Saint Philip Neri: The Iconography

In Rome, St. Philip Neri, Priest and Confessor. He was the founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, famous for miracles, virginity, and the gift of prophecy. – Roman Martyrology for May 26

In images St. Philip Neri wears either mass vestments, as in the first picture at right, or the habit of his order: black with a broad, pointed collar such as seen in the second picture.

The statue in the second picture is on the left of the main entrance of La Maddalena in Rome and is paired with a statue of St. Camillus de Lellis on the right. Neri was de Lellis's spiritual advisor. Inside the church, the two are the only other saints in the ceiling fresco of The Glory of St. Mary Magdalene.

The heart that Neri holds up in the first picture refers to the violent palpitations of his heart that began at the age of 29 while he was in prayer. A ball of fire seemed to enter him and lodge in his heart, which swelled up and pressed against his chest. After his death it was found that two of his upper ribs were in fact broken (Bacci, 22-23).

Neri later founded the Congregation of the Oratory. His original "Oratory" was a group of priests and laymen that met for prayer and discussion.

Prepared in 2015 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University


18th-century statue in Sicily (See description page)

At La Maddalena in Rome. (See description page)

Neri's Vision of the Christ Child, 18th century (See description page)


  • Heart