Guide

This year’s Saint Devota celebrations

princely-family-celebrates-saint-devota-monaco
The Princely Family sets the boat ablaze during the Saint Devota celebrations. © Communication Department / Manuel Vitali

The celebrations in honour of Saint Devota, patron saint of Monaco, will take place on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 January,

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Do you know what this tradition is about? The “Legend of Saint Devota” tells the story of Monaco’s patron saint.

According to the legend, Devota, a young Christian woman from Corsica, was martyred by Barbarus, who was the Prefect under Emperors Diocletian and Maximian, placing the events around 303 or 304 AD.

Her body was stolen the following night by fellow believers, and put in a boat. The boat was meant to take her body to Africa but was blown off course by a storm. Guided by a dove to European shores, the boat landed at what would later become Monaco, a port of call in Roman times. She was taken to be buried in a chapel in the “Vallon des Gaumates”, near the port, on 27 January of the same year. Under Honoré II, in the 17th century, Saint Devota became the Patron Saint of Monaco.

The tradition has continued every year since 1874: a boat is burnt on a pyre, with the Sovereign and Princely Family in attendance, along with leading Monegasque figures. This is the schedule for 2024’s celebrations:

Friday 26 January:

  • 10.30 am – Eglise Sainte-Dévote: Traditions Mass, in Monegasque.
  • 6.30 pm – Start of the procession at the Grand Prix Chicane.
  • 6.40 pm – Vallon des Gaumates: arrival of the boat and blessing of the relics. The procession continues.
  • 7 pm – Eglise Sainte-Dévote: Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
  • 7.45 pm – Quai Albert Ier: The Princely Family sets the boat alight.
  • 8h15 pm – Fireworks and music.

Saturday 27 January:

  • 10 am – Monaco Cathedral: Pontifical Mass. Following the mass, a procession will take place on the Rock.
  • 6 pm – Monaco Cathedral: candlelit concert by the “Tenebrae Choir” with the children’s choir from the Académie Rainier III.