Archive for June 2018

Feast of Theodore O. Wedel and Cynthia Clark Wedel (August 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Episcopal Flag

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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THEODORE O. WEDEL (FEBRUARY 1892-JULY 21, 1970)

Episcopal Priest and Biblical Scholar

husband of

CYNTHIA CLARK WEDEL (AUGUST 26, 1908-AUGUST 24, 1986)

U.S. Psychologist and Episcopal Ecumenist

The appendix in A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016), of The Episcopal Church, contains a list of men and women deemed “worthy of commemoration” but who do not qualify yet because insufficient time has passed since they died.  Cynthia Clark Wedel is on that list.  The denomination has its reasons for usually (with few exceptions, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; and Jonathan Myrick Daniels) waiting at least four decades.  I have no such temporal rule, however.  Therefore Wedel joins my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days with this post.  I add to her husband to this post.

Theodore O. Wedel, a scholar and a priest, became a leader in The Episcopal Church.  He, born in Halstead, Kansas, grew up a Mennonite.  Our saint’s father was the Reverend Cornelius Wedel, President of Bethel College, Halstead.  Theodore, while a high school student, played the organ for the Episcopal Church in town.  He went on to graduate with his B.A. at Oberlin College, in 1914 then his M.A. at Harvard University the following year.  In 1915, at the Church of the Advent, Boston, Theodore joined The Episcopal Church.  He earned his Ph.D. from Yale University (1918), in time for the U.S. Army to draft him.  Our saint already the husband (since 1917) of Elizabeth Cornelia Ewert (d. 1932), was an instructor in San Diego for what was left of the war.  The Wedels had two children:  Theodore Carl (born in 1919) and Gertrude (born in 1924).

Academia beckoned.  Theodore taught English at Yale (1919-22) before taking a job (1922-1934) at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.  He was Professor of English then Professor of Biography.  Ministry also beckoned.  The professor audited courses at Seabury Divinity School, read deeply in theology, and became a lay reader.  On September 24, 1929, he became a deacon.  After studying theology further in Marburg, Germany, our saint became a priest on May 31, 1931.  He served at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Northfield.

Cynthia Clark Wedel was a trail blazer.  She, born Cynthia Clark in Dearborn, Michigan, on August 26, 1908, was a daughter of Elizabeth Snow Clark and civil engineer Arthur Pierson Clark.  She grew up in Dearborn, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; and Evanston, Illinois.  Our saint studied history at Northwestern University (B.A., 1929; M.A., 1930).  In 1931-1934 she served as the Director of Christian Education at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston.  In 1934 she went to work at the denominational headquarters, first as a field worker.  In 1935 she became the Director of Youth Work.

Theodore also went to work at the denominational headquarters in 1934.  From 1934 to 1939 he was the Secretary for College Work in the Department of Christian Education.

On May 4, 1939 Cynthia and Theodore married.  Shortly after the wedding he became the Canon of Washington National Cathedral and the Warden of the College of Preachers, continuing in those positions until he retired in 1960.  He also served as the President of the House of Deputies from 1952 to 1961, and was active as a delegate to assemblies and other gatherings of the World Council of Churches.   Theodore also wrote the about the church and theology.  He contributed to The Interpreter’s Bible project as the author of the exposition on Ephesians for Volume 10 (1953).

Theodore remained active after his retirement.  In 1960-1961 he worked at the Ecumenical Institute, Evanston, Illinois.  The following year he was a visiting professor at the Episcopal Theological Seminary, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  In 1962 and 1963 our saint served on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary,  New York, New York.

Theodore, recipient of high honors and honorary degrees, died of a heart attack in Alexandria Virginia, on July 21, 1970.  He was 78 years old.

Cynthia continued to be quite active in church and society.  She taught religion at the National Cathedral School for Girls (1939-1948), sat on the national executive board of the Episcopal Women’s Auxiliary (1946-1952), was a member of the denominational National Council (1955-1962), and served as the President of United Church Women (1955-1958).  She also earned her doctorate in psychology (George Washington University, 1957) and worked as a lecturer at American University for several years.  As the 1960s marched on our saint was an observer (1962-1965) at Vatican II and the General Secretary for Christian Union (1965-1969) as well as, with her friend, Eleanor Roosevelt, a member of the federal Commission on the Status of Women (1961-1963).

