Archive for the ‘Saints of 29-199 C.E.’ Category

Feast of Sts. Getulius, Amantius, Caerealis, Primitivus, and Symphorosa of Tivoli (June 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Temples of Vesta and of the Sybil, Tivoli, Italy

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINTS AMANTIUS AND GETULIUS OF TIVOLI (DIED 120)

Brothers, and Martyrs at Tivoli

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SAINTS CAEREALIS AND PRIMITIVUS OF TIVOLI (DIED 120)

Roman Soldiers, and Martyrs at Tivoli

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SAINT SYMPHOROSA OF TIVOLI (DIED IN THE EARLY 100S)

Wife of St. Getulius of Tivoli, and Martyr

Her feast transferred from July 18

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No information, aside from names, years of death, and places of martyrdom has survived for many Christian martyrs of the Roman imperial period, unfortunately.  We do know slightly more about these five saints, however.  Their stories, combined, provide enough information for a brief post.

The narrative begins with St. Getulius.

St. Getulius was a Roman military officer during the reigns of Emperors Trajan (98-117) and Hadrian (117-138).  After St. Getulius converted to Christianity he resigned his commission.  He and his brother, St. Amantius, also a Christian, went to central Italy, to live among the Sabines.  Hadrian dispatched Caerealis and Primitivus to apprehend the brothers.  Caerealis and Primitivus found Sts. Amantius and Getulius, who converted them to Christianity.  The judge Licinius, under imperial orders, sentenced the four Christians to death.  He granted them an opportunity for a reprieve; the Christians, to avoid execution, had to renounce their faith.  They refused.  Therefore, in Tivoli, in 120, they received the crown of martyrdom via clubbing to death.

St. Getulius left a widow, St. Symphorosa, who also became a martyr during the reign of Hadrian.

God and history have issued their verdicts–against the persecution over which Hadrian presided.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DEICOLA AND GALL, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS; AND SAINT OTHMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AT ST. GALLEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF HARRIET AUBER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, who gave to your servants

Saints Getulius, Amantius, Caerealis, Primitivus, and Symphorosa of Tivoli

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 131

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

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

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Feast of St. Blandina and Her Companions, the Martyrs of Lyons (June 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Blandina

Image in the Public Domain

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THE 48 MARTYRS OF LYONS, 177

Eusebius of Caesarea wrote at length of these martyrs at the beginning of Book 5 of his Ecclesiastical History.

Empire-wide persecutions of Christians were rare in the Roman Empire.  Usually persecutions were regional and occasional.  For some period of time prior to 177 there was no persecution in Lyons.  Then it resumed.

The persecution of Christians in Lyons assumed several forms.  Initially public marginalization, such as exclusion from the marketplace, occurred.  Then pagan mobs attacked Christians and vandalized their homes.  The next stage entailed public interrogation, followed by incarceration and torture.  At this stage most of the martyrs, including St. Pothinus, the aged Bishop of Lyons, died.  By means of torture authorities extracted from some victims false confessions of sordid offenses, such as incest and cannibalism.  Under pressure some Christians, including St. Biblis, renounced the faith, only to reclaim it, then to die horribly.

At the end of the persecution crowds filled the amphitheater for six days to watch the martyrdoms of St. Sanctus (a deacon), St. Attalus (a longtime church member), St. Maturus (a recent convert), St. Ponticus (who was fifteen years old), and St. Blandina (a slave).  St. Blandina was the last one to die.  Eusebius concluded:

After they were exposed and insulted for six days, the martyrs’ bodies were burned to ash and swept by the wicked into the Rhone, which flows nearby, so that not even a trace of them would still appear on earth.  They did this as if to conquer God and defeat their rebirth so that, as they said, “they might not have any hope of resurrection, because of which they have introduced a strange new cult, ignored torture, and gone joyfully to death.  Now let’s see if they will rise again and if their god will save them.”

–Translated by Paul L. Maier (Grand Rapids, MI:  Kregel Publications, 1999), page 178

God and history have issued their verdicts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 16, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PACHOMIUS THE GREAT, FOUNDER OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNAL MONASTICISM

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROBERTO DE NOBOLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN INDIA

THE FEAST OF GREVILLE PHILLIMORE, ENGLISH PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF RICHARD MEUX BENSON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND COFOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST; CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, COFOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST, AND BISHOP OF FOND DU LAC; AND CHARLES GORE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF WORCESTER, BIRMINGHAM, AND OXFORD; FOUNDER OF THE COMMUNITY OF THE RESURRECTION; THEOLOGIAN; AND ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE AND WORLD PEACE

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Grant, O Lord, that we who keep the feast of the holy martyrs

Blandina and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of you,

and may endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be revealed in us;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 12:1-3a

Psalm 34:1-8

1 Peter 1:3-9

Mark 8:34-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 403

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Feast of St. Justin Martyr (June 1)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Justin Martyr

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JUSTIN MARTYR (100/110-166/167)

Christian Apologist and Martyr

St. Justin Martyr was a major figure in early Christian history.  He, a student of Greek philosophy, pioneered the project of reconciling faith and reason.

