Archive for the ‘Saints of the 470s’ Category

Feast of Sts. Euphrosyne and Paphnutius of Alexandria (September 25)   1 comment

Above:  Sts. Euphrosyne and Paphnutius of Alexandria

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT PAPHNUTIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (DIED IN 480)

Monk

Feast day = September 25

father of

SAINT EUPHROSYNE OF ALEXANDRIA (400S)

Monk

Also known as Smaragdus of Alexandria

Alternative feast days = January 1, January 16, February 11, February 15, March 8, and September 24

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Sts. Paphnutius and Euphrosyne came to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church, mainly.  This is an ancient story, one which many scholars consider to be a work of fiction.  That is frequently a risk when pondering ancient hagiographies.  I conclude, however, that this story is, at a minimum, plausible.

The Episcopal Church, at its General Convention of 2018, added St. Euphrosyne (yet not her father) to Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018.

St. Euphrosyne was an only child.  Her mother died when our saint was quite young, so St. Paphnutius raised his daughter alone.  The family was pious; father and daughter even visited monasteries.  St. Paphnutius arranged for St. Euphrosyne to marry a handsome and wealthy young man from a prominent Alexandrian family.  This was not what our saint wanted, though.  She, angry, left home immediately.  She cut her hair, dressed in men’s clothing, and called herself Smaragdus.

“Smaragdus” became a monk at one of the monasteries outside Alexandria.  Years passed.  “He” grew spiritually.  Eventually St. Paphnutius, still mourning the daughter he presumed dead, sought consolation at that monastery.  The abbot sent St. Paphnutius to visit “Smaragdus,” who provided spiritual guidance for years, during weekly visits.  He did not recognize the monk as his daughter until “Smaragdus” was dying.  St. Paphnutius tended to his dying daughter.  After she died, he became a monk and lived in her cell.

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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Merciful God, who places all of your children in families,

we confess that those whom we love the most are often strangers to us.

Give to all parents and children, we pray,

the grace to see one another as they truly are and as you have called them to be.

All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our only mediator and advocate.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:20-31

Psalm 19

Luke 14:25-33

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018

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Feast of St. John I (May 18)   1 comment

Above:  St. John I

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JOHN I (DIED MAY 18, 526)

Bishop of Rome

St. John I had a difficult pontificate.  Our saint had been a deacon and a supporter of Antipope Lawrence (in opposition 498-499 and 501-506), but had transferred his loyalty to Pope St. Symmachus (in office 498-506) in 506.  St. John I was a senior, elderly, and infirm deacon on August 13, 523, when he became the placeholder pontiff.  The native of Populonia, Tuscany, had to contend with international politics and the Arian heresy during his brief pontificate.

In one corner, so to speak, was the Roman Emperor Justin I (reigned 518-527), based in Constantinople.  He, an opponent of Arianism, the heresy that the Second Person of the Trinity is a created being, was forcing Arians to recant.  Justin I had also seized Arian churches and excluded Arians from public offices.  The Roman Emperor also wanted to retake Italy, lost to the Roman Empire the previous century.

Above:  The Kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Roman Empire in 526 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

In the other corner was Theodoric the Great (reigned 475-526), the King of the Ostrogoths, and therefore of Italy.  Theodoric, an Arian, forced St. John I to lead a delegation consisting of bishops and senators to Constantinople, to demand that Justin I reverse his anti-Arian policies.  The Pope did refuse, however, to request that the Emperor permit Arians required to convert to Chalcedonian Christianity to revert.  St. John I led the delegation out of fear of what Theodoric would do if he refused to go.  The Supreme Pontiff had good reasons to be afraid, for he recalled the fate of his friend Boethius (St. Severinus Boethius, lived circa 480-524; feast day – October 23), statesman and philosopher.  Theodoric had ordered the execution of Boethius for allegedly treasonous correspondence with Justin I.  The Papal delegation arrived at Constantinople with great fanfare on April 19, 526, shortly before Easter.  Justin agreed to Theodoric’s demands except the right of former Arians to revert.

Theodoric was a violent and suspicious man who thought that the Pope and the Roman Emperor had conspired against him.  St. John I, back at Ravenna, Italy, Theodoric’s capital city, learned firsthand of the monarch’s wrath.  The Ostrogothic king imprisoned the Pope, who died of thirst and starvation on May 18, 526.

