Saints, Feast, Family
- Traditions passed down with Cooking, Crafting, & Caring -
Saint of the day:
Patron Saint of Mantua, Italy
Saint Longinus' Story
St. Longinus is the centurion who pierced the side of Our Lord while He was hanging on the Cross. St. Longinus, who was nearly blind, was healed when some of the blood and water from Jesus fell into his eyes. It was then he exclaimed "Indeed, this was the Son of God!" [Mark 15:39]. St. Longinus then converted, Left the army, took instruction from the apostles and became a monk in Cappadocia. There he was arrested for his faith, his teeth forced out and tongue cut off. However, St. Longinus miraculously continued to speak clearly and managed to destroy several idols in the presence of the governor. The governor, who was made blind by the demons that came from the idols, had his sight restored when St. Longinus was being beheaded, because his blood came in contact with the governors' eyes. St. Longinus' relics are now in the church of St Augustine, in Rome. His Lance is contained in one of the four pillars over the altar in the Basilica of St Peter's in Rome.
A sculpture of Saint Longinus by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini is located at St. Peter's Basilica. Completed in 1638, the marble sculpture sits in the north-eastern niche in the crossing of St. Peter's in Vatican City. It is over four meters high and is placed into one of the four niches in St. Peter's. The statute was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, a great patron for Bernini.
One of the more famous relics to appear was the “Holy Lance of Saint Longinus.” Catholic tradition has it that Longinus (Latin: from longus, “long,” as in “long lance.”) was the Roman soldier who pierced the side of the crucified Jesus’ body with a lance to verify His death (see John 19:31-37) and who converted to Christianity. See here for more information. The Vatican possess the “Holy Lance,” which is stored within the north-eastern pillar under the dome at St. Peter’s Basilica. The history of that artifact is complicated but like all of the relics associated with Christ, there are several other versions in existence, each one claimed to be the original by its possessor. The most famous competitor of the Vatican lance is the “Holy Lance” currently on display at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, which was used in the coronation ceremonies of several of the Holy Roman Emperors.
Basilica of Sant'Andrea, Mantua
Piazza Andrea Mantegna, 1, 46100 Mantova MN, Italy
Chapel of Saint Longinus
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
Within the labyrinthine basement of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, otherwise known as Church of the Resurrection, there are many smaller chapels. One of these chapels is the Chapel of Saint Longinus. Located at the intersection of Suq Khan e-Zeit and Christian Quarter Road, this Church and its many chapels bring together many varying Christian denominations in peace and unity. At the end of the north aisle of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, there lays a chapel dedicated to the prison Christ was held in awaiting crucifixion.
If visitors take a right at the Prison of Christ, they will step into the ambulatory of the original Crusader church. Herein lies even more small chapels. As with most of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the chapels are each owned by a different denomination of Middle Eastern Christian.
The Chapel of Saint Longinus is run by the Greek Orthodox Church. It is located in the northeast corner of the apse. The Chapel of Saint Longinus is a simple enclave set into the stone. There is a rectangular altar, ornately painted with the legendary story of Saint Longinus. There is also a three paned mosaic hanging on the hewn wall.
At the crucifixion there was a Roman soldier who thrust a spear in the side of Christ to see if he was dead. When blood and water spilled out, Christ was then removed from the cross. Over the years, this soldier was thought to have been named Longinus. In certain variations of the tradition, Longinus is also thought to have been the Roman centurion who said, “Truly this man was the Son of God,” at Golgotha, when referring to Christ. He is venerated as a saint in many Christian denominations and was believed to have converted to Christianity after the crucifixion.
Chapel of Saint Longinus History
The Gospel of Nicodemus (a pseudepigraphical work) is the only mention of the name Longinus. It wasn’t known to the Greeks until Germanus in 715. This Gospel of Nicodemus was the sole source of the Roman soldier’s identification. The actual namesake for the Chapel of Saint Longinus is thought to have come from the Latinized version of the Greek word “longche” or spear. Longinus’ body was twice found and lost, then finally found again in 1304 by Mantua. The body is now at the Church of Saint Agostino in the Vatican, Rome . Saint Longinus is regarded as a martyr by the Roman Catholic, Armenian and Greek Orthodox Churches. The Armenian Church even celebrates his supposed sacrifice with a feast on October 22. The Roman Catholics list him in its Roman Martyrology but gives no indication of cause of death.
Agnolini in Brodo e Vino Rosso
aka Drunken Sausage Tortellini
Our saint died in Mantova, Italy and he is the patron saint of this city so we are honoring him with a dish which is popular from this area. Sausage is also commonly served in Mantova dishes. Agnoli pasta is another favorite in which sausage, along with beef, chicken, breadcrumbs and Grana Padano cheese are filled into pasta pieces. A traditional recipe of Mantova is to serve the pasta in broth and red wine. I couldn't think of anything more fitting than a red wine dish since our saint has a connection to Jesus' blood. Enjoy!
1-pound (16 ounces) Sausage Agnolini or Tortellini
750 ml bottle of red wine (good wine that you enjoy drinking.
The quality of the wine greatly influences the outcome of this dish)
1 cup beef broth*
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons Kosher (not table) salt for the pasta water
1/2 teaspoon Kosher (not table) salt for the wine liquid
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional, but the way I like it!)
Shavings of Parmesan cheese for each dish (optional)
Bring 6 quarts of water to a rapid boil in a large pot. Add 3 tablespoons of Kosher salt (not table salt) to the water
A few minutes before you put the pasta in the boiling salted water, heat a 12-inch, deep sauté pan to medium-high and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil
Peel and gently crush the garlic cloves. When the oil is shimmering, add them to the pan along with the red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher (not table) salt. Cook until the garlic is lightly golden, and then remove the cloves from the pan.
Put the pasta in the rapidly boiling water and boil the tortellini for 3 minutes.
You only want to par boil (par = partially cook) the pasta. The reason you start it in the water is A) it needs to take in a little of the salt, and B) It will finish cooking in the wine. The 750 ml bottle is the perfect amount of liquid for finishing cooking the pasta. The pasta will absorb all the wine.
There should be no wine left as a sauce. This is a sauce-less pasta (it’s so flavorful, you don’t need a sauce).
Prepare to work quickly for steps 5-7!
Add 1 teaspoon of minced fresh oregano to the sauté pan
Add the beef broth and bring it to a boil.
Add the entire bottle of wine to the pan. Bring it to a boil.
Carefully transfer the par boiled pasta to the pan with the broth and wine. The pasta will still be very stiff.
Lower the sauté pan heat to medium, and continue gently stirring the pasta until all the wine is absorbed. This should take 7-10 minutes. The pasta is slow to turn from yellow to the red wine color. Don’t worry!
Turn off the heat. If using, stir in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the pasta.
Transfer the pasta to a platter or individual pasta bowls. Sprinkle the remaining oregano over the pasta and shave Parmesan cheese over each serving (if using).
A clear beef broth produces a deeper purple-red pasta. If you use a bone broth it won’t take on as much color (it has a higher fat content and the fat will coat the pasta, blocking its absorption) but it will be just as delicious!
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see