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  • The Legend of San Panfilo

    San Panfilo, protector of Sulmona, was born at Pacino, which is a place between Sulmona, Petterano, and Canzano. San Panfilo had embraced the religion of Christ, but his father was a heathen. And so they didn't agree in the family. The father hated the son, and thought how he could make him perish. He ordered him to mount on a waggon, and from Pacino, which stands on a steep rock, he had to go down to the valley in the direction of the Gizio, The son obeyed. The father thought, 'Now he'll tumble down that rock, waggon and oxen and all, and so much the better!' But the angels guided Panfilo. Slowly, slowly he came down on the waggon, without any hurt. On the rocks are still to be seen the imprint of the oxen's feet and the ruts made by the wheels.

    Panfilo was made Bishop of Sulmona, but he had to stay six months at Sulmona and six months at Péntima, among the ruins of Corfinium. When he died, he was at Péntima, and four canons of Sulmona were with him. Said one of these canons, 'Ah! but we are unlucky! Now the body of our holy bishop will remain at Péntima! Why should we not take it back to Sulmona? It is night, and no one will see us.' And the other three answered, 'Yes, yes! Put him on our shoulders and let us go.'

    And so they did. They were near the city, when in the Ficoroni's place they could go no further, for their great thirst. One of them touched the earth with his hands, and said, 'Ah! if only there were a fountain here!' Hardly had he said it when he found his hand wet. A fountain of fresh water had sprung up. And that fountain is there still to-day, and it is called the fountain of San Panfilo.

    When it had passed the Ponte della Vella, the corpse became heavy as lead, and they could get it no farther. So they stopped, and in that spot was built the church.1

    1 De Nino, Usi e Costumi, vol. iv. p. 227.

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    Macdonell, Anne. In the Abruzzi. New York: F. A. Stokes Company, 1908?. 219-220

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