled with gratitude towards God, to whose mercy he attributed all his powers, and in thanksgiving, we are told, he built a church in Lismore, which he caused to be dedicated to the Mother of God.

Cathal, though he taught the Divine truths, and had conducted so many into the fold of the True Faith, had not yet entered the sacred Ministry. He was at this time living in his father’s home. The death of both his parents occurring within a brief period, and releasing him, as he felt, from earthly and domestic ties, the holy youth determined on disposing of his patrimony, and carrying out his desire of entering the religious state. His whole life had been a preparation for this step, and very soon the holy order of priesthood was conferred on him.

His zeal and reputation for sanctity, together with the wonder-working powers, which were accredited to him, brought such crowds around him, and coupled such praises with his name, that in his humility he determined to leave the people among whom he ministered, and who were so devoted to him.

Secretly he stole away and retraced his steps to Lismore. Here, amidst the vast concourse of monks and scholars, he hoped to escape the notice and flattery of men, and undisturbed, might devote himself more intimately to the service of God. Almost immediately on his return to the place where he had passed so many happy years, the zealous priest set about building another oratory at which he worked with his own hands. His whereabouts were however traced, and, as in the scenes he had just left, so now again, the blind, the lame, and the sorrow stricken hourly sought his aid and consolation.
It is related that at this time Cataldus, almost unconsciously, worked some of his greatest miracles. The child of a soldier who served in the army of the Prince of Desii, in whose territory Lismore was situated, was seized with a grave illness. The troubled father was advised to set out for the birthplace of the Saint and procure some water from the hollow of the stone on which the impress of Cathal’s head had remained since the accident, which had occurred in his childhood. On his return, the soldier was grieved to learn that during his absence his son had died. Hearing the Saint was at Lismore, the poor man in his frenzy took the lifeless corpse, and carrying it for many miles reached the spot where Cathal was to be found. The holy man at the time was busy digging out, as we are told, the deep foundation for his new church. Laying the body close to where the Saint was working, the soldier besought him to have pity on him, and implore God to restore his child to life. At the moment, as Cathal was casting the earth up from the deep trench a portion of the clay fell upon the lifeless form. A rosy hue at once stole over the pale cheek of the dead child. A movement of life returned to the rigid limbs, and, as if awaking from a sleep the child rose up, and was quickly enfolded in the arms of his father!

Rumour, with its myriad tongues, soon bore the tidings of this miracle far over the land. It seemed like a renewal of the Gospel wonders wrought by the shores of Galilee. And, like as with his Divine Master, the blessings, which Cataldus brought to others, were to be likewise fruitful of persecution to himself. Meltride, the Prince of Desii, was still a pagan. Urged on by the representations of his Druid priests he petitioned the King of Munster, whose vassal he was, to have the saint imprisoned, lest by his magic and seditious language he should mislead his subjects. The wily insinuation had the wished-for result. The old king yielded to the suggestions of Meltride and his wicked advisers, and ordered the holy priest to be arrested, and cast into prison.

Strange to tell, and as if in punishment of his crime, Meltride died suddenly and the aged Monarch of Munster, like the king in tragedy, could “sleep no more.” His brain was tortured with the thought of his injustice, and, moreover, he was besieged with the ceaseless demands of the people for the release of their benefactor. “Conscience makes cowards of us all,” and kings are no exception, and soon by royal mandate, the guiltless prisoner was set free.
The king, we read, not only released him, but in his effort to repair the injustice of which he had been the instrument, offered Cataldus the princedom and territory of the unhappy Meltride.

These favours the Saint declined, at the same time assuring the King of his hearty forgiveness. However, later on we learn, the bishopric of Rahan becoming vacant, Cathal was compelled to accept it, and found unexpectedly the estates of Meltride conferred by royal gift on his diocese as mensal property to provide meals for the bishop’s clergy.

This generosity abundantly proved that the King, who once cast him into prison, was indeed a generous enemy, and, better still, a penitent one. There is no longer a diocese of Rahan in Ireland, but, if we mistake not, it was the same small monastic see from which Saint Carthage was expelled by some ungrateful men of Meath. This circumstance of expulsion led to Saint Carthage founding the School of Lismore. And, by a strange coincidence, within the neighbourhood of this self-same Rahan, the Irish Jesuits have today one of their famous seats of education,  Saint Stanislaus’ Tullabeg, Tullamore, where we feel that it will be ever their pride to revive and keep green the memory of our great early Irish scholars, Carthage and Cataldus.

