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E05344: Zeno of Verona, preaches a sermon (Sermon 1.33) in Latin in Verona in 362/380 on Easter Sunday. In this sermon, he associates the commemoration of martyrdom with the season of Autumn.

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posted on 2018-04-17, 00:00 authored by frances
Zeno of Verona, Sermon 1.33


Zeno identifies certain heavenly mysteries with certain seasons. Winter is a time of sorrow when sins, eternal death and idolatry can be contemplated. Spring is when new life is breathed into the church. Summer is associated with devotion to those in heaven, and desire and prayers for heaven. Autumn is associated with martyrdom: the blood of the martyrs is poured out just as grapes are harvested to make wine in this season.

Summary: Frances Trzeciak.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Verona Sardinia Sardinia Sardegna Sardinia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Zeno of Verona

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


A sermon of Zeno of Verona. Zeno was most likely born in north Africa and was bishop of Verona between c. 362 and 380, where he preached a number of sermons that have been preserved (the majority, as here, associated with the Easter cycle).


This is not evidence of defined liturgical devotion to the martyrs in autumn, but the association between the commemoration of the martyrs and a specific season is interesting. The connection between the wine harvest and the blood of martyrs echoes that made by Maximus of Turin in his sermon on the feast day of Cyprian (bishop and martyr of Carthage, S00411), which took place in autumn (E05321). This sermon too was preached in northern Italy in the later fourth century.


Text: Löfstedt, B., Zeno Veronensis, Tractatus (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 22; Turnhout: Brepols, 1971). Further reading: Dumler, B., Zeno von Verona zu Heidnischer Kultur und Christlicher Bildung (Tübingen, 2013). Lizzi, R., "Ambrose’s Contemporaries and the Christianisation of Northern Italy," Journal of Roman Studies 80 (1990), 156-173. Truzzi, C., Zeno, Gaudenzio e Cromazio. Testi e contenuti della predicaione Cristiana per le chiese di Verona, Brescia e Aquileia (360 – 410 ca.) (Brescia, 1985).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity