Philip Benizi de Damiani

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 recognised his cult 24 January 1516 essentially beatifying him (although this was not a formal category at the time); and Pope Clement X canonized him as a saint in 1671.

Saint Philip Benizi
BornAugust 15, 1233
Florence, Republic of Florence (modern-day Italy)
DiedAugust 22, 1285(1285-08-22) (aged 52)
Todi, Papal States (modern-day Italy)
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
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, Lily, book, papal tiara
PatronageMinor Basilica of Monte Senario (Vaglia) in the Diocese of Florence, Tuscany, Italy; Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines


Philip Benizi was born on August 15 in the Florentine district of Oltrarno, of the noble family of Benizi. Of his childhood but little is known. He entered the order of the Servites as a lay brother and was sent to a convent three leagues from Florence, where he displayed the utmost diligence. He would retire into a cavern near the church to meditate. Two Dominicans who chanced to visit him were so struck by his piety that they insisted he become a priest.[1]

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.[2]

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 IV asked Philip to go to Forlì and try to reconcile the divided city. According to certain sixteenth century legende of Philip Benizi, an 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 inspired the young man to later join the Servites, himself being canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.[3] According to Peregrine's earliest legenda, this meeting between Philip and Peregrine never happened.

Philip died on August 22, 1285, during the Octave of the Assumption at Todi, where he is buried.[4]

In the cloister of Santa Maria of the Servites in Vicenza, took place his miracles in 1319.[5]


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 (in Vaglia, Metropolitan City of Florence), in the Diocese of Florence (since 1917).

Churches named after St Philip BeniziEdit

United StatesEdit

There are churches named for Saint Philip Benizi in: Black Canyon City, Arizona; Fullerton, California; Belle Glade, Florida; Jonesboro, Georgia,[6] Chicago, Illinois; Grafton, Massachusetts; Viburnum, Missouri; Darby, Montana; Creswell; Oregon City, Oregon; Moncks Corner, South Carolina; Poteet, Texas, and Ford, Washington.


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 a Child before the bier of the Saint", and "The Veneration of his Relics". These appear in the atrium of the Servite church of the SS. Annunziata, Florence.

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 23, his feast day.

Life of St. Philip Benizi at St. Philip Benizi Parish, Fullerton, CA


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hinds, Allen Banks. "Saint Philip Benizzi". A Garner of Saints 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 April 2017   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ Griffin, Patrick. "Order of Servites." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 1 Apr. 2013
  3. ^ "Biography of St. Peregrine, The Order of Friar Servants of Mary". Archived from the original on 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2013-04-02.
  4. ^ "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, p.332
  5. ^ Benigni, Umberto. "Diocese of Vicenza." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 4 Apr. 2013
  6. ^ Saint Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Jonesboro, Georgia

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