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Saint Barbatus of Benevento

Saint Barbatus was born around 610 AD in the village of Vandano during the Papacy of Saint Gregory the Great. Vandano was part of the Duchy of Benevento which had recently been captured by Arian Lombards. He spent his early life with a Christian education and took Holy Orders early. The local Bishop took him in as a preacher and commented on his aptitude and talent of evangelization. Soon after he was named curate of Saint Basil's Church in Morcone, but stayed only a while as his continued calls for reforms there rubbed the parishioners wrong.

Now back in Benevento, Saint Barbatus began to priest again the superstitions and idol worshipping that was being practiced by the Lombard prince Romauld I, son of Arian King Grimoald I. The prince and townspeople venerated a local walnut tree and a golden viper idol but his preaching initially had little success against these practices. Soon though, he told the people that terrible trials were coming and they would be suffering terribly from the East Roman Emperor Constans II and his army. True to his word, the Emperor soon placed Benevento under siege.

The people turned in their ways back to Christ and followed the preaching of Saint Barbatus. The tree was torn down and the golden viper melted into a chalice. The Bishop of Benevento, Ildebrand died during the siege and after the army withdrew from sieging the city Saint Barbatus was consecrated Bishop on March 10th, 633. He travelled to Constantinople in 681 to participate in the sixth general council under Pope Agatho regarding the Monothelites. He would die soon after the council ended, on February 19th, 682 AD.

Today Saint Barbatus's feast day is celebrated on February 19th and his venerated as the Patron Saint of Benevento.

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