Some of our readers, versed in antiquities, will gather interest from this novel side-gleam of ecclesiastical story. It reveals that the first see of Carthage was, at most, but one of Abbatial jurisdiction, confined to the extent of his monastic estates. There were many such sees in Ireland; in fact, they seem to have been almost as numerous as are parishes now. Moreover, it will remind them that, after the coming of the Cistercians, in the days of the Sainted Primate Malachy of Armagh, Pope Eugenius III, the patron of Saint Bernard, made a redistribution of sees in ecclesiastical Ireland, much as we find them today.

But let us go back to Cathal and his subsequent history. Just at this time – the earlier decades of the sixth century – an anxious yearning to go forth on missions of Apostolic enterprise took possession of our Irish scholars. They seem to have been urged, in prosecuting their holy desires, by three distinct motives. Some left their country, like Romuald of Dublin (better known as Saint Rumbold of Mechelen), in order to avoid regal and worldly honours which their faithful people would feign thrust upon them. Others made sacrifice of home and country, for Christ’s sake, to preach and spread the Gospel. But a still greater number seem to have been actuated by the wish to visit, as pilgrims, places sacred to the birth of Christianity – the Holy Land, the temples and the tombs of Rome.

Cataldus was one of the latter band. He left his diocese – not, we should think, with any idea of forsaking Ireland for ever – and set out for Jerusalem. He had long cherished a desire to visit and venerate scenes consecrated by the footsteps of our Redeemer, and worship in the places where Christ had trod. After months of travel and various vicissitudes, he reached the Holy Land. His enthusiastic aspirations and holiest dreams seemed now about to be satisfied. To him each scene was almost familiar, so long had their associations been coupled with the life and thoughts of Him whom he had chosen from infancy as his model, and on whose Divine teachings he had pondered in meditation. In his fervour, a strange, yet holy thought filled his mind to take up his abode, at least for a time, and live as a hermit in the Holy Land. Close to Bethlehem, he chose for himself a grotto cell, whence he visited all those spots sacred to Scripture story. For a time, he felt happy and satisfied in the realisation of his holiest life dreams.

But the path Cataldus had chosen was not the one for which he was destined by the Providence of God. Soon it occurred to him that the life of an anchorite, even amid places of such holy recollection, was, as far as the outer simple world was concerned, a selfish one. He was, after all, but labouring now for the salvation of one soul – his own – while within him lay the power of gathering many guests to the everlasting feast. The parable of the “ten talents” may have realized its meaning more forcibly for him, as he meditated amid the very scenes where the imperishable simile fell from the lips of the Divine Teacher. Gifted as he was with the highest knowledge and acquirements of his time, was he not called upon to turn to account those endowments, and not leave “his talents” buried in the pound? And full of faith, as these reflections caught a faster hold on his soul, he sought the will of God in prayer, promising that he would follow the inspiration of Divine guidance whithersoever it beckoned him. At length his prayer was heard, and it was mysteriously revealed to him that he should travel to Italy and restore the faith to the City of Tarantum, where once the Apostles Peter and Paul had preached, but where their teachings were now, alas, forgotten.

At once, the Saint obeyed, although his departure from the land which he had longed for as the home of prolonged contemplation was a grave trial – a sacrifice made more bitter still by the thought that he was never perhaps again to return to his beloved Ireland.

Travelling on to the shores of the Levant, Cataldus found a vessel on the point of starting for Italy. The day he embarked was calm and beautiful; favouring winds filled the sails of the barque and gave promise of a happy voyage. However, at sundown, although nothing as far as human calculation could foresee betokened a change, Cataldus warned the captain of a coming storm. The suggestion was, however, badly received by the master of the ship and his crew, who smiled at the words of the inexperienced passenger. Soon, however, they found that Cataldus was not far astray. Unexpectedly, a storm arose of such violence that the vessel became unmanageable and had to be allowed to drift along, a plaything of the tempest. One of the sailors, who attempted to mount the yards, and reef the tattered sails, was dashed upon the deck and killed. In the face of such peril the anxious crew crowded round the stranger who had foretold the disaster, and pitying them, Cataldus, lifting his eyes to heaven invoked the Blessed Trinity, and making the sign of the cross over the raging sea, the winds fell and the surging billows quickly sobbed themselves to rest! This miracle won for our Saint, it is needless to say, the boundless gratitude of the poor sailors, but better still, it won for him their souls, for they were pagans, and all were converted by this manifestation of the power of the one true God.
At the close of this eventful voyage, Cataldus was landed at the little port at the mouth of the Adriatic, ever since known as “Porto di San Cataldo.” Close to the beach was a little cave wherein the holy man offered thanks for his safety. In after times, through veneration for his memory, it became a votive chapel, wherein, on festival occasions, the sacred mysteries continued long to be celebrated.

