Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1010s’ Category

Feast of St. Emma of Lesum (April 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Saxony, 919-1125 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT EMMA OF LESUM (CIRCA 977-DECEMBER 3, 1038)

Benefactor

Also known as St. Imma, St. Hemma, and St. Emma of Stiepel and of Bremen

Alternative feast days = April 17 and December 3

St. Emma of Lesum came from nobility.  Her mother was Countess Adela of Hamaland (952-1021), sovereign of Hamaland (now in The Netherlands) from 973 to 1021.  Our saint’s father was Imad IV of Renkum (died in 973).  St. Emma’s brother, St. Meinwark (circa 975-June 5, 1036; feast day = June 5) was the Bishop of Paderborn (now in Germany) from 1009 to 1036.  Her husband, Luidger (died in 1011), was also of Saxon noble origin; his father was Duke Hermann Billung.  St. Emma and Luidger had one child, Imad, who became the Bishop of Paderborn in 1051.

St. Emma, as a widow, retired to her estate (Lesum) near Bremen.  She had already begun to be a benefactor.  Holy Roman Emperor Otto III (reigned 996-1002) had given her land at Stiepel (now in Germany).  St. Emma had arranged for the construction of a church dedicated to St. Mary of Nazareth on the site in 1008.  St. Emma, as a widow, donated generously to the poor of Bremen and to St. Peter’s Cathedral in the city.

St. Emma died on December 3, 1038.  Her canonization seems to have been an informal process, consisting of public acclaim.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 11, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF NATHAN SODERBLOM, SWEDISH ECUMENIST AND ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA

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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 servant Saint Emma of Lesum,

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

until at last we may with her 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, 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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Feast of St. Alphege (April 19)   1 comment

Above:  St. Alphege

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ALPHEGE (953-1012)

Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr, 1012

The Feast of St. Alphege comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints and Holy Days via Roman Catholic and Anglican calendars.

St. Alphege, or Aelfheah, was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to wear the crown of martyrdom.  He, from a noble family, entered Deerfield Abbey, Gloucestershire.  During ensuing years our saint was a monk, an anchorite, and the abbot at Bath Abbey.  In 984 St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury from 960 t0 988, secured St. Alphege’s appointment as Bishop of Winchester.  Our saint, an effective bishop, supervised an effective system of caring for the poor.  He also negotiated a peace treaty with the recently baptized Norse King Olaf Tryggvason in 994.  Eleven years later St. Alphege succeeded to the See of Canterbury.  In 1011 Danish forces captured him.  Our saint refused to permit the collection of a large ransom from the over-burdened population.  So it came to pass that, after several months, his captors executed him in 1012.

Archbishop of Canterbury St. Anselm, whom St. Alphege had mentored, argued for the definition of our saint’s death as a form of martyrdom.  To die for the sake of justice, St. Anselm contended, is to die as a martyr.

Pope Gregory VII canonized St. Alphege in 1078.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 11, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF NATHAN SODERBLOM, SWEDISH ECUMENIST AND ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA

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O loving God, your martyr bishop Alphege of Canterbury suffered violent death

when he refused to permit a ransom to be extorted from his people:

Grant that all pastors of your flock may pattern themselves on the Good Shepherd,

who laid down this life for the sheep; and who with you and the

Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Samuel 24:7b-19

Psalm 49:1-9

Philemon 1-9a

Luke 23:1-9

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 333

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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 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

Feast of St. Simeon of Syracuse (June 1)   Leave a comment

 

Above:  A Map of Europe in 1000 CE

SAINT SIMEON OF SYRACUSE (DIED 1035)

Roman Catholic Monk

I found the name of St. Simeon Syracuse in the 1980 edition of the Dictionary of Saints, by John J. Delaney.  I purchased the book on October 3, 2011, at the public library sale in Winder, Georgia.  This volume has already led me to pursue many paths of research.  And more will follow.

The lifespan of St. Simeon places him close to the formal rupture between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.  This fact becomes important for understanding something which Saints.SQPN.com says about him:

One of the last great figures linking the [Catholic] West with the Orthodox East.

Actually, the website said “Orthodox West” and “Orthodox East,” but “Catholic West” makes more sense.

St. Simeon of Syracuse, a native of Syracuse, Sicily, educated at Constantinople, then the Byzantine imperial capital, became a hermit along the River Jordan after making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  After some time he became a monk at Bethlehem then, for two years or so, a hermit attached to the monastery at Mt. Sinai.  Then he began a dangerous mission to Normandy.

Now I combine hagiography with royal history according to encyclopedias and other reference works I consulted.  Richard II, Duke of Normandy, called Richard the Good (reigned 996-1026), had promised to make a donation to Mt. Sinai monastery.  (Richard II, by the way, was a nephew of Hugh Capet, King of France (reigned 987-996), founder of the Capetian line, which remained uninterrupted until 1792.  I wonder how good Richard II was, for he crushed at least one peasant uprising.)  Anyhow, Richard II had not paid the money yet.  So St. Simeon went to collect it.

