Saint Cecilia (Latin: Sancta Caecilia) is the patroness of musicians. It is written that as the musicians played at her wedding she "sang in her heart to the Lord". Her feast day is celebrated in the Latin Catholic, Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches and in the Anglican Communion on November 22. She is one of seven women, in addition to the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.
While the details of her story are fictional, her existence and martyrdom are considered a historical fact. She is said to have been beheaded with a sword. An early church, Santa Cecilia, was founded in the 3rd century by Pope Urban I in the Trastevere section of Rome, reputedly on the site of the house in which she lived. A number of musical compositions are dedicated to her, and her feast day has become the occasion for concerts and musical festivals.
Saint Cecilia playing the pipe organ
|Virgin and Martyr|
|Born||2nd century AD|
|Died||176–180 or 222–235 AD|
|Major shrine||Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome|
|Attributes||Flute, organ, roses, violin, harp, harpsichord, singing|
|Patronage||Hymns, great musicians, poets; Albi, France; Archdiocese of Omaha; Mar del Plata, Argentina, Pipe organs|
St. Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, although some elements of the stories recounted about her do not seem to be founded on historical fact. According to Johann Peter Kirsch, while some details bear the mark of a pious romance, like so many other similar accounts compiled in the fifth and sixth century, the existence of the martyr is a historical fact. The relation between St. Cecilia and Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, mentioned in the Acts of the Martyrs, has some historical foundation. Her feast day has been celebrated since about the fourth century.
It was long supposed that she was a noble lady of Rome who, with her husband Valerian, his brother Tiburtius, and a Roman soldier named Maximus, suffered martyrdom in about 230, under the Emperor Alexander Severus. The research of Giovanni Battista de Rossi agrees with the statement of Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitiers (d. 600), that she perished in Sicily under Emperor Marcus Aurelius between 176 and 180.
According to the story, despite her vow of virginity, she was forced by her parents to marry a pagan nobleman named Valerian. During the wedding, Cecilia sat apart singing to God in her heart, and for that she was later declared the saint of musicians. When the time came for her marriage to be consummated, Cecilia told Valerian that watching over her was an angel of the Lord, who would punish him if he sexually violated her but would love him if he respected her virginity. When Valerian asked to see the angel, Cecilia replied that he could if he would go to the third milestone on the Via Appia and be baptized by Pope Urban I. After following Cecilia's advice, he saw the angel standing beside her, crowning her with a chaplet of roses and lilies.
The martyrdom of Cecilia is said to have followed that of her husband Valerian and his brother at the hands of the prefect Turcius Almachius. The legend about Cecilia's death says that after being struck three times on the neck with a sword, she lived for three days, and asked the pope to convert her home into a church.
The church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is reputedly built on the site of the house in which she lived. The original church was constructed in the fourth century; during the ninth century, Pope Paschal I had remains which were supposedly hers buried there. In 1599, while leading a renovation of the church, Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati had the remains, which he reported to be incorrupt, excavated and reburied.
The name "Cecilia" was shared by all women of the Roman people known as the Caecilian, whose name may be related to the root of caecus (blind). Legends and hagiographies, mistaking it for a personal name, suggest fanciful etymologies. Among those cited by Chaucer in "The Second Nun's Tale" are: lily of heaven, the way for the blind, contemplation of heaven and the active life, as if lacking in blindness, and a heaven for people to gaze upon.
The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome is one of the oldest musical institutions in the world. It was founded by the papal bull, Ratione congruit, issued by Sixtus V in 1585, which invoked two saints prominent in Western musical history: Gregory the Great, after whom Gregorian chant is named, and Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music.
Her feast day became an occasion for musical concerts and festivals that occasioned well-known poems by John Dryden and Alexander Pope and music by Henry Purcell (Ode to St. Cecilia); several oratorios by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (In honorem Caeciliae, Valeriani et Tiburtij canticum; and several versions of Caecilia virgo et martyr to libretti probably written by Philippe Goibaut); George Frideric Handel (Ode for St. Cecilia's Day; Alexander's Feast); Charles Gounod (St. Cecilia Mass); as well as Benjamin Britten, who was born on her feast day (Hymn to St Cecilia, based on a poem by W. H. Auden). Herbert Howells' A Hymn to Saint Cecilia has words by Ursula Vaughan Williams; Gerald Finzi's "For Saint Cecilia", Op. 30, was set to verses written by Edmund Blunden; Michael Hurd's 1966 composition "A Hymn to Saint Cecilia" sets John Dryden's poem; and Frederik Magle's Cantata to Saint Cecilia is based on the history of Cecilia. The Heavenly Life, a poem from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (which Gustav Mahler used in his Symphony No. 4) mentions that "Cecilia and all her relations make excellent court musicians."
