The history of St. Christina dates back to the 2nd century C. E. She was a 11 years old, quite beautiful girl, when she became Christian and, because of this, she was segregated in a tower by her father Urbanus, officer of the Emperor, to force her to renounce her faith. Christina was scourged and imprisoned and, later, handed to the judges, who inflicted her terrible tortures. In the prison she was comforted and healed by three angels. Then, she was brought to the final torture: she was thrown into the lake with a stone tied to the neck. But the latter, supported by the angels, floated and took the girl back to the shore. Christina was brought back to the prison. The judges started again with terrible but ineffective tortures, which ended after two spear shots killed her.
St. Christina is the patron of several Italian communes: Bolsena (VT), Campomarino (CB), Formicola (CE), Granze (PD), Santa Cristina e Bissone (PV), Santa Cristina Gela (PA), Santa Cristina Valgardena (BZ) e Sepino (CB). Her body, according to the tradition, rests in the Cathedral of Palermo. Remains of the Saint were donated by the Diocese of Palermo to the Mother Church of Santa Cristina Gela in 1991. Another story says that her body rests in Toffia, in the region of Sabina, inside a transparent urn. There’s a further tradition, according to which in 1099, during the Crusades, some French pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land stopped in Bolsena and stole the Saint’s skeleton to bring with them to Palestine. During their journey they had a rest in a small Molisan village, Sepino, where they were discovered by the locals in the night and the skeleton has remained here since then.
What is the tie between St. Christina and Campomarino? It derives from another story: the Normans and the Basilian monks brought the worship to the Saint in Sicily, Calabria, Apulia and Molise at the beginning of the 9th century. Still today, despite the numerous and accurate research works and avoiding invented conjectures, it cannot be explained both the presence of the Saint’s relics in Campomarino and how much the martyr’s worship is rooted and developed. Anyway the feast is quite solemn and felt by the people. Until recently it was usual to invite also friends from the nearby villages and to host at lunch a member of the music band. The typical lunch includes: Lasagne (even with broth), Fusilli or Homemade Recchietelle
with lamb sauce. Something was never missed in old times was the round, traditional Campomarino watermelon, not too big and with a quite green peel, a type no more cultivated.
The feast lasts for three days: St. Ann on July 23rd and St. Christina on 24th-25th. People of Campomarino are awaken by the band and the fireworks and go to the Church of Santa Maria a Mare for the Holy Mess. In the afternoon there is the solemn procession of the simulacrum of St. Christina through the narrow streets of the old town, then it goes to the modern part and stops at the Madonnina and the Church of Holy Spirit for praying moments. Then the procession goes back to the Mother Church where, after some fireworks, the simulacrum is exhibited to be kissed by the worshippers. In the evening, Campomarino is visited by the inhabitants of nearby communes and, thanks also to the carousels, many people crowd the town centre. After the band’s concert, there are again fireworks. On July 25th there is the thanksgiving mess and usually, after the end, there is the exhibition of a famous singer or band. After the feast, everyone starts the countdown for next year.