Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1020s’ Category

Feast of Blessed Herman of Reichenau (September 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Herman of Reichenau

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED HERMAN OF REICHENAU (FEBRUARY 18, 1013-SEPTEMBER 21, 1054)

Roman Catholic Monk, Liturgist, Poet, and Scholar

Also known as Blessed Hermianus Contractus, Blessed Herman the Lame, and Blessed Herman the Cripple

Living in 2018 is, in many ways, a great blessing.  For example, many surgeries and medical therapies that did not exist in much of the past have become available.

Blessed Herman of Reichenau, who lacked access to such surgeries and therapies, accomplished much, despite his circumstances, temporal and otherwise.  He, born in Altshausen, Swabia, on February 18, 1013, had spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and a cleft palate.  His parents, farmers, provided care for him until he was seven years old, when they left their son in the care of the Benedictine monks at Reichenau Abbey, Lake Constance.  There our saint spent the rest of his life.

Blessed Herman had a brilliant intellect and a brilliant, creative capacity.  He, a monk from the age of 20 years, wrote about astronomy, mathematics, theology, and several languages.  Our saint composed a chronicle of events, starting with the birth of Jesus and ending in 1054, the year of Blessed Herman’s death.  He also had the status of being the most famous living poet of his time.  Two of Blessed Herman’s compositions, incorporated into Roman Catholic liturgies, were the Alma Redemptoris Mater and the Salve Regina.  If that were not enough, Blessed Herman also built astronomical and musical instruments.

Blessed Herman, blind late in life, died at Reichenau Abbey, on September 21, 1054.  He was 41 years old.  His cultus existed without formal recognition until 1863, when Pope Pius IX confirmed the cultus.

Blessed Herman was fortunate to live in that monastery, where he had opportunities to contribute to society.  Many generations of Christians, especially those with a Roman Catholic piety, have benefited from at least two of the compositions of our saint.

This story also reminds us of the moral imperative never to warehouse those among us with physical disabilities.  Such disabilities are frequently difficult barriers, but they need not impair one’s ability to benefit society.  The extent to which that becomes reality depends largely on the decisions and actions of others, of course.

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Holy and loving God, you became incarnate in the form of Jesus of Nazareth,

thereby identifying with we mere mortals, with all our frailties.

We thank you for your faithful servant, Blessed Herman of Reichenau,

who, despite having to cope with physical conditions and disabilities

for which there were no treatments at the time,

made his great and lasting contributions to his society and to the Church.

May we act on our responsibilities to and for each other,

helping each other accomplish our potential, for your everlasting and eternal glory.

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

2 Esdras 2:20-24

Psalm 84

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Luke 1:46-55

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAPHNUTIUS THE GREAT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF UPPER THEBAID

THE FEAST OF ANNE HOULDITCH SHEPHERD, ANGLICAN NOVELIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN STAINER AND WALTER GALPIN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PATIENS OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

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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. 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. Gregory of Ostia and Dominic of the Causeway (May 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  Vatican Flag

SAINT GREGORY OF OSTIA (DIED 1044)

Roman Catholic Abbot, Cardinal, and Legate

His feast transferred from May 9

mentor of

SAINT DOMINIC OF THE CAUSEWAY (DIED CIRCA 1109)

Roman Catholic Hermit

His feast = May 12

St. Gregory of Ostia, an abbot, was a man known for his wisdom and the holiness of his life.  In 1034 or so Pope Benedict IX (reigned 1032-1044; 1045; 1047-1048) named the saint Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia and papal librarian.  Later St. Gregory served as papal legate to Navarre and Castille, on the Iberian peninsula.  He established various religious practices, such as processions and fasts, there, improving public morals by them.

One person whose life St. Gregory of Ostia touched was St. Dominic of the Causeway.  St. Dominic, a Basque, had tried several times to join the Benedictines, to no avail.  So he became a hermit at Rjola then a follower and St. Gregory.  St. Dominic became a hermit in the forest near La Calzada, on the road to Compostela, after the legate’s death.  The hermit saint built a highway, a bridge, and a hostel for pilgrims traveling to Compostela.  Thus he is the patron of civil engineers.

I understand why certain saints (both canonized and not) have needed to live apart from other people.  Some of us are born as introverts.  This is the way God has fashioned us, so introversion is not a fault.  Some societies, cultures, and subcultures favor extroversion, a way of being which is proper for those whom God as made to be extroverts.  And my experiences (mostly bad, by the way) with Evangelicalism reveal it to favor extroversion.  But may we never fail to honor God’s introverts and those who mentor them.  Perhaps you, O reader, are an introvert.  If so, be the best and holiest one possible, by grace.  And/or maybe God has called you to mentor and support an introvert or introverts.  Then do that–and always for the glory of God.

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Lord Jesus, who retired to solitude for prayer,

we thank you for the holy lives and legacies of

Saints Gregory of Ostia and Dominic of the Causeway.

May their examples inspire us to seek and find you by the means you have chosen for each of us,

to support each other in holiness,

and not to scorn each other’s introversion or extroversion.

In the name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and in the communion of saints.  Amen.

Isaiah 30:15-18

Psalm 63

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Luke 5:12-16

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 7, 2012 COMMON ERA

HOLY SATURDAY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MONTFORD SCOTT, EDMUND GENNINGS, HENRY WALPOLE, AND THEIR FELLOW MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE, FOUNDER OF THE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS

THE FEAST OF THE SAINTS AND MARTYRS OF THE AMERICAS

THE FEAST OF SAINT TIKHON, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW