maregiglio 2149

Legends about San Mamiliano

The legends concerning the most famous and beloved saint on the Island of Giglio, as well as throughout the Tuscan Archipelago, take their cue from his Passions in particular the Passio Santiae the oldest source that interweaves the events of Mamiliano with those of Senzio another saint from these areas. The events recounted in these sources in turn take their cue from and mix the stories of two Mamilians, one who lived in 300 AD, and one who lived in 400 AD. From here on, we will refer to the Mamilian of 400 CE. Always keeping in mind that facts, events and characters are intertwined.

Passio Santiae

We are in the era of theEmperor Constanzo, when it ramps up thearyan heresy, such heresy born from the theologian Ario, who argued that “the Son of God is a being that participates in the nature of God the Father, but in an inferior and derivative way, and that therefore there was a time when the Word of God still did not exist and that he was created by God at the beginning of time.” was condemned by the church and then by God who sent the Vandal king Genseric, from the shores of North Africa to punish heretics. Vandals you must know, they were the only barbarians who knew how to sail! The vandal sows ruin and terror throughout south-central Italy and returns home with a rich booty made up of denarii, consumer goods, and slaves. They include Mamilianus and Sentius, two monk priests. Thanks to God and prayers to him, the saints managed to escape by sailing on a boat to Sardinia and later to Piombino. Here immediately the local people become attached to the two monks and would like them to stay with them, even by force if need be! So Mamilianus and Sentius flee again, this time from their devotees bound for the uninhabited island of Montegiove, landing instead on the island of Turaria (perhaps Capraia) where a boat arrives some time later and refuses to take them to Montegiove because they are too poor. The boat sets off again but a furious storm forces it to turn back, so the crew is convinced to give the two poor monks a ride to Montegiove. Having descended to the rocky island, the two, immediately as in the best missionary traditions, renamed it to “Monte Cristo,” and Mamiliano after a short time climbed the highest mountain, reaching the summit. Here he encounters a fearsome dragon of enormous size, who once defeated, dies killed by the future saint’s staff and plunges into the sea. A very fresh spring of water erupts from the site of his killing. Word spread from nearby islands and boats filled with devotees began to arrive who, thanks to Mamiliano ‘s intercession, obtained graces and healings from God. Meanwhile, a dark prediction reveals to Mamiliano that at the time of his death a cloud will rise on the peak may high and that will be the signal for the islands to rush soon to retrieve the body.
The first to spot the cloud were the Gigliesi, who transported the body to Giglio Island, and here Senzio gives burial to the body. Numerous prodigies begin at Giglio as a result of the burial.

But legend has it that not all of Mamiliano’s body was buried at Giglio, rather it seems that at the appearance of the cloud at the top of the mountain, the Gigliesi rushed first, but soon afterwards also Elbani and Corsi who found themselves there all together and began to fight over the body and pull on one side and pull on the other, pull you withdraw the body broke into several small pieces and each took a part with him.

Thus today, a relic of one arm is kept in the Church of St. Peter the Apostle in Giglio Castello; another is kept in Marina di Campo onElba Island where there is also located the small church of St. Mamiliano a center of worship for the faithful. Here the saint is celebrated on September 13 instead of the 15th as is the case at Giglio.

San Mamiliano dei Turchi

Another legend has it that St. Mamiliano helped the people of Giglio in the great feat of November 18, 1799, to liberate the island from an attack by Saracen pirate Turks who appeared with 7 xebecs and 2,000 men at Campese Bay.
While from the Medici tower, an outpost controlling the bay, not a single cannonade was fired, on the walls of Giglio Castello, Mamiliano made hundreds, thousands of armed soldiers appear and frighten the pirates, who were already half-drunk from the Ansonaco stolen from the vineyards on the way up to the Castle, they withdrew from the island forever.

That was the last raid, after which the Mediterranean was finally freed from the Saracens and November 18 is still an important anniversary for Giglio Castello: ” San Mamiliano dei Turchi” and also for the whole island.