Archive for the ‘St. Mary of Nazareth’ Tag

Feast of Blessed Caterina Cittadini (May 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Sanctuary of St. Jerome Emiliani, Somasca, Italy

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED CATERINA CITTADINI (SEPTEMBER 28, 1801-MAY 5, 1857)

Foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of Somasca

Blessed Caterina Cittadini devoted her adult life to the service of God in girls and young women, especially orphans.

Blessed Caterina came from a devout family.  She, born in Bergamo, Kingdom of Italy, on September 28, 1801, was a daughter of Giovanni Battista Cittadini and Magherita Lanzani (Cittadini).  Magherita died when our saint was seven years old.  Then Giovanni left our saint and her younger sister, Giuditta (1803-1840), in the care of nuns at Bergamo.  The nuns taught young Caterina devotion to St. Mary of Nazareth and St. Jerome Emiliani (1481-1537).  The Cittadini Sisters left the care of the nuns in 1823; they went to live with their cousins, Antonio (d. 1841) and Giovanni Cittadini, priests.

Blessed Caterina began her teaching career in 1824.  That year she became a teacher at a public school for girls.  Our saint earned her reputation as a fine educator.  Blessed Caterina and Giuditta opened three private boarding schools, one each in 1826, 1832, and 1836.  Our saint directed the first school; Giuditta directed the other two.  A few female helpers worked with the Cittadini sisters, to keep the schools operational.  These women were the core of what became the Ursuline Sisters of Somasca.  A series of deaths (sister Giuditta, cousin Antonio, et cetera) caused stress that damaged Blessed Caterina’s health.  She credited the intercession of St. Jerome Emiliani for her recovery.  Our saint also assumed the management of all three schools in 1845.

The Ursuline Sisters of Somasca became an official religious order, with the approval of Pietro Luigi Speranza, Bishop of Bergamo, on December 14, 1857.  Our saint had applied for ecclesiastical recognition of her nascent order in 1851.  Three years later, Speranza, the new bishop, had encouraged Blessed Caterina to write a rule then had approved her second draft.  Then our saint had died in Somasca on May 5, 1857.

Pope Pius XI approved the order on July 8, 1927.

The Ursuline Sisters of Somasca have continued the good work in Italy and beyond.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1996 then beatified her in 2001.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH, AND JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH, COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF JOHN S. STAMM, BISHOP OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH THEN THE EVANGELICAL UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS OF FLÜE AND HIS GRANDSON, SAINT CONRAD SCHEUBER, SWISS HERMITS

THE FEAST OF SAINT SERAPION OF THMUIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF UMPHREY LEE, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER AND MINISTER OF SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Caterina Cittadini,

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 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), 723

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Feast of Sts. Adelard of Corbie and Paschasius Radbertus (April 26)   2 comments

Above:  Europe in 814

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ADELARD OF CORBIE (CIRCA 752-JANUARY 2, 827)

Frankish Roman Catholic Monk and Abbot

Also known as Saint Adalard of Corbie, Saint Adalhard of Corbie, and Saint Adelhard of Corbie

His feast transferred from January 2

mentor of

SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS (CIRCA 790-CIRCA 860)

Frankish Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Theologian

His feast = April 26

One of my critiques of ecclesiastical saints is that they frequently make understanding a particular saint’s life unduly difficult by not combining commemorations.  I understand that some choppiness is a virtue in ecclesiastical calendars of saints.  Consider these two saints, however, O reader.  Merging the Feast of St. Paschasius Radbertus with that of his mentor, St. Adelard of Corbie, improves comprehension of the former and the latter.  Observing two saints together is rarely excessive.

These two men were Frankish saints.  Monarchs of the Carolingian Dynasty influenced their lives greatly and defined their times and political realities.

St. Adelard of Corbie, born circa 752, came from a prominent family.  His grandfather was Charles Martel (circa 688-741) and his uncle was King Pepin III “the Short” (714-768; reigned 751-768).  Our saint grew up in the royal court in Aachen, mostly during the reign of Charles I/Charlemagne, King of the Franks (768-814) and Holy Roman Emperor (800-814).  St. Adelard left the royal court in 773, to become a Benedictine monk at Corbie Abbey in Picardy.  He, a student of St. Alcuin of York/Tours (circa 730-804), eventually became the Abbot of Corbie.  St. Adelard advised his kinsmen, Charlemagne and Louis the Pious/Fair/Debonair (reigned 813-840), and tutored another kinsman, Bernard (d. 818), nephew of Louis.  Bernard was the King of Italy (810-817) under Charlemagne and Louis.

