Oratory of Beato Gherardo



The Oratory of Beato Gherardo takes the name from Gherardo Mecatti, a man of humble origins with a troubled life yet full of adventures.

Born in 1174 into a peasant family and orphaned as a result of a plague, he followed the owners of the land where his parents worked to the Holy Land, where he was unfortunately taken prisoner by the Turks. After a few years, he was released but decided to stay in Jerusalem. However, realizing the atrocities of the Crusades and the Christian faith, he returned home and retired to Villamagna.

Nonetheless, it was not yet time for Gherardo to enjoy the tranquility that this land offers, and so he left for a subsequent crusade to Palestine. During the trip, his ship was attacked by Saracens pirates. It was on this occasion that Gherardo performed his first miracle: invoking the help of the Lord, he ordered his companions not to abandon ship and to resist the attack of the Saracens who, by divine grace, all died in a shipwreck. He decided to remain in the Holy Land for seven years during which he took care of sick pilgrims. Burdened by the insistence for new miracles he returned to Italy where he met Francis of Assisi who consecrated him into the Franciscan order.

After these many adventures, Gherardo decided to retire to the Oratory in Villamagna, which was then dedicated to him, to take care of the poor and the sick. Thereafter, numerous miraculous healings and small miracles were attributed to him; above all, the miracle of the cherries. On a cold winter’s day, tired and exhausted, Brother Gherardo leaned against a cherry tree to rest and suddenly the tree became filled with ripe and juicy fruit which nourished him. In memory of this miracle, until the eighteenth century, every three years, the procession of the Blessed Gerard relics would take place, then preserved in the Oratory, and during this May 13th event, blessed cherries were distributed to all present in memory of his simple little miracle. The remains are now kept in the Pieve di San Donnino (Parish Church of San Donnino).

The oratory was built in the early fourteenth century, but due to the fame and the cult of Gherardo, many decorative elements were later added and the interior was completely painted in the fifteenth century with stories of the Blessed.

How to get

[mapsmarker marker=”25″]

  • Oratory

    of Beato Gherardo

  • of Beato Gherardo

  • of Beato Gherardo

La redazione del giornale eChianti.it