The Circumcision of Jesus Christ
- several churches have claimed the relic of the foreskin of Jesus: see Acta Sanctorum, Jan., t. I
Concordius, martyr (c. 178)
- a subdeacon, whose last act before being beheaded was to spit on an idol
Almachius or Telemachus, martyr (c. 400)
- an ascetic, he entered a stadium in Rome during gladiatorial combat in order to stop it; although enraged spectators stoned him to death, his martyrdom led to a suspension of such games
Euphrosyne, virgin (fifth century?)
- entered religious life disguised as a man named Smaragdus. Mark Moore drew attention to the following article: 'St. Euphrosyne: Holy Transvestite' by Paul E. Szarmach in Paul E. Szarmach, Ed. Holy Men and Holy Women: Old English Prose Saints' Lives and Their Contexts (Albany: SUNY P), 1996, pp. 353-365.
Eugendus or Oyend, abbot (c. 510)
- head of the abbey of Condat, near Geneva, he was said to be of joyful countenance, although he never smiled
Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe (533)
- Ruspe is now a town called Kudiat Rosfa in Tunisia; his relics were translated in the early eighth century to Bourges
Felix, bishop of Bourges (c. 580)
- according to Gregory of Tours, the body of Felix was found to be incorrupt twelve years after his death
Clarus, abbot (c. 660)
- abbot of monastery of St Marcellus at Vienne, he was spiritual director of convent of St Blandina, where his mother and other widows had taken the veil
Peter of Atroa, abbot (837)
- born near Ephesus, this miracle worker eventually established a monastery dedicated to St Zachary; effected one of his cures by making sure the ill person had a good wholesome meal
William of Saint Benignus, abbot (1031)
- born near Novara, he became a monk and abbot of Cluniac house of Saint-Sernin on the Rhone; helped the expansion of the Cluniac reform
Odilo, abbot (1049)
- became abbot of Cluny in 994; as discussed earlier on the list, he is considered the one who instituted the annual commemoration of All Souls on 2 November
Zdislava, matron (1252)
- a Dominican mystic of Bohemia, she took communion almost daily; once, she gave an ugly ill beggar a bed in her house, and her husband angrily turned to kick him out of the house when he saw that the beggar had been replaced by a figure of the crucified Christ
Ugolino da Gualdo (1260)
- late in his life, he became head of a house of Augustinian Hermits in his native place, Gualdo (in Umbria)
Macarius of Alexandria (c. 394)
- a candy maker by trade, he became a desert hermit whose austerities were extreme, even by the standards of his companions
Munchin, bishop (seventh century)
- no vita of Munchin exists, but he is mentioned in the martyrologies of Oengus, Gallaght and Gorman as bishop of Limerick
- when this hermit died, his body was placed on a cart to be drawn by two oxen to his burial; but on the way a bear ate one of the oxen, but then obeyed the order of Vincentian's disciple and took the place of the eaten ox, and helped draw the cart with the other ox
Adalhard or Adelard, abbot (827)
- grandson of Charles Martel and brother of king Pepin, he eventually was forced from life at court to become a monk at Lerins, then abbot of Corbie
Ayrald, bishop of Maurienne (1146?)
- brother of pope Callistus II, he became Carthusian prior at Portes
Stefana Quinzani, virgin (1530)
- Dominican tertiary and stigmatist
Antherus, pope and martyr (236)
- reigned for only forty-three days; martyred for obtaining copies of the official proceedings against the martyrs with the intention of keeping them in his archives (patron of rare book librarians?)
Peter Balsam, martyr (311)
- native of Palestine, where he was martyred; Eusebius says he was burnt to death at Caesarea, but according to his acta he was crucified at Aulana by the governor Severus
Genevieve or Genovefa, virgin (c. 500)
- patron of Paris; like another great French saint, Jeanne d'Arc, she protected her native place against attacking foreigners (although she did so by prayer, entreaties and intercession)
Bertilia of Mareuil, widow (eighth century)
- a noble, she married a noble, after whose death she lived as a recluse in a cell adjoining her town's church (in the diocese of Arras)
Gregory, bishop of Langres (539)
- great-grandfather of Gregory of Tours; buried in Dijon, at shrine of apostle of Burgundy, St Benignus
Pharaildis, virgin (c. 740)
- a very popular saint in Flanders, she performed many miracles after the death of her husband (with whom she had lived chastely)
- often portrayed with a goose, bread or a cat: the goose because she once raised a cooked goose from the dead (complete with feathers); the bread because she turned some bread hidden by a miserly woman into stone; and the cat? anyone know?
Rigobert, archbishop of Rheims (c. 745)
- bore patiently political and personal problems created by Charles Martel
Roger of Ellant (1160)
- an Englishman, he entered the Cistercian monastery of Lorroy in Berry before founding a new monastery at Ellant; noted for his poverty, exactness in carrying out the rule, and dedication to the sick and poor
Oringa, virgin (1310)
- a Tuscan, who lived with other women under the Rule of St Augustine; many of her miracles deal with nature (e.g. she crossed the Arno without getting wet) and animals (e.g. the cows she tended always obeyed her command to remain still while she retired to pray)
Telesphorus, pope and martyr (c. 136)
- seventh bishop of Rome; according to the Liber Pontificalis, he decreed that the Mass of Christmas should be celebrated at midnight
Apollinaris, virgin (?)
- Egyptian woman who dressed as a man to live a religious life in the desert; but while she was there, her sister, who had been possessed by the devil, was sent to her for a cure
Syncletica, virgin (c. 400)
- a rich heiress of Alexandria, she gave away her fortune to live in an old tomb by a church; from here, she would preach to women
Simeon the Stylite (459)
- after almost killing himself with his bizarre self
- mortifications, he took up living on successively taller pillars for the last 37 years of his life; the final pillar was about 20 metres high, with a platform about two metres wide on top
Convoyon, abbot (868)
- founder of the abbey of Saint Saviour at Redon, Brittany
Dorotheus the Younger, abbot (eleventh century)
- also known as Dorotheus of Khiliokomos, from the name of the monastery he built on a mountain near Amisos following the command of a mysterious stranger
Gerlac (c. 1170)
- lived as a hermit for seven years in the trunk of a tree near Valkenburg (Netherlands); monks of a nearby monastery did not like his way of life, and appealed to have Gerlac live in community; Gerlac was permitted to continue to live in solitude, but when the monks were called to him while he was dying, they refused to give him viaticum (which instead was given by a strange old man, unknown to all who were present)
- commemorates the visit of the Magi; their number is not specified in the Bible, but from the time of Leo the Great their number has usually been held to be three; for more information on the cult of the Magi, see the work of list member Francesco Scorza BarcellonaLast year Bill East clarified the Epiphany posting: More precisely, it commemorates three "manifestations" of Christ: the aforesaid visit of the Magi, the Baptism of Christ (at which the voice of the Father attested "This is my beloved Son") and the Miracle at Cana by which St John says "he manifested his glory". All three manifestations are held in balance in the Eastern liturgy; in the west, the visit of the Magi has overshadowed the other two, at least in popular observance, but actually all three are still mentioned in the Office for the day
- cf. particularly the magnificat antiphons for Evening Prayer II
- and in numerous Epiphany hymns, e.g. "At the Lamb's high feast we sing" with its lines: "Manifest at Jordan's stream . . ." and "Manifest in power divine, changing water into wine."
Wiltrudis, widow (c. 986)
- widow of Berthold, duke of Bavaria, she founded and led a Benedictine abbey at Bergen (or Baring) bei Neuburg
Erminold, abbot (1121)
- as abbot of Pru"fening, his strict 'management style' was such that his monks murdered him. Hmmmm ...
Guarinus or Gue/rin, bishop of Sion (1150)
- a correspondent of Bernard of Clairvaux, Guarinus requested that the monastery of St John of Aulps (diocese of Geneva) be affiliated to Clairvaux; no contemporary vita exists, but his local cult is ancient;
Gertrude of Delft (1358)
- a great beguine and mystic, she received the stigmata on Good Friday 1340; these stigmata would bleed seven times daily, until she prayed for this to stop, in order to keep the curious away from her
Jo Ann McNamara added this morsel of information about Gertrude:
Stigmata are all very well but Gertrude has a much more endearing claim to fame which I would like to note, particularly with homage to Caroline Bynum. She is, to the best of my knowledge, the only fat holy woman--a condition that visited her despite her intense fasting and other devotions.
"Gertrude ab Oosten, virgin and beguine of Delft in Belgium, AASS 6 January, d. 1358. V. Her various prophecies. 20. This devout virgin, Gertrude of Oosten who was called by the middle monosylable in her name, sustained the five wounds of Christ on the night of Good Friday as written and the red blood flowed from them for many weeks seven times a day even to the ascension in that same year of 1340. She lived 18 years longer but became fat in body and imbecile so that she had to pause for rest two or three times on the way to visiting the church. And though she was fat and corpulent she took food and drink but sparingly. 21. One time she was overcome by a great longing for bread and cheese and the lord God hearing to fulfill her wish excited a certain rustic villein who took bread and cheese to the city of Delft hardly knowing what he should do with it. And when he came walking around the beguinage where the virgin lived to the wall of whose house adhered a common plate. Knowing in spirit that he had come with bread and cheese, Gertrude whom he did not know or of whom he had not heard, called her consoror Dieverdis and sent her to take the bread and cheese which the villein had brought. Continuing his progress he came to the gates of the beguinage carrying the bread and cheese and she said to him: "Friend, now you have completed your trip for you have come at the will of God where you were meant to come. And speedily he offered her the bread and cheese and so after mutual salutations both of them took their roads and he returned home. Therefore Gertrude received the villein's bread and cheese from her consoror and ate it giving thanks and blessing the lord.
Lucian of Antioch, martyr (312)
- his edition of the Bible was among the most widely respected one before that of Jerome
- in prison, he would answer all questions with the words 'I am a Christian'; while bound and chained on his back, he consecrated the divine mysteries upon his own chest
Valentine, bishop (440?)
- according to Arbeo of Freising, the abbot turned-bishop Valentine was buried at Mais in the Tirol, translated to Trent c. 750, and again to Passau in 768
Tillo or Theau or Tilman (c. 702)
- a Saxon slave in the Low Countries, he was ransomed and baptized by St Eligius, who eventually ordered Tillo to convert the area around Iseghem, near Courtrai
Aldric, bishop of Le Mans (856)
- chaplain and confessor to Emperor Louis at the court of Aachen
- a monk at monastery of St Pantaleon in Cologne, he so enraged the stonemasons working on the place that they attacked and killed him with their hammers; he has been honoured as patron of stonemasons
Canute Lavard, marytr (1131)
- his uncle, king Niels of Denmark, became enraged with Canute's political alliances, and arranged for his murder, in the forest of Haraldsted (near Ringsted), by his cousins
- canonized, at the request of his son, Valdemar I of Denmark, by pope Alexander III in 1169
Phil Feller added:
My calendar also gives this day as the feast of someone no doubt dear to them hearts of many on this list
- Raymond of Penafort
- whom it lists as "Patron der Kirchenrechtsgelehrten."
Apollinaris, bishop of Hierapolis (c. 179)
- he was such a great apologist, that he became known as 'the Apologist'; unfortunately, his works have been lost (I am sure he would apologise if he could!)
Lucian of Beauvais, martyr (290?)
- he may have been a bishop, assisting Dionysius of Paris or St Quentin of Meaux in preaching the gospel in Gaul
Severinus of Noricum (c. 480)
- perhaps of Roman origin, he preached in several towns along the Danube; worked many miracles, save one that would have cured his disciple Bonosus's sore eyes; relics were translated to Luculanum (near Naples), then to Naples itself, in an abbey which bore his name
Severinus, bishop of Septempeda (550?)
- brother of St Victorinus, this man's sanctity was such that his episcopal see took his name after his death (i.e., San Severino)
- was chorepiscopus (what is that?)of Ratisbon; his episcopal staff of black buffalo-horn (?) is still preserved (ah, but what about his comb?)
Tom Izbicki informed us about the chorepiscopus:
There is an article on Chorbishop in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, according to which: They have long history inthe Eastern churches as bishops who cared for the people in the countryside. Their relationship with the urban bishops could be contentious. The office has disappeared in the Orthodox Churches, but not in certain of the other eastern churches.
The use of chorbishops as auxiliaries who did pastoral care while the bishop was absent was controversial in the West in Carolinlingian times, but the institution declined in the 10th & 11th centuries
- vanishing in the 12th.
Gudula, virgin (712?)
- daughter of St Amalberga, cousin of St Gertrude (sadly, unlike Gertrude of Delft, without a weight problem), she led an austere life, gave alms and worked miracles; because of her most famous miracle, in which she lit an extinguished lantern by her prayers, she is usually pictured as holding a lantern
Pega, virgin (c. 719)
- sister of St Guthlac, lived a solitary life on the edge of the Peterborough Fen, in a place now called Peakirk (i.e. Pega's church)
Wulsin, bishop of Sherborne (1005)
- although he was a beloved discpile of St Dunstan, and called 'saint' by many medieval English writers, his name does not appear in medieval English calendars
Thorfinn, bishop of Hamar (1285)
- having travelled from his native Norway, Thorfinn died at the Cistercian monastery of Ter Doest (near Brugge), where he was buried and forgotten for over fifty years, until in the course of building operations his tomb was opened, giving out a strong, pleasing smell
Marciana, virgin and martyr (c. 303)
- thrown into the amphitheatre of Caesarea in Mauritania, she was first beaten with clubs before a gladiator tried to have his way with her, but she not only remained chaste but converted the gladiator; eventually she was killed by a wild bull and a leopard
Julian and Basilissa and companions, martyrs (304?)
- this couple lived a chaste marriage, and converted their house into a hospital
Peter, bishop of Sebastea (391)
- son of St Basil the Elder and St Emmelia, grandson of Macrina the Elder, brother of St Basil the Great, St Gregory of Nyssa and St Macrina; much of his work as bishop was devoted to fighting Arianism in his diocese
Waningus or Vaneng (c. 683)
- governor of the area of Normandy called Pays de Caux, he was converted to a religious life after a vision of St Eulalia of Barcelona telling him 'it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved'
Adrian, abbot of Canterbury (710)
- an African by birth, he was abbot of Nerida (near Naples) before being sent by pope St Vitalian to Canterbury, where he taught Greek and Latin to students who came from all over the British isles
Berhtwald or Brithwald, archbishop of Canterbury (731)
- bishop for thirty-seven years, a letter he received from Waldhere, bishop of London, is the first extant letter from one Englishman to another
Alix Le Clercq, virgin (1622)
- co-founder of the Augustinian Canonesses Regular of the Congregation of Our Lady
- of noble birth, he gave away great sums to the poor before being ordained (against his will); eventually named 'Oikonomos'
John the Good, bishop of Milan (660)
- restored the bishopric of his city back to it, from Genoa (where it had been transferred earlier in the century); his remains were translated in the eleventh century and again (by Carlo Borromeo) in 1582
Agatho, pope (681)
- a Sicilian Greek by birth, he apologized for the poor Greek of his legates to Constantinople, saying that the barbarian invasions were such that his people could barely survive, let alone spend time studying Greek
Peter Orseolo (987)
- after a period as doge of Venice, he secretly left Venice and became a monk at Cuxa, and then (at the urging of St Romuald) he became a hermit
William, archbishop of Bourges (1209)
- Guillaume de Donjeon was abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Cha^lis (near Senlis) before being chosen (by lot) archbishop; he would never eat meat, but always served it to guests; canonized in 1218 by Honorius III
Gregory X, pope (1276)
- as archdeacon, he preached the crusade following an order from pope Clement IV; elected pope after a three-year interregnum; called the Second Council of Lyon, at which communion between the Byzantine church and Rome was briefly effected
Hyginus, pope (c. 142)
- a Greek (and perhaps a philosopher), he had to deal with two Gnostic heresiarchs, Valentinus and Cerdo
Theodosius the Cenobiarch (529)
- he had to deal with an emperor, Anastasius, who tried to get Theodosius to profess that the divine and human natures in Christ were confounded into one nature; Theodosius preached the importance of the general councils: 'If anyone receives not the four general councils as the four gospels, let him be anathema'. Glossa: The same sentiment is quoted from the Register of Gregory I in Gratian's Decretum (D. 15 c. 2). (There are, of course, intermediate sources.) Tom Izbicki
Salvius or Sauve, bishop of Amiens (c. 625)
- noted for his miracles; relics were venerated in Montreuil (Picardy) before being translated to Amiens
Arcadius, martyr (304?)
- he was executed by having each joint of each finger, then his hands, then his arms, then his shoulders, then each joint of each toe, then each foot, then each leg, then each thigh cut off; with each such mutilation, Arcadius cried out, 'Lord, teach me thy wisdom'; after only his head and trunk remained, he gave a speech about the true God vs false ones (they had not cut out his tongue)
Tigrius and Eutropius, martyrs (404)
- actually, only Eutropius was killed by his persecutors; Tigris survived the tortures, but only as a eunuch
Caesaria, virgin (c. 529)
- sister of St Caesarius of Arles, she was abbess of a community of 200 women
Victorian, abbot (558)
- an Italian who had spent years in France, he became abbot of Asan in Aragon
Benedict Biscop, abbot (690)
- accompanied Saints Theodore of Canterbury and Adrian in their English mission; he returned to Rome and other Italian sites, in order to bring home with him a library (along with relics and sacred pictures); became abbot of Wearmouth and Jarrow
Agrecius, bishop of Trier (329?)
- received from St Helen (mother of emperor Constantine) numerous relics, including one of the nails of the cross, the knife used at the Last Supper, the bodies of SS. Lazarus and Martha, and the seamless robe of Christ.
- first abbot of Cluny; Berno chose the site of this monastery, planned by duke William of Aquitaine
Godfrey of Kappenberg (1127)
- a noble, who gave up his riches to join St Norbert and his Premonstratensian canons
Jutta of Huy, widow (1228)
- widowed at age 18, she worked with lepers for ten years before living the final 46 years of her life as an anchoress; great mystic
Veronica of Binasco, virgin (1497)
- a poor peasant girl, she would meditate deeply while in the fields; eventually becoming a nun, she would weep up to a litre of tears in one session of prayer
Felix of Nola (c. 260)
- survived the persecution of Decius with the help of an angel; once, he escaped from enemies through a hole in a wall, which was instantly closed up with spiders' webs
- one of the earliest non-martyr saints
Macrina the Elder, widow (c. 340)
- mentioned several times in the letters of her grandson, St Basil the Great
Barbasymas and companions, martyrs (346)
- imprisoned for almost a year, they were executed by order of king Sapor II
Hilary of Poitiers, doctor of the Church (c. 368)
- born a pagan, he converted by meditating on the absurdity of polytheism, and on the essence of the words 'I AM WHO AM'
Martyrs of Mount Sinai (fourth century)
- thirty-eight solitaries who were put to death by a troop of Arabians
Datius, bishop of Milan (552)
- bishop for 22 years, he is described by Gregory the Great as expelling the devil from a house he was haunting (an early exorcism?)
Kentigern or Mungo, bishop in Strathclyde (603)
- patron of Glasgow, he died while taking a hot bath
Odo of Novara (1200)
- a Carthusian monk, whose process of canonization did not lead to a formal declaration of a universal cult to him; referred to himself as 'a bag of putrid flesh'; not much fun at parties
Sava, archbishop of the Serbs (1237)
- a very gentle monk who translated books into Serbian, he became archbishop in 1222; the patron of Serbia, he died with a smile on his face
Ruggiero da Todi (1237)
- entered the Order of Friars Minor at the hands of St Francis; became spiritual director of a community of nuns in Rieti
Odoric of Pordenone (1331)
- after life as a hermit, he travelled to China, India and Borneo as a missionary
Giles of Lorenzana (1518)
- lived in solitude near a shrine to Mary, but due to crowds of admirers he retreated back into society, first as a farmer's helper, then as a Franciscan lay-brother
Paul the Hermit (342)
- known as 'the first hermit', he lived to the age of 113 years; for the last seventy years of his life, he lived on bread brought to him in the desert, daily, by a raven
Macarius the Elder (390)
- he only lived to be ninety years old, after sixty years in the desert
Isidore of Alexandria (404)
- ANOTHER desert ascetic; denounced by Jerome, he ended his days by taking refuge with John Chrysostom in Constantinople
John Calybites (c. 450)
- after leaving his rich family's home for a few years, he returned to live next to it in a hut, disguised as a beggar, until the point of death; proved to his still-living mother that he was her son by producing the gold-bound book of gospels she had given him as a boy
Ita, virgin (c. 570)
- founded a school, attended by the later-to-be traveller, St Brendan
Maurus, abbot (sixth century)
- assisted St Benedict at Subiaco; obeying his abbot's command, he ran to save a drowning boy, named Placid; only after he had saved the lad did he realize that he had run across the water to save him
Bonitus or Bonet, bishop of Clermont (706)
- not sure that his election to the bishopric was licit, he resigned, and became a hermit at Solignac
- Bede dedicated his Ecclesiastical History to him
Peter of Castelnau, martyr (1208)
- a Cistercian, sent by pope Innocent III to combat the Albigensians, he was murdered by one of them
Marcellus I, pope and martyr (309)
- within a year of his election to the papacy, he was forced to flee by people upset by his strict enforcement of the canons of penance
Priscilla, matron (c. 98)
- founded the oldest known catacombs
Honoratus, bishop of Arles (429)
- in 1391 his body was translated from Arles to Lerins, site of the renowned monastery founded by him
Fursey, abbot (c. 648)
- during his many visions, he would appear to be dead, and his brethren would prepare for his funeral; among his visions, he would often see angels debating with devils in order to rescue souls after death
Ferreolus, bishop of Grenoble, martyr (c. 670)
- because of his resistance to the mayor of the palace, he was driven from his see and eventually put to death
Henry of Cocket (1127)
- born in Denmark, he settled as a hermit on the little island of Cocket, off the coast of Northumbria; there, he would eat once daily a meal consisting of bread and water
Berard, Peter, Odo, Accursio and Adjutus, martyrs (1202)
- Francis of Assisi sent them to convert the Muslims of Morrocco; there, the sultan took his scimitar and split open their heads
Gonsalo or Gundisalvus of Amarante (1259?)
- in charge of some people building his hermitage, he ran out of food and drink until he hit a rock with his stick, at which time fine wine spurted out; at his call, fish lept out of the river, vying to be the ones taken and eaten
Antony the abbot (356)
- after a lifetime of austere eremitical living, he was so worried about the effects of Arianism that, at the age of 104, he left the desert to preach against them in Alexandria
Speusippus, Eleusippus and Meleusippus, martyrs (155?)
- triplets, they were martyred along with their grandmother at Langres
Genulf or Genou, bishop (250?)
- sent with his father, Genitus, from Rome to preach in Gaul, they founded a hermitage on the banks of the river Nahon; Genulf then became the first bishop of Cahors
Julian Sabas (377)
- a great ascetic (he would eat once a week), he had to answer charges by enemies that he was secretly an Arian; he left his hermitage for Antioch, where he successfully refuted the charges
Sabinus, bishop of Piacenza (420)
- he averted a flood by writing down an order and casting the paper in the Po river, which obeyed and returned to its normal course
Sulpicius or Pius or Sulpice II, bishop of Bourges (647)
- his example and preaching converted all the Jews of Bourges to Christianity
Richimir, abbot (c. 715)
- founded a Benedictine monastery in the see of Le Mans, at a place later called Saint-Rigomer- des-Bois
Roseline de Villeneuve (1329)
- a Carthusian nun of noble lineage, she had frequent visions; when asked the best way to get to heaven, she replied: 'To know oneself'
St Peter's Chair at Rome
- honoured throughout the West since the sixth and seventh centuries (the first record of the feast is in the Auxerre redaction of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum); the actual chair is purported to be a modest portable one, kept in a bronze casing designed by Bernini over the apsidal altar of St Peter's basilicaCarlos Sastre informed us last year that according to L. Nees the chair in the Vatican "originally had no papal or Petrine connections but was a Frankish royal and imperial throne, made for Charles the Bald" ("Audiences and Reception of the 'Cathedra Petri'" (Gazette des Beaux-Arts, CXXII, (September 1993) pp. 57-72)
Prisca, virgin and martyr (?)
- although her vita is in fact a simple reproduction of the passio of Tatiana, the cult of Prisca is ancient, and there is a church dedicated to her on the Aventine that furnishes a cardinalitial title
Volusian, bishop of Tours (496)
- a noble and married bishop, he was much afraid of the Goths; but a letter to him from fellow bishop Ruricius of Limoges declares that Volusian, encouraging an enemy in his own household, should not fear enemies from outside
Deicolus or Desle, abbot (c. 625)
- his companion, St Columban, was struck by how cheerful Desle always was, and asked him, 'Why are you always smiling'; the reply: 'Because no one can take God from me'
Beatrice d'Este da Ferrara, widow (1262)
- this nun was the niece of another holy person of the same name, whose feast is kept on 10 May; THIS Beatrice d'Este da Ferrara founded the Benedictine convent of San Antonio; as late as the seventeenth century, a miraculous oily liquid exuded from her marble tomb
Germanicus, martyr (155?)
- in the amphitheatre, he encouraged the wild beasts to devour him; they complied with his request
Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum, martyrs (c. 260)
- Persian converts to Christianity, they travelled all the way to Rome, only to be killed there; they were buried on the Via Cornelia
Nathalan, bishop (678)
- believed farming to be the activity most conducive to divine contemplation; during a terrible spring, at which time there was no seed for grain, he planted sand that miraculously grew into a great crop
Albert of Cashel, bishop (seventh century?)
- described as natione Anglus, conversatione angelus, he renounced his bishopric and went on a pilgrimage to Rome in the company of St Erhard
Fillan or Foelan, abbot (eighth century)
- immediately after his birth, his father threw him into a lake, but he was kept alive by angels; abbot of a Scottish monastery, he retired to a mountainous part of Glendochart in Perthshire
Canute or Cnut of Denmark, martyr (1086)
- king of Denmark, in 1085 he reasserted a claim to England, but fell out with his allies in the planned invasion, and they killed him in a church dedicated to St Alban, in Odense
Wulfstan or Wulstan, bishop of Worcester (1095)
- his efforts suppressed the practice of certain people of Bristol, who would kidnap men into slavery and ship them over to Ireland; when people complained of being oppressed by the Normans, he would say, 'This is a scourge of God for our sins, which we must bear with patience'
Henry, bishop of Uppsala, martyr (1156?)
- an Englishman, he accopanied Swedish king Eric to Finland, where he remained behind in order to convert the Finns; but one of them, unhappy with the penance imposed on him by Henry, killed him; cathedral of Abo/Turku is dedicated to him
Andrea Gregho da Peschiera (1485)
- Dominican preacher in the Valtelline area of Switzerland and northern Italy; when heretics once produced a book to confute him, Andrea told them to open it, and an enormous viper came out of it
Fabian, pope and martyr (250)
- in an assembly of people and clergy held to elect a new pope, a dove flew in and settled on Fabian's head; the people and clergy got the message
Sebastian, martyr (288?)
- shot full of arrows, so that he looked like a porcupine (hedgehog for you English?); miraculously restored to health after a stay with Irene, the widow of St Castulus, he returned before the emperor to denounce his attitude to the Christians; upon reflection, the emperor then ordered that Sebastian be clubbed to death, and his body thrown into a sewer
Euthymius the Great, abbot (473)
- miraculously cured and converted so many Arabs who visited his monastery that the patriarch of Jerusalem made him a bishop in order to better cope with the converts' spiritual needs
Fechin, abbot (665)
- born in Connaught and trained by St Nathy, he founded and ruled a monastery in Westmeath; perished in a great plague
Benedict of Coltiboni (c. 1107)
- a hermit attached to a Vallombrosan monastery, his death was made known by the abbey's bell ringing by itself; his body was found kneeling, with hands joined and eyes raised upward
Desiderius or Didier, bishop of Therouanne (1194)
- resigned to spend his last years as a Cistercian monk at Cambron
Fructuosus, bishop of Tarragona, martyr (259)
- along with two deacons (Augurius and Eulogius), burned at the stake on the orders of the governor, Emilian; Augustine wrote a panegyric on this bishop of what was Spain's major city
Patroclus, martyr (259?)
- a cleric (a lector, in fact) responsible for the upkeep of the tomb (near Troyes) of this unkown saint claimed that one day a stranger visited and lent him a copy of a hitherto unknown manuscript of the acta of Patroclus, which he hurriedly copied; the next day the stranger disappeared, and the cleric presented his manuscript to the bishop, explaining what had happened; the bishop derided the cleric, thinking he had invented the story to bring attention to this saint; however, Gregory of Tours tells us that when a military mission returned to France, it bore a passio of Patroclus identical to the lector's
- surely, a patron saint for hagiographers!
Agnes, virgin and martyr (c. 304?)
- her riches and beauty excited the desires of young Roman men, yet she resisted them in favour of Christ; martyred at age 13, she was one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages
Epiphanius, bishop of Pavia (496)
- he rebuilt Pavia after it had been destroyed by Odoacer
Meinrad, martyr (861)
- established a hermitage at the aptly named Einsiedeln, later the site of the famous abbey of the same name
Vincent of Saragossa, martyr (304)
- after many horrible tortures, the body of Vincent was thrown upon a marshy field, where a raven defended it from scavenging birds and animals; a sermon attributed to Leo the Great states that his body was eventually put in a sack and thrown into the sea, but that it was carried back to the shore and revealed to two Christians
Blesilla, widow (383)
- before dying at age of twenty, she learned some Hebrew, and asked Jerome to translate the book of Ecclesiastes
Anastasius the Persian, martyr (628)
- a Persian soldier, he converted to Christianity and became a monk; suffered a very slow martyrdom; his relics went from Bethsaloe to a monastery known as Sergiopolis (near Rasapha, Iraq) to Palestine to Constantinople to Rome, where they were placed in the church of St Vincent -
- this is why his feast is celebrated today
Dominic of Sora (1031)
- throughout his life, he lived as a solitary, founded a monastery, arranged for someone else to be abbot, left it for the solitary life, founded another monastery, arranged for someone else to be abbot, left it, etc. etc.
