Saints in Art – Saint Alexis

detail of a stained glass window depicting the discovery of the death of Saint Alexius of Rome, date unknown, artist unknown; Church of Saint Sulpice, Bugue, Dordogne, France; photographed on 15 September 2012 by Father Igor; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Latin: S. Alexius; Italian Sant’ Alessio

(17th July) The long-desired son and heir of rich Roman parents. When still young he vowed himself to the service of God, but his father insisted upon his marrying a noble Roman maiden. After the marriage festival he fled in a small boat by the river to Ostia. There he took ship, and came to Asia Minor, where he lived in great poverty, and taught, and ministered to the people. After a time he returned destitute to Rome, and came to his father‘s house, where no one recognised him, and he was lodged in a hole under the marble steps of the door. His father, mother, and wife were still mourning his loss, but he made no sign, and at last came near to death. Then he wrote down all he had gone through on paper, and while Innocent I was celebrating Mass before the Emperor Honorius a voice was heard, telling them to seek Alexis in the house of his father Euphemian. So they came to the place, but meanwhile Alexis had died. He was given the honours of martyrdom because of his sufferings and constancy, and became the Patron Saint of Beggars.

He is represented as a pilgrim or beggar, ragged, and carrying a palm or a cross.

MLA Citation

  • Margaret E Tabor. “Saint Alexis”. The Saints in Art, with Their Attributes and Symbols. 9 October 2015. Web. 28 October 2016. <>