Above: Orthodox Cross
SAINT PROCLUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE (DIED 446)
Archbishop of Constantinople
His feast transferred from October 24
SAINT RUSTICUS OF NARBONNE (DIED CIRCA 461)
Bishop of Narbonne
His feast transferred from October 26
This is my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’s Days and Holy Days, so I get to assign feast days. Usually I follow the leads of ecclesiastical calendars. Yet today I follow another pattern: moving and merging feasts. These two saints opposed the same heresy: Nestorianism. And, since their feast days are so close to each other on the Roman Catholic calendar, I have decided to combine them and place them on the day which separates them on that calendar.
Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 428 to 431. His theology led to his ouster from that position. His great heresy was to make a distinction between the human Jesus and the divine Christ, claiming that the two natures were separate and conjoined. Thus, he argued, one ought to call St. Mary of Nazareth (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/feast-of-st-mary-of-nazareth-mother-of-god-august-15/) the Christotokos (‘Christ-bearer”), not the Theotokos (“God-bearer”), for a mere mortal could not have given birth to the Logos of God. In other words, according to Nestorius, Mary gave birth to the human nature of Jesus only.
Official Church teaching, developed more fully to refute Nestorianism, argues a different position. Historical accounts tell us of the Council of Ephesus (431) and the more detailed repudiation of Nestorianism which the Council of Chalecedon (451) issued. According to Chalecedon, the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ are
…without confusion, without change, without division, without separation….
–quoted in Linwood Urban, A Short History of Christian Thought, Revised and Expanded Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), page 74
Most of us who call ourselves Christians in 2012 are heirs of the formulas of Ephesus and Chalcedon, even if we do not know it. Theology did not fall from Heaven or grow on trees so that people saw it, recognized it immediately, and accepted it universally; no, theological doctrines which many of us (including the author of this post) accept as truth emerged from debates, synods, and councils. And today’s saints were present at creation and enunciation. They also did their share of enunciating.
St. Proclus (died 446), a native of Constantinople, studied under St. John Chrysostom (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/feast-of-st-john-chrysostom-january-27/), Archbishop of Constantinople. Archbishop Atticus, whose secretary St. Proclus was, ordained him to the priesthood. The saint opposed Archbishop Nestorius and succeeded the heretic’s immediate successor, Archbishop Maximian, in 434. St. Proclus, the author of theological treatises, maintained his opposition to perceived heresies while retaining tact, something many other defenders of orthodoxy have failed to do. He also functioned as a humanitarian and a good pastor, ministering to the people of Constantinople after an earthquake.
St. Rusticus of Narbonne (died circa 461) was a Gallic contemporary of St. Proclus. The Bishop of Narbonne was the son of a bishop, one Bonosus. The former monk became Bishop of Narbonne in 427. During his tenure he resisted the spread of Arianism through his diocese, built a cathedral, and approved Pope St. Leo I (“the Great”)‘s (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/feast-of-st-leo-the-great-november-10/) denunciation of Nestorianism.
We Christians of today stand on the shoulders of giants–foundational figures–such as these. May we give them the attention they deserve.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
OCTOBER 10, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND SAINT JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS
THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULINUS, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
THE FEAST OF VIDA DUTTON SCUDDER, WRITER
Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,
we thank you for your servants
Saint Proclus of Constantinople and Saint Rusticus of Narbonne,
who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;
and we pray that, following their examples and the teaching of their holy lives,
we may by your grace grow into the full stature of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops and leaders of your church.
May the memory of their lives be a source of joy for us
and a bulwark of our faith,
so that we may serve you and confess your name before the world;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35
1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21
John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47
—Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), page 38