If we look at the map of Italy, a little below the well-known call-port of Brindisi, this point connected with and named after our Irish Saint will be found. The journey from his landing-place to Tarantum was not very far. Yet in those days, when neither rails nor bicycles were available, it was not pleasant. The country here has none of the attractive characteristics, which go to make an ideal Italian landscape. It is dreary and monotonous, and would compare sadly with the tamest of our Irish lowlands.

On his journey, it is related that our Saint was often obliged to ask his way. On one occasion, he inquired of a little shepherdess the road to Tarantum. The child gazed upon the venerable stranger with sad yet wistful eyes, but made no reply. She was deaf and dumb, as Cataldus quickly perceived. Taking pity upon her, the holy man placed his hands upon her head, and at his prayers, her faculties of speech and hearing were restored perfectly. Full of joy, the little girl took him by the hand and led him to the village where her parents lived, and which lay in his direct road to Tarantum. The poor parents knew not what to think, and were almost beside themselves with joy, when their child, who had never spoken from her birth, rushed in to tell them what had occurred. All the neighbours and kinsfolk were quickly on the spot to witness the miraculous cure and see the wondrous stranger who had wrought it. Cataldus, availing of the opportunity, explained to them that he was but the representative of the Great God who was the Giver of every good gift, and to Him alone should thanks and praise be given for the wonder worked amongst them.

Very little more effort was here needed to reap a plentiful harvest of souls, and before the sainted missionary left the village, he had the happiness of receiving every soul there into the bosom of the Church. A journey of a few miles further brought Cataldus to his destination. In the designs of Providence, Tarantum was to be the home of his earthly exile.

In his school time, he had often read the lines of classic reference in which many of the Latin poets had enshrined the name of the old-world city. As our Saint may have lingered beneath the lichened arch of its mighty gates, crowds of thoughts will have come upon him, linking perhaps with his lonely visit to this scene, the memories of his teachers in far-off Lismore. Dreams will have crowded on his imagination of long ago, when certainly he never dreamt that with the classic poet, Virgil, he, too, might sing – . . .  . . . “Trojae ab oris . . . in Italiam venit.” (‘From the shores of Troy . . . in Italy he came.’)

If such were his reveries, they were broken by the plaintive supplication of a blind beggar who sought his alms! Then, as now, were verified, in the words of Christ, “the poor you have always with you.” In reply to questions, which he put to the old man, Cataldus found he had lived from his youth in Tarantum, and had during his life shared the sympathy and charity of the citizens. By no other could the story of Tarantum have been better told, and Cataldus was quick to perceive that in his first acquaintance – the blind beggar of the wayside – he found the best introduction to his mission, the conversion of the faithless city. For some days, the saint came to meet his loquacious acquaintance at his accustomed resting place.

The mendicant was poor not in wealth only, but in faith, too, for he was a pagan. Cataldus gradually unfolded to him the truths of the Gospel, while sympathising with him in his physical privations and sufferings. He explained to him how much more precious was the light of Faith than that eyesight which he had only temporarily lost. How little was the transient light of earth when contrasted with the endless, undimmed brightness of Eternity? Needless to observe, the poor beggar was converted, and when Cataldus led him for baptism to a spring close by the gates of Tarantum, as the darkness of his soul passed away, earthly sight was restored to his sightless eyeballs. Tarantum, we may be sure, quickly rang with the news of the blind man’s cure. The people ran in crowds to see the wonder-working stranger, and listened with docility to his teachings.

