Efisio. Martyred by the Romans Sanctified by the Christians Cherished by the contemporaries.
For the first time ever, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale of Cagliari is hosting a major exhibition dedicated to Efisio, one of the most revered saints of Sardinia. Between the passionate veneration for the Saint , the broader program for the recognition of the commemoration as an intangible UNESCO cultural heritage, and the beginning of a religious journey, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale of Cagliari is giving an important contribution recapturing the events leading to the time of the Saint’s martyrdom. It was back in 303 AD, that the Emperor Diocleziano sent the soldier Ephysius to the Roman Kalares to fight the Christians.
After experiencing the appearance of a crystal cross that left a mark on his hand, Ephysius converted to Christianity, refusing to wear the clothes of the persecutor. He was then condemned, flayed, and martyred on the seashore of Nora, currently Pula’s area.
Inside the Museum Efisio is already saint, as portrayed in the precious eighteenth century sculpture by A.G. Lonis, purposely placed in front of marble statues, symbols of the Roman power, to “ideally” disclose the perpetrators of his martyrdom. It is an opportunity to better illustrate the important, and at times neglected, historical period of the Roman Sardinia during 238 BC, soon after the first Punic war.
For the first time, the story of Efisio, and the observations of numerous researchers who collaborated with the exhibition organization, flow through the Museum setting among the Neolithic goddesses mothers, the Nuraghic bronzes, the warriors of Mont’e Brama, the Punic stele, the Roman finds, the first traces of Christianity, the Byzantine bas-reliefs of the island of San Macario (Pula), to finally reach the traditional folk costumes, and precious relics kept by the Saint’s Confraternity.