- John Howe of Texas Tech is THE authority on the hagiographical tradition regarding Dominic (Please feel free to relate your favorite Dominic story John!)
Berhtwald, bishop of Ramsbury (1045)
- the last bishop of this place before the diocese came under the control of Old Sarum, he was known for his visions and prophecies(including one linking St Peter to Edward the Confessor's rise to the throne)
Asclas, martyr (third century?)
- a native of the Thebaid being tortured in prison, he prayed that the governor declare in writing that the God of the Christians was the sole God; this did in fact come to pass, but Asclas may not have counted on the governor to return to his vicious ways: Asclas was ordered to be burnt in the ribs with torches, then to have a stone tied around his neck and thrown into the Nile
Emerentiana, virgin and martyr (c. 304?)
- foster sister of St Agnes, she was stoned two days after Agnes's martyrdom when found praying at her grave
Clement and Agathangelus, martyrs (308?)
- Clement was a bishop (from the age of twenty), Agathangelus a deacon; both were martyred at Ancyra in Galatia
John the Almsgiver, patriarch of Alexandria (619?)
- took great care of the poor, by ordering the use of just weights and measures, and forbidding his officers and servants from accept accepting gifts
Ildephonsus, archbishop of Toledo (667)
- known for his great piety toward the Virgin Mary, witnessed in his De virginitate perpetua sanctae Mariae
Bernard, archbishop of Vienne (842)
- after serving in Charlemagne's court, he founded the abbey of Ambronay and became a monk there; as bishop, he founded the abbey of Romans, where he was buried
Lufthildis, virgin (c. 850?)
- suffered under an evil stepmother before becoming a hermit
Maimbod, martyr (880?)
- an Irishman, he was killed while preaching near Kaltenbrunn (Alsace)
Margaret of Ravenna, virgin (1505)
- although supposedly blind from birth, she could manage certain things quite well, moving her hagiographer to declare: 'This induces me to believe that, although blind, she saw what she wished to see.'
- inspired Girolamo Maluselli to found the order of Priests of Good Jesus
Timothy, bishop and martyr (c. 97)
- THE Timothy with whom Paul corresponded; bishop at Ephesus before the arrival of St John
Babylas, bishop of Antioch, martyr (c. 250)
- the first martyr of whom a translation of relics is recorded: after burial in Antioch, in 351 his body was moved to a church at Daphne a few miles away to counteract the influence there of the shrine to Apollo; in 362 Julian the Apostate ordered the relics to be brought back to their initial resting place, but the next night the temple of Apollo was destroyed by lightning (take that, Apollo)
Felician, bishop of Foligno, martyr (c. 254)
- the earliest trace of the use of the pallium is found in the description of his consecration
Macedonius (c. 430)
- a Syrian ascetic, who lived for forty years on barley (not onions) moistened in water
Marcolino da Forli' (1397)
- spent so much time in prayer that his knees developed calluses; he was very withdrawn, but his funeral was attended by throngs of people who had been informed of his death by an angel in the guise of a child
The Conversion of St Paul
- earlier liturgical texts (e.g. Missale Gothicum, first redaction of the Hieronymianum, the calendar of St Willibrord) first give the Pauline feast on this date as being the translatio Pauli
Artemas, martyr (?)
- as a young Christian lad, he taught the faith to other boys; one day, the pupils got unruly, and stabbed Artemas to death with their styluses; killed in Pozzuoli, and venerated in Capua
Juventinus and Maximinus, martyrs (363)
- soldiers of Julian the Apostate, they refused to sacrifice to idols, so they were beheaded; John Chrysostom describes them in a sermon as standing before God's throne, holding their heads in their hands
Publius, abbot (c. 380)
- his asceticism was fed by his adding a new exercise of penance and devotion every day
Apollo, abbot (c. 395)
- as he stressed that cheerfulness of heart was necessary to bear the fruit of charity, strangers could recognize him by his joyful countenance (despite his many acts of penance)
Praejectus or Prix, bishop of Clermont, martyr (676)
- to avenge the death of the patricius of Marseille, which was blamed by some on Praejectus's complaints to the king, some thugs killed him and fellow saint Amarin
Poppo, abbot (1048)
- governed a group of Lotharingian monasteries, and advised the emperor St Henry II
Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, martyr (155?)
- a disciple of John the Evangelist (a.k.a. the Divine), and teacher of St Irenaeus, he was a hater of heretics (example: on meeting the heretic Marcion in the streets of Rome, Polycarp ignored him; Marcion, offended, called out, 'Do you not know who I am?', to which Polycarp replied, 'Yes, I know you, the first-born of Satan')
- the acta of his martyrdom were widely known throughout the Christian world
Paula, widow (404)
- mother of St Blesilla (see FEAST 22 January), friend of St Marcella, she cared for material well- being of St Jerome: not an easy task, looking after the curmudgeon of the century! -
- no wonder she's considered a saint :-)
Conan, bishop (seventh century?)
- teacher of St Fiacre, preacher in Man and the Hebrides
Alberic, abbot of Citeaux (1109)
- co-founder of the Cistercian Order, with Robert of Molesmes and Stephen Harding
Eystein Erlandsson, archbishop of Nidaros (Trondheim) (1188)
- second archbishop of this see, he wrote a vita of St Olaf, and oversaw the first royal coronation in Norwegian history (that of the eight-year-old king Magnus)
Margaret of Hungary, virgin (1270)
- daughter of king Bela IV of Hungary, she was consecrated at age twelve by Humbert of Romans, and moved into a convent on an island in the Danube near Buda; her fanatical penances and self-deprivations, as well as her ecstasies, brought her great fame
John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople (407)
- this doctor of the church, on account of his sweet eloquence, obtained (after his death) the nickname 'Chrysostom', or 'Golden Mouth'; patron of preachers
Julian, bishop of Le Mans (?)
- a Roman noble, who became first bishop of Le Mans; introduction of his cult to England due to king Henry II's birth in Le Mans, and his baptism in the church of St Julian
Marius or Maurus or May, abbot (c. 555)
- a native of Orleans, he was founder and first abbot of monastery of Bodon; would spend the forty days of Lent as a recluse in the forest
Vitalian, pope (672)
- a native of Segni (Campania), as pope he had to deal with the monothelite leanings of eastern patriarchs and emperors; sent St Theodore of Tarsus to become archbishop of Canterbury
John of Warneton, bishop of Therouanne (1130)
- pupil of Lambert of Utrecht and Ivo of Chartres, he was known for his gentle nature; after an attempt to murder him, John refused to take action against the would-be assassins
John of Reomay, abbot (c. 544)
- he refused to converse with his own mother when she came to the abbey to visit him
- he lived to be more than one hundred years old
Paulinus, patriarch of Aquileia (804)
- advisor to Charlemagne, he fought against the Adoptionist heresy (wherein Christ, as man, is not the natural son of God, but only his adoptive son)
- cult began to develop to him in late twelfth century, under the auspices of Frederick Barbarossa and antipope Paschal III (Guido da Crema)
Amadeus of Lausanne (1159)
- a monk of Clairvaux, his abbot Bernard appointed him to become abbot of Hautecombe; became bishop of Lausanne in 1144
Peter Nolasco (1189)
- devoted himself to the work of ransoming slaves; to this end, he founded the Order of Our Lady of Ransom
James the Almsgiver (1304)
- a lawyer who became an ascetic priest, he joined the Third Order of either the Servites or the Franciscans; when he proved to the bishop of Chiusi that his see had embezzled funds intended for a hospice, the bishop invited James to dinner, and arranged for thugs to mug James on his way; these ruffians in fact killed James
Antonio da Amandola (1350)
- modelled himself after St Nicholas of Tolentino; public cult to him began some years after his death, following miracles at his tomb
Peter Thomas, titular patriarch of Constantinople (1366)
- one of the motley crew of preachers at the papal court of Avignon (who have been studied by our list's own motley Blake Beattie), he was appointed to lead a military expedition to Alexandria, where he was wounded (he ended up dying from these wounds on Cyprus).
Maria Mancini, widow (1431)
- she converted her house into a hospital, and would drink the wine with which she washed the patients' sores
Sabinian, martyr (?)
- honoured in Troyes as its first apostle and martyr
Gildas the Wise, abbot (c. 570)
- wrote about 'the miseries, the errors and the ruin of Britain' in his De excidio Britanniae; so out of spite, in no British diocese is his feast observed (although it is observed in Vannes, France)
Julian the Hospitaller (no date)(or 22 February)
- after accidentally killing his mother and father, he made penance by constructing (with his wife) a hospital; popular cult in the Low Countries and northern France. St Julian pops up a lot in medieval lit--Chaucer, Gawain-poet, et. al.
He is quite fascinating, a sort of combination of St Eustace and Oedipus. In one version (e.g. Golden Legend), like Eustace, Hubert, etc., the young nobleman, Julian, had a cathartic experience while out hunting, when a stag he was chasing turned around and addressed him: "Are you tracking me to kill me, you who are going to kill your father and mother?" Fearing this prophesy might come true, he abandoned everything and secretly went off to a very remote region, took service with a prince, who knighted him, gave him a noble widow to wed, and a castle as dowry. (Another version has his parents confiding him to the care of the prince, whom he served faithfully, and after the death of the prince, Julian married his widow.) Meanwhile, Julian's parents searched everywhere for him, and eventually came to his very castle. As it happened, Julian was away (at war, according to some versions), but his wife met them and asked who they were, and upon hearing their story realized they were her husband's parents. She welcomed them as honourably as she could, giving up her and her husband's bed (Jacopus de Voragine, whose account I am principally encapsulating, says simply "her husband's bed") to her guests. Julian arrived home one morning, while his wife was at church, and finding a couple in his bed, assumed they were his wife and her lover, and slew them. Leaving the castle, he saw his wife returning, and discovered the horrible truth. He immediately decided to leave his wife and go off on a permanent pilgrimage of penance, but his wife convinced him to take her, as well. They wandered until they came to a dangerous river (St Christopher, here), and set up a hospice and ferry service. One freezing night, the exhausted Julian heard a voice outside calling his name and asking for transport. Julian carried the infirm, leprous stranger inside, and fearing that he might die, put him in his own bed. A short while later, the stranger rose in splendour into mid-air and proclaimed: "Julian, the Lord sent me to tell you that he has accepted your penance, and that both of you will, in a little time, find rest in the Lord." (Another version has Christ himself visiting the hostel.) Julian and his wife duly died shortly thereafter. Colette Manhes-Deremble, in her recent book Les vitraux narratifs de la cathedrale de Chartres (Paris, 1993), comments that, although Julian is not strongly represented in liturgical calendars, his cult was quite widespread in the early 13th century, and there are several surviving stained glass windows dedicated to him (Chartres, Rouen). Among reasons for this popularity, she cites the fact that, again like Eustace, he was a fairly rare example of a married saint, and the themes of pilgrimage and penance in his vita were also important. She connects the importance of marriage at this time with Philippe Auguste's repudiation of Ingeborg and Innocent III's subsequent pronouncements on the sanctity of marriage. She also points out, however, that although his penance was about the only thing in the vita to merit canonization, and although his wife, Basilisse, shared in this with him, washing the feet of the poor and awaiting Christ with a lighted lamp, she is never represented nimbed and was only occasionally considered as a saint in her own right (how sexist!). The St Julian window in Chartres Cathedral was given by woodworkers of various sorts, presumably attracted to Julian because he built a hostel; the donors are shown at the bottom of the window building a house. Besides carpenters, Julian was also apparently popular amongst innkeepers and "jongleurs". Manhes-Deremble lists in her bibliography the following sources: Zur Legende vom heiligen Julianus, A. Tobler, ed., Archiv fur studium der neueren Sprachen und Litteraturen, CII (Braunschweig, 1899); Prosafassung (die) der Legende vom heiligen Julian, R. Tobler, ed., Archiv fur studium der neueren Sprachen und Litteraturen, VII [sic] (Braunschweig, 1901), pp. 80-102; Vie de saint Julien, J.-P. Gilson (Newcastel, 1908); Fr. Halkin, "La Passion ancienne des saints Julien et Basilisse", Analecta Bollandiana, 98 (1980), pp. 5-17.
Severinus, abbot (507)
- on a trip to Paris from his monastery of Agaunum, he healed of various ailments both Eulalius, bishop of Nevers, and king Clovis; on way back home, he was recognized as a holy man by people who had never seen him before
There are several St Severini. Another, of course, is no less than Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus Boethius, author of the De Consolatione, who was in fact canonized at St Severinus, and whose tomb is honoured at the church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro in Pavia... and in Spain: see Julio Caro Baroja, 'La leyenda de don Teodosio de Gonni', in Ritos y mitos equivocos, Madrid, Itsmo, 1974, pp. 155-211
Sulpicius Severus, bishop of Bourges (591)
- this is NOT the noted writer of the same name, but a bishop whose deeds are recounted by Gregory of Tours
Martina, virgin and martyr (?)
- while being martyred, from her wounds there issued milk, not blood
Barsimaeus, bishop of Edessa (c. 110?)
- third bishop of Edessa from St Jude, he was martyred under Trajan
Bathildis, widow (680)
- brought to France from England as a slave, she attracted the attention of king Clovis II and in 649 they were married; after husband's death, she retired to the abbey of Chelles, where she died
Aldegundis, virgin (684)
- daughter of Saints Walbert and Bertilia, she lived in a hermitage which eventually developed into the monastery of Mauberge; she died of breast cancer
Adelelmus or Aleaume, abbot (c. 1100)
- became a monk upon return to France from a pilgrimage to Rome; attracted attention of the royal family of Castile, who built him a monastery near Burgos
Cyrus and John, martyrs (c. 303)
- like the better-known Cosmas and Damian, these two were physicians who took no fees
Marcella, widow (410)
- even though Jerome called her 'the glory of Roman women', she did not hesitate, without much success, to try to convince Jerome to chill his hot temper
Aidan or Maedoc of Ferns, bishop (626)
- when he went to a Welsh monastery, he took with himself a certain quantity of beer (as the others there abstained from such a drink)
- his bell and shrine, with its satchel, are on display in the National Museum in Dublin
Adamnan of Coldingham (c. 680)
- an Irish monk of Coldingham, on the coast of Berwick, he had a gift of prophecy
Ulphia, virgin (c. 750)
- she lived as a solitary under the direction of the hermit, St Domitius; one night, as she could not sleep due to the croaking of frogs, she ordered them to be quiet -
- and according to local folklore, they have remained quiet until this very day
Eusebius, martyr (884)
- an Irish hermit living in the Vorarlberg, he was killed by some peasants who were being upbraided by him
Nicetas, bishop of Novgorod (1107)
- was so enamoured of the Old Testament that others had to spend years in prayer for him to start reading the New Testament
Paola Gambara-Costa, matron (1515)
- as a baby, she instinctively abstained from drinking milk on Fridays; when she married, she followed a set of personal guidelines (among them: 'I will always obey my husband, and take a kindly view of his failings, and I will do all I can to prevent their coming to the knowledge of anyone.'); she eventually converted her evil husband's ways.
Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, martyr (c. 107)
- en route to his martyrdom from Antioch to Rome, Ignatius took advantage of the ship's frequent stops and wrote several letters to various churches; when he got to Rome, he was taken immediately to a theatre, where lions devoured all but his largest bones
Pionius, martyr (250?)
- after being burned at the stake, his body appeared to be in fine form, with his hair and beard unsinged
Brigid or Bride, abbess of Kildare, virgin (c. 525)
- patroness of Irish women, she has been called 'the Mary of the Gael'
Sigebert III of Austrasia (656)
- son of France's king Dagobert I, he founded twelve monasteries, including Stavelot and Malmedy
John 'of the Grating', bishop of Saint-Malo (c. 1170)
- a monk at Clairvaux, he was sent by Bernard to found another house; his success as fair administrator led to his episcopal appointment
- known as 'de Craticula' from the iron grating which surrounded his tomb
Antony the Pilgrim (1267)
- a native of Padua, he was shunned by friends and family after he gave away his inheritance; he then set off to visit Rome, Loreto, Compostela, Cologne and Jerusalem; on his return, he lived in the colonnade of a church
- after his death, the pope did not begin canonization proceedings, stating that it was enough for Padua to have one Saint Antony
the Purification of Mary
- also known as Candlemas, the earliest description of this feast (of which I am aware) is by Etheria, who described it as a part of her record of her pilgrimage to Jerusalem from northwestern Spain
Adalbald of Ostrevant, martyr (652)
- murdered by some of his wife's relatives; father of four saints (Mauront, Eusebia, Clotsindis and Adalsindis)
the Martyrs of Ebsdorf (880)
- among the dead were bishops Theodoric of Minden and Marquard of Hildesheim
Blaise, bishop of Sebastea, martyr (316?)
- among his miracles, he once healed a boy who had a fishbone stuck in his throat; this gave rise to his patronage of those who suffer from maladies affecting the throat
Laurence, bishop of Spoleto (576)
- a foreigner, the people of Spoleto refused to admit him to their city; but after Laurence prayed for a sign of God's will in the matter, the city gates flew open on their own
Ia, virgin (sixth century)
- sailed miraculously from Ireland to Cornwall, where she built a hermitage; that place is now known as Saint Ives
Laurence, archbishop of Canterbury (619)
- effected the conversion of king Edbald
Werburga, virgin (c. 700)
- left her royal privileges behind in order to join the convent of Ely; later, she became superintendent of all houses of religious women in Mercia
Anskar, archbishop of Hamburg and Bremen (865)
- a pupil of Paschasius Radbertus, he became a monk before devoting himself to preaching and organizing missions to convert the people of northern Germany and Scandinavia
Margaret 'of England', virgin (1192)
- of English descent but really a noble from Hungary, Margaret was a pilgrim who travelled widely before settling at the Cistercian convent of Seauve Benite
Simon of Cascia (1348)
- as a youth he was a follower of Angelo Clareno, but he became and Augustinian, with great fame as a preacher; he also wrote a treatise, De gestis Domini Salvatoris, which some scholars have claimed to be a source of some of Luther's theological tenets
Theophilus the Penitent (?)
- legend has it that after he lost a position in his diocese, he made a deal with the devil to regain it; after his return to office, he was overcome with remorse, and after forty days' penance he was able to confess his sin, which was pardoned by his bishop and everyone else in the church
Phileas, bishop of Thmuis, martyr (304)
- a famous accout of his trial in Alexandria is in the history of Eusebius
Isidore of Pelusium, abbot (c. 450)
- some of his letters (approx. 2000 of them) are in Patrologia Graeca, t. 78
Modan, abbot (c. 550?)
- although he preached in the areas surrounding Stirling and Falkirk in Scotland, he spent much time in solitude, in the mountainous area near Dumbarton
Hrabanus Maurus, archbishop of Mainz (856)
- after studies at the monastic school of Fulda and then at Tours (under Alcuin), he returned to Fulda and became abbot, before his appointment to the Mainz archbishopric in 847
- due to his obedience to the Holy See, he was nicknamed 'the Pope's slave'
Nicholas Studites, abbot (863)
- banished during the iconoclastic controversies, he managed to return to his monastery of Studius, but he was kept their under confinement until his death
Rembert, archbishop of Hamburg and Bremen (888)
- successor of St Anskar (see yesterday's FEAST post), he also wrote a vita of his predecessor (who said of Rembert, 'He is more worthy to be archbishop than I am to be his deacon')
Andrea Corsini, bishop of Fiesole (1373)
- after a wayward youth, he joined the Carmelite convent of Florence; he then studied in Paris before joining an uncle, who was a cardinal in Avignon; when he was elected to the Fiesole bishopric, he tried to avoid this office by hiding in the Carthusian convent of Enna (Sicily), but he was discovered; as bishop, he was renowned for his diplomacy, charity and asceticism
Jeanne de France, matron (1505)
- founded the Annonciades de Bourges
Agatha, virgin and martyr (date unknown)
- a great Sicilian beauty who refused the advances of a consul, who retaliated by ordering that her breasts be removed; after a vision in which St Peter restored her to a perfect condition, she was then rolled over hot coals
- co-patron of medieval-religion
Felicia and Pupaquius (date unknown)
- Sardinian martyrs
Agrippinus of Alexandria, bishop (180)
- ninth bishop of Alexandria; his cult is widespread among Coptic Christians
Fausta, Evilasius and Maximus, martyrs (third century?)
- martyred in the Hellespont, their tale was well known throughout Christendom (Bede narrates their martyrdom); for a great image of their martyrdom, see ms. Citta' del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Gr. 1613, fol. 375
Isidore of Chios, martyr (c. 251)
- the many different vitae and passiones of this saint give witness to the great popularity of his cult throughout the Mediterranean basin; protector of sailors, as well as an intrepid soldier-martyr (like St George)
Domitian (fourth century?)
- according to a legend of the twelfth or thirteenth century, he was a duke who converted a pagan temple in Millstadt (Austria) to a Christian church; object of popular regional cult from the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries
Theodosius of Rhosos (fourth century)
- after an eremitical youth (during which his hair grew so long as to be wrapped around his body), he founded a monastery which was so renowned and respected that even local brigands asked him to move his community elsewhere, so that no other bad people could try to pillage the place; he heeded their advice, and moved his monks to his native city, Antioch, where he died
Abraham of Arbela, bishop and martyr (345)
- he succeeded his martyred predecessor John, and was himself arrested and martyred in the village of Tell-Niaha during the persecution of Sapor II
Agricola of Maastricht, bishop (c. 420)
- eleventh bishop of his see, succeeding St Servasius
Fuscina or Fuscinula (sixth century)
- sister of St Avitus, she lived in the monastery of Sts Gervase and Protasius near Vienne; there, she was warned in a vision by Christ the Judge that if she were not careful, she would be attacked and raped, and thus lose her soul; although she was attacked, nothing else untoward happened
Audentia, Fuscina the Elder, Severiana and Aspida (sixth century)
- like Fuscina the Younger, these were nuns and relatives of St Avitus (Audentia was his mum)
Avitus, bishop of Vienne (c. 525)
- succeeded his father to this position; he was famous for his learning (especially his writing style, as opposed to his theological acumen) and for his charity (especially to the poor and to prisoners)
Echtac, virgin (seventh century?)
- nothing is known of her except that she is listed in the martyrologies of Tallaght and of Donegal
Columb (or Colman) and Brandub (seventh century?)
- from Loch Muinremuir, the two were friends (the first a bishop); mentioned in the martyrologies of Tallaght and of Donegal, their cult could have been centred on the island of Woodward
Ingenuinus or Genuinus (c. 640)
- bishop in the Tyrol
Calamanda of Calaf, virgin and martyr (eighth century?)
- although nothing is known of her life or death with certainty, her cult is very popular in the diocese of Vich, where she is invoked in times of drought
John (eighth century?)
- venerated at Fragala', near Messina, as a wonderful doctor
Modestus (eighth century)
- sent by St Virgil of Salzburg to preach in the valleys of the Alps, he founded the Maria-Saal church, where his remains are kept in a pre-romanesque tomb
Bertulf or Bertoul (c. 705?)
- a model steward to a noble couple of Flanders, after his patrons' death he retired to the monastery of Renty, where he remained as a monk until he died
Indractus and Dominica, martyrs (c. 710?)
- murdered as they were returning to Ireland from a pilgrimage to Rome, the murderers hid the bodies, but they were revealed by a shaft of light in the middle of the night; they were eventually entombed at Glastonbury
Vodalus or Voel of Soissons (c. 720)
- he was given by an angel the power to heal fevers and to avert fires
Dubtach Mac Dubhan (ninth century)
- this priest is mentioned in several Irish martyrologies, but little is known of him (apart from his genealogy)
Jerome of Nevers (815)
- a rich and popular bishop, he was famous for his charity and for his ability to interpret dreams (including one that Charlemagne had)
Buus (c. 890)
- with Saint Ernulf, he was the first missionary of Iceland
Polieutos the Younger, patriarch of Constantinople (970)
- known in his day as the 'new St John Chrysostom', he defended the Church's privileges in the face of hostile emperors
Saba the Younger (995)
- born of a noble Byzantine Sicilian family, after some time living as a monk and hermit he founded many monasteries throughout southern mainland Italy
Luke of Demenna or of Armento (995)
- fleeing from invading Saracens, this ascetic monk crossed over from Sicily to Calabria and Lucania, where he founded monasteries and hospitals, and worked a heap o' miracles
Legontian and Domitian, martyrs (c. 1000)
- according to a seventeenth-century vita, these two were brothers and sculptors, who were killed for refusing to make images of false gods; they lived in present-day Pescara, and are venerated in nearby Chieti
Finghin the Virtuous (c. 1005)
- founded several monasteries, protected by Otto III
Albinus or Albuinus (c. 1015)
- buried with another Tyrolean bishop, St Ingenuinus (see above)
Adelaide of Bellich, virgin (1015)
- as abbess of St Mary's in Cologne, she insisted her nuns be proficient in Latin
Agatha Hildegarde (1024)
- falsely accused of infidelity, she was thrown out of an upper window by her husband, but she was unhurt and proceeded to go to church and pray; the husband, stricken with remorse, gouged out his own eyes, ordered a chapel to be built in Mochlingen, and went on a seven-year pilgrimage, dying as he was returning home
Adelaide of Mu"nster (c. 1222)
- first abbess of the Cistercian abbey of St-Gilles, Mu"nster
Titus, bishop in Crete (first century)
- sent by St Paul to a number of places (including Ephesus and Corinth) until settling in Crete, where he died peacefully
Dorothy, virgin and martyr (303?)
- although she died in Caesarea -
- before her martyrdom, she converted a non-believer -
- her body is in the church of St Dorothy in Rome ('there's no place like Rome, there's no place like Rome')
Mel and Melchu, bishops (488?)
- nephews of St Patrick; Mel preceded Melchu as bishop of Armagh
Vedast or Vaast, bishop of Arras (539)
- accompanied Clovis to Reims; en route, he confirmed the faith of the king and his courtiers by curing a blind man they encountered
Amand, bishop (c. 679)
- a father of monasticism in the Low Countries (in fact, dozens of religious communities claim him as their founder)
Guarinus, cardinal-bishop of Palestrina (1159)
- after years as a monk, he was made cardinal, at which time he sold all the pope's gifts to him, and gave the money to the poor
Raymund of Fitero, abbot (1163)
- founded the military order of the Knights of Calatrava
Hildegund, widow (1183)
- a noble woman, she turned her castle into a convent
Angelo of Furcio (1327)
- studied under Giles of Rome, a fellow Augustinian; upon obtaining his licentiate in Paris, he went to Naples, where he became professor of theology in the local Augustinian college
Adaucus, martyr (303)
- executed in Phrygia, this magistrate and finance minister refused to abandon his faith
Theodore of Heraclea, martyr (no date?)
- a general in the army, and one of the 'Megalomartyrs' (i.e. great martyrs)
Moses, bishop (c. 372)
- known as 'apostle of the Saracens', he preached among the nomad tribes of the Syro-Arabian desert (who were called 'Saracens' by later Greeks and Romans)
Richard, 'king' (720)
- an 'invented' saint, buried in the church of San Frediano in Lucca; the most reliable thing we know about him is that he was the father of St Willibald
Luke the Younger (c. 946)
- as a boy, he would give away his clothes and food to the poor, and sow not his father's fields but those of poor neighbours; became a very austere hermit, known (among other things) for levitating while praying
Romuald, abbot (1027)
- founder of the Camaldolese monks (the name comes from some land given to Romuald by a nobleman named Maldolo: 'Campus Madoli')
- close friend of Francis of Assisi, who had converted him to a devout life after a sermon in Bologna on 15 August 1222
Antonio da Stroncone (1461)
- for most of the last 30 years of his life, he would normally eat only bread and water seasoned with wormwood
- some believed that knocking could be heard from his tomb (or from images of him) at the moment of a devotee's death
Nicetius or Nizier, bishop (611?)
- he restored to Besancon the episcopal see which had been transferred to Nyon back when Besancon had been destroyed by 'barbarians'
Elfeda, virgin (714)
- abbess of Whitby, sister of King Egfrid; her remains were translated in the time of William of Malmesbury
Meingold, martyr (892?)
