I am guessing that not too many of you who are not of Italian origin know very much about Saint Agapitus. First, I am thrilled to be able to share with you a photo of a rare statue of this martyr saint. The statue is to be found at Mater Ecclesiae Church in New Berlin, NJ, where I have made the honor to be a guest for a few days. Second, I am pleased to present his entry in the Martyrologium Romanum:
1. Praeneste in Latio, sancti Agapiti martyris. … In Palestrina in Lazio, (the feast of) Saint Agapitus the martyr.
Yep, that’s the entry. So, it is no surprise that people don’t know much about this saint. He must not be confused with the Popes of that name, however.
You lovers of real sacred music might want to know that before Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina became the maestro of the Capella Giulia in Rome, from 1544-51 he was the organist of the principal church, St. Agapito, of his native city Palestrina, Lazio.
In 898 Pope Leo III restored the ancient basilica in Palestrina and the body of the saint was translated there from the basilica in Quadrelle.
The Vatican calendar (on the walls of the Roman Curia) indicates that S. Agapito was a martyr in Palestrina in 274.