Imperial politics led to St. Adelard’s brief exile.  Bernard, King of Italy, rebelled against his uncle.  The rebellion failed in 817, and Louis was directly responsible for Bernard’s death the following year.  Louis also sent St. Adelard, allegedly a supporter of the rebellion, into exile in 817.  More likely, St. Adelard was solely guilty to having been Bernard’s tutor.  Our saint found peace during his exile at Hére (now Noirmoutier-en-l’Île); the isolation provided solitude.  Eventually, Louis permitted St. Adelard to return to Corbie Abbey.

St. Paschasius Radbertus, born circa 790, grew up in the Church, literally.  Monks at Soissons raised him, left as a foundling, after nuns found him.  Our saint was an undisciplined youth, despite the best efforts of the monks.  He calmed down eventually, though.  By 822, St. Adelard had returned to Corbie Abbey.  That year, St. Paschasius Radbertus became a monk at Corbie Abbey.  Our two saints and Wala, who had become the Abbot of Corbie after St. Adelard had gone into exile, founded New Corvey Abbey in Saxony in 822.  St. Adelard taught and mentored St. Paschasius Radbertus for years.

St. Adelard died at Corbie Abbey on January 2, 827.  Pope John XIX canonized him in 1026.

St. Paschasius Radbertus made his mark on Corbie Abbey.  He transformed the abbey school into one of the best and most famous educational institutions in Europe.  Our saint also served as the novice master.  He, a deacon, succeeded to the abbotcy against his will in 844.  Seven years later, as part of the resolution of a dispute, our saint resigned.  He had already become a respected and famous peacemaker, traveling across Europe and resolving political and religious disputes.

While at Corbie Abbey, St. Paschasius Radbertus taught and mentored another eventually canonized saint, St. Ansgar/Anskar (801-865), Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen.

The former abbot happily became a hermit at St. Riquiet Monastery, Cenula.  He wrote then wrote then wrote some more.  St. Paschasius Radbertus wrote historical, theological, and philosophical works.  He wrote commentaries on Matthew, Lamentations, and Psalm 44.  Our saint composed a biography of St. Adelard of Corbie.  St. Paschasius Radbertus also wrote in defense of the perpetual virginity of St. Mary of Nazareth.

Most importantly, St. Paschasius Radbertus wrote The Body and Blood of Christ (831), about Transubstantiation.  He wrote it for a student, Placidus Varinus, Abbot of New Corvey, and for the monks there.  This text sparked a controversy that started in 844 and lasted for centuries.  Our saint stood in line with the Church Fathers regarding Transubstantiation; he was orthodox.  However, he chose some words poorly, hence the controversy.  Pope Sylvester II (circa 945-1003; in office 999-1003) defended St. Paschasius Radbertus.  The controversy eventually resulted in a precise definition of Transubstantiation.

St. Paschasius Radbertus died circa 860.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 12, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TRASILLA AND EMILIANA; THEIR SISTER-IN-LAW, SAINT SYLVIA OF ROME; AND HER SON, SAINT GREGORY I “THE GREAT,” BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF JOHN H. CALDWELL, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILLIAN OF TREVESTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 295

THE FEAST OF RUTILIO GRANDE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1977

THE FEAST OF SAINT THEOPHANES THE CHRONICLER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

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O God, by whose grace your servants

Saints Adelard of Corbie and Paschasius Radbertus,

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 133 or 34:108 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

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

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Feast of St. Mary of Egypt (April 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Saint Mary of Egypt, by José de Ribero

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MARY OF EGYPT (CIRCA 344-CIRCA 421)

Hermit and Penitent

Alternative feast days = January 25, April 1, April 2, April 9, and November 5

St. Mary of Egypt comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, of The Episcopal Church.  She is also a saint in the Roman Catholic Church and in Eastern Orthodox churches.  In Eastern Orthodoxy another day to celebrate the life of St. Mary of Egypt, a paragon of penitence, is the fifth Sunday in Great Lent.

Before I write about the life of St. Mary of Egypt, I choose to address a proverbial elephant in the room:  chronology.  Nearly all accounts (including the one in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018) of her life mention that, in the last two or so years of her life, she knew a priest-monk, St. Zosimus of Palestine, who allegedly buried her and wrote her biography.  However, the frequently listed lifespans for both saints do not support the possibility of this.  If one accepts that St. Mary of Egypt died circa 421, one must reject that she could have known St. Zosimus of Palestine (circa 460-circa 560).  Some sources ignore this chronological conundrum.  Others push St. Mary’s lifetime into the fifth and sixth centuries, the timeframe for St. Zosimus.  Some sources adjust the dates for St. Zosimus down a century, into the timeframe of St. Mary.  I remain suspicious of the two saints having met.