The Pontiff’s burial at Rome occurred nine days later.

Above:  Lombard Italy and the Roman Empire, 600 C.E.

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

The Roman Emperor, under Justinian I “the Great” (reigned 527-565), conquered Italy in 535-554.  Taking proved easier than keeping, however.  Within a few decades the Lombard invasion took its toll.  The empire controlled portions of Italy until 1071.

The Arian heresy has continued, unfortunately.

St. John I was a pious man who did the best he could in the interests of the common good, at great risk to himself.  He was, for all intents and purposes, a martyr.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Saint John I

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our

witness to you in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 714

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Feast of St. Simplicius (March 10)   Leave a comment

st-simplicius

Above:  St. Simplicius

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT SIMPLICIUS (DIED MARCH 10, 483)

Bishop of Rome

St. Simplicius and his immediate successors in the papacy had to contend with diplomatic difficulties and the overlapping monophysite heresy.  The native of Tivoli became the Bishop of Rome in 468.  He rejected an attempt by Acacius, the Patriarch of Constantinople from 472 to 489, to grant the See of Constantinople equivalency with the See of Rome.  St. Simplicius also refused to make peace with monophysitism (the heresy that Jesus had only a divine nature), as in the compromise Henoticon (482), which Acacius and the Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno supported.  The Patriarch and the Emperor were also installing monophysite bishops in the East.  St. Simplicius resisted Acacius and Zeno, with little success.

The next Supreme Pontiff was St. Felix II (sometimes listed as St. Felix III), who reigned from 483 to 492 and great-grandfather of Pope St. Gregory I “the Great” (reigned 590-604).  Felix was, according to J. N. D. Kelly, author of The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, 1986), intransient, harsh, and authoritarian.  In 484 St. Felix excommunicated Acacius, thereby causing the Acacian Schism (484-519).

Pope St. Gelasius I (reigned 492-496) defended the excommunication of Acacius and insisted on papal supremacy.

Pope Anastasius II (reigned 496-498) was somewhat conciliatory toward Acacius and his successor as the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Pope St. Symmachus (reigned 498-514) was, according to Emperor Anastasius I (reigned 491-519), an “illegally ordained” pontiff and a heretic–allegedly a Manichean, to be precise.  Anastasius eventually attempted reconciliation, but his letter arrived in Rome after St. Symmachus died.

Pope St. Hormisdas (reigned 514-523) presided over the end of the Acacian Schism.  The new emperor, Justin I (reigned 519-527), rejected monophysitism.  Also related to the end of the Acacian Schism were imperial designs to recover Italy.

These chapters in ecclesiastical history demonstrate the folly of uniting church and state.  The former suffers from that union more than the latter does.

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, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Saint Simplicius

to be a bishop in your Church and to feed your flock:

Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household

as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 719

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Feast of Sts. Anna of Oxenhall, Wenna the Queen, Non, Samson of Dol, Cybi, and David of Wales (March 1)   Leave a comment

st-david-of-wales-and-family

Above:  A Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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SAINT CYBI (CIRCA 483-NOVEMBER 8, 555)

Welsh Prince, Priest, Bishop, and Abbot

His feast transferred from August 13 and November 8

son of

SAINT WENNA THE QUEEN (CIRCA 472-OCTOBER 18, 544)

Queen of Cerniw

Also known as Saint Gwen

Her feast transferred from October 18

sister of 

SAINT NON (BORN CIRCA 475)

Welsh Nun

Also known as Saint Nonna, Nonita, and Nonnita

Her feast transferred from March 2, 3, and 5

mother of

SAINT DAVID OF WALES (DIED CIRCA 601)

Welsh Abbot and Primate

Also known as Saint Dewi

His feast = March 1

Half-Nephew of

SAINT SAMSON OF DOL (CIRCA 485-JULY 28, 565)

Welsh Priest, Abbot, Hermit, Bishop, and Missionary

son of

SAINT ANNA OF OXENHALL (BORN CIRCA 445)

