Saint Felix of Nola, the son of Hermias, a former Roman soldier of Syrian origin, was born on his father’s estate in Nola, near Naples, Italy. Following his father’s demise, Felix generously gave away his inheritance to the needy. He was then ordained by Bishop St. Maximus of Nola, serving as his assistant.

During the onset of Emperor Decius’ persecution of Christians in 250, Felix was captured while Bishop Maximus sought refuge in the desert. Legend has it that an angel miraculously freed Felix from prison. Guided by the angel, Felix found the ailing Maximus and secretly brought him back to Nola. To evade capture, Felix concealed Maximus in an unoccupied building. A spider swiftly weaved a web across the doorway, leading the imperial soldiers to mistakenly believe the building was long abandoned, thus sparing them from discovery. Felix and Maximus remained hidden until Decius’ persecution ceased with his death in 251.

Upon Maximus’ passing, the Nola community unanimously chose Felix as their Bishop. However, Felix humbly declined the honor, preferring Quintus, a more senior priest, for the position. Felix then dedicated his life to helping the poor on a modest parcel of land, where he eventually passed away on January 14. Miracles were reported at his grave, which gained renown. About a century later, in 410, when St. Paulinus became the bishop of Nola, he chronicled Felix’s life, including both historical facts and legendary narratives that had emerged over the years. Saint Felix of Nola is commemorated with a feast day on January 14th.

Photo credit: Syrio via Wikimedia Commons

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