Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Died 3rd century
Feast August 19

Saint Magnus of Cuneo (Italian: San Magno) is venerated as a member of the legendary Theban Legion. The center of his cult is situated at the mountain sanctuary known as the Santuario di San Magno, in the Valle Grana, Castelmagno, in the province of Cuneo.

Local tradition makes him a soldier of the Theban Legion, which had been commanded by Saint Maurice. The Legion, according to tradition, was largely massacred in 286 AD, but Magnus fled to the mountains of Piedmont, preaching the Christian religion in the Alps. He was eventually martyred and buried in the spot now occupied by the Santuario di San Magno. The church, however, may have occupied a spot once dedicated to the Roman god Mars. The current church was built between 1704 and 1716, in Piedmontese Baroque style, though its interior still preserves frescoes of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Santuario di San MagnoAs Damiano Pomi points out, neither documentary nor archaeological evidence supports the connection between Magnus and the Theban Legion. Similar to the cults of Saint Chiaffredo at Crissolo, Saint Bessus at Val Soana, Saint Tegulus at Ivrea, Saint Constantius at Villar San Costanzo, and Saint Dalmatius at Borgo San Dalmazzo, the cult of Saint Magnus was linked with that of the Theban Legion to lend antiquity to a local saint about whom nothing was really known.

Magnus has been identified with Magnus of Füssen (Mang), a later monk of the same name associated with the Bavarian monastery at Füssen, whose cult would have spread south to Piedmont by the Benedictines. However, due to his association with the Theban Legion, Magnus was depicted as a Roman soldier holding a banner and the palm of martyrdom.

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