I have years of experience writing hagiographies.  I also know that people knew how to keep track of what year it was in antiquity.  Nevertheless, I recall more than one occasion when I was taking notes about saints who allegedly knew each other and I realized that they could not have known each other because of chronology.  Hagiographers should keep their chronologies in order.

St. Mary of Egypt, born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 344, spent most of her life as a penitent and a hermit.  She left home at age twelve and became a prostitute.  Seventeen years later, she accompanied a group of pilgrims to Jerusalem.  They were going to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14).  She was seeking to fulfill her lust and find customers.  The pilgrims entered the church, but an invisible barrier prevented the prostitute from crossing the threshold.  St. Mary of Egypt confessed her sins, repented of them, and called upon the Mother of God.  Our saint, across the threshold, advanced toward the alleged True Cross of Christ.  She dedicated her life to God.  St. Mary spent the next forty-seven or so years as a hermit in the desert beyond the Jordan River.

Many Low Church Protestants, regardless of where they fall on the liberal-conservative spectrum, underestimate the spiritual value of holy hermits.  Holy hermits are useless, many Low Church Protestants claim.  Yet, if one affirms the efficacy of prayer, as I assume most Low Church Protestants do, one should recognize the inestimable value of holy hermits, who spend so much time in prayer.  If one accepts the efficacy of prayer, one should give thanks for holy hermits.  Historical accounts of many Desert Fathers and Mothers also indicate that many people went out to consult them for spiritual counsel.

Whatever St. Mary of Egypt did day in and day out for forty-seven years, it was of great spiritual value.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 1, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT HENRY MORSE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1645

THE FEAST OF SAINT BENEDICT DASWA, SOUTH AFRICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR, 1990

THE FEAST OF CHARLES SEYMOUR ROBINSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DE PALESTRINA, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC COMPOSER AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIGEBERT III, KING OF AUSTRASIA

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Merciful Lord, who raises up sinners by your boundless compassion and mercy:

Cause the desert sun to burn away our coarseness and to melt our hardness of heart,

that, like your servant Mary of Egypt,

we may not depart from this life until we understand

the ways of repentance and the benefits of prayer;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hebrews 11:32-40

Psalm 91:9-16

John 20:11-18

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, 213

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Devotion for the Feast of the Reformation (October 31)   4 comments

Above:  Wittenberg in 1540

Image in the Public Domain

Schism and Reconciliation

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The Feast of the Reformation, celebrated first in the Brunswick church order (1528), composed by Johannes Bugenhagen (1485-1558), died out in the 1500s.  Initially the dates of the commemoration varied according to various church orders, and not all Lutherans observed the festival.  Original dates included November 10 (the eve of Martin Luther‘s birthday), February 18 (the anniversary of Luther’s death), and the Sunday after June 25, the date of the delivery of the Augsburg Confession.  In 1667, after the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), Elector of Saxony John George II ordered the revival of the commemoration, with the date of October 31.  Over time the commemoration spread, and commemorations frequently occurred on the Sunday closest to that date.

The feast used to function primarily as an occasion to express gratitude that one was not Roman Catholic.  However, since 1980, the 450th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute (of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement) and the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau have favored observing the feast as a time of reconciliation and of acknowledging the necessity of the Reformation while not celebrating the schism.

This perspective is consistent with the position of Professor Phillip Cary in his Great Courses series of The History of Christian Theology (2008), in which he argues that Protestantism and Roman Catholicism need each other.

I, as an Episcopalian, stand within the Middle Way–Anglicanism.  I am convinced, in fact, that I am on this planet for, among other reasons, to be an Episcopalian; the affiliation fits me naturally.  I even hang an Episcopal Church flag in my home.  I, as an Episcopalian, am neither quite Protestant nor Roman Catholic; I borrow with reckless abandon from both sides–especially from Lutheranism in recent years.  I affirm Single Predestination (Anglican and Lutheran theology), Transubstantiation, a 73-book canon of scripture, and the Assumption of Mary (Roman Catholic theology), and reject both the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the Virgin Birth of Jesus.  My ever-shifting variety of Anglicanism is sui generis.

The scandal of schism, extant prior to 1517, but exasperated by the Protestant and English Reformations, grieves me.  Most of the differences among denominations similar to each other are minor, so overcoming denominational inertia with mutual forbearance would increase the rate of ecclesiastical unity.  Meanwhile, I, from my perch in The Episcopal Church, ponder whether organic union with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is feasible and wise.  It is a question worth exploring.  At least we are natural ecumenical partners.  We already have joint congregations, after all.  If there will be organic union, it will require mutual giving and taking on many issues, but we agree on most matters already.

