Debate Magazine

St. Felix of Nola

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

Today the universal Church celebrates a most courageous early Christian, St. Felix of Nola.

He was born at Nola, a place near Naples, Italy, wherein he lived in the third century.  After his father died, he distributed his goods to others and was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Nola, Maximus.

In the year 250, the Emperor Decius began his persecution of the Christians.  This particular Emperor did not just want to eradicate the Christian people, but he desired to fully eradicate the Christian religion, wherein, of course, he failed.  Bishop Maximus was forced to flee this persecution, but the persecutors seized Felix.  He was brutally scourged, tortured. loaded with chains and cast into prison.  One night, an angel informed him to help the Bishop.  He was completely freed of his chains and the doors opened.  Consequently, Felix went to help the Bishop whom he found helpless, being cold and hungry.

The Decian persecution ended the next year and Felix returned to his priestly duties.  Bishop Maximus died, and Felix was earnestly desired to serve as their new Bishop; but, he declined, desiring that one of the more senior priests take this position.

Felix rented three acres of land, tilling it with his own hands, giving to the poor as needed, being generous with his possessions.

He died on January 14th, but the actual year of his death is uncertain.  Five churches were built in his honor outside Nola, where his remains are kept.  St. Paulinus, a porter to one of these churches, testified that there were numerous pilgrimages made in honor of St. Felix.  Indeed and in fact, the poems and letters of St. Paulinus on St. Felix are the actual source from which St. Gregory of Tours, Venerable Bede and the priest, Marcellus, have drafted their biographies of St. Felix.

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Put your money where your mouth is. . .?”  This is what St. Felix did:  he lived his Christian Faith to the fullest, notwithstanding any and all consequences, including being put into prison and tortured for his Faith.  He lived his faith completely, with a generous spirit, remembering to give to others and standing for the Truth, Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us remember his example of true love, generosity and bravery.



Sources:  Cathooic Encyclopedia; Wikipedia

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