- after years of feuding with neighbours in the region of Huy (Belgium), he repented and spent seven years in deeds of penitence; in the end, he was killed by some of his old adversaries
Cuthman (c. 900)
- took good care of his widowed mother, and built a church near his humble abode; lived in Steyning, Sussex
Peter Igneus (1089)
- Vallombrosan monk, he was appointed cardinal-bishop of Albano by pope Gregory VII after becoming famous by surviving an ordeal by fire
Stephen of Muret, abbot (1124)
- founder of the Order of Grandmont, similar to the Carthusian and Camaldolese orders; he was canonized by pope Clement III in 1189
John of Matha (1213)
- co-founder of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity
Isaiah of Cracow (1471)
- an Augustinian, he was renowned for his ability to preach movingly and convincingly on obscure biblical passages
Apollonia, virgin and martyr (249)
- ever wonder who that saint is who stands there so fetchingly, holding a huge pair of pincers with a big molar tooth in it? Apollonia, that's who (and you'll never guess how they tortured her)
- patron of dentists (this is not a joke)
Nicephorus, martyr (no date)
- a friend of his was about to be martyred, when he saved his life by apostasy; Nicephorus was so distraught at this loss of faith that he insisted that the executioner kill him instead
Cyril of Alexandria (444)
- archbishop and doctor of the Church, nicknamed the 'Doctor of the Incarnation' -
- he said that by holy communion, people are made concorporeal with Christ; upon becoming bishop, he destroyed the Novatian heresy in his see, then banished Jews from his city
Sabinus, bishop of Canosa (c. 566)
- friend of St Benedict, and visionary (he saw St Nicholas in a vision, after visiting his tomb in Myra)
Teilo, bishop (sixth century)
- widespread cult in southern Wales
Ansbert, bishop of Rouen (c. 695)
- confessor to king Theodoric III, but banished by Pepin, mayor of the palace, following a false accusation
Alto, abbot (c. 760)
- this Irishman, after living as a hermit in Germany, founded a monastery at a place that became known as ... Altomunster (Bavaria)
Marianus Scotus (1088)
- another Irishman who lived as a monk in Germany (in this case, Regensburg)
Soteris, virgin and martyr (304)
- praised by Ambrose in his De virginibus; a beautiful woman who had vowed to be chaste, she rejoiced when she was ordered to be struck in the face, and then suffered great tortures without a single groan before she was decapitated
Scholastica, virgin (543)
- sister of St Benedict, famous for the time when Benedict wished to leave her company against her will, so she prayed that God would keep him there for a while: at that moment, a great storm broke out, and Benedict could not leave until the next day; three days later, Scholastica died
Trumwin, bishop (c. 690)
- bishop of the Picts, he set up his see at the monastery of Abercorn (on the Firth of Forth), before having to flee and settle in the abbey of Whitby
Austreberta, virgin (704)
- as a girl, she got a foretaste of her future life, when she looked at her reflection in a river and saw a veil over her head
William of Maleval (1157)
- his followers established the order of Hermits of St William (or Gulielmites), based from William's settlement near Siena called 'Stabulum Rodis'
Hugh of Fosses (1164)
- succeeded St Norbert as second abbot of the mother house of the Premonstratensian Order
Chiara Agolanti da Rimini (1346)
- she lived in a hollow in the city wall; known for her excessive penances, she was accused of heresy
Saturninus, Dativus and companions, martyrs (304)
- arrested in Abitina, this group (including Saturninus the priest and his family, and Dativus the senator) was sent to Carthage, where they died in prison
Lucius, bishop of Adrianople, martyr (350)
- exiled from his see by the more powerful Arians, he met in Rome fellow exiles St Paul of Constantinople and St Athanasius; the latter wrote on several occasions of Lucius's constancy and courage before dying in prison
Lazarus, bishop of Milan (c. 450)
- apparently, he was the first to introduce Rogationtide litanies
Severinus, abbot (507)
- on a trip to Paris from his monastery of Agaunum, he healed of various ailments both Eulalius, bishop of Nevers, and king Clovis; on way back home, he was recognized as a holy man by people who had never seen him before
Caedmon (c. 680)
- 'the father of English sacred poetry', his feast was celebrated in the abbey of Whitby on this day
Gregory II, pope (731)
- after rising through the ranks from subdeacon to the pope's treasurer and librarian, he himself became pope in 715; he was involved in many building programmes, such as the re-erection of a great part of Rome's walls, the construction of a hospital for old men, and the conversion of his late mother's house into the monastery of St Agatha
Benedict of Aniane, abbot (821)
- as a youth he served king Pepin and his son Charlemagne as cupbearer; after converted to the eremitical and monastic life, he re-entered the royal sphere of influence when he was obliged to live in monasteries close to where lived the emperor Louis the Pious; did much textual work on monastic rules
Paschal I, pope (824)
- known for his attempts to fight iconoclasm, and for translating the remains of many martyrs from the catacombs into churches; a small portrait of him exists in a mosaic in the Roman church of Santa Maria della Navicella
Marina, virgin (no date)
- a transvestite monk, who remained silent when a woman accused 'him' of fathering her child; 'he' raised the child, and was only discovered to be a woman after her death
Julian the Hospitaller (no date)(or January 29)
- after accidentally killing his mother and father, he made penance by constructing (with his wife) a hospital; popular cult in the Low Countries and northern France. See January 29 for more information.
Meletius, archbishop of Antioch (381)
- due to controversies with the Arians, on several occasions he was banished, only to return to his see each time
Ethelwald, bishop of Lindisfarne (c. 740)
- an assistant of St Cuthbert, he was still alive when praised by Bede for his worthiness
Antony Kauleas, patriarch of Constantinople (901)
- one of several patriarchs who struggled with the Iconoclasts, he was noted for his penance and prayers
- after bells sounded miraculously near Strasbourg, people found the body of someone who had just died; in his wallet, they found a note that said, 'My name is Luda: I am the son of the noble Scottish prince Hiltebold. For the honour of God I have become a pilgrim.' This was enough for him to be deemed a saint
Seven Founders of the Servite Order (thirteenth century)
- after seven young Florentines -
- Buonfiglio Monaldo, Alessio Falconieri, Benedetto dell'Antella, Bartolomeo Amidei, Ricovero Uguccione, Gerardino Sostegni, and Giovanni Buonagiunta -
- joined the local Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin (whose members were known as 'laudesi', or praisers), they became friends and retired to a hermitage; with some pressure from bishops and with the help of a vision on 13 April 1240, they decided to organize themselves and follow the Rule of St Augustine
Thomas Hemerford and companions, martyrs (1584)
- Thomas was hanged, drawn and quartered along with James Fenn, John Nutter, John Munden and George Haydock
Polyeuctus, martyr (259)
- a Roman officer of Greek parentage, he was converted to Christianity, and then was tortured severely until his prison guards tried to get him to return to his old religion, as did his wife, children and father-in-law; instead, our saint walked joyfully to his martyrdom, converting bystanders to Christianity along his way
Martinian the Hermit (?)
- the story of his c. 30 years as a hermit is marked with tales of wayward women who were converted by him; he spent several years on a rock surrounded by water, without shelter, and seeing only one person who brought him supplies every six months
Stephen of Rieti, abbot (c. 560)
- Gregory the Great praised him as one 'whose speech was so rude, but his life so cultured'
Modomnoc (sixth century)
- a bee-keeper in Wales, when he moved to Ireland the bees loved him so much that they followed him in a swarm, becoming the first bees on the island
Licinius or Lesin, bishop of Angers (c. 616)
- became a priest when his betrothed contracted leprosy on the eve of their marriage
Ermengild or Ermenilda, abbess of Ely, widow (703)
- one of the bunch of royal abbesses running the conventual show in eastern England at that time
Beatrice of Ornacieu, virgin (1309)
- Carthusian nun and mystic, she would rake the hot coals out of the convent's kitchen fire and yet not burn her hands (amazing party trick); she would also drive nails through herself, yet only pure water would come from these wounds, not blood
Cristina da Spoleto (1458)
- daughter of a physician, she grew up near Lake Lugano; after a very disorderly youth, she spent three or four years doing great penance before dying at age 23
- a more fictitious version of her life makes her a member of the Visconti family, who escaped an arranged marriage became a penitent in Umbria
Eustochium da Padova (1469)
- daughter of nun, she remained in the convent where she was born; she often seemed to be possessed, and suffered greatly from her illnesses
Arcangela Girlani, virgin (1494)
- became prioress of a Carmelite convent in Mantova at a young age; after her death, whenever a pear would fall off a tree she had planted, someone in the community would die soon afterward
Caterina dei Ricci (1590)
- Dominican stigmatist, who received a wedding ring from Christ in a vision (as the ring is described as golden, with a diamond, it was unlikely the same sort of ring worn by Caterina da Siena)
Valentine, martyr(s) (c. 269)
- a Roman priest named Valentine was decapitated at that time, as was a bishop of Terni
- although his feast is extremely popular in England and elsewhere, in England (at least) there are no churches dedicated to him
- does anyone know how the custom of St Valentine's Day developed?
Sherry Reames comments:
H. A. Kelly did a lot of research on the origins of St. Valentine's Day as a festival for lovers and published the results in a short book entitled Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine (Davis Medieval Texts and Studies 5, published by E.J. Brill, 1986). I wasn't convinced by Kelly's argument that we've all got the date wrong (one of the purposes of his book was to prove that Chaucer and his contemporaries must have been referring to the feast of a different St. Valentine, in early May); but his book is worth reading regardless for the wealth of information it provides on this strange and fascinating subject.
Abraham, bishop of Carrhae (c. 422)
- a hermit, he preached in a village for a few years, and after converting the local population he returned to his hermitage; however, his fame was such that he was named bishop
- after his death, his hairshirt came into the possession of emperor Theodosius II, who would occasionally wear it himself
Maro, abbot (433)
- a hermit who lived not far from Abraham (see above), he founded several monasteries and trained many solitaries; he generally prayed standing
- after visiting many hermits, he became one himself, near Constantinople; he eventually founded a convent of nuns, the Trichinaraeae (the nuns dressed in haircloth)
Conran, bishop (sixth century?)
- helped establish the monastery of Kirkwall, in the Orkney Islands
Antoninus of Sorrento, abbot (830)
- following a vision, he founded a shrine to St Michael near Sorrento
- when he was dying, he said he wished to be buried neither within nor without the city wall; so, his monks buried him inside the wall itself
Conrad of Bavaria (1154)
- a Cistercian of Clairvaux, he went on pilgrimage to Palestine, and died on his return voyage, in southern Italy; at his tomb, lambs would come and kneel
Adolf, bishop of Osnabruck (1224)
- entered Cistercian monastery of Camp as a youth, but became a very active bishop
Nicholas Paglia (1255)
- a student in Bologna, he was converted after hearing a sermon by St Dominic; noted for his mystical experiences
Angelo da Gualdo (1325)
- lived as a hermit for forty years, after feeling guilty when he got his mother so upset about his giving his bread to the poor that she died
Faustinus and Jovita, martyrs (?)
- noble brothers of Brescia, they were arrested and taken first to Milan, then to Rome and Naples before being returned to Brescia, where they were beheaded
- it is recorded that during their journey they baptized 42,118 people at a place called Lubras, 22,600 at the Milvian bridge, 73,200 in Rome, and 53,210 in Naples (not bad)
Agape, virgin and martyr (?)
- a patron of Terni, who supposedly died around the time that bishop Valentine was also killed
Walfrid, abbot (c. 765)
- founded a monastery on Monte Verde, between Volterra and Piombino
Tanco or Tatto, bishop of Verden, martyr (808)
- an abbot of Amalbarich, he became bishop, and sought martyrdom by preaching about people's vices; he received what he sought
Sigfrid, bishop of Vaxjo (c. 1045)
- despite conflicting vitae, he is regarded as the apostle of Sweden (right, Jonas?)
Jordan of Saxony (1237)
- after teaching a disciple of Dominic, he himself became a Dominican, and eventually became master general, and wrote a vita of Dominic
Angelo da Borgo San Sepolcro (c. 1306)
- an Augustinian hermit, he founded several Augustinian houses in England before returning to his native Umbria
- once, a man raised his arm to strike Angelo, but his arm was instantly paralyzed, and was returned to normal only by the prayers of Angelo
Julia of Certaldo, virgin (1367)
- a servant girl, she became an Augustinian tertiary, and lived for nearly thirty years in a cell beside the sacristy of the church of Saints Michael and James
Onesimus, martyr (first century)
- a slave, he was converted by St Paul, and served him as a letter bearer (including letters to Philemon and the Colossians)
Juliana, virgin and martyr (c. 305?)
- tortured by a prefect she had refused to marry, she was imprisoned, had a debate with the Devil, and then was burned and boiled before having her head cut off -very popular medieval cult, especially in Campania
Elias, Jeremy and companions, martyrs (309)
- Elias and four companions were killed after they visited Christian prisoners in Cilicia; a servant named Porphyry tried to bury their bodies and he was killed; a witness to these proceedings, named Seleucus, applauded Porphyry's fortitude, so he was killed
Gilbert of Sempringham (1189)
- founder of the Gilbertine Order, the only order of English origin; died at age of 106, and was canonized in 1202
Filippa Mareri, virgin (1236)
- after a miracle-filled youth, she escaped marriage by going into the mountains of Abruzzo and living with some other women as solitaries, under a rule similar to that of St Claire
Verdiana or Viridiana, virgin (c. 1240)
- after returning from a pilgrimage to Compostela, she lived for thirty-four years in a cell in the Val d'Elsa; she was so famous that she was visited by St Francis of Assisi
Eustochium of Messina, virgin (1468)
- her mother, a countess, gave birth to her in a stable, on a account of advice given her by a stranger; the young girl was beautiful and pious, and grew up to become a Franciscan nun and eventually founded, with her mother, a convent
Bernardo Scammacca (1486)
- a Dominican wonder-worker, after his death he appeared to his prior, telling him that he deserved to be buried in a more honourable resting-place; when translated, his remains were found to be incorrupt; later, when thieves tried to steal his remains, they were incapable of lifting his body from the ground
Theodulus and Julian, martyrs (309)
- Eusebius tells the story of these two men who were martyred in the wake of the killing of fellow martyrs Elias, Jeremy and companions (see FEAST 16 February)
Loman, bishop (c. 450?)
- nephew of St Patrick, he accompanied his uncle to Ireland, and was granted land at Trim on which to found a new bishopric
Fintan of Cloneenagh, abbot (603)
- an early source declares: 'Generous Fintan never consumed during his time aught save the bread of woody barleyand muddy water of clay'
Finan, bishop of Lindisfarne (661)
- an Irish monk of Iona, he succeeded St Aidan and became Lindisfarne's second bishop; active in conversion of the Middle English and the East Saxons
Silvin, bishop (c. 720)
- worked in the north of France, preaching to non- Christians; spent much time and effort in ransoming slaves; for forty years he lived solely on herbs and fruit, and ate no bread
Evermod, bishop of Ratzeburg (1178)
- converted to religious life by St Norbert, he first assisted Norbert in Antwerp (home of medieval-religionist Marleen Boel-Cre), then eventually became head of abbey dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Magdeburg, before becoming bishop, in which office he became known as an apostle of the Wends
Reginald of Orleans (1220)
- one of the first Dominicans, he received the vision from the Virgin Mary that he and his companions should wear the white woollen scapular; the first of the original group of Preachers to die, he was buried in Paris, in Notre-Dame- des-Champs
Luca Belludi (c. 1285)
- Franciscan preacher, who was greatly responsible for popularizing the cult of St Antony of Padua
Andrea d'Anagni (1302)
- related to popes Alexander IV and Boniface VIII, he left his noble lifestyle behind and became a Franciscan laybrother
- a little anecdote for our list's vegetarian members (and others) ... 'One day, when [Andrea] was ill and unable to take his ordinary food, a friend brought him some roasted birds. The saint, touched with pity at the sight of the innocent creatures, would not eat, but, making the sign of the cross over them, commanded them to resume their feathers and fly away. He was instantly obeyed, and the little birds, restored to life, took flight with chirps of joy.'
Pietro da Treia (1304)
- one of the early Franciscans, his life was marked by tireless preaching and by many visions and levitating ecstasies
William Richardson, martyr (1603)
- the last to be martyred during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I
Simeon, bishop and martyr (c. 107)
- according to some early writers, he was the son of St Joseph's brother and the Virgin Mary's sister; appointed to succeed St James the Lesser as bishop of Jerusalem
Leo and Paregorius, martyrs (?)
- after the martyrdom of his friend Paregorius, Leo deliberately vandalized a pagan temple so that he too would die for his faith
Flavian, patriarch of Constantinople, martyr (449)
- after a series of bitterly debated councils, he was lynched by a mob of soldiers and thugs
Helladius, archbishop of Toledo (633)
- a member of the Visigothic courts, he spent so much time helping the monks of the monastery of Agali that he left the world to join them, became abbot, and was then appointed archbishop
Colman, bishop of Lindisfarne (676)
- although he supported the losing side in the debates at the synod of Whitby, Bede forgave Colman's 'strange practices' regarding the date of Easter, and said of him and his priests: 'The whole care of those teachers was to serve God, not the world, to feed the soul rather than pamper the belly.'
Angilbert, abbot (814)
- known by his contemporaries at Charlemagne's court as 'Homer' (as in the Greek poet, not the father of Bart Simpson), he entered the monastery of Centula, near Amiens, following a vow he had taken in a time of trouble; when he became abbot, he instituted the laus perennis, or continuous choir service whereby the praise of God would not cease, day and night
- when about to celebrate mass at the palace of the Count of Portugal, he received a note from the queen, asking him if he would mind abbreviating the mass that day, as she was very busy; he said that he was serving a greater sovereign than herself, and that she was free to leave at any time; the queen, penitent, remained for the entire service, and then asked his forgiveness
William Harrington, martyr (1594)
- after his death, he was accused by an apostate Catholic woman of having had a child by her before he was ordained
Mesrop, bishop (441): Known as 'Mesrop the Teacher'. In his attempt to carry out missionary work in Armenia, Mersop felt hindered by the fact that the Bible and the liturgy were in Syriac and that there was no adequate way of writing them in Armenian. He decided to reconstruct an Armenian alphabet, the chief basis being the lower case letters of the Greek alphabet. Mesrop is thought to be responsible for the first Armenian translation of the Bible. Mesrop also preached and taught throughout Georgia, setting up schools and creating a Georgian alphabet.
Barbatus, bishop of Benevento (682): Influential preacher who converted many pagans to Christianity.
Beatus of Liebana (c. 798): A humble monk and priest who wrote and preached in order to counteract the Nestorian heresy taught by the archbishop of Toledo, Elipandus.
Boniface, bishop of Lausanne (1260): He began his career as a university lecturer in Paris. After becoming discouraged by student strikes, he decided to leave Paris and move to Cologne where he taught in the cathedral school. Two years later he was elected bishop of Lausanne. He went to Lausanne full of zeal but found himself continually opposed and misunderstood throughout the 8 years of his episcopate. While preaching, he denounced the weaknesses of the clergy. Having incurred the enmity of Frederick II, Boniface was attacked and badly wounded. Convinced that he was unfit for his office, he went to the pope and begged to be released and his request was granted. Boniface returned to Brussels, his birthplace. He resided at the Cistercian nunnery at La Cambre where the abbess invited him to stay. He spent the rest of his life within the precincts of the abbey.
Conrad of Piacenza, pilgrim and hermit (1351): After having accidentally burnt down some neighbouring villages, Conrad, who belonged to a noble family, had to pay for the damages. Nearly all his possessions were depleted. This sequence of events caused him and his wife to decide to take up the religious life. His wife entered a convent of the Poor Clares, while Conrad became a pilgrim and attached himself to some hermits who lived under the rule of Franciscan tertiaries. From that time he led a life of extraordinary piety, and soon his fame began to bring him visits from his former fellow-citizens. In spite of all attempts to hide himself, the fame of his sanctity spread far and wide, and when a famine occurred numerous people sought his help. Through his prayers relief came at once to the stricken inhabitants, and from that time his cell was besieged by sufferers of all kinds. He was particularly invoked for 'ruptures' on account of the large number of people who owed their quick recoveries from hernias to his intercession.
Alvarez of Cordova (c. 1430): An effective Dominican preacher. Despite his advanced age he continued to teach and preach. In his earlier years he was confessor and adviser of the Queen-mother of Castile, Catherine, who was the daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.
Tyrannio, Zenobius and other martyrs (304 and 310)
Eusebius wrote of these martyrs: 'After innumerable stripes and blows, which they cheerfully endured, they were exposed to wild beasts such as leopards, wild bears, boars, and bulls. I myself was present when these savage beasts, accustomed to human blood, were let out upon them, and, instead of devouring them or tearing them to pieces as might naturally be expected, they stood off, refusing to touch or approach them, but turned on their keepers.'
Sadoth, bishop of Seleudia-Ctesiphon, martyr (c. 342): Suffered persecution under King Sapor II.
Eleutherius, bishop of Tournai (532): He appears to have been a zealous preacher and to have converted to Christianity a great part of the Franks in his diocese. He also vigorously opposed certain heretics who denied the Incarnation, and was attacked by some of them as he was leaving the church one day after Mass. He was so severely wounded that he died five weeks later.
Eucherius, bishop of Orleans (743): Did not get on with Charles Martel. The legend of Eucherius seeing Charles Martel burning in hell is not found in the primitive biography but does indicate the nature of the relationship between the two.
Born in Compton Martin, eight miles from Bristol. Wulfric spent his religious life in a cell adjoining the church at Haselbury in Somerset. He wore chain-mail next to his skin. At night Wulfric would strip and get into tub of cold water, remaining there till he had recited the whole Psalter. One Easter eve Wulfric was troubled in his sleep by a sensual illusion; he was so distressed thereby that the next day he made open confession of it before the whole congregation of the church.
Elizabeth of Mantua, teritary of the Servites (1468):
Her father taught her Latin so that she was able to read devotional works. Several girls banded together to form a community of the Servite third order under Elizabeth's direction.
Severian, bishop of Scythopolis, martyr (453):
Was put to death by a monophysite sympathiser.
Pepin of Landen (640):
Mayor of the palace to kings Clotaire II, Dagobert I, and Sigebart III. He was grandfather of Pepin of Herstal, great-grandfather of Charles Martel. According to Butler: 'Pepin protected the Christian communities of the north against the invasions of the Slavs, worked hard for the spread of the Christian faith, and chose only virtuous and learned men to fill the bishoprics.'
Germanus of Granfel, martyr (c. 677):
Abbot of Granfel. The local duke oppressed the monks and poor inhabitants with violence and exhortation. Germanus pleaded for the poor sufferers, but instead of listening, the duke had his soldiers kill Germanus.
George, bishop of Amastris (c. 825):
Started his religious life as a hermit on Mount Sirik.
St Peter's Chair at Antioch
- earliest entry of this feast is in the calendar of St Willibrord (c. 704):
this feast was known in the twelfth century as 'St Peter's banquet day'
Thalassius and Limnaeus (c. 450)
- Syrian hermits, widely renowned for their miracles
Bardates (c. 460)
- another Syrian hermit, he wore a leather garment that allowed only his mouh and nose to be seen
Margaret of Cortona (1297)
- after a conversion experience her lover's dog led her to a pit in which the man lay, murdered
- she became a Franciscan tertiary, and worked with the sick
Serenus or Cerneuf the Gardener (302?)
- he stayed out of trouble until he chased a woman away from his patch; she got angry, and told her husband, who in turn went to the emperor, who in turn arranged for the gardener to be decapitated
Alexander Akimetes (c. 430)
- instituted a form of choral service carried on all day and night without interruption
Dositheus (c. 530)
- converted to Christianity after seeing a representation of the last judgement in a painting in Gethsemane; he became a monk at Gaza, and was under the tutelage of another monk who taught him to be a balanced ascetic
Boisil or Boswell, abbot of Melrose (664)
- spiritual master of St Cuthbert
Milburga, abbess of Wenlock, virgin (c. 700)
- after her tomb was destroyed by a Viking invasion, some boys in the eleventh century were playing in a field when they began to sink into the ground; nearby Cluniac monks then dug at that spot, and found her tomb
Peter Damian, cardinal-bishop of Ostia, doctor of the Church (1072)
- virulent opponent of simony and homosexuality, this one- time Camaldolese monk became an active papal aide; when he would return to his monastery, he passed his spare time making wooden spoons
Willigis, archbishop of Mainz (1011)
- every day, he arranged for his steward to feed thirty poor people, and he would dine with thirteen other poor people at his table
- a great statesman, he crowned Otto III at Aachen in 983
Matthias, apostle (first century)
- he was constantly with Christ throughout the ministry, until the Ascension; his body was translated from Jerusalem to Rome by St Helen
Montanus, Lucius and companions, martyrs (259)
- most of these men were clerics and followers of fellow martyr St Cyprian
Praetextatus or Prix, bishop of Rouen, martyr (586)
- having angered the queen, she sent an assassin to kill him while saying Matins in church (he was stabbed in the armpit)
Victorinus and companions, martyrs (284)
- killed in a variety of ways at Diospolis, capital of the Thebaid; some were crushed in an enormous mortar (presumably by an equally enormous pestle)
Caesarius of Nazianzus (369)
- despite having Gregory Nazianzen as his brother, he was baptized only a short time before his death
Ethelbert of Kent (616)
- allowed the evangelization of his lands by St Augustine, and was himself converted on Whitsunday, 597
Walburga, virgin (779)
- sister of saints Willibald and Winebald, a more famous feast associated with her was Walpurgisnacht, 1 May
Tarasius, patriarch of Constantinople (806)
- was chosen to be patriarch, even though he was a layman (he was chief secretary to the emperor); before his death he went into a trance, during which he seemed to be debating with a series of accusers who were analyzing the actions of his life (it appears that he won the debate before dying)
Gerland, bishop of Girgenti (1100)
- born in Besancon, he was likely related to the Norman rulers of Sicily, where he spent much time converting Moslems and Jews
Robert d'Arbrissel, abbot (1117)
- a charismatic figure, he started the congregation of Fontevrault after an education in Paris
Avertanus and Romaeus (1380)
- Carmelite pilgrims, they died at the gates of Lucca
Constantius of Fabriano (1481)
- a holy child, he became a Dominican in Florence, where the death of St Antoninus was made known to him the moment it took place; when asked why he so seldom laughed, he replied: 'Because I do not know if my actions are pleasing to God'
Sebastian Aparicio (1600)
- to escape temptations to sin, he decided to go to Mexico, where he helped religious communities with mundane tasks
Nestor, bishop of Magydus, martyr (251)
- remained in his office during the persecution of Decius, even though he knew it would lead to his own death
Alexander, bishop of Alexandria (328)
- he tried to deal with the heretical teachings of a local priest, named Arius, by banishing him and his followers to Illyricum
Porphyry, bishop of Gaza (420)
- after living in a cave for several years, he was elected bishop without his knowledge or consent, but accepted the news; devoted his efforts to converting the entire population to his faith
Victor the Hermit (c. 610)
- lived as a solitary at Arcis, near Plancy-sur-Aube; his remains were translated to the Benedictine monastery of Montieramey, whose monks requested Bernard of Clairvaux to write an office in his honour
Leo of Saint-Bertin, abbot (1163)
- reaching Jerusalem during the Second Crusade, he returned with the alleged relic of drops of Christ's blood, collected by Joseph of Arimathea when he prepared the body for entombment
Isabel of France, virgin (1270)
- sister of St Louis, she fasted three times a week; she founded a Franciscan convent, the Monastery of the Humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the help and advice of her brother as well as St Bonaventure
Julian, Cronion and Besas, martyrs (250)
- Alexandrians who died during the Decian persecutions
Thalelaeus the Hermit (c. 450)
- spent many years weeping in a penitential cage, his knees drawn up to his chin
Leander, bishop of Seville (596)
- in Spain, his liturgy is of a doctor of the Church; according to tradition, Gregory the Great sent him the famous picture of our Lady of Guadalupe
Baldomerus or Galmier (c. 660)
- patron of locksmiths (he lived as one in Lyon); eventually lived as a contemplative in a monastery cell; at the monastery, he would tame the wild birds of the air, saying to them 'Take your refreshment and always bless the Lord of Heaven'
Alnoth (c. 700)
- a simple cowherd, he became a hermit in the woods at Stowe near Bugbrooke; there, he was murdered by robbers
John of Gorze, abbot (974)
- helped revive monasteries in the Lorraine; noted for his prodigious memory, he could recite the Bible and many patristic writings and vitae as though he were reading them from a book
Mark Barkworth, martyr (1601)
- the first English Benedictine martyr (under Elizabeth)
Anne Line, martyr (1601)
- killed for providing refuge to Catholic priests
Martyrs in the Plague of Alexandria (261)
- this feast commemorates the charity shown by Alexandrian Christians in helping victims of this great plague; many of those who assisted others did themselves suffer and die from the plague
Proterius, patriarch of Alexandria, martyr (457)
- victim of theological and political disputes, he was killed in his church during Holy Week
Romanus and Lupicinus, abbots (c. 460 & 480)
- brothers, they lived as hermits but then built monasteries in the Jura mountains for the many disciples they attracted
Hilarus, pope (468),buried in the church of St Lawrence outside the walls of Rome, where he had provided a library and two public baths
Oswald of Worcester, archbishop of York (992)
- he actually died on 29 February, on that day in 992, he had just wiped and kissed the feet of a poor man (as he did every day) when he died peacefully
Angela da Foligno, widow (1309)
- Franciscan tertiary and mystic
Villana da Firenze, matron (1360)
- became a Dominican tertiary after looking in the mirror one day to see not the beautiful woman she was, but the face of a hideous demon
Hedwig (Jadwiga) of Poland, matron (1399)
- married at age thirteen to a non-Christian, she converted him by her example, and the two of them set off to convert many Lithuanians
Last year Tom Izbicki added the following helpful info: Jadwiga was the daughter of Casimir, the last Piast king of Poland. Her husband, Jagiello, was ruler of Lithuania. His conversion, and that of his people, deprived the Teutonic Knights of much of their claim to be on crusade against the pagans. And their defeat at Tannenberg also reduced the military power of the knights. The vehement polemics of John Falkenberg, the apologist for the knights, were denounced by the Poles to the Council of Constance as heretical.
Antonia da Firenze, widow (1472)
- one of several great Franciscans (including Bernardino of Siena and John of Capistrano) to spend time and die in L'Aquila, she ran a large convent of tertiaries in the city
Luisa Albertoni, widow (1533)
- she would bake bread for the poor and give it to them, but only after placing gold and silver coins in the bread
Philip and James, apostles (first century)
Amator or Amate, bishop of Auxerre (418): Amator was the only son of distinguished citizens of Auxerre, who affianced him to a young heiress named Martha, although he expressed a strong disinclination for the married state. On the wedding day the guests assembled, and the aged Bishop Valerian, instead of reading the nuptial blessing, recited the form which was used in the ordination of deacons - a mistake which was noticed only by the bride and bridegroom. When the service was over the young couple agreed to live a life of virginity, and Martha within a short time retired into a convent. Amator, having laboured for some years as a priest, was elected bishop of Auxerre.
