Above: A Trinitarian Symbol
SAINT PAPHNUTIUS THE GREAT (DIED CIRCA 350)
Also known as Saint Paphnutius the Confessor and Saint Paphnutius of Thebes
Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Thebaid
Diocletian‘s Tetrarchy was still in effect in 306, when Constantine I “the Great” (reigned 306-337) became Augustus of the West. From 310 to 313 his eastern counterpart was Mamiminus II Daia. Reports of Constantine’s Christianity were greatly exaggerated, but Maximinus Daia was an unapologetic pagan and a severe persecutor of Christianity. He, for example, required everyone in the eastern part of the Roman Empire to attend public sacrifices and to eat flesh of the sacrificial beasts. And if one refused….Eusebius, in his great Ecclesiastical History, wrote of some of the faithful who became martyrs. And others did not die yet suffered severely. St. Paphnutius, for example was an Egyptian monk (under St. Anthony/Antony) who had become Bishop of Upper Thebaid. His sentence was blinding in the right eye followed by hard labor in a mine.
In 313 Constantine I, as senior Augustus, pulled rank and ordered Maximinus II Daia to cease the persecution of Christians. The junior Augustus obeyed reluctantly. He knew what Constantine I did: the future lay with the Church. And although Constantine I was an opportunist who hitched the wagon of the Roman Empire to that star, Maximinus II Daia tried to resist the future. That same year the junior Augustus died. And his successor, Licinius, granted religious freedom to Christians in the East.
St. Paphnutius, released from the mine, became an ardent opponent of Arianism. He also attended the Council of Nicaea (325), persuading the majority of his fellow bishops to permit married men to receive Holy Orders as priests and bishops although he opposed any post-ordination weddings.
Aside: Follow this link (http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/a-preachers-kids-defense-of-clerical-continence/) to read my thoughts on sexual continence among the clergy.
I read accounts of saints such as St. Paphnutius and wonder how much I would be willing to suffer for Christ. I am not nearly as courageous, I suspect. Yet I have been fortunate, for nobody has put me to the test.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JULY 20, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN II OF ANTIOCH AND ELIAS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCHS
THE FEAST OF SAINT ANSEGIUS OF FONTANELLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT
THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, AMELIA BLOOMER, SOJOURNER TRUTH, AND HARRIET ROSS TUBMAN, WITNESSES TO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS AND WOMEN
Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Saint Paphnutius the Great,
through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.
Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,
whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 3:11-23
—Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60