Saint Cerbonius of Populonia

bas-relief of Saint Cerbonius of Populonia on the Cathedral of Massa Marittima, Tuscany, Italy; taken on 7 April 2006 by Ulrich Mayring; swiped off the Wikipedia web siteAlso known as



Raised in a Christian family in North Africa. Priest, ordained by Saint Regulus. He and most other Christians in his area fled ahead of the Vandal persecutions; he and many other moved to the Tuscany region of Italy and lived as hermits.

His reputation for holiness spread, and Cerbonius was chosen bishop of Populonia, Italy c.544; he soon became unpopular as he conducted Sunday Mass at dawn, forcing his flock to get up in the middle of the night. Pope Vigilius summoned him to Rome to answer the complaints. When he arrived, Cerbonius woke the pope at dawn for Mass; the two heard the singing of angels, Vigilius gave him permission to say Mass whenever he thought proper, and sent him home.

For hiding Roman soldiers who were fleeing invading Ostrogoths, Cerbonius was ordered to be executed by being thrown to a bear. The bear was terrified of Cerbonius, fell to the ground and began licking the bishop‘s feet. Cerbonius was exiled to the island of Elba, Italy instead, where he spent the rest of his life as a prayerful hermit.






MLA Citation

  • “Saint Cerbonius of Populonia“. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 March 2020. Web. 16 January 2022. <>