Felix, born on his father Hermias’ estate at Nola near Naples, Italy, was the son of a former Roman soldier. Upon his father’s demise, Felix selflessly distributed his inheritance to the needy.
Ordained by Bishop St. Maximus of Nola, he served as Maximus’ assistant. During Decius’ persecution of Christians in 250, when Maximus fled to the desert, Felix was mistakenly seized and imprisoned in his place.
Legend has it that an angel secured Felix’s release from prison, guiding him to the ailing Maximus, whom he brought back to Nola. Despite the constant threat to his life even after Decius’ death in 251, Felix remained concealed until the persecution subsided.
After Maximus passed away, the people of Nola unanimously chose Felix as their Bishop. However, he humbly declined the honor in favor of Quintus, a senior priest.
For the remainder of his life, Felix resided on a small piece of land, generously sharing his possessions with the less fortunate. He eventually passed away on January 14. Following his death, his tomb gained renown for the reported miracles that occurred there.
Almost a century later, in 410, St. Paulinus, the Bishop of Nola, wrote about Felix, providing information about him while also incorporating legendary elements that had developed over the intervening years. The feast day of St. Felix is commemorated on January 14th.