Erasmus, also known as Elmo was the bishop of Formiae, Campagna, Italy, and suffered martyrdom during Diocletian's persecution of the Christians. He once fled to Mount Lebanon during the persecution and lived a life of solitude there for some time, being fed by a raven. After the emperor discovered his whereabouts, he was tortured and thrown in prison. Legend claims that an angel released him and he departed for Illyricum, but eventually suffered a martyr's death by disembowelment in 303. Legend records that during his transport by boat to his eventual death a blue light appeared the at mastheads before and after a storm. The seamen took it as a sign of Erasmus's protection. This came to be known as "St.Elmo's fire," the blue electrical discharges that under certain atmospheric conditions are seen on the masts or riggings of ships. Supposedly his association with ordnance came about because early explosive manufacturing facilities were destroyed by static electricity discharges preceded by a blue glow and thus he was invoked as protection.
His Feast Day is June 2.
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Updated 2005-10-07 @ 1000