Time will tell.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PETER OF CHELCIC, BOHEMIAN HUSSITE REFORMER; AND GREGORY THE PATRIARCH, FOUNDER OF THE MORAVIAN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF GODFREY THRING, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JANE CREWDSON, ENGLISH QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF NARAYAN SESHADRI OF JALNI, INDIAN PRESBYTERIAN EVANGELIST AND “APOSTLE TO THE MANGS”

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Almighty God, gracious Lord, we thank you that your Holy Spirit renews the church in every age.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people.

Keep them steadfast in your word, protect and comfort them in times of trial,

defend them against all enemies of the gospel,

and bestow on the church your saving peace,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm 46

Romans 3:19-28

John 8:31-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 58

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Revelation 14:6-7

Romans 3:19-28

John 8:31-36 or Matthew 11:12-19

Lutheran Service Book (2006), xxiii

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/09/13/schism-and-reconciliation/

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Feast of Blesseds Amadeus of Clermont and Amadeus of Lausanne (August 27)   Leave a comment

Above:  Cluny Abbey

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED AMADEUS OF CLERMONT (DIED 1150)

French Roman Catholic Monk

His feast transferred from January 14

father of

BLESSED AMADEUS OF LAUSANNE (1110-AUGUST 27, 1159)

French-Swiss Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop

One of my goals in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  Writing about a father and a son in the same post is consistent with that purpose.

Blessed Amadeus of Clermont was a member of the Franconian royal family.  The native of Hauterives, Dauphine (then part of the Holy Roman Empire, now part of France),  became a widower.  He and sixteen of his men became monks at Bonnevaux Abbey.  He and his son, Blessed Amadeus of Lausanne (b. 1110), lived at Bonnevaux Abbey before moving to the great Cluny Abbey.  Blessed Amadeus of Clermont founded monasteries at Tamis, Montperout, Mazan, and Léoncel, in Dauphine (in France as of 2018), before dying at Bonnevaux circa 1150.

Blessed Amadeus of Lausanne, born in Dauphine in 1110, studied at the abbeys of Bonnevaux and Cluny.  He was, for a time, a courtier in the household of Holy Roman Emperor Henry V (reigned 1111-1125).  In 1124 our saint became a monk at Clairvaux Abbey, were St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), the abbot from 1115 to 1128, became his mentor.  Blessed Amadeus transterred to Hautecombe Abbey, Savoy.  Five years later, against his will, our saint became the Bishop of Lausanne; he insisted that he was inadequate for the office.  The diocese was extremely difficult.  One day, when St. Amadeus tried in vain to prevent a murder, wound up with blood on his vestments.  Regardless of how capable a bishop Blessed Amadeus was, he was a fine homilist.  He wrote eight, enduring (still published) homilies in praise of St. Mary of Nazareth.

Blessed Amadeus of Lausanne also held other positions.  He was the tutor of and regent for Blessed Humbert III (1136-1189), Count of Savoy (1148-1188).  Blessed Amadeus was also the Chancellor of Burgundy under Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (reigned 1155-1190).  Blessed Amadeus died in Lausanne on August 27, 1159.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2018 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ADALBERO AND ULRIC OF AUGSBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN AND PEACEMAKER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SERVANT OF THE POOR AND OPPONENT OF FASCISM

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O God, you have brought us near to an immeasurable company of angels,

and to the spirits of just men made perfect:

Grant us during our earthly pilgrimage to abide in their fellowship,

and in our heavenly country to become partakers of their joy;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9

Psalm 34 or 34:15-22

Philippians 4:4-9

Luke 6:17-23

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 725

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Feast of St. Sixtus III (August 19)   1 comment

Above:  St. Sixtus III

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT SIXTUS III (DIED AUGUST 19, 440)

Bishop of Rome

Alternative feast day = March 28

Five Supreme Pontiffs of the Roman Catholic Church have borne the name “Sixtus.”  Extant information about St. Sixtus I (in office circa 116-circa 125) has proven to be unreliable.  St. Sixtus II (in office 257-258) died as a martyr.  Sixtus IV (in office 1471-1484) founded the Spanish Inquisition and practiced simony.  Sixtus V (in office 1585-1590) admired Sixtus IV, encouraged King Philip II of Spain to invade England in 1588, and presided over a repressive regime in the Papal States.

St. Sixtus III is therefore the second of two Sixtuses I choose to add to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Xystus, son of Xystus, was a Roman by birth.  Our saint had been a Pelagian, but had changed his mind in 418.