Cynthia, like Theodore, was, an ecumenist. She continued her work into the 1980s.  In 1969 she became the first female President of the National Council of Churches.  After six years in that position she served as the President of the World Council of Churches (1975-1983).  She, a supporter of the ordination of women, was also one of the three female consultants at the Lambeth Conference of 1978.

Cynthia died in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 24, 1986, two days prior to what would have been her seventy-eighth birthday.

As I write this post in June 2018, I note that nearly 32 years have passed since Cynthia Wedel died.  If The Episcopal Church follows the 40-year rule in her case, it will add her to its calendar of saints in nine years, at the General Convention of 2027, at the earliest.

As for her husband, also a prominent figure, the 40-year-rule has expired.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 27, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CORNELIUS HILL, ONEIDA CHIEF AND EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF HUGH THOMSON KERR, SR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST; AND HIS SON, HUGH THOMSON KERR, JR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JAMES MOFFATT, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND BIBLE TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES THE GEORGIAN, ABBOT; AND SAINTS EUTHYMIUS OF ATHOS AND GEORGE OF THE BLACK MOUNTAIN, ABBOTS AND TRANSLATORS

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants

Theodore O. Wedel and Cynthia Clark Wedel,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and reserved 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.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Revised and extended to include Theodore O. Wedel

Extant text slightly edited

August 13, 2018 Common Era

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Feast of Blesseds Hryhorii Khomyshyn, Symeon Lukach, and Ivan Slezyuk (August 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Ethnicity in the Former Austro-Hungarian Empire

Image in the Public Domain

Focus on Galicia.

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BLESSED HRYHORII KHOMYSHYN (MARCH 25, 1867-JANUARY 17, 1947)

His feast transferred from December 28

Alternative feast day = January 17

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BLESSED SYMEON LUKACH (JULY 7, 1893-AUGUST 22, 1964)

Also known as Blessed Simeon Lukach 

His feast = August 22

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BLESSED IVAN SLEZYUK (JANUARY 14, 1896-DECEMBER 2, 1973)

Also known as Blessed Ivan Sleziuk

His feast transferred from December 2

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Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishops and Martyrs

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Alternative feast day (as three of the Martyrs Killed Under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe) = June 27

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There are certain places in Europe where one could, without leaving home, live a long time and reside in a series of countries.  Consider the city of Stanislaviv, now Ivano-Frankivsk, O reader.  It used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I led to the breaking up of that political entity.  In 1918-1919 the city was within the borders of the West Ukrainian People’s Republic.  After the dissolution of that state the city and environs passed to the reconstituted Poland.  In the German-Soviet partition of Poland (1939) the city and environs went to the Soviet Union.  The area changed hands, according to the positions of the Soviet and German armies during the war.

Above:  Parts of Europe, 1941

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957), A-43

The green-and-white diagonal lines indicate areas the Soviet Union had annexed.

With the end of World War II the city and environs became part of the Ukraine, itself part of the Soviet Union.

Above:  Parts of the Soviet Union in 1945

Scanned from the Post-World War II Supplement to Hammond’s New Era Atlas of the World (1945)

The city and environs have been part of Ukraine since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Now that I have grounded this post in geography and shifting international frontiers, I am free to focus on the lives of these three saints.

Hryhorii Khomyshyn, born in Hadnykitsi, Austria-Hungary, on March 25, 1867, became a priest and bishop in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, in union with Rome.  He, ordained to the priesthood on November 18, 1893, studied theology in Vienna from 1894 to 1899.  In 1902 he became the rector of the seminary at Lviv.  On May 6, 1904, Khomyshyn began his tenure as the Bishop of Stanislaviv.  Our saint, a vocal opponent of anti-Semitism (rare in his neck of the Catholic woods at the time), helped to found the Ukrainian Catholic People’s Party in the 1930s.  Agents of the NKVD arrested Khomyshyn twice–in 1939 and 1945.  The second arrest (in April 1945) began our saint’s final stage of life, that of political prisoner.  Despite torture, he refused to renounce the union of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church with the Holy See.  He died in NKVD custody in Kiev on January 17, 1947.  He was 79 years old.

