St. Longinus

S. Longino
The statue at the top of Spire G7 of the Duomo portrays Quinto Cassio Longino, soldier, martyr and Saint. His story includes redemption and revelation: according to the Christian tradition, Longino was the Roman soldier who pierced the side of Jesus on the cross to ascertain his death. Enlightened by the Grace of Christ, the centurion realised that the crucified man was actually the son of God, and exclaimed with conviction, ‹‹This man was really the Son of God››. His was the only voice outside the chorus of noise and insults. The Gospels merely call him the soldier, while the Apocryphal gospel “Acts of Pilate” refers to him by the name of Longino. Today he is a saint venerated both by the Catholic and Orthodox faith. According to the tradition, the lymph flowing from Christ’s side healed Longino from an eye disease, thus leading to his conversion. From that moment onwards Longino lived in holiness. He died a martyr, beheaded in Caesarea, Cappadocia, where he was the first to preach the Gospel. The Roman Martyrology celebrates his feast on 15 March, while the Eastern Church celebrates him on 16 October. The statue of San Longino at Duomo di Milano looks to the North-East. It was originally produced by Pompeo Marchesi, sculptor from Varese, who created both the plaster scale model, which is preserved today at Museo del Duomo di Milano, precious evidence of the activity carried out by the Duomo’s marble workers’ site, and the final marble copy, which was completed in 1833. The original sculpture is preserved today at Veneranda Fabbrica’s marble workers’ site, while a faithful copy produced in 1956 has been placed on Spire G7.