Archive for the ‘Saints of 1940-1949’ Category

Feast of Blessed Ivan Ziatyk (May 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Poland, 1927-1980

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED IVAN ZIATYK (DECEMBER 26, 1899-MAY 17, 1952)

Polish Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1952

Feast day (as one of the Martyrs Killed Under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe) = June 27

Another alternative feast day = April 2

Blessed Ivan Ziatyk was originally a subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  He, born in Sanok (now in Poland) on December 26, 1899, attended high school, in Peremysyl during World War II.

Zaityk, ordained to the priesthood in 1923, ministered in independent Poland.  He taught theology at the seminary in Peremysyl from 1925 to 1935.  Then, in 1935, our saint joined the Redemptorist order.  He, based in Lviv, became a popular preacher.  Ziatyk, the prior of the monastery in Ternopil during World War II, became the Vicar General of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church after the war.  Polish Communist authorities had arrested or exiled all of his superiors.

Ziatyk died a prisoner.  Authorities arrested him on January 5, 1950.  After incarceration in Zolochiv, our saint ended his days, tortured and beaten, in Irkutsk Oblast (in Siberia), Russia.  He died on May 17, 1952, aged 52 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared Ziatyk a Venerable and beatified him in 2001.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 2, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES LLOYD BRECK, “THE APOSTLE OF THE WILDERNESS”

THE FEAST OF CARLO CARRETTO, SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN PAYNE AND CUTHBERT MAYNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS, 1582 AND 1577

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BERNARDIN, CARDINAL ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIDONIUS APOLLINARIS, SAINT EUSTACE OF LYON, AND HIS DESCENDANTS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Ivan Ziatyk

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant to us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

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

that we may receive with him 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 Vladimir Ghika (May 16)   2 comments

Above:  Blessed Vladimir Ghika

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED VLADIMIR GHIKA (DECEMBER 25, 1873-MAY 16, 1954)

Romanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1954

Also known as Blessed Vladimir Ghica

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Lord, do not abandon me.  I embrace your love to triumph over the hate of my enemies.

–Blessed Vladimir Ghika, January 1954

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Blessed Vladimir Ghika served God and the “least of these,” first as a layman then as a priest.

Ghika came from Romanian nobility.  He, born in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire, on December 25, 1873, was a son of Alexandrina Moret de Blaremberg (Ghika) and diplomat John Ghika.  Our saint’s grandfather was Grigore Alexandru Ghica (died in 1857), the penultimate (not last, as many online sources erroneously claim) Prince of Moldavia (reigned 1849-1853 and 1854-1856).  The Ghika family moved to Toulouse, France, in 1878.  Our saint, seemingly destined to become a diplomat, also, graduated with his law degree in Paris in 1895.  He then studied history, political science, philosophy, medicine, literature, botany, and art, first in France then in Romania.

Ghika, raised in Eastern Orthodoxy, converted to Roman Catholicism in 1898.  That year he matriculated at the College of Saint Thomas, Rome, to study theology and philosophy.  Our saint graduated in 1905.

As the catechism of The Episcopal Church, as found in The Book of Common Prayer (1979), teaches,

The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.

–855

Ghika, as a layman, became a pioneer of the lay apostolate.  He, having pondered becoming a monk or a priest, heeded the advice of Pope Pius X not to become priest or monk yet.  Our saint, back in Romania, ministered to the impoverished and the ill.  He founded Mariae Bethlehem, the first free clinic in Bucharest.  Ghika also founded a sanitorium, the first free hospital in Romania, and the first free ambulance service in Romania.  Our saint, risking contracting cholera, provided health care in Zimnicea, Romania, during the Balkan wars, in 1913.

