Archive for March 2012

Feast of St. Domitian of Huy (May 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gaul in 561

SAINT DOMITIAN OF HUY (DIED CIRCA 560)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Tongres then Maastricht

Apostle of the Meuse Valley

I recall growing up as a United Methodist in the South Georgia Conference.  I learned about parts of church history, focusing mostly on the first century CE, the Reformation era, and Methodist beginnings forward.  This curriculum omitted most of Christian history.  One of the greatest weaknesses of much of Protestantism is insufficient historical awareness.

The life and times of St. Domitian of Huy fell into the omitted part of my childhood church history curriculum.  The Gallic-born St. Domitian served as Bishop of Tongres.  As bishop he moved his see’s headquarters to Maastricht.  He also evangelized successfully in the Meuse Valley, in modern-day Belgium, building many churches.  The saint also used his powers of persuasion to raise enough funds to help the poor during a famine, thereby easing its effects on the most vulnerable people.  The bishop, who built hospitals to meet physical needs of people, is buried at Huy, Belgium.

St. Domitian played a prominent role at the Fifth Council of Orleans (549).  That Council, among other things, condemned Nestorianism, which held that

God dwelt in Christ as in a temple, and that this in-dwelling was a result of the divine good pleasure. (Linwood Urban, A Short History of Christian Thought, Revised and Expanded Edition, New York:  Oxford University Press, 1995, page 85)

Thus, in Nestorian theology, Mary was the Mother of Christ, not the Mother of God.  (She was, of course, the Mother of God!)  The Council also condemened the Monophysite heresy, which, according to its spokesman, Eutyches, held that

…before the union our Lord was of two natures, but after that union I confess one nature. (quoted in Linwood Urban, A Short History of Christian Thought, page 86)

In other words, the divine nature of Christ absorbed his human nature.  (That was–and is–erroneous.)  In less exciting news, the Council also condemned the selling of church offices and decreed that a bishop had to have been a member of the clergy for at least one year prior to the election to the episcopate.  (The condemnation of simony makes sense to me, but restricting the episcopate to the clergy is not always a good idea.)  We twenty-first Christians might take certain doctrines for granted, for they are part of our inheritance.  But may we never forget that saints such as Domitian of Huy helped to establish them as such.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 22, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DEOGRATIAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CARTHAGE

THE FEAST OF JAMES DEKOVEN, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS NICHOLAS OWEN, THOMAS GARNET, MARK BARKWORTH, EDWARD OLDCORNE, AND RALPH ASHLEY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, you gave to your servant Saint Domitian of Huy

special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus:

Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

1 Corintians 3:5-11

Matthew 13:47-52

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 721

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Posted March 22, 2012 by neatnik2009 in May 7, Saints of the 500s

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Feast of Sts. John Houghton, Robert Lawrence, Augustine Webster, and Blesseds Humphrey Middlemore, William Exmew, and Sebastian Newdigate (May 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of England

MARTYRED ON MAY 4, 1535

Saint John Houghton

Saint Robert Lawrence

Saint Augustine Webster

+++++++

MARTYRED ON JUNE 19, 1535

Blessed Humphrey Middlemore

Blessed William Exmew

Blessed Sebastian Newdigate

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With this post I honor six more Roman Catholic martyrs of the British Isles.  Martyrdom in those islands has crossed denominational lines; I seek to learn of as many of these holy men and women as possible.

St. John Houghton (1487-1535), born in Essex, England, became a parish priest then a Carthusian.  He served as Prior of the Beauvale Charterhouse, Northhampton, for a few months before assuming duties at the London Charterhouse.  In 1534 authorities arrested Houghton and his procurator, Blessed Humphrey Middlemore, for refusing to accept the Act of Succession, which recognized the legitimacy of the future Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  The two Carthusians accepted the law “as far as the law of God allows” and were released.

The following year, authorities arrested Houghton with St. Robert Lawrence and St. Augustine Webster for refusing to accept the Act of Supremacy.  Lawrence was the Prior of the Beauvale Charterhouse and Webster was the Prior of the Axholme Charterhouse at the time of the arrests.  These three men died on May 4, 1535, by hanging, drawing, and quartering.

Middlemore, Blessed William Exmew, and Blessed Sebastian Newdigate assumed leadership of the London Charterhouse after Houghton’s martyrdom.  They also refused to accept the Act of Supremacy.  And they suffered the same fate as the previous three martyrs on June 19, 1535.  Exmew had been subprior and Newdigate had been a courtier of Henry VIII.

