Oratory of Saint Anthony the Abbot at Teolo
Oratory of Saint Anthony the Abbot at Teolo. The church, located on Mount della Madonna in Teolo, was built on the ruins of an ancient monastery dedicated to St. Anthony the Abbot who has always been considered the patron and protector of farmers and domestic animals. He lived in Egypt in the fourth century, where he founded the Eastern monasticism. The religious building stands near a natural cave, where we find one the most elevated water sources gushing on the Euganean Hills. According to tradition, between the eighth and ninth centuries here lived Saint Felicita, who would forgo riches and comforts to lead a hermit’s life in this place. Her remains were buried in the Basilica of Saint Justina in Padua and a deep-rooted popular devotion to her spread, fostering monastic attendance also near the cave on Mount della Madonna.
A first male monastery inhabited by Benedictine dates back to the 13th century; in 1405 the coenoby was deserted and in ruins, and it becomes a dependency of the abbey of Saint Justina. The emblems carved in stone on the gable of the entrance are witnesses of this epoch: a royal crown on which the cross stands between a palm branch (symbol of the martyrdom of Saint Justina) and an olive twig (symbol of peace). In the seventeenth century it became dependent on the abbey of Praglia until the Napoleonic edict sanctioned its suppression. What remains of the ancient coenoby is only a perimeter wall and the church with the high belfry, which fortunately have been preserved through the renovation works carried out by private initiative, the last in 1980. Worthy of note is the surrounding natural environment where some dwarf prickly pears grow wild; this is a typical Mediterranean plant, originally native to the rocky plateaus of Central America. On January 17, the day that celebrates Saint Anthony the Abbot, the parish of Teolo organizes a festival called St. Anthony’s “porseeto” (piggy). This “sagra” is in memory of the traditional blessing of the pets and the medieval custom of the monks of the order of St.Anthony to keep a pig for the poor and the sick.
Via Trespole, Teolo (PD)