Feast of St. Deogratias (March 22)   3 comments

Above:  Carthaginian Ruins

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT DEOGRATIAS (DIED IN 457)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Carthage

History records that competing forces tore the Western Roman Empire apart.  Among these was the group called the Vandals, Slavic and Germanic tribes.  They, along with many others, embraced the Arian heresy.  But their Arianism did not weaken the Empire; their military campaigns of conquest did.  They had conquered Spain by 439, when they took the city of Carthage, in northern Africa.  They exiled the bishop, Quodvultdeus, and most of his clergymen.  There was no bishop in the city for fourteen years.

Emperor Valentinian III (reigned 425-455), toward the end of his reign, persuaded the Vandals to permit the appointment of a new bishop, circa 454.  This bishop was a priest named Deogratias, whose Latin name means “Thanks be to God.”

Gaiseric, the Vandal leader, sacked Rome in 457.  He returned to northern Africa with many enslaved captives, including family members, whom he sold apart from each other.  Bishop Deogratias, full of compassion, sold much of the material wealth of his diocese to raise funds to ransom as many of these slaves as possible and to distribute food daily.  He also converted two large Carthaginian churches into shelters for these unfortunate people.

Members of the Arian faction, resentful of Deogratias, tried and failed to assassinate him.  He did die soon, however, apparently of exhaustion.  The Vandals did not permit the appointment of another bishop for twenty-three years.

Today “vandal” has passed into language as a negative term and the humanitarian legacy of St. Deogratias survives.

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Compassionate God, we thank you for the heroic and humanitarian legacy of your servant, St. Deogratias, Bishop of Carthage.  Inspired by his example, may we, as opportunities present themselves and we are able to help, assist those in dire circumstances, such as captivity.  May we see Jesus in them, and may we show Christ to them.  Amen.

Isaiah 61:1-4

Psalm 142

James 2:14-26

Matthew 25:31-46

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES GORE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF OXFORD

THE FEAST OF JESSIE BARNETT, SOCIAL ACTIVIST IN ATHENS, GEORGIA, U.S.A.

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS

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Revised on December 24, 2016

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Posted January 23, 2011 by neatnik2009 in March, Saints of the 400s

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3 responses to “Feast of St. Deogratias (March 22)

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  1. My Great Man of all time..St.Deogratias the Bishop of Carthage 454-457.

  2. Pingback: Feast of St. Eugenius of Carthage (July 13) « SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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