St. Frediano seems to have been the son of an
Irish King. He was a very diligent and clever student. It was precisely when studying the
Bible that he resolved to visit the Pope in Rome and hence go on his first pilgrimage.
When passing through Lucca he made a point of going to worship the ancient martyrs in the
church of St. Paolino.
An extremely devoted and pious person, he was
inspired by the many hermitages that were scattered around the countryside and thus
settled down to a life of solitude and pray. At the time of Pope John III, Lucca was
without a Bishop. Famine, poverty and sickness plagued the land. The order and
civilisation of the Roman Empire had crumbled. life was beset with peril. The Pope exhorts
Frediano to become the Bishop of Lucca. Frediano finally conceded. Around this time the
Lombards invaded Italy. These cruel, acrimonious and violent people completely devastated
the city of Lucca along with its diocese. But St. Frediano was a determined man of high
principles and strong forthright character. When he was driven out of the Cathedral of St.
Giovanni and St. Reparata, he doggedly went ahead with his plan to build another church in
its place, hence the Church of St. Martino. Further danger was looming. The river Serchio
(Auxer) which had many ramifications and passed on the eastern side of the city had burst
its banks and had flooded the adjacent countryside reeking havoc among the population and
devastating cropland and cattle. The people all turned to their bishop for help. Frediano,
in turn, appalled by the loss of life and destruction, knelt in fervid prayer, asking for
Divine help. It is said that St. Frediano, rake in hand, changed the course of the river,
thus restoring peace and prosperity to the land. He was obviously a very learned man, and
a skilful engineer. To the Lucchesi this remarkable feat was hailed as a miracle. And they
acclaimed him as a hero.