From the name of St. Cecilia comes Cecyliada, the name of festival of sacred, choral and contemporary music, held from 1994 in Police, Poland.
Cecilia symbolizes the central role of music in the liturgy.
The Sisters of Saint Cecilia, religious sisters, shear the lambs' wool used to make the palliums of new metropolitan archbishops. The lambs are raised by the Cistercian Trappist Fathers of the Tre Fontane (Three Fountains) Abbey in Rome. The lambs are blessed by the Pope every January 21, the Feast of the martyr Saint Agnes. The pallia are given by the Pope to the new metropolitan archbishops on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29.
Located on the Isle of Wight, St. Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde was founded in 1882. The nuns live a traditional monastic life of prayer and work, and study in accordance with the ancient Rule of St. Benedict.
Cecilia is frequently depicted playing a viola, a small organ, or other musical instrument, evidently to express what was often attributed to her, namely that while the musicians played at her nuptials, she sang in her heart to God, though the organ may be attributed to her erroneously, as the result of a mistranslation.
Fred Momotenko composed "Cecilia", a composition for full mixed choir, "a hymn to the past as well as to the future of the monastic tradition". The world premiere was at Koningshoeven Abbey on Saint Cecilia's feast day 2014.
Lou Harrison wrote his Mass for St. Cecilia's Day for choir, harp, and drone (1983-6).
Arvo Pärt was commissioned to compose a work for the Great Jubilee in Rome in 2000, and wrote Cecilia, vergine romana (Cecilia, Roman virgin) for mixed choir and orchestra. The Italian text deals with the saint's life and martyrdom. It was first performed on 19 November 2000, close to her feast day, by the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia conducted by Myung-whun Chung.
On the 2015 Feast of Saint Cecilia, Foo Fighters released their EP "Saint Cecilia" for free download via their website. The five song EP features a track named after the EP "Saint Cecilia". The EP was recorded during an impromptu studio session at Hotel Saint Cecilia located in Austin Texas.
Informator Choristarum (organist and master of the choristers) at Magdalen College, Oxford (1957–1981), Bernard Rose's unaccompanied anthem for SATB choir (with divisions) Feast Song For St. Cecilia (1974) is a setting a poem of the same name by his son, musician Gregory Rose.
Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist, Rik Emmett, composed the song "Calling St. Cecilia" on his 1992 LP Ipso Facto.
Paul Simon wrote the song "Cecilia" about writer's block.
The Chicago band Turnt (now known as Everybody All The Time) released a song called Girls which refers to St Cecilia in the lyrics. The song was first performed at Northwestern University's Mayfest Battle of the Bands on Friday May 24th 2013 at 27 Live in downtown Evanston. 
The poem "Moschus Moschiferus", by Australian poet A. D. Hope (1907–2000), is sub-titled "A Song for St Cecilia's Day". The poem is of 12 stanzas and was written in the 1960s.
St. Cecilia is also the subject of Alexander Pope's poem "Ode on St. Cecilia's Day."
Statue from the porch of St. Cecilia, Trastevere
Domenichino's Fresco Cycle in San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome (1614)
The apse mosaic in the Church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere
Alexander's Feast, or the Power of Music (1697) is an ode by John Dryden. It was written to celebrate Saint Cecilia's Day. Jeremiah Clarke set the original ode to music, however the score is now lost.
The main body of the poem describes the feast given by Alexander the Great at the Persian capital Persepolis, after his defeat of Darius. Alexander's bard Timotheus sings praises of him. Alexander's emotions are manipulated by the singer's poetry and music. Timotheus glorifies him as a god, puffing up Alexander's pride. He then sings of the pleasures of wine, encouraging Alexander to drink. Seeing Alexander becoming too boisterous, he sings of the sad death of Darius; the king becomes quiet. He then lauds the beauty of Thaïs, Alexander's lover, making the king's heart melt. Finally, he encourages feelings of anger and vengeance, causing Thaïs and Alexander to burn down the Persian palace in revenge for Persia's previous outrages against Greece.
The poem then moves ahead in time to describe Saint Cecilia, "inventress of the vocal frame", who is traditionally supposed to have created the first organ and to have instituted Christian sacred music. The poem concludes that while Timotheus "Raised a mortal to the skies, / She drew an angel down".
