Feast of St. Cone
Teggiano shines to honor its patron saint
On June 3 there is great celebration in Teggiano: the streets are decorated with beautiful illumin ations that draw arches of light suspended above the path. Their harmonious shapes combined with bright colors seem to want to unite earth and sky in commemoration of the town's patron saint. All this, in fact, is done in honor of St. Cone.
Who was St. Cone?
Reports to date speak of a child born right here, when the village was still called Diano, at the end of the 12th century. According to reports, despite his tender age this child was very much given to meditation and, above all, to penance, so much so that one fine day he ran away from home bound for the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria Cadossa, in nearby Montesano sulla Marcellana. So great was his desire to stay at the monastery that when his parents finally found him, the little boy hid in a burning oven! And this was the first miracle of the future St. Cone: when he came out, he was unharmed. Not much more is known about his life, especially since he would have died very young, in the early 13th century.
The connection with Teggiano
Teggiano, in Diano's time, is not only the birthplace of St. Cone, but is the center of the cult dedicated to him, now widespread in Latin America as well, and the place where the saint rests. Initially his remains remained in the Monastery of Cadossa, but when that was abandoned in 1261, they were transferred to Teggiano on June 3 itself. Elected patron saint of the village, he was repeatedly invoked to protect the town and its population from the most tragic events in history, and sometimes the saint responded promptly. For example, a story is told of a monk who in 1497 allegedly managed to repel the bullets of the Aragonese armies that were besieging the village. Tradition has it that St. Cone also protected the town from the plague in 1600 and an earthquake in the 1800s. It was precisely on the occasion of the earthquake of 1857 that St. Cone is said to have appeared in a square in the village, and at that very spot, in order to thank him, the townspeople wanted to erect an obelisk at the top of which, 20 meters above the ground, stands the very statue of St. Cone, who still watches over his native village.
The statues of St. Cone and the June 3 festival
From the ground it is not possible to appreciate the details of the bronze statue, but fortunately in 2022 a careful restoration of the monument was completed, which not only took care of its stability and restored its beauty, but also brings back to us through the words of those who worked on the project the minuteness of the details that characterize this work, a symbol of the love and care that the artist poured into the statue. An example? Well, those who have the opportunity to admire it up close can even make out the weave of the habit the saint wears, and the decorations on the cross he holds in his hand.
But this is not the only statue of St. Cone preserved in the village: there is another one, this time in painted and gilded wood, made in 1714 and kept in the Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore. It is indeed the protagonist of the events of June 3. On this date in fact, to commemorate the arrival of the body of St. Cone in town, the statue leaves the church and is carried in procession through the streets of Teggiano, acclaimed by its people.
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