Though sometimes forgotten, the Orthodox and Catholic Churches have long commemorated a saint who is thought to protect against disease and pandemics, such as today’s coronavirus.
Saint Corona (who also known as St. Kron or St. Kronpeth) is the guardian over all those who are suffering from diseases and epidemics.
Corona lived in the middle of the 2nd century AD in Italy, and was the wife of a soldier during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus.
She was known to be present at the execution of St. Victor, offering him encouragement to endure his martyrdom until the end.
Pagans arrested her for her assistance to St. Victor, whereupon she confessed her unwavering faith in Christ. She was then tortured and put to death.
The memorial day for both martyrs, Victor and Corona, is held each November 24, and their feast day is May 14. A church, SS. Vittore e Corona, was built in their memory by the Crusaders on the slopes of Mt. Miesna in northern Italy.
The martyrdom of Sts. Victor and Corona. Anonymous French artist. Public domain/Courtesy mags.com/pdfcatalogues/illuminatedminatures.pdf
St. Corona is also honored in Austria and Germany, with a chapel dedicated to her in Sauerlach, near Munich. Two churches named for St. Corona are in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Passau, and a statue of the martyr can be seen in Münster Cathedral.
In past years gamblers also invoked her name, seeking success at the tables. Today, in a more serious vein, her help is sought by the faithful in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The website for the parish church of St. Corona in Kirchberg am Wechsel in Austria states, “Holy Corona serves as an advocate for requests for steadfastness in faith, for requests against storms and crop failures, for averting epidemics and for requests for help in the small needs of everyday life.”