Saint Libertine

Saint Libertine
Bishop and Martyr
Died 1st or 3rd century AD
Feast November 3

Saint Libertine (or Libertinus) (Italian: San Libertino) is venerated as a Christian martyr and as the first bishop of Agrigento, in Sicily.[1]

According to tradition, Libertine was sent by Saint Peter to Agrigento to Christianize the city during the 1st century.[1] However, Libertine may have actually lived at a later date, during the 3rd century, and may have been martyred during the persecutions of Decius or Diocletian.[1]

The tradition also holds that his preaching was so effective that he was eventually martyred by the Roman authorities.[1]

He performed miracles and built a church, perhaps on the site of the current Cathedral of Agrigento.[1] A legend told of Libertine is that just before he died, he uttered the Latin verse: Gens iniqua, plebs rea, non videbis ossa mea (“Iniquitous people, guilty people, you will not see my bones”).[1] The northern gate of the city, Bibbirria, is said to have been derived from a corruption of Libertine’s last words.[1] However, it is more likely that the name derives from the Arabic for “Gate of the winds” (Bab er rijah).[1] Furthermore, according to Giuseppe Fumagalli, these verses were a common saying in communities that did not possess the relics of their patron saint.[2]

Libertine was martyred with Saint Peregrinus (San Pellegrino), and is said to have either been stoned to death or killed with a sword.[1]


A cult dedicated to Libertine existed from a very early date in Agrigento.[1] In Leontius’ life of Saint Gregory of Agrigento, a bishop of the city, it is stated that the church of Agrigento owned a house in Palermo that was named after Libertine.[1] Libertine was invoked for aid in 1625 during a plague that afflicted Agrigento.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Domenico De Gregorio (November 2, 2007). "San Libertino di Agrigento Vescovo e martire". Santi e Beati. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  2. Giuseppe Fumagalli, L’ape Latina (Hoepli Editore, 1987), 98.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 4/29/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.