Brieuc or Briocus, abbot (sixth century)
Sigismund of Burgundy (524): Sigismund was a barbarian subject at times to uncontrollable fits of rage. On one occasion he ordered his son Sigeric to be strangled. No sooner had the deed been perpetrated than Sigismund came to his senses and was overpowered with horror and remorse. Perhaps the greatest service Sigismund rendered to the Church was the virtual refounding of the monastery of St Maurice at Agaunum in Valois.
Marculf or Marcoul, abbot (558): It was through Marcoul that the Frankish kings were believed to derive "the healing touch". Marcoul was regarded as a patron who cured skin diseases and as late as 1680 sufferers made pilgrimages to his shrine at Nanteuil and bathed in the springs connected with the church.
Peregrine Laziosi, Servite (1345): Born in 1260 in Forli, the only son of well-to-do parents took an active part in the politics of his native city, which belonged to the anti-papal party. On the occasion of a popular rising, the Servite, Philip Benizi, who had been sent by the pope to act as a mediator, was severely mishandled by the popular leaders, and Peregrine himself struck him on the face with his fist. The Servite's only reply was to offer the other cheek - an action which brought his Peregrine to immediate repentance. From that time Peregrine was a reformed character who eventually received the Servite habit.
Exsuperius and Zoe, martyrs (135)
Athanasius, archbishop of Alexandria (373)
Waldebert, abbot (665): The third abbot of Luxeuil. Under his government the Rule of St Columban was superseded by that of St Benedict, and he obtained for Luxeuil from Pope John IV the privilege already conceded to Lerins and Agaunum of being free from episcopal control.
Ultan, abbot (696): Ultan and his more celebrated brothers, St Fursey and St Follian, were Irish monks who crossed over to East Anglia, where they founded the abbey of Burgh Castle, near Yarmouth, on territory bestowed upon them by King Sigebert I.
Wiborada, virgin and martyr (926): While her brother studied at the monastery of St Gall, Wiborada made his vestments and even helped in the covering of books in the abbey library. Her brother taught her Latin whereby she could join him in the saying of the offices. Later in her life she foretold her own death at the hands of invading Hungarians.
Conrad of Seldenburen, lay brother of the abbey of Engelberg (1126): The Benedictine abbey of Engelberg owed its foundation to Conrad, a scion of the princely family of Seldenburen. After the founding of this abbey he devoted the rest of his fortune to establishing a convent for women. He then retired from the world receiving the habit of a lay brother. From his peaceful retreat Conrad emerged at the bidding of this superior to meet a claim which had been made on some of the property he had bestowed upon the abbey. At Zurich he went unsuspectingly to a meeting arranged by his opponents, who fell upon him and killed him. The body of Conrad was brought back to Engelberg, where it remained uncorrupted until the abbey was burnt down in 1729.
Mafalda, Cistercian (1252): When she felt that her last hour was approaching she directed that she should be laid on ashes. After her death, her body shone with a wonderful radiance and when it was exposed in 1617 it was as flexible and fresh as though the holy woman had only just died.
Alexander, Eventius and Theodolus, martyrs (c. 113)
Timothy and Maura, martyrs (c. 286) - One of the more gruesome stories in the Roman Martyrology. Timothy and Maura were newlyweds who suffered persecution under Diocletian. As a result of Timothy's refusal to give the authorities his Bible he and his wife were nailed to a wall and died after lingering for nine days.
the finding of the Holy Cross (c. 326) - According to Ambrose and John Chrysostom, St Helen insisted on excavations which reavealed three crosses. The one in the middle had the 'title' still attached and that is how Christ's cross was identified.
Juvenal, bishop of Narni (c. 376) - One day, as he was passing a brazen bull in front of a temple dedicated to Bacchus, a pagan priest struck Juvenal in the mouth with the hilt of his sword because the saint refused to sacrifice to the gods. The bishop held the weapon with his teeth, and the pagan priest, in a violent effort to withdraw his blade, cut his own throat. This incident led to the immediate conversion of the pagan bystanders.
Philip of Zell, hermit (eighth century) - Amongst those who sought out this hermit was Pepin, Charlemagne's father, who often visited Philip and conversed with him about holy things.
Cyriacus, or Judas Quiriacus, bishop (c. 133) - Principal patron of Ancona. The local tradition of Ancona connects it patron with Judas Quiriacus, a legendary Jew who is supposed to have revealed to the Empress Helen the place in which the Holy Cross lay hidden. After being baptised and made bishop of Jerusalem, he suffered martyrdom under Julian the Apostate.
Pelagia of Tarsus, virgin and martyr (c. 304)
Florian, martyr (304) - Many miracles of healing were attributed to his intercession and he was invoked as a powerful protector from fire or water.
Monica, widow (387) - Mother of Augustine. In the Confessions, Augustine wrote about his reaction to his mother's death: 'If any one thinks it wrong that I thus wept for my mother some small part of an hour - a mother who for many years had wept for me that I might live to thee, O Lord - let him not deride me. But if his charity is great, let him weep also for my sins before thee.' Patron of married women and mothers.
Venerius, bishop of Milan (409) - The second bishop of Milan, his predecessor of course was Ambrose.
Godehard/Gothard, bishop of Hildesheim (1038) - He built and restored churches. He did much to promote education, especially in the cathedral school. On a swampy piece of land on the outskirts of Hildesheim he built a hospice where the sick and poor were cared for.
Catherine of Parc-aux-Dames, virgin (thirteenth century) - The daughter of Jewish parents, Catherine underwent a conversion. She changed her name from Rachel to Catherine and became a Cistercian nun in the abbey of Parc-aux-Dames.
Gregory of Veruccio (1343) - Allegedly lived to the age of 118. In Reati he was invoked as a patron when rain was needed.
Michael Giedroyc , canons regular of St Augustine (1485) - His austerities were extreme and were never relaxed during illness or in old age. Moreover, he suffered physical and mental torment from evil spirits.
Hilary, bishop of Arles (449) - So great were his anxiety to ransom captives that he sold almost all of his liturgical items to obtain money, contenting himself with a chalice and paten of glass.
Mauruntius, abbot (701) - Abbot of the abbey of Breuil located in the diocese of Therouanne.
Avertinus, Gilbertine canon (c. 1180) - Allegedly accompanied Thomas Becket to the Synod of Tours (1163). After the martyrdom of Becket, he settled in Touraine where he dedicated himself to the service of the poor and strangers. He was invoked against dizziness and headaches.
Angelo, martyr (1220) - Paul Chandler we need your sage insights once again to enlighten us about this Carmelite saint. (If you are in Kalamazoo, we will patiently await your return for your learned reply!)
Jutta, widow (1260) - She once said that three things could bring one very near to God - painful illness, exile from home in a remote corner of a foreign land, and poverty voluntarily assumed for God's sake.
Evodius, bishop of Antioch (c. 64) - According to tradition, he was one of the seventy disciples sent out by Jesus to preach. He is supposed to have coined the word 'Christian'.
John before the Lateran Gate (94?) The Roman Martyrology relates the following: 'At Rome, St John was brought before the Latin gate at the command of Domitian who ordered that John be brought in fetters from Ephesus to Rome. By verdict of the Senate, he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil before the gate, and came forth thence more hale and hearty than he entered it.'
Edbert, bishop of Lindisfarne (698) - Ordained successor to St Cuthbert in the see of Lindisfarne, he governed for eleven years. He made it a practice to retire twice a year for forty days of solitary prayer to the tiny island known as St Cuthbert's Isle.
Petronax, abbot of Monte Cassino (c. 747) - The second founder of the abbey of Monte Cassino. The monastery had been destroyed by the Lombards in 581, but Petronax restored Monte Cassino to its former eminence.
Prudence, Hermitess of St Augustine (1492) - Prudence was superior of the convent of St Mark at Como. Her life seems to have been quite uneventful, and her fame rests entirely upon her posthumous miracles.
Domitian, bishop of Maastricht (c. 560) - Tradition attributes to Domitian the slaying of a terrible monster, which was causing great distress by poisoning the drinking-water of Huy.
Liudhard, bishop (c. 602) - When King Ethelbert of Kent married the Frankish princess Bertha, who was the daughter of Charibert, King of Paris, a stipulation was made that she should be free to practise her own Christian religion, and that she should bring with her chaplain, Bishop Liudhard.
Serenicu and Serenus (669 & 680) - Bothers from Spoleto who abandoned their noble family's wealth to live as recluses in Angers. Because of their holiness they attracted many followers, and Serenicu became the head of a large community of monks. But Serenus remained a recluse and had many visions. As he lay dying, sounds of celestial music were heard.
John of Beverley, bishop of York (721) - He won renown as a preacher, displayed marked erudition in expounding Scripture, and taught history.
Stanislaus, bishop of Krakow, martyr (1079) - Patron saint of Krakow.
Victor Maurus, martyr (303?) - One of the patrons of Milan. During his martyrdom he was basted with molten lead which instantaneously cooled on touching his flesh and did him no harm.
Agacius/Agathus, martyr (c. 304) - Constantinople contained two churches dedicated to St Agacius. One was nicknamed the Walnut because built into its structure was the walnut tree upon which the saint was said to have been suspended during his passio.
Appearing of Michael the Archangel (492?) The appearance took place in a cave on Mount Garganus in Apulia.
Gibrian (c. 515) - A family of seven brothers and three sisters left Ireland to live a life dedicated to God in Brittany. The eldest was Gibrian who was a priest and acted as their leader. They all eventually settled as solitaries in the forest land near the Marne, living alone, but near to one another so that they could visit each other from time to time.
Desideratus, bishop of Bourges (c. 550) - Took part in various synods - the fifth Council of Orleans and second of Auvergne.
Boniface IV, pope (615) - His papacy is marked by the conversion of the Pantheon, the temple erected by Marcus Agrippa in honour of all the Roman deities, into a Christian church dedicated to the BVM and All Martyrs.
Benedict II, pope (685)
Wiro and Plechelm, bishops, and Otger (eighth century) - Three priests who evangelised in the Meuse valley.
Peter, archbishop of Tarentaise (1175) - To establish the claims of Pope Alexander III as the true pope, Peter preached on Alexander's behalf in Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy an many parts of Italy.
Beatus, hermit (112) - It was believed that he had been baptised in England by the Apostle St Barnabas, and than was sent to evangelise Switzerland by St Peter. His cave, located above the lake of Thun where he was reputed to have slain a dragon, became a favourite place of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages.
Gregory of Nazianzen, bishop of Constantinople (390) - Often preached sermons on the Trinity, much to the dislike of the Arians.
Pachomius, abbot (348) - Butler writes: Although St Antony is often reckoned the founder of Christian monasticism, that title belonged more properly to St Pachomius.
Gerontius, bishop of Cervia (501) - All that is known about Gerontius is that he was bishop of Cervia in the diocese of Ravenna and that he was murdered by ungodly men. A Benedictine abbey was dedicated in his honour on the spot where he was killed.
Nicholas Albergati, bishop of Bologna and cardinal (1443) - Was held in great veneration by the Carthusians and the Augustinian friars. So great was the this cardinal's reputation as a mediator that he was called the the Angel of Peace.
Calepodius, martyr (222): The relics of Calepodius are found in the Roman churches of Santa Maria in Trastevere and San Pancrazio and in the cathedral of Taranto.
Gordian and Epimachus, martyrs (250) - Hildegard, the wife of Charlemagne, gave many relics of these saints to the abbey of Kempten in Bavaria.
Alphius and his Companions, martyrs, (251) - The principle patrons of Vaste in the diocese of Otranto, and of Lentini in Sicily.
Conleth, bishop of Kildare (520) - A gifted metal worker, he is also known as 'St Bridgit's chief artificer'.
Catald, bishop of Taranto (685) - Catald was a learned monk who taught in the school of Lismore. Resigning his post he undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. On his way home he was chosen bishop of Tarento.
Solangia, shepherdess and martyr (880) - From an early age she took a vow of chastity. She had a great power over animals and had the gift of healing. Reports of her beauty and sanctity reached the ears of Bernard, one of the sons of the count of Poitiers. When she was alone in the field with her flock, Bernard tried to seduce her. Resisting his advances, she had a terrible fall sustaining a serious injury. Bernard then chopped off her head. According to the legend, the girl afterwards arose and carried her head in her hands as far as the church of Saint-Martin-du Cros, in the cemetery of which an altar was erected in her honour about the year 1281.
Beatrice of Este, nun (1226) - Became a Benedictine at the age of 14.
Antoninus, archbishop of Florence (1459) - As a Dominican friar he often preached. He was consulted from all quarter, especially in intricate cases of canon law. Pope Eugenius IV summoned him to attend the general Council of Florence. He was occupied with reforming Dominican houses in the province of Naples when he learnt that the pope had nominated him to be archbishop of Florence. His reputation fro wisdom and integrity was such that he was unceasingly consulted by those in authority, laymen as well as ecclesiastics; and his decisions were so judicious that they won for him the title of 'the Counselor'.
Mamertus, bishop of Vienne (475) - Best known in ecclesiastical history for his institution of the penitential procession of the Rogation Days, the three days preceding the feast of the Ascension.
Comgall, abbot of Bangor (603) - One of the founders of Irish monasticism. No less than three thousand monks are said to have lived under the government of Comgall at Bangor and in its daughter houses.
Asaph, bishop (seventh century) - The Red Book of Asaph refers to 'the charm of Asaph's conversation, the symmetry, vigour and grace of his body, the holiness and virtue of his heart, and the witness of his miracles'.
Gengulf or Gengoul, burgundian knight (760) - Greatly beloved by Pepin the Short. Left his unfaithful wife to live a penitent life and to give alms.
Majolus or Mayeul, abbot of Cluny (994) - Originally librarian and procurator of Cluny. As Berno, the first abbot of Cluny, had chosen Odo to be his coadujator, and Odo in his turn selected Aymard, so Aymard when he lost his sight, raised Majolus to the dignity of joint abbot.
Ansfrid, bishop of Utrecht (1010) - In his younger days, Ansfrid was a warrior, noted for his success in suppressing brigands and pirates. He was count of Brabant and when the see of Utrecht fell vacant the emperor suggested that he should be appointed. He was consecrated bishop in 994.
Walter of L'Esterp, abbot (1070) - So great was his reputation for converting sinners that Pope Victor II granted him special faculties for dealing with penitents - including the right to excommunicate and to restore to communion.
Albert of Bergamo, peasant farmer and Dominican tertiary (1279) - Often went on pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem and is said to have visited Compostela 8 times.
Vivaldo, hermit (1300) - A disciple and fellow townsman of Bartolo of San Gemignano whom he nursed for 20 through a particularly distressing form of leprosy. Afterwards he lived as a solitary inside a hollow chestnut tree at Montajone, in Tuscany.
Benincasa, hermit (1426) - Entered the Servite order at a very early age and when he was 25 he was permitted to lead the life of a hermit on the mountain of Montagnata, near Siena. There he gave himself up to prayer. Through a little window he gave spiritual advice to men - he would not deal with women - and often healed the sick with the sign of the cross of holy water.
Aloysius Rabata, Carmelite (1490) - He lived on bread and water and was remarkable for his humility. As prior of the friary in Randazzo, he insisted upon performing such tasks as road mending and begging for alms.
Ladislaus of Gielniow, Franciscan (1505) - One of the principal patrons of Poland, Galicia and Lithuania. He delivered sermons throughout Poland. He wrote both in Latin and Polish; he also composed hymns which were sung by the people at evening services. His favourite topic was the Passion.
Nereus, Achilleus, and Domitilla, martyrs (first century):
Pancras, martyr (304) - Augustine dedicated in his honour the first church he erected in Canterbury. Fifty years later Pope St Vitalian sent to Oswy, king of Northumberland, a portion of the martyr's relics, the distribution of which seems to have propagated his cult in England.
Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis (403) - Jerome described him as 'a last relic of ancient piety'.
Modoaldus, bishop of Trier (640) - One of the few facts that we have about Modoaldus is that he attended the Council of Reims in 625.
Rictrudis, widow (688) - After her husband had been murdered by her relatives, she retired to a double monastery which she had founded in Marchiennes.
Germanus, patriarch of Constantinople (732) - Spoke out fearlessly against the iconoclasts. He wrote: 'Pictures are history in figure and tend to the sole glory of the heavenly father. When we show reverence to representations of Jesus Christ we do not worship the colours lain on the wood: we are venerating the invisible God who is in the bosom of the Father.'
Dominic of the Causeway (1109) - Dominic de la Calzada 'of the Causeway' was so called on account of the road which he made for pilgrims on their way to Compostela.
Francis Patrizzi, Servite (1328) - He had a wonderful gift for preaching moving sermons with little or no preparation. He foresaw that he would die on the feast of the Ascension, 1328, but he went out to preach anyway because he had been invited to do so. He died on his way to the pulpit.
Gemma of Sulmona, shepherdess and recluse, (1429) - Born in Sulmona - the birth place of Ovid. Her parents were peasants and encouraged their precocious daughter's piety. They charged her with minding the sheep - an occupation which gave her ample leisure for prayer and contemplation. She lived in a cell attached to the church of St John in Sulmona.
Jane of Portugal, princess (1490) - Daughter of Alphonsus V, Jane wanted to become a Dominican nun. She was allowed to live in the Dominican convent of Aveiro but her parents forbade her to take vows.
Glyceria, martyr (177) - Suffered martyrdom at Heraclea.
Mucius, martyr (304) - Priest who suffered martyrdom at Constantinople.
Servatius, or Servais, bishop of Tongres (384) - Foretold the invasion of Gaul by the Huns. In order to avert this calamity he fasted and prayed and made a pilgrimage to Rome. Nevertheless, 70 years later Atilla overran the country.
John the Silent, monk (558) - Got his name from his great love of silence and recollection.
Erconwald, bishop of London (686) - Founded a monastery for men at Chertsey in Surrey, and one for women at Barking in Essex.
Eurthymius the Englightener, abbot of Iviron (1028) - A teetotaller although he allowed his monks their fair ration of wine.
Imelda (1333) - Upon the reception of her first communion at 11 years old, she died from excitement of receiving the host.
Julian of Norwich, visionary (1423) - At the beginning of her book, Julian states that before she received what she calls the 'shewings', she had desired three gifts from God - that he would grant her a greater realization of Christ's sufferings, that he would send her a severe illness which would bring her to death's door and detach her from earthly things, and that he would give her the three wounds of 'contrition', of 'kind compassion', and of 'willful longing towards God'.
Peter Regalatus, Franciscan (1456) - Introduced rigorous reform into various friaries in Spain.
Pontus, martyr (third century) - Had the good fortune to live on the French Riviera near Nice. Had the bad fortune to become a Christian during the reign of the Emperor Valerian.
Boniface of Tarsus, martyr (306) - Chief steward of the beautiful Algae. He travelled from Rome to the Holy Land to fetch some relics of martyrs for Algae. However, during his journey he suffered martyrdom and his body was brought back to Algae as a relic.
Carthage, Carthach, or Mochuda, bishop (637) - Around 595 Carthach founded a monastery in which he gradually assembled 800 monks. He drew up a rule in the form of metrical poem which can be found in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record, the ser., vol. xxvii (1910), pp. 495-517.
Erembert, bishop of Toulouse (672) - On a visit to his home near Poissy in the department of Seine-et-Oise, a terrible fire broke out in town. Erembert postrated himself in prayer in the church of St Saturninus and then emerged holding his pastoral cross erect. Immediately the wind veered, the flames died how, and the people flocked to the church praising God.
Giles of Portugal, Dominican (1265) - On his way to Paris to study medicine he fell in with a bad crowd in Toledo. There he studied alchemy, physics and the black arts. After 7 years he had a change of heart. He destroyed all his magical books and potions and became a Dominican friar.
Petronilla of Moncel, Poor Clare (1355) - First abbess of the convent Le Moncel in Oise founded by Philip the Fair.
Torquatus and his Companions, martyrs (first century?) - The first Christian missionaries to attempt the evangelization of Spain.
Isidore of Chios, martyr (251) - After his martyrdom, his body was thrown into a well. The well became famous for its healing powers.
Peter of Lampsacus and his Companions, martyrs (251)
Hilary of Galeata, abbot (558) - According to his legend, Hilary was always visible protected by his guardian angel in times of danger - notable when Theodoric the Goth threatened to destroy Hilary and his monastery because he refused to pay tribute.
Dympna, martyr (650) - Her cult flourished in the thirteenth century in the town of Gheel which is located 25 miles from Antwerp. Dympna's shrine was frequented by people who sought cures for mental illnesses.
Bertha and Rupert, martyrs (840) - The cult of these martyrs was popularized by Hildegard of Bingen.
Hallvard, martyr (1043) - Patron of Oslo.
Isaias, bishop of Rostov (1090) - His preaching was often followed by many miracles.
Isidore the Husbandman, (1130) - Patron of Madrid. This farmer was known for his kindness to the poor and to animals.
Magdalen Albrizzi, nun (1465) - Although very wealthy, she decided to join a very poor convent of the Hermits of St Augustine in the mountains at Brunette.
Peregrine, bishop of Auxerre, martyr (261) - The first bishop of Auxerre.
Possidius, bishop of Calama (440) - It is said that Augustine of Hippo died in Possidius's arms. Possidius himself died in exile driven out of Calama by the Arian Genseric.
Germerius, bishop of Toulouse (560) - A great lover of the poor, he appointed almoners whose special work it was to assist the needy.
Brendan, abbot of Clonfert (577 or 583) - Any experts on the Navigatio out there?
Domnolus, bishop of Le Mans (581) - He built several churches and a hospice on the Sarthe for poor pilgrims.
Carantoc, or Carannog, abbot (sixth century) - Cult was widespread in Brittany, although he spent a lot of time in Ireland, Wales, and Cornwall.
Honoratus, bishop of Amiens (600) - His cult became widespread in France in 1060.
Ubald, bishop of Gubbio (1160) - Ubald often defended his people in public dangers. The Emperor Frederick Barbarossa had sacked the city of Spoleto and threatened to do the same to Gubbio. Ubald met Frederick on the road and diverted the emperor from his purpose.
Simon Stock, Carmelite (1265) - Richard Copsey, please tell us more!
John Nepomucen, martyr (1393) - Killed by King Wenceslaus IV.
Venantius, martyr (257)
Theodotus, Thecusa and their Companions, martyrs (304)
Potamon, bishop of Heraclea, martyr (340) - Attended the Council of Nicaea (325). Suffered martyrdom during the reign of the Arian emperor, Constantius.
Eric of Sweden, martyr (1161) - He did much to establish and to spread Christianity in Upper Sweden. His attempts were not appreciated by some of his nobles who entered into a conspiracy with the son of the king of Denmark. His relics are preserved in the cathedral of Uppsala.
William of Toulouse, Hermits of St Augustine (1369) - Gifted preacher. Noted especially as a great promoter of prayer for the souls in Purgatory.
Pudentiana and Pudens, martyrs (first century?)
Calocerus and Parthenius, martyrs (304) - Eunuchs. These two brothers worked in the household of the Emperor Decius. At the outbreak of the persecution, they suffered martyrdom rather than offer sacrifices to the gods.
Alcuin, abbot (804) - Great educator. Born probably at York. In 767 he took charge of York's cathedral school. In 781 he accepted an invitation to take up residence at the court of Charlemagne whose educational and ecclesiastical adviser he became.
Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury (988) - Dunstan was King Edgar's chief adviser during the king's sixteen year reign. After the death of Edward the Martyr, Dunstan retired from political life and stayed in Canterbury passing his days teaching.
Celestine V, pope (1296) - Butler writes: 'In all papal history no figure is more pathetic than that of Peter of Morrone, the aged hermit who, after a pontificate of five short months, voluntarily abdicated, and died virtually a prisoner in the hands of his successor.' Do you agree with Butler's assessment of Celestine?
Ivo of Kermartin, lawyer (1303) - Patron of lawyers. At the age of fourteen he was sent to Paris; before the end of ten years there he had gained great distinction in philosophy, theology, and canon law. He then went to Orleans to study civil law under Peter de la Chapelle. In his student days he began to practice austerities which he continued and increased throughout his life. He wore a hair shirt, abstained from meat and wine, fasted during Advent and Lent, and other times, on bread and water; he rarely slept. Once he got his law degree, he became known as 'the poor man's advocate'.
Augustine Novello, Hermits of St Augustine, lawyer (1309) - Taught law in Bologna but gave it up to join a religious order. He eventually became prior general of his order, but resigned after only two years in order to live in a hermitage near Siena.
Thalelaeus, martyr (284)
Basilla, or Basilissa, martyr (304)
Baudelius, martyr (380): Little is known about Baudelius except that he was martyred in Nimes, hence he is the principal patron of Nimes.
Austregisilus, or Outril, bishop of Bourges (624): When urged by King Guntramnus to marry, he said: "If I had a good wife I should be afraid of losing her; if I had a bad one, I should be better with none."
Ethelbert, martyr (794)
Bernardino of Siena, Franciscan (1444): Among preachers a mega-star. Bernardino made several preaching tours throughout the whole of Italy, with the exception of the Kingdom of Naples. He travelled always on foot and would sometimes preach non-stop for three or four hours. In large cities he had to speak from an open-air pulpit because no church could hold the multitudes who came to hear him. He preached penance and cultivated the devotion of the holy name. At the end of every sermon he would hold up a tablet inscribed with the letters I.H.S. surrounded by rays of light, and urge people to implore God's mercy and to live in peace.
Columba of Rieti, Dominican tertiary (1501): At nineteen Columba received the Dominican tertiary habit and was actively involved in caring for the sick and needy of Rieti. She eventually moved to Perugia where her mediation was often sought by magistrates in times of danger and quarrel.
Benvenuto of Recanati, Franciscan tertiary (1289): Lived with the Franciscan Conventuals of Recanati and did all the cooking. Often when he had received communion, he would fall into ecstasy. From one of these trances he awoke to realise that it was almost time for the evening meal to be served and had not prepared anything. He quickly ran to the kitchen where he was greeted by an angelic chef who was busily chopping vegetables. Miraculously, all the friars who ate the meal said that they had never tasted better food.
Castus and Aemilius, martyrs (250) - according to Butler, Augustine preached a sermon on their feast, and said that 'they fell like St Peter, through presuming too much on their own strength'; this sounds like a condemnation rather than praise
Quiteria, virgin and martyr (fifth century?) - invoked against the bite of mad dogs; depicted with a dog on a leash
Romanus (c. 550) - as an old monk, helped initiate the young Benedict to the solitary life
Julia, martyr (sixth century?) - supposedly martyred in Corsica by Saracen pirates, but a legend says she was a slave of a pagan merchant who visited the governor of Corsica; this governor tried to get her to convert from Christianity, and crucified her when she refused
Aigulf or Ayoul, bishop of Bourges (836) - became bishop after having lived as a hermit; when he felt his death approaching, he returned to his old hermitage, where he died
Umilta da Faenza, widow (1310) - a preaching nun; dictated treatises in Latin, a language she never studied. Catherine Mooney, Virginia Commonwealth University, is a leading expert on Umilta. Unfortunately she is not on this list. So is there anyone on the list who can enlighten us about Umilta?
Rita of Cascia, widow (1457) - her body has remained incorrupt
Desiderius or Didier, bishop of Vienne, martyr (607) - martyred, perhaps by King Theodoric's men, at site of present-day Saint-Didier-sur-Chalaronne
Guibert (962) - founded monastery of Gembloux, in Brabant
Leontius, bishop of Rostov, martyr (1077) - first monk of the Caves of Kiev to become a bishop
Ivo, bishop of Chartres (1116) - Born in the region of Beauvais, he was a student of Lanfranc. He became bihsop of Chartres in 1090. Big-time canonist, he is the author of Triperta, Decretum, Panormia. He also wrote sermons and letters which can be found in J. Leclercq, Les classiques de l'histoire de France au moyen age 22 (1949).
Euphrosyne of Polotsk, virgin (1173) - apparently the only (female) virgin to have been canonised by the Russian Church
William of Rochester, martyr (1201) - while travelling from Perth to Jerusalem, murdered by a lad he had adopted
Gerard of Villamagna (1245) - was a Tuscan hermit, and Franciscan tertiary, after having been captured in the Holy Land during the third crusade
Bartolomeo da Montepulciano (1330) - with consent of his wife, joined the Franciscans; performed many miracles, especially regarding multiplication of food
Donatian and Rogation, martyrs (289 or 304) - natives of Nantes, where they are popularly known as 'les enfants nantais'
Vincent of Lerins, priest of the monastery of Lerins, (c. 445) - known for his Commonitorium against heresies, he has at times been credited with authorship of the Athanasian Creed
Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury (1089) - received no public cultus, but frequently called 'beatus'; born in Pavia, he was educated in law and dialetics; he first taught in Italy and then became an itinerant teacher in France and established the school of Avranches; he became a monk and prior of Bec-Helloin; he became archbishop of Canterbury in 1070; in his treatise De corpore et sanguine Domini he wrote against Berenger of Tours' eucharistic doctrine.
David I of Scotland (1153) - born about 1080, the youngest of six sons of Scottish king Malcolm Canmore and queen, St Margaret; became king in 1124; Aelred of Rievaulx, who as a young man served as master of David's household, wrote his vita, in which David is criticized for failure to control savagery of Scottish troops at the Battle of the Standard
Nicetas of Pereaslav, martyr (1186) - converted from collecting taxes to wearing metal shirts and living on a pillar; his metal shirt became so worn it resembled silver, and robbers, trying to take this 'silver', killed him
Urban I, pope and martyr - although the Roman Martyrology says Urban is buried along the Via Nomentana, scholars today feel the tomb is really located in the cemetery of St Callistus, on the Via Appia
Dionysius, bishop of Milan (c. 360) - was among those who supported Athanasius when most were against him; died in Cappadocia, and St Basil arranged for return of his remains to Milan
Zenobius, bishop of Florence (c. 390) - principal patron of Florence; friend of Ambrose of Milan; resuscitated five dead persons
Leo or Lye, abbot (c. 550) - saints Hilary, Martin of Tours and Anastasius of Orleans appeared to him to announce the date of his death
Aldhelm, bishop of Sherborne (709) - among the first scholar-saints of England; wrote a treatise on virginity for men and women, De virginitate; he knew Greek.
