Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1300s’ Category

Feast of St. Catherine of Siena (April 29)   2 comments

Above:  St. Catherine of Siena

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA (MARCH 25, 1347-APRIL 29, 1380)

Roman Catholic Mystic and Religious

Born Catalina Benincasa

Former feast day = April 30

St. Catherine of Siena, some who knew her claimed, was a lunatic.  She did report having received many visions, after all.  And why had she cut off most of her beautiful hair and claimed to be a bride of Christ, unless she was crazy?  Others who knew her regarded her as a living saint, however.  Catalina Benincara, they insisted, was not out of her gourd; no, she was touched by God.  Both camps agreed that she was out of the ordinary.

If one ponders prophetic figures from the Hebrew Bible, one should be able to recall stories of God commanding prophets to behave in bizarre ways–from eating scrolls to walking around naked.  The biography of St. Catherine of Siena contains nothing so extreme, but does include not leaving her bedroom for three years, starting at the age of 16.

St. Catherine, born in Siena, Tuscany, on March 25, 1347, was one of the youngest of 25 children of a wealthy dyer.  At the age of 16 years she joined the Third Order of Saint Dominic.  For the next three years our saint lived as a contemplative and reported receiving many visions, both demonic and godly.  Sometimes Satan visited, St. Catherine said, but Jesus and St. Mary Magdalene also dropped by.  Regardless of the veracity of our saint’s visions, the godly voices she reported hearing instructed her to re-enter the world after years of isolation.  So St. Catherine worked as a nurse to the poor and the sick, including cancer patients and lepers.  She also began to attract a following, due to her holiness.

St. Catherine  served as a peacemaker during turbulent times.  She started on a small scale, by reconciling feuding families in Siena.  Then, in 1370, she began to correspond with potentates.  In 1376 our saint traveled to Avignon, France, the site of the residence of the Bishop of Rome during the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy.  St. Catherine helped to persuade Pope Gregory XI to return the Papacy to Rome.  He did so in 1377.  After Gregory XI died the following year, the College of Cardinals, responding to public pressure, elected an Italian Pope.  Unfortunately, Urban VI was unstable.  The combination of his instability and the politics germane to his election led to the election of a rival pontiff, Clement (VII), headquartered at Avignon.  The Great Schism of the Papacy (1378-1417) had begun.  Clement was more of a politician than a spiritual leader.  Urban was unfit for the Papacy, but he was the duly consecrated Bishop of Rome at Rome.  As European potentates and cardinals decided which Pope to support, St. Catherine wrote many of them and encouraged them to support Urban VI, even though she had no illusions regarding his character.  There was a higher principle–ecclesiastical unity–at work.

St. Catherine, distressed by the scandal of the Great Schism of the Papacy, reported one final vision in 1380.  She saw herself with the Church, like a great ship, upon her back.  Our saint collapsed, paralyzed.  Several weeks later she died, aged 33 years.

St. Catherine, who received the stigmata in 1375, wrote nearly 400 letters, many prayers, the Dialogue (with Jesus), and a Treatise on Divine Providence, a masterpiece of mysticism in the Italian language.  The Church canonized her in 1461 and declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1970.

The proof is in the pudding, an old saying goes.  The evidence regarding St. Catherine of Siena indicates that she was a holy woman, not a lunatic.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THOMAS A KEMPIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC, MONK, PRIEST, AND SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN BOSTE, GEORGE SWALLOWELL, AND JOHN INGRAM, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF JOHN NEWTON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Everlasting God, you so kindled the flame of holy love in the heart of blessed Catherine of Siena,

as she meditated on the passion of your Son our Savior,

that she devoted her life to the poor and the sick, and to the peace and unity of the Church:

Grant that we also may share in the mystery of Christ’s death,

and rejoice in the revelation of his glory; who lives and reigns

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

Lamentations 3:31-33

Psalm 119:73-80

1 John 1:5-2:2

Luke 12:22-24, 29-31

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 351

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Feast of Sts. Anthony, John, and Eustathius of Vilnius (April 14)   Leave a comment

Icon of Sts. Anthony, John, and Eustathius of Vilnius

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ANTHONY OF VILNIUS (BORN NEZHILO)

Brother of

SAINT JOHN OF VILNIUS (BORN KUMETS)

Relative of

SAINT EUSTATHIUS (BORN KRUGLETS)

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MARTYRS IN LITHUANIA, 1347

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This feast comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days from the Russian Orthodox Church.