Welsh Princess

Mother of Saints Samson of Dol, Wenna the Queen, and Non

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Work on this post began when I started taking notes on St. David of Wales, the patron saint of Wales.  His feast day is March 1.  Of that we can be certain; this is more than we can say about other portions of his official biography.  While taking notes on this saint I read references to many other Celtic saints, including five relatives.  I could have included many more saints than I did in this post, but I decided to keep it relatively simple and to focus on three generations of one family instead.  I, as one trained in history, have noticed discrepancies between dates in various sources.  I have done my best to honor chronology.  I have also done my best to recognize the difference between legend and objective reality.  King Arthur recurs in the hagiographies of some of these saints.  He was, of course, a composite figure and a legend–a fish story, if you will, O reader.  Instead of one big fish, fishes of various sizes existed.  By focusing on six members of one family I can be coherent while fulfilling one of my goals for the renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.    That goal is to emphasize relationships and influences.

The first of six saints was St. Anna of Oxenhall (born circa 445), mother of three other saints and grandmother of two more.  She, a daughter of Vortimer Fendigaidof, King of Gwertheflyrwig (now Gwent, Wales), married twice.  Her first husband was Cynyr the Fair-Bearded, Lord of Coer Goch.  According to legends, they were the foster parents of Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur.  St. Anna’s first marriage produced at least six children, including St. Wenna the Queen (born circa 472) and St. Non (born circa 475).  The widowed St. Anna married Amon Ddu, Prince of Brittany.  They had several children, including St. Samson of Dol (circa 485-565).  The other two children also entered religious life.  Amon ended his days as a monk.

St. Wenna the Queen married Salom, King of Cerniw (now Cornwall, England).   Among their children was St. Cybi (circa 483-555), heir to the throne.  He received a fine education and became a priest, a bishop, and the Abbot of Caer Gybi.  At the age of 27, upon returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, St. Cybi learned that his father was dead and that he was the new king.  Our saint declined royal authority and opted instead to serve God via the Church.  He founded congregations throughout the Celtic world as political circumstances forced him to relocate.  St. Cybi also interacted with his esteemed cousin, St. David of Wales.  Among St. Wenna’s pious deeds was the founding of a Christian congregation in Morval, in the Cornwall region of England.

St. Non became a nun.  Scandal affected her when Sant (a.k.a. Sanctus), Prince of Ceredigian, raped and impregnated her.  Thus she became the unwed mother of Dewi Sant, a.k.a. St. David of Wales.  Mother and son founded a convent at Hanon.  Late in life she moved to Cerniw, to be close to her sister, St. Wenna the Queen.

The hagiographies of St. David are legion.  Many of them contain contradictory information.  For example, was the year of his birth closer to 500 or to 544?  I conclude that the former option is probable, based on issues of chronology.  Also, did he died closer to 589 or 601?  And, while we are pondering different chronologies, did the Synod of Brefi occur closer to 520, 550, or 560?  550 or a few years prior seems like a probable year to me, based on relevant facts.  560 is too late, due to the death of St. Dubricius circa 550.  Furthermore, I reject obviously legendary stories out of hand.  For example, I refuse to accept that a hill once rose while he was speaking, so that the audience could hear him better.  Horatio, friend of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, was correct that heaven and earth hold more than human philosophies attest, but even saints and land adjacent to them must obey the laws of nature.

St. David rose to become the primate of Wales.  As a young man he founded the first of a series of monasteries.  Our saint, an ascetic who survived on water and vegetables, required his monks to care for travelers, engage in study, and perform manual labor.  He was also a priest and, in time, a bishop–by whose hands, where, and when are matters of dispute.  An oft-repeated story tells us that St. David’s rebuttal of the Pelagian heresy (that people can save themselves from damnation by their free will alone) at the Synod of Brefi led to the installation as the primate of Wales.  Or perhaps that was not how he became the primate, becoming the handpicked successor of St. Dubricius.  Regardless of the reality of St. David’s life, he was an influential and respected figure in the Celtic Church.