George Frideric Handel composed a choral work, also called Alexander's Feast, set to a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton which was closely based on the ode by Dryden.Cecilia
Cecilia, which is the name of Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music, has been a consistently used name in the United States, where it has ranked among the top 500 names for girls for more than 100 years. It was the 181st most popular name for American girls born in 2015. It was the 326th most popular given name for women and girls in the United States census of 1990. It also ranked among the top 100 names for girls born in Sweden in the early years of the 21st century.Cecilia, vergine romana
Cecilia, vergine romana (Cecilia, Roman virgin) is a composition for mixed choir and orchestra by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, written in 2000 for the Great Jubilee in Rome. The Italian text deals with the life and martyrdom of Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music, and was first performed on 19 November 2000, close to her feast day on 22 November, by the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia conducted by Myung-whun Chung.Hymn to St Cecilia
Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27 is a choral piece by Benjamin Britten (1913–1976), a setting of a poem by W. H. Auden written between 1940 and 1942. Auden's original title was "Three Songs for St. Cecilia's Day", and he later published the poem as "Anthem for St. Cecilia’s Day (for Benjamin Britten)".
For a long time Britten wanted to write a piece dedicated to St Cecilia for a number of reasons. Firstly, he was born on St Cecilia's day; secondly, St Cecilia is the patron saint of music; and finally, there is a long tradition in England of writing odes and songs to St Cecilia. The most famous of these are by John Dryden ("A song for St. Cecilia's Day" 1687) and musical works by Henry Purcell, Hubert Parry, and George Frideric Handel. Another briefer work by Herbert Howells has the similar title A Hymn for St Cecilia, but was written later in 1960. The first extant reference to Britten's desire to write such a work is from 1935 when Britten wrote in his diary "I’m having great difficulty in finding Latin words for a proposed Hymn to St Cecilia. Spend morning hunting."Britten first met Auden later that year, and subsequently worked with him on a number of large-scale works, including the operetta Paul Bunyan (1941). Britten asked that Auden provide him a text for his ode to St Cecilia, and Auden complied, sending the poem in sections throughout 1940, along with advice on how Britten could be a better artist. This was to be one of the last works they collaborated on. According to Britten's partner Peter Pears in 1980 "Ben was on a different track now, and he was no longer prepared to be dominated – bullied – by Wystan, whose musical feeling he was very well aware of. ...Perhaps he may have been said to have said goodbye to working with Wystan with his marvelous setting of the Hymn (Anthem) to St. Cecilia."Britten began setting Hymn to St. Cecilia in the United States, certainly in June 1941 when a performance by the newly formed Elizabethan Singers was projected to take place in New York sometime later that year. In 1942 (the midst of World War II) Britten and Pears decided to return home to England. The customs inspectors confiscated all of Britten's manuscripts, fearing they could be some type of code. Britten re-wrote the manuscript while aboard the MS Axel Johnson, and finished it on 2 April 1942. It was written at the same time as A Ceremony of Carols, which shares the same affect.
The text itself follows in the tradition of odes, including an invocation to the muse: "Blessed Cecilia/Appear in visions to all musicians/Appear and inspire". Britten uses this as a refrain throughout piece, whereas it is the last portion of Auden's first section.
The piece is in three sections, plus three iterations of the refrain, with slight variations, following each section. The first section is very similar to the refrain, couched in the E Phrygian scale and with the same melody. The second section is a scherzo with a modified fugue form. The third section is more lyrical, with solos in each voice describing a different instrument, traditional in odes to St. Cecilia.
The hymn was given its first (radio) performance in 1942.Little Hadham
Little Hadham is a village and civil parish in the district of East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, England. At the census of 2001 it had a population of 1,081, increasing to 1,153 at the 2011 Census. It is located on the A120 road, which connects it to the nearby town of Bishop's Stortford. Little Hadham, together with the neighbouring village of Much Hadham, are collectively known as The Hadhams.The rural village is situated on the banks of the River Ash and is characterised by half-timbered houses. The medieval parish church, dedicated to Saint Cecilia, was reconstructed in the late 14th or 15th century. The Bishop of London is the patron of the church.Min soldat
"Min soldat" (English: "My Soldier") is a Swedish song written by Nils Perne (Jokern). It was recorded by Ulla Billquist in 1940 and became one of the most popular Swedish songs during World War II.