Before that second arrest, however, Khomyshyn had secretly consecrated two bishops–Symeon Lukach and Ivan Slezyuk–in April 1945.  The secrecy was necessary because of Soviet oppression and persecution.

Symeon Lukach, born in Starunya, Austria-Hungary, on July 7, 1893, grew up on a farm and became a priest.  He attended seminary from 1913 to 1919, with an interruption due to World War I.  Lukach, ordained to the priesthood i 1919, taught moral theology at the seminary in Stanislaviv.

Ivan Slezyuk, born in Zhyvachiv, Austria-Hungary, on January 14, 1896, had been a priest since 1923.  Agents of the NKVD arrested him on June 2, 1945.  A sentence of ten years of forced labor followed.  He served slightly less time than that though, for authorities released him on November 15, 1954.  Slezyuk returned to Stanislaviv.

The NKVD caught up with Lukach on October 26, 1949.  He was their prisoner until February 11, 1955.  For the next few years Lukach worked as a covert priest.

Agents of the KGB arrested Lukach and Slezyuk in July 1962.  Lukach, a political prisoner for the rest of his life, died of tuberculosis on August 22, 1964.  He was 71 years old.  Slezyuk remained a political prisoner until November 30, 1968, but KGB agents interrogated him frequently for the rest of his life.  He, aged 77 years, died on December 2, 1973.

Pope John Paul II declared these three men Venerables then Blesseds (as martyrs) in 2001.  They did, after all, put everything on the line for their faith and die as a result.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 26, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ISABEL FLORENCE HAPGOOD, U.S. JOURNALIST, TRANSLATOR, AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREA GIACINTO LONGHIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TREVISO

THE FEAST OF PHILIP DODDRIDGE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VIRGIL MICHEL, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ACADEMIC, AND PIONEER OF LITURGICAL RENEWAL

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Almighty God, who gave to your servants

Blessed Hryhorii Khomyshyn, Blessed Symeon Lukach, and Blessed Ivan Slezyuk

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of the world,

and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the faith that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

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

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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Feast of Sts. John Kemble and John Wall (August 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JOHN KEMBLE (1599-AUGUST 22, 1679)

SAINT JOHN WALL (1620-AUGUST 22, 1679)

English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs

Alternative feast day (as two of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales) = October 25

Alternative feast day (as two of the Martyrs of Douai) = October 29

Sts. John Kemble and John Wall died because they insisted on remaining faithful Roman Catholics in England.

Kemble, born in 1599, was a son of John and Anne Kemble.  He studied theology in Douai, France.  Kemble, ordained to the priesthood on February 23, 1625, was back in his homeland as a missioner in Monmouthshire and Herefordshire on June 4, 1625.  For the next 53 years he was a covert priest.

Wall, born in Lancashire, England, in 1620, grew up in a wealthy Roman Catholic family.  He studied theology in Douai, France, then matriculated (as John Marsh) at the Roman College on November 5, 1641.  Wall, ordained to the priesthood on December 3, 1645, joined the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans) in Rome, as Joachim of Saint Anne, on January 1, 1651.  He went on to serve as the vicar at Douai and as the novice-master there.  Wall returned to England, on a mission to Worcester, in 1656.

Authorities arrested Kemble and Wall in 1678.  Our two saints were allegedly part of the Titus Oates Plot.  Oates was a man who specialized in peddling what we of 2018 call, in Orwellian language, “alternative facts,” or what Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) referred to as “damn lies.”  (Twain’s other two types of lies were lies and statistics.)  Oates fabricated a Roman Catholic plot to assassinate King Charles II.  Kemble and Wall were supposedly conspirators.  They died, not as conspirators in a fictional plot, but as Roman Catholic priests, thereby officially as traitors.  They died at separate places on the same day–August 22, 1679.  Kemble went to his martyrdom at Hereford.  Respect for him prompted authorities to let him die during the hanging part of hanging, drawing, and quartering.  He was about 80 years old.  Wall died via hanging, drawing, and quartering at Redhill, Corcester.  He was about 59 years old.