St. David’s half-uncle (half-brother of Sts. Non and Wenna) was St. Samson of Dol (circa 485-565), a child of St. Anna of Oxenhall and her second husband, Prince Amon Ddu.  St. Samson studied at the Abbey of Llanilltud Fawr, Glamorganshire, Wales.  His teacher was St. Illtud (born circa 480), a former soldier and the founder of that monastery.  St. Samson had to depart that abbey because he had become unpopular with his teacher’s nephews.  St. Samson relocated to a monastery on Caldey Island, Wales.  Eventually he became the abbot there and reformed the abbey.  Next our saint spent time as a hermit before becoming a missionary bishop in the region of Cerniw.  Eventually St. Samson moved to Brittany, where he made Dol his see city.  He also founded monasteries at Dol and at Pental, Normandy.

People influence each other directly and indirectly.  Regardless of where reality ended and legends began with regard to the events of our six saints’ lives, a few concluding statements are certain:

  1. The faith that St. Anna of Oxenhall and her husbands instilled in their children took root;
  2. Those children passed that faith down to others; and
  3. The legacy of St. Anna of Oxenhall, her husbands, and their faithful descendants continues to influence Christian faith in people, frequently without them knowing it.

That is impressive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 1, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS

THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS:  THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS

WORLD DAY OF PEACE

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

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

Saint Cybi,

Saint Wenna the Queen,

Saint Non,

Saint David of Wales,

Saint Samson of Dol, and

Saint Anna of Oxenhall,

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

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

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

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

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

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Feast of St. Patiens of Lyons (September 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Map of Gaul in the Roman Empire

SAINT PATIENS OF LYONS (DIED CIRCA 480)

Roman Catholic Archbishop

The 400s CE (labeled that after that fact) intrigue me.  In Western Europe the Western Roman Empire faded away, the title of Emperor entering the dustbin of history in 476.  The empire had gone away by then; its demise had been gradual.  St. Patiens witnessed the end of the Western Roman Empire; he outlived his country.

St. Patiens functioned as Archbishop of Lyons from circa 450.  He lived simply, led successful missionary efforts, resisted Arianism, and gave his income to help the poor.  He also had to cope with an invasion of Goths and to feed to thousands of people and supervise the rebuilding of many church buildings in the wake thereof.  And he oversaw the construction (as opposed to repair and rebuilding) of other church buildings.  St. Patiens won the approval of St. Sidonius Apollinaris, who wrote a laudatory poem about him.

St. Patiens was also a peacemaker.  The Bishop of Chalon-sur-Saone had died.  For some reason or set of reasons this event had created serious dissension in that diocese.  So St. Euphonius of Autun invited St. Patiens to participate in the reconciliation process.  Our saint accepted, of course.

(Aside:  I found almost no information about St. Euphonius of Autun.  I discovered variations on his name and at least two different years in which he might have died.  In simple terms, I know too little to write about him intelligently.)

St. Patiens also commissioned a priest, Constantius, to write a biography of St. Gemanus of Auxerre.  This work became famous and preserved facts of that saint’s life.

It seems that the main work of St. Patiens was to rebuilt the part of Christ’s Church of which he was shepherd.  And he did it well.  Faithfulness has not guaranteed success, of course.  St. Gregory Thaumaturgus began his episcopate with seventeen Christians, labored faithfully for decades, and died with seventeen Christians.  But tangible results must have bolstered the spirits of St. Patiens.

May we–you, O reader, and I–labor faithfully in the tasks God has appointed for us.  And, whether or not we see tangible results, may we not grow weary.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 20, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN II OF ANTIOCH AND ELIAS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCHS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANSEGIUS OF FONTANELLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, AMELIA BLOOMER, SOJOURNER TRUTH, AND HARRIET ROSS TUBMAN, WITNESSES TO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS AND WOMEN

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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 Patiens of Lyons,

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

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

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

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

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

Feast of Sts. Flavian II of Antioch and Elias of Jerusalem (July 20)   1 comment

Above:  Europe in 526 Common Era

SAINT FLAVIAN II OF ANTIOCH (DIED 512)

Roman Catholic Patriarch

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SAINT ELIAS OF JERUSALEM (DIED 518)

Roman Catholic Patriarch

His feast transferred from July 4

Before I write about these saints I must provide background information.