Ghika, ordained a priest in Paris on October 7, 1923, continued to minister to vulnerable people.  He made history by becoming a bi-rite (Latin and Byzantine) priest–the first bi-rite Romanian priest.  He chose to live in Villejuif, a shantytown and a Parisian suburb, from 1924 to 1939.  Our saint returned to Romania on August 3, 1939.  Ghika ministered to the sick and the poor, including wartime refugees, during World War II.  When Communists came to power, he remained in the country voluntarily.

Government agents arrested Ghika on November 18, 1952, as he ministered to a dying man.  The charge was treason, or remaining pro-Rome and opposing the government’s control of organized religion.  Ghika suffered from abuse, which hastened his death in prison in Jilava (near Bucharest) on May 16, 1954.  He was 80 years old when he received the crown of martyrdom.

Pope Francis declared Ghika a Venerable and beatified him in 2013.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 1, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE, ANGLICAN AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT GIUSEPPE GIROTTI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF JOHN GRAY, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, MYTHOLOGIST, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, AND PROFESSOR OF HEBREW AND SEMITIC LANGUAGES

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDOVICO PAVONI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SYRAGIUS OF AUTUN AND ANARCHARIUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; AND SAINTS VALERY OF LEUCONE AND EUSTACE OF LUXEUIT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Vladmir Ghika

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ

before the rulers of this 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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Feast of Unita Blackwell (May 13)   Leave a comment

Above:   Mayersville, Mississippi

Image Source = Google Earth

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UNITA ZELMA BROWN BLACKWELL (MARCH 18, 1933-MAY 13, 2019)

African-American Civil Rights Activist, Rural Community Development Specialist, and Mayor of Mayersville, Mississippi

Born U. Z. Brown

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Politics is not just about voting one day every four years.  Politics is the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the road we walk on.

–Unita Blackwell

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Unita Blackwell‘s Christian faith compelled her to resist systems of oppression and leave communities better than she found them.  Her faith led her to seek intercultural understanding on the local, national, and international levels.

U. Z, Brown, born in Lula, Mississippi, on March 18, 1933, grew up in the Jim Crow U.S. South.  Laws kept African Americans “in their place,” or subordinate to white people.  Our saint, the daughter of sharecroppers Willie Brown and Virda Mae Brown, was originally just U. Z,–initials, no name that abbreviated to them.  The Browns believed on a plantation and in fear of the estate’s owner.  In 1936, Willie fled the plantation.  His family joined him in Memphis, Tennessee, shortly thereafter.  The couple separated in 1938.  Virda Mae and her mother moved to West Helena, Arkansas.

Jim Crow laws restricted the educational opportunities of African Americans in West Helena.  The agricultural economy took precedence over schooling.  Furthermore, African Americans could not attend high school; their public education terminated at the eighth grade.  U. Z. chose her new name, Unita Zelma, in the sixth grade.  She also completed the eighth grade.  Her formal education did not progress until the 1980s.

Our saint met and married Jeremiah Blackwell, a cook for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The site of the wedding was Clarksdale, Mississippi.  The couple had one child, Jeremiah, Jr., born on July 2, 1957.  The Blackwells moved to Mayersville, Mississippi, a small town and the seat of Issaquena County.  Mayersville remained our saint’s home for most of the remainder of her life.  She active in her Baptist church, taught Sunday School.

Blackwell became a civil rights activist in the summer of 1964.  That June, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) conducted a voter registration drive in Issaquena County.  Jeremiah and Unita tried to register to vote, but initially failed the the registration test, designed to cause people to fail.  Both of them lost their jobs for their trouble.  Unita eventually passed the registration test a few months later.  I have found no information about when Jeremiah successfully registered to vote.

That summer, with the aid and encouragement of Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977), Blackwell embarked upon activism.  She became a project manager with SNCC, directing voter registration drives in the state.  That summer, she also attended the Democratic National Convention as a delegate from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

Blackwell paid a stiff price for her activism; police arrested her more than 70 times.  Yet she remained undeterred.  Our saint helped to introduce Head Start for African-American children in Mississippi in 1965.  Our saint and her husband successfully sued the Issaquena County Board of Education in 1965.  The local elementary school principal had expelled more than 300 African-American children for a range of alleged offenses, including wearing SNCC pins.  The federal district court agreed with the Blackwells.  It also ordered the integration of Issaquena County public schools by fall 1965.  The federal court of appeals upheld the district court’s ruling.  The public schools did not integrate until 1970, though.  Freedom schools for African-American chilldren operated through the summer of 1970.

