Sunday, 22 November 2020

cecilia, you’re breaking my heart

Venerated as an early Roman martyr by the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican confessions, Sancta Caecilia (previously) is considered the patron of music and musicians from the account that as the hired band played for her coerced wedding to a pagan noble called Valarian, she sat apart and sang to the true God in her heart. In turn, for her piety, Cecilia was promised a guardian angel who would punish her husband if he failed to respect her sexual autonomy and would love him otherwise.  Intrigued, Valarian asked to see this angel, to which Cecilia replied he could on the condition of being baptised a Christian by Pope Urban. Valarian humoured his bride but saw the angel of God and professed his conversion, earning them all a torturous death sentence. Pope Sixtus V declared Cecilia—along with Gregory the Great (the chant one, not the calendar one)—co-patrons of sacred music in 1585 with the first recorded music festival held in her honour taking place at Évreux in the Eure in 1570.