Pelagianism was the heresy named after Pelagius, an English or Irish monk who had moved to Rome circa 400.  He was optimistic about human nature, arguing that it was inherently good.  People could therefore save themselves via free will from damnation, the monk asserted.  His propositions aroused a great controversy in the Church.  St. Augustine of Hippo, for example, replied to those propositions in writing for years.  Eventually the Church declared Semi-Pelagianism (salvation results from the combination of divine grace and human free will) orthodox teaching, but Pope St. Celestine I (in office 422-432) preferred the answer of St. Augustine of Hippo:  we mere mortals are powerless to save ourselves, for Original Sin has corrupted our natures.

St. Sixtus III also opposed NestorianismNestorius, the Archbishop of Constantinople from 428 to 431, made  a distinction between Christ and the Logos.  St. Mary of Nazareth, he argued in his sermon for Easter 428, was the mother of Jesus, but not of God; she was not the Theotokos.  The Patriarch thought that the Logos dwelt within Jesus, as in a temple.  St. Sixtus III, at the Council of Ephesus (431), helped to draft the Formula of Reunion, which asserted the doctrine that, in Christ, there was the union of God and man in one person; that Christ was fully human and fully divine.

St. Sixtus III, elected Pope on July 31, 432, succeeding the late St. Celestine I, contended with the Pelagian and Nestorian heresies as the Supreme Pontiff.  St. Cyril of Alexandria had been engaged in a dispute with John of Antioch (d. 441), a Nestorian.  St. Sixtus III ordered John of Antioch to renounce Nestorianism; he did, and reconciled with St. Cyril.  In 439, with the influence of deacon Leo (the next pope, as St. Leo I “the Great,” in office 440-461), St. Sixtus III refused to permit the Pelagian bishop Julian of Eclanum (d. 454), exiled from the see of Apulia since 418, return.  As St. Sixtus III oversaw rebuilding projects in Rome, to repair damage from and replace structures destroyed in the Visigothic sack of Rome in 410, he had anti-Pelagian and anti-Nestorian inscriptions added to churches and baptistries.

St. Sixtus III asserted his authority against encroachment by St. Proclus of Constantinople, the Archbishop of Constantinople from 434 to 446.  In 434 St. Proclus tried to pry the dioceses in eastern Illyricum (in the Balkans) away from the Bishop of Rome.  St. Sixtus III resolved the situation with a carrot and a stick.  As the Pope requested that St. Proculus not receive any bishops disloyal to Rome, St. Sixtus III ordered all bishops in eastern Illyricum to remain loyal.

St. Sixtus III also founded the oldest known monastery at St. Sebastiano on the Appian Way.

St. Sixtus III died on August 19, 440.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 22, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBAN, FIRST BRITISH MARTYR

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, DUTCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, BIBLICAL AND CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, AND CONTROVERSIALIST; SAINT JOHN FISHER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, BISHOP OF ROCHESTER, CARDINAL, AND MARTYR; AND SAINT THOMAS MORE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, JURIST, THEOLOGIAN, CONTROVERSIALIST, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF GERHARD GIESCHEN, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULINUS OF NOLA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NOLA

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Saint Sixtus III,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Sts. Eumenios and Parthenios of Koudoumas (July 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Crete, 1935

Scanned from Rand McNally World Atlas and International Gazetteer–Special Household Edition (1935), 87

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SAINT PARTHENIOS OF KOUDOUMAS (1829-1905)

Monk

Born Nikolaus Charitakis

Also known as Nestor

brother of

SAINT EUMENIOS OF KOUDOUMAS (1846-SEPTEMBER 5, 1920)

Monk

Born Emmanuel Charitakis

Also known as Methodios

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FOUNDERS OF KOUDOUMAS MONASTERY, CRETE

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Charikaos Charitakis and Maria Androulaki were devout villagers of Pitsidia, near Matala and Phaistos, Crete.  Two of their children were Nikolaus (the future St. Parthenios) and Emmanuel (the future St. Eumenios).  The children grew up steeped in Eastern Orthodox Christianity.  Charikaos died in 1856.  Two years later Nikolaus and Emmanuel became monks.

At Odigitria Monastery, in 1862, Nikolaus became Nestor and Emmanuel became Methodios.  They spent their monastic lives together, living in caves much of the time.  At Koudoumas there were caves.  There was also a ruined, abandoned monastery, with just the church remaining.  The brothers, since 1867 Eumenios and Parthenios, founded a new monastery, at Koudoumas.  They did this after Parthenios reported having received instructions to do so from St. Mary of Nazareth in a vision.  They built the monastery with the help of many lay people.

St. Parthenios, allegedly a wonder-worker, died at Koudoumas Monastery in 1905.  He was about 76 years old.

St. Eumenios, a deacon in 1868 and a priest two years later, died at Koudoumas Monastery on September 5, 1920.  He was about 74 years old.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople canonized the brothers and set their feast day as July 10 on July 8, 2007.