In the great squares of the city, and in the busy marts, Cataldus preached daily till he completely won the hearts and wrought the conversion of the whole city. Nor, were the blessings of his Apostolic zeal confined to Tarantum, for, far beyond its walls the seeds of faith which fell from the words of Cataldus were carried everywhere, to bear an abundant harvest. The old city, though partly fallen from the splendour of pre-Christian times, still held a position of great mercantile importance. The merchants of many nations, east and west, found it a convenient market for exchange. It was noted for the production of certain textures made from the wool of a peculiar kind of sheep, which were only to be found on the plains of Calabria. The dyes of Tarantum were still prized in the world of fashion, while the waters of the Adriatic supplied a species of fish from which a type of silk was manufactured, and which rendered the looms of the city famous over the world. The promiscuous gathering of all races, as we may say, afforded our Apostle a splendid field for his missionary zeal. His wonderful proficiency in the knowledge of dialects (which seems to have been one of the marvellous acquirements of our Irish scholars in the sixth century) made to Cataldus comparatively easy what to other preachers would have been a graver task.

As proof of the far-reaching effects of the Apostolate of Saint Cataldus, we need but consider the number of widely separated states and cities in which he is venerated. These we touch upon in the close of our necessarily too brief sketch of his eventful life.

The apostolate of Cataldus presents us with an extraordinary instance of missionary tact and labour. The Faith planted in Tarantum by the first Apostles can hardly have been said to have wholly died out. But perhaps a worse fate had befallen it, in its having degenerated and become incorporated in course of years with the superstition and errors of paganism into which the inhabitants had gradually relapsed. To unweave this tangled web was the difficulty. Every trace of the erroneous belief had to be rooted out – the gold to be sifted from the worthless dross.

To this end, Cataldus firstly sought the ear of the educated classes, knowing well that, if example were given by those in high places, half his conquest would be achieved. His method proved successful beyond all he could have hoped for. But, in addition to his ingenious zeal, we cannot help thinking that this Irish Saint was more specially favoured by Heaven than were many others of our Apostles. Miracles seem to shower on his footsteps, and even forestall his every undertaking. It will strike many a devout reader of the Saint’s life as he contemplates this phase of his life, that somehow the great secret, or mainspring of his Apostolic success, may likely have been his devotion to the great Mother of God.

With his own hands, he built two shrines to Her honour by the banks of the Blackwater in Ireland. They were both votive churches or memorials of thanksgiving. Again, on the shores of the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, after his initial missionary successes, in token of gratitude, his first act was to erect a shrine in honour of His Blessed Mother.

In the annals of our Irish Saints, of the early date in which the life of Saint Cataldus was cast, we find no such constantly recurring and remarkable evidence of filial devotion to our Blessed Lady.

Our Saint cannot have been young when he came to Tarantum. The years which were marked by the first fervour of his preaching, and during which he was so successful, must have been few. Yet, within a brief compass of time, what great achievements may be accomplished, the life of our Saint strikingly exhibits. During the pontificate of Agapitus I, Cataldus was consecrated Bishop of Tarantum, and he ruled the diocese for fifteen years. Probably within that decade and a half, the events, which gave such lasting glory to his memory, took place. It was during this period, that he introduced into his cathedral the custom of having the psalms sung daily in the choir accompanied by music – a custom for many centuries observed, and became one of the most attractive cathedral services in Italy.

Again, his literary pursuits must have involved unwearied toil, since the works ascribed to his pen ran into volumes. His most famous works were “Homilies for the People,” “A Book of Prophecies,” and a “Treatise on Visions.”

The immediate province over which his episcopal jurisdiction extended shows, even in our own day, how deeply his teachings struck root in its soil. Wherever we find traces of his footsteps, there, too, we are sure to find a shrine of the sweet Madonna, whose praises he ever extolled, whom he ever thanked, and to whom he had unfailing recourse in all his cares.

The last years of Saint Cataldus, in the details of their holiness, furnish an epitome of the blessings, which God sheds so often over the closing days of his elect. But amid them all, as in all his wanderings, his love of Ireland never waned, never grew faint; and we may well believe that, stretched on the bed of death, his aged heart travelled back to Lismore of Erin, and that his dying lips invoked a parting blessing on the loved “Isle of Destiny” in the Western Ocean.

