Trieste Cathedral – The halberd of St. Sergius
The story of the halberd of St. Sergius, symbol of Trieste, is one of the most ancient legends about the city, always linked to its Cathedral.
The Cathedral of Trieste is a building dedicated to Saint Just. Just was a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity and, besides refusing to kill Christians, disobeyed Diocletian’s order to bow down before pagan idols. For this he ended up at the bottom of the sea with a weight on his feet.
According to tradition, however, the ropes came loose and his body was carried by the waves to the shores of Trieste. In the same night he appeared in a dream to a Christian asking him to give him a burial. The next morning, the believer went to the place indicated in the dream. So, he found the body, embalmed it, wrapped it in a linen sheet and buried it.
However, Trieste Cathedral is also linked to another saint: Saint Sergius. Sergius was a military tribune, member of the XV Apollinaris Legion. This soldier decided to embrace Christianity during a trip to Trieste. His conversion, however, soon became public. He was summoned back to court and was quickly sentenced to death.
After that, before leaving, Sergius made a promise. He promised his Christian friends in Trieste that a sign would come to the city to announce his end.
It is said that his martyrdom was atrocious.. According to the chronicles of the time, the Roman soldiers drove nails into his feet. Therefore, they forced him to walk through the Castrum of Saura, Tetrapirgio and Rosapha where he was presumably beheaded on October 7.
Legend has it, however, that at the very moment he died, on that sad day, a halberd suddenly fell from the clear sky above the Forum of Trieste. That halberd, which today is kept among the treasures of the Cathedral of San Giusto, became the very symbol of the city in honor of the late Sergio.
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