San Castrense

Saint Castrense, patron saint of Monreale, was a bishop, born in North Africa, who lived in the 5th century AD. He lived through the period of persecution by the Vandals, so much so that he was imprisoned on a boat along with other Christians. The following day, at the mercy of the waves, the boat was rescued thanks to divine intervention and reached the coast of Campania. Castrense settled in Volturno where he died on February 11, which is now his saint’s day. The San Castrense’s relics are kept in the chapel dedicated to him in the Monreale Cathedral. It was the Archbishop of Capua Alfano who brought the Saint’s precious body to Palermo as a wedding gift to King William II, who was about marry Joan of England. His head, however, remained in the city of Capua. The urn, commissioned in 1637 by Cardinal Cosimo de Torres, nephew of Ludovico II de Torres, bears the inscription “San Castrense, eternal bulwark of the city of Monreale”. San Castrense is also the patron saint of Marano di Napoli, Castel Volturno and San Castrese di Sessa Aurunca.