Nestorianism is a heresy derived from Nestorius (died circa 451), Bishop of Constantinople (428-431).  He refused to accept St. Mary of Nazareth as Mother of God.  (If Jesus was God incarnate and Mary was his mother, she was the Mother of God.  It is simple logic.)  In the mind of Nestorius the human Jesus and the divine Christ–two natures–coexisted in the same person but were conjoined.  In other words, they were both there but were independent of each other.  This was the “Siamese twins” understanding of how Jesus was both human and divine.  (I have simplified a profound theological statement, I know.)  The Council of Ephesus (431) condemned Nestorianism, the legacy of which persists in the (Assyrian) Church of the East, the (Indian) Christians of Saint Thomas, and offshoots.  The Chaldean Rite of the Roman Catholic Church formed when former Nestorians reunited with Rome.

Twenty years after the Council of Ephesus the Council of Chalcedon (451) declared that Jesus Christ had two natures–human and divine–which shared with each other.  (I know, I have simplified a profound theological doctrine again.)  This Definition of Chalcedon became part of the standard of Christological orthodoxy in Christianity.  Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Protestants accept it.  Yet the Nestorians and Monophysites do not.

After the Council of Chalcedon there arose Monophysitism, a heresy which holds that Jesus Christ had just one nature–a divine one.  Eutyches (circa 375-circa 454), early spokesman for Monophysitism, explained that Christ’s divine nature had absorbed his human one.

The Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire was a place where Christological disputes led to political discord and had the potential to lead to insurrections.  If a bishop’s Christology differed from that of the emperor, there might be trouble for that bishop.  The religious-political realities of the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire make me grateful for the separation of church and state.

In 482 Emperor Zeno (reigned 474-491), as part of an effort to bring peace to his realm, issued the Henotican (Decree of Union) on his authority.  The document condemned Nestorius and Eutyches, affirmed the Incarnation, avoided saying how many natures Jesus had, and condemned any heresy

whether advanced at Chalcedon or any synod whatever.

The eastern bishops signed, but the Monophysites were not satisfied.  And, in 484, the Pope excommunicated Zeno.  The next emperor, Anastasius I (reigned 491-518), also supported the Henotican.  Only in 518, with the accession of Justin I (reigned 518-527), of whose religious policies Rome agreed, did the rift between and Constantinople and Rome end.

Now for the saints….

St. Flavian II of Antioch (died 512) had been a Syrian monk who represented the Patriarch of Antioch at the imperial court at Constantinople.  Then he had become the Patriarch of that see in 498.  As Patriarch St. Flavian II objected to the Henotican.  Thus Anastasius I arranged for Flavian II’s deposition and exile in 512.  The saint died at Petra, Arabia, that year.

St. Elias of Jerusalem (died 518) was a monastery-educated Arab.  Timothy the Cat, the (Monophysite) Patriarch of Alexandria, had exiled him from that see.  So the saint moved to Palestine, where he became a priest.  In 494 he became Patriarch of Jerusalem.  He also opposed the Henotican, hence his exile in 513.  The saint died at Aila, on the Red Sea, in 518.

I hear certain analogies used much too casually.  Some people (including many pundits and politicans) have what comedian Lewis Black calls “Nazi Tourette’s Syndrome.”  My own Congressman (for whom I have never voted, I am glad to admit) has Nazi-Hitler-Stalin Tourett’e’s Syndrome.  I have written him and told him so.  The problem with comparing anyone to the Nazis, Adolf Hitler, or Joseph Stalin–or, ironically, both at once, for Hitler was an anti-Communist–is that this trivializes the crimes of the Nazis, Hitler, and Stalin.  There is an old joke about food:

It tastes like chicken.

Then chicken must taste like everything.  Likewise, to use the Nazi, Hitler, or Stalin analogies causally reduces monsters to punchlines.