As I mentioned, this was a perilous journey.  Pirates attacked the ship in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and killed everyone aboard except St. Simeon.  He swam ashore, where he met one Cosmas, who traveled with him from Antioch to Belgrade (where they spent time in custody) then to southern France.  There Cosmas died.  St. Simeon arrived at the ducal court to discover that Richard II had died and that the new duke refused to pay the promised money.

Who was this duke?  No source I have consulted is certain.  Richard II had two sons who succeeded him.  The first was Richard III (reigned 1026-1027).  After he died,  Robert I (reigned 1027-1035) governed.  Robert had two nicknames:  the Magnificent and the Devil, the latter of which referred to a rumor that he had killed his way to the throne.  Given the length of each reign, Robert I was more likely to be the duke who refused to pay the money.  He was also the father (by a mistress) of his successor, William II the Bastard (reigned 1035-1087).  William is more more famous as the Duke of Normandy who claimed his right (established via his aunt Emma’s marriage into the English royal family) to the English throne in 1066.  So William II the Bastard became William I the Conqueror (reigned 1066-1087).

Back to our regularly scheduled program….

St. Simeon, in western Europe, met Poppo, Archbishop of Trier.  They made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land then returned to Trier, where the saint lived his remaining years a hermit under the direction of the Abbot of St. Martin’s Monastery.  St. Simeon died of natural causes in 1035.

The Roman Catholic Church canonized him in 1042.  This was a formal process consistent with canonizations since 993.  Canonizations prior to 993 had been informal affairs.

This has been an adventure story which has overlapped with dynastic histories.  But what does it have to do with anything important, one might ask?  One purpose of reading hagiographies is to learn about church history.  This is a laudable goal.  (I am a history buff; of course I claim that this is a laudable goal.)  But there is another purpose:  to learn valuable moral lessons.  St. Simeon of Syracuse traveled far and wide for God.  He placed himself at great risk for this purpose.  And he preferred to be alone with God, based on his chosen lifestyle.  We all need solitude with God to feed our souls, so may we never starve ourselves with too much activity.  And, regardless of where we ought to go for God–and at what risks–may we obey that call.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR

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

Deliver us from an ordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Saint Simeon of Syracuse,

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 9:57-62

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

Feast of Sts. Antony, Theodosius, Barlaam, and Stephen of Kiev (April 27)   Leave a comment

Above:  Caves of Kiev

SAINT ANTONY (A.K.A. ANTHONY) OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (983-1073)

Russian Orthodox Hermit

His feast transferred from July 10

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SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (DIED 1065)

Russian Orthodox Abbot

His feast transferred from November 19

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SAINT THEODOSIUS OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (DIED 1074)

Russian Orthodox Abbot

His feast transferred from July 10

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SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV (OR PECHERSKY) (DIED 1094)

Russian Orthodox Abbot and Bishop

His feast = April 27

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This post covers the origins of Russian Orthodox monasticism.

St. Antony (or Anthony of Kiev) (983-1073) was born at Lubech, in the Ukraine, then part of Russia.  He chose to become a hermit.  The saint realized, however, that he needed to learn more about that lifestyle, so he spent several years at Espigmenou Monastery, Mount Athos, Greece.  Then the saint returned to his homeland, where he founded a hermitage at Kiev, then the Russian capital city.  He attracted many followers, who became the first monks of the Pecherskaya Laura, a.k.a. the Caves of Kiev.  St. Antony also founded a monastery at Chernigov yet returned to Kiev, where he spent the rest of his life in a cave.  He and St. Theodosius of Kiev founded Russian Orthodox monasticism.

St. Theodosius of Kiev (died 1074) came from a wealthy family.  His decisions to work in the fields with serfs and to apprentice himself to a baker (the latter to learn how to make Eucharistic bread) displeased his family.  So did the saint’s decision to become a monk at Kiev in 1032.  He succeeded St. Barlaam as abbot.

St. Barlaam of Kiev (died 1065) also came from a wealthy family.  The son of a boyar, he left behind wealth and a fiancee.  Other than some overwritten hagiographies, little information about this saint survives.

As abbot St. Theodosius modified the discipline, making it less austere, balancing prayer and physical mortification with physical work, emphasizing harmony between active and contemplative work, encouraging his monks to become active in politics on behalf of the poor, and engaging his monks as evangelists.  He also expanded the monastery, adding a hospital and a hostel.  Abbot for four decades, his tenure marked the real beginning of Russian monasticism.

St. Stephen of Kiev (died 1094), originally a monk at Kiev, succeeded St. Theodosius as abbot.  The saint’s tenure was brief–just four years.  Some sources indicate that his removal resulted from dirty politics at the laura.  Anyhow, after Kiev the saint founded a monastery at Blakhernae, serving as its abbot until 1091, when he became Bishop of of Vladimir, in Volhynia.  Skilled in singing and well-informed in corporate worship, St. Stephen of Kiev earned a reputation for holiness.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 1, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILLIAN OF TREVESTE, ROMAN CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT DAVID OF WALES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MENEVIA

THE FEAST OF GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT THEOPHANES THE CHRONICLER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

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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 b the devotion of your servants

Saint Antony of Kiev,

Saint Barlaam of Kiev,

Saint Theodosius of Kiev,

and Saint Stephen of Kiev,

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