I, of course, am an Episcopalian, so the origin of my denomination owes much to Tudor Dynasty politics.  As much as I honor the Anglican and Protestant martyrs of the 1500s and 1600s, I do the same for their Roman Catholic counterparts.  It is unseemly for Christians to martyr each other.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 22, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DEOGRATIAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CARTHAGE

THE FEAST OF JAMES DEKOVEN, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS NICHOLAS OWEN, THOMAS GARNET, MARK BARKWORTH, EDWARD OLDCORNE, AND RALPH ASHLEY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the hearts of your holy martyrs

Saint John Houghton,

Saint Robert Lawrence,

Saint Augustine Webster,

Blessed Humphrey Middlemore,

Blessed William Exmew,

and Blessed Sebastian Newdigate:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their examples;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 715

Feast of Sts. Honoratus of Arles, Venantius of Modon, Caprasius of Lerins, and Hilary of Arles (May 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gaul in the Roman Empire

SAINT HONORATUS OF ARLES (DIED 429)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Arles

His feast transferred from January 16

brother of

SAINT VENANTIUS OF MODON (DIED 400)

Roman Catholic Hermit

His feast transferred from May 30

associated with

SAINT CAPRASIUS OF LERINS (DIED 430)

Roman Catholic Hermit

His feast transferred from June 1

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SAINT HILARY OF ARLES (403-449)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Arles

His feast = May 5

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One of the pleasures of writing a post covering more than one saint is exploring the ways in which certain people have influenced each other in the paths of righteousness.  I began the process which led to this post by writing a name–St. Hilary of Arles–out of a book.  The process of researching this saint led to other holy men.  Telling their overlapping stories together makes much sense to me.  Shall we begin?

St. Honoratus of Arles (died 429) came from a prominent Roman family in Gaul.  He became a Christian as a youth. Then St. Honoratus converted his brother, St. Venantius of Modon (died 400).  The brothers and another holy man, St. Caprasius of Lerins (died 430), over the fathers’ objections, traveled to Greece, where they pursued their vocations as hermits.  St. Venantius died at Modon, Greece.  After that event Sts. Honoratus and Caprasius returned to Gaul–the Provence region, to be exact.  They lived as hermits near Frejus briefly before moving along to Lerins, off the Mediterranean coast of Antibes, on the French Riviera.  At Lerins they founded a great monastery in 400.

St. Honoratus became Bishop of Arles against his will in 426, serving until his death three years later.  His immediate successor was a kinsman, St. Hilary of Arles (403-449).  St. Honoratus had converted St. Hilary, a former local government official, who had given his wealth to the poor then joined St. Honoratus at Lerins.  In 426 St. Hilary had joined his kinsman at Arles.  As bishop St. Hilary aided the poor, ransomed many captives, and earned a reputation as a great orator.  Yet other activities got him into trouble with Rome.

One online source, Patron Saints Index, which I consulted, says the following about St. Hilary of Arles:

…his zealousness was causing more trouble than converts.  But though some questioned his methods, none questions his sanctity or true belief.

St. Hilary, in the opinion of Pope St. Leo I “the Great” (reigned 440-461), exercised authority he did not have properly.  St. Hilary tried to extend his authority over the church in southern Gaul.  He was already metropolitan in the region.  Perhaps he thought that his fact gave him the right to depose Chelidonus, Bishop of Besancon.  Pope St. Leo I reversed that action, however.  St. Hilary ran afoul of Rome a second time for replacing another bishop, one Projectus, who was ill.

J. N. D. Kelly, in The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1986, pages 43-44), wrote:

When Hilary of Arles (403-449) seemed to be treating his see as a patriarchate independent of Rome, Leo confined him to his diocese and obtained from Valentinian III (425-455) a rescript recognizing his jurisdiction over all the western provinces.  To prevent the emergence of a patriarchate, he later (450) divided the bishoprics of Gaul between Arles and Vienne.

Prior to that papal action of 450, St. Leo I transferred St. Leo’s metropolitanship to the Bishop of Frejus.  Despite the episcopal politics, Sts. Leo I and Hilary of Arles reconciled.

