Who Was St. Vital?

St Vitalis of Ravenna

Our parish was named after St. Vitalis of Ravenna who was the patron saint of Bishop Vital Grandin, the founder of our parish.

Saint Vitalis was a first century Christian citizen of Milan and the father of twin brothers, and future martyrs, Saints Gervasius and Protasius. He is the principal patron of Ravenna. He witnessed the tribunal of a Christian physician named Ursicinus, who was tortured, and then comdemned to death, for his faith. Ursicinus became terrified at the thought of death and seemed ready to renounce his faith.

Vitalis was extremely moved by this spectacle. He knew his obligation was to prefer the glory of God, and the eternal salvation of his neighbor, over his own life. He therefore boldly and successfully encouraged Urisicinus to triumph over death, saying, "Urisicinus, you who cured others would want to drive into your soul the dagger of eternal death? Do not lose the crown the Lord has prepared for you!" Urisicinus was touched: he knelt down and asked the executioner to strike him. After the execution, Saint Vitalis carried away Urisicinus' body and respectfully interred him.

St. Vitalis then resigned his post as judiciary assistant to Paulinus, who had been absent on the occasion of the sentence of Urisicinus. Paulinus had Vitalis apprehended, and after having him tortured, commanded that if he refused to sacrifice to the gods, he would be buried alive. This is how Vitalis was martyred. 

The feast day of St. Vitalis is April 28.


The information on this page is used with the permission of the authors of: "Lives of the Saints.