Saint Expedite

Saint Expedite

Saint Expedite, or Saint Expeditus, is supposedly a martyred Christian saint. He was however removed from the modern Roman Catholic Martyrology (official list of venerated Saints) since the 1960’s. According to a legend, Saint Expeditus was a Roman centurion in Armenia who became a Christian and later got beheaded during the Diocletian Persecution in 303. His feast day is April 19, and the place of his death believed to be in Malatya Turkey.

Saint Expedite is typically depicted as a young Roman centurion holding aloft a cross marked HODIE ("today" in Latin) and crushing a crow beneath his right foot. Out of the dying crow's mouth issues a word-ribbon, CRAS ("tomorrow" in Latin). Saint Expedite expels the unknown certainty of tomorrow in the face of a sure today.

St Expedite is very popular in some parts of the world, including in France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Latin America. In Brazil for example he is the ‘Rock Star’ of saints, with thousands of billboards, makeshift altars, radio shows and books dedicated to him.
In the United States, he is especially venerated in New Orleans, where a funny myth attempts to explain his obscure popularity. The story goes that in outfitting the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, the priests sent off to Spain for a large and beautiful statue of the Virgin, and many months later, by ship, they received TWO crates instead of one. They opened the first and it contained the statue of Mary, which they had commissioned, and then they turned to the unexpected second crate, which only bore the legend EXPEDITE on the outside. This they opened, to find the statue of a Roman centurion. In their simple ignorance, they mistook the shipping instructions, EXPEDITE, meaning, "expedite this shipment" to be the name of a saint.

While St. Expedite could be perceived as a fully canonized saint recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, he is actually quite popular in folk magic.

He is often invoked in the African-American magical tradition of Hoodoo, where it is customary to make an offering to him of a glass of water, flowers and a pound cake. He is believed to grant any request within his power on the provision that the petitioner recommends his invocation to others, thereby spreading his cult. Refer to How to Cast an Easy Magic Spell.

In Haitian Vodou he represents Baron LaKwa a spirit associated with death, cemeteries, children and sex. In New Orleans Voodoo he often represents Baron Samedi, the spirit of death.

Saint Expedite is the patron of those who hope for quick and fast solutions to their problems. People who want to end delays, and who seek quick financial success believe in St Expedite.

His aid is also sought by those who wish to overcome procrastination as a personal bad habit, as well as by shop-keepers and sailors.

See also Interview with a Voodoo Witch.

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