Can any devout Christian legitimately question the value of lives, such as those of Sts. Eumenios and Parthenios, devoted to God?  Of course not!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS STEFAN AND KAZIMIERZ GRELEWSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS,  1941 AND 1942

THE FEAST OF DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE, LUTHERAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY DAY AND PETER LAURIN, COFOUNDERS OF THE CATHOLIC WORKER MOVEMENT

THE FEAST OF THOMAS TOKE LYNCH, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servants

Saints Eumenios and Parthenios of Koudoumas,

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

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

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Feast of Sts. Flavian and Anatolius of Constantiople, St. Agatho, St. Leo II, and St. Benedict II (July 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Christ Pantocrator

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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SAINT FLAVIAN OF CONSTANTINOPLE (DIED AUGUST 449)

Patriarch of Constantinople

His feast transferred from February 17

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SAINT ANATOLIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE (LATE 300S-458)

Patriarch of Constantinople

His feast = July 3

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SAINT AGATHO (DIED JANUARY 10, 681)

Bishop of Rome

His feast transferred from January 10

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SAINT LEO II (DIED JULY 3, 683)

Bishop of Rome

His feast = July 3

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SAINT BENEDICT II (DIED MAY 8, 685)

Bishop of Rome

His feast transferred from May 7

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DEFENDERS OF CHRISTOLOGICAL ORTHODOXY

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INTRODUCTION

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Sometimes the most effective way to tell the story of a saint’s life or a portion thereof is to include other saints.  This generalization applies to St. Anatolius of Constantinople and St. Leo II, who have separate feasts on this day, according to the Roman Catholic calendar.

These five saints lived in times when theological debates were political.  Christological disputes were matters of imperial policy, frequently with negative consequences for those who opposed the Emperor at Constantinople.

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PATRIARCHS OF CONSTANTINOPLE

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St. Flavian of Constantinople, Patriarch of Constantinople from 446 to 449, opposed monophysitism, the heresy that Jesus had just one nature–divine.  The Patriarch excommunicated Eutyches, the founder of that heresy.  Eutyches had political allies, though.  He managed to turn Dioscorus, the Bishop of Alexandria, to his side.  Thus Dioscorus presided over the “Robber Council,” which acquitted Eutyches, condemned St. Flavian, and ended with Dioscorus and monks physically abusing St. Flavian, binding him in chains, and sending him into exile.  St. Flavian died in August 449.

St. Anatolius of Constantinople presided over the posthumous exoneration of St. Flavian.  St. Anatolius, born in Alexandria, Egypt, in the late 300s, was a man who lived simply and aided the poor.  He also stood on the side of Christological orthodoxy.  In 431 he and his mentor, St. Cyril of Alexandria, who had ordained him to the diaconate, attended the Council of Ephesus, which affirmed that Christ had two natures, called St. Mary of Nazareth the Mother of God (not just the Mother of Christ), and therefore condemned the Nestorian heresy.  As the Patriarch of Constantinople (449-458) St. Anatolius attended the Council of Chalcedon (451), convened by Pope St. Leo I “the Great” (in office 440-461), which refuted the monophysite heresy.  That council also canonized St. Flavian of Constantinople.  St. Anatolius, who also composed liturgical hymns, experienced much political difficulty due to his orthodoxy.  He might even have been a martyr at the hands of heretics.

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BISHOPS OF ROME

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The monothysite heresy remained an issue into the seventh century.  Byzantine Emperor Constantine IV (reigned 668-685) had used the monothelitist heresy (that Jesus had just one will–divine) to maintain peace with the monophysites in his realm.  He decided to abandon that strategy.

Pope Donus (in office November 2, 676-April 11, 678) died.  His successor was St. Agatho, in office from June 27, 678, to January 10, 681.  St. Agatho, once a monk, was a Sicilian who knew Latin and Greek well.  In 678 St. Agatho received a letter (addressed to Donus) proposing a conference to discuss how many wills Jesus had and whether the churches should reunite.  The Pope agreed to the conference, but held synods in the West prior to the Third Council Constantinople (680-681).  The papal delegation carried a condemnation of monothelitism signed by 150 bishops, as well as a document affirming Rome as the custodian of the Christian faith.  The Third Council of Constantinople, with Constantine IV presiding, affirmed that Jesus had two wills and anathematized monothelitist leaders.

St. Agatho, a kind and cheerful man, died on January 10, 681, while the council was in progress.  His successor was St. Leo II, elected in January 681 yet not installed until August 17, 682, due to imperial politics.  Emperor Constantine IV delayed the ratification of St. Leo II’s election due to the process of ratifying the decrees of the council.  St. Leo II, during his brief papacy, ratified the decrees of the council and ordered their translation from Greek into Latin.  He also readmitted repentant former monothelitists to the Church.

