In Rimini, it is still possible today to visit the church that was built in honor of the Eucharistic miracle performed by Saint Anthony of Padua in 1227. This episode is also cited in Begninitas, considered one of the most ancient sources regarding the life of Saint Anthony. “This saintly man was speaking with a faithless heretic who was opposed to the sacrament of the Eucharist and whom the saint had nearly led to the Catholic faith. But, after numerous arguments, this heretic declared: ‘If you, Anthony, produce a miracle and demonstrate to me that the Body of Christ is truly Communion, I will completely renounce my heresy and immediately convert to the Catholic faith.
Why don’t we have a wager? I’ll keep one of my beasts locked up for three days to feel the torments of hunger. Then I will bring it forth in public and show it food. You will stand in front of it with what you maintain is the Body of Christ. If the beast, leaving aside its food, hurries to adore its God, I will share the faith of your Church.’” Saint Anthony, illuminated and inspired from above, accepted the challenge.
At the chosen day and hour, the priest and heretic entered the Grand Piazza (today the Three Martyrs Piazza). Saint Anthony was followed by Catholic faithful; Bonovillo (this was the name of the Catharist heretic) by his allies in unbelief. The saint held between his hands the consecrated Host, contained in a monstrance; the heretic held his hungry mule.