Gennadius, bishop of Astorga (936) - invoked by Spaniards against fever; renounced bishopric to return to monastic life
Gregory VII, pope (1085) - although the Reform of the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries takes its name from him, in the realm of canon law it has been argued that he had almost no effect whatsoever (Do you agree?)
Claritus (1348) - his wife left him to join Augustinian nuns of Florence; he went there as servant; his shrine would give off an odour whenever one of the nuns was about to die
Quadratus, bishop of Athens (c. 129) - wrote a treatise (now lost) to emperor Hadrian in defence of Christians; in it, he claimed to have known persons healed or resurrected by Jesus
Priscus or Prix, and companions, martyrs (c. 272) - during Aurelian persecution, they fled from Besancon to Auxerre, but were killed there; their bodies were discovered by Germanus in the early fifth century
Lambert, bishop of Vence (1154) - oblate and monk of Lerins before serving as bishop for 40 years
Eva of Liege, virgin (c. 1265) - helped institute the feast of Corpus Christi; pope Urban IV sent her the bull authorizing the feast
Philip Neri (1595) - founder of the Oratorians; one of the earliest of its priests was Baronius, the historian
Restituta of Sora, virgin and martyr (271?) - a Roman noble, she was taken to Sora by an angel; there, she worked miracles and converted many to Christianity
Julius and companions, martyrs (302?) - Julius and his fellow martyrs were all soldiers who refused to give up their faith
Eutropius, bishop of Orange (c. 476) - after dissolute youth and a more sober marriage, was widowed and joined the clergy; Sidonius Apollinaris was one of his correspondents
John I, pope and martyr (526) - imprisoned during reign of Theodoric, in Ravenna
Bede, doctor (735) - venerable; much of what we know of him is in Cuthbert's account of his last hours, and in the closing chapter of his own ecclesiastical history of the English - the only Englishman in Dante's Paradiso
Melangell, or Monacella, virgin (?) - earliest extant vita is from the early sixteenth century - abbess for 37 years, during which time all could find sanctuary at the site of her community -- particularly hares, known as 'Melangell's lambs'
Senator, bishop of Milan (475) - was among the envoys sent by Leo I to Constantinople to urge emperor Theodosius II to call a general council; this eventually took place at Chalcedon under the emperor Marcian
Justus, bishop of Urgel (c. 550) - first bishop of this Spanish diocese; his brothers were also bishops (Justinian, Valencia; Nebridius, Egara; Elpidius, Huesca)
Germanus or Germain, bishop of Paris (576) - as bishop, he dedicated a church founded by king Childebert in honour of the Holy Cross and St Vincent; after Germain's death, it was renamed Saint-Germain-des-Pres
Augustine, archbishop of Canterbury (c. 605) - head of group sent by pope Gregory I to evangelize Anglo-Saxon England - feast celebrated in England and Wales on 26 May, the date of his death [according to Butler and the Catholic Encylopedia Augustine's feast day in the Roman Calendar is kept on the 28 May; but in the proper of the English office it occurs two days earlier, the true anniversary of his death]
William of Gellone (812) - a favourite of Charlemagne, he was held to be an ideal Christian knight (cf. La prise d'Orange and Aliscans), but he left the royal court to become a monk
Bernard of Montjoux (1081?) - because of hospices he founded in the Alps, a canine species was named after him (NOT after Bernard of Clairvaux)
Ignatius, bishop of Rostov (1288) - deposed from office for a time due to false accusations
Margaret Pole, widow and martyr (1541) - mother of cardinal Reginald Pole - when Henry VIII became king, he described Margaret as the saintliest woman in England -- but that didn't stop her from being beheaded at the age of 70
Maria Bartolomea de Bagnesiis, virgin (1577) - so sickly throughout her life that she never ate a normal meal; on eight occasions she received extreme unction
London Martyrs of 1582
Cyril of Caesarea, martyr (251?) - a boy martyr, brought by his own father to the local governor for not paying respect to idols
Maximinus, bishop of Trier (c. 347) - hosted the exiled Athanasius for two years
Sisinnius, Martyrius, and Alexander, martyrs (397) - the second-mentioned one has the best name for a martyr I've yet seen; all three preached in the Tyrolese Alps
Theodosia, virgin and martyr (745) - led a band of women who rebelled against an edict ordering the destruction of an icon
William, Stephen, Raymund and companions, martyrs (1242) - these twelve -- three Dominicans, two Franciscans, two Benedictines, four other clerics and a layman -- were martyred in Avignonet, south-west of Toulouse, as they tried to convert the Albigensians in the area
Pietro Petroni (1361) - a Carthusian, and native of Siena - he, through his protege Gioacchino Ciani, was responsible for the 'conversion' of Boccaccio
Eleutherius, pope (c. 189) - supposedly corresponded with a 'British' king, Lucius, which led to the first preaching of Christianity in Britain
Felix I, pope (274) - true date of his death was 30 December (iii kal.jan.), but a misreading of 'jun.' for 'jan.' led to its being assigned to 30 May
Isaac of Constantinople, abbot (c. 410) - a hermit, he visited Constantinople to warn the emperor that a disaster would befall him unless he restored to Catholics the churches he had given to the Arians; after imprisonment -- during which the emperor was slain at the battle of Adrianople -- he founded a monastery
Exsuperantius, bishop of Ravenna (418) - was able to convince the invading army of Stilicho not to loot the cathedral
Madelgisilus or Mauguille (c. 655) - spent many years as a hermit in the company of a friend named Vulgan
Walstan (1016) - born and lived near Norwich as a servant; took vow of chastity, but never became a religious Graham Jones added : One of England's more obscure and exotic saints. Tradition made him a king's son who renounced his right to succession and became a farm labourer. Like St Sitha in Devon, Walstan is supposed to have been murdered with a scythe, the implement with which he is shown in Norfolk wall- and screen-paintings. His supposed mother, Blida, was also culted in Norfolk. See Journal of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History 38, Part 3, 1995, pp. 245-254: Miriam Gill, 'The saint with a scythe: a previously unidentified wall painting in the church of St Andrew, Cavenham'. Essentially a Norfolk saint, Walstan is very occasionally found culted and/or depicted in Suffolk and Essex.
Ferdinand III of Castile (1252) - after driving Moors from Seville, he turned the great mosque into a church; he also founded the University of Salamanca
James Brundage wrote to correct this entry: I have to disagree on the foundation of Salamanca. A university was functioning there long before Ferdinand III's time, pretty certainly by 1218 or 1219, according to Beltran de Heredia. Ferdinand III was certainly important in the university's history, gave it a royal charter, and thus might better be called a re-founder of Salamanca U.
Andrew, bishop of Pistoia (1401) - a Dominican, he resigned his bishopric and retired to his old convent
Joan of Arc, virgin (1431) - hard to believe that so much happened in her life before her execution at age 19
James Bertoni (1483) - soon after James's death, in recognition of his sanctity, his father was declared a burgher of Faenza and was granted exemption from all taxes; not bad!
William Scott and Richard Newport, martyrs (1612) - martyred as traitors at Tyburn
Petronilla, virgin and martyr (251?) - according to the Roman Martyrology: 'At Rome, [the commemoration of] St Petronilla, Virgin, daughter of the blessed Apostle Peter ...'; daughter of the apostle Peter??
Cantius, Cantianus and Cantianella, martyrs (304?) - beheaded while trying to escape from their persecutors
Mechtildis of Edelstetten, virgin (1160) - at age five, placed by her parents in double monastery they had founded on their own estate at Diessen, on the Ammersee in Bavaria; noted for her ecstasies and healings - this is not Mechtildis of Hackeborn, younger sister of Gertrude of Helfta
James the Venetian (1314) - a Dominican noted for his good works as prior at Forli', Faenza, San Severino and Ravenna; within a year of his death, a confraternity was formed in Forli' to promote his veneration
Angela Merici, virgin (1540) - founded the Company of St Ursula; canonized in 1807
Pamphilus and companions, martyrs (309)
- Was described by Eusebius as 'the most illustrious martyr of his day for philosophical learning and for every virtue'.
Wite, or Candida (?)
- All that is known of this saint is the tomb bearing her/his name which is found in the village of Whitchurch Canonicorum in Dorset.
Proculus 'the soldier, and Proculus bishop of Bologna, martyrs (c. 304 & 542)
- When the Benedictines at the end of the fourteenth century built a church upon the site of the subterranean chapel of St Sixtus, their Abbot John had the relics of the two saints moved to the new basilica, which received the name of St Proculus, or San Proclo.
Caprasius or Caprais (430)
- Spiritual master and guide of Honoratus of Lerins.
- Grandson of King Wiglaf of Mercia, was assassinated for opposing the marriage between his godfather and his widowed mother on accoung of their spiritual relationship. Others allege dynastic reasons for his assassination. For centuries after Wistan's murder, on the first day of June on the spot where he was murdered a crop of human hair - just like the one that had been scalped from Wistan's head - grew. It was visible for only an hour and then would disappear.
Simeon of Syracuse, monk (1035)
- Went on pilgramages and often lived in solitude. Lived for a time in a monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai. At one point in his life people believed that he was a magician and they would often attack him with stones. However, long before his death he was venerated as a saint and a wonder-worker.
Eneco or Inigo, abbot (1057)
- Lived as a hermit in the mountains of Aragon. He was called from his hermitage by King Sancho the Great to reform the abbey of San Juan de Pena.
Theobald of Alba, shoemaker (1150)
- Honoured througout Piedmont as the parton of cobblers and porters. He always gave two-thirds of his earnings to the poor.
Giovanni Pelingotto, Franciscan tertiary (1304)
- Came from a prosperous merchant family of Urbino. During his life he tended to the sick and to the poor.
Ercolano da Piegaro, Franciscan (1451)
- One of the foremost preachers of the fifteenth century. Last year, Daniel Nodes informed us of the following: 1 June is also the feast of Justin Martyr in the reckoning of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Pothinus and companions, martyrs of Lyon and Vienne (177)
- Pothinus was bishop, and according to his successor St Irenaeus, he had 'listened to those who had seen the Apostles'
Erasmus or Elmo, bishop and martyr (303?)
- popularly represented with a large aperture in his body through which his intestines have been wound around an instrument of torture next to him; invoked against cramp and colic, especially in children - also patron of mariners; 'St Elmo's fire' is name given to blue electrical discharges around the masts of ships (under certain atmospheric conditions)
Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs (304)
- Constantine built a church over their tomb; they were translated in 827, sent by pope Gregory IV to Eginhard (Charlemagne's former secretary) and deposited at Seligenstadt, near Frankfurt
Eugenius I, pope (657)
- named pope about a year after pope St Martin I had been carried off from Rome; Martin approved the appointment before he died
Stephen, bishop in Sweden, martyr (1075?)
- Last year Jonas Carlqvist informed us of the following: Adam of Bremen tell us that Stephen was a bishop consecrated in Bremen. Stephen was active in Helsingland, north of Uppsala (In confinio Sueonum vel Nortmannorum contra boream habitant Scritefinni, quos aiunt cursu feras preterire. Civitas eorum maxima Halsingland. Ad quam primus ab archiepiscopo designatus est Stenphi episcopus, quem ipse mutato nomine Symonem vocavit. Qui etiam multos earundem gentium sua predicatione lucratus est). In Sweden Stephen is known under the name Stenfinn which is a Nordic name, maybe he was from Sweden. Johannes Vastovius says in "Vitis aquilonia" that Stephen during a time was a brother of Korvey, but this is surely not true. It is probably just an attempt to find a connection with Saint Ansgar, the Nordic apostle. A problem is a diocese of Norrland during this time. The sources of a certain diocese up in the north of Sweden is besides Adam of Bremen two letters, one from Innocentius II (27/5 1133), and one from Fredrik I Barbarossa (16/3 1158), which both talks about a diocese of Norrland. This diocese must have come to an end before 1164. Stephen, or Stenfinn, was killed in the forest =D6dm=E5rden and buried in Norrala. This is told in the so called "The Prose Chronicle". A legend tells us that when Stephen was dying he decided that his body should be bound to the tail of an untamed horse and he wanted his body to be buried on that place where the horse stopped running. The horse halted at Norrala where a church was built (the church is rather neat and worth a visit when you are on your way up to the midnight sun). The swedish cult of Stephen is mixed with the cult of Stephen, protomartyr, and with the legendary Stephen, stableman of Herodes. The Swedish bishop was never officially canonized. No "vita" is preserved.
Nicholas the pilgrim (1094)
- a pious and simple Greek who wandered in Puglia; used to bear a cross in his right hand as he went along, chanting 'Kyrie eleison'
Sadoc and companions, martyrs (1260)
- while sitting in the refectory, the lector suddenly announced, as from a martyrology, 'At Sandomir [where they were, in Poland], forty-nine martyrs'; the next day, they were all killed while singing the 'Salve Regina'
Cecilius (c. 248)
- often confused with Cecilianus, who converted St Cyprian to Christianity
Pergentinus and Laurentinus, martyrs (251)
- patrons of Arezzo
Lucillian and companions, martyrs (273)
- Lucillian had been a pagan priest who converted in his old age to Christianity; when he and his companions were imprisoned, they were cared for by a woman named Paula, who herself was in turn martyred (in some representations, Lucillian and Paula are portrayed as husband and wife)
Clotilda, widow (545)
- wife of Clovis, king of the Salian Franks; greatly responsible for his conversion
Liphardus (or Lifard) and Urbicius, abbots (sixth century)
- developed a monastery now covered by the town of Meung-sur-Loire
Kevin or Coemgen, abbot of Glendalough (618?)
- a principal patron of Dublin
Genesius or Genet, bishop of Clermont (c. 660)
- accepted and remained in the bishopric unwillingly
Isaac of Cordova, martyr (852)
- was so proficient in Arabic that he served the Moors as a notary
Morand (c. 1115)
- fluent in French and in German - through one Lent, he fasted on only one bunch of grapes; now regarded as patron of vine-growers
Andrew of Spello (1254)
- present at death of Francis of Assisi
John 'the Sinner' (1600)
- a Hospitaller; foretold the destruction of the Spanish Armada
Quirinus, bishop of Siscia, martyr (308)
- killed by being thrown into the river Raab with a stone around his neck
Metrophanes, bishop of Byzantium (c. 325)
- bishop in the days of Constantine
Optatus, bishop of Milevis (c. 387)
- wrote against the Donatists
Petroc, abbot (sixth century)
- a Welshman, he ran the monastery of Lanwethinoc, founded by St Wethinoc; sometime before the eleventh century the monks moved to Bodmin in Cornwall, taking Petroc's body with them - in 1177 the relics were stolen by one of the canons of Bodwin priory, who gave them to the abbey of Saint-Meen in Brittany, but king Henry II obliged the community there to restore the remains; they did so, in a reliquary that was the gift of Walter of Coutances - this reliquary was hidden during the Reformation and forgotten; re-discovered in the eighteenth century, this in turn was stolen in 1994, and was restored to Bodwin last year on this very day being
Dorotheus of Tyre, martyr (362?)
- a priest and perhaps bishop of Tyre, driven into exile during the reign of Diocletian; died under Julian the Apostate, aged 107
Boniface, archbishop of Mainz, martyr (754)
- In 754 Boniface resinged as archbishop of Mainx to return to his earlier attempt to convert the Frisians. His attempts were met with great hostilites by the locals, and he and fifty-two companions (some accounts say thirty-seven) were killed at Dokkum on the River Borne.
Sanctius or Sancho, martyr (851)
- today's martyrdom technique: he was extended on the ground and impaled while still alive, in front of several comrades
Meinwerk, bishop of Paderborn (1036)
- his last work was to build a church patterned after that of the Holy Sepulchre, to contain relics brought to him from Jerusalem by an abbot named 'Wino'
Ferdinand of Portugal (1443)
- before dying in prison, he had a vision of Mary, the archangel Michael and John the Evangelist - imprisoned with his secretary and future hagiographer, Alvarez
Philip the Deacon (first century)
- baptized Simon Magus
Ceratius or Cerase, bishop of Grenoble (c. 455)
- perhaps also the same person who was the first bishop of Eauze
Eustorgius II, bishop of Milan (518)
- one of thirty-six archbishops and bishops of this city to be object of a cult
Jarlath, bishop of Tuam (c. 550)
- founder of this episcopal seat in Galway
Gudwal or Gurval or Godwald (sixth century)
- probably one of the earliest missionaries who evangelized Brittany
Claude, bishop of Besancon (c. 699)
- his cult became widespread in the twelfth century when his body was found to be incorrupt
Norbert, archbishop of Magdeburg, founder of the Canons Regular of Premontre (1134)
- had a conversion experience similar to that of Saul/Paul - with Bernard of Clairvaux, he backed Innocent II's claims to the papacy
Gerard of Monza (1207)
- once in mid-winter he asked permission to spend the night in prayer in a church, but the doorkeepers said he could do so only if he would get them some cherries; he accepted their condition, and the next day presented them with a bunch of fresh ripe cherries as he left the church (hence his portrayal as a saint holding cherries in his hand)
Lorenzo of Villamagna (1535)
- a famous preacher, who would scourge himself severely before delivering his sermons - he too had a 'cherry miracle' very similar to that of Gerard
Paul I, Bishop of Constantinople (350)
Meriadoc, bishop (sixth century)
- Meriadoc's cult thrived in Brittany and Cornwall. The account of his life survives in the Cornish text Beunans Meriasek .
Colman of Dromore, bishop (sixth century)
- The first bishop of Dromore in County Down.
Vulflagius, husband, priest and hermit (643)
- As a young man, Vulflagius married and had three daughters. He led such an exemplary life that his fellow citizens elected him as their priest. Accordingly, with the consent of his wife, Vulflagius received ordination from St Riquier. However, after a few months he resumed relations with his wife. He soon regretted this and undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. When he returned he still regarded himself as unworthy to act as a shepherd to others and decided to lead the life of a hermit. As a hermit he received the gifts of prophecy and healing.
Willibard, Bishop of Eichstatt (786)
- Willibard was born in the kingdom of the West Saxons. After many travels he eventually found himself in Franconia where he was consecrated bishop of Eichstatt by St Boniface. Willibard set about proselytising the area. One of his achievements was the founding of a double monastery at Heidenheim where his brother, St Winebald ruled the monks, and his sister St Walburga ruled the nuns. Gottschalk, martyr (1066)
Robert, Abbot of Newminster (1159)
: Robert was born in Yorkshire. When he was ordained to the priesthood he ministered as rector of Gargrave. He then decided to enter the monastic life and moved to Whitby where he took the Benedictine habit. Afterwards, he and a band of monks settled in the valley of Skeldale and founded Fountains Abbey.
Maximin d'Aix (first century?)
- one of Jesus's seventy-two disciples, he left Palestine after the Ascension with Mary Magdalen, Martha, Lazarus, Mary Cleophas, Mary Salome and others in order to evangelize Provence; the head of Mary Magdalen is still supposed to be in the church dedicated to Maximin Last year Sophie Oosterwijk noted the following: ... although the church of Ste Madeleine in Vezelay, France, owed its fame to its claim (from the 11th century on) that it held the relics of Mary Magdalen - a claim discredited already in the Middle Ages
Medard, bishop of Vermandois (c. 560)
- gave the veil to Radegunde - in Salency (his native town), if it rains on St Medard's feast the forty ensuing days will be wet; if the weather is fine, the next forty days will also be fine -- anyone know the forecast?
Clodulf or Cloud, bishop of Metz (c. 692)
- his father, St Arnoul, was also bishop of Metz
William, archbishop of York (1154)
- scenes from his life are in the stained glass windows of York - canonized in 1227 by pope Honorius III
Giovanni Rainuzzi (1330?)
- relics discovered in 1568: while an exorcism was pronounced in the crypt of a church in Todi, the demoniac suddenly cried out 'Here rests the body of Blessed John the Almsgiver'; soon some bones were discovered, with an inscription identifying these as the remains of Johannes Raynutius de Todi
Pacifico Ramota (1482)
- author of popular Sometta di pacifica coscienza, a work of moral theology; charged by pope Sixtus IV to preach a crusade against Mohammed II, but he died soon after beginning to do so
Primus and Felician, martyrs (c. 297)
- in 640 Pope Theodore caused their relics to be brought from their tomb in the Via Nomentana to the church of Santo Stefano Rotondo; this translation was an early instance of the removal of bodies of martyrs from a church dedicated to them outside the walls of Rome to a basilica within the city
Vincent d'Agen, martyr (c. 300)
- a Gascon deacon, he was martyred after he interrupted a pagan ceremony
Pelagia of Antioch, virgin and martyr (c. 311)
- she killed herself rather than let soldiers arrest and rape her; named in canon of Ambrosian mass of Milan
Columba or Colmcille, abbot of Iona (597)
- perhaps Scotland's most popular saint, even though he was Irish
Richard, bishop of Andria (twelfth century)
- although his acts' say he was an Englishman and the first bishop of this Pugliese town in the fifth century, it may well be that the real Richard was another Englishman of this name, a late twelfth-century bishop
Diana, Cecilia and Amata, virgins (1236 and 1290)
- Dominican nuns, who knew Dominic himself in Bologna
Silvestro Ventura (1348)
- a lay-brother in the Camaldolese monastery of St Mary in Florence; although totally uneducated, many learned men sought his advice; he would dissuade people from undertaking prolonged penitential exercises as tending to pride
Henry the Shoemaker (1666)
- among the founders, in Paris, of the 'Freres Cordonniers'
Getulius and companions, martyrs (c. 120)
- Getulius was a soldier before resigning and heading for the Sabine hills near Tivoli (an astute man!); he, along with some other ex-soldiers and Christians, was martyred on the Via Salaria
Ithamar, bishop of Rochester (c. 656)
- first Englishman to occupy an English bishopric
Landericus or Landry, bishop of Paris (c. 660)
- to him is attributed the foundation of the city's first real hospital, near Notre-Dame, dedicated to St Christopher; this later grew to be the Hotel-Dieu
Olive of Palermo, virgin and martyr (ninth century?)
- a thirteen-year-old maiden, she was captured by Saracens who took her to Tunis, where she lived in a cave outside the city; when it was discovered that she was curing people and converting them to Christianity, she was tortured and beheaded (at which time her soul, in the form of a dove, was seen to soar upward)
Margaret of Scotland, matron (1093)
- supposedly altered the behaviour of husband, king Malcolm, so that he became a most virtuous king; it was written of her: 'there was a gravity in her very joy, and something stately in her anger'
Bogumilus, archbishop of Gniezno (1182)
- twin brother of Boguphalus, nephew of local archbishop John; after five years as archbishop, he left to join the Camaldolese monks living at Uniow
Henry of Treviso (1315)
- after his death, 276 miracles were recorded by local notaries
Bonaventure of Peraga, cardinal (1386)
- held chair of theology at Bologna; was member of Augustinian Order of Hermits (the first of his order to be named cardinal)
Giovanni Dominici, archbishop of Ragusa, cardinal (1419)
- vita written by St Antoninus; encouraged pope Gregory XII to resign as means of ending the schism
Barnabas, apostle (first century)
- the Acts of Barnabas detail his martyrdom in Cyprus and the miracles that took place at his tomb
Felix and Fortunatus, martyrs (296?)
- the Romans tried to burn them with boiling oil, but this did not work, so they had no choice but to behead them
- likely a native of Treviso, he received Camaldolese habit at age twelve; he served as spiritual director of the nuns of St Christina for 77 years.
Basilides and companions, martyrs (third century?)
- it seems that the stories of these martyrs were somehow brought together from several different sources; Basilides was buried by the fourth milestone of the Via Aurelia
Antonina, martyr (304?)
- her tortures are quite differently described in various accounts; claimed as patron or native of Bithynia, Galicia and Aegean island of Cea
- a hermit of the Egyptian desert - is this the saint whose hair was so long that he didn't need to wear clothes?
Ternan, bishop (fifth or sixth century)
- one of the earliest bishops of the Picts; Aberdeen Breviary states he was a native of the Mearns, and was baptized by St Palladius
Peter of Mount Athos (eighth century?)
- Peter lived on the slopes of this mountain long before there were any monasteries; a vision of the Virgin Mary led him to live there as a hermit
Leo III, pope (816)
- in 799 he survived an attack of in which conspirators tried to cut out his tongue - crowned Charlemagne on 25 December 800 (Can anyone tell me where I can find the depiction of Leo III and Charlemagne happily sitting next to one another with their arms around each other's shoulders. I have seen this illustration in the past, but I have been unable to locate it recently. Thanks!)
Odulf (c. 855)
- missionary of Friesland
Eskil, bishop and martyr (c. 1080)
- after breaking up a pagan feast, the pagans up and killed him; buried in town named after him, Eskilstuna
Stephen Bandelli (1450)
- in 1487, the image of this one-time professor at Pavia and renowned preacher was seen in the sky over the town where he had died, Saluzzo
John of Sahagun (1479)
- supposedly poisoned by a woman whose affair with a local dignitary of Salamanca was broken up by John.
Felicula, martyr (90?)
- offered the choice of marrying someone (Flaccus, rejected suitor of St Petronilla) or sacrificing to idols, she chose to starve herself, until eventually tortured and suffocated in the sewers of Rome
Aquilina, martyr (end of third century?)
- after her execution, it was ordered that her body be mutilated; but instead of blood, there was milk that flowed from her
Triphyllius, bishop of Nicosia (c. 370)
- described by Jerome as 'the most eloquent of his age'
Gerard of Clairvaux (1138)
- Bernard's second and favourite brother, but not among the party of young relatives and friends who had accompanied Bernard when he entered Citeaux
Antony of Padua, doctor (1231)
- a journal, Il Santo, is dedicated to the study of Antony - patron of those seeking lost objects; invoked incessantly by some who will go unnamed.
Basil the Great, archbishop of Caesarea and doctor of the church, patriarch of eastern monks (379)
- Throughout his busy life Basil never fell behind in regard to his pastoral duties. He had the wonderful gift of making his audience feel uncomfortable, especially the rich. In one sermon he preached the following: "You refuse to give on the pretext that you have not got enough for your own needs. But while your tongue makes excuses, your hand convicts you - that ring shining on your finger silently declares you to be a liar! How many debtors could be released from prison with one of those rings? How many shivering people could be clothed from only one of your wardrobes? And yet you turn the poor away empty-handed ... Do not put your own interests before the common need. Give your last loaf to the beggar at your door, and trust in God's goodness."
Valerius and Rufinus, martyrs (287)
- Nearly all the martyrologies mention these two saints who were martyred near Soissons towards the close of the third century. According to some accounts they were missionaries sent form Rome to evangelise Gaul. According to others, they were local Gallo-Romans who held the office of keepers of an imperial granary.
Dogmael (not Dogmeal!) (sixth century)
-Not too much is known about this obscure saint whose cult flourished in Brittany and Wales. He was sometimes invoked by anxious parents to help their little children learn how to walk.
Methodius I, patriarch of Constantinople (847)
- Took part in the final overthrow of Iconoclasm.
Castora Gabrielli, Franciscan tertiary (1391)
- Married a man with a violent temper. She had one child, Odo, whom she educated and raised to be a religious man. After her husband died, she became a Franciscan tertiary. She sold all her possessions and gave all the proceeds to the poor.
Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia, martyrs (c. 300?)
- Vitus came to be known as protector of epileptics as well as those suffering from the nervous ailment called St Vitus's Dance
Hesychius, martyr (302?)
- martyr of Durostorum in Moesia (present-day Silistria in Bulgaria)
Tatian Dulas, martyr (c. 310?)
- after his martyrdom, his body was thrown into a ditch, where it was discovered by a shepherd's dog, thus coming to the attention of the Christians of the place (Cilicia) who came and buried it properly
Orsiesius, abbot (c. 380)
- trained with special care by Pachomius; as abbot, he was so strict that opposition mounted to the point where he had to resign
Landelinus, abbot (c. 686)
- founder of Lobbes and Crespin
Edburga of Winchester, virgin (960)
- while the other nuns of her abbey slept, she would silently remove their shoes, clean them and replace them beside their beds
Bardo, archbishop of Mainz (1053)
- although very austere, he had a collection of rare birds, many of which he had tamed and had taught to feed from his hand
Aleydis or Alice, virgin (1250)
- died of leprosy while in the care of Cistercian nuns of Bois de la Cambre (near Brussels)
Jolenta of Hungary, widow (1299)
- as wife of duke Boleslaus of Halich, she made various religious foundations
Ferreolus and Ferrutio, martyrs (c. 212?)
- together they evangelized Besancon and surrounding area
Cyricus and Julitta, martyrs (304?)
- the Acts of Cyricus and Julitta were proscribed in the decree of Pseudo-Gelasius regarding books 'which ought not to be received'.
Tychon, bishop of Amathus (fifth century?)
- patron of Cypriot vine-growers
Aurelian, bishop of Arles (551)
- grave was discovered in Lyon in 1308
Benno, bishop of Meissen (c. 1106)
- while walking one day, he was bothered by the croaking of nearby frogs, and ordered them to be quiet; when they obeyed, Benno felt remorse, and told them to sing on, and give glory to God in their own manner
Guido da Cortona (c. 1245)
- was told of the hour of his death in a vision, by Francis of Assisi
Lutgardis, virgin (1246)
- she was so vehement in prayer that she burst a blood vessel; in a vision, it was revealed to her that this flow of blood was an equivalent to martyrdom
Nicander and Marcian, martyrs (fourth century)
- were soldiers who converted to Christianity; they are supposed to have died in: Durostorum (Bulgaria), Tomi (Romania), Alexandria (Egypt) and Venafro (Italy)
Bessarion (fourth century)
- he was known for being a disciple of St Antony, then of St Macarius
Hypatius, abbot (446?)