Pope Pius XI declared our saints Venerables then Blesseds in 1929.  Pope Pius VI canonized them in 1970.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 26, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ISABEL FLORENCE HAPGOOD, U.S. JOURNALIST, TRANSLATOR, AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREA GIACINTO LONGHIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TREVISO

THE FEAST OF PHILIP DODDRIDGE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VIRGIL MICHEL, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ACADEMIC, AND PIONEER OF LITURGICAL RENEWAL

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love

in the heart of your holy martyrs Saint John Kemble and Saint John Wall:

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, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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Feast of Blesseds Thomas Percy, Richard Kirkman, and William Lacey (August 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England 

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED THOMAS PERCY (1528-AUGUST 22, 1572)

English Roman Catholic Martyr

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BLESSED RICHARD KIRKMAN

BLESSED WILLIAM LACEY

English Roman Catholic Priests, and Martyrs at York, August 22, 1582

Alternative feast day (as Martyrs of Douai) = October 29

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Living as a faithful Roman Catholic in Elizabethan England could be hazardous one’s health.

Thomas Percy, born in Northumberland, England, in 1528, was a nobleman–from April 22, 1563, Sir Thomas Percy.  The Seventh Earl of Northumberland went to his death (via beheading) at York on August 22, 1572, because he refused to recognize the religious authority of Queen Elizabeth I.  Pope Leo XIII beatified Percy in 1895.

Richard Kirkman and William Lacey, priests who had studied theology at Douai, France, died at York on August 22, 1582.  Kirkman, ordained at Rheims in 1579, served as a covert priest in England.  He was, for a time, the tutor to the family of Richard Dymake.  He, like Perry, refused to acknowledge Queen Elizabeth I as the head of the English Church.  That was a crime.  Lacey, husband of a widow and stepfather of two Jesuits, was a coroner in Yorkshire until his arrest (for being a practicing Roman Catholic) circa 1565.  Later a widower, he studied for the priesthood and returned to his homeland as a covert priest.  Authorities arrested Lacey on July 22, 1582.  He and Kirkman died in hanging, drawing, and quartering the following month.  Pope Leo XIII beatified them in 1886.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 26, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ISABEL FLORENCE HAPGOOD, U.S. JOURNALIST, TRANSLATOR, AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREA GIACINTO LONGHIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TREVISO

THE FEAST OF PHILIP DODDRIDGE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VIRGIL MICHEL, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ACADEMIC, AND PIONEER OF LITURGICAL RENEWAL

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Blessed Thomas Percy, Blessed Richard Kirkman, and Blessed William Lacey

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with them the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Blessed Bruno Zembol (August 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Dachau

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED BRUNO ZEMBOL (SEPTEMBER 7, 1905-AUGUST 21, 1942)

Polish Roman Catholic Friar and Martyr, 1942

Alternative feast day (as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II) = June 12

Jan Zembol died for his faith.  He, born at Letownia, Malopolskie (in what is now Poland; there was nation-state of Poland at the time) on September 7, 1905, joined the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans) at Chelm Lubelski, Poland, taking the name Bruno.  He lived his vocation quietly for years, until 1939, when the Third Reich and the Soviet Union partitioned Poland.  The Gestapo targeted Roman Catholic priests and religious, arresting many of them and sending a host of them to Dachau.  Zembol, arrested in late 1939, arrived at Dachau in December 1939.  He endured hard labor and ministered to other prisoners.  At the age of 36 years he died on August 21, 1942, after a severe beating.

Pope John Paul II declared Zembol a Venerable then a Blessed in 1999.

For many, if not all, of us being pious can prove challenging under the best of circumstances; temptations are strong and will power is often weak.  Thus someone such as Blessed Bruno Zembol is really impressive, for being pious at Dachau must have been especially difficult.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINGO HENARES DE ZAFIRA CUBERO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHUNHAY, VIETNAM, AND MARTYR; SAINT PHANXICÔ DO VAN CHIEU, VIETNAMESE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP, AND MARTYR; AND SAINT CLEMENTE IGNACIO DELGADO CEBRIÁN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR IN VIETNAM

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love

in the heart of your holy martyr Blessed Bruno Zembol:

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

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-15

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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Feast of Sts. Maximilian of Antioch, Bonosus, and Maximianus the Soldier (August 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Roman Empire, 330

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MAXIMILIAN OF ANTIOCH (DIED CIRCA 353)

SAINT BONOSUS (DIED IN 362)

SAINT MAXIMIANUS THE SOLIDER (DIED IN 362)

Roman Soldiers and Martyrs

These three saints were soldiers of the Herculean Legion of the imperial Roman Army.

