St. Zenobius (337 AD – 217 AD) was born into a noble Florentine family.
Educated by his pagan parents, he was converted to Christianity as a young
man by the holy bishop Theodore. A firm believer, Zenobius swiftly rose
to the position of archdeacon, and his piety and notable powers as a preacher
caught the attention of St. Ambrose, who recommended him to Pope Damasus
I. Zenobius served him first at Rome and then on a legation to Constantinople.
Upon Damasus’ death, the saint returned to Florence to continue his preaching,
and soon thereafter succeeded the Florentine bishop, much to the joy of
the people. He is said to have converted all of Florence and its outskirts
entirely, and combated Arianism. His deacons are venerated as St. Eugene
and St. Crescentius.
St. Zenobius is famous for many miracles attributed to him, including at least five resurrections of the dead. The most renowned instance was his restoration of a child who had been run over by an ox-cart while playing in front of the cathedral. Another legend states that after his death, the saint’s coffin touched a dead elm tree while being borne to the cathedral, which immediately burst into leaf.
Zenobius was first buried in Basilica di San Lorenzo di Firenze, and was later moved to the church of Santa Maria del Fiore. His feast day is May 25.
See: Alessandro Botticelli Baptism of St. Zenobius and his Appointment as Bishop, Three Miracles of St. Zenobius, Three Miracles of St. Zenobius, Last Miracle and the Death of St. Zenobius.
Domenico Ghirlandaio Madonna and Child Enthroned with Four Angels, the Archangels Michael and Raphael, and St. Gusto and St. Zenobius.
Domenico Veneziano. The Madonna and Child Enthroned with SS. Francis, John the Baptist, Zenobius and Lucy.
Ridolfo Ghirlandaio St. Zenobius Raising a Boy from the Dead, Conveyance of the Body of St. Zenobius.