Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1000s’ Category

Feast of St. Casilda of Toledo (April 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Saint Casilda of Toledo, by Francisco de Zurbaran

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CASILDA OF TOLEDO (950-1050)

Roman Catholic Anchoress

St. Casilda of Toledo was a daughter of a Muslim king in Toledo, on the Iberian peninsula.  As such she grew up in a wealthy family.  Our saint, sympathetic to Christian prisoners, smuggled food for them in her clothes.  St, Casilda, when a young woman, visited the shrine of San Vicente, near Buezo. There she found healing in the spring at the shrine.  Our saint, thereafter baptized at Burgos, dedicated her life to God and became an anchoress near the shrine.  She lived to the ripe old age of 100.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BLESSED OSCAR ROMERO AND THE MARTYRS OF EL SALVADOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIDACUS JOSEPH OF CADIZ, CAPUCHIN FRIAR

THE FEAST OF PAUL COUTURIER, APOSTLE OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

THE FEAST OF THOMAS ATTWOOD, FATHER OF MODERN CHURCH MUSIC

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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 Saint Casilda of Toledo,

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,

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

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

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Feast of St. Odilo of Cluny (January 2)   Leave a comment

st-odilo-of-cluny

Above:  St. Odilo of Cluny

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ODILO OF CLUNY (CIRCA 962-JANUARY 1, 1049)

Roman Catholic Abbot

Alternative feast days = January 1, January 3, January 19, February 6, April 29, and May 11

St. Odilo of Cluny, a native of Auvergne, came from French nobility.  His father was Berald de Mercoeur.  His mother was Gerberga, who entered a convent after Berald died.  At the age of 29 years St. Odilo became a monk at the great monastery of Cluny.  Three years later, in 994, he became the abbot.  Our saint held that post for 54 years.

St. Odilo was an influential figure.  In 998 he pioneered the observance of All Souls’ Day (November 2), set aside to remember and pray for the dead.  He also sold church treasures and property to raise funds to feed the poor during famine.  Furthermore, our saint promoted the Truce of God, or the suspension of military hostilities at certain Church-defined times, for the purpose of permitting essential commerce to resume.  Another aspect of the Truce of God was respecting churches as places of refuge.  The penalty for violating the Truce of God was excommunication.  St. Odilo also increased the number of Cluniac priories from 37 to 65 and declined the opportunity to become the Archbishop of Lyon.

Part of our saint’s job entailed traveling from Cluniac priory to Cluniac priory.  He was inspecting the priory at Souvigny when he died on January 1, 1049.

If you, O reader, have attended an All Saints’ Day (or, as we call it in The Episcopal Church, Commemoration of All Faithful Departed) service, you have experienced the influence of St. Odilo of Cluny.

As for the Truce of God, it sounds like a fine idea to me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 11, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF ANNE STEELE, FIRST IMPORTANT ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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O God, by whose grace your servant St. Odilo of Cluny, kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

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

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

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 113 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

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Feast of Sylvester II (May 13)   2 comments

Vatican Flag

Above:  Vatican Flag

SYLVESTER II (CIRCA 945-MAY 12, 1003)

Also Known as Gerbert of Aurillac

Bishop of Rome

Today I add Pope Sylvester II (reigned April 2, 999-May 12, 1003) to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  The Roman Catholic Church has not seen fit to canonize him; that constitutes an oversight.

I have been pondering adding Pope Sylvester II to my Ecumenical Calendar since the St. Abbo of Fleury post (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/feast-of-st-abbo-of-fleury-november-13/).  Part of the discipline inherent in working of these saints posts is staying on track and not chasing rabbits; one must return to some people later.  I have concluded that Sylvester II deserves a place on a place on my Ecumenical Calendar with one caveat:  My political theories are post-Enlightenment; he were pre-Enlightenment.  Thus I favor the separation of church and state for the benefit of the church, but Sylvester II supported theocracy.  That fact about him troubles me, but the rest of his life offsets that matter.  And he was a product of his times, just as I am a product of mine.

Gerbert of Aurillac was a great intellectual who accepted accurate knowledge wherever he found it.  For this reason many opponents within the Church accused him of being in league with Satan.  These anti-intellectuals shunned the classics of Greek and Roman philosophy and literature, calling them “vermin.”  But the works of Virgil, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Horace, etc. were not “vermin.”  No, for Gerbert, born into humble origins and educated at Aurillac monastery, they were essential works.  One needed to master the classics and to hone one’s abilities to be an excellent orator, he claimed.

Gerbert was a Renaissance man who lived before the Renaissance.  He studied the night sky with a telescope regularly and mastered mathematics.  He knew how to use an abacus well.  He built clocks and pipe organs.  And, 972 forward, as head of the Rheims Cathedral School, he built up that institution’s reputation as a center of intellectual inquiry.  For Gerbert astronomy, mathematics, Greek classics, good morals, and excellent oratory went hand-in-hand:

With my efforts to lead a good life, I have always tried to speak well, as philosophy does not separate these two things.  While to live a good life is more important than to be a good speaker, still to those of us in public affairs, both powers are necessary.  For it is of the highest advantage to be able to persuade by well-fashioned speech, and by sweet words to restrain angry souls from violence.