- a priest heard the young Hypatius singing to his sheep, and decided to teach him the Psalter and how to chant - invoked in the Greek church as a protector against harmful beasts
Avitus, abbot (530?)
- buried near Orleans; Gregory of Tours relates miracles that took place at the tomb
Nectan (sixth century?)
- medieval cult was fostered by the Augustinian canons who were custodians of his tomb in Devon
Herve or Harvey, abbot (sixth century)
- one of the most popular Breton saints; invoked for eye-trouble
Botulf or Botolph, abbot, and Adulf (c. 680)
- relics were preserved in Boston (i.e. 'Botulf's Stone'), Lincolnshire.
Georges Whalen has asked: Does anyone know how (and maybe which) of Botolph's relics got to Boston? The Bury St Edmunds documents (edited by Thomas Arnold in the Rolls Series in 1896) talk of how parts of the relics went (from Blythburh, I believe) to Bury early in the eleventh century. There are links with Edgar as well, who kept part of the saint in his treasury, so that Cnut was then able to grant it out. (If it sounds confused, it may be as much my interpretation as that in the sources, which isn't totally straightforward) But did it then get to Boston later?
George Ferzoco replied: I was far too hasty in saying that Botolph's relics ARE in Boston. They WERE there for a few centuries, until they were divided between Thorney, Ely and Westminster; this according to the Bibliotheca Sanctorum. I didn't know about Cnut's unusual use of a royal treasury; but that's simply my ignorance.
Moling, bishop in Leinster (697)
- during his later life he fasted every day, except when entertaining guests
Rainerius of Pisa (1160)
- Pisa's principal patron; he seems to have preached, but there is no record of him receiving holy orders - from the use he made of holy water in his miracles of healing he was nicknamed 'De Aqua'
Teresa and Sanchia of Portugal (1250 & 1229)
- daughters of Sancho I, king of Portugal; their sister Mafalda was also known for her holiness
Pietro da Pisa (1435)
- founder of the Hermits (or Poor Brothers) of St Jerome, whose members became so few that it was suppressed in 1933 (thus lasting much longer than most medieval congregations)
Mark and Marcellian, martyrs (c. 287)
- pierced with lances, their relics were transported to the catacomb of St Balbina, and eventaully translated to the church of Sts Cosmas and Damian before reaching their present home, the basilica of St Praxedes in Rome
Ephraem, doctor (c. 373)
- a very prolific writer and liturgist, known as 'the harp of the Holy Spirit'
Amandus, bishop of Bordeaux (c. 431)
- a lifelong friend of Paulinus of Nola
Elizabeth of Schonau, virgin (1164)
- among her many visions was one of the martyrdom of St Ursula and her companions described in Liber revelationum de sacro exercitu virginum Coloniensium; Elizabeth's writings (Liber visionum, Liber viarum Dei, and Liber revelationum de sacro exercitu virginum Coloniensium) were more circulated in the Middle Ages than the works of Elisabeth's contemporary and friend Hildegard of Bingen.
Gervase and Protase, martyrs (?)
- venerated as the protomartyrs of Milan; the remains of St Ambrose are buried along with those of these martyrs
Deodatus or Didier or Die, bishop of Nevers (679?)
- after several years as bishop, he resigned in order to lead a solitary life; however, he attracted so many followers he had to establish a monastery for them in the Vosges
Bruno or Boniface of Querfurt, bishop and martyr (1009)
- a hagiographer of St Adalbert of Prague, he preached to convert Prussians; martyred in eastern Masovia; his relics were purchased by Boleslaus the Brave, who removed them to Poland
Odo, bishop of Cambrai (1113)
- attributed to him, among his many writings, was a polyglot psalter in four languages
Giuliana Falconieri, virgin (1341)
- founded the Servite nuns, following the example of her uncle, St Alexis, who was one of the founders of the Servite Order; died in an ecstasy before the holy sacrament
Silverus, pope and martyr (c. 537)
- was the son of Pope Saint Hormisdas
Goban or Gobain, martyr (c. 670)
- a disciple of St Fursey, accompanying him to East Anglia; then went to Gaul with St Ultan
Bagnus or Bain, bishop of Therouanne (c. 710)
- evangelized the area around Calais
Adalbert, archbishop of Magdeburg (981)
- chosen by Otto the Great to evangelize the Wends; wasn't entirely successful, given the crusades against them centuries later
John of Matera, abbot of Pulsano (1139)
- built a monastery three miles from the site of the appearance of St Michael on Mount Gargano; this served effectively as the centre of the congregation named after this mountain
Michelina da Pesaro, widow (1356)
- converted to a life of poverty by a Franciscan tertiary named Syriaca; once, when Michelina failed to resist the temptation to eat pork, she beat herself with an iron chain until the blood flowed: she exclaimed to herself, 'Do you still want pork, Michelina? Do you still want pork?' Not after that, she didn't.
Osanna da Mantova, virgin (1505)
- a Dominican, whose early ecstasies were originally thought to be epileptic fits (indeed, her first vision was at age five)
Eusebius, bishop of Samosata (c. 379)
- seems he should be a martyr, as he died after an Arian woman, standing on a roof, threw a tile down onto his head; he died several days later from the wounds
Alban or Albinus of Mainz, martyr (fifth century)
- one of the cephalophoric saints, who carried their heads in their hands following decapitation
Meen or Mewan, abbot (sixth century?)
- a healer of various skin diseases
Engelmund (c. 720)
- most famous assistant of St Willibrord in evangelizing the Netherlands
Leutfridus or Leufroy, abbot (738)
- he loved poverty so much that he once refused Christian burial to a monk who had died with money in his possession
Ralph or Raoul, archbishop of Bourges (866)
- many Western governments take note: Ralph referred to those who interfered with the finances of hospitals as 'murderers of the poor'
Alban, martyr (?)
- protomartyr of the island of Britain; feast kept on this day throughout England and Wales, except in the diocese of Brentwood (23 June)
Nicetas, bishop of Remesiana (c. 414)
- Baronius mistakenly transferred the commemoration, when he revised the martyrology, from this date to 7 January; there, it is written: 'In Dacia of St Nicetas, Bishop, who by his preaching made nations mild and gentle that before were barbarous and savage'
Paulinus, bishop of Nola (431)
- studied under Ausonius; of his numerous writings, only 32 letters, 51 letters and a few fragments have survived
Eberhard, archbishop of Salzburg (1164)
- in the struggle between Frederick Barbarossa and pope Alexander III, Eberhard was one of a small number of German dignitaries who refused to recognize the antipope Victor IV
Innocent V, pope (1277)
- the first Dominican pope; his cult is limited to the Dominican order
Agrippina, virgin and martyr (262?)
- invoked against evil spirits, leprosy and thunderstorms
Etheldreda or Audrey, abbess of Ely, widow (679)
- the word tawdry , a corruption of Saint Audrey , was originally applied to the cheap necklaces and other trinkets sold at St Audrey's great annual fair
Lietbertus or Libert, bishop of Cambrai (1076)
- to console himself after an unsuccessful attempt at travelling to Jerusalem, he built a monastery and church in Cambrai, dedicating them to the Holy Sepulchre
Peter of Jully (1136)
- was chaplain to a convent which had as its prioress St Bernard's sister, Humbelina
Lanfranc, bishop of Pavia (1194)
- this is NOT Lanfranc of Canterbury, who was born in Pavia; THIS Lanfranc had ceaseless disputes with local authorities, and had to take refuge at least once in a nearby Vallombrosan monastery (San Sepolcro)
Marie d'Oignies (1213)
- her vita was written by Jacques de Vitry, who had been her confessor and disciple
Thomas Corsini (1345)
- joined the Servites after he had repeated visions of Mary, inviting him to fight under her banner
the birthday of John the Baptist
- it's a holiday in Quebec; salut la bas!
martyrs under Nero (64)
- scapegoats for the great fire of Rome
Simplicius, bishop of Autun (fourth or fifth century)
- after his election to the episcopate, Simplicius and his wife, to prove themselves to the public, voluntarily submitted to an ordeal by fire
Bartholomew of Farne (1193)
- spent 42 years on this island off the Northumbrian coast
Febronia, martyr (304?)
- as a young woman, she preached to the nuns of Nisibis (in Mesopotamia) every Friday; when arrested following the edicts of Diocletian, she was fastened to four posts over a slow fire, and scourged: 17 of her teeth were pulled out and her breasts were cut off, and then her limbs were cut off, and then she was well and truly killed with more blows from an ax(e)... a very famous passio.
Gallicanus, martyr (352?)
- a great general who converted to Christianity, settled in Ostia but then went into exile in Egypt, where he lived as a hermit until he had his head chopped off
Prosper of Aquitaine (c. 465)
- known as 'the Aquitainian doctor', his writings (mostly defences of Augustine on grace and free will) were quite popular; but little is known of his life
Prosper, bishop of Reggio (466?)
- as often happens, more than one saint with the same name are venerated on the same day; this Prosper is mistakenly identified with the earlier Prosper in the Roman Martyrology
Maximus, bishop of Turin (c. 467)
- although his theological treatises are not extant, his sermons are; these sermons describe pre-christian customs of the rural population around Turin. For an edition of the sermons see A. Mutzenbecher, ed., Sermonum collectio antiqua, nonnullis sermonibus extravagentibus adiectis (Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina - Continuatio Mediaevalis, 23)
. Brepols, 1963.
Moloc or Molluog or Murlach or Mortlach or Luan, bishop (572?)
- very popular saint in Scotland; king Malcolm II attributed his victory over the Danes in 1010 to the intercession of Mary and Mortlach, and in thanksgiving established in a place named after the saint an episcopal see which was subsequently transferred to Aberdeen
Adalbert of Egmond (early eighth century)
- a deacon who assisted Willibrord; he evangelized the area around Egmond
Eurosia, virgin and martyr (eighth century?)
- devotion to her appears to have begun in the fifteenth century, in Jaca, Spain, and in Lombardy; invoked against bad weather
Gohard, bishop of Nantes, and companions, martyrs (843)
- with a group of monks, he was killed by marauding Northmen; relics taken to Angers, his native town
William of Vercelli, abbot of Monte Vergine (1142)
- at age 14 set out on pilgrimage to Compostela with two iron bands fastened around his body, just to make the trip more of a challenge - the monastery he founded at Monte Vergine (or Monte Virgiliano) followed a very austere rule: on three days of the week, only vegetables and dry bread could be eaten
Henry Zdik, bishop of Olomuc (1150)
- during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he took the Premonstratensian habit; a few years later, preached to convert the Prussians
John the Spaniard (1160)
- compiled a constitution for Carthusian nuns
Guido Maramaldi (1391)
- a Neapolitan Dominican, who became inquisitor general for the kingdom of Naples
John and Paul, martyrs (362?)
- their shrine of the Coelian Hill was a pilgrimage site; today it is served by Passionist priests
Vigilius, bishop of Trent, martyr (405)
- principal patron of the Trentino and Italian Tirol
Maxentius, abbot (c. 515)
- ate only barley bread and water; became a hunchback due to his constant prayer
Salvius or Sauve, and Superius (c. 768)
- the latter-named saint's name was given to a corpse found over the remains of Salvius; because it was on top, it was designated 'Superius' or 'Superus'
John, bishop of the GOths (c. 800)
- honoured in the East for his resistance to Iconoclasm
Pelagius, martyr (925)
- famous boy martyr, known more commonly as Pelayo
Anthelm, bishop of Belley (1178)
- seventh prior of Grande Chartreuse; tried to reconcile Thomas Becket and Henry II
Zoilus and companions, martyrs (304?)
- died at Cordova; bodies discovered during reign of king Reccared
Samson of Constantinople (fifth century)
- a physician and priest, he founded a hospital for the sick poor of Constantinople
John of Chinon (sixth century)
- a hermit whose fame spread to St Radegund, who sent a messanger to John to ask for advice, prayers and hair-shirt
George Mtasmindeli, abbot (1066)
- doctor of the Georgian Church; wrote treatises The Months and The Fasts.
Ladislaus, king of Hungary (1095)
- a model of chivalry; buried in Nagy Varad, in the city and cathedral he had founded
Benvenuto of Gubbio (1232)
- a soldier who joined the circle of Francis and modelled his life on that of the Poverello
Plutarch, Potamiaena and companions, martyrs (c. 202)
- Plutarch (and his brother, St Haraclas, later to be bishop of Alexandria) was converted by listening to Origen's lectures; a lot of good it did him and his companions: Plutarch was beheaded, Potamiaena was slowly lowered into a cauldron of boiling pitch, and her executioner, who converted, was beheaded
Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon (c. 203)
- of his many writings most are lost; the most famous was his treatise against the gnostics
Paul I, pope (767)
- died while staying at St Paul's outside the Walls, where he had gone to escape the summer heat
- a nomadic wonder worker
Sergius and Germanus of Valaam, abbots (?)
- likely introduced monasticism to the south-eastern region of Finland
Peter (c. 64)
Paul (c. 67)
Cassius, bishop of Narni (538)
- composed his own epitaph in verse
Salome and Judith (ninth century?)
- supposedly these were English nobles, Judith being Salome's cousin or niece; both were buried at Ober Altaich in Bavaria
Emma, widow (c. 1045)
- founded a double monastery and the church of Gurk, in Carinthia
Martial, bishop of Limoges (c. 250)
- an eleventh-century vita claims that he was one of the seventy-two disciples of Jesus;
Bertrand, bishop of Le Mans (623)
- was particularly concerned with the planting of vineyards in his diocese
Erentrude, virgin (c. 718)
- in the early eleventh century, emperor St Henry attributed his cure from illness to her intervention
Theobald or Thibaud of Prvins (1066)
- travelled with another noble, Walter, to Reims, Suxy (Ardennes), forest of Pettingen (Luxemburg), Compostela, Rome and other Italian holy places before settling in Salanigo, near Vicenza
Arnulf of Villers (1228)
- a Cistercian lay-brother known for his mortifications and penitential exercises; in later years he suffered from St Vitus's Dance, and while scourging himself he would laugh and dance.
The Precious Blood
- an office 'of the Blood of Christ' was conceded to the archdiocese of Valencia in 1582.
Shenute, abbot (c. 466)
- quick-tempered and violent abbot of Dair-al-Abaid, near Atripe in the Thebaid.
Theodoric or Thierry, abbot (533)
- cured king Theodoric I of ophthalmia; founded community at Mont d'Or, near Reims.
Carilefus or Calais, abbot (c. 540)
- with St Avitus he founded a community in the Maine, around which grew the town of Saint-Calais (not to be confused with the port of Calais, across the English Channel from Dover).
Gall, bishop of Clermont (551)
- a great singer, who served as cantor in the chapel of king Theodoric.
Eparchius or Cybard (581)
- Gregory of Tours attests to a large cult of this saint.
Simeon Salus (sixth century)
- deemed by many to be a fool (Greek 'salos' = 'mad'); lived in the desert near the Dead Sea for almost thirty years.
Serf or Servanus, bishop (sixth century?)
- patron and apostle of the Orkney Islands; one legend has it that he was a son of the king of the Picts, who gave up his right to the throne and then studied at Alexandria, was made patriarch of Jerusalem and eventually pope before resigning in order to preach to the Scots.
Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Processus and Martinian, martyrs (?)
- supposedly guarded Peter and Paul while in the Mamertine prison.
Monegundis, widow (570)
- lived as a recluse first at Chartres then at Tours, where so many fervent women joined her that the convent of St Pierre-le-Puellier was founded..
Otto, bishop of Bamberg (1139)
- baptised more than 20,000 eastern Pomeranians.
Peter of Luxemburg, bishop of Metz and cardinal (1387)
- all this before or in his eighteenth year!.
Anatolius, bishop of Laodicea (c. 283)
- Alexandrian philosopher, physical scientist and mathematician.
Irenaeus and Mustiola, martyrs (third century?)
- Turcius, a Roman officer, first tortured Irenaeus to death in front of Mustiola, then had her beaten to death with clubs; martyrdoms took place in Chiusi.
Julius and Aaron, martyrs (304?)
- Welshmen who were killed in Caerleon, Monmouthshire; there are several extant local evidences of a medieval cult to the two.
Heliodorus, bishop of Altino (c. 400)
- earned the wrath of Jerome by not following him to the East, but the two remained friends and frequent correspondents.
Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople (458)
- only his public career, largely dealing with the way he received his see, is known; Baronius condemned him for ambition and conniving at heresy (but the Bollandists claim him to be innocent of such charges).
Leo II, pope (683)
- condemned Monthelism, and built the church of St George in Velabro.
Rumold or Rombaut, martyr (c. 775)
- converted the region of Mechelen / Malines (Belgium).
Bernardino Realino (1616)
- known largely due to miraculous relic of his blood, that did not coagulate for many years after his death.
Bertha, widow (c. 725)
- built a nunnery at Blangy in Artois.
Andrew of Crete, archbishop of Gortyna (740?)
- was dumb until he received his first communion; went on to be a great homilist, particularly as regards Mary.
Odo, archbishop of Canterbury (959)
- made his native East Anglia into a separate diocese, and encouraged Dunstan's reforms at Glastonbury.
Ulric, bishop of Augsburg (973)
- the first person to be canonized by a pope (of whom we have record); the pope was John XV, the year 993.
William of Hischau, abbot (1091)
- active in a variety of pursuits; he introduced Cluniac reform to the abbey of Hirsau; there he instituted the Constitutiones Hirsaugienses which were inspired by the Consuetudines Cluniacenses; he wrote a treatise on music (De musica) and one on astronomy (De astronomia); he invented an ingenious clock.
Athanasius the Athonite, abbot (c. 1000)
- introduced monastic life to Mount Athos.
Antonia Maria Zaccaria (1539)
- founder of the Clerks Regular of St Paul.
Romulus, bishop of Fiesole, martyr (90?)
- like the founder of Rome, he was supposedly suckled by a wolf .
Dominica, virgin and martyr (303?)
- cult centred in Tropea (Calabria); perhaps confused with Byzantine St Cyriaca.
Sisoes (c. 429)
- lived in vicinity of the mountain where St Antony had died.
Goar (c. 575)
- wrongly brought to trial before the bishop of Trier, this hermit was cleared thanks to a three-day-old child's testimony.
Sexburga, abbess of Ely, widow (c. 699)
- sister of saints Etheldreda, Ethelburga and Withburga, and half-sister of St Sethrida; honoured in England and Sweden.
Modwenna, virgin (seventh century?)
- a recluse who lived on a small island called Andresey, in the Trent River (England).
Godeleva, martyr (1070?)
- drowned in a river of Flanders; the site became a place of pilgrimage, where people drink the water and invoke the saint's intercession against sore throats.
Pantaenus (c. 200)
- once a Stoic philosopher, he became head of the Alexandria catechetical school; Eusebius says he had been a missionary to India, where he met Christians who had been converted thanks to the apostle Bartholomew; nicknamed 'the Sicilian bee'.
Palladius, bishop (432)
- persuaded St Germain d'Auxerre to preach in Britain against Pelagianism; was himself eventually sent by Pope Celestine I.
Felix, bishop of Nantes (582)
- this is actually the feast of the translation of his relics; he died on 6 January.
Ethelburga, Ercongota and Sethrida, virgins (c. 664 and 660)
- Ethelburga and Sethrida, half-sisters, were abbesses of abbey of Faremoutier, in the forest of Brie; niece Ercongota was divinely forewarned of her death by a vision of angels.
Hedda, bishop of Winchester (705)
- at his tomb, people would come to his tomb with dirt, mix it with water, and sprinkle the mixture on sick men and animals.
Cyril and Methodius (869 and 884)
- brothers, natives of Thessalonika, venerated as apostles of the southern Slavs and fathers of Slavonic literary culture.
Benedict XI, pope (1304)
- when his mother came to visit him at the papal court, he refused to welcome her until she changed out of her fancy clothes purchased for the occasion, into her everyday attire.
Aquila and Prisca (or Priscilla) (first century)
- hosted Paul on his visit to Corinth.
Procopius, martyr (303)
- protomartyr of the Diocletian persecution in Palestine.
Kilian and companions, martyrs (c. 689)
- killed by a woman whose marriage was condemned by Kilian.
Withburga, virgin (c. 743)
- when her body was translated in 1106, it was not corrupted (indeed, her limbs were still flexible).
Adrian III, pope (885)
- died near Modena, where there remains a liturgical commemoration of him.
- a very good singer (in addition to being on good terms with England's kings Alfred and Edward).
Sunniva and companions (tenth century?)
- after shipwreck on island of Selje (near Norway), they were trapped in a cave after a landslide.
Raymond of Toulouse (1118)
- instrumental in the construction of the collegiate church of St Sernin.
Eugenius III, pope (1153)
- first Cistercian pope; dedicatee of Bernard's De consideratione.
Elizabeth of Portugal, widow (1336)
- a good influence on husband, king Denis of Portugal.
Everild, virgin (c. 700)
- St Wilfrid gave her and two companions land near York, where they established a thriving community.
Giovanna Scopelli (of Reggio), virgin (1491)
- cured people with physical illnesses and heretical views.
John Fisher and Thomas More, martyrs (1535)
- most renowned victims of Henry VIII.
the Seven Brothers, and Felicity, martyrs (second century?)
- although Felicity's feast is normally observed on 23 November, it is often commemorated along with that of the seven brothers who were her children, essentially given over to the death sentence by their mother (she chose that they die as Christians rather than live as pagans).
Rufina and Secunda, virgins and martyrs (257?)
- buried at a place called 'Silva Nigra', that became known as 'Silva Candida'; this in turn became an episcopal see and appurtenant to the cardinalate.
Amalburga, widow (c. 690)
- born in Brabant, she became an ascetic nun at Mauberge.
Amalburga, virgin (c. 770)
- born in the Ardenne; king Pepin tried to get her to marry his son Charles ( -> Charlemagne), but the young beauty chose to enter the religious life; she is invoked for the cure of bruises.
Antony and Theodosius Pechersky, abbots of the caves of Kiev (1073/1074)
- founded the first notable Russian monasteries.
Pius I, pope and martyr (c. 155)
- battled many heresies, often with the help of Justin Martyr; converted the Baths of Novatus into a place for worship.
Drostan, abbot of Deer (c. 610)
- left the abbacy and became a hermit in Angus.
John, bishop of Bergamo (c. 690)
- some sources (e.g. Baronius) claim he was killed by Arians.
Hidulf, bishop (c. 707)
- left bishopric of Trier for the life of a hermit; c. 676 he built the monastery of Moyenmoutier.
Olga, widow (969)
- popularly regarded as the first person to be baptised in Russia.
Adrian Fortescue, martyr (1539)
- a cousin of Anne Boleyn, he was charged with treason by Henry VIII; beatified in 1895.
Oliver Plunkett, martyr (1681)
- the last martyr of Tyburn, and the first Irish martyr to be beatified; most of his remains are enshrined in the church of Downside Abbey, near Bath; his head is in St Peter's church at Drogheda.
Benedict, one of the feasts of St (brought to the List's attention by Roseanne Elder
- and in post-Vatican times the main feast on the Roman calendar. Originally, this marked the translation of his relics (if in fact he really left Monte Cassino) to Fleury (Saint Benoit sur Loire).
Veronica (first century)
- traditionally, this is the compassionate woman who wiped the face of Jesus, who left the image of his face on the cloth.
Jason (first century)
- Acts 17, 5-9 tells of the troubles faced by Jason after he hosted Paul in Salonika.
Hermagoras and Fortunatus, martyrs (first century?)
- supposedly put in charge of the church of Aquileia by St Mark.
Nabor and Felix, martyrs (303?)
- soldier martyrs, venerated in Milan and elsewhere in northern Italy.
John the Iberian, abbot (c. 1002)
- suffered from gout during last years of his life.
John Gualbert, abbot (1073)
- founder of Vallombrosan Benedictines.
Andrew of Rinn (1462)
- a three-year-old boy, supposedly hanged and slashed to death by Jews, but it seems certain he was killed by a mad uncle who blamed the incident on some (fictitious) Jewish pedlars.
Silas (first century)
- First mentioned in chapter 15 of the Acts of the Apostles. At Philippi, together with Paul, Silas was beaten and imprisoned; and with Paul, he was miraculously delivered.
Maura and Brigid (fifth century)
- According to various legends, these two British princesses from Northumbria while making their way to Rome on a pilgrimage were murdered by Frankish raiders in Balagny-sur-Therain. Here they were buried and a popular cult soon developed. Louis IX was a great benefactor of their shrine.
Eugenius, Bishop of Carthage (505)
- Involved in the debate between Catholics and Arians.
Mildred, abbess of Minster-in-Thanet (700)
- Second daughter of Merewald, an Anglian ruler, and Ermenburger. Mildred was famous for her fasting, humbleness, and her mercy to widows and orphans.
James of Voragine, archbishop of Genoa (1298)
- Author of the Legenda Aurea, the best legends of saints ever. However, according to Butler the Legenda Aurea "from the point of view of history is entirely uncritical and worthless - except as a sidelight on the unsophistication and simple mentality of the folk for whom it was written."
Sherry Reames responded: Well, yes and no. . . He may have 'retold' the best legends of saints, but they changed quite a bit (and lost quite a bit of their original meaning and value) in the process. (I wrote a whole book in support of this thesis about ten years ago, if anybody's interested in such matters.)
Deusdedit, archbishop of Canterbury (664)
- Deusdedit came from the territory of the South Saxons and was the first Englishman to become primate.
Marchelm, preacher (762)
- Marchelm was one of several young Englishman who in the early part of the eighth century followed Willibrord into Holland to evangelize the Frisians..
Ulric of Zell, abbot (1093)
- Cluniac monk. Was found crying by one of his monks. When the monk asked Ulric what was the matter he replied: "I weep for my sins ... but I weep most of all because I see there are several monks here who have only the name and dress of religious."
Hroznata, martyr (1217)
- Founded the Premonstratensian abbey of Tepl in western Bavaria. The death of Hroznata is due to his defence of ecclesiastical immunities; he was kidnapped, thrown into a dungeon at Alt-Kinsburg, near Eger, and there left to die..
Bonaventure, cardinal-bishop of Albano (1274)
- aka Seraphic Doctor. Quite a CV. As a Franciscans he studied at the University of Paris under Alexander of Hales. At Paris he taught theology from 1248-1257. In 1257 he was chosen minister general of the Franciscans. While Bonaventure was re-writing the life of Francis, it is said that Thomas Aquinas saw Bonaventure in deep contemplation and said: "Let us leave a saint to work for a saint."
Boniface of Savoy, archbishop of Canterbury (1270)
- Due to his physical beauty Boniface was aka "the Absalom of Savoy".
Humbert of Romans, minister general of the Dominicans (1277)
- Better Known Fact: Studied at the University of Paris under Hugh of Saint-Cher. Lesser Known Fact: At the general chapter held in London in 1263 Humbert resigned as minister general and retired to the priory of Valence devoting himself to study and preaching. He temporarily came out of retirement when asked by Pope Clement IV to help in the settlement of domestic difficulties among the Cistercians.
James, bishop of Nisbis, (338)
Barhadbesaba, martyr (355)
- Martyr of the persecutions carried against Christians in Persia. While being martyred his torturers continually cried out to him: "Worship fire and water, and eat the blood of beasts, and you shall be set at liberty."
Donald (eighth century)
- All that is recorded about Donald is that he lived at Ogilvy in Forfarshire, that his wife bore him nine daughters, and that on her death they formed a sort of community who led the religious life under his direction.
Swithun, bishop of Winchester (862)
- William of Malmesbury says that this good bishop was treasury of all virtues, and those in which he took most delight in were humility and charity to the poor.
Deborah J. Shepherd wrote: When I was excavating in Winchester, I heard the story that Bishop Swithun had asked to be buried out in the open so he could feel the sun and rain on his grave, but the community couldn't bear it. They had to bury him inside the cathedral. In his consternation, St. Swithun the deceased caused it to rain for 40 days, and so, people say, if it rains on St. Swithun's Day in Winchester, it will rain for 40 days. It did rain the summer I was there, and we spent at least a week in the lab cleaning artifacts and waiting for the weather to clear.
Athanasius, bishop of Naples (872)
Edith of Polesworth (tenth century?)
Vladimir of Kiev (1015)
- The circumstances of this prince's conversion to Christianity have been debated; but converted he was, probably in the year 989, when he was about thirty-two, and he then received in marriage Anne, daughter of the emperor Basil II at Constantinople - the two events were closely connected. And the conversion of the Russian people is dated from then.
Henry the Emperor (1024)
- Henry II was son of Henry, Duke of Bavaria, and Gisela of Burgundy, and was born in 972. He was canonized by Pope Eugenius III in 1146, and Pope Pius X declared him the patron of Benedictine oblates.
David of Munktorp, bishop (1080)
- An English monk who desired to be martyred. When he heard about the death of St Sigfrid's three nephews, he offered himself to the English mission in Sweden. David, however, was not martyred, instead he lived a long life as an evangelizers in Sweden.
Bernard of Baden, 1458.
Athenogenes, bishop and martyr (305)
Eustathius, bishop of Antioch (340)
- aka The father of church history.
Helier, martyr (sixth century)
Reineldis, virgin and martyr (680)
Fulrad, abbot (784)
: The abbey of Saint-Denis was one of the most famous monasteries of Europe in the middle ages. Fulrad was the only abbot of Saint-Denis to be venerated as saint.
