In Caltagirone (Sicily) in the Basilica of San Giacomo, the relics of Blessed Gerlando known as “of Alemagna” or “of Apollonia” have been venerated for centuries.
The oldest authors said he was originally from Germany or Poland while according to more recent studies he was Sicilian, a native of Piazza Armerina, where there are writtend proofs of the presence in the 13th century of an Alemanni family, settled there from Bologna.
Gerlando spent a good part of his life as a religious knight at the Commenda della Madonna del Tempio, a few kilometers from Caltagirone, of which he became the guardian: he became the protector of widows and orphans, and at the same time he engaged in harsh penance practices.
He died around 1271 and was immediately the object of a devout popular cult. On June 19th, 1327 his remains were identified and transferred to the Basilica of San Giacomo Maggiore in Caltagirone. His skull is still kept there today in a silver case, which is exhibited for public veneration on various occasions, while the rest of his body is in the basilica’s reliquary.