St. Justin grew up a pagan.  He, born at Flavia Neopolis (formerly Shechem, Samaria; subsequently Nablus, in the West Bank of the River Jordan), spent years studying and mastering various schools of Greek philosophy.  Our saint sought meaning.  Circa 130 St. Justin found that meaning after a meeting with a Christian on the beach at Ephesus.  Our saint, while acknowledging the wisdom and truth present in Greek philosophy, came to regard Christianity as the sole rational religion and the only

safe and profitable philosophy.

One of the people he debated was one Trypho, a Jew, who argued that the New Testament distorts the Hebrew Bible.  St. Justin replied that the latter actually foreshadows the former.

Circa 150 St. Justin moved to Rome, where he founded a school and where he spent the rest of his life.  Our saint wrote influential texts, some of which have survived.  St. Justin addressed the First Apology (circa 155) to the Emperor Antoninus Pius (reigned 138-161) and his adopted sons, Marcus Aurelius (reigned 161-180) and Lucius Verus.  Our saint refuted allegations of immorality against the Church, argued for the reasonableness of Christianity, and described contemporary Baptismal and Eucharistic rites and theology.  The bases of the Dialogue with Trypho were encounters at Ephesus.  The audience for the Second Apology (161) was the Roman Senate.

St. Justin, orthodox according to the standards of the time, became something of a heretic post mortem, as did other Ante-Nicene Fathers, notably Origen and St. Clement of Alexandria.  St. Justin, for example, concluded that God the Son is subordinate to God the Father, a position antithetical to subsequent orthodox developments in Trinitarian theology.

Circa 165 St. Justin debated the Cynic philosopher Crescens publicly; this led to the demise of our saint and six of his pupils.  Apparently Crescens was an unsavory character; St. Justin accused him of being immoral and ignorant.  The revenge of Crescens proved St. Justin’s first point.  The Cynic philosopher denounced St. Justin and six of his pupils as Christians.  (The authorities could have arrested St. Justin for years, if they had been of a mind to do; he was living openly and writing apologia to imperial officials, after all.)  When St. Justin and the others refused to sacrifice to the gods, they endured scourging then met their martyrdom via beheading.

These martyrs had the courage of their convictions.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 16, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PACHOMIUS THE GREAT, FOUNDER OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNAL MONASTICISM

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROBERTO DE NOBOLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN INDIA

THE FEAST OF GREVILLE PHILLIMORE, ENGLISH PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF RICHARD MEUX BENSON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND COFOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST; CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, COFOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST, AND BISHOP OF FOND DU LAC; AND CHARLES GORE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF WORCESTER, BIRMINGHAM, AND OXFORD; FOUNDER OF THE COMMUNITY OF THE RESURRECTION; THEOLOGIAN; AND ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE AND WORLD PEACE

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O God, who has given your Church wisdom and revealed deep and secret things:

Grant that we, like your servant Justin and in union with his prayers,

may find your truth an abiding refuge all the days of our lives;

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

with you, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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Almighty and everlasting God, you found your martyr Justin wandering from teacher to teacher,

seeking the true God, and you revealed to him the sublime wisdom of your eternal Word:

Grant that all who seek you, or a deeper knowledge of you, may find and be found by you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Deuteronomy 7:7-9

Psalm 16:5-11

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

John 12:44-50

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 401

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Feast of St. Quadratus the Apologist (May 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Roman Empire, 117 C.E.

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

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SAINT QUADRATUS THE APOLOGIST (SECOND CENTURY C.E.)

Early Christian Apologist

Eusebius of Caesarea (circa 260-339) mentioned one Quadratus in his Ecclesiastical History.  The great historian, without explaining who Quadratus was, wrote that Quadratus had written a defense of Christian faith and sent it to the Roman Emperor Hadrian (reigned 117-138) because, as Eusebius explained,

certain wicked men were trying to get our people into trouble.

