Thursday, April 29, 2021

Blessed Carino, the Assassin of St Peter Martyr

One of the most unusual true stories in the annals of Catholic hagiography is that of Bl. Carino, the assassin of the Saint whose feast is traditionally kept today, Peter the Martyr. Carino was one of the two men hired to kill Peter for his work against the Cathars, as he was traveling in the area of Milan; the other, Albertino, fled in fear at the moment of the attack, and it was Carino who dealt the martyr his death-blow with a knife to the skull, and fatally wounded his companion, brother Dominic. Carino was taken to Milan, where he would certainly have been tried and executed, if not lynched by popular uprising beforehand; the mayor of the city, however, was involved in the plot against St Peter, and arranged for Carino’s escape.
The Assassination of St Peter Martyr, ca. 1507, by the Veneatian painter Giovanni Bellini (1430 ca. - 1516; public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.)
Intending to make his way to Rome and obtain a Papal pardon, he took gravely ill at Forlì, where he confessed his sin to the local Dominican prior. After recovering, he respected the promise made as part of his penance, to enter a religious house as a “conversus”; he then lived forty years in the Dominican house of Forlì. The totality of his conversion after his terrible deed, and the humility of his life of penance, were popularly recognized after his death in 1293. The story is told that at his own insistence, he was buried in the unconsecrated ground reserved for violent criminals, but the people of Forlì prevailed upon the Dominican Fathers to move him into their church, first in the sacristy, and later in a chapel with two other blesseds of the same house, James Salomoni and Marcolino Amanni.

In 1879, before the Dominican house of Forlì was confiscated by the Italian state, the relics of Bl. Carino were moved to the cathedral. In 1934, at the behest of the Blessed Ildefonse Schuster, his head and part of his body were translated to the church of St Martin in Balsamo, his native town, to be followed by the rest of the relics thirty years later. The seminary of Seveso, close to where the actual martyrdom took place, retains one of the most particular relics in history, the weapon which he used to kill St Peter.

The knife which Carino used to kill St Peter the Martyr
From Italian Wikipedia, two images of the translation of Carino’s relics in 1934, before their transfer, and newly arrived at San Martino in Balsamo.

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