St. Philip Benizi (Saint of the Day of Tuesday 23rd August 2016)

Servite cardinal and preacher. Born in Florence, Italy, to a noble family, he was educated in Paris andPadua where he earned a doctorate in medicine and philosophy. He practiced medicine for some time, but in 1253 he joined the Servite Order in Florence. He served as a lay brother until 1259, when his superiors directed him to be ordained. Philip soon became known as one of the foremost preachers of his era, becoming master of novices at Siena in 1262 and then superior of several friaries and prior general of the Servites against his own wishes. in 1267. Reforming the order with zeal and patience, he was named as a possible candidate to become pope by the influential Cardinal Ottobuoni just before the election to choose a successor to Pope Clement IV. This possibility was so distressing to Philip that he fled and hid in a cave until the election was finally over. He attended the Council of Lyons which brought about a brief reunion with the Orthodox, worked to bring peace between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines in 1279, assisted St. Juliana in founding the third order of the Servites, and in 1284, dispatched the first Servite missionaries to the Far East. He retired to a small Servite house in Todi, where he died on August 22. He was canonized in 1671.

More about St. Philip Benizi from Wikipedia

Philip Benizi de Damiani (sometimes St Philip Benitius, and in Italian Filippo Benizzi) (August 15, 1233 – August 22, 1285) was a general superior of the Order of the Servites, and credited with reviving the order. Pope Leo X had beatified him in 1516; and Pope Clement X canonized him as a saint in 1671.


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Veneration
  • 3 Churches named in honor of St Philip Benizi
  • 4 Cultural references
  • 5 Gallery
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 Sources and references
  • 9 External links


Philip Benizi was born on August 15 in the Florentine district of Oltrarno, the day the Blessed Virgin first appreared to the Seven Founders. He became the great propagator of the Order of the Servants of Mary (the Servites). When he was elected the general superior on June 5, 1267, the order, which had long been the object of attack from enemies, entered into the crisis of its existence. The Second Council of Lyons in 1274 put into execution the ordinance of the Fourth Lateran Council, forbidding the foundation of new religious orders, and absolutely suppressing all mendicant institutions not yet approved by the Holy See. In 1276 Pope Innocent V, in a letter addressed to Philip, declared the order suppressed. Philip then proceeded to Rome, but before his arrival there, Innocent V had died.[1]

The city of Forlì was part of the Papal States and, in 1283, the site of strong anti-papal sentiment was placed under interdict. Pope Martin V asked Philip to go to Forlì and try to reconcile the divided city. Eighteen-year-old Peregrine Laziosi (Latiosi), the son of a Ghibelline leader, was among those abusive towards Philip. However Philip’s meeting with the initially antagonistic Peregrine help the young man later decide to join the Servite order. Saint Peregrine was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.[2]

Philip died on August 22, 1285, during the Octave of the Assumption at Todi, where he is buried.[3]

In the cloister of Santa Maria of the Servites in Vicenza, took place his miracles in 1319.[4]


The Church of the Servites of Mary in Todi, Umbria, contains the body of St Philip Benizi, whose statue is the work of Bernini.

St Philip’s feast day is celebrated on August 23. He and Santa Maria Addolorata are the titular co-patrons of the minor basilica of Monte Senario (Vaglia), Province of Florence, in the Diocese of Florence (since 1917).

Churches named in honor of St Philip Benizi

  • In Jonesboro, GA, United States, a Catholic church named after St Philip Benizi was erected by theArchdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia in 1965.[5]
  • St Philip Benizi Roman Catholic Church, Chicago, Illinois (Archdiocese of Chicago).
  • St Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Fullerton, California.
  • St Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Oregon City, Oregon.
  • St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Viburnum, Missouri.
  • St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Moncks Corner, South Carolina.
  • St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Poteet, Texas.
  • St. Philip’s Priory, Chelmsford, England – a priory of the Premonstratensian Order.
  • Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, England.
  • St. Philip Benizi Mission, Black Canyon City, Arizona.

Statue of Philip Benizi on theCharles Bridge, Prague

Cultural references

Five scenes from his life were painted in the early 16th century by the Florentine Andrea del Sarto: “His Charity to a Leper,”“The Smiting of the Blasphemers,” “The Cure of the Woman Possessed with a Devil,” “The Resurrection of Two Children near the Tomb of the Saint,” and “The Veneration of his Relics.”

There is a statue of him on the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic. Designed in 1714, this statue was made fromSalzburg marble and donated by the Servites convent in Prague. The statue portrays him holding a cross, a book and aspray. By his legs there is the crown of the pope. A clay model of this statue can be found in the Salzburg museum.[6]

There is also a chapel dedicated to him in the church of San Marcello al Corso in Rome, and a statue dedicated to him at The National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother, popularly known asThe Grotto, in Portland, Oregon.


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