Philip Benizi de Damiani

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Philip Benizi (sometimes St Philip Benitius, and in Italian Filippo Benizzi) (August 15, 1233 – August 22, 1285) was a general superior of the Order of the Servites, and credited with reviving the order. Pope Leo X had beatified him in 1516; and Pope Clement X canonized him as a saint in 1671.

Saint Philip Benizi
BornAugust 15, 1233
Oltrarno, city-state of Florence, Tuscany, (modern-day Italy)
DiedAugust 22, 1285(1285-08-22) (aged 52)
Todi, Province of Perugia, Umbria, Italy
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
BeatifiedOctober 8, 1645, Rome by Pope Innocent X
CanonizedApril 12, 1671, Rome by Pope Clement X
Major shrineChurch of the Servites of Mary in Todi, Umbria, Italy
FeastAugust 23
AttributesHabit of the Servite Order
PatronageThe Minor Basilica in Monte Senario (Fiesole) in the Diocese of Florence, Tuscany, Italy; Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines


Philip Benizi was born on August 15 in the Florentine district of Oltrarno, the day the Blessed Virgin first appeared to the Seven Founders. He became the great propagator of the Order of the Servants of Mary (the Servites). When he was elected the general superior on June 5, 1267, the order, which had long been the object of attack from enemies, entered into the crisis of its existence. The Second Council of Lyons in 1274 put into execution the ordinance of the Fourth Lateran Council, forbidding the foundation of new religious orders, and absolutely suppressing all mendicant institutions not yet approved by the Holy See. In 1276 Pope Innocent V, in a letter addressed to Philip, declared the order suppressed. Philip then proceeded to Rome, but before his arrival there, Innocent V had died.[1]

The city of Forlì was part of the Papal States and, in 1283, the site of strong anti-papal sentiment was placed under interdict. Pope Martin V asked Philip to go to Forlì and try to reconcile the divided city. Eighteen-year-old Peregrine Laziosi (Latiosi), the son of a Ghibelline leader, was among those abusive towards Philip. However Philip's meeting with the initially antagonistic Peregrine help the young man later decide to join the Servite order. Saint Peregrine was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.[2]

Philip died on August 22, 1285, during the Octave of the Assumption at Todi, where he is buried.[3]

In the cloister of Santa Maria of the Servites in Vicenza, took place his miracles in 1319.[4]


The Church of the Servites of Mary in Todi, Umbria, contains the body of St Philip Benizi, whose statue is the work of Bernini.

St Philip's feast day is celebrated on August 23. He and Santa Maria Addolorata are the titular co-patrons of the minor basilica of Monte Senario (Vaglia), Province of Florence, in the Diocese of Florence (since 1917).

Churches named in honor of St Philip BeniziEdit

Cultural referencesEdit

Five scenes from his life were painted in the early 16th century by the Florentine Andrea del Sarto: "His Charity to a Leper", "The Smiting of the Blasphemers", "The Cure of the Woman Possessed with a Devil", "The Resurrection of Two Children near the Tomb of the Saint", and "The Veneration of his Relics".

There is a statue of him on the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic. Designed in 1714, this statue was made from Salzburg marble and donated by the Servites convent in Prague. The statue portrays him holding a cross, a book and a spray. By his legs there is the crown of the pope. A clay model of this statue can be found in the Salzburg museum.

There is also a chapel dedicated to him in the church of San Marcello al Corso in Rome, and a statue dedicated to him at The National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother, popularly known as The Grotto, in Portland, Oregon.

In Slovakia, where name days are commonly celebrated, the name day for Philip falls on August 23rd, the feast day of St Philip Benizi.


See alsoEdit


Sources and referencesEdit

  • "Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year," edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O., Cist., Ph.D., New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1952, 511 pp

External linksEdit