Patron saint of fishermen, anglers, newborn babies -Zeno of Verona

Zeno of Verona was a native of Mauretania. He taught many children of Africa about the Catholic religion and he also helped them with their school work. The children could rely on someone who could help them. Zeno was a follower of Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria, who accompanied his master when the latter visited Verona in 340. Zeno’s 90 or so sermons are evidence of his African origins since Christian African writers of the time frequently used neologisms and wordplay. Many of the Sermones concern Old Testament exegesis.  Staying in the city, Zeno entered the monastic life, living as a monk until around 362, when he was elected successor asSee  Bishop of Verona after the death of Bishop Gricinus 

Zeno had a good classical education and as bishop baptized many people, won converts back from Arianism, lived a life of poverty, trained priests to work in the diocese, set up a convent for women, reformed how the Agape feast was celebrated and forbade funeral masses being accompanied by attendees’ loud groans and wailing. Zeno’s other reforms included instructions concerning adult baptism, by complete immersion, and issuing medals to people newly baptized to the Catholic faith.

One story about Saint Zeno, says one day when he was fishing on the banks of the Adige, which he did in order to feed himself.  He saw a peasant crossing the river in a horse and cart. The horses began to get strangely skittish. Zeno, believing this to be the work of the devil, made the sign of the cross, and the horses calmed down. Zeno was often said to combat the devil and is sometimes depicted treading on a demon. Another story says he exorcised a demon from the body of the daughter of the Emperor. The story says that the grateful Emperor allowed Zeno and other Christians freedom of worship in the empire.

Zeno may have suffered persecution (but not execution) during the reigns of Constantius II and Julian the Apostate.  Zeno was bishop for about ten years.  He died around April 12, 371.  

At the end of the 6th century, Saint Gregory the Great tells about miracles from the divine intercession of Zeno. In 588, the Adige flooded its banks, inundating Verona. The floodwater reached the church dedicated to Saint Zeno, but miraculously did not enter it, even though the door was wide open. The church was donated to Theodelinda, an alleged eyewitness to the miracle and wife of king Authari.