Saint Felix of Nola beaten and hidden by a spider's web
Burial place of Felix of Nola in Cimitile
Soon after, St. Maximus dying, all were unanimous for electing Felix bishop; but he persuaded the people to make choice of Quintus, because the older priest of the two, having been ordained seven days before him. Quintus, when bishop, always respected St. Felix as his father, and followed his advice in every particular. The remainder of the saint’s estate having been confiscated in the persecution, he was advised to lay claim to it, as others had done, who thereby recovered what had been taken from them. His answer was, that in poverty he should be the more secure of possessing Christ. He could not even be prevailed upon to accept what the rich offered him. He rented a little spot of barren land, not exceeding three acres, which he tilled with his own hands, in such manner as to receive his subsistence from it, and to have something left for alms. Whatever was bestowed on him, he gave immediately to the poor. If he had two coats, he was sure to give them the better; and often exchanged his only one for the rags of some beggar. He died in a good old age, on the fourteenth of January, on which day the Martyrology, under the name of St. Jerom, and all others of later date mention him. Five churches have been built at, or near the place, where he was first interred, which was without the precincts of the city of Nola. His precious remains are at present kept in the cathedral; but certain portions are at Rome, Benevento, and some other places. Pope Damasus, in a pilgrimage which he made from Rome to Nola, to the shrine of this saint, professes, in a short poem which he composed in acknowledgment, that he was miraculously cured of a distemper through his intercession. St. Paulinus, a Roman senator in the fifth age, forty-six years after the death of St. Damasus, came from Spain to Nola, desirous of being porter in the church of St. Felix. He testifies, that crowds of pilgrims came from Rome, from all other parts of Italy, and more distant countries, to visit his sepulchre on his festival: he adds, that all brought some present or other to his church, as wax candles to burn at his tomb, precious ointments, costly ornaments, and such like; but that for his part, he offered to him the homage of his tongue, and himself, though an unworthy victim. He everywhere expresses his devotion to this saint in the warmest and strongest terms, and believes that all the graces he received from heaven were conferred on him through the intercession of St. Felix. To him he addressed himself in all his necessities; by his prayers he begged grace in this life, and glory after death. 6 He describes at large the holy pictures of the whole history of the Old Testament, which were hung up in the church of St. Felix, and which inflamed all who beheld them, and were as so many books that instructed the ignorant. We may read with pleasure the pious sentiments the sight of each gave St. Paulinus. He relates a great number of miracles that were wrought at his tomb, as of persons cured of various distempers and delivered from dangers by his intercession, to several of which he was an eye-witness. He testifies, that he himself had frequently experienced the most sensible effects of his patronage, and, by having recourse to him, had been speedily succoured. St. Austin also has given an account of many miracles performed at his shrine. It was not formerly allowed to bury any corpse within the walls of cities. The church of St. Felix, out of the walls of Nola, not being comprised under this prohibition, many devout Christians sought to be buried in it, that their faith and devotion might recommend them after death to the patronage of this holy confessor, upon which head St. Paulinus consulted St. Austin. The holy doctor answered him by his book, On the Care for the Dead: in which he shows, that the faith and devotion of such persons would be available to them after death, as the suffrages and good works of the living in behalf of the faithful departed are profitable to the latter. See the poems of St. Paulinus on his life, confirmed by other authentic ancient records, quoted by Tillemont, t. 4. p. 226. and Ruinart, Acta Sincera, p. 256. Muratori, Anecd. Lat.