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St. Peter of Verona & the Manicheans

Hugh O'Reilly
Our post-Vatican II Catholics are accustomed to accept every apparition as authentic. If a vision of Our Lady is reported it is believed and embraced. For these naïve and poorly educated Catholics, we present an impressive incident from the life of St. Peter of Verona that proves not every vision is from Heaven.

A wealthy Catholic of Milan was accustomed to offer hospitality to St. Peter of Verona, the great Dominican preacher-inquisitor of the 13th century who tireless fought Manichaeism. Full of zeal for the purity of the Faith he preached the word of God and brought many people back to the True Faith.


St Peter of Verona, also known as St. Peter Martyr for his death at the hands of heretics

One evening St. Peter arrived completely worn out with fatigue at the house of his Milan friend. But his host, usually so hospitable and reverential, almost shut the door on him. What could be the meaning of this change?

Finally, after reluctantly allowed St. Peter to enter, his host confided his trouble. A Manichean heretic had come to see him, had reproached him for the hospitality that he had given to "the enemy of the truth." Finally, he said, "Come with me. I will show you the Blessed Virgin, who will tell you more about this."

His curiousity aroused, the Saint accompanied the man to the sectarian meeting [of Manicheans]. A dazzling lady appeared on the altar, holding her son in her arms. "My son," she said, "you are in error. You can see the truth is with us and not with the Catholics. I , the Mother of Jesus, tell you this."

Convinced, the unfortunate man became a Manichean.

St. Peter said to his host: "Go and tell the man who spoke to you that I also will become a Manichean if he will show me the Blessed Virgin [again]."

The host hastened to inform his new Manichean friend, who accepted with joy that proposal. St. Peter passed the night in prayer.

lady smoke

The dazzling lady disappears
in a cloud of black smoke

The next morning at Mass he reserved one of the consecrated Hosts, which he enclosed in a pyx and then placed reverently on his chest. Thus armed, he set out for the Manichean meeting. The person who took the part of medium caused the dazzling lady to appear on the altar. She reproached the new arrival with his ignorance of the truth.

Whereupon St. Peter, raising aloft the Holy Host, said to the apparition: "If you are truly the Mother of God, adore thy Son!"

At these words the phantom disappeared in a cloud of black smoke, leaving the hall filled with a foul smell. The Demon had fled before his Creator.


St. Peter of Verona, born of Manichean parents, rejected that sect even as a child. While a student at Bologna, he entered the Order of Preachers, receiving the habit form the hands of St. Dominic, and set out to preach against the Manicheans.

Toward the end of his life he received the office of Inquisitor, which he carried out to great effect. On April 6, 1252, while returning from Como to Milan he was set upon by a group of heretics and was fatally stabbed. As he lay dying on the roadway, he wrote on the ground with his own blood his final testament to the Catholic Faith which he had so staunchly defended in life: Credo in unum Deum.


Blason de Charlemagne
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Adapted from P. Eugène Couet, Les Miracles historiques du Saint Sacrement,
Bureau de la Revue Eucharistique, 1913
Posted September 7, 2019