St Corona
An painting of St Corona. Image Credit: Wikipedia

Dubai: The global coronavirus contagion has led to the shutdown of churches in many parts of the world, pushing masses online — on Youtube and Facebook livestreaming.

The word "corona" is Latin for crown. Ironically, St. Corona is considered as one of the patron saints of pandemics sufferers.

St Corona, a martyr of the Catholic Church, lived in the 2nd Century. St Corona is closely associated with St Victor. Together, the two were put to death by Roman soldiers around the year 170 AD.

The dates and locations of their martyrdom are unclear. Most sources say it was in Syria, then under Roman rule. Some say Damascus; others, Antioch. Their feast day is May 14, according to

Most historians agree they died during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Victor and Corona were put to death by order of a Roman judge named Sebastian.

Who is St. Corona?

St Corona, whose relics are preserved in a basilica in the Italian city of Anzu, was the subject of a recent episode of the Catholic Talk Show.

During the show, Fr. Rich Pagano discussed about “The Catholic Church, Plagues, & The Coronavirus,” anchored by uCatholic founder Ryan Scheel, and Ryan DellaCrosse, founder/CEO of Fuzati, a tech-design site.

“She’s (St. Corona) being called on in Northern Italy where her remains are,” Fr. Pagano explained.

The Italian city of Anzu, is right smack in the middle of the current coronavirus pandemic.

There is a basilica (called Santuario dei Santi Vittore e Corona) in Anzu where the relics of St. Victor and St. Corona have been preserved since the 9th century.

“She was a teenager, and was in a married relationship. She and her brother-in-law, St. Victor were martyred, Fr. Pagano said.

“As Roman soldiers gouged out St. Victor’s eyes, she cried out to encourage him to not give up. He kept the faith and boldly proclaimed it. He was martyred and then they captured her, and essentially, tied her to two bent-over palm trees and they ripped her from limb-to-limb,” he was quoted on, a catholic website.

“She was definitely sought after from that period of time on because of how many miracles came from her intercession, as well as St. Victor, as it relates to epidemics and pandemics. St. Corona is a very, very powerful witness,” Fr Pagano was quoted as saying.

St Corona Church
The Church of St. Corona, Straße 77, 2880 Wechsel, Austria. "They (Roman soldiers) captured her, and essentially, tied her to two bent-over palm trees and they ripped her from limb-to-limb,” Fr. Rich Pagano told a Catholic talkshow.

“She was definitely sought after from that period of time on because of how many miracles came from her intercession, as well as St. Victor, as it relates to epidemics and pandemics. St. Corona is a very, very powerful witness,” Fr Pagano was quoted as saying.

More than 10,000 saints

Catholics, who believe in the “communion of saints”, have plenty of saints — considered as heavenly intercessors at the ready to present the needs of a supplicant to the Creator.

St Victor and St Corona
A painting depicting St Victor and St Corona. Image Credit: Creative Commons (

Perhaps unbeknownst to many, even most Catholics, today, there are other saints called upon by the faithful for help during pandemics.

St Corona Church view
A view inside St Corona Church in Austria. Image Credit: Source:

(1) Four Holy Marshals: Quirinus, Alexander, Eventius, and Theodolus

St. Quirinus of Neuss (Germany), a patron saint for fighting smallpox. Quirinus was born in the first century and died in the year 116 A.D. Tradition has it that he was a Roman tribune (army officer) and was ordered to execute Alexander, Eventius, and Theodolus. These men had been arrested on orders of their emperor for being Christian.

But Quirinus witnessed miracles performed by the three men and became a Christian himself, along with his daughter, Balbina. He and Balbina were decapitated by Roman soldiers and buried in the catacomb on the Via Appia, Rome. This saying by farmers is associated with St Quirinus’ feast day (March 30), a similar tradition to Groundhog Day. It reads, “As St. Quirinus Day goes, so will the summer.”

ST Corona tugged
The image of St. Corona above the high altar and the Way of the Cross, which were both restored following a renovation in 2019 in the St Corona Church, in Austria. Image Credit:

(2) St. Anthony the Great

One of the greatest saints of the early Church, Anthony was one of the first monks and seen as the founder and father of organised Christian monasticism. 

He organised disciples into a community and these communities eventually spread throughout Egypt. Anthony, known as Anthony the Great, Anthony of Egypt, Anthony of the Desert, and Anthony of Thebes. He is also known as the Father of All Monks. His feast day is celebrated on January 17. St. Anthony the Great is invoked as a patron against infectious diseases.

(3) Edwin the Martyr (St. Edmund) — Patron for victims of pandemics

Edmund (died 869) is an acknowledged patron against pandemics. Much is written about this saint from the 9th century. Churches all over England dedicated to him. The Danes murdered him when they conquered his army in 869. Edmund the Martyr, in addition to being the patron saint invoked against pandemics, is also the patron of torture victims and protection from the plague.

There a few more saints who are patrons for those who struggle with familiar illnesses and afflictions:

St. Damien of Molokai: Patron saint of those with leprosy (Hansen’s disease)

St. Dymphna: The 15-year-old girl (Irish) who is patroness of emotional disorders

The Fourteen Holy Helpers: Epidemics, especially the bubonic plague (the Black Death)

St. Matthias: Patron saint of alcoholics and those with smallpox

St. Tryphon: Patron of those seeking help in fighting off bed bugs, rodents, and locusts

Saints who lived through pandemics:
St. Godeberta of Noyon (c. 700) cared for the sick in a less direct way that many others.

St. Roch (1295-1327) embarked on a pilgrimage to Rome when he was 20, begging all the way. When he arrived in Italy, he discovered a country ravaged by the plague.

St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) was a cardinal when famine and plague struck Milan.

St. Henry Morse (1595-1645) served victims of the plague, both in the 1624 outbreak and again (after he had been banished from England but secretly returned) in 1635.

St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli (1587-1651) was a wealthy widow when a plague broke out in Genoa. She housed many of the sick in her home; running out of space, she rented a vacant convent, then built more housing. Virginia’s hospital continued serving hundreds of sick people, and the religious order Virginia founded in the midst of all this continues to this day.

Bl. Peter Donders (1809-1887) was a Dutch priest who served in Suriname for 45 years. He fought for the rights of enslaved people, evangelised indigenous people, and nursed the sick during an epidemic (to which he briefly succumbed). He spent his last three decades serving in a leper colony and advocating with the authorities to obtain better care for his people.

St. Jose Brochero (1840-1914) was an Argentinean priest who, following his ordination, nursed the sick through a cholera epidemic and emerged unscathed.

St. Marianne Cope (1838-1918) answered the call of the king of Hawaii to bring her Sisters to Hawaii and serve the lepers alongside St. Damien of Molokai. The Sisters worked with the lepers of Molokai without one of them contracting the disease.