Aachen Cathedral in western Germany may be able to claim a special spiritual connection with the global COVID-19/coronavirus crisis: The cathedral, one of Europe’s oldest, is said to house the relics of Saint Corona herself. What’s more, Saint Corona is believed to be the patron saint of protection against plague—depending who you ask, that is.
The cathedral, in fact, had begun renewing its focus on Saint Corona more than a year ago, well before the novel virus had emerged as a public health threat. Originally, Aachen Cathedral had planned to put the saint’s golden shrine on public view in the summer of 2020, as part of an exhibit on goldsmithery. Ironically, at a time when believers might be more drawn to Saint Corona than ever, the cathedral may have to postpone the exhibit if the crisis has not abated by summer.
The saints Vittore and Corona are martyrs of the first centuries of the Christian era, but their names are unknown. Vittore and Corona are the names given to two anonymous martyrs which mean, according to the biblical tradition, "winner" in the fight for testimony the faith and "crowned" with the crown of martyrdom.
Some experts thinks that Vittore was a Roman legionary from Cilices, and had been martyred in Syria, or in Egypt, by order of a captain called Sebastian, during the persecution by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, at the end of the II century A.D. On the other hand, according to the tradition, Corona was the young wife of one of Vittore's companions. She would have encouraged the martyr to resist the pains of martyrdom. After she declared herself a Christian, she was condemned to martyrdom too and was quartered after she was hanged to two palm trees bended down and then loosen.
The life of the two martyrs is told also by the frescoes that decorate the church and the monastery built at the end of the XV century by the monks that ruled over the sanctuary.