These three saints, young men, were courtiers of Algirdas (reigned 1345-1377), Grand Duke of Lithuania.  They had converted to Christianity and received new names at baptism.  They were safe until 1346, when Grand Duchess Maria Yaroslavna, the Christian wife of Algirdas, died.  Algirdas had converted (at least officially) to Christianity years prior, but he reverted to paganism as a widower.  The Grand Duke outlawed evangelism.  Nevertheless, Sts. Anthony and John preached in public.  The prisoners then refused to eat meat on a holy fast day.  The Grand Duke, therefore, had St. Anthony hanged on April 14, 1347, and St. John strangled and hanged ten years later.  Their relative, St. Eustathius, later also refused to eat meat on a holy fast day, so he be joined his relatives in martyrdom on December 13, 1347.

Jogaila (reigned 1377-1381, 1382-1392), the son and immediate successor of Algirdas, converted to Roman Catholicism in 1386 and united Lithuania and Poland.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Saints Anthony, John, and Eustathius of Vilnius

triumphed over suffering and were faithful unto death:

strengthen us with your grace, that we may endure

reproach and persecution, and faithfully bear witness to the name of Jesus Christ our Lord;

who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

2 Chronicles 24:17-21 or Jeremiah 11:18-20 or Wisdom of Solomon 4:10-15

Psalms 3 or 11 or 119:161-168

Romans 8:335f or 2 Timothy 2:3-7 or Hebrews 11:32-40 or Revelation 7:13f

Matthew 10:16-22 or Matthew 14:1-12 or Matthew 16:24-26 or John 15:18-21

–Adapted from The Alternative Service Book 1980, The Church of England

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Feast of Meister Eckhart (March 23)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Eckhart of Hochheim

Image in the Public Domain

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ECKHART OF HOCHHEIM (CIRCA 1260-1327/1328)

Roman Catholic Theologian and Mystic

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Do exactly what you would do if you felt most secure.

–Eckhart

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I conclude that certain ecclesiastical leaders chose to ignore that advice.

Eckhart, born at Hochheim, near Gotha, Turingia, Holy Roman Empire, circa 1260, was a mystic.  Like certain mystics before and after his time, he incurred the wrath of ecclesiastical authorities seeking to safeguard their power.

Eckhart joined the Order of Preachers, or the Dominicans, when he was what we would today call a teenager.  From 1293 to 1302 he studied theology at St. Jacques, Paris; he graduated as a master (meister).  Two years later he became the provincial minister of the order in Saxony.  From 1314 to 1322 our saint taught and preached in Strasbourg.  Next he preached in Cologne for years.  He was the most popular preacher in Germany.

In 1326, however, the charge of heresy fell upon Eckhart.  His theology, though, was fairly orthodox.  One of the influences on Eckhart’s theology was St. Thomas Aquinas (canonized in 1323), his favorite author.  Another major influence on Eckhart’s theology was St. Augustine of Hippo.  Eckhart’s main doctrine was the birth of God the Son (Christ) in the soul, signifying the mystical union of the divine and the human.  This union, he wrote, was the highest human goal and occurred via a union of wills.  This union of wills came about via grace, not human merit.  He always affirmed the necessity of the Church and of the sacraments.  Furthermore, in true orthodox fashion, Eckhart argued that rituals and good works were spiritually useful only when one was inclined toward God.

So what did Eckhart allegedly do wrong?  He wrote and uttered statements that seemed to undermine the authority of the Church.

Seek God and you shall find him.  Indeed, with such an attitude, you might step on a stone and it would be a more pious act than to receive the body of our Lord, thinking of yourself.

–Eckhart

That statement is orthodox, is it not?  Anyhow, Eckhart’s use of Neoplatonist language (He was in the vein of St. Thomas Aquinas, recently canonized.) opened him up to false allegations of pantheism.  He was really in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Holy Mother Church pressured Eckhart into recanting the allegedly heretical propositions in 1327.  On March 29, 1329, Pope John XXII issued a bull (an appropriate term for the document) condemning those 28 propositions and mentioning Eckhart as being deceased.  Our saint had died in the good graces of the Church, which had abused him.

You may call God love, you may call God goodness.  But the best name for God is compassion.

