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d.303?. Martyr. He is said to have been born of pagan parents in Lucania, S Italy, and secretly brought up as a Christian by his nurse Crescentio and her husband Modestus. All three were martyred in Diocletian's* persecution. He is invoked against sudden death, hydrophobia, and the convulsive disorder known as chorea or “St. Vitus' Dance.” His cult spread in the Middle Ages, especially among Germans and Slavs. He is sometimes regarded as the patron saint of comedians and actors.