Ermengard, abbess (866)
- Ermengard was the daughter of King Louis the German, grandson of Charlemagne and his queen Emma. Louis, having established tow of his other daughters as abbesses of convents, appointed Ermengard to govern first the monastery of Buchau and then the royal abbey of Chiemese in Bavaria.
Milo of Selincourt, bishop of Therouanne (1158)
- A hermit for many years, then he joined the Premonstratensians. In 1131 he was appointed bishop of Therouanne. In a sermon attributed to Milo, our bishop shows great interest in woman's clothing: "It is not decent that Christian women should trail at their heels long skirts which pick up filth off the roadway. Surely you realize, dear ladies, that if a gown of this kind was necessary to you, nature would have met the case by attaching to you something more suitable with which to sweep the ground."
The Commemoration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
- The patronal feast of the Carmelite Order was originally the Assumption of the BVM on 15 August. But between 1376 and 1386 the custom arose of observing a special feast of the BVM to celebrate the approbation of their rule by Pope Honorius III in 1226.
Speratus and companions, the Scillitan martyrs (180)
- described in the earliest 'acta' from Africa.
Marcellina, virgin (c. 398)
- sister of St Ambrose, who dedicated his treatise on virginity to her.
Alexis (fifth century)
- said to have lived in Edessa as a beggar, who revealed on his deathbed that he was really a Roman noble; known as 'the Man of God', his cult was widespread; a notable example of someone who, having married, parted from his wife without having consummated the marriage.
Ennodius, bishop of Pavia (521)
- a prolific writer, of whom it has been said 'He seems to shrink from making himself intelligible lest he should be thought commonplace'.
Kenelm (c. 812)
- 'the boy saint of the Cotswolds'.
Leo IV, pope (855)
- often wrongly credited with the institution of the rite of the 'Asperges' before Sunday mass.
Clement of Okhrida and companions, the seven apostles of Bulgaria (ninth-tenth century).
Nerses Lampronatsi, archbishop of Tarsus (1198)
- he and other Armenian bishops effected a reunion of their church with that of Rome; he translated the Regula Benedicti and Gregory's Dialogues into Armenian.
- brother of St Hyacinth, with whom he became a Dominican.
Symphorosa and her seven sons, martyrs (date unknown)
- the Roman emperor Hadrian was told by an oracle that his new palace in Tivoli would endure only if these local people would sacrifice to the gods; when they refused, they were killed in succession, each in a different manner.
Pambo (c. 390)
- one of the founders of the Nitrian group of monasteries in the Egyptian desert; he died while weaving a basket, which was taken away as a relic.
Philastrius, bishop of Brescia (before 397)
- wrote a catalogue of 128 heresies.
Arnulf or Arnoul, bishop of Metz (c. 643)
- his descendants included the kings of France.
Frederick, bishop of Utrecht, martyr (838)
- after celebrating mass, he was killed by two assassins, supposedly sent by empress Judith.
Bruno, bishop of Segni (1123)
- prolific scriptural commentator; maintained that sacraments administered by bishops or priests who had been guilty of simony were invalid.
Justa and Rufina, virgins and martyrs (287?)
- early acts seem to speak of 'Justus', not 'Justa'; they got in trouble for smashing an idol, and not making amends to the local prefect .
Macrina the Younger, virgin (379)
- eldest child of St Basil the Elder and St Emmelia, sister of saints Basil the Great, Peter of Sebastea, and Gregory of Nyssa.
Arsenius the Great (c. 450)
- a failed tutor of Arcadius and Honorius, the sons of emperor Theodosius the Great; when he retired to the monastic life, his brethren would tease him by calling him 'Father of the Emperors'.
Symmachus, pope (514)
- a Sardinian, he had to deal with another rival pope, Laurence; king Theodoric ruled that Symmachus was the legitimate pope, since he was elected first and by a greater number.
Ambrose Autpert (778?)
- once a tutor of Charlemagne, his treatise on
the conflict between the virtues and vices were attributed to several
others, including Ambrose of Milan, Augustine, Isidore of Seville and pope
Leo IX .
Tom Izbicki informed us that Ambrose's treatise could be found as follows: 'The De conflictu vitiorum atque virtutum appears in Ambrosii Autperti opera, Corpus Christianorum continuatio medievalis, vol. 27.
Stilla, virgin (c. 1140)
- built a church near Abenberg in honour of saint Peter, where she died; her brothers wanted to bury her at Heilsbronn, but the horses drawing her coffin would not go in that direction, turning stubbornly to the church she had built.
Vincent de Paul, founder of Congregation of the Mission and the Sisters of Charity (1660)
- after an incredibly active life, he died seated in a chair.
Wilgefortis or Liberata or Uncumber or Ontkommer or Kummernis or Regenfledis or Livrade, virgin (no date)
- I like Butler on this one: 'Her story is a curiosity of hagiology and is hardly worth including in a collection of lives of the saints but for the fact that it has the unenviable distinction of being one of the most obviously false and preposterous of the pseudo-pious romances by which simple Christians have been deceived or regaled.'
- basically, she miraculously grew a beard and moustache as a way of avoiding marriage and remaining a virgin.
Margaret or Marina, virgin and martyr (no date)
- object of an extremely popular cult; patron of women in childbirth.
Joseph Barsabas (first century)
- he was put in competition with Matthias to succeed Judas in the apostleship; Peter drew lots to settle the matter.
Aurelius, bishop of Carthage (429)
- a close friend of Augustine; when he complained to Augustine that he had to deal with many degenerate monks who were simply lazy under the pretence of contemplation, Augustine wrote a treatise On the Work of Monks.
Flavian, patriarch of Antioch, and Elias, patriarch of Jerusalem (518)
- driven from their sees for their refusal to co-operate with the imperial support of Monophysism.
Vulmar, abbot (c. 700)
- relics preserved at the abbey of St Peter at Gent; does anyone know how he came to be separated from his life before entering the religious life (i.e. was it an amicable split, or did he run away)?.
Ansegisus, abbot (833)
- compiled authoritative law books.
Girolami Miani, founder of the Somaschi (1537)
- when imprisoned after fighting in the mountains near Treviso, this soldier gave up his worldly ways, escaped from prison, and devoted the rest of his life to helping teach children; in fact, some claim he was the first ot introduce the practice of teaching Christian doctrine to children by means of a set catechism drawn up in the form of questions and answers.
Praxedes, virgin (date unknown)
- she frequently hid Christians in her Roman house; after her own martyrdom, her own relics were eventually translated to a church built on the site of her house.
Victor of Marseilles, martyr (290?)
- while in prison waiting for his own martyrdom, the soldiers guarding Victor if he would baptize them; when he agreed, the soldiers led him to the sea-shore, where the baptism took place; after this, they went back to the prison; and eventually, Victor and the newly baptised soldiers were all killed.
Arbogast, bishop of Strasbourg (sixth century)
- when king Dagobert's son was seemingly killed in a hunting accident, the hermit Arbogast restored him; after this, the king made the hermit a bishop.
Oddino Barrotti da Fossano (1400)
- a rarity: a parish priest with an enduring reputation for sanctity.
Angelina da Marsciano, widow (1435)
- founded sixteen communities of the third order regular of St Francis.
Mary Magdalene (first century)
- moderately famous supposed ex-harlot turned preacher.
Anyone wishing to find out more about Mary Magdalene's cult during the Middle Ages will find the following article extremely useful: Katherine Jansen, 'Maria Magdalena: Apostolorum Apostola', in Women Preaching in the Christian Tradition, eds. Beverly Kienzle and Pamela Walker (Berkeley, University of California Press).
Joseph of Palestine (c. 356)
- authorised by Constantine to build churches throughout Galilee, particularly in Jewish towns; Baronius added his name to the Roman Martyrology, but there appears never to have been a cult to him.
Wandregisilus or Wandrille, abbot (668)
- yet another chastely married-turned-abbatial type.
Benno, bishop of Osnabruck (1088)
- caught up in the crisis between Gregory VII and Henry IV.
Apollinaris, bishop of Ravenna, martyr (date unknown)
- only known martyr of Ravenna.
The Three Wise Men (first century)
- for any questions about their cult, just ask fellow medieval-religion member Francesco Scorza Barcellona!
Liborius, bishop of Le Mans (fourth century)
- he is invoked against 'gravel and allied complaints', apparently following pope Clement XI's devotion to him.
John Cassian, abbot (c. 433)
- he opens his work, Institutes of the Monastic Life, with this declaration: 'I shall make no attempt to relate anecdotes of miracles and prodigies. For although I have heard of many unbelievable marvels from my elders and have seen some with my own eyes, I have wholly omitted them because they contribute nothing but astonishment to the instruction of the reader in the perfect life.'.
Romula and companions, virgins (sixth century)
- as Romula died, angelic music was heard, becoming faint as her soul was being taken away.
Anna or Susanna, virgin (c. 918)
- when her tomb -- the site of many miraculous cures -- was opened, her body was found undecayed and smelling sweet.
Giovanna da Orvieto, virgin (1306)
- a Dominican, known for her many ecstasies and strange miracles; in one, she confessed to her spiritual director in Orvieto when in fact he was lying dead in Bologna.
Christina of Tyre, and Christina of Bolsena, virgins and martyrs (date unknown)
- two closely related tales, with C. of Tyre's cult predominant in the East, and C. of Bolsena's in the West - Christina(s)'s main claim to fame was the ability to resist many different attempts at torturing and killing her/them.
Lewina, virgin and martyr (date unknown)
- unknown until the translation of her relics (with those of saints Ideberga and Oswald) from Seaford in Sussex to the church of St Winnoc in Bergues, Flanders, in 1058.
Declan, bishop (sixth century)
- held see of Ardmore.
Boris and Gleb, martyrs (1015)
- brothers, sons of St Vladimir of Kiev, killed on orders of their eldest brother Svyatopolk.
Christina, virgin (1224)
- often called 'Christina the Astonishing', for her many mystical experiences and bizarre behaviour were, well, rather astonishing. Margot King has done a translation of this dendrite saint's life: The Life of Christina Mirabilis (Toronto, Peregrina Publishing Co., 1995). For those of you who are interested in the history of purgatory and visionary literature Christina's vita is of particular interest..
Cunegund, or Kinga, virgin (1292)
- niece of St Elizabeth of Hungary; when born, her first cry was 'Ave Maria'.
Nicholas, bishop of Linkoping (1391)
- enforced clerical celibacy in his Swedish diocese; wrote several liturgical offices, including hymn Rosa rorans bonitatem in honour of St Birgitta.
Felicia of Milan, virgin (1444)
- a Poor Clare, she ran a Milanese convent before being sent to found a new one in Pesaro, where she was welcomed by huge crowds. In regard to the Poor Clares, see now J.M. Wood, Women, Art and Spirituality. The Poor Clares of early modern Italy (Cambridge University Press, 1997). Situates the art made between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries for the Franciscan nuns in its historical and religious contexts. Addresses the discourse between spirituality, devotional practices, and aesthetic attitudes as formalised in the construction and decoration of the women's convents and in their didactic literature..
Giovanni da Tossignano, bishop of Ferrara (1446)
- originally a member of the Gesuati, a lay nursing congregation; during Council of Ferrara, Giovanni hosted the pope (Eugenius IV), the emperor (John VIII Palaiologos) and patriarch of Constantinople.
Agostino da Biella (1493)
- Dominican prior of several Piedmontese priories.
James the Greater, apostle (c. 44)
- he was 'greater' than James the Less, because he (J the G) was older; although beheaded in Jerusalem (cf Acts 12,2), his remains were eventually translated to Compostela (Pope Leo XIII referred to these as authentic in 1884)
Christopher, martyr (date unknown)
- patron of travellers.
Thea, Valentina and Paul, martyrs (308)
- the two women were tortured and burned to death in Gaza; Paul, at the same place and on the same day, was beheaded.
Magnericus, bishop of Trier (596)
- had a great devotion to Martin of Tours.
Anne, matron (first century B.C.E.?)
- grandmother of Jesus, mother of Mary; her tale is recounted in the protoevangelium of James (note the similarity to that of Anne, the mother of Samuel, in I Kings, ch. 1)
Simeon the Armenian (1016)
- travelled to Jerusalem, Rome, Compostela and Tours before settling in a Cluniac monastery in Lombardy.
Pantaleon or Panteleimon, martyr (c. 305?)
- the Romans tried killing him by burning, liquid lead, drowning, wild beasts, the wheel and the sword, before finally succeeding by the old standby, beheading; and after the decapitation, milk flowed from his veins instead of blood.
Seven Sleepers of Ephesus (?)
- entombed alive by Decius, they were presumed dead until they were discovered over 200 years later.
Aurelius, Natalia and companions, martyrs (c. 852)
- executed by Muslims of Cordova.
Berthold of Garsten, abbot (1142)
- Ottokar, Margrave of Styria, placed him at head of Steyer-Garsten c. 1111; noted for his hearing of confessions.
Theobald of Marly, abbot (1247)
- after serving in the court of king Philip Augustus II, he left to join the Cistercians of Vaux-de-Cernay in 1220; much venerated by king St Louis.
Lucy of Amelia, virgin (1350)
- sister of John of Rieti; joined order of Hermits of St Augustine, and became prioress of convent of Amelia.
Nazarius and Celsus, martyrs (date unknown)
- earliest Milanese martyrs; translation of relics by Ambrose was accompanied by many wonders.
Victor I, pope and martyr (c. 199)
- an African, he is said by Jerome to have been the first in Rome to celebrate liturgy in Latin.
Innocent I, pope (417)
- quotable quote: 'in all matters of faith, bishops throughout the world should refer to St Peter'.
Samson, bishop of Dol (c. 565)
- born in Wales, known throughout Britanny for his miracles and missionary journeys (particularly in Cornwall, Scilly Islands and Channel Islands).
- Swedish layman, murdered by a Finnish slave he was about to set free.
Last year Jonas Carlquist Dep. of scandinavian languages Stockholm University informed us about the following edition of Botvid's vita: The story about Botvid is edited in Scriptores rerum Suecicarum medii aevi II:1, from page 377 (the edition is taken from the 14/15th century manuscript Codex Laurentii Odonis - a fragment of the same vita is also found in a manuscript from c. 1250). If I remember correctly, the slave, liberated by Botvid, who subsequently kills Botvid, is of Slavonic birth. Botvid was killed on an island called outside Tystberga, Sweden, after a roving expedition at sea..
Antonio della Chiesa (1459)
- preached an exemplum, stating that a certain usurer, at his death, lost not only his soul but also his body, which had been carried off by a troop of diabolic horsemen, so that his relatives had had to bury an empty coffin.
Martha, virgin (first century)
- according to Provencal legend, she accompanied Mary Magdalen to the south of France, and evangelized Tarascon, where her relics were invented in 1187.
Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice, martyrs (304?)
- a newborn baby accused the murderer of Beatrice of the crime, and three hours later the murderer died a horrible death (and all who were present decided to convert to Christianity).
Felix 'II' (365)
- since 1947, the Annuario Pontificio, in its list of popes, has noted Felix 'II' as an antipope.
Lupus or Loup, bishop of Troyes (478)
- accompanied Germain d'Auxerre into Britain to combat the Pelagians; later in his career taken hostage by Attila.
Olaf of Norway, martyr (1030)
- spring that gushed from his grave cured people miraculously; the site is known as the Feginsbrekka, or 'hill of joy'.
Urban II, pope (1099)
Michael Hynes commented: He is indeed the infamous pope of the 1st Crusade (called for at the Council of Clermont in 1095). He was born of an aristocratic French family, was prior of Cluny (1067-70) under Abbot Hugh, archbp of Reims, and finally pope (1088-99).
. His was one of the most sucessful pontificates. He was sucessful in besting Henry IV and the anti-pope, Clement III; he was a great legislative and conciliar pope; he (mostly) suceeded in consolidating the reform. Politically adroit, Urban tackled the thorny problem of what to do about scismatic (N.B. that contumacious schism was regarded as a heresy) ordinations and (because of the schism) multiple claimants to the same office with pragmatism and diplomacy. His politically adroitness (like the American president Bill Clinton), however, often left his actual positions open to misunderstanding. He has, for example, been viewed as a moderate on issues of investiture and clerical homage. I am arguing in my dissertation that this was merely a tactic -- Urban was as opposed to these practices as G VII. Urban also completed the reformation of the south-western French church that had been initiated by G VII at the Council of Poitiers (1078).
It was no accident that he chose Clermont in Eastern Aquitaine as the opening site for a series of French councils which basically took the papacy on a tour of Aquitaine and culminated with the Council of Poitiers (under Urban's sucessor) in 1100. From the point of view of French social history, Urban suceeded in taming the peace and truce of God (probably repressed in this region by G VII), and he took action against the cult of St Martial. As far as my evaluation of Urban goes, he was a corpus mixtum.I think that given a choice between an inflexable purist like G VII and a wiley pragmatist like Urban, I'd choose the latter. For his legislative achievements alone, I suppose he earned his sainthood.
Guillaume Pinchon, bishop of Saint-Brieuc (1234)
- canonised in 1247; at translation of his relics the following year, his body was found to be incorrupt.
Abdon and Sennen, martyrs (303?)
- Persians, brought to Rome, where they spat upon the images of the gods.
Julitta, widow and martyr (c. 303)
- native of Caesarea, commemorated in a sermon by Basil the Great.
Mannes (c. 1230)
- brother of St Dominic; in 1234, supposedly urged the people of Calaruega to build a chapel in honour of his recently canonised brother.
Archangelo of Calatafimi (1460)
- Sicilian hermit, who following a decree by pope Martin V joined the Franciscans.
John Soreth (1471)
- Carmelite, Parisian doctor, prior general of the order; responsible for several communities of beguines joining the order in the Low Countries.
Simon of Lipnicza (1482)
- as a young graduate, he was convinced he should join the Franciscans by John of Capistrano.
Peter of Mogliano (1490)
- his hagiographer was a woman, Baptista Varani, daughter of Duke of Camerino.
The holy Machabees, martyrs (168 a.C.)
- only widespread feast in the West of Old Testament saints, with the notable exception that the Carmelites celebrate Elias and Eliseus (see October 6).
Peter ad vincula
- commemorates Peter's escape from prison; the church built over the prison is on Rome's Esquiline Hill
Faith, Hope, Charity and Wisdom, martyrs (?)
- Wisdom was the mother of the other three
Aled, Eiluned or Almedha, virgin and martyr (sixth century)
- Giraldus Cambrensis said that on this feast, in a church near Brecon, people would pantomime, as in a trance, work they had sinfully done on great feasts; when these people were then led into the church and brought to the altar with offerings, they would come to their senses again - Any other feasts out there with a tradition of trance?
Ethelwold, bishop of Winchester (984)
- malcontents found him to be 'terrible as a lion', but the good-willed considered him 'more gentle than a dove'
Stephen I, pope (257)
- dealt with controversy regarding baptism administered by heretics
Theodota, martyr (304?)
- was burned along with her three sons
Thomas of Dover (or of Hales) (1295)
- a monk, murdered by French raiders who could not get him to disclose where the monastery's riches had been hidden; king Richard II asked pope Urban VI to canonise Thomas, but a process begun in 1382 was never carried out
Finding of St Stephen (415)
- commemorates the discovery by the priest Lucian of protomartyr Stephen's relics at Kafr Gamala (Palestine) in December 415
Germain d'Auxerre (448)
- bishop of Auxerre, who travelled to Britain to counter Pelagianism
Waltheof or Walthen, abbot of Melrose (c. 1160)
- while celebrating mass one Christmas day, he had a vision that the host in his hands was in the form of the baby Jesus
Augustine, bishop of Lucera (1323)
- closely linked with king Robert of Naples
Ia and companions, martyrs (c. 360)
- shortest-named saint?; Ia and companions were cruelly tortured in Persia
Molua or Lughaidh, abbot (608)
- when he died, the birds wept
Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers (1221)
- canonised in 1234 by his friend Gregory IX, who said he no less doubted Dominic's sanctity than that of Peter and Paul
dedication of basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (?)
- this Roman basilica is also known as Sancta Maria ad Nives, from a tradition that Mary chose this place for a church dedicated to her by a miraculous fall of snow upon this spot in summer
Addai and Mari, bishops (c. 180)
- these were Mesopotamians present at Pentecost with Peter and the other apostles; evangelists of the lands around the Tigris and Euphrates
Afra, martyr (304)
- formerly a prostitute, converted to Christianity; burned at the stake in Augsburg (although she had been converted by St Narcissus, bishop of Gerona in Spain).
- Carolyn Gregory observed: This is one of the few times that a female saint is not defined in terms of her sexuality ... understandable, considering her former occupation. However, I have not noticed any male saints referred to as "virgin" and surely some of them qualified. Does anyone have any insights other than the obvious one that females were defined in terms of their social usefulness as breeders?
- John Damon responded: A number of male saints were included in Aldhelm's paired prose and poetic versions of the De Virginitate. A typical passage reads: "Nec pudeat, Christi caelibes strictis pudicitiae legibus lascivam naturae petulantiam coartantes corporeosque titillationum gestus velut indomitos bigarum subiugales ferratis salivaribus refrenantes Toronici reminisci pontificis....quique pro adepta integretatis corona et fausta virginitatis infula, quas velut regale diadema ac gemmatas crepundiorum lunulas indefessis viribus meta tenus servare satagebat, miris virtutum signis effulsisse memoratur." (Aldhelm, De Virginitate, Aldhelmi Opera, ed. Rudolph Ehwald, Monumenta Germaniae Historica Auctores Antiquissimi 15 [Munich 1984], 260).
"Nor should it be an embarrassment for Christ's celibates (who are) contraining the unruly impulsiveness of their nature with the strict laws of chastity and curbing the bodily gestures of titillation with iron bridles, as if they were untamed cart-horses, to call to mind the bishop of Tours [i.e. Martin]....who, because of the crown of integrity he had acquired and the blessed distinction of virginity--which he was able to preserve with tireless efforts right up to the end, like a royal diadem or the jewelled necklaces of amulets--is said to have shone forth in the marvellous miracles of his virtues." (Aldhelm: The Prose Works, trans. Michael Lapidge and Michael Herren).
We rarely refer to male saints as virgins, but that was not always true in all periods and in all places in the Middle Ages.
Nonna, matron (374)
- wife of saint Gregory Nazianzen the Elder; mother of saints Gregory Nazianzen the Divine, Gorgonia, and Caesarius
- although celebrated liturgically in the East since well before the year 1000, was not a universal feast in the West until pope Callistus III required its observance following the victory over the Turks in 1456
Sixtus II, pope; with Felicissimus, Agapitus and other companions, martyrs (258)
- killed during Valerian persecution
Justus and Pastor, martyrs (304)
- patrons of Alcala' and Madrid, these were schoolboys
Hormisdas, pope (523)
- dealt with the Acacian schism; his son, saint Silverius, also became pope
Claudia, matron (first century)
- The Apostolic Constitutions state that Claudia was the mother of Pope Linus who succeeded St Peter.
Donatus, bishop of Arezzo (362)
- second bishop of Arezzo in Tuscany.
Dometius the Persian, martyr (362)
- Persian convert who after becoming a monk at Nisibis in Mesopotamia, decided to live in a cave. Multitudes flocked to his retreat in hope that he would cure their illnesses. It appears that the Emperor Julian the Apostate was somewhat jealous of this holy man's celebrity. Julian accused Dometius of courting popularity. Dometius allegedly responded: "If these poor harmless folk come to see me, I cannot send them away." Julian was so angered by the answer that he had Dometius stoned to death.
Victricius, bishop of Rouen (407)
- Influential preacher who converted many through the establishment of several rural parishes. He preached in Artois, western Flanders, Hainault, and Brabant.
Albert of Trapani, Carmelite (1307)
- Preached with much success, especially among the Jews. He added many voluntary austerities to those of his rule, among them was the practice of repeating the whole Psalter on his knees in front of a crucifix every night before he went to bed.
Cyriacus, Largus, and Smaragdus, martyrs (?)
- Cyriacus was a deacon who with Largus and Smargardus gave solace to the Christians who were being forced to work on the construction of the Baths of Diocletian. Cyriacus and the others were arrested. Before his martyrdom, Cyriacus cured the emperor's daughter Artemia of demonic possession.
- A Christian noble, he was the son of a Persian governor. He refused to renounce his religion and was stripped of his rank and spent the rest of his days tending camels.
The fourteen holy helpers
- Mainly a German devotion. The saints were Achatius; Barbara: invoked against lightening and sudden death; Blaise: throat troubles; Catherine: invoked by philosophers and students; Christopher: invoked by travellers in difficulty; Cyriacus; Denis: invoked against headaches and rabies; Erasmus: invoked against colic; Eustace: invoked by hunters; George: protector of soliders; Giles: invoked against epilepsy, insanity and sterility; Margaret: invoked against possession and by pregnant women; Pantaleon: invoked against phthisis; and Vitus: invoked against epilepsy and his "dance". The cult became widely diffused during the fifteenth century. In France the Helpers are fifteen, the extra one being the Virgin Mary.
Joan of Aza, matron (1190)
- Joan was the mother of St Dominic. Before she gave birth to Dominic she dreamed that she bore a dog in her womb and that it broke away from her with a burning torch in its mouth wherewith it set the world aflame. This dog became a symbol of the Dominican Order and in later ages gave rise to the pun Domini canes, the watch-dogs of the Lord. His godmother at his baptism, or, as some legends say, Joan, had a dream in which baby Dominic appeared with a shining star upon his forehead, enlightening the world.
Romanus, martyr (258)
- A doorkeeper of the Roman church who suffered martyrdom the day before St Laurence.
Emygdius, martyr (304)
- Patron against earthquakes. Not surprisingly, his cult has flourished in areas where earthquakes are frequent: Italy, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Nathy and Felim, bishops (sixth century)
- Though not associated with one another, these two saints have a common feastday. Felim was the son of Dediva, a woman who was married four times and had several saints among her children. Nathy was a native of Luighne district in Sligo and is mentioned in the life of St Attracta.
Oswald of Northumbria, martyr (642)
- In Bede's time the cross of St Oswald became a effective relic. Little chips of it were steeped in water, and drunk by the sick or sprinkled upon them whereby they regained their health.
John of Salerno, Dominican, (1242)
- Had the gift of reading minds. Preached against the Patarines in Florence.
John of Rieti, Hermit of St Augustine (1350)
- Butler wrote: "Little is known of his life, except that it was uneventful."
Laurence, martyr (258)
- One of the seven deacons who served the Roman church. Martyred during the Emperor Valerian's reign. Valerian had Laurence bound upon an iron bed and slowly roasted him to death. According to the legends, Laurence's face appeared to be surrounded with a beautiful light, and his body gave off a sweet smell. Having suffered a long time, he turned to the judge and said with a cheerful smile: "Let my body be turned, one side is broiled enough." When the execution turned him, he said: "It is cooked enough, you may eat."
Philomena or Philumena (date unknown)
- Butler stated: "On May 24, 1802, in the catacomb of St Priscilla on the Via Salaria Nova an inscribed loculus was found, and on the following day it was carefully examined and opened. The loculus was closed with three tiles, on which was the following inscription: lumena paxte cum fi ... It is now generally accepted that the tiles were put in a wrong order ... and that the inscription should read: pax tecum Filumena. Within the loculus was found the skeleton of a female between thirteen and fifteen years old ... Embedded in the cement was a small glass phial with vestiges of what was taken to be blood. Accordingly, in accordance with the knowledge of the time ... the remains were taken to be those of the virgin martyr Philomena..."
Tiburtius and Susanna, martyrs (third century?)
- Tiburtius walked over hot coals to prove the power of his faith, but this was treated as a magic stunt, and he was beheaded; so to was Susanna, on a separate occasion
Alexander the Charcoal-Burner, bishop of Comana, martyr (275?)
Equitius, abbot (c. 560)
- described in some detail by Gregory the Great; buried in church of St Laurence in L'Aquila
Blaan or Blane, bishop (c. 590?)
- when the church lights went out during night office, he struck a fire from his own fingernails
Attracta or Araght, virgin (sixth century?)
- patron of diocese of Achonry
Lelia, virgin (sixth century?)
- commemorated in diocese of Limerick
Gaugericus or Gery, bishop of Cambrai (c. 625)
- founded monastery of St Medard at Cambrai
Gerard of Gallinaro and companions (date unknown)
- English pilgrims to shrine of St Michael at Monte Gargano
Peter Favre (1546)
- senior of the first companions of Ignatius Loyola
Euplus, martyr (304)
- memorised the Gospels; beheaded in Catania
Murtagh or Muredach, bishop (sixth century?)
- no vita exists, in Latin or Irish, but he was of the royal family of king Laoghaire, and supposedly the first bishop of Killala, by appointment of St Patrick
Porcarius and companions, martyrs (c. 732)
- Porcarius was abbot of Lerins, off the coast of Cannes, when the abbey was raided and sacked by Muslims; Porcarius managed to get the oblates and younger religious to safety by boat, but hundreds of monks who remained were slaughtered
Clare, virgin (1253)
- founded the Poor Clares or Minoresses; subject of several conferences in 1993 and 1994, celebrating the (approximate) 800th anniversary of her birth
Hippolytus, martyr (c. 235)
- according to the acta of St Laurence (see 10 August), this was the officer in charge of Laurence when he was in prison, and was by him converted and baptized; in keeping with someone whose name means 'loosed horse', he was sentenced to be torn apart by horses
Cassian of Imola, martyr (date unknown)
- a teacher, Cassian was condemned to be thrown naked in the middle of his 200 pupils, who were ordered to stab their master with their iron pens; the pupils carried out the order - there may be a moral in this
Simplician, bishop of Milan (400)
- good friend of Augustine; succeeded Ambrose as bishop of Milan
- wife of Clotaire I, son of Clovis; she left the court and became a deaconess, then an abbess in Poitiers. She had two vitae written about her: one by Baudoniva, a nun in the convent of Poitiers, and the other by the poet and bishop Venantius Fortunatus (Translations of these two vitae can be found in Jo Ann McNamara, ed. Sainted Women of the Dark Ages, Durham and London, 1992.)
