Praying to Saints and Folk Magic: Sant'Espedito di Melitene

St. Expeditus of Melitene is also known as St. Expedite. The date, April, and place, Melitene, of his martyrdom was commemorated in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum in the 5th or 6th century. (Apparently this martyrology was compiled in northern Italy in the 5th century and there was another created in Gaul in the 6th century. Historians argue over these points.)

Sant'Espedito is the patron saint of merchants, dealers, translators, sailors, navigators, students, examinees, dispatchers, parcel-carriers, urgent causes, and quick results. Many people pray to him to expedite important matters. He is invoked against procrastination. He is also prayed to for successful and speedy resolutions in lawsuits. Some folks in the computer tech field have adopted him as their unofficial patron saint. His feast day is April 19.

The cult of St. Expeditus of Melitene was popular in Sicily and Germany in the 18th century, however veneration may date back to the Middle Ages in Turin. In 1781, S. Expedito, was chosen patron of the town of Acireale in Sicily. In the 18th century, German pictures of him plainly depicted St. Expeditusas as a saint to be invoked against procrastination.

In iconography, the saint has a crow under his foot with the writing cras ("tomorrow"). The ancient Romans mimiced a crow's call as "cras cras." In Italian, the crow's call is "cra cra," while the English version is "caw caw." In his hand, he holds a cross with the writing hodie ("today"). In Germanic countries, the saint indicates a clock. The Latin word, "expeditus," was also the name of a category of footsoldier marching unimpeded by baggage, as well as “fast”). Thus, Expeditus is portrayed as a Roman soldier.

It seems this saint's name and icongraphy has always revolved around puns. By stomping the crow, he conquers the vice of procrastination (pro-CRAS-tination) as the crow squawks in Latin cras.

There is a story about St. Expedite that involves a crate of relics or a saint statue arriving in shipment to a small covent or little church. The story continued to explain the invoice for the package was lost. However the outside of the package was marked "EXPEDITE," or in some versions of the story "SPEDITO." However this tale has the earmarks of an urban legend because this same event was supposed to have happened in Sao Paulo, Paris, New Orleans, and Haiti.

Here is an Italian prayer to Sant'Espedito di Melitene:

S. Espedito, mio protettore, in te ripongo la speranza che le mie suppliche possano essere esaudite, se son per il mio bene. Tip prego, chiedi al Signore, per l'intercessione della Verigine Maria, di concedermi il perdono dei peccati e la grazia di combiare la mia via, particolarmenta la grazia di ..., ed io prometto di seguire il tuo esempio e di propagare la devozione verso di te.
The tradtional color for petition candles to Sant'Espedito on home altars is red. If the saint grants a petition, the petitioner ought to express gratitude in some manner. Some place fresh flowers beside his statue either in a church, or at the petitioner's own home. Others set out an offering of a slice of pound cake on the home altar. Others offer a piece of fruit. Some prayers promise that the petitioner will spread the the saint's name to others. In that case, a petitioner could take out a personals ad in a newspaper thanking the saint for his quick intercession.

St. Expedite may be petitioned anytime, but he is frequently offered red candles on Wednesday as a simple devotion. Some suggest Thursday with yellow candles.

Useful Prayers: Prayer to St. Expedite
Useful Prayers: Quick Prayer to St. Expedite

St. Expeditus Don’t Get No Respect

Main index page