Faithful men and women of God do, form time to time, enter into disputes against each  other.  May these arguments never overwhelm the fact that we Christians have far more in common than not.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 21, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SERAPION OF THMUIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF THOMAS KEN, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF BATH AND WELLS

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 Lord God, you have surrounded us with so great a cloud of witnesses:

 Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Saint Honoratus of Arles,

Saint Venantius of Modon,

Saint Caprasius of Lerins,

and Saint Hilary of Arles,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to our eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

Holy Women, Holy Men:   Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

Feast of Sts. Sigismund of Burgundy, Clotilda, and Clodoald (May 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gaul in 511 Common Era

SAINT SIGISMUND OF BURGUNDY (DIED 524)

King of Burdundy

His feast transferred from May 1

cousin of

SAINT CLOTILDA (DIED 545)

Queen of Francia

Her feast transferred from June 3

grandmother of 

SAINT CLODOALD (A.K.A. SAINT CLOUD) (522/524-560)

Roman Catholic Abbot

His feast transferred from September 7

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is a tale of royal politics, murder, and general cruelty amid sanctity.  I spent hours consulting reference works, taking notes, pondering those notes, and telling apart people with similar names.  Now I invite you, O reader, to learn some French history.

We begin with the old Kingdom of Burgundy (411-532/534).  (Reference works disagree about the end date.  Should not that matter be settled by now?)  Burgundy was in modern-day Switzerland and eastern France, by the way.  Gundiac, King of Burgundy, died in 473.  His four sons came to power, each in his own section of the realm.  Two of the sons were Gundibald and Chilperic I.  Gundibald murdered Chilperic I and his (Chilperic’s) wife, leaving their daughters as orphans.  The daughters found refuge with their uncle Godesegil in Genveva.  These young women were Catholics, but uncle Gundibald was Arian.

St. Clotilda (died 545), one of the daughters of Chilperic I, married Clovis I (reigned 481-511), the (Arian) Frankish king and founder of the Frankish monarchy, in 492/493.  She persuaded him to convert to Catholicism in 496/506 (depending on the scholar whose work one consults).  It seems that Clovis I’s conversion was superficial, for he was as ruthless afterward as he was before.  Encyclopedia articles about him mention people he had murdered until the end of his life.  The widowed St. Clotilda (511-545) relocated from Paris to Tours.  She founded many churches and was renowned for her holiness and almsgiving.

St. Clotilda’s first cousin was St. Sigismund of Burgundy (died 524), son and immediate successor of Gundibald.  St. Sigismund, a Catholic since 515, came to the throne in 516.  About a year into his reign, the saint did something he regretted for the rest of his life.  Enraged, he ordered the murder of his son, Sigeric, who had rebuked Sigismund’s second wife (and Sigeric’s stepmother).  The penitent monarch gave generously to the poor and to the Church.  And he restored and endowed the Monastery of St. Maurice d’Agaune in the Valais region.

It was also Frankish custom to divide the kingdom among princes.  So, after Clovis I died in 511, four sons became kings.  Theodoric I (reigned 511-534) ruled from Metz, Chlodomer (reigned 511-524) from Orleans, Childebert I (reigned 511-558) from Paris, and Lothair/Clotaire I (reigned 511-561) from Soissons.  The latter was briefly the king of all Franks from 558 to 561.  The sons of Clovis I fought Burgundy, defeating St. Sigismund, who spent his last days as a hermit at St. Maurice d’Agaune.  Those days ended in 524, when Chlodomer killed him.  The Merovingian Frankish war on Burgundy seems to have been a blood feud, for the sons of Clovis I were grandsons (via St. Clotilda) of the murdered Chilperic I, killed by his brother, Gundibald, father of St. Sigismund.  That blood feud had one more chapter, for Gondmar, bother of St. Sigismund and last King of Burgundy, killed Chlodomer in battle later that year.

Chlodomer had three surviving sons:  Theodoald, Gunther, and St. Clodoald (522/524-560).  Their uncle, Lothair/Clotaire I (reigned 511-561), seeking successfully to guarantee the royal succession for this lineage, had Theodoald (aged ten years) and Gunther (aged seven years) killed.  The protection of their grandmother, St. Clotilda, and their uncle, Childebert I, proved insufficient.  Yet St. Clodoald (aged eight years) survived in Provence.  He grew up, achieved the age of majority, and never sought the throne.  Instead the saint founded and served as abbot of a monastery–Nogent-sur-Seine–near Paris.  After he died it became St. Cloud Monastery in his honor.