As the springtide sun slowly sank from the cloudless sky into the bluer depths of the Adriatic Sea, and while that prayer for Ireland trembled on the lips, Cathal of Lismore, gave his soul to God on the 8th day of March, AD 550.

Many of the accounts given by Italian writers describe the intense grief, which pervaded the city of Tarantum on the death of its second apostle. Some records remind us of an incident similar to one narrated in connection with the life of another client of the Mother of God, Saint Antony of Padua. As happened with the sainted Franciscan centuries afterwards, we are told, that the death-knell of Cataldus was tolled by the bells of Tarantum of their own accord – unswung by human hands.

With every mark of honour and devotion, the body of the Irish saint was placed within a marble casket and laid to rest beneath the choir of the cathedral, which he had built. Here, for six centuries votaries came to pay respect to his memory and his sanctity. In the eleventh century, when the enthusiasm of Christendom began to show itself in the erection of more splendid temples, Dragone, Archbishop of Tarantum, undertook the rebuilding of the cathedral of his see. Coming on the coffin of Cataldus, the workmen were first apprised of its location by the sweet odour, which the clay that covered it exhaled. In the presence of the clergy and the people, the sarcophagus was reverently opened. Beside the precious remains of the saint were found a golden cross – a tablet engraven – and a book plated with silver. On the cross were inscribed the words- “Famulus Christi Cataldus Epus Tarantius”, “The Household Servant of Christ, Cataldus, Bishop of Taranto”.

This relic is still preserved among the treasures of Tarantum.

In after centuries, on three successive occasions, the remains of the Saint were translated and re-enshrined with increased solemnity and becoming splendour. During the Pontificate of Pope Eugenius III, on May 10th, 1161, Bishop Giraldo had the relics encased in a silver shrine of costly workmanship, placing with the bones of the Saint a portion of the True Cross. Almost two centuries later – in 1346 – the then Archbishop of Tarantum had the silver reliquary of Cataldus melted down and modelled into a statue, within which he placed the skull and several of the Saint’s bones. On this occasion, we learn, the same prelate, with the approval of the Holy See, distributed portions of the relics to many places where the Saint was held in special veneration. Amongst them, we reckon chiefly Rome, Sicily, Venice, and some cathedrals of France.

The statue represented Cataldus clad in pontifical vestments, bearing in his left hand a crozier, while his right hand was outstretched as if imparting a benediction. On certain feasts the statue was washed, the water used being afterwards distributed among the faithful. It was treasured by votaries of the Saint as fruitful of wonderful cures.

On May 9th, the anniversary vigil of the third translation of the relics, this statue is borne through the streets of Tarantum in solemn procession, in which celebration the citizens and peasantry of the surrounding districts take part in immense crowds. In seasons of drought, when oftentimes the vineyards and crops of Calabria are threatened with ruin, we are told that the presence of this venerated statue, carried over the parched plains, is often followed by beneficent falls of rain, which avert the dreaded loss.

The magnificent chapel, at the Gospel side of the Altar in the Cathedral of Tarantum, was erected in the seventeenth century by the Prince-Bishop, Thomas Carraciolo. It was designed after the Pantheon in Rome, and subsequently enriched with the richest mosaics and marbles, carved with choicest architectural skill. The shrine of the statue of the Saint is one of the finest specimens of the Rococo style to be found in any monument in Italy. So late as 1892, the Archbishop of Tarantum had the figure of the Saint, to which so much veneration is attached, still further adorned, and at considerable expense. And so it is, as we gather from these details, devotion to the Irish Apostle of the Adriatic City not only lived, but has grown warmer in the hearts of his adopted children, as each successive age rolls on.

The miracles, which, like beams of heavenly light, gleam through the pages of his life, never ceased in the land he blessed and sanctified. And this, although well nigh fourteen and a half centuries have passed since, footsore and weary, he asked his way from the little dumb shepherdess, and restored sight to the blind man at the gate of Tarantum.

We have alluded to the places, far from the scenes of his labours, to which the faith, which Cataldus preached in the crowded marts of Tarantum was carried by his hearers. In the Italian cities of Naples, Corato, Lecce, Cattanello, Patignano, and numberless sister-towns, churches and shrines have been raised to his honour. At Rimini, where Saint Antony once preached from the sands to the fishes of the sea, the parochial church is dedicated to our Irish saint. In Viterbo, of apostolic fame, again Cataldus is highly venerated. Far from the confines of Italy, in the French city of Sens – whither the craft of the silk weaver was brought by the traders of Tarantum – the parish church claims our saint as its patron. Many towns over the southern Continent bear his name, and it is also perpetuated in a well-known spot in the island of Malta.