Blackwell became an expert in rural community development, in the context of rural poverty.  In the late 1960s and the 1970s, she worked with the National Council of Negro Women on the issue of low-income housing.  Our saint encouraged poor people across the United States to construct their own housing.  She served as the Mayor of Mayersville from 1977 to 2001.  In that capacity, in the poor, rural Mississippi Delta, Blackwell expanded the range of basic services the local government provided to citizens.  The quality of life for all residents, especially poor and the vulnerable, improved.  Mayor Blackwell’s formal education leapfrogged from the eighth grade to a graduate degree in 1983.  In 1982 and 1983, she studied for her Master of Regional Planning degree from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.

Blackwell’s efforts extended to the national level, too.  She was a member of the Democratic National Committee.  Our saint also attended the national Energy Summit at Camp David in 1979.  President Jimmy Carter invited her.  That year our saint also began to sit on the U.S. National Commission on the International Year of the Child.  Furthermore, Blackwell was a Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in 1991-1992.  She also ran in the primary election for U.S. House of Representatives in 1993, the year after she won one of the MacArthur Fellowships, or “genius grants.”

Blackwell also worked on the international front.  She, interested in U.S.-Chinese cultural exchanges, made sixteen trips to the People’s Republic of China, starting in 1973.  Furthermore, she served as the President of the U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association (founded in 1974) for six years.  And, in 1995, our saint was a delegate to the Non-Government Organizations Forum, related to the International Conference on Women, in Beijing.

Sadly, dementia afflicted Blackwell during her final years.  It set in by 2007/2008.  Our saint, 86 years old, died in a nursing home in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, on May 13, 2019.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 30, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT INNOCENT OF ALASKA, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES AND ENLIGHTENER OF NORTH AMERICA

THE FEAST OF CORDELIA COX, U.S. LUTHERAN SOCIAL WORKER, EDUCATOR, AND RESETTLER OF REFUGEES

THE FEAST OF JOHN MARRIOTT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN WRIGHT BUCKHAM, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JULIA ALVAREZ MENDOZA, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1927

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Unita Blackwell, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Barbara Andrews (May 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Edina Community Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Image Source = Google Earth

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BARBARA LOUISE ANDREWS (MAY 11, 1935-MARCH 31, 1978)

First Female Minister in The American Lutheran Church

The Reverend Barbara Louise Andrews comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Witnesses, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

The American Lutheran Church (1960-1987), the product of a merger, was one of the two main immediate forebears of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  The other main immediate predecessor of ELCA was the Lutheran Church in America (1962-1987).  Both The American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America approved the ordination of women in 1970.  In November 1970, Elizabeth Platz became the first woman ordained in the Lutheran Church in America and in U.S. Lutheranism.  (Platz is still alive.)  Barbara Andrews became the first ordained woman in The American Lutheran Church and the second in U.S. Lutheranism on December 22, 1970.

Andrews, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 11, 1935, became a trailblazer in two fields.  She, born with cerebral palsy, spent her time in a wheelchair.  Our saint championed the rights of people with physical handicaps.  She, a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, served as a lay pastor to students at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, from 1962 to 1969.  She matriculated at Luther Theological Seminary, Minneapolis, in 1964.  Our saint was one of the three women on the ordination track at the seminary. She graduated with (M.Div.) in 1969.

Andrews, ordained in 1970, ministered faithfully.  She was assistant pastor at Edina Community Lutheran Church, Edina, Minneapolis, Minnesota, until 1974.  Next she was a chaplain at Luther Haven Nursing Home, Detroit, Michigan (1974-1977).  Finally, in 1977-1978, our saint was the interim pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Detroit.

