19 JanuarySouth side Spire-G20
Patron Saint: Stone cutters, Republic of San Marino Symbol: Palm

Mario, of Persian origins, visited Rome with his wife Martha and children Audifax and Abachum to pay homage to the tombs of Christian martyrs. It was a very common pilgrimage for new Christians in the 3rd century. They reached Rome around 268 during the rule of Claudius II, at a time when there were almost no persecutions at all, though the period of tolerance towards Christians had almost reached its end. In fact, the worst persecution was carried out during the rule of Diocletian. Marius’ family was close to the priest Giovanni, and one day they buried a group of 260 martyrs who had been beheaded and abandoned in the countryside. This pious gesture did not go unnoticed. They were arrested and taken to Court, where the prefect and the governor questioned them, forcing them to abjure their faith and make sacrifice to the pagan gods. They refused and were thus sentenced to death by Roman Law. The four bodies were collected by the pious Christian woman Felicity, and buried in her land called “buxus”, today Boccea. A Church was later built at the site of martyrdom. Its ruins can still be seen today, and it was the target of pilgrimages throughout the middle ages. Their relics had a tortuous story. In fact, today they are cherished in various places, in the monastery of Seligenstadt and in the Roman churches of San Adriano and Santa Prassede. Mario is one of the most common names in Italy, it ranks fourth in the national list, and is also found in several variants. Conversely to the common belief that Mario is the masculine form of Maria, it actually originates from the Roman Marius. Christian Martyrology celebrates him on 19 January. The statue on Spire G20 was made in the mid-1900s. However, there is no information about either the sculptor or further events of the statue at the Duomo’s marble workers’ site over the years.