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Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon

Hinweise zur Catholic Encyclopedia

St. Peter Gonzalez


Popularly known as St. Elmo, b. in 1190 at Astorga, Spain; d. 15 April, 1246, at Tuy. He was educated by his uncle, Bishop of Astorga, who gave him when very young a canonry. Later he entered the Dominican Order and became a renowned preacher; crowds gathered to hear him and numberless conversions were the result of his efforts. He accompanied Ferdinand III of Leon on his expeditions against the Moors, but his ambition was to preach to the poor. He devoted the remainder of his life to the instruction and conversion of the ignorant and of the mariners in Galicia and along the coast of Spain. He lies buried in the cathedral of Tuy and was beatified in 1254 by Innocent IV.

St. Elmo's fire is a pale electrical discharge sometimes seen on stormy nights on the tips of spires, about the decks and rigging of ships, in the shape of a ball or brush, singly or in pairs, particularly at the mastheads and yardarms. The mariners believed them to be the souls of the departed, whence they are also called corposant (corpo santo). The ancients called them Helena fire when seen singly, and Castor and Pollux when in pairs.

Despite the common epithet Saint, Peter Gonzalez (or Gonzales) was never formally canonized, although his cult was confirmed in 1741 by Pope Benedict XIV. The diminutive Elmo (or Telmo) belongs properly to the martyr-bishop St. Erasmus (d. c. 303), one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, of whose name Elmo is a contraction. However, as St. Erasmus is the patron of sailors generally and Peter Gonzalez of Spanish and Portuguese sailors, they have both been popularly invoked as St. Elmo.

BUTLER, Lives of the Saints; HARRIS, The Dioscuri in Christian Legends (London, 1903); DRESSEL, Lehrbuch der Physik (Freiburg, 1895).




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Aus: Charles G. Herbermann: The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company, New York 1907 - 1912 - zuletzt aktualisiert am 00.00.2014
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Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek verzeichnet das Ökumenische Heiligenlexikon in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sind im Internet über http://d-nb.info/969828497 abrufbar.