The first to die was St. Maximilian of Antioch.  In 353 Constantius II (reigned 337-361) sat on the throne.  He was, for orthodox Christians, a troublesome figure, given his Arian sympathies and policy of exiling certain prominent orthodox bishops, including St. Athanasius of Alexandria.  St. Maximilian received an order to remove the monogram of Christ, the Chi-Ro, from the legion’s standard.  He refused, and became a martyr.

Above:  The Chi-Ro

Image in the Public Domain

A few years later, the pagan Julian the Apostate (reigned 361-363) launched an empire-wide persecution of Christianity.  It was not a full-scale persecution, such as that Diocletian had started in 303, but it was still persecution.  Julian did sent St. Athanasius of Alexandria into another exile and found ways to make life unduly difficult for Christians.  He, for example, ordered that Christians found guilty of crimes receive harsher sentences than non-Christians convicted of the same offenses.  Julian also forbade Christians to hold teaching jobs.  He sought to restore the empire to its religious state prior to the time his kinsman Constantine I “the Great” (reigned 306-337) had legalized Christianity, a growing religion.  Officially Christianity remained legal.  Officially Julian’s policy was religious toleration.  Actually, his policy was the opposite of toleration.  Julian, in his mind, had a mission from the gods to heal an ailing society.  In 362 Sts. Bonosus and Maximianus the Soldier received orders to replace the Labarum of Constantine, which included the Chi-Ro with a pagan banner.  They refused, became prisoners, endured tortures, and died.

Christianity outlived Constantius II and Julian the Apostate.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINGO HENARES DE ZAFIRA CUBERO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHUNHAY, VIETNAM, AND MARTYR; SAINT PHANXICÔ DO VAN CHIEU, VIETNAMESE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP, AND MARTYR; AND SAINT CLEMENTE IGNACIO DELGADO CEBRIÁN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR IN VIETNAM

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Saint Maximilian of Antioch, Saint Bonosus, and Saint Maximianus the Soldier

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with them the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Sts. Camerinus, Cisellus, and Luxorius of Sardinia (August 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Roman Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CAMERINUS OF SARDINIA

SAINT CISELLUS OF SARDINIA

SAINT LUXORIUS OF SARDINIA

Martyrs at Sardinia, 303

Most Roman persecution of Christians was local and on-and-off.  Some emperors launched empire-wide persecutions, however.  Christianity was, from a certain point of view, an existential threat to the well-being of the Roman Empire.  A common assumption held that, as long as enough people followed the gods, the gods would bless the empire, and it would be strong and prosperous.  There was allegedly a quid pro quo.  Thus making sacrifices to the gods on behalf of the empire was a patriotic duty, according to the imperial government.  Jews were exempt, but they had to pay a special tax instead.

The Emperor Diocletian (reigned 284-305), presiding over a shaky empire beset by internal woes and external invasions, launched the Great Persecution in 303.  He sought to eradicate Christianity.  In 303 and 304 he issued a series of edicts forbidding gatherings for worship, ordering the destruction of churches and sacred books, requiring all Christian clergy to sacrifice to the gods, and mandating that all Christians sacrifice to the gods.

Three casualties of this persecution died on the island of Sardinia in 303.  Sts. Camerinus and Cisellus were recently baptized youths sentenced to die via beheading.  Their comforter at the end was St. Luxorius, a Christian and a Roman soldier.  His life was also forfeit.

Christianity proved to have more durability than Diocletian had imagined.  Many Christians died, but the faith outlasted the Roman Empire.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINGO HENARES DE ZAFIRA CUBERO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHUNHAY, VIETNAM, AND MARTYR; SAINT PHANXICÔ DO VAN CHIEU, VIETNAMESE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP, AND MARTYR; AND SAINT CLEMENTE IGNACIO DELGADO CEBRIÁN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR IN VIETNAM

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Almighty God, who gave to your servants Saints Camerinus, Cisellus, and Luxorius of Sardinia

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of the world,

and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

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

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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