Feast of St. Mamertius of Vienne (May 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gaul in the Roman Empire

SAINT MAMERTIUS OF VIENNE (DIED CIRCA 475)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Vienne

Father of Rogation Days

My research into the life and legacy of St. Mamertius of Vienne revealed three main threads.  The first was that, in his lifetime, the saint had a reputation for being well-educated.  I respect that.  A second thread is that, as Bishop of Vienne (461-475), the saint ran afoul of Rome–in the form of Pope Hilarius (reigned 461-468)–by consecrating a new Bishop of Die in 463.  Some sources identify that bishop as one St. Marcel, but I can find only a name.  It seems that Rome thought that St. Mamertius had exceeded his authority, yet the saint received only a proverbial slap on the wrist.  I think that I, in 2012, can disregard a jurisdictional dispute from the 460s quite easily.

The third thread I find much more interesting.  St. Mamertius pioneered the practice of rogation days–three days leading up to the Feast of the Ascension and filled with processions, the singing of psalms, and the saying of prayers for nature and crops.  He originated this practice–which, in time, spread across Western Europe–after Vienne had experienced what the 1962 Encyclopedia Americana described as

earthquakes, fires, and other grave calamaties.

Rites for rogation days exist today.  I found, for example, a ritual for a Rogation Procession in The Episcopal Church’s Book of Occasional Services.  And prayers of a similar nature exist in a rite for Earth Stewardship Sunday from Chalice Worship (1997), the book of worship of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.)

May the memory of St. Mamertius prompt us to think more about the care of God’s creation, a theme consistent with rogation days.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 7, 2012 COMMON ERA

HOLY SATURDAY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MONTFORD SCOTT, EDMUND GENNINGS, HENRY WALPOLE, AND THEIR FELLOW MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE, FOUNDER OF THE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS

THE FEAST OF THE SAINTS AND MARTYRS OF THE AMERICAS

THE FEAST OF SAINT TIKHON, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW

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

Lord Jesus Christ,

through whom and for whom the whole universe was created,

we mourn with you the death of forests,

fruitful lands that have become deserts,

wild animals left without grass,

plants, insects, birds, and animals threatened with extinction,

lands ravaged by war, people left homeless.

As the earth cries out for liberation,

we confess our part in bringing it toward the brink of catastrophe.

Through ignorance, but often willingly,

we thought we could serve God and mammon,

unable to resist the tempation

to spend and acquire more and more possessions,

with little thought of the consequences for future generations.

Savior of the world, you call us to repentance:

to be transformed by your love, denying ourselves,

take up the cross and follow in your way.  Amen.

Chalice Worship (1997), page 165

1 Kings 4:29-30, 33-34

Psalm 145:1-7, 22

Acts 17:24-31

John 1:1-5, 9-14

Holy Women, Holy Men:   Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 731

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