–Eckhart

Pope John XXII and others who condemned Eckhart should have paid attention to that piece of wisdom.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ALBERT THE GREAT AND THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS

THE FEAST OF CHARLES KINGSLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, NOVELIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Almighty God, you gave to your servant Meister Eckhart

special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus:

Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God,

and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent;  who lives and reigns

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

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 721

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Feast of St. Frances of Rome (March 9)   Leave a comment

st-frances-of-rome

Above:  St. Frances of Rome

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT FRANCES OF ROME (1384-MARCH 9, 1440)

Foundress of the Collatines

St. Frances of Rome, a native of that city, came from an aristocratic family.  Her parents were Paul Bussa and Jacobella de’ Roffredeschi.  At the age of 12 years our saint married Lorenzo de’ Ponziani, to whom she remained wedded for 40 years.  The couple had three children.  St. Frances, as a widow , became a Benedictine nun.  She continued to do what she had done as a laywoman–to serve the sick and the poor.  In 1433 she founded the Oblates for the Tor de’ Specchi (the Collatines).  Our saint also founded the first home for abandoned children in Rome.  Furthermore, she reported 97 visions, in which she saw, among other things, Hell and Purgatory.  Our saint died on March 9, 1440.  She was about 56 years old.

Pope Paul V canonized her in 1608.

St. Frances is the patron of women, Rome, motorists, motorcyclists, aviators, Roman housewives, taxi cab drivers, and people ridiculed for their faith.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS, “ATHANASIUS OF THE WEST,” AND HYMN WRITER; MENTOR OF SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TOURS

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN KEIMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN, A.K.A. MUNGO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

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O God, by whose grace your servant Saint Frances of Rome,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and 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 133 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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Posted January 13, 2017 by neatnik2009 in March, Saints of the 1300s, Saints of the 1400s

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Feast of Blessed Jordan of Pisa (March 6)   Leave a comment

jordan-of-pisa

Above:  Blessed Jordan of Pisa

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED JORDAN OF PISA (CIRCA 1255-AUGUST 19, 1311)

Dominican Evangelist

Alternative feast day = August 19

Blessed Jordan of Pisa, born at Pisa circa 1255, joined the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) at that city in 1280 then studied at the Sorbonne.  By 1305 he was Lector at Sainta Maria Novella Church, Florence.  In that city he was a popular and effective preacher, for he spoke not in the respectable Latin but in vernacular Italian and Tuscan.  This was controversial.  In 1311, the year of his death at Piacenza, he had become Professor of Theology at St. James Friary, Paris.  Our saint, who had a devotion to Our Lady, memorized the missal, the breviary, most of the Bible, and the second part of the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Pope Gregory XVI beatified Jordan of Pisa in 1838.

The question of how best to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ is always current.  Some, for all their sincerity, cross the line into tackiness and wind up embarrassing many longterm adherents while inviting ridicule.  (The Extreme Teen Study Bible comes to mind immediately.)  A separate issue related to methodology is that of class distinctions, which are not necessarily infallible definitions of good taste.  Blessed Jordan of Pisa provides a case study is crossing the class barrier without resorting to tackiness.  How can one respond to the message of Christ if one cannot hear it in one’s language, after all?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PEPIN OF LANDEN, ITTA OF METZ, THEIR RELATIONS, AMAND, AUSTREGISILUS, AND SULPICIUS II OF BOURGES, FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS ACROSS GENERATIONAL LINES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY MARY PUCCI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JULIA CHESTER EMERY, UPHOLDER OF MISSIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP II OF MOSCOW, METROPOLITAN OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA AND MARTYR

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Almighty and everlasting God,

we thank you for your servant Blessed Jordan of Pisa,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Florence.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 716

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Feast of Blessed Roger Lefort (March 1)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Icon of Sts. Anne and Mary

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ROGER LEFORT (CIRCA 1277-MARCH 1, 1367)

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bourges

The renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days resumes, this time with saints with feast days in March, as 2016 passes the torch to 2017.

Blessed Roger Lefort was an important yet relatively observe (by current standards) saint.  He, of French noble origin, was the nephew of a cardinal.  In 1321 Lefort was a sub-deacon.  Also during that year the See of Orleans became vacant.  Certain clergymen competed to become the next Bishop of Orleans.  Lefort disapproved of such political maneuvering.  Although he did not seek the position and even considered himself unworthy to hold it, he became the next Bishop of Orleans in 1321.  The Holy Spirit had spoken, some claimed.  Lefort had, prior to his selection, joked that he would be a good bishop.  What he intended as sarcasm a sufficient number of people interpreted as truth.  Lefort was a capable bishop, one who translated to Limoges in 1328 then became the Archbishop of Bourges in 1343.