Eusebius–The Church History:  A New Translation with Commentary, translated by Paul L. Maier (Grand Rapids, MI:  Kregel Publications, 1999), page 136

Eusebius also wrote that copies of that document were commonplace among Christians then praised the intelligence and orthodoxy of Quadratus.  Next the great historian quoted that apologia:

Our Savior’s deeds were always there to see, for they were true:  those who were cured or those who rose from the dead were seen not only when they were cured or raised but were constantly there to see, not only while the Savior was living among us, but also for some time after his departure.  Some of them, in fact, survived right up to our time.

–Maier, page 136

Copies of the apologia of Quadratus were commonplace in the lifetime of Eusebius, but the document has not survived the ravages of time.  We would not have the opportunity to read any part of it except for the fact that Eusebius included an excerpt.

St. Jerome (347-419) understood the apologist to have been St. Quadratus of Athens, the Bishop of Athens, Greece, in the 120s.  Many subsequent scholars have disagreed with that conclusion, though.  On one hand, the apologia dated to 124 or 125, so the timeframe fit.  On the other hand, how many Quadratuses were contemporaries of each other?

Regardless of who St. Quadratus the Apologist was, we can be certain of one fact:  he was the earliest known Christian apologist.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 7, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PHILIP AND DANIEL BERRIGAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND SOCIAL ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF ANNE ROSS COUSIN, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GERALD THOMAS NOEL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER; BROTHER OF BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL, ANGLICAN PRIEST, ENGLISH BAPTIST EVANGELIST, AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS NIECE, CAROLINE MARIA NOEL, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MARIA JOSEPHA ROSSELLO, COFOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF OUR LADY OF PITY

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Lord God, you have surrounded us with so great a cloud of witnesses.

Grant that we, encouraged by the example of your servant Saint Quadratus the Apologist,

may persevere in the course that is set before us and, at the last,

share in your eternal joy with all the saints in light,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 9:1-10

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Luke 6:20-23

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Feast of Sts. Victor the Martyr and Corona of Damascus (May 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Victor the Martyr

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT VICTOR THE MARTYR

Roman Soldier and Christian Martyr, 165

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SAINT CORONA OF DAMASCUS

Christian Martyr, 165

Also known as Saint Stephanida and Saint Corona the Martyr

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Alternative feast days = November 11 and November 24

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Emperor Marcus Aurelius (reigned 161-180 C.E.), in the words of classical historian Michael Grant, considered Christians to be

self-dramatizing martyrs who perversely refused to participate in the common life of the Roman Empire which, for all its imperfections, seemed to him the most complete earthly expression of the ideal Stoic cosmopolis that he always held before his eyes.

The Roman Emperors:  A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome, 31 BC-AD 476 (1985), pages 92-93

In other words, Christians were allegedly menaces to society because they refused to conform.  And, if one assumed that the gods would continue to bless the Roman Empire as long as the populace honored the deities, one thought of the Christian gospel as an existential threat to the empire.  From that perspective persecuting Christians was an essential policy, in the name of imperial security.

St. Victor was a Roman soldier stationed in Syria.  He, being a Christian, refused to perform his civic duty–to offer a sacrifice to the gods.  For this offense St. Victor became a prisoner and suffered tortures.  Before his jailers beheaded him, they blinded him.  St. Corona/Stephanida, from our perspective in 2017 the teenage wife of one of the soldiers torturing St. Victor in Damascus, was also a Christian.  She nursed St. Victor while he was in prison.  For that she also went to martyrdom.

Although certain governments are inherently bad–evil, even–others are not.  Even when a government is not necessarily bad (at least not mostly or entirely), certain actions one might take in service to the state are inherently immoral, even when one performs them in the name of national security.  One might not seek to engage in perfidy, but one might perform perfidious acts anyway.  One might not know what one is really doing.  May God forgive one.

May one also honor the faith of Sts. Victor and Corona.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of Sts. Victor the Martyr and Corona of Damascus,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage

to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

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

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Feast of Sts. Junia and Andronicus (May 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Sts. Junia and Andronicus with St. Athanasius of Christianoupolis

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINTS JUNIA AND ANDRONICUS (FIRST CENTURY C.E.)

Missionaries and Martyrs

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Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

–Romans 16:7, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

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Chrysostom, preaching on this passage, saw no difficulty in a woman-apostle; nor need we.

–C. H. Dodd, The Epistle of Paul to the Romans (1932; paperback, 1959), page 241

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Romans 16:7 is the only Biblical reference to these saints.

“Junia” is a female Latin name present in more than 250 inscriptions found in Rome.  Some ancient manuscripts give the name as “Julia” instead.  The main alternative to “Junia,” however, is “Junias,” which is masculine.