St. Leo II, also a Sicilian, like his predecessor, was a cultured and eloquent man with a fine singing voice.  He, a patron of the poor, asserted papal control over the bishops of Ravenna, autonomous since 666.  St. Leo II died on July 3, 683, after less than a year as the Pope.

St. Benedict II was a gentle and humble man who cared for the poor also.  He, elected Pope in July 683, did not enter into that office until June 26, 684, due to Constantine IV delaying the ratification of the election.  St. Benedict II, a Roman, not a Sicilian, secured an agreement by which the Exarch of Ravenna ratified papal elections, thereby preventing such long delays between papal elections and installations.  The Pope died on May 8, 685, after less than a year in office.

The spirit of cooperation with Constantinople broke down during the reign of Emperor Justinian II (reigned 685-695, 705-711).

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CONCLUSION

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The challenges faithful Christians face vary, depending on who, when, and where one is.  One can study the lives of one’s ancient predecessors in the faith, ponder the challenges they confronted, and take comfort in the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds one.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR

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Almighty God, you have raise up faithful bishops of your church, including

Saint Flavian of Constantinople,

Saint Anatolius of Constantinople,

Saint Agatho,

Saint Leo II, and

Saint Benedict II,

who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following their example and the teaching of their holy lives,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and

reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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This is post #1500 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Blesseds John Forest and Thomas Abel (May 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED JOHN FOREST (1471-MAY 22, 1538)

English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

Alternative feast day = December 1 (as one of the Martyrs of Oxford University)

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BLESSED THOMAS ABEL (CIRCA 1497-JULY 30, 1540)

English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

His feast transferred from July 30

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These two saints died because they refused to recognize the supremacy of the Crown over the English Church.

Blessed John Forest, born in Oxford, England, in 1471, was a member of the Friars Minor of the Regular Observance, or the Observants.  He joined that Franciscan order at Greenwich when he was 20 years old.  Forest went on to study theology at Oxford University then to become the confessor of Queen Catherine of Aragon.  In 1525 our saint began to serve as the Observant Provincial in England.  Six years later King Henry VIII suppressed the order.  In 1532-1534 Forest preached against Henry VIII and the government.  This activity led to government surveillance then to his arrest in 1534.  Incarceration in Newgate Prison followed.  In prison Forest corresponded with Catherine of Aragon and Blessed Thomas Abel, a prisoner in the Tower of London.

Abel, born in England circa 1497, also became a chaplain to Queen Catherine of Aragon.  First, however, he earned his Doctor of Divinity degree at Oxford University and served as a priest.  In 1532 he publicly opposed the annulment of the marriage between King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon.  This led to a brief period of incarceration in the Tower of London.  Abel’s alleged involvement in the Holy Maid of Kent Affair led to a second period of imprisonment, starting the following year.  Sister Elizabeth Barton, a Benedictine nun at Kent, apparently taught in favor of the Mass in particular and the Roman Catholic Church in general whenever she saw an image of St. Mary of Nazareth.  That was sufficient to lead to Barton’s execution in 1534.  Abel got off relatively lightly; he spent 1533-1539 in the Tower of London.  The warden released him in 1539.  Our saint’s freedom was brief, however.  Authorities rearrested him and turned the warden into an inmate.

Forest, sentenced to death for refusing to recognize the supremacy of King Henry VIII over the English Church on April 8, 1538, died by hanging and burning at Smithfield on July 22 of that year.  He was 66 or 67 years old.

Abel, guilty of the same offense, died by handing, drawing, and quartering at Smithfield on July 30, 1540.  He was about 43 years old.

Pope Leo XIII declared moth men Blessed on December 29, 1886.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 21, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THOMAS TALLIS AND HIS STUDENT AND COLLEAGUE, WILLIAM BYRD, ENGLISH COMPOSERS AND ORGANISTS; AND JOHN MERBECKE, ENGLISH COMPOSER, ORGANIST, AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF DITLEF GEORGSON RISTAD, NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, LITURGIST, AND EDUCATOR

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Almighty God, who gave your servants Blesseds John Forest and Thomas Abel

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of their world,

and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the faith that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

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

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 713

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Feast of Sts. Caterina Volpicelli, Giulia Salzano, and Ludovico da Casoria (May 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of the Unification of Italy

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

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SAINT CATERINA VOLPICELLI (JANUARY 21, 1839-DECEMBER 28, 1894)

Foundress of the Servants of the Sacred Heart

Her feast transferred from January 22 and December 28

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SAINT GIULIA SALZANO (OCTOBER 13, 1846-MAY 17, 1929)

Foundress of the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart 

Her feast day = May 17

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SAINT LUDOVICO DA CASORIA (MARCH 11, 1814-MARCH 30, 1885)

Founder of the Gray Friars of Charity and Cofounder of the Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth

Also known as Arcangelo Palmentieri

His feast transferred from March 30

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While I have any life left in me, I will continue to teach the catechism.  And then, I assure you, I would be very happy to die teaching the catechism.