We, O reader, have learned of murderous monarchs, a penitential king, a prince who became an abbot, and a queen who used her rank for the most good she could accomplish.  It has been a dramatic tale–one which I hope has not been too confusing.  May you accomplish as much good as possible in your life, may you repent of your sins, and may you favor God more than prestige.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 21, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SERAPION OF THMUIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF THOMAS KEN, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF BATH AND WELLS

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Lord God, you have surrounded us with so great a cloud of witnesses.

Grant that we, encouraged by the examples of your servants

Saint Sigismund of Burgundy,

Saint Clotilda,

and Saint Clodoald,

may persevere in the course that is set before us and,  at the last, share in your eternal joy with all the saints in light,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 9:1-10

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Luke 6:20-23

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

Feast of Sts. Bosa of York, John of Beverley, Wilfrid the Younger, and Acca of Hexham (April 29)   2 comments

Above:  England in 700

SAINT BOSA OF YORK (DIED CIRCA 705)

Roman Catholic Bishop of York

His feast transferred from March 9

preceded

SAINT JOHN OF BEVERLEY (DIED 721)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham then of York

His feast transferred from October 12

preceded

SAINT WILFRID THE YOUNGER (DIED CIRCA 744)

Roman Catholic Bishop of York

His feast = April 29

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SAINT ACCA OF HEXHAM (660-742)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham

His feast transferred from October 20

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This post carries me through English church history I have dabbled in by the way of St. Wilfrid of Ripon.  His path crossed those of other saints.  For the sake of clarity I have chosen to write about part of that saga in one post and another part in this one.  Anyhow, once gain one  name has led to others and to a tale of positive influences.

We begin with St. Bosa of York (died circa 705).  A Benedictine monk at Whiby, he became Bishop of York in 678, replacing St. Wilfrid of Ripon, who refused to accept the division of the diocese.  St. Wilfrid returned to serve as Bishop of York from 686 to 691. after which the tenure of St Bosa resumed.  The Venerable Bede of Jarrow called St. Bosa

a man beloved of God…of most unusual merit and sanctity.

St. John of Beverley (died 721) succeeded St. Bosa as Bishop of York in 705.  A protege of St. Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, who supervised his education, St. John became a famous preacher renowned for his erudition.  St. John served as Bishop of Hexham from 687 to 705.  He also participated in the Synod of Nidd (705), which decided the proper settlement of St. Wilfrid of Ripon‘s case.  After serving as Bishop of York from 705 to 717, St. John retired to the monastery at Beverley.  Among his pupils (and therefore legacies) was the Venerable Bede of Jarrow, whom he ordained.

Another legacy of St. John of Beverley was St. Wilfrid the Younger (died circa 744).  Educated at Whitby Abbey, he became a priest under St. John, to whom he functioned as a chaplain and a close aide.  St. Wilfrid the Younger succeeded his mentor as Bishop of York in 717, serving for fifteen years before retiring to Ripon monastery.

St. Bosa had another protege, St. Acca of Hexham (660-742).  This saint grew up in St Bosa’s household and became his (Acca’s) mentor’s aide and traveling companion.  St. Acca also befriended the Venerable Bede of Jarrow and traveled with St. Wilfrid of Ripon in Europe.  St. Acca, Abbot of St. Andrew’s Monastery, Hexham, was St. Wilfrid of Ripon‘s handpicked successor as Bishop of Hexham, serving from 709 to 732.  Renowned for his lovely singing voice, St. Acca encouraged the revival of vocal music in the church.  He also built many churches.  And the Venerable Bede of Jarrow found St Acca’s large library essential for research purposes.

It seems that St. Acca found himself on the wrong side of royal politics in Northumbria in 732.  King Coelwulf (reigned 729-731, 732-737) had to spend part of 731-732 in exile in a monastery due to political intrigues.  Apparently, St. Acca had at least supported the palace coup.  So Coelwulf, restored to the throne, either deposed the bishop in 732 or did not act to reverse that deed.  I found two stories of what St. Acca did after 732.  He either fled west and became Bishop of Whithorn or retired to the hermitage at Withern, in Galloway.