–quoted in James Reston, The Last Apocalypse:  Europe at the Year 1000 A.D. (New York:  Doubleday, 1998), page 211

Gerbert’s intellectual reputation in 980 threatened that of Otric, head of the Magdeburg Cathedral School and tutor of German Emperor Otto II (reigned 973-983).  Otric had heard that Gerbert had promoted physics as a branch of mathematics, not as a separate discipline.  Otto II and a rapt audience observed as the intellectuals debated.  Gerbert won the debate and Otto II’s favor.

It was good to have a royal patron, Gerbert learned.  Otto II appointed Gerbert to lead the monastery at Bobbio, which had a vast library, in 983.  Yet mutual misunderstandings led to opposition to Gerbert as abbot.  Otto II died later that year, leaving a three-year-old Otto III (reigned 983-1002), whose throne Gerbert saved from a usurper.  Then, in 984, Gerbert returned to Rheims, where he helped make Hugh Capet (reigned 987-996) then King of France.

Royal and papal politics played major roles in Gerbert’s life in the 990s.  He succeeded to the Archbishopric of Rheims in 991 yet had to vacate that post four years later in favor of one Arnoul.  This was the same Arnoul whom Gerbert had succeeded.  There had been no papal approval for Gerbert’s appointment in 991.  Gerbert argued against such a necessity yet Arnoul favored it.  In 996 Gerbert became the tutor and advisor to his friend, Otto III, who appointed him Archbishop of Ravenna in 998 and pulled strings the next year to make him the Pope.

Gerbert, now Sylvester II, took his regnal name from St. Sylvester I (reigned 314-335), an ally of Roman Emperor Constantine I “the Great.”  From this pontiff Sylvester II drew inspiration for papal-imperial cooperation.  The new Pope dreamed of uniting Europe with the full cooperation of Otto III.

Sylvester II used the powers of the office.  He opposed simony, punished priests who lapsed in their vows of chastity, called for the election of abbots by their monks, and expanded the reach of the Church into Poland, Norway, and Hungary.  He also reversed a previous position, supporting Arnoul’s claim to be Archbishop of Rheims and affirming the papal right to appoint bishops.

Sylvester II’s brief tenure and his shared dream with Otto III faced a great challenge in 1001, when a rebellion forced both of them to flee Rome.  Otto III died in 1002 and Henry II (reigned 1002-1024), son of the usurper from 983, succeeded to the throne.  Sylvester II returned to Rome that year as a purely spiritual leader.

Sylvester II, Bishop of Rome, was a fearless intellectual who challenged the anti-intellectual prejudices of his day.  For that fact I honor him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 28, 2013 COMMON ERA

MAUNDY THURSDAY

THE FEAST OF SAINT TUTILO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF KAROL SZYMANOWSKI, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GUNTRAM OF BURGUNDY, KING

THE FEAST OF HANS NIELSEN HAUGE, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN LAY PREACHER

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of Pope Sylvester II and all others

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

Feast of St. Bernard of Parma (December 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Vatican Flag

SAINT BERNARD OF PARMA (DIED 1133)

Roman Catholic Abbot, Cardinal, and Bishop

His feast transferred from December 4

One should not speak casually and therefore inaccurately of government interference with the church.  Facts matter, or at least they should.  The life of St. Bernard of Parma (died 1133) did run afoul of politics in the 1100s and cause two periods of exile.  Those events did constitute unmistakable state interference with the church.

St. Bernard was born to the Uberti family, Florentine nobility.  He became Abbot of San Salvio monastery then general-superior of the Vallombrosans.  Pope Urban II (reigned 1088-1099) elevated him to the College of Cardinals in 1097.  Then the saint became Bishop of Parma in 1106.  As bishop he supported the reforms of the late Pope Gregory VII (reigned 1073-1085) and opposed antipope Sylvester IV (reigned 1105-1111).  Partisans of Sylvester IV exiled the saint for this reason.

St. Bernard, back in Parma, resumed his duties.  Years later, in 1127, he went into a second exile.  This time the cause was politics surrounding the German royal succession.  Rome and St. Bernard favored Lothair II (reigned 1125-1127 and 1135-1137).  But there was another claimant, Conrad III (reigned 1127-1135 and 1138-1152).  Fortunately, the saint’s exile ended.  He died at Parma in 1133.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 13, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BRICE OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABBO OF FLEURY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH CARDINAL BERNARDIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS TAVELIC AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church, including Saint Bernard of Parma.

May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve and confess your name before the world,

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

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 0r Matthew 24:42-47

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

Feast of St. Osmund of Salisbury (December 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

SAINT OSMUND OF SALISBURY (DIED 1099)

Roman Catholic Bishop

His feast transferred from December 4

St. Osmund (died 1099) served as chancellor to his half-uncle, King William I “the Conqueror” (reigned 1066-1087).  He, an able chancellor, helped to compile the Domesday Book.