In connection with our story many of us will have shared, at least in spirit, a few months since, in the ceremonies which took place in the churches of the Irish Jesuits in celebrating the Canonisation of the latest Saint added to the catalogue of the sainted sons of Saint Ignatius – Blessed Bernardino Realino, beautified in 1895, canonised in June 1947.

He was, as we may remember, the Apostle of Lecce in Italy. In that time-honoured city the most venerable shrine of the many shrines of Cataldus stands in the midst of the Campo Santo, or cemetery outside the walls. It was erected in 1181 by the pious Count Tancred of Lecce. Here during the forty years of his Apostolate, Realino, no doubt, often prayed, and poured out his soul in supplication to that august Queen, that sweet Madonna, whose praises and whose glory Cataldus bore from the valley of our Irish Blackwater Valley to the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

Our pen is stealing on and it threatens to glide beyond the limits of our task. The story of Cataldus will, we trust, be a welcome guest amongst our Irish readers. They will, we hope, agree with us that it is one of the most fascinating memoirs of our Saints. May it also be fruitful of reflection and instruction. Perhaps it may suggest to some who are blessed with fortune or endowed with education and accomplishments to follow, even in a remote way, in the footsteps of our great Saint, and not allow their talents, which must be accounted for, to lie buried in the field. May it also inspire many of the young Levites of our Seminaries with an ardent vocation to spread the Faith in foreign lands. May the bright example of Cataldus of Lismore teach them to trample under foot all temptations to ungenerous and inordinate love of home and kindred, and urge them to cross land and sea, leaving behind them for ever, like Cataldus, the land they love above all things after God, to bring the Gospel and Cross of Christ to souls seated in the darkness of heresy and paganism. But we will pray too, that like Cataldus, on foreign shores, they may never, never, never forget dear old Ireland, God’s chosen island of Apostles, Saints and Scholars!

PRAYER

O Blessed Cataldus! Kindle more brightly than ever in the hearts of Holy Erin’s youths and maidens, the flame of vocation for foreign missions. Kindle it too, in the hearts of young people of those lands, which Irish feet have touched. Teach them to brave the pangs of separation from home and kindred, and to encounter every privation and death itself, if needs be, to spread the name and knowledge of Christ Crucified and of His Blessed Mother Mary. Amen.

– text taken from Saint Cataldus, Known as Cathal or San Cataldo, by A Pilgrim; published 1959 by the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland; originally published by the Irish Messenger Office



Chiesa di San Cataldo Palermo


Catald of Taranto B (RM)

(also known as Cataldus, Cathaluds, Cattaldo, Cathal)

Born in Munster, Ireland, 7th century. Saint Cataldus was a pupil, then the headmaster of the monastic school of Lismore in Waterford after the death of its founder, Saint Carthage. Upon his return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he was shipwrecked at Taranto in southern Italy and chosen by the people as their bishop. He is the titular of Taranto's cathedral and the

 principal patron of the diocese. This epitaph if given under an image of Saint Catald in Rome:

Me tulit Hiberne, Solyme traxere, Tarentum Nunc tenet: huic ritus, dogmata, jura dedi.

Which has been loosely translated as:

Hibernia gave me birth: thence wafted over, I sought the sacred Solymean shore. To thee Tarentum, holy rites I gave, Precept divine; and thou to me a grave.

It is odd that an Irishman, should be so honored throughout Italy, Malta, and France, but have almost no recognition in his homeland. His Irish origins were discovered only two or three centuries after his death, when his relic were recovered during the renovation of the cathedral of Taranto. A small golden cross, of 7th- or 8th- century Irish workmanship, was with the relics. Further investigations identified him with Cathal, the teacher of Lismore.

