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July 20


Saint of the day:
Saint Apollinaris

Patron Saint of epilepsy; gout; Emilia-Romagna region (Italy) Aachen, Burtscheid, Düsseldorf, Ravenna, Remagen

Saint Apollinaris’ Story

According to tradition, Saint Peter sent Apollinaris to Ravenna, Italy, as its first bishop. His preaching of the Good News was so successful that the pagans there beat him and drove him from the city. He returned, however, and was exiled a second time. After preaching in the area surrounding Ravenna, he entered the city again. After being cruelly tortured, he was put on a ship heading to Greece. Pagans there caused him to be expelled to Italy, where he went to Ravenna for a fourth time. He died from wounds received during a savage beating at Classis, a suburb of Ravenna. A beautiful basilica honoring him was built there in the sixth century.





Basilica di Sant’Apollinare in Classe

(Basilica of Saint Apollinaris in Classe)

Via Romea Sud 224

48124, Classe Ravenna, Italy

*The bones of St Apollinaris rest within the main altar of this church.

*A debate arose in Ravenna during the 12th century whether the true relics of St Apollinaris rested within the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo or within the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare in Classe. After examining the evidence Pope Alexander III determined that the authentic relics rested within the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare in Classe. An empty tomb within this church dated from 1173 AD preserves the memory of this declaration. This empty tomb is located below the small marble altar placed in the center of the nave. The bones of St Apollinaris were transferred to the main altar within the sanctuary in the 18th century.


Apollinariskirche (Saint Apollinaris Church)

Apollinarisberg 4

53424 Remagen, Germany

*Relics of St Apollinaris were brought to this city in the 12th century. In 1383 all of these relics, except the skull, were stolen by Duke Wilhelm I and brought to Düsseldorf, Germany. At a later date the skull was also taken and over the next few centuries transferred between several cities before its return to Remagen in 1857. It now rests within a magnificent reliquary bust placed within a large sarcophagus in the crypt of this church. Twice a year this bust is removed for the blessing of pilgrims.

Sankt Lambertus (Saint Lambertus)

Stiftsplatz 7

40213 Düsseldorf, Germany

*The relics of St Apollinaris that were stolen by Duke Wilhelm I, as mentioned above, rest within the main sanctuary of this church.  




Spongata is made in Reggio Emilia and Brescello, but also in the Parma province. Tradition says that, a pastry shop in Busseto served a special dessert filled with honey, almonds, pine nuts, candied fruit, citron and raisins. Verdi thought the cake was a masterpiece and the spongata became the official dessert of Busseto. In Brescello, it was first documented in 1454 and the following year a cake was sent to the duke of Borso d’Este. In the past, spongata was made during the winter, beginning on All Saint’s Day, or November 2nd.


  • 1 cup walnuts

  • 1 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup chunky jam or marmalade

  • 1 3/4 cups honey

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked in water and drained

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks

  • Icing sugar for dusting



  1. Chop the walnuts finely.

  2. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet. Place in oven to brown lightly.

  3. Chop the fruit pieces in the jam into very small pieces.

  4. Place the jam, walnuts, and breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl.

  5. Pour the honey into a small saucepan with the water and slowly bring to a boil.

  6. Stir honey mixture into the mixing bowl with the breadcrumb mixture. Add the raisins, pine nuts, and cinnamon. Mix well.

  7. Cover the bowl and leave to stand in a cool place (not refrigerator) for 2 to 3 days.


  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and lemon zest and mix well.

  2. Place on a pastry board and heap in a mound. Make a well in the center, then add the butter, using your fingertips to rub it into the flour. The mixture should resemble fine breadcrumbs.

  3. Add the egg and yolks and combine, working the pastry dough briefly. Divide in two portions (one slightly larger) and shape each piece into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

  4. Roll discs trimming one to a 9 1/2 in and the other to a 11 in diameter.

  5. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and transfer the smaller disk onto it.

  6. Spoon filling onto the dough, spreading it out, leaving a 1/2 in border all round the edge.

  7. Cover with the large disk, pressing the border and edges to seal well

  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes.

  9. Cool before sprinkling with icing sugar.

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