Carroll Loveday wrote new English lyrics for the song, which became "The Shrine of St. Cecilia". It was recorded by numerous artists.Saint Cecilia's Catholic Church (Brooklyn)
Saint Cecilia's is a Roman Catholic parish church in the Diocese of Brooklyn located at North Henry and Herbert streets, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York. It is named for Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music. It is a contributing building in the Greenpoint Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.Saint Cecilia (Artemisia Gentileschi)
Santa Cecilia is an early painting by the baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, a painter described as "a grand exception in the history of art - a successful woman painter in an era in which art was dominated by men." The canvas was painted around 1620. It shows the saint playing a lute, with an organ, a customary attribute for her, in the background. It currently now in the Galleria Spada in Rome; it has been part of the Spada collection since the seventeenth century.Saint Cecilia (EP)
Saint Cecilia is an EP by American rock band Foo Fighters. It was released as a free download on November 23, 2015. Initially intended as a sign of gratitude to the group's fans, the EP was also dedicated to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris. A single from the EP, "Saint Cecilia", peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in 2016.Saint Cecilia (Poussin)
Saint Cecilia is a 1627-1628 painting by Nicolas Poussin, now in the Prado Museum in Madrid. It shows saint Cecilia playing a keyboard instrument, possibly a harpsichord. Two cherubs in front of her hold up a scroll with a musical score, whilst two angels sing in the background and a third cherub lifts a curtain.Saint Cecilia (disambiguation)
Saint Cecilia, St. Cecilia or Santa Cecilia may refer to:
Saint Cecilia, patron saint of musicians and church music in Catholic and Orthodox traditions
St. Cecilia Catholic Church (Los Angeles), a church in Los Angeles, built in 1927 and consecrated in 1943
Saint Cecilia's Catholic Church (Brooklyn), a church in Brooklyn, New York, USA, built in 1891 and consecrated in 1901
Santa Cecilia, a municipality in the province of Burgos, Castile and León, Spain
Santa Cecilia del Alcor, a municipality in the province of Palencia, Castile and León, Spain
Santa Cecilia Academy, or Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, a music institution in Rome, Italy
Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, an Italian orchestra.
Santa Cecilia Acatitlan, a Mesoamerican archaeological site in Mexico State, Mexico
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, a 5th-century church in Rome, Italy
St. Cecilia Cathedral, the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, US
Santa Cecilia Tower, a 17th-century tower in Gozo, Malta.
St. Cecilia School (disambiguation) a number of schools
St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings, an album by Blue Öyster Cult, recorded in 1970 and released in 2003
St. Cecilia Mass (Messe solennelle à Sainte-Cécile) by Charles Gounod)
Saint Cecilia (EP), a 2015 extended play album by Foo Fighters (as well as the EP's eponymous title track)
Saint Cecilia (Poussin), a 1628 painting by Nicholas Poussin
"Leap Up and Down (Wave Your Knickers in the Air)", a 1971 recording by St. CeceliaSaint Cecilia (song)
"Saint Cecilia" is a single by American rock band Foo Fighters, off of their EP Saint Cecilia. It peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in 2016.Sainte-Cécile-de-Whitton
Sainte-Cécile-de-Whitton is a municipality in Quebec, in the regional county municipality of Le Granit in the administrative region of Estrie. It is named after Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians and Church music.Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is a 5th-century church in Rome, Italy, in the Trastevere rione, devoted to the Roman martyr Saint Cecilia.St. Cecilia's Church, Cologne
St. Cecilia's Church (Cäcilienkirche, Colognian (Kölsch) pronunciation: [tsɪnˈtsila]) is one of the twelve Romanesque churches in Cologne’s old city, maintained by the Foundation of Romanesque Churches in Cologne. The present building, little changed since its inception, dates from 1130-60. Since 1956, the church has been the home of the Schnütgen Museum for medieval art.St. Cecilia Cathedral (Omaha)
St. Cecilia Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha. Located at 701 North 40th Street in the Gold Coast Historic District, the Cathedral was ranked as one of the ten largest in the United States when it was completed in 1959. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.St. Cecilia School
St. Cecilia School is a name used mostly by Catholic schools, after Saint Cecilia, patron saint of musicians and church music. It could refer to:
St Cecilia's Catholic Primary School, a school established in 1930 in Balgowlah, New South Wales, Australia near Sydney in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay
St Cecilia's Catholic Primary School, a school established in 1916 in Wyong, New South Wales, Australia in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay
St Cecilia School of Music, a private music school in Tasmania, Australia
St Cecilia's Primary School, a Catholic school established in 1932 in Glen Iris, Victoria, Australia
St. Cecilia Catholic School, an elementary school in the High Park North neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
St Cecilia's Roman Catholic High School, a secondary school in Longridge, Lancashire, England
Saint Cecilia's Church of England School, a secondary school in Wandsworth, London, England
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, or St. Ceclia Academy, a music school in Rome, Italy