Andrews, aged 42 years, died while fighting a fire in her apartment in Detroit on March 31, 1978.

Andrews helped to make possible the ordained ministries of other women in U.S. Lutheranism.  For example, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America elected Elizabeth Eaton its Presiding Bishop in 2013 then reelected her to another six-year term in 2019.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 27, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES HENRY BRENT, EPISCOPAL MISSIONARY BISHOP OF THE PHILIPPINES, BISHOP OF WESTERN NEW YORK, AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS NICHOLAS OWEN, THOMAS GARNET, MARK BARKWORTH, EDWARD OLDCORNE, AND RALPH ASHLEY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 1601-1608

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HALL BAYNES, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF MADAGASCAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT RUPERT OF SALZBURG, APOSTLE OF BAVARIA AND AUSTRIA

THE FEAST OF STANLEY ROTHER, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, MISSIONARY, AND MARTYR IN GUATEMALA, 1981

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Almighty God, we praise you for the men and women you have sent

to call the Church to its tasks and renew its life [such as Barbara Andrews].

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets whose voices will

give strength to your Church and proclaim the reality of your kingdom;

through your Son, Jesus Christ or Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Blessed Vasile Aftenie (May 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Romania, 1948-1952

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED VASILE AFTENIE (JUNE 14, 1899-MAY 10, 1950)

Romanian Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr, 1950

Blessed Vasile Aftenie served God and won the crown of martyrdom.

Aftenie was originally a subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  He, born in Lodroman, Valea Lunga, Alba, Transylvania, on June 14, 1899, reached the age of legal adulthood during World War I.  Our saint, drafted into the army, served in Italy and Galicia.  The redrawing of the map of Europe after the war expanded the borders of Romania and broke up Austria-Hungary.

Our saint, briefly a law student in Bucharest, Romania, after World War I, turned toward theology instead.  He matriculated at the Pontifical Greek College of Saint Athanasius, Rome, Italy, in 1919.  Aftenie, ordained to the priesthood on January 1, 1926, spent much of his career at the seminary in Bucharest–teaching (1926-1934) then serving as the dean (1934-1937).  Our saint, Canon of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Blaj (1937-1939), served as the Rector of the Theological Academy (1939-1940).  On April 12, 1940, our saint became the Auxiliary Bishop of Faragas si Alba Iulia and the Titular Bishop of Ulpiana.  Starting on June 15, 1941, he served as the Apostolic administrator of the diocese.

In Spring 1945, during the final months of World War II in Europe, Communist forces began to consolidate their power in Romania.  With the end of the monarchy in December 1947, Romania became a Communist state in the political orbit of the Soviet Union.  The law of August 4, 1948, officially granted freedom of religion and defined coercive acts intended to curb religious practices as crimes.  However, that law also brought organized religion under state control, thereby rendering churches allowed to exist as agents of the Communist government.

Aftenie became a prisoner of the Communist government on October 28, 1948.  First incarcerated at the Dragoslavele work camp, our saint went into solitary confinement at Caldarusani monastery, near Bucharest.  A year of torture began on May 10, 1949.  Aftenie, mutilated, crippled, and broken mentally, died of a gunshot at Vacaresti on May 10, 1950.  He was 50 years old.

