Saint Roch, the Saint of epidemics... before the Coronavirus.

Saint Roch was born in Montpellier around 1350 and died in Voghera, Italy, around 1378.

Rochus in Latin and Sant Ròc in Occitan, is a French pilgrim and thaumaturge, honoured on August 16.

He is the patron saint of pilgrims and of many brotherhoods or guilds: surgeons, dermatologists, apothecaries, street pavellers, furriers, furriers, frippers, carders, and also the protector of animals.

His cult, first born in France and Italy, became very popular and spread all over the world.

Saint Roch is also famous for his powers to fight epidemics of plague, cholera, typhus, Spanish flu, as well as the silicosis of stonemasons, pavellers and quarrymen .

Saint Roch would also have powers against animal and vine diseases.

The oldest known mention of his cult can be found in the archives of the city of Voghera in Italy.

Over the centuries, Saint Roch has been invoked against contagious diseases, both among humans and livestock.

In Italy, Germany and France, frippers, roasters, wool carders and grazers have taken him as their patron saint.

It is also said that it was to him that the Fathers of the Council of Constance had to be saved from the plague and be able to continue their work.

In Paris, his feast day was obligatory, and in the 17th century there was a general outcry when the religious authority decided to make it less solemn.

 

Saint-Roch is celebrated in many places

Albert Camus has not forgotten him, who, in his novel "The Plague", had the population organize a great procession to Saint Roch.

Saint Roch is celebrated on 16 August, for example in Boisset (Cantal), Ids-Saint-Roch (Cher), Gardanne, Moncale (Haute-Corse), Moutiers d'Ahun (Creuse), La Roche de Lajo (on the border between Lozère and Haute-Loire) or in Sallèles-d'Aude, La Caunette, Sérignan, Aureille and, of course, Montpellier.

Many places of worship are dedicated to him:

Chapelle Saint-Roch de Sallèles-d'Aude, Chapelle Saint-Roch de Hauterives, Hameau de St Germain (Drôme) Eglise Saint-Roch de Seysses (Haute Garonne),

Chapel Saint-Roch de Trausse (Aude), Chapel Saint-Roch de Valbonne (Alpes-Maritimes)

A fountain, dedicated to Saint Roch, with a statue, is located at the entrance of the sanctuary of Betharram (Atlantic Pyrenees). This Marian sanctuary, anterior to Lourdes, of which it is geographically close, in Béarn, is located on the territory of the commune of Lestelle-Bétharram.

 

The ramparts of Avignon have four gates inscribed in square towers that originally had drawbridges: Saint-Lazare, Saint-Michel, Saint-Roch and de la Ligne.

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