Saint Domnius “Duje”, the patron saint of Split

Split is special city in many ways, it is city of hot Mediterranean blood and strong local identity, where two things are most important, or so to say, sacred for most of the people. Of those two, Hajduk local football club is one and Saint Domnius our patron saint is the other. This is the story about our patron saint.
According a legend Saint Domnius (or Duje as we call him) was a disciple of Saint Peter and he was sent by Peter personally to spread Christianity in the roman province Dalmatia, here in Dalmatia he entered the legend and became patron of our city. Diocese of Split was propagating this legend for a long time, believing that if you could trace lineage of your diocese to some of the original apostles, especially Peter, you would have large impact in the church affairs. The legend was off course just a legend, unless at least one of them lived for couple hundred years, because Peter lived in the 1st century AD, while Domnius lived in 3rd century AD. Saint Domnius was born in Antioch present day Turkey which at the time was one of the largest cities in the empire, there as active member of Christian Community he was preparing himself for the future missionary work. When he was ready for the task he went to Salona, large roman city which was capital of province Dalmatia and there he was ordained as first bishop of Salona. Before him, some other missionaries were in Dalmatia, St. Paul send Titus and there were few others, but none of them had larger impact on number of Christians until Domnius arrived. When he was appointed Christianity grew rapidly, but unfortunate for them was that his work coincided with Diocletians persecutions and these were the greatest persecutions that empire has ever seen. In a first wave of persecutions eight leading members of Christian Community were captured and martyred, while St, Domnius was decapitated in Salona amphitheater. Diocletian emperor behind persecutions retired in his palace in Split, where he eventually died, but Christianity did not vanish, it prevailed and bishop Domnius was venerated saint. Salona was destroyed in 7th century and St. Domnius relics were transferred to Diocletians palace in Split, he was buried in Diocletians mausoleum, making this one of the most bizarre and ironic twists in history, as Mausoleum of Diocletian, greatest persecutor of Christians of all time became cathedral of new city where bones of his victim St. Domnius were buried. Saint Domnisu day is celebrated on 7th of May with grandiose procession.
This year on 7th May 2020 we are a bit unfortunate, procesion and celebration will be held much more humble than previous years as result of COVID19 pandemics.