St Cecilia's Convent Secondary School, also known as SM Konven St. Cecilia, a school near Sandakan, Sabah, MalaysiaIn the United States
St. Cecilia School, the parish grade school of St. Cecilia Catholic Church (Los Angeles) in California
St. Cecilia School, a grade school in San Francisco, California
St. Cecilia School, a grade school in Tustin, Orange County, California
St. Cecilia Elementary School, a grade school in Stamford, Connecticut
St. Cecilia Elementary School, a grade school in Ames, Iowa
St. Cecilia School, a defunct grade school in Peoria, Illinois in which hostages were taken in 1973
St. Cecilia Catholic School, a grade school in Haysville, Kansas
St. Cecilia Elementary School, a grade school in Independence, Kenton County, Kentucky
St. Cecilia School, a defunct grade school that became Community Catholic School in 1978 and closed in 2004 in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
St. Cecilia School (Broussard, Louisiana), a grade school listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Lafayette Parish
St. Cecilia Catholic School, a grade school in Clare, Clare County, Michigan
St. Cecilia School, a grade school in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan
St. Cecilia School, a grade school in Saint Louis, Missouri
St. Cecilia High School (Nebraska), part of St. Cecilia Middle and High School in Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska
St. Cecilia Cathedral School, a grade school in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska
St. Cecilia High School (New Jersey), a defunct high school in Englewood, Bergen County, New Jersey that closed in 1986 and was the first coaching job for Vince Lombardi
St. Cecilia Interparochial School, a defunct grade school on West Demarest Avenue in Englewood, Bergen County, New Jersey that closed in 2011
St. Cecilia Elementary School, a grade school in Pennsauken, Camden County, New Jersey
St. Cecilia Elementary School, a grade school in Rockaway, Morris County, New Jersey
St. Cecilia's School, a former parochial school of Saint Cecilia's Catholic Church (Brooklyn, New York)
St. Cecilia Elementary School, a grade school in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio
St. Cecilia Elementary School, a grade school in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio
St. Cecilia School, a grade school in Beaverton, Oregon
St. Cecilia Elementary School, a grade school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
St. Cecilia School, a grade school in Pawtucket, Rhode Island
St. Cecilia Academy, a high school in Nashville, Tennessee
St. Cecilia Catholic School, a grade school in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas
St. Cecilia Catholic School (Houston, Texas), a grade school in Hedwig Village, Harris County, Texas in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
St. Cecilia School, a grade school in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
St. Cecilia Catholic School, a grade school in Bainbridge Island, WashingtonSt Cecilia's Roman Catholic High School
St Cecilia's RC High School is a coeducational secondary school located in Longridge in the English county of Lancashire. The school is named after Saint Cecilia, the patroness of musicians. It is a voluntary aided school administered by Lancashire County Council and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford. St Cecilia's offers GCSEs and BTECs as programmes of study for pupils.
The current headteacher is Mr Ivan Catlow, whom took over in April 2015. Mr Catlow took over from associate headteacher, Mr Paul Trickett, who was appointed in September 2014. Mr Trickett was previously the headteacher of Rhyddings, Oswaldtwistle. Recently, new windows were fitted to replace existing timber frames, providing staff and pupils with a warmer environment in which to learn.
In February 2016, the school was judged “good” by Ofsted. The report in October 2013 said the school “required improvement”. In March 2017, the school gates were painted gold, in honour of former pupil Stephanie Slater MBE.Tiburtius, Valerian, and Maximus
Saints Tiburtius, Valerian, and Maximus are three Christian martyrs who were buried on 14 April of some unspecified year in the Catacombs of Praetextatus on the Via Appia near Rome.According to the legendary Acts of Saint Cecilia, a mid-fifth-century Acts of the Martyrs composition that has no historical value, Valerian was the husband of Saint Cecilia, Tiburtius his brother, and Maximus as a soldier or official who was martyred with these two. The story was retold by Chaucer. Devotional publications make the story more credible by simplifying it.The three martyrs were traditionally honoured with a joint feast day on 14 April, as shown in the Tridentine Calendar. The 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar removed this celebration, since the only thing really known about them is the historical fact of their burial in the Catacombs of Praetextatus. However, it allowed them to be honoured in local calendars.The 2001 decree of promulgation of the revised Roman Martyrology declared: "In accordance with the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council on the Sacred Liturgy, 'the accounts of martyrdom or the lives of the saints are to accord with the facts of history' (art. 92 c), the names of saints included in the Martyrology and their notices have to be subjected more carefully than before to the judgement of historical study."Accordingly, the revised Roman Martyrology now merely states, under 14 April: "At Rome, in the cemetery of Praetextatus on the Appian Way, Saints Tiburtius, Valerian and Maximus, martyrs."The Eastern Orthodox Church honours them together with Saint Cecilia on 22 November.