Veneration to Catald spread, especially in southern Italy, after the May 10, 1017, translation of his relics when the cathedral was being rebuilt following its destruction at the hands of Saracens in 927. Four remarkable cures occurred as the relics were moved to the new cathedral. When his coffin was open at that time, a pastoral staff of Irish workmanship was found with the inscription Cathaldus Rachau. There is a town of San Cataldo in Sicily and another on the southeast coast of Italy (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Farmer, Husenbeth, Kenney, Montague, Neeson, Tommasini).

Saint Catald is depicted in art as an early Christian bishop with a miter and pallium in a 12th century mosaic at Palermo (Roeder). He is the subject of a painting on the 8th pillar of the nave on the left in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem (D'Arcy, Montague). There are also 12th-century mosaics in Palermo and Monreale depicting the saint (Farmer). Catald is invoked against plagues, drought, and storms (Farmer). 

SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0510.shtml


Cattedrale di San CataldoTarente
Photographie de Livioandronico2013

Taranto

DIOCESE OF TARANTO (TARENTINA)
Diocese in southern Italy, on a bay in the Gulf of Taranto. The ancient city was situated on an island, joined by two bridges with the mainland, where the new city is built. Two islets, S. Pietro and S. Paolo, protect the bay (Mar grande), the commercial port, while the old city forms another bay (Mar piccolo), a military port next in strategic importance to Spezzia; the coast and islets are therefore very strongly fortified. The city has a large export trade and extensive works connected with the construction of warships, while the fishing industry, especially in the Mar piccolo, is flourishing. The cathedraldates from the eleventh century, but has been partially reconstructed in modern times. The high altar has a silver statue of St. Cathaldus; the saint's chapel, rich in marble and statues, with a cupola decorated with a fresco of Paolo de Matteis, is due to the munificence of archbishops Lelio Brancaccio, Saria, and Pignatelli.
Tarentum, called Taras by the Greeks, was founded in 707 B.C. by some Spartans, who, the sons of free women and enslaved fathers, were born during the Messenian War. They succeeded in conquering the Menapii and Lucani. Like Sparta, Tarentum was an aristocratic republic, but became democratic when the ancient nobility dwindled. Its government was praised by Aristotle. The people were industrious and commercial, employing a mercenary army commanded by foreign leaders, like the King of Sparta Archidamus II, Cleonymus, and later Pyrrhus. Alexander, King of Epirus, tried in vain to capture the city; he then became an ally of the Romans, and his death in a new expedition against the Tarentines led to the first dispute between the two republics. War resulted from the violation of a maritime treaty by the Romans (281). Tarentum engaged the services of Pyrrhus, who, victorious at first, was finally conquered at Beneventum (275); in 272 the city was taken by the Romans and included in the federation. Even in those early days it was renowned for its beautiful climate. In 208 it sided with Hannibal, but was retaken in 205, losing its liberty and its art treasures, including the statueof Victory. In ancient times its poets Apollodorus and Clinias, its painter Zeuxis, and its mathematician Archytas were renowned. The Byzantines captured Taranto in 545 during the Gothic wars, but abandoned it in 552. In 668 it belonged to Romuald, Duke of Beneventum. In 882 the Saracens, having been invited by Duke Radelchis to assist him, captured it and held it for some time. It was retaken by the Byzantines, who were forced to cede it to Otto II in 982; in 1080 it fell into the hands of Robert Guiscard, who made it the capital of the Principality of Taranto, and gave it to Boemund, his son. When the House of Anjou was divided, Taranto fell to Durazzo (1394-1463). In 1504 Ferdinand, King of Naples, valiantly defended this extremity of his kingdom, but had to cede it to Gonsalvo di Cordova. In 1801 it was taken by the French, who fortified the port; in 1805 the Russian fleet, allied with the British, remained there for several months. Taranto is the birthplace of the musician Paisiello.
According to the local legend, the Gospel was preached in Taranto by the same St. Peter who had consecrated St. Amasianus bishop. The city venerates also the martyr St. Orontius. The first bishop whose date is known is Innocentius (496). In the time of St. Gregory the Great, three bishops filled the episcopal chair: Andreas (590), Joannes (601), Honorius (603). It is uncertain whether St. Cataldus belongs to the sixth or the seventh century. Joannes (978) is the first who had the title of archbishop. It is well known that Taranto even under the Byzantines never adopted the Greek Rite. Stephanus perished in the battle of Nelfi (1041) fought by the Greeks and the Normans; Draco (1071) erected the cathedral; Filippo (1138) was deposed for supporting the antipope Anacletus II, and died in the monastery of Chiaravalle; Archbishop Angelo was employed in several embassies by Innocent III; Jacopo da Atri was slain (1370); Marino del Giudice (1371) was one of the cardinals condemned by Urban VI (1385). Cardinal Ludovico Bonito (1406) was one of the few who remained faithful to Gregory XII; Cardinal Giovanni d'Aragona (1478), was son of King Ferdinand of Naples; Giovanni Battista Petrucci suffered for the complicity of his father in the conspiracy of the barons; Cardinal Battista Orsini died in 1503 in the Castle of Sant' Angelo; Cardinal Marcantonio Colonna (1560) introduced the Tridentine reforms and established the seminary; Girolamo Gambara (1569) was a distinguished nuncio; Lelio Brancaccio (1574) suffered considerable persecution on account of his efforts at reformation; Tommaso Caracciolo (1630), a Theatine, died in the odour of sanctity. The city of Taranto forms a single parish divided into four pittagerii, each of which contains a sub-pittagerio. It includes the Basilian Abbey of S. Maria di Talfano, where there are still some Albanians following the Greek Rite. The suffragan sees are Castellaneta and Oria. The archdiocese contains 26 parishes, 214 secular and 47 regular priests; 5 religious houses of men, and 12 of nuns; and 220,300 inhabitants.