Then, in 1078, William I appointed St. Osmund to be the Bishop of Salisbury.  The saint completed the cathedral, where he assembled a huge library.  (I like saints who adored books.)  He also wrote a biography of St. Aldhelm and prepared liturgical books which regulated the rites of the Irish, Welsh, and English churches for over a century and a half.  As Bishop of Salisbury, the saint supported King William II (reigned 1087-1100) in the controversy with the Pope over St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury.  The monarch wanted St. Anselm out; the pontiff had a different opinion.  Later, St. Osmund apologized to the Archbishop.

William of Malmesbury (circa 1090-1143), English monk and church historian, wrote that St. Osmund was

so eminent for chastity that common fame would itself blush to speak otherwise than speak truthfully concerning his virtue.  Stern as he was to penitents, he was no more severe to them than he was to himself.  Free from ambition, he neither imprudently wasted his own substance nor sought the wealth of others.

St. Osmund died on December 4, 1099.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 13, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BRICE OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABBO OF FLEURY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH CARDINAL BERNARDIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS TAVELIC AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Saint Osmund of Salisbury,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed 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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

Feast of St. Abbo of Fleury (November 13)   1 comment

Above:  The Sword of Orion

Image Source = Jet Propulsion Library

(http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA08653)

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

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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

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Proper of Artists and Scientists from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

Feast of Sts. John the Georgian, Euthymius of Athos, and George of the Black Mountain (June 27)   Leave a comment

 

Above:  The Flag of the Republic of Georgia

SAINT JOHN THE GEORGIAN, A.K.A. THE IBERIAN (DIED CIRCA 1002)

Abbot

His feast transferred from July 12

father of

SAINT EUTHYMIUS OF ATHOS (DIED 1028)

Abbot and Translator

His feast transferred from May 13

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SAINT GEORGE OF THE BLACK MOUNTAIN, A.K.A. SAINT GEORGE MTASINDELI OR SAINT GEORGE THE HAGIORITE (1014-1066)

Abbot and Translator

His feast = June 27

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I like monks.  I also admire translators.  With those simple and unapologetic statements I begin.

St. John the Georgian (died circa 1002) was also known as St. John the Iberian.  I have listed him primarily as “the Georgian” because he was Georgian, not Spanish or Portuguese.  The Encyclopedia Americana (1962), Volume 14, page 615, uses “Iberia” to refer to the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and to an

ancient region Asia.  It now forms part of the Soviet republic of Georgia.  The Iberians were defeated by Pompey and the region became part of the Roman Empire until after the time of Julian.

There was also a Georgian kingdom (extinct for over four centuries by the time St. John the Georgian was born) sometimes called Iberia.  Yet, out of a desire for clarity, I refer to Georgia, not Iberia, beginning now.

St. John the Georgian was a nobleman and a military commander.  He, with his wife’s permission, became a monk on Mt. Olympus in Bithynia.  He brought his son St. Euthymius of Athos (died 1028) from Constantinople to Mt. Olympus.  Their reputation for sanctity attracted so many followers that they had to leave just to have more solitude.  So they relocated to Mt. Athos, where, with the help of General Thornikos, St. John’s brother, they founded Iviron Monastery for Georgians circa 980.  St. John served as the first abbot, relinquishing the post circa 1002 in favor of his son.  St. Euthymius served as abbot for fourteen years.  He resigned so that he could devote himself full-time to translating the Bible and theological treatises by Church Fathers into Georgian.  That was admirable work.

There were disturbances between Greek and Georgian monks on Mt. Athos.  (Alas, even monks are not immune to the more unpleasant aspects of human nature.)  Byzantine Emperor Constantine VIII (reigned 1025-1028) summoned St. Euthymius to Constantinople to explain these disturbances.  The former abbot died en route of injuries he sustained after falling from a mule.

A monk who revised the Bible translation of St. Euthymius was St. George of the Black Mountain (1014-1066).  He had lived in Syria and traveled widely in the Holy Land before serving as Abbot of Iviron Monastery.  Later St. George became a monk on Black Mountain in Armenia, hence his surname Mtasmindeli, literally, “of the Black Mountain.”  He also followed in the footsteps of St. Euthymius by translating theological treatises into Georgian.

Such work requires solitude.  Preparing these posts (written longhand prior to typing online) requires solitude.  These posts, of course, are nothing compared to major theological treatises or the Bible.  So imagine, if you will, O reader, how much solitude those projects required.  I stand in awe of these men who sought to glorify God, with whom they desired solitary communion.  The Church would be intellectually bereft without such individuals.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 21, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN ELIOT, PURITAN MISSIONARY AMONG THE ALGONQIN

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK AUGUSTUS BENNETT, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF AOTEAROA

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O God, by whose grace your servants

Saint John the Georgian,

Saint Euthymius of Athos, and

Saint George of the Black Mountain,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became bright and shining lights in your Church:

Grant that we also be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

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

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

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723