Feast Day: April 12 (May 21 in Verona)
Patronage: Verona, Fishing
Saint Zeno was born in North Africa in the year 300, and died in the year 380. In the year 362 he became the bishop of Verona, Italy. As bishop he preached strongly against Arianism, and baptized many into the church. His preaching and condemnation of heresy and idol-worship caused his followers to multiply overwhelmingly, and he quickly found himself in need of a larger church. He was a rather impoverished man himself, so the task was extremely ambitious. Thankfully, a number of wealthy followers donated the funds required, and the church was constructed. The church, and the city with it, was a home of safety and generosity to the poor and needy during his time as bishop.
Along with heresies and other large subjects, Zeno spoke against the more close-to-home sins of intemperance and vanity, especially during celebrations. He also founded a convent of virgin women, and meticulously trained many priests in the way of Christ. His writings included defenses of the trinity and Mary’s role as a virgin.
After his death, his works for the church continued in the form of miracles. The most incredible of these miracles occurred during a flood, which struck all of Verona. Many of the people fled to Saint Zenos basilica for safety. Over the course of 24 hours the people waited. The waters outside rose to the windows of the great church, but no water came inside. The people were completely safe.
It is possible that Saint Zeno’s death was one of a martyr, however complete details have been lost. St. Ambrose described Zenos death as “a happy death.”
“O Charity! how tender, how rich, how powerful art thou! He who possesseth not thee, hath nothing. Thou couldst change God into man. Thou hast overcome death, by teaching a God to die” ~Saint Zeno of Verona