Zadar has four patron saints. If that seems a bit excessive, read the History section, you’ll soon understand why. Here’s the gang:
St Simeon – Sveti Šimun
Saint Simeon (or Simon) is said to have been present at the birth of Jesus, which is probably why women wishing to bear a son appeal to him. This also explains why he is the most popular patron saint: around here, the birth of a son occasions much quaffing of rakija and Tarzan-like chest-beating. The saint’s body is kept in an amazing casket which is opened every year on October 8 (see Essential Zadar).
St Chrysogonus – Sveti Krševan
St Chrysogonus (or Grisogono in Italian) is the main patron saint of the city: the City of Zadar Day celebrations are always held on St Chrysogonus’ day (November 24). You can see him riding a horse on Zadar’s coat of arms and flag. He was persecuted and beheaded by Roman Emperor Diocletian (who built the palace at Split).
St Anastasia was also martyred under Diocletian, and is also said to have been present at the birth of Christ. She cared for persecuted Christians, and unfortunately met the same fate herself – she was tortured and beheaded. Her remains now lie in a marble reliquary in the Cathedral, which is dedicated to her. See also page XX, “Anastasia’s dream”.
St Zoilo – (no translation available)
The least well-known of Zadar’s keepers, St Zoilo rescued St Chrysogonus’ body when it was washed up on the shore, and buried it at his home in Venice. Although Chrysogonus had been beheaded, his body was miraculously whole. For this and other kind acts, St Zoilo’s relics were brought to Zadar after his death.