Pope Francis declared our saint a Venerable and beatified him in 2019.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 26, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGARET CLITHEROW, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 1586

THE FEAST OF FLANNERY O’CONNOR, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC WRITER

THE FEAST OF GEORGE RUNDLE PRYNNE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JAMES RENDEL HARRIS, ANGLO-AMERICAN CONGREGATIONALIST THEN QUAKER BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND ORIENTALIST; ROBERT LUCCOCK BENSLY, ENGLISH BIBLICAL TRANSLATOR AND ORIENTALIST; AGNES SMITH LEWIS AND MARGARET DUNLOP SMITH GIBSON, ENGLISH BIBLICAL SCHOLARS AND LINGUISTS; SAMUEL SAVAGE LEWIS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND LIBRARIAN OF CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE; AND JAMES YOUNG, SCOTTISH UNITED PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND LITERARY TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDGER, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MUNSTER

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Vasile Aftenie

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ

before the rulers of this 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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Feast of Blessed Maria del Carmen Rendiles Martinez (May 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Venezuela, 1954-2006

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIA DEL CARMEN RENDILES MARTINEZ (AUGUST 11, 1903-MAY 9, 1977)

Foundress of the Servants of Jesus of Caracas (the Servant Congregation of Jesus in Venezuela)

Also known as Mother Maria Carmen

Born Carmen Elena Rendiles Martinez

Blessed Maria del Carmen Rendiles Martinez devoted almost all of her life to God.  She, one of eight children of Ramiro Antonio Rendiles and Ana Antonia Martinez, debuted in Caracas, Venezuela, on August 11, 1903.  Our saint, from a respected and wealthy family, was devout from youth.  She was a catechist at the age of 15 years.  Blessed Maria also overcame a physical disability; she never had a left arm.  She used a prosthesis instead.

Blessed Maria Carmen spent nearly half of a century in religious life.  She joined the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament on February 25, 1927, when she was 23 years old.  Our saint spent years studying in Toulouse, France.  While there, she received her habit in 1927, made her first vows in 1929, and made her final vows in 1932.  After returning to Caracas in 1934, she became the novice mistress there.  Our saint, the Provincial Superior for Venezuela and Colombia, starting in 1945, founded convents and schools.  After she inherited the family estate, she founded a school for poor children there.

Politics led to the division of the order.  In 1961, by means of a new constitution, the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament became the Servants of the Eucharist.  The change of constitution came as a surprise to the order’s South American members.  Internal communications were problematic for the order.  The South American province became a separate order in 1965, and Blessed Maria became the first Superior General of the Servants of Jesus of Caracas (the Congregation of Jesus in Venezuela).

Blessed Maria Carmen died in Caracas on May 9, 1977.  She was 73 years old.

Pope Francis declared our saint a Venerable in 2013 then beatified her five years later.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 25, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT DISMAS, PENITENT BANDIT

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O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant Blessed Maria del Carmen Rendiles Martinez,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 722

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Feast of St. Basil Martysz (May 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Poland, 1919-1927

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT BASIL MARTYSZ (FEBRUARY 20, 1874-MAY 4, 1945)

Polish Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1945

Also known as Saint Vasily Martysz

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I have done no harm to anyone and I will not run away from anyone.  Christ did not run away.

–St. Basil (Vasily) Martysz, May 4, 1945

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St. Basil (Vasily) Martysz comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church (which canonized him in 2003) and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), which also observes his feast day.

Above:  Partitioned Poland in Europe, 1871

Image in the Public Domain

Martysz was originally a subject of the Russian Empire and a baptized member of the Russian Orthodox Church.  He, born in Teratyn, Poland, Russia, on February 20, 1874, was a son of Alexander Martysz, a judge.  Alexander later retired from the bench and became a priest.  Our saint and his father visited New York, New York, in 1884.  Vladimir, Russian Orthodox Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska, and therefore in charge of Russian Orthodox Church work in the United States, from 1887 to 1891, noticed young Basil’s beautiful singing voice.  Bishop Vladimir predicted that the boy would become a priest.  Furthermore, the bishop predicted that he (the bishop) would invite St. Basil to serve in the American diocese.  Our saint did become a priest.  He studied theology under St. Tikhon of Moscow (1865-1925) at the seminary in Chelon, Russia.  Martysz, ordained to the diaconate in the summer of 1899, married Olga Nowik.  He, ordained a priest in in December 1900, departed for Alaska with Olga.  He served under St. Tikhon, who had become the Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska in 1898.  St. Tikhon changed the name of the diocese to the Diocese of the Aleutians and North America in 1900.  This became the Archdiocese of the Aleutians and North America in 1905.

