Above: The Sword of Orion
Image Source = Jet Propulsion Library
SAINT ABBO OF FLEURY (CIRCA 945-NOVEMBER 13, 1004)
Roman Catholic Abbot
St. Abbo of Fleury was a great Christian intellectual, a scholar of philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy. He also wrote a biography of St. Edmund (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/feast-of-st-edmund-of-east-anglia-november-20-transferred-to-november-21/), martyred King of East Anglia. I found part of that text here: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/870abbo-edmund.asp.
The saint was born at Orleans. He studied there and at Reims before becoming a Benedictine monk at Fleury-sur-Loire. From 986 to 987 he served as abbot at the new monastery at Ramsey, England, serving also as head of the school there. In 988 he was elected Abbot of Fleury. A political dispute followed, for another monk, one with royal connections, claimed the post. Yet Gerbert (the future Pope Sylvester II, 999-1004) settled the dispute in St. Abbo’s favor.
As abbot St. Abbo became caught up in the difficult church-state politics of his time; there was no way for him to stay out of it. In 991 he attended the Synod of Basel, which deposed Arnoul as Archbishop of Reims, a vacancy which Gerbert filled for a few years. This deposition was political, and St. Abbo helped to reinstate Arnoul in 999. The saint also stood with Pope Gregory V (reigned 996-999) against Antipope John XVI (reigned 997-998) and tried to make peace between the Pontiff and King Robert II of France (reigned 996-1031), who wound up being excommunicated for marrying this cousin Bertha.
(Aside: I intend to read more about Gerbert/Sylvester II, who was a scientist not afraid to accept valid knowledge which happened to come to him via non-Christian avenues. I might even decide to declare him a saint next year.)
End-of-the-world hysteria is not new; there was a wave of it across Europe in 999. St. Abbo worked to calm fears at that time.
Unfortunately, the scholar-saint died violently of wounds suffered during a violent confrontation at the monastery at LaReole, in Gascony, in November 1004. He was trying to reform the monastic life there. The fact that two groups of monks were attacking each other indicated the need for such reform. The saint tried to end the confrontation and got stabbed for his trouble.
The more I know about St. Abbo, the more I like him.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
NOVEMBER 1, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS
Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:
You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant Saint Abbo of Fleury.
Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder,
that our eyes may behold your glory,
and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21
Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20
–Proper of Artists and Scientists from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61