MIRACLE OF ST AGNES

Tintoretto: 1577

According to tradition, Agnes was a member of the Roman nobility, born in AD 291 and raised in an early Christian family.

When she was 15 she refused the advances of the son of a prominent Roman noble prefect, Licinius, because of her devotion to God and purity.

As punishment the prefect condemned Agnes to be dragged naked through the streets on her way to a brothel. Roman law did not permit the execution of virgins, which is why she was tortured. In one account, as she prayed, her hair grew so long that it covered her naked body and in another angels brought her a shining garment.

While all this was going on, Licinius was struck dead by God. His father, shown here in red, pleaded with Agnes to intervene to save his son. Her prayers brought him back to life.

Despite reviving Licinius she was accused of witchery and sentenced to death.

She was bound to a stake, but the bundle of wood would not burn. The officer in charge drew his sword and beheaded her, or in some accounts stabbed her in the throat.

The saint’s relics are documented to have been in the church since at least 1542. ????? really, relics or bones also in 2 churches in Rome???? where are they?

This painting is in the Contarini chapel. Busts of the Contarini family line the walls. Cardinal Gasparo Contarini was a prominent figure in Venice – known for writing a treatise on the laws of the Republic. He was born close to this church. After his death, his family arranged for him to be buried here and they sponsored the reconstruction of this chapel in honour of St Agnes. 

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1. FATHER OF LICINIUS: ROMAN PREFECT

Here he is seen pleading with Agnes to save his son.

A prefect was a type of military or civil official in Ancient Rome. Prefects ranged from low to very high-ranking military or civil officials of the Roman Empire.

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2. LICINIUS

Licinius in blue appears dead laying at Agnes' feet and also as a 2nd blue shape rising above the first and coming back to life. This would have happened after his father begged St Agnes to bring him back from the dead.

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3. ST AGNES

According to tradition, Agnes was a member of the Roman nobility, born in AD 291 and raised in an early Christian family.

When she was 15 she refused the advances of the son of a prominent Roman noble prefect, Licinius, because of her devotion to God and purity.

As punishment the prefect condemned Agnes to be dragged naked through the streets on her way to a brothel. Roman law did not permit the execution of virgins, which is why she was tortured. In one account, as she prayed, her hair grew so long that it covered her naked body and in another angels brought her a shining garment.

While all this was going on, Licinius was struck dead by God. His father, shown here in red, pleaded with Agnes to intervene to save his son. Her prayers brought him back to life.

Despite reviving Licinius she was accused of witchery and sentenced to death.

She was bound to a stake, but the bundle of wood would not burn. The officer in charge drew his sword and beheaded her, or in some accounts stabbed her in the throat.

The saint's relics are documented to have been in the church since at least 1542. ????? really, relics or bones also in 2 churches in Rome???? where are they?

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4. ST AGNES & LAMB

Her name means lamb in both latin and Italian. Her attribute is also a lamb.

Latin: agnus=lamb

Italian: agnello = lamb

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5. ANGELS

The original founders of the church, the Umiliati were expelled in 1461 by the Council of Ten because of their 'depraved habits'. The Canons of San Giorgio in Alga replaced them (they were an order who didn't believe in building new churches and were committed to occupying old churches)

Canons are clerics who live together in community but they also have duties beyond their own community’s enclosures. They are meant to engage in acts of mercy, preaching, and public liturgy.

They were also known as the Turchini, Celestini or Azzurini because of their unusual blue/green robes.

The angels unusual blue coloured robes could be a nod to the this order of the church.

The angels are also seen carrying the crown of eternal life.