Coelwulf, by the way, is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.  His feast day is January 15.  Given the uncertain nature of the information I have found about him, I prefer simply to note what I have written in this paragraph and to leave the matter there.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 2, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SHABBAZ BHATTI AND OTHER CHRISTIAN MARTYRS OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHAD  OF LICHFIELD, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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 Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servants

Saint Bosa of York

Saint John of Beverley,

Saint Wilfrid the Younger,

and Saint Acca of Hexham,

who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following their examples,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 718

Feast of Sts. Antony, Theodosius, Barlaam, and Stephen of Kiev (April 27)   Leave a comment

Above:  Caves of Kiev

SAINT ANTONY (A.K.A. ANTHONY) OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (983-1073)

Russian Orthodox Hermit

His feast transferred from July 10

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SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (DIED 1065)

Russian Orthodox Abbot

His feast transferred from November 19

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SAINT THEODOSIUS OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (DIED 1074)

Russian Orthodox Abbot

His feast transferred from July 10

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SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (DIED 1094)

Russian Orthodox Abbot and Bishop

His feast = April 27

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This post covers the origins of Russian Orthodox monasticism.

St. Antony (or Anthony of Kiev) (983-1073) was born at Lubech, in the Ukraine, then part of Russia.  He chose to become a hermit.  The saint realized, however, that he needed to learn more about that lifestyle, so he spent several years at Espigmenou Monastery, Mount Athos, Greece.  Then the saint returned to his homeland, where he founded a hermitage at Kiev, then the Russian capital city.  He attracted many followers, who became the first monks of the Pecherskaya Laura, a.k.a. the Caves of Kiev.  St. Antony also founded a monastery at Chernigov yet returned to Kiev, where he spent the rest of his life in a cave.  He and St. Theodosius of Kiev founded Russian Orthodox monasticism.

St. Theodosius of Kiev (died 1074) came from a wealthy family.  His decisions to work in the fields with serfs and to apprentice himself to a baker (the latter to learn how to make Eucharistic bread) displeased his family.  So did the saint’s decision to become a monk at Kiev in 1032.  He succeeded St. Barlaam as abbot.

St. Barlaam of Kiev (died 1065) also came from a wealthy family.  The son of a boyar, he left behind wealth and a fiancee.  Other than some overwritten hagiographies, little information about this saint survives.

As abbot St. Theodosius modified the discipline, making it less austere, balancing prayer and physical mortification with physical work, emphasizing harmony between active and contemplative work, encouraging his monks to become active in politics on behalf of the poor, and engaging his monks as evangelists.  He also expanded the monastery, adding a hospital and a hostel.  Abbot for four decades, his tenure marked the real beginning of Russian monasticism.

St. Stephen of Kiev (died 1094), originally a monk at Kiev, succeeded St. Theodosius as abbot.  The saint’s tenure was brief–just four years.  Some sources indicate that his removal resulted from dirty politics at the laura.  Anyhow, after Kiev the saint founded a monastery at Blakhernae, serving as its abbot until 1091, when he became Bishop of of Vladimir, in Volhynia.  Skilled in singing and well-informed in corporate worship, St. Stephen of Kiev earned a reputation for holiness.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 1, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILLIAN OF TREVESTE, ROMAN CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT DAVID OF WALES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MENEVIA

THE FEAST OF GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT THEOPHANES THE CHRONICLER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world,

that we, inspired b the devotion of your servants

Saint Antony of Kiev,

Saint Barlaam of Kiev,

Saint Theodosius of Kiev,

and Saint Stephen of Kiev,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

Feast of Sts. Remaclus of Maastricht, Theodard of Maastricht, Lambert of Mastricht, Hubert of Maastricht and Liege, Floribert of Liege, Landrada of Munsterbilsen, Plechelm of Guelderland, Otger of Utrecht, and Wiro (April 27)   1 comment

Above:  Gaul in 714 Common Era

SAINT REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT (DIED CIRCA 675)

Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop

His feast transferred from September 3

mentor of

SAINT THEODARD OF MAASTRICHT (DIED CIRCA 670)

Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop

His feast transferred from September 10

uncle of

SAINT LAMBERT OF MAASTRIHT (635-705)

Roman Catholic Bishop

His feast transferred from September 17

predecessor of

SAINT HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE (DIED 727)

Roman Catholic Bishop

His feast transferred from November 3

father of

SAINT FLORIBERT OF LIEGE (DIED 746)

Roman Catholic Bishop

His feast = April 27

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SAINT PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND (DIED CIRCA 730)

Roman Catholic Bishop

His feast transferred from July 15

worked with

SAINT WIRO (DIED 600S)

Roman Catholic Bishop

His feast transferred from May 8

worked with

SAINT OTGER OF UTRECHT (DIED 600S)

Roman Catholic Deacon

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SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN (DIED CIRCA 690)

Roman Catholic Abbess

Her feast transferred from July 8

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Once again one name–this time, St. Floribert–has led to a chain of historical discovery.  This post covers nine saints, all of whom are here for good reasons.  Shall we begin?

