Although many details of the life of St Miniato (St Minias) have been lost with the (literal) ravages of time, his influence continues to make an impact in modern times.
St Miniato was thought to have been either a Greek merchant or an Armenian prince who came to Florence in the first half of the third century whilst travelling on a pilgrimage to Rome. In Florence he took up the life of a hermit in a cave on Monte alle Croci. He became the first evangelist of this part of Tuscany in Italy. For this he paid the price of becoming the area’s first martyr during the horrific persecution against Christians of the Emperor Decius (A.D. 249 – 251).
About 60 or 70 years after the martyr’s death, his cave was extended into a small oratory or chapel. The word oratory comes from the Latin “ora”, i.e. prayer. This oratory became a place of pilgrimage and prayer. In A.D. 1018 the present Basilica of St Miniato was completed as part of what became a Benedictine monastery. Michealangelo, a local citizen, called it his favourite church and carved on the doorstep, “Haec est porta caeli” – “This is the gate of heaven”. Dante, another legendary citizen, and frequent visitor, called it “The most perfect church”. It has remained a place of pilgrimage as indeed the whole city of Florence has become.
The writer has selected this great Christian martyr as one of the patrons of this web site for a particular reason. He spent some time in the study of prayer in the remains of the original oratory of St Miniato which are now under the crypt of the great basilica. It was during this time he rediscovered the traditional Catholic faith after having lost a degree of confidence during the unsettling reforms of the 1960’s and 1970’s following the Second Vatican Council. This experience was seen as a wonderful gift of God and a clear sign of God’s desire for the Church to value and retain its cultural roots.
This website seeks to uphold the inestimable value of all the cultural traditions and eras of which continue to impact on its worship: Jewish, Latin, Eastern and Modern.
All have much to offer and we rejoice that they sit so harmononsly together.
St Miniato, Evangelist and Martyr, pray for us.
St Miniato by Agnolo Gaddi.
Abbey Church of St Miniato.
Interior of Church.
Sacristy Wall paintings.
Fresco on Church wall of St Christopher.