–Saint Giulia Salzano

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The development of this post began with the name of St. Giulia Salzano.  Her story led to two other saints about whom I could find information.  The expansion of this post beyond Salzano was a fortunate development, for one of my goals during the renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.

These three saints, born in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1816-1861), died in the united Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946).

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St. Giulia Salzano affirmed the value of catechesis.  She, born at Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Casserta, on October 13, 1846, was a daughter of Adelaide Valentino and Diego Salzano, a captain in the Lancers of King Ferdinand II (reigned 1830-1859).  Diego died when St. Giulia was four years old.  Our saint, raised subsequently by Sisters of Charity in the royal Orphanage of Santa Nicola La Strada, remained there until the age of 15 years.  She studied to become a teacher.  After earning her diploma, St. Giulia moved to Casoria (near Naples), where her family lived, and began to teach in 1865.  She also taught the catechism and encouraged devotion to St. Mary of Nazareth.

At Casoria St. Giulia’s path crossed that of the other two saints.  She worked with St. Caterina Volpicelli in encouraging devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Also, St. Ludovico da Casoria told St. Giulia,

Take care not to be tempted to abandon the children of our dear Casoria, because it is God’s will that you should live and die among them.

St. Giulia, who founded the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1905, died in Casoria on May 17, 1929.  She was 84 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 2002 then a Blessed the following year.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized her in 2010.

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St. Ludovico da Casoria, born Arcangelo Palmentieri at Casoria, Naples, on March 11, 1814, did much to help many people.  He, apprenticed to a cabinet-maker, became a Franciscan friar in 1832, at the age of 18 years.  The newly minted friar assumed the name “Ludovico.”  He, later ordained a priest, taught mathematics and philosophy to friars in the city of Naples.  Our saint went on to work with the poor, found dispensaries for them, open a school for Africans freed from slavery, start a school for deaf and mute people, and found centers for the care of elderly friars.  In 1859 St. Ludovico founded the Gray Friars of Charity (defunct in 1971), to work in the institutions he had opened.  Three years later he and Margherita Salatino founded the Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth, the female counterparts of the Gray Friars of Charity.  St. Ludovico died of natural causes at Naples on March 30, 1885.  He was 71 years old.

Pope Paul VI declared St. Ludovico a Venerable in 1964.  Pope John Paul II elevated our saint to the status of Blessed in 1993.  Pope Francis canonized St. Ludovico in 2014.

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St. Caterina Volpicelli, once a social climber, chose instead to serve God.  She, born in Naples on January 21, 1839, grew up in a devout and upper middle class family.  Our saint, educated at the Royal Educational Institute of St. Marcellino, studied under Margherita Salatino, who went on to found the Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth with St. Ludovico da Casoria in 1862.

St. Ludovico da Casoria influenced St. Caterina’s life directly.  She met him in Naples on September 19, 1854.  This encounter was, according to St. Caterina,

a rare stroke of prevenient grace, charity, and favor from the Sacred Heart, delighted by the poverty of his servant.

St. Caterina went on to become a Third Order Franciscan, due to the influence of St. Ludovico.

St. Caterina valued prayer.  On May 28, 1859, she joined the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament.  Ill health forced her to leave shortly thereafter, though.  Our saint went on to associate herself with the Apostleship of Prayer.  Prayer led St. Caterina to act.  She founded the Servants of the Sacred Heart in 1874.  The new order opened orphanages, lending libraries, and other houses throughout Italy.  The Sisters at Ponticelli won much notice for tending to victims of an outbreak of cholera in 1884.  Also, St. Caterina, with the assistance of the Venerable Rosa Carafa Traetto (died in 1890), founded the Association of the Daughters of Mary.

St. Caterina, aged 55 years, died in Naples on December 28, 1894.  Pope Pius XII declared her a Venerable in 1945.  Pope John Paul II beatified our saint in 2001.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized St. Caterina in 2009.

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These three saints, whose lives overlapped, served God in people in varieties of need.

May each of us do likewise, as God directs.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 25, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HERBERT STANLEY OAKELEY, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PROCLUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT RUSTICUS, BISHOP OF NARBONNE

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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