Poor Proculus lost his head here; lost saints of Italy
The Patron of Pozzuoli is the little known St. Proculus. But many know his companion, St. Januarius, also known as 'San Gennaro' - especially if you're from New York! These men were put to death on the same day in 305 because of their Christian faith. So, I made a pilgrimage -- 3 km straight uphill from Pozzuoli to Solfatara - *** note to self *** not to chose a day that's 90 degrees for uphill pilgrimages -- to the spot where those martyrs were beheaded.
Inside the sanctuary is the rock upon which their heads were laid (photo below). You can still see faint blood marks. Each year as the various feasts of St. Januarius approach, the color on the rock begins to become darker until it takes on an obvious scarlet hue.
From Wiki: "during the persecutions carried out by Diocletian, Januarius, bishop of Benevento, escaped from his see and traveled to Pozzuoli 'incognito.' However, his presence became known to Christians in the area, and Januarius maintained contact with a deacon of Miseno, Sossius, as well as the deacon Festus and the lector Desiderius. Sossius was soon discovered to be a Christian by the local authorities and he was condemned by the judge Dragontius, who condemned him to be killed by wild bears in the local amphitheater. Januarius, Festus, and Desiderius, on hearing of Sossius’ arrest, took a risk and visited him in prison at the sulphur mines of Pozzuoli, near the volcano of Solfatara. The authorities discovered that these men were also Christians and they were thrown to the wild beasts as well, but as one modern account states, "...when the animals came near the Saints, they fell affectionately at their feet and refused to harm them.". They were then condemned to be beheaded, along with Sossius. The deacon Proculus and the laymen Eutyches and Acutius protested this sentence while the other men were being led to their execution. As a result, these three were also decapitated with the others near the Solfatara, on September 19, 305." The town celebrates with processions and festivity on his feast day and in May. This is the very amphitheater where these martyrs were thrown to the beasts.
St. Proculus and companions, pray for us! .