Martysz remained in North America until 1912.  He served first in Alaska.  Our saint was responsible for churches and chapels on Spruce and Woody Islands, near Kodiak.  He and his family sacrificed in frontier conditions.  Our saint spent weeks away from home, traveling by kayak, as Olga raised their first two children, daughters born in 1902 and 1904.  The family lived in Afognak then in Kodiak.  Martysz also taught in the church school and in two ecclesiastical homes for poor children.  The family left the wilds of Alaska for the contiguous United States.  A son joined the family in Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania, in 1906.  A third daughter arrived two years later.  Then the family lived in, in order:  Old Forge, Pennsylvania; Waterbury, Connecticut; West Troy, New York; Edmonton, Alberta; and Wostok, Alberta.  Our saint became the archdiocesan dean for Alberta and Manitoba while at Wostok.

The Martysz family returned to Poland in 1912.  They settled in Sosnowiec.  Our saint served as the parish priest and as a teacher at the local girls’ high school.  Then World War I broke out in the summer of 1914.  Russian Orthodox priests were technically civil servants with orders to evacuate.  Bishop Vladimir, back in Russia, provided the Martysz family with an apartment at St. Andronicus Monastery, Moscow.  Our saint taught religious education classes in Valdai until the Bolshevik Revolution (1917f).  Then he earned his living unloading railroad cars and became a target for the Red Army.

Above:  Poland in Europe, 1919

Image in the Public Domain

The Martysz family returned to Poland, newly independent, in 1919.  They went back to Sosnowiec briefly.  That September, they moved to Warsaw, for our saint accepted a new position.  He was in charge of Orthodox Affairs in the Religious Ministry of the War Department.  He forced and organized the Orthodox chaplaincy in the Polish Army.  Martysz, promoted to colonel in 1921, became that head of that chaplaincy.  He also received the title of archpriest from the Church.

Martysz also aldvised Metropolitans of Warsaw and All Poland.  Metroplitan George and our saint worked for the autocephaly of the Polish Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate.  After the assassination of Metropolitan George on February 8, 1923, Martysz continued to work for Polish Orthodox autocephaly with Metropolican Dionysius.  The Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church in 1925.  St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow (1917-1925), died on April 25.  The office of Patriarch of Moscow remained vacant until 1943.  The Moscow Patriarchate recognized Polish autocephaly in 1948.

Martysz remained the head of the Orthodox chaplaincy in the Polish Army until he retired in 1936.  During the years he held this job, he labored faithfully.  For example, he supervised ministry to Ukrainian internees along the Polish border immediately after World War I.  Our saint appointed and trained chaplains for them.  Martysz also celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Ukrainian for more than 5,000 internees at one camp on July 8, 1921.

Our saint, Olga, and their widowed mothers settled in Teratyn in 1936.  Retirement was peaceful for a few years.  During World War II life became difficult.  The village dwindled.  Both mothers died.  Olga died in 1943.  Helen (our saint’s youngest daughter), her husband, and their daughter moved in, to support the retired archpriest.  In the final days of World War II, bandits searching for wealth were breaking into homes and killing the inhabitants.  Our saint, 71 years old, refused to leave his home.  He suffered terribly before he died.  The men who killed him kicked and nearly killed his pregnant daughter, who miscarried.

The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America list Martysz as a martyr.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SEBASTIAN CASTELLIO, PROPHET OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, HYMN WRITER AND ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF ELLEN GATES STARR, U.S. EPISCOPALIAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ACTIVIST AND REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA JOSEFA SANCHO DE GUERRA, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SERVANTS OF JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL RODIGAST, GERMAN LUTHERAN ACADEMIC AND HYMN WRITER

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

in the heart of your holy martyr Saint Basil Martysz:

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 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

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

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