St. Remaclus of Maastricht (died circa 675), born in Aquitaine, studied under St. Sulpicius II of Bourges and became the first abbot of Solignac because St. Eligius appointed him.  St. Remaclus later served as Abbot of Cugnon, in Luxembourg.  After that he served in the court of Sigibert III, King of Austrasia (reigned 632-656), persuading the monarch to found the double monastery of Malmedy-Stavelot, in the Ardennes.  The saint served as abbot there before becoming Bishop of Maastricht in 652/653.  He had a reputation for holiness–certainly an excellent legacy to leave to posterity.

St. Remaclus mentored St. Theodard of Maastricht (died circa 670).  He succeeded succeeded Remaclus as abbot in 652/653 then as bishop in 662.  The saint met an unhappy and violent fate in the Bienwald Forest near Speyer, Germany.  Nobles had seized church lands, so the bishop was traveling to protest this to King Childeric II of Austrasia (reigned 662-675).  Yet robbers murdered the saint.

St. Theodard had a nephew, St. Lambert of Maastricht (635-705), whom he educated.  St. Lambert, a nobleman from Maastricht, succeeded his uncle as bishop.  Ebroin, mayor of the palace, expelled St. Lambert for supporting the murdered Childeric II, so the saint retired to the double monastery of Malmedy-Stavelot.  Pepin (II) of Heristal, Mayor of Austrasia and Neustria (687-714) and a successor of Ebroin, reinstated St. Lambert.  The reinstated bishop built a convent at Munsterbilsen and appointed St. Landrada (died circa 690), about whom we know little else, the first abbess.  He also converted many pagans and tended to his flock.  St. Lambert died because he condemned Pepin (II) for having an affair with his (Pepin’s) sister-in-law, Alpais.  The saint either died at the hands of Dodo, brother of Alpais, or relatives of Dodo.

Another interesting connection in church history pertains to St. Lambert’s missionary efforts.  He worked with St. Willibrord, a great evangelist.  Three coworkers of Sts. Lambert and Willibrord were Sts. Otger of Utrecht, Plechelm of Guelderland, and Wiro.  St. Plechelm, a monk, became missionary bishop to Northumberland then a missionary to Friesland with St. Willibrord.  St. Plechelm was martyred circa 730 while preaching.  His colleague, St. Wiro, was also a bishop.  We know little about him and even less about his fellow evangelist, St. Otger of Utrecht, a deacon.  I am surprised that we know as much as we do about these gentlemen as we do, given the passage of time.

St. Hubert of Maastricht and Liege (died 727) succeeded the murdered St. Lambert as bishop.  St. Hubert, originally a courtier in the service of Pepin (II), was married to Floribane.  She died in childbirth, but their son survived. The newly single father entered the religious life and became a priest under St. Lambert.  As bishop St. Hubert relocated the headquarters of his diocese from Maastricht to Liege.  He also converted many people and ended idol worship in his diocese.  He died on May 30, 727, during a trip to consecrate a new church building.

St. Floribert of Liege (died 746) was the surviving son of Floribane and St. Hubert.  The son succeeded his father as bishop, serving from 727 to 746.  Of St. Floribert we know little, but his reputation for holiness has survived to this day in the literature of hagiography.

If memories of you, O reader, and of me survive fourteen or fifteen centuries into the future, will they be pious ones?  For every saint of whom we know a great deal there are many of whom we know next to nothing.  And, of course, there are many more names lost forever in the sands of time.  Yet God knows them well, and that matters most of all.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 1, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILLIAN OF TREVESTE, ROMAN CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT DAVID OF WALES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MENEVIA

THE FEAST OF GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT THEOPHANES THE CHRONICLER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Saint Remaclus of Maastricht,

Saint Theodard of Maastricht,

Saint Lambert of Maastricht,

St. Hubert of Maastricht and Liege,

Saint Floribert of Liege,

Saint Plechelm of Guelderland,

St. Wiro,

Saint Otger of Utrecht,

and Saint Landrada of Munsterbilsen,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724