|Saint Paulinus Patron, 12th July|
Every year, on the evening of 12 July, during the Feast of St. Paulinus, patron of Lucca, we dispute the traditional Palio della Balestra, between the shooters belonging to the local Terzieri. The race takes place under the regulation in 1443, which appears to be the oldest regulation of shooting in Europe.
There is a legend that the Gospel was preached at Lucca by St. Paulinus, a disciple of St. Peter, and the discovery in 1197 of a stone, recording the deposition of the relics of Paulinus, a holy martyr, apparently confirmed this pious belief.
On the stone, however, St. Paulinus is not called Bishop of Lucca, nor is there any allusion to his having lived in Apostolic times ("Analecta Bollandiana", 1904, p. 491; 1905, p. 502). The first bishop of certain date is Maximus, present at the Council of Sardica (343).
At the Council of Rimini (359), Paulinus, Bishop of Lucca, was present. Perhaps the above-mentioned legend arose through a repetition of this Paulinus. The legend tells us also that he was born in Antioch, but sent to Lucca by Saint Peter the apostle.
It has been said that he was martyred there, together with a priest, his deacon and a soldier. Paulinus governed Lucca from about 355 to 365 (Benedictines).