|Saints Cyricus and
Julitta, Martyrs, (Died 230 or 304)
Saint Cyriacus, Martyr, (Died 304): The Iconography
The Boy Saint
According to the Golden Legend, Cyricus was three years old when the governor of Tarsus had his mother, Julitta, arrested for being a Christian. He had the woman scourged before him while he held her son on his lap. When the boy cried, "I am a Christian too" and bit the governor, the man dashed him to the floor, killing him.
The Legend puts his death in 230 A.D, but Butler prefers 304. Later in the 4th century the boy martyr's reputed relics were taken to France, where his popularity grew under the name of St. Cyr.1
One legend had Charlemagne dreaming that the boy saint had saved him from a boar, so the boar became an attribute of the saint.2
St. Cyriacus of Rome
The bathing tub in the sculpture at left may be due to a confusion between the boy and St. Cyriacus, an adult martyr memorialized in the Depositio Martyrum in 354. A later legend puts his death during the persecutions of Maximian and Diocletian in 304 and says Cyriacus had ministered to the slaves in the Baths of Diocletian and performed exorcisms on the daughters of the Emperor and the King of Persia.3 From the 5th century until the 15th there was a church in Rome dedicated to him and known as S. Cyriacus in Thermis, "St. Cyriacus in the Baths."4
Cyriacus is one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers" of late medieval piety.
SS. Cyricus and Julitta's Feast day: June 16 (Catholic), June 15 (Orthodox)
St. Cyriacus' Feast day: August 8
At left, sculpture by Francesco Laurana.