Archive for the ‘Rule of St. Benedict’ Tag

Feast of St. Alexander Akimetes (February 23)   Leave a comment

eastern-roman-empire

Above:  The Eastern Roman Empire

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

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SAINT ALEXANDER AKIMETES (300S-403 OR 430)

Roman Catholic Abbot

Information regarding the dates of the birth and death of St. Alexander Akimetes is inconsistent.  According to some sources the date of the birth was circa 350, but others are less precise, offering the vague “300s.”  Furthermore, the reported year of his death is either circa 403 or 430.  Someone seems to have switched the places of “3” and “0;” others seem to have followed his lead.

St. Alexander Akimetes, who converted to Christianity as an adult, made his mark upon the Church.  The native of one of the Aegean Islands came from Roman nobility and studied in Constantinople.  Our saint also served in the army for four years.  After becoming a Christian St. Alexander took the advice of Jesus to the rich young ruler literally and acted upon it; he sold all his goods.  Then our saint became a hermit in Syria.  About seven years later our saint went to prison for burning down a pagan temple.  He converted his jailers and even baptized the governor and his family.  St. Alexander, released, returned to life as a hermit.  A few years later our saint ceased to be a hermit and became a missionary instead.  He was, unfortunately, an unsuccessful missionary.  St. Alexander did succeed, however, in founding several monasteries and serving as an abbot.  One of these abbeys began with a band of robbers our saint converted to Christianity; he appointed one of the former criminals the first abbot then moved on.  St. Alexander’s monks, unlike those who followed the subsequent Rule of St. Benedict (540), performed no manual labor.  They did, however, perform missionary work.  The monks also took turns, in alternating choirs, singing the Divine Office all day long.  For this reason St. Alexander became St. Alexander Akimetes, “Akimetes” meaning “does not rest.”

St. Alexander died at the abbey at Gomon, on the Bosphorus.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 7, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PHILIP AND DANIEL BERRIGAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND SOCIAL ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF ANNE ROSS COUSIN, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GERALD THOMAS NOEL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER; BROTHER OF BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL, ANGLICAN PRIEST, ENGLISH BAPTIST EVANGELIST, AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS NIECE, CAROLINE MARIA NOEL, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA JOSEPHA ROSSELLO, COFOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTER OF OUR LADY OF PITY

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O Almighty God, who wills to be glorified in your saints,

and raised up your servant St. Alexander Akimetes to shine as a light in the world:

Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praises,

who has called us out of darkness into your marvelous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Nehemiah 4:1-6 or Ecclesiasticus 44:1-15

Psalm 113

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Mark 12:41-44 or Matthew 5:13-16

–Adapted from The Church of South India, The Book of Common Worship (1963), page 68

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Feast of St. Scholastica and St. Benedict of Nursia (February 10)   5 comments

central-italy

Above:  Central Italy, 1945

Scanned from the Post-World War II Atlas Supplement to Hammond’s New Era Atlas of the World (1945)

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SAINT SCHOLASTICA (CIRCA 480-543)

Abbess of Plombariola

sister of

SAINT BENEDICT OF NURSIA (CIRCA 480-CIRCA 550)

Abbot of Monte Cassino and Father of Western Monasticism

His feast transferred from July 11

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I created the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days in late July 2009.  At the time I was generally more likely than I am now to follow assigned feast days from official ecclesiastical authorities.  When I started the process of renovating the Ecumenical Calendar recently, I decided to combine certain feasts I had listed separately.  Thus I have merged the feasts of these two saints, a brother and a sister.

Sts. Scholastica and Benedict were foundational figures in Western Christian monasticism.  Unfortunately, few details of their lives have survived.  The twin siblings, natives of Nursia, came from a Christian family that was part of Roman nobility.  The parents dedicated St. Scholastica to God at an early age.  For a long time she lived at her parents’ home before becoming a nun.

St. Benedict became the Father of Western Monasticism.  He studied at Rome yet abandoned his studies to flee the immorality and amorality we encountered in the city.  At age 19 or 20 our saint, taking the elderly female servant who had raised him to Affile, joined a community of men attempting to lead a structured monastic life together.  Eventually he sent her home and spent the next three years as a hermit at Lake Subiaco.  During those years he contemplated rules for communal monastic life and developed a reputation for sanctity.  Then he became the central figure of a new monastic community.

Between 525 and 530 the community moved to Monte Cassino, between Rome and Naples.  Eventually St. Scholastica became the Abbess of Plombariola, a few miles from Monte Cassino.  Circa 540 St. Benedict completed the Rule of St. Benedict, which drew from extant monastic rules, directed life in thousands of abbeys, and influenced subsequent monastic rules.  St. Benedict provided a rigorous yet realistic set of guidelines; it combined work, prayer, and spiritual reading, as well as a balance between leadership by an abbot and the social equality of monastics.  Whereas some monks had mortified their flesh, denied themselves sufficient sleep, and ate too little, the Rule of St. Benedict prescribed enough food, eight hours of sleep, and a moderate variety of monasticism.  The influence of the Rule made Benedictine monasteries islands of learning and civilization during the Middle Ages.

Sts. Scholastica and Benedict met for a day each year for a number of years to discuss spiritual matters.  They did this until she died, in 543.  According to legend, St. Benedict, standing in his cell, saw a vision of his twin sister’s soul leading her body and rising to Heaven in the form of a dove.  He dispatched some monks to retrieve her corpse and bring it to Monte Cassino, where he buried her beneath the high altar.  A few years later St. Benedict’s body rested in the same tomb also.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 30, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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O God, by whose grace your servants St. Scholastica and St. Benedict of Nursia,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we may 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

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

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

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