The campanile of the cathedral, bearing the name of Sant'Eustachio, rises above Matera, Source: Depositphotos

Name your kid after this Italian town's patron saint, get cash

Name your kid after this Italian town's patron saint, get cash

The historic Matera is doing its best to keep the name Eustachio from disappearing into oblivion

Here’s a curious initiative taken up by a civil association in Matera – paying money to parents of newborn ones if they name their kid Eustachio. If you’re wondering why this specific name is so important as to deserve a financial reward – that’s because it’s also the name of the local patron saint of the UNESCO-protected Italian town.

Naming kids after saints was quite the common standard back in the day all over Italy, however, these days it’s a custom that is gradually falling out of fashion replaced with other trendy choices.

The Maria Santissima della Bruna association says, quoted by Wanted in Rome, that paying the money to parents taking up the offer is a "small gesture to thank them for their desire to perpetuate the name of our patron saint, also among future generations."

Heritage-rich town and not only in name

The offer is motivated by "devotion, continuity and tradition", says the association, which organises celebrations to venerate Matera's two patron saints: the Madonna della Bruna and Sant’Eustachio.

As for the saint, he is also the protector of firefighters, hunters and torture victims. He was an Ancient Roman general who converted to Christianity after having visions of the cross while hunting. Much like other saints from that era, he was martyred at the orders of the Roman emperor who was infuriated that Eustachio refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods.

At some point, he became the patron saint of Matera, the city in Basilicata that draws in tourists from all over the world with its unique landscape featuring many cave dwellings. The local cathedral is jointly dedicated to Sant’Eustachio and Madonna della Bruna.

The association, however, has not disclosed the amount of money that it offers parents willing to name their son Eustachio. There have also been voices of criticism that this seems very old-fashioned and inauthentic. Others have argued that the same reward should also be extended to baby girl parents willing to name their kid Bruna, after the local Madonna.



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