Sources

CAPPELLETTI, Le chiese d'Italia, XXI; DE VICENTINI, Storia di Taranto (Taranto, 1865).
Benigni, Umberto. "Taranto." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company,1912. 11 May 2019 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14450d.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to the Christian Community of Taranto.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.



Esmerveillable vision de Catalde Evesque de Tarente. 
Histoires prodigieuses


San Cataldo di Rachau Vescovo


sec. VII

Nato in Irlanda all'inizio del secolo VII, dopo essere stato monaco e poi abate del monastero di Lismore, fondato dal vescovo Cartagine, Cataldo divenne vescovo di Rachau. Durante un peilegrinaggio in Terra Santa, morì a Taranto, nella cui cattedrale fu sepolto e dimenticato. Nel 1094, durante la ricostruzione del sacro edificio, che era stato distrutto dai Saraceni, fu ritrovato il suo corpo, come indicava chiaramente una crocetta d'oro su cui era inciso il suo nome e quello della sede episcopale. Questo reperto, che si conserva insieme col corpo ha permesso di stabilire che il santo visse nel secolo VII e erroneamente, quindi, i tarantini lo considerarono loro vescovo, anzi il protovescovo. nominato da s. Pietro apostolo. Il 10 maggio ricorre la festa di Cataldo, che è patrono della città bimare ed è venerato, oltre che in Irlanda, sua patria, nell'Italia Meridionale e insulare. A Modena gli è intitolata una chiesa parrocchiale e Supino, cittadina del Lazio meridionale, è uno dei centri del suo culto.(Avvenire)
Emblema: Bastone pastorale
Martirologio Romano: Presso Taranto, san Cataldo, vescovo e pellegrino, che si ritiene venuto dalla Scozia. 

Nato in Irlanda all'inizio del secolo VII, dopo essere stato monaco e poi abate del monastero di Lismore, fondato dal vescovo Cartagine, Cataldo divenne vescovo di Rachau. Durante un peilegrinaggio in Terra Santa, morì a Taranto, nella cui cattedrale fu sepolto e dimenticato.


Nel 1094, durante la ricostruzione del sacro edificio, che era stato distrutto dai Saraceni, fu ritrovato il suo corpo, come indicava chiaramente una crocetta d'oro su cui era inciso il suo nome e quello della sede episcopale. Questo reperto, che si conserva insieme col corpo ha permesso di stabilire che il santo visse nel secolo VII e erroneamente, quindi, i tarantini lo considerarono loro vescovo, anzi il protovescovo. nominato da s. Pietro apostolo. Il 10 maggio ricorre la festa di Cataldo, che è patrono della città bimare ed è venerato, oltre che in Irlanda, sua patria, nell'Italia Meridionale e insulare. A Modena gli è intitolata una chiesa parrocchiale e Supino, cittadina del Lazio meridionale, è uno dei centri del suo culto.



Autore: Giuseppe Carata