Central south terrace spire-G90
The name Mario, which is rather common in Latin culture, is also the name of several saints, besides being particularly related to the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary, precisely the “Marian” cult. Roman Martyrology identifies three saints by this name. The first is the Mario to whom, more than any other, the statue of Spire G20 could have been dedicated. He was a nobleman with Persian roots who arrived in Rome in 270 with his wife Martha and two sons Audifax and Abachum to venerate the sepulchres of the martyrs. Discovered when they were burying the dead, they were questioned. They refused to abjure their faith and to make sacrifices to the idols, and were, therefore, sentenced to death. Iconography also recalls San Mario the hermit of Alvernia, disciple of Peter and Paul, who was sent to Alvernia to preach and spread the Gospel. Finally, Mario of Avenches or Mario of Lausanne was a French bishop, historian and saint, bishop of Avenches who was especially famous for his Chronica. About him, we know that he came from a wealthy Gallo-Roman family and became Bishop of Avenches in 574, accepting the secular duties of the diocese. He probably moved the bishopric to Lausanne shortly after 590. In fact, after his death he was venerated as saint in Lausanne. Whichever of these three saints was portrayed in this statue is presented as a warrior who silently protects the Cathedral, along with the multitude of saints and blessed figures who surround the statue of the Blessed Virgin. This 19th century spire is placed on the south side of the central terrace. At the top, San Mario has been depicted attired as a Roman warrior. He wears a tunic secured on the right shoulder by a fibula, and the plumed helmet of an Imperial soldier. The straight and steady gaze is typical of the proud military bearing. San Mario’s statue was made by the sculptor Pompeo Marchesi, who worked in the Duomo’s building site in the former half of the 19th century, also creating other statues for spires.