Sagra di San Efisio, Island of Sardinia, Italy
A MIRACLE UNFOLDS
Sagra di San Efisio Italy takes you on a timeless travel to Sardinia to sense the mystery of miracles. As one of the most ancient lands in Europe, Sardinia has been through the Paeolithic Age, the Neolithic Age, right down to the present age. Displaying its ancient legacy, Sardinia unfolds her secret heritage with the age-old ‘Nuraghe’, its old architectural structure, the Domus de Janas, holy wells, temples and the mystic giant tombs, which are huge stones fixed deep into the ground called ‘betili’ or ‘menhir’ which stem from the megalithic
architecture. There are 7,000 Nuraghi and hundreds of archaeological monuments that are found in profusion around its countryside. With a tangible background of mystery, it is natural that Sardinia should celebrate the Sagra di San Efisio or the Festival of Saint Efisio in Cagliari, Italy, beginning May 1st to May 4th from 9 a.m. onwards.
The island of Sardinia teems with the spirit of religiosity and a subtle carnival air as it plays host to a colorful parade and a myriad cultural activities. Part of its activities involves the Palio at the Ippodromo del Poetto (Poet’s Hippodrome) on the 2nd of May followed by a memorable concert for Peace. The statue of Saint Efisio is taken to Nora in a procession by the pilgrims and the citizens and finally taken back to the Sant’Efisio Church on May 4th.
The story of Saint Efisio is a miracle in itself. Saint Efisius was actually a Roman emissary and the commanding officer of the Roman army. He was sent to Sardinia by the Emperor Diocletian of Rome in the 3rd century A.D., to topple the Christians there. As he traveled over the seas, from his ship, he saw a cross in the sky and heard the voice of God speaking to him. He was commanded by God to do His work in Sardinia. Efisius was more than surprised and as soon as he arrived in Sardinia, he started God’s work. The Emperor tried hard to make him stop, but Efisius went on spreading the Word of God. Diocletian’s
successor, Flavian was angry and he ordered Efisius to be arrested and executed. Efisius prayed and asked God that he might be allowed to intervene on behalf of the city to protect the city from evil and its enemies. He pleaded with God to grant every prayer within the city walls. Efisius was imprisoned in Cagliari and then moved in secrecy to the coast of Cagliari. He was beheaded by a Roman soldier on the beach of Nora. The people made Efisius the patron saint and the protector of the city.
As the miracle of Saint Efisius spread, in 1652, the terrible plague attacked the city of Sardinia. the people of Sardinia turned to their martyred saint who had been beheaded in the year 303. The church in Cagliari was dedicated to him and his place of imprisonment became a spiritual worshipping shrine. A small and charming church marks the spot where he was beheaded in Nora, but was taken over by the sea. With the patron saint protecting Sardinia, thousands of medieval clad crowds converge to the shrine of Saint Efisio. Sardinia’s lovely wild
beauty and spiritual air invites the intrepid traveler to witness a miracle filled with tradition, the travel of time and tempestuous secrets.