Feast of Sts. Zenaida, Philonella, and Hermione (April 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  Rod of Asclepius

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINTS ZENAIDA AND PHILONELLA OF TARSUS (DIED CIRCA 100)

SAINT HERMIONE OF EPHESUS (DIED CIRCA 117)

Unmercenary Physicians

Sts. Zenaida, Philonella, and Hermione come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church–Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, specifically.  All three women are also saints in the Eastern Orthodox churches.  Sts. Zenaida and Philonella of Tarsus, sisters, share the feast day of October 11 in that tradition.  The feast day of St. Hermione on the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox calendars is September 4.

Sts. Zenaida and Philonella of Tarsus were sisters of St. Jason of Tarsus, Bishop of Tarsus, and host of Sts. Paul the Apostle and Silas in Thessalonica in Acts 17:1-9.  After St. Jason became a Christian and a priest, he baptized his sisters.  Sts. Zenaida and Philonella came from a wealthy Jewish family.  The sisters, well-educated in philosophy and medicine, confronted the patriarchy that prevented them from practicing medicine via conventional channels.  They founded what sociologists call parallel institutions–in their case, a chapel, two cells, and a clinic on the outskirts of Thessaly.  The sister physicians provided free medical care and refused to accept payment from anyone.  St. Zenaida specialized in pediatrics and psychological disorders, especially depression.  She had several male disciples, who founded a monastery nearby.

The sisters died circa 100.

St. Hermione of Ephesus founded the first Christian hospital.  She was a daughter of St. Philip the Deacon, mentioned in Acts 6:1-7 and 8:26-40.  St. Hermione, who studied medicine in Caesarea, visited Ephesus to meet St. John the Evangelist.  She arrived after he had died, however.  She remained in the area, though.  St. Hermione and her sister Eukhidia opened a clinic that became a hospital.

St. Hermione died circa 117.

The collect for this feast provides a suitable conclusion.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 26, 2020 COMMON ERA

ASH WEDNESDAY

THE FEAST OF ANTONIO VALDIVIESO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF LEON, AND MARTYR, 1495

THE FEAST OF ANDREW REED, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EMILY MALBONE MORGAN, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF THE COMPANIONS OF THE HOLY CROSS

THE FEAST OF JAKOB HUTTER, FOUNDER OF THE HUTTERITES, AND ANABAPTIST MARTYR, 1536; AND HIS WIFE, KATHARINE HUTTER, ANABAPTIST MARTYR, 1538

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULA OF SAINT JOSEPH OF CALASANZ, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF MARY

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Merciful God, whose most dear Son came to

heal the sick, cast out demons, and preach the gospel to the poor;

Teach us by the example of your servants, Zenaida, Philonella, and Hermione

to give freely even as we have received freely;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 38:1-14

Psalm 147

Mark 1:29-34

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, 230

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