I consulted my library of Biblical translations.  The following versions had “Junias”:

  1. American Standard Version,
  2. An American Translation,
  3. Confraternity Version,
  4. Douay-Rheims Version,
  5. The Jerusalem Bible,
  6. The Living Bible,
  7. The New American Bible (1970),
  8. New American Standard Bible,
  9. New American Standard Bible–Updated Edition,
  10. The New English Bible,
  11. The New Jerusalem Bible,
  12. The New Testament in Modern English (J. B. Phillips),
  13. The New Testament in Modern English–Revised Edition (J. B. Phillips),
  14. Nouvelle Version Segond Révisée,
  15. Revised Standard Version,
  16. Revised Standard Version–Catholic Edition,
  17. Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition, and
  18. Revised Standard Version–Second Edition.

The following translations had “Junia”:

  1. Authorised Version/King James Version,
  2. The New American Bible (1986),
  3. The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011),
  4. New King James Version,
  5. The New Revised Standard Version,
  6. The New Revised Standard Version–Catholic Edition, and
  7. The Revised English Bible.

Recognition of St. Junia as female has been part of Christian tradition for a long time.  Origen, St. Jerome, and St. John Chrysostom described the apostle (traveling evangelist) as female.  Since the 600s the Orthodox Church has recognized Sts. Junia and Andronicus (likely married) as missionaries and martyrs who traveled widely.  Some sources have speculated that the two might have been siblings, not spouses.  Nevertheless, St. Paul the Apostle worked with the married couple Sts. Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 28:18, 26 and Romans 16:3).

The probability that Sts. Junia and Andronicus were a married couple is high.  One might conclude that the origin of “Junias” is sexism to a degree that even certain patriarchal ecclesiastical institutions do not stoop.

As of A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016) this feast is new to The Episcopal Church.  The feast is a fine addition to the official calendar and to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Tony Hendra, in Father Joe:  The Man Who Saved My Soul (2004), wrote that Father Joe said that Holy Mother Church had not canonized enough married couples.  That was a valid criticism.

May we then agree with St. Joseph the Hymnographer (816-886), who wrote in praise of Sts. Junia and Andronicus:

With piety we will honor the Bright stars and holy

Apostles Junia and the God-inspired Andronicus.

The Blessed Paul proclaims you both as truly distinguished

Among the Apostles, and blessed in the Church.

–Quoted in A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016)

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 17, 2017 COMMON ERA

PROPER 19:  THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF HENRY LASCALLES JENNER, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND

THE FEAST OF HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM DALRYMPLE MACLAGAN, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, whose Son, the risen Christ, sent forth your apostles

Andronicus and Junia to proclaim the gospel and extend your reign:

send us forth in your Holy Spirit, that women and men may

minister as one faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

in perfect unity, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

1 Samuel 3:1-10

Psalm 63:1-8

Ephesians 4:11-16

Matthew 9:35-38

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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Feast of Sts. Flavia Domitilla of Terracina and Maro, Eutyches, and Victorinus of Rome (April 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flavian Dynasty Family Tree

Source = Michael Grant, The Roman Emperors:  A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome, 31 BC-AD 476 (1985)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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SAINT FLAVIA DOMITILLA OF TERRACINA 

Roman Christian Noblewoman

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SAINTS MARO, EUTYCHES, AND VICTORINUS OF ROME (MARTYRED CIRCA 99)

Priests

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St. Flavia Domitilla (III) was related to Roman Emperors of the Flavian Dynasty.  The daughter of Flavia Domitilla (II), daughter of Vespasian (reigned 69-79) and sister of Titus (reigned 79-81) and Domitian (81-96).  Her husband was consul Titus Flavius Clemens, a nephew of Vespasian and a first cousin of Titus and Domitian.  St. Flavia Domitilla and her husband converted to Christianity.  For being Christians they suffered; the husband went to martyrdom and the wife went into exile on the island of Pandataria, in the Tyrrhenian Sea.  She did not go into exile alone.  With the noblewoman went a friend, St. Maro of Rome, as well as Sts. Eutyches and Victorinus of Rome.

The exile ended during the reign (96-98) of the Emperor Nerva, who who had plotted successfully to assassinate Domitian.  Our four saints returned to Rome.  There Sts. Maro, Eutyches, and Victorinus became priests and preached in public.  For that they died circa 99, during the reign (98-117) of Trajan.  Sources have long contradicted each other regarding the fate of St. Flavia Domitilla.

Martyrdom remains plausible, of course.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 27, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CORNELIUS HILL, ONEIDA CHIEF AND EPISCOPAL PRIEST

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

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

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servants

Saint Flavia Domitilla of Terracina,

Saint Maro of Rome,

Saint Eutyches of Rome, and

Saint Victorinus of Rome,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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