Likewise, one should use the label “religious persecution” carefully.  When a potentate exiles bishops over doctrinal differences, that is religious persecution.  When a person in authority orders the deaths and/or imprisonments of people based on religious differences, that is religious persecution.  When a government outlaws a religion, that is religious persecution. In my nation, the United States, during World War I (1917-1918 for us), the federal government imprisoned Amish and Mennonite conscientious objectors.  That was religious persecution.  It was also a betrayal of founding principles.  James Madison, one of the Founding Fathers, went further than many of his generation (and those after it).  Madison, the author of the First Amendment, argued for a strict separation of church and state.  The state should know nothing of the church, he said.  This was for the protection of the church from the state.  I agree with his standard, one never observed in this nation, so far as I can tell.  But I do live in a land with freedom of worship.  No government is closing down churches, and neither is there a state church.  I see no federal persecution of religion in 2012. I recognize policy disagreements between the federal government and some denominations, but that is not persecution.  In society we all have to pay for things we find objectionable.  If this were not so, we might not pay for much of anything.  In the early 1980s, staffers at the headquarters of the Church of the Brethren, a historically pacifistic denomination, pooled money from their Reagan tax cuts, bought thirty pieces of silver, and mailed them to the White House with a note protesting cuts in domestic programs to help the poor.  They received only a patronizing note in return.  But they did not  face persecution at any point, even though they did have to pay for wars to which they objected.

Here ends the lesson.

Incarnated God, whose glory we see in Jesus of Nazareth,

fully human and fully divine,

we thank you for the holy examples of your servants

Saint Flavian II of Antioch and Saint Elias of Jerusalem.

And we mourn them and all others who have suffered

(and who continue to suffer today)

because of religious intolerance.

May all who claim you as Savior, Lord, and God

follow you in spirit and in truth.

And, if persecution comes, may they cling to you tenaciously.

Furthermore, may those who persecute cease to do so,

and may persecution not arise where it does not exist.

In the Name of Jesus Christ,

who suffered, died, and rose again, the first-fruits from the dead.  Amen.

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9 or Jeremiah 20:7-18

Psalm 26

Revelation 5:1-14

Matthew 5:1-16 or John 1:1-5

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 18, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DELPHINUS OF BORDEAUX, AMANDUS OF BORDEAUX, SEVERINUS OF BORDEAUX, VENERIUS OF MILAN, AND CHROMATIUS OF AQUILEIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF ANSON DODGE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF BERNARD MIZEKI, ANGLICAN CATECHIST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF VERNARD ELLER, CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of St. Eugenius of Carthage (July 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Kingdom of the Vandals in 526 Common Era

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT EUGENIUS OF CARTHAGE (DIED 505)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Carthage

The Vandals  were a Germanic tribe.  From their Latin name, Vandalus, we derive the English word “vandalism,” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition, defines as

willful or malicious destruction of public of private property.

The Vandals settled in the Iberian peninsula in 409 before establishing their north African kingdom in 429.  They were Arians, adherents to a Christological heresy.  They persecuted Roman Catholics in the realm at some times yet not at others.  When persecutions were in fashion, priests had to surrender their libraries and the crown left episcopal sees vacant.

In 481 King Huneric (reigned 477-184) permitted the election of St. Eugenius as Bishop of Carthage, filling a see left vacant for decades since the time of St. Deogratias (died 457)   At the end of his reign, however, Huneric began what the 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica described as a

fierce persecution,

(Volume 22, page 880)

plundering churches and exiling bishops.  Huneric deported St. Eugenius to the desert near Tripoli, where Anthony, an Arian bishop, tortured the saint.

Gontramund (reigned 484-496) succeeded his uncle Huneric.  In 488 the new king permitted exiled bishops (including St. Eugenius) to return and reopened closed churches.  Gontramund’s successor and brother, Thrasamund (reigned 496-523), practiced limited persecution of Roman Catholics.  “Limited,” in the case of St. Eugenius, meant that the monarch sentenced the bishop to death then commuted the sentence to exile.  The saint ended his days at a monastery near Albi, in the Langudeoc region of Gaul.

The rest of the story is that the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire conquered the Vandals in 534, enslaving most of the population and restoring Roman Catholic churches the Vandals had closed.

One should refrain from engaging in hysterics over public policy disagreements and calling them religious persecution.  There are documented degrees of severity of persecution in history, and public policy disagreements do not rise to even the lowest level of persecution.  To claim that they do trivializes persecution.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 13, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA  ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF GILBERT KEITH (G. K.) CHESTERTON, AUTHOR

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

Grant that we [encouraged by the example of your servant Saint Eugenius of Carthage]

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

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

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 9:1-10

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Luke 6:20-23

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59