Saints Hermagoras and Fortunatus
The Iconography
According to these saints' vita in the Acta Sanctorum, St. Peter sent St. Mark to preach the gospel in Aquileia.1 When he had gained a number of conversions and planned to return to Rome, his converts chose one Hermagoras to be his successor and sent him to Rome to be ordained bishop by St. Peter.
Two panels from the 12th-century fresco series on the life of Hermagoras in the crypt of Aquileia Cathedral. Below: the Christians select Hermagoras as their leader. Above: Taken to Rome by St. Mark, he is ordained by St. Peter. See the description page.
When Hermagoras returned to Aquileia he made numerous conversions. This brought him to the attention of Nero, who sent the prefect Sevastus to the city to make him stop. When Hermagoras refused to stop preaching Christ, Sevastus ordered him put in prison. There he performed many miracles. The last straw was his curing a blind woman from a noble family and having her baptized at her home by his archdeacon Fortunatus. For this, the prefect had Fortunatus imprisoned as well, and upon the urging of the pagan priests had both saints beheaded, as in the picture above.

Prepared in 2017 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University.


Shown above: The Martyrdom of SS. Hermagoras and Fortunatus, Udine Cathedral (see the description page).

OTHER IMAGES (Follow the links for full image and description):

See this page for Statues of Hermagoras and Fortunatus at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Ljubljana, which was part of the Archdiocese of Aquileia from the 9th to the 15th centuries.

Hermagoras orant with deacons Fortunatus on the left and Syrus on the right (See the description page.)


  • Feast day: July 3


  • The German name for Ljubljana is Laibach. In Latin, it is Aenona.



1 Acta Sanctorum, July vol. 3, 251-55. The editor, Jean Pien, notes that neither the date nor the author of the vita can be ascertained. Butler (III, 84) calls the work "late and untrustworthy." The 12th-century frescos in the crypt at Aquileia Cathedral follow the vita's narrative closely, so either it or its source cannot be later than they. Pien's other sources are all from about the ninth century.