Short Lives of the Saints – Saint Herculanus, Bishop of Perugia, and Martyr

detail of a painting of 
Saint Herculan; 1505 by Le Perugin; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, France; photographed on 18 October 2009 by Theoliane; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsEntry

About the middle of the sixth century, when Totila was establishing the second Gothic kingdom of Italy, and most of the Italian cities were submitting to him, Perugia held out for a long period – seven years, it is said – against his arms. This obstinate resistance was due to the intrepidity of Saint Herculanus, then bishop of the city, who rallied the drooping spirits of the towns-people and animated them to defend their liberty and their faith. Perugia being finally taken by fraud when force had proved of no avail, Saint Herculanus was beheaded by order of the tyrant. His head, however, was miraculously reunited to his body, and his relics are preserved entire at Perugia. We append a translation of the 11th verse of our present illustrious Pontiff’s hymn in honor of this saint.

Now reigning in the heavenly hall,
  Thine intercession must prevail;
On Thee in confidence we call,
  O Pastor, Patron, Parent, hail!
    – translated by Professor A. J. Stace

Favorite Practice – To animate the faith of others by our own heroic example.

MLA Citation

  • Eleanor Cecilia Donnelly. “Saint Herculanus, Bishop of Perugia, and Martyr”. Short Lives of the Saints, 1910. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 April 2021. Web. 21 April 2021. <>