My new book it’s out (only in Italy) published by Velar Spa. It’s dedicated to Alexander and its iconography of martyr and soldier that inspired so many artists and fascinated the same ancient Knights Templar.
A rich selection of works demonstrates how the arts over the centuries have bestowed a singular and striking homage to Alexander, the patron saint of Bergamo, an enchanting and ancient city near Milan (North of Italy). The artists list includes great names as sculptur Giovanni Ugo da Campione ( XIV century), Vincenzo Foppa (1430-1516 ), Lorenzo Lotto ( 1480-1556 ), Giovanni Battista Moroni (1520 / 24-1578 ), Giacomo Palma il Giovane ( c. 1548-1628 ), Antonio Boselli ( c. 1475 – c. 1530), Enea Salmeggia ( 1550-1626 ), Giovanni Paolo Cavagna (1556-1627 ), Carlo Ceresa ( 1607-1687 ), Francesco Coghetti (1802 -1875 ). These artists told through image an extraordinary story which corresponds to the content of “Passiones” documents and to the imaginative projection of the people as an expression of a simple and genuine faith .
The iconography always presents Alexander with its military uniform – the armor symbolizes virtues such as courage and strength – and the lilies banner which expresses his role of flag-bearer and leader; lily flower is at the same time synonym for purity, transparency of mind and appointment, in the biblical sense of the term . The extensive series of frescoes , sculptures , paintings, tables, miniatures, mosaics, stained glass, embroidery, frontals, stucco and silvers illustrates and honors the reputation of Alexander , exalting his courage, the spiritual power of those who – would say St. Paul – fought ” the good fight “, to the ultimate sacrifice, in the name of the faith.
Saint Alexander of Bergamo (died c. 298-303) is the patron saint of Bergamo. He may simply have been a Roman soldier who was tortured and killed for not renouncing his Christian faith. As I write in the book, subsequent Christian stories (the so-called “Passiones”) consider him a flag-bearer of the Theban Legion commanded by Saint Maurice.
Prior to the commencement of the Diocletian in 303, both Galerius and Maximian in the West inaugurated, on their own responsibility, a crusade against Christianity and sought particularly to remove all Christians from the armies. St. Alexander was one of the victims of this persecution. He is reputed to have been a survivor of the decimation (the killing of every tenth man) ordered against the Theban Legion. He escaped to Milan.
At Milan, he was recognized and imprisoned, and it was demanded that he renounce his Christian faith. However, he was visited in jail by Saint Fidelis and Bishop Saint Maternus. Fidelis managed to organize Alexander’s escape. Alexander fled to Como but was captured again.
Brought back to Milan, he was once more condemned to death by decapitation, but during the execution the executioner’s arms went stiff. He was imprisoned again, but Alexander once again managed to escape, and ended up in Bergamo after passing through Fara Gera d’Adda and Capriate San Gervasio. At Bergamo, converted many natives, including Firmus and Rusticus, who were later martyred. Alexander was once again captured and was finally decapitated on August 26, (298 or 303) on the spot now occupied by the church of San Alessandro in Colonna. Bergamo Cathedral is dedicated to him and dates from the 4th century, and he is one of the saints in the dedication of the church in Rome for natives of Bergamo.