Liturgically Lefort pioneered the observance of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in France.  The idea of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception was not new; it derived from the writings of certain Church Fathers, including St. Justin Martyr (circa 100-circa 165) and St. Irenaeus of Lyons (circa 130-circa 200), both of whom thought of her as the “new Eve.”  St. Andrew of Crete (circa 660-740) and St. John of Damascus (circa 675-circa 749) considered Our Lady to have been sinless.  The annual observance of St. Mary’s conception dated to the 600s (in the East) and began to spread throughout the West (starting at Naples) in the 800s.  In the 1100s, when commemorations began in France, they prompted controversy.  Theologians including St. Albert the Great (circa 1200-1280), St. Thomas Aquinas (circa 1225-1274), and St. Bonaventure (circa 1217-1274) rejected the idea of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception.  She was not immune from original sin, they argued.  The position Lefort supported became the official position of the Roman Catholic Church in time.  The Council of Basle (1439) declared the Immaculate Conception to be theologically sound.  A decade later the Sorbonne became the first university to require its candidates to defend the doctrine.  Pope Sixtus IV established the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, with its own propers, in 1476.  Pope Clement XI made the observance a Feast of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church in 1708.  Finally, in 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception to be a dogma.

Lefort died, aged 90 years, on March 1, 1367.  He left his estate for the education of poor boys.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 1, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS, YEAR A

THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS:  THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS

WORLD DAY OF PEACE

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The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8)

Father, you prepared the Virgin Mary

to be the worthy mother of your Son.

You let her share beforehand in the salvation

Christ would bring by his death,

and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception.

Help us by her prayers to live in your presence without sin.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 8:22-35

Romans 8:29-30

Psalm 113

Luke 1:26-28

–Compiled from The Book of Catholic Worship (1966), pages 301-302, and Christian Prayer:  The Liturgy of the Hours (1976), pages 1332-1334

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Feast of St. Angela of Foligno (January 7)   Leave a comment

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Above:  St. Angela of Foligno

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ANGELA OF FOLIGNO (CIRCA 1248-JANUARY 4, 1309)

Penitent and Humanitarian

Her feast transferred from January 4

Alternative feast day = March 30

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Let us go and look for Christ our Lord.  We will go to the hospital and perhaps among the sick and the suffering we shall find Him.

–St. Angela of Foligno, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), page 15

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St. Angela of Foligno spent much of her life helping the poor of that city.

We know little about the life of St. Angela of Foligno until the 1280s.  We do know that she was the wife of a wealthy merchant of Foligno, Italy, and that she enjoyed the benefits of his success more than she should have done, to the detriment of soul; wealth became an idol for her.  We also know that St. Angela enjoyed wearing flashy clothing, gossiping, and flirting with men.  Furthermore, we know that, in 1285, she had an epiphany.

In 1285 St. Angela committed adultery.  Then she went to confession, but she concealed that sin.  Next she compounded the error by taking communion.  She, fearing that she might have condemned herself to Hell, prayed to St. Francis of Assisi and asked him to direct her to a confessor.  St. Angela perceived St. Francis as telling her:

Sister, if you would have asked me sooner, I would have complied with your request sooner.  Nonetheless, your request is granted.

That day, at the cathedral, St. Angela confessed her sins to a kinsman, Father Arnoldo.  She found peace and vowed to reform her life.

For five years that reform proceeded in baby steps.  She began to sell some of her possessions to raise funds to help the poor of the city, but she remained susceptible to the temptations of wealth.  Then, in 1290, after her husband and sons died, St. Angela became more serious about selling her possessions.  Priests counseled her to consider this prayerfully, for she might not have a vocation to poverty, they said.  Our saint made a pilgrimage to Rome, to ponder their advice.  She returned to Foligno and resumed the process of selling her possessions.  She also became a Franciscan tertiary and had mystical experiences.

These ecstasies and visions attracted some people to her company and embarrassed and scandalized others.  Certain devout people sought to learn of God from her.  Yet once, while St. Angela was on pilgrimage to Assisi, Father Arnoldo scolded her for allegedly making a spectacle of herself at the basilica.  He even ordered her to leave and never to return.  She obeyed this command.

At Foligno St. Angela became the core of a community of women who lived as Franciscans and performed many good works.  For years, until her death in 1309, Father Arnoldo was their chaplain.

The cult of St. Angela led the Roman Catholic Church to recognize her formally.  Pope Innocent XII declared her a Blessed in 1693; Pope Clement XI confirmed this eight years later.  Pope Francis canonized her in 2013.

St. Angela is the patron invoked against sexual temptation, temptation in general, and the death of children and for people ridiculed for their piety, as well as for widows.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN AMOS COMENIUS, FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION

THE FEAST OF THE CONSECRATION OF SAMUEL SEABURY, FIRST EPISCOPAL BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM ROMANIS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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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 Angela of Foligno,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the world 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

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

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