Maximus the Confessor, abbot (662)
- a leading exponent of Byzantine mysticism, author of many works (including the Mystagogia, an explanation of liturgical symbolism)
Wigbert, abbot (c. 738)
- an Englishman, who died in his abbey of Fritzlar (near Cassel); body was translated to monastery of Hersfeld by St Lull
Nerses Klaietsi (1173)
- Katholikos of the Armenians
- pious self-scourging shoemaking tertiary Franciscan; buried in cathedral of Faenza
Gertrude of Altenberg, virgin (1297)
- third daughter of st Elizabeth of Hungary; 'took the cross' during seventh Crusade, but did so spiritually, via prayers and penances of her community
John of Alvernia (1322)
- from Fermo in the Marches of Italy, but lived for many years on the mountain of La Verna (where Francis received the stigmata)
Vincent of L'Aquila (1504)
- Franciscan lay-brother who died at San Giuliano; had gift of prophecy
Eusebius of Rome. martyr (fourth century)
- A priest who opposed the Arian emperor Constantius.
Marcellus, bishop of Apamaea, martyr (389)
- Oversaw the demolition of several pagan temples and the construction of churches. He was eventually killed by pagans who were unhappy with his building plans.
Fachanan, bishop (sixth century)
- Patron of the diocese of Ross in Ireland. Established the great monastic school of Ross. He was revered as a wise man with a great gift for preaching.
Athanasia, abbess and wife (860)
- After the death of her first husband, Athanasia married again. Her second husband decided to become a monk. Athanasia then turned her house into a convent of which she was made abbess.
Eberhard, abbot (958)
- First abbot of the monastery of our Lady of the Hermits located in Einsiedeln in Switzerland.
Antony Primaldi and his Companions, martyrs (1480)
- Eight hundred people were killed when the Turks under Mohammed II captured the city of Otranto in southern Italy. Antony Primaldi was an old artisan and well known in the city. Refusing to convert to Islam, Antony was the first to die. His headless body remained standing until it encouraged his 799 companions to suffer martyrdom.
the Assumption of Mary
- in 1950, pope Pius XII confirmed the very long tradition of belief among Roman Catholics that at the end of her life, Mary's body and soul were assumed into Heaven
Tarsicius, martyr (third century)
- known as 'the boy-martyr of the Holy Eucharist', he was an acolyte who was killed by non-Christian Romans on the Appian Way while he was transporting some consecrated hosts
Arnulf or Arnoul, bishop of Soissons (1087)
- after time in monastery of st Medard, he became bishop; died in Aldenburg, where he was for some time buried in the churchyard (until at a council at Beauvais in 1120, when the then bishop of Soissons demanded that the corpse be moved into the church)
Joachim (first century BC?)
- Father of the BVM. The Benedictines celebrate the feast of Joachim and Anne (the mother of the BVM) on 26 July.
Arsacius, Christian soldier (358)
- Predicted that a terrible earthquake would hit the city of Nicomedia, but no one believed him. A few days later an earthquake destroyed most of the city. The building in which Arsacius lived was one of the few to escape destruction; unfortunately the same cannot be said for Arsacius. When some of the people of Nicomedia ran to the building where Arsacius lived to seek safety, Arsacius was found on his knees but dead.
Armel, abbot (570)
- It is reported that Armel was converted to the religious life upon entering a church and hearing a deacon sing: "And whosoever does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."
Laurence Loricatus (1243)
- Born in Apulia. As a young man Laurence accidentally killed someone. In expiation he made a pilgrimage of penance to Compostela, and on his return in 1209 went to Subiaco, where he joined a community but was soon given permission to be a solitary. He lived in a mountain cave near the Sacro Peco of St Benedict for thirty-three years and practised bodily mortifications. In fact the name Loricatus was given to him because he wore next to his skin a coat of mail studded with sharp points.
Rock or Roch, healer (1378)
- Saint par excellence to be invoked against pestilence. - Louse Marshall provided the following information: Throughout the Renaissance, Sebastian remained the most popular and universally venerated plague saint; his cult was never supplanted or overshadowed by that of Roch. Roch is a strange case, a really shadowy and ahistorical figure (sometimes I think he was actually just invented!); his earliest life is an anonymous & undated vita (1st half of the 15th c?) which is composed almost entirely of hagiographic cliches and has little or no specific historical details, let alone dates. It ends by claiming that Roch was canonised but more recent research has proven this to be fictitious. The same seems to be true of the claim in a later 15th c vita (written in 1478) that Roch was appealed to during an outbreak of plague at the Council of Constance in 1416.
How Roch's cult ever gets going at all still puzzles me: there's no body, no tomb, no pilgrimage site, and no interested order, city or even, as far as one can tell, family. My guess is perhaps it might have started as a localized cult in Piacenza (Emilia), where he is supposed to have cured plague victims & which has been suggested as the place of origin of the anonymous writer of the earliest vita.
Roch's cult as a plague protector seems only to become more widely known during the second half of the 15th c and, as far as I can tell, seems to have been localized primarily in northern Italy. He starts appearing alongside Sebastian in altarpieces from the Veneto in the 1460s and around this time there are confraternities that start to be dedicated to him (e.g. in 1467 an existing confraternity in Padua rededicates itself to him). In fact, in several central Italian cities in the 1460s and 70s it seems to be confraternities dedicated to Roch which are the main sponsors of his cult in their town/region, organising processions etc and commissioning images.
The biggest impetus to the proliferation of his cult I think was the devastating series of plague epidemics which occured throughout Italy from 1477 to 1479. A new life is written by the Venetian governor of Brescia in 1478, which went into several editions in the next decade; his name is inserted in the Venetian missal in 1481; and finally in 1485 his relics are triumphantly installed in Venice. From then on his cult has a physical focus and interested institutions to promote it, and he becomes the second universal plague saint after Sebastian. Of course, there is always the Virgin to appeal to if things get too bad, and even Christ himself, but that's another story...
The best studies on Roch I have found are: Andre Vauchez, "Rocco", in Bibliotheca Sanctorum, vol. 9, Rome, 1968, 264-73. Irene Vaslef, "The Role of St. Roch as a Plague Saint: A Late Medieval Hagiographic Tradition", Ph.D., Catholic University of America, 1984 (with English translations of both lives). More problematic though still important to consult are the studies by A. Fliche, L'art et les saints: Saint Roch, Paris: Laurens, 1930; and "Le probleme de Saint Roch", Analecta Bollandia, 68, 1950, 343-61. There is also a published German PhD on images of Roch, which is useful as a topographical survey of extant images: M.T. Schmitz-Eichoff, St. Rochus: Ikonographische und medizin-historische Studien, Kolner medizin-historische Beitrage 3 (Cologne, F. Hansen, 1977). I have published on the imagery of plague saints, including Roch: L. Marshall, "Manipulating the sacred: Image and Plague in Renaissance Italy", Renaissance Quarterly, 47, 1994, 485-532; I also have a chapter on Roch in my dissertation, " 'Waiting on the Will of the Lord': The Imagery of the Plague", PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 1989.
Mamas, martyr (275)
- According to Eastern tradition Mamas was a young boy who was stoned to death during the reign of Aurelian. The Roman martyrology, however, says that he underwent a prolonged persecution from youth to old age.
Eusebius, pope (310)
- Was elected in succession to Pope Marcellus.
Liberatus and his Companion, martyrs (484)
- Seven monks, including the abbot Liberatus and the deacon Boniface, were martyred during the reign of Huneric, an Arian Vandal king.
Hyacinth, Dominican (1257)
- Born in the district of Oppeln between Breslau and Cracow, Hyacinth was venerated as the apostle of Poland.
Clare of Montefalco, Franciscan tertiary/Augustinian nun (1308)
- The Franciscans and Augustinians at one time disputed whether Clare belonged to one or the other order. Both orders came to the agreement that the community in which Clare lived consisted of Franciscan tertiaries, but when they wished to adopt a regular conventual life the bishop of Spoleto gave them the Augustinian rule. As a child, she had visions of the infant Jesus, Mary and the infant Jesus, and of Paradise.
Agapitus, martyr (date unknown)
- During the reign of Aurelian, Agapitus was a boy who, when brought before the governor Antiochius, refused to renounce his faith. He was then scourged, imprisoned and beheaded.
Florus and Laurus, martyrs, (date unknown)
- Stone-masons who were employed to build a pagan temple. After it was finished, they were converted to Christianity and immediately destroyed the pagan images that they had created.
- Mother of the emperor Constantine and discoverer of the holy cross.
Alipius, bishop of Tagaste (430)
- Was Augustine's chief assistant in all his public works.
Angelo Augustine of Florence, Carmelite (1438)
- He had great success as a preacher. In paintings he is represented with garlands coming out of his mouth and entwining his hearers.
Beatrice Da Silva, founder of the Conceptionist Nuns (1490)
- Queen Isabella gave the castle of Galliana to the first community of this order. The nuns followed an adaptation of the Cistercian rule.
Haymo of Savigliano, Dominican (1495)
- Inquisitor general for Upper Lombardy and Liguria where the Waldensians flourished.
Andrew the Tribune, martyr (300)
- Andrew was a captain under Antiochus in the army of Galerius. During a battle against the Persians, Andrew called on the name of Christ and told his men to do the same, and thereby won the battle. As a result of the victory, Andrew decided to become a Christian.
Timothy, Agapius, and Thecla, martyrs (304)
- Martyred during the reign of Diocletian.
Sixtus III, pope (440)
- Sixtus restored many buildings in Rome, perhaps the most famous is the church S Maria Maggiore.
Mochta, abbot (535)
- It is recorded that he never uttered a false word and that he never ate a morsel of fat. It is also recorded that he lived for three hundred years
Bertulf, abbot (640)
- Originally a monk at Luxeuil, Bertulf succeeded Columban as abbot of Bobbio.
Sebald (eighth century?)
- Among the miracles attributed to him are using icicles to heat a cold cabin, restoring sight to a blind man, and causing a heckler to be swallowed up by the earth. (patron saint of the heckled?)
Louis of Anjou, bishop of Toulouse (1297)
- Grand-nephew of Louis IX of France. Pope John XXII canonised him at Avignon in 1317, at which ceremony Louis's mother was present. (Are there any other saints whose parents were present at their canonisations?)
- To this question Paul Chandler gave this helpful reply: Dionisia, mother of the hermit Galgano of Chiusdino (d. 1181), gave evidence at the process for his canonisation in 1185, which I think is the earliest formal canonisation process whose acta have survived. (Galgano, however, was not formally canonised, so maybe it is better to keep your mother away from that kind of thing.)
- It's interesting, by the way, how many hagiographical topoi occur in Dionisia's testimony about her son's life. When Arbesmann made his comparative study of three vitae of Galgano, he seems not to have been aware of the close similarities between the vitae and the depositions at the canonisation process. He dismissed as hagiographical conventions details which seem to be drawn directly from Dionisia's testimony: a vision of St Michael with which hagiographers were supposed to have clothed a "severe inner crisis"; the Roman pilgrimage, perhaps "a later fiction" modelled on that of St Francis; the round hermitage, which Arbesmann thinks an etiological story to explain the round church which later rose over the grave; the omens, voices and miracles which he considers merely "stock incidents of medieval hagiography", etc. Even if conventional elements had shaped his mother's memory of the saint, they were apparently not the conventions of hagiographers alone. Perhaps a warning to make our scepticism more measured, or at least more careful and more precisely focused?
References, in case anyone is interested: R. Arbesmann, "The Three Earliest Vitae of St Galganus", in S. Prete, ed., Didascaliae: Studies in Honour of Anselm M. Albareda (New York, 1961), 1-38. The acta are edited by F. Schneider, "Die Einsiedler Galgan von Chiusdino und die Anfa"nge von San Galgano", Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken 17 (1914-24) : 61-77.
Emily of Vercelli, Dominican nun (1314)
- Emily was elected prioress, against her will, to the convent that her father had built especially for her.
Amadour, hermit (no date)
- The first hermit of Gaul.
Oswin, king and martyr (651)
- Bede writes of Oswin: "King Oswin was a man of handsome appearance and lofty stature, pleasant in speech and courteous in manner. He was generous to high and low alike, and soon won the affection of everyone by his regal qualities of mind and body, so that nobles came from almost every province to enter his service. But among his other especial endowments of virtue and moderation the greatest was what one may describe as the singular blessing of humility." (Ecclesiastical History, book 3, Ch. 14).
Philibert, abbot (685)
- Son of the bishop of Aire, Philibaud. Clovis II gave Philibert land in the forest of Jumieges where he founded a monastery in 654. He also built a monastery for women at Pavilly.
Bernard of Clairvaux, abbot (1153)
- Butler wrote: "His personal attractiveness and wit, his affability and sweetness of temper, endeared him to everybody" (tell that to Abelard). (The Catholic Encyclopedia gives 21 August as the feast day, so who's right, the Encylopedia or Butler? To which Elder@wmich.edu responded: `Very shortly before the third hour' on Thursday, 20 August, he died; not even in the middle of the night, allowing the 21st to be considered. Butler wins.
Luxorius, Cisellus and Camerinus, martyrs (303)
- Luxorius was a soldier who converted to Christianity. During the reign of Diocletian he and two young boys who had recently been baptised were martyred.
Bonosus and Maximian, martyrs (363)
- Roman soldiers martyred during the reign of Julian the Apostate.
Sidonius Apollinaris, bishop of Clermont (479)
- Gaius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius, soldier, poet, statesman, country gentleman, and eventually bishop, came from one of the noblest families in Gaul.
Humbeline, matron and abbess (1135)
- The one-time worldly sister of Bernard of Clairvaux. Once Humbeline visited her brother at Clairvaux. Arriving stylishly dressed and with a large retinue, she made her saintly brother angry. He told her that she was showing off and that she should be more virtuous like their mother, Aleth. A few years later, Humbeline, with her husband's consent, became a nun and joined the convent of nuns at Jully near Troyes. Eventually she became abbess of the convent where she practiced severe physical austerities. When her nuns urged her to moderate her ascetic practices, she replied: "That is all very well for you who have been serving God in religion all your lives. But I have lived so long in the world and of the world that no penance can be too much for me."
Abraham of Smolensk, abbot (1221)
- Abraham was accused of heresy and reading unorthodox books. He was eventually cleared of all charges. (It is not known what sorts of "unorthodox" books Abraham read.)
Bernard Tolomei, abbot, founder of the Benedictines of Monte Oliveto (1348)
- Trained as a lawyer, Bernard underwent a "sudden" conversion in 1312, when instead of giving a lecture on philosophy he gave a sermon on the contempt of the world; after the sermon he resigned his position and moved away from his hometown of Siena to the solitude of the woods of Mont'Amiata. There he was soon joined by Ambrose Piccolomini and Patrick Patrizi. Their hermit-like existence aroused suspicion and they were reported to the authorities, which caused them to be summoned before Pope John XXII at Avignon. They were able to demonstrate their orthodoxy to the pope's satisfaction; but the pope instructed them to put themselves under one of the approved religious rules. They adopted the Benedictine rule to which a number of austerities were added, including a total abstinence from wine. They founded a hermitage at Chiusuri which was called Monte Oliveto.
Timothy, Hippolytus and Symphorian, martyrs (second to fourth centuries)
- These three martyrs are unconnected with one another. Timothy was a martyr under Diocletian and was buried on the Ostian Way at Rome. Hippolytus was a bishop of Porto and greatly renowned for his learning. Symphorian was martyred in Autun because he did not honour a statue of Cybele.
Sigfrid, abbot of Wearmouth (690)
- Saintly but sickly. Bede writes: "He was a man well skilled in the knowledge of Holy Scripture, of admirable behaviour and perfect continence, but one in whom vigour of mind was somewhat depressed by bodily weakness and whose innocence of heart went along with a distressing and incurable infection of the lungs."
Andrew of Fiesole, archdeacon (ninth century?)
- Andrew was a young Irishman who went on a pilgrimage to Rome with his teacher, St Donatus. On their way back they stopped at Fiesole, where the episcopal see was vacant, and Donatus was miraculously designated to fill it; he thereupon ordained Andrew deacon and made him his archdeacon. Andrew was very close to his sister Brigid. She is said to have followed him to Italy and lived as a hermit in the mountains of Tuscany. According to another legend, she was miraculously transplanted from Ireland, to her brother's bedside while he lay dying.
Claudius, Asterius, Neon, Domnina, and Theonilla, martyrs (303)
- According to Greek tradition, the martyrs Claudius, Asterius, and Neon were brothers who suffered death by crucifixion in Isauria. The Latin acta locate the martyrdom in Cilicia. The acta relate that the three brothers were charged as Christians during the reign of Diocletian, having been denounced by their step-mother. At the same time two women named Domnina and Theonilla, with a little child, were likewise on account of their faith were thrown into prison.
Eugene or Eoghan, bishop (sixth century)
- While a child, Eoghan was carried off with two other boys to Brittany where they were sold into slavery to grind corn. One day they were found reading while the mill was being worked by angels. As a result they were released and sent back to Ireland. Eoghan settled with his disciples at Ardstraw in the valley of Mourne in Tyrone and was made a bishop.
Philip Benizi, Servite friar, (1285)
- Chief propagator and organizer of the Ordo Servorum Mariae. Philip was responsible for sending Servite missionaries as far as India. (The order was not definitively approved until Benedict XI issued the Bull, Dum levamus, 11 February 1304).
James of Bevagna, Dominican friar (1301)
- James was very strict in his observance of poverty. When his mother gave him money to buy a new habit, which he badly needed, he got permission from his superior to buy a crucifix for his cell instead. When his mother saw him still wearing the worn-out habit she became angry with him. But James answered with a smile: "St Paul tells us to 'put on the Lord Jesus', and that is the habit I have brought. Thus, I have done as you wished." Later in his life when he was despairing of his salvation, the same crucifix spurt blood over James's face and he heard a voice saying: "Behold the sign of your salvation."
Bartholomew, apostle (first century)
- apostle of India?; churches in Benevento and Rome are among those holding relics
Martyrs of Utica (258?)
- popularised by Prudentius, based on the name of the place where these Christians were buried, 'Massa Candida'
Audoenus or Ouen, bishop of Rouen (684)
- while a child, his father entertained the exiled St Columban in his house; some relics were translated to Canterbury
Genesius the Comedian, martyr (no date)
- a pagan actor, while acting the role of a Christian in a play in front of Diocletian, he underwent a conversion experience
Genesius of Arles, martyr (303?)
- patron of Arles; although a tradition surrounded him similar to that of Genesius the Comedian, earlier legends tell of him being a notary
Patricia, virgin (unknown)
- a noble of Constantinople who avoided marriage by going first to Rome and then to Naples, where she died; a patron of Naples, a relic of her blood liquefies there, like that of another Neapolitan patron, St Gennaro
Mennas, patriarch of Constantinople (552)
- like some others of the time, he was excommunicated by the pope, only to have his good name completely restored after his death
Ebba, abbess of Coldingham, virgin (683)
- NOT the Ebba, abbess of Coldingham, virgin, who was killed by the Danes c. 870; no, this one was St Oswald's sister, and at one time was in charge of the young St Etheldreda
Gregory of Utrecht, abbot (775?)
- born in or near Trier, he was a companion of St Boniface, who eventually administered the diocese of utrecht for twenty years, even though he was never consecrated as bishop
Louis IX of France (1270)
- his confessor was Robert de Sorbon
Zephyrinus, pope and martyr (c. 217)
- one of several popes who were the only ones to bear their name (unlike the dozens named 'John')
Timothy of Montecchio (1504)
- from area of L'Aquila, he was a Franciscan priest, noted for the efficacy of his prayers; also, Christ spoke to him audibly from the sacramental species; today his remains are in friary of St Angelo in Ocra
Marcellus and companions, martyrs (287?)
- died at Tomi, on the Black Sea (where Ovid ended his days); when bears were let loose, they would not harm these people, and it was not possible to set a fire to burn them... so that got their heads chopped off
Poemen, abbot (fifth century)
- even though he would go for up to a week without food, he told his fellow Egyptian desert hermits that they should eat: 'We fast to control our bodies, not to kill them', he would say
Caesarius, bishop of Arles (543)
- earliest writer to show familiarity with the Athanasian creed, Caesarius was a renowned preacher
Syagrius, bishop of Autun (600)
- entertained Augustine and companions on their way from Rome to England
Hugh of Lincoln (1255)
- this is 'Little' Hugh, a boy supposedly killed by Jews
Angelo of Foligno (1312)
- that's 'Angel_O_', not the more famous Angela of the same place; he was an Augustinian friar, close to saints Giovanni Buono and Nicola da Tolentino
Margaret the Barefooted, widow (1395)
- even while married, she would walk around her native San Severino (in the March of Ancona) barefoot, like the beggars she liked to help
Hermes, martyr (second century?)
- martyred in Rome, with widely diffused cult throughout early medieval Europe (and even today in Renaix, Flanders)
Julian of Brioude, martyr (third century?)
- also known as Julian of Auvergne, he was a soldier-martyr; Gregory of Tours relates miracles wrought by his intercession
Alexander, John III, and Paul IV, patriarchs of Constantinople (340, 577, 784)
Moses the Black (c. 405)
- converted from being a thieving slave and brigand after hiding from the authorities by mixing with some desert hermits in Egypt
Augustine, bishop of Hippo, doctor (430)
- Latin Father of the Church par excellence
Beheading of John the Baptist (c. 30)
- the martyrology of Jerome twins this feast with that of Eliseus, following the belief that both men were buried at Sebaste (near Jerusalem)
Sabina, martyr (date unknown)
- according to the sixth century passio, she was a widow who was converted to Christianity by her Syrian servant Serapia
Medericus or Merry, abbot (c. 700)
- twice left the monastery to live as a hermit
Felix and Adauctus, martyrs (304?)
- Felix, 'no less happy in his life and virtue than in his name', was a Roman priest; while being led to execution, he was seen by an onlooker, who demanded that he too be killed... so they both got their heads chopped off; no one knew the name of the second man, so he was referred to as 'Adauctus', 'the one added'
- a friend of Jerome and Paulinus of Nola, collaborator of Fabiola
Rumon or Ruan (sixth century?)
- a young woman, fearing that Rumon would make her husband a monk, declared that the holy man was really a werewolf who had eaten a child
Fantinus, abbot (tenth century)
- abbot of Greek monastery of St Mercury in Calabria, he left to become a hermit just before Saracens destroyed the monastery; he then left for the Peloponnesus, where his miracles and virtues made him a celebrity
Bronislava, virgin (1259)
- a cousin of St Hyacinth, she was a Norbertine nun who lived near Cracow; when her cousin died, she saw the Virgin Mary receive him into Heaven
Deposition of the Holy Belt of the Mother of God
- Mary's belt and dress were kept in her house in Chalkoprateia until Justinian's time, when they were put in a luxurious case; this relic is now kept in the monastery of Vatopedi, Mount Athos
Paulinus, bishop of Trier (358)
- educated in Poitiers, as bishop he was banished into Phrygia, where he died; in 1883 his remains were exhumed, and found to be wrapped in oriental silks
Aidan, bishop of Lindisfarne (651)
- regarded by some as the greatest apostle of England, he established a monastery on Lindisfarne, under the Rule of St Columcille; he felt the best way to convert the Northumbrians was by 'the milk of milder doctrine, until they should be able to digest more solid food'
Raymond Nonnatus, cardinal (1240)
- got his name after being taken from the body of his mother after her death in labour; he is the patron of midwives
Laurence Nerucci and companions, martyrs (1420)
- Nerucci, along with three other Servite friars (Augustine Cennini, Bartholomew Donati and John-Baptist Petrucci), died in the company of 60 others when the monastery in which they were singing the Te Deum was set on fire by Hussites
Aegidius or Giles, abbot (date unknown)
- according to the very popular legend (dating from the tenth
century), Giles was an Athenian by birth, who escaped the fame his
sanctity brought on him by fleeing to Marseilles; eventually, he became a
hermit who lived in a cave, at times in the company of a hind who would
hide from the King's huntsmen; the king eventually discovered this, and
induced Giles to found an abbey
- he died on a Sunday, 1 September, 'leaving the world sadder for his bodily absence but giving joy in Heaven by his happy arrival'
Colman O'Clabaigh added: The St Giles fair in Oxford starts on Monday which means that the street bearing his name will be closed for three days. I read somewhere that he was also the patron saint of beggars and cripples which explains why churches dedicated to him were often found outside the principal gates of cities. People could gather there and beg from those going into town. St Giles in London was near Cripplegate (?).
the Twelve Brothers, martyrs (date unknown)
- natives of Hadrumetum in proconsular Africa, children of saints Boniface and Thecla (their feast was on 30 August), they were martyred over four days in Puglia; relics translated to church of St Sophia in Benevento
Verena, virgin (date unknown)
- honoured throughout the Swiss Alps, where she spent her time caring for the cleanliness of the area's peasants; she is portrayed holding a comb and a bowl
Lupus or Leu, bishop of Sens (623)
- one day, while singing Mass, a precious stone dropped miraculously into the chalice
Fiacre or Fiachra (670?)
- invoked against venereal diseases; patron of gardeners and of Parisian taxi drivers; relics at Meaux are still visited (in fact the shrine was particularly popular in the seventeenth century)
- Bonnie Blackburn added: Irish hermit who went to France, he was given land for a hermitage by the Bishop of Meaux. Known for his misogyny (he is patron of sufferers from venereal diseases), he devoted himself to gardening, his legend recording that he tilled land with his staff. Hence he is also patron saint of gardeners.
- Last year many of you were perplexed by the Parisian taxi driver connection. Some of you provided possible explanations... Jo Ann McNamara wrote: Just to complicate things further but, perhaps, to explain the taxi drivers at least: I believe St. Fiacre is also particularly effective against hemorrhoids (sp?) I remember a stone in Brittany imprinted miraculously by his buttocks that sufferers sat in with splendid results.
John Parsons wrote: Regarding the feast of St Fiacre, the French word "fiacre" came to refer (by the 18th century anyway) to a type of carriage that was often run for hire in Paris. This might well explain the taxi driver connection. Given the Gallic proclivity for naming objects for a pseudo-place of origin (e.g., any dish of food conspicuously containing carrots is properly called "a la Crecy" because Crecy is as well-known for its carrots as for Edward III's victory), it's possible that this type of carriage originated, or was manufactured, at St-Fiacre-en-Brie. Nailing this down would naturally take some research though. Are there any details in Fiacre's vita or legend (with which I am utterly unfamiliar) that would possibly connect with a journey by cart or carriage?
Monica Sandor added: For the record, a certain type of horse-drawn carriage is also called "fiaker" in Hungarian, probably from German. This despite that the single word ever to come into English from Hungarian is the word "coach", for the village Kocs in Hungary where apparently it originated, thus confirming John Parsons' theory about objects named for places.
Sebbe (c. 694)
- co-king of the East Saxons, he became a monk; buried in the north wall of old St Paul's; named in the Roman Martyrology on 29 August, but his feast is kept today in the diocese of Brentwood
Drithelm (c. 700)
- was known to stand in the icy river Tweed reciting his office; had mystical experiences
John of Perugia and Peter of Sassoferrato, martyrs (1231)
- sent by Francis of Assisi to preach in Valencia, where they were beheaded while praying for the conversion of the emir; seven years later, he not only converted but he gave his house to the Franciscans for use as a friary (it is surely a coincidence that by that time, the emir was subject to the king of Aragon, James I the Conqueror)
Joan Soderini, virgin (1367)
- a Florentine noble who joined St Juliana Falconieri in the house of the third order regular of the Servites; known for her gift of prophecy and her predilection for performing the most distasteful tasks
Antoninus, martyr (fourth century)
- a Syrian stonemason, killed by angry pagans while he was building a Christian church; his relics were translated to Palencia in Spain, of which he is the patron
Castor, bishop of Apt (c. 425)
- Cassian dedicated the De institutis coenobiorum to him
Agricolus, bishop of Avignon (seventh century)
- cult began in the sixteenth century, he became patron of Avignon in 1647; invoked there to bring changes in the weather
Stephen of Hungary (1038)
- he would disguise himself before going among the poor to do good works; pope Gregory VII ordered that his relics by translated to a chapel within the Buda church dedicated to Mary
William, bishop of Roskilde (c. 1070)
- chaplain to king Canute; named in Danish calendars, but has never had a liturgical feast in his honour
Margaret of Louvain, virgin and martyr (1225?)
- described by Caesarius of Heisterbach in the sixth book of his Dialogue on Miracles; her murdered body was found with the help of a supernatural light and angelic voices; buried in a special chapel in the churchyard of St Peter's collegiate church at Louvain
Brocard or Burchard (1231?)
- last year we asked list member Paul Chandler to tell us more about Brocard who was head of the hermits of Mount Carmel at the time that pope Honorius III confirmed their rule (thanks to a vision of the Virgin Mary) in 1226.
Paul responded with the following informative profile: Almost nothing is known of "Brocard". It's not much of an achievement. "Brocard" is a later solution of the abbreviation "B." in the rule or formula vitae which the Latin hermits on Mount Carmel requested from Albert of Vercelli, patriarch of Jerusalem, sometime between 1206 and 1214: it is addressed to "dilectis in Christo filiis B. et ceteris eremitis qui sub eius obedientia iuxta fontem in monte Carmeli morantur". That's about it for what we know of "Brocard": his name started with B. and in those years he was leader of the group of hermits which became the Carmelite order. He was never considered its founder. It's not certain that he was still around in 1226, pace Butler, for Honorius III's confirmation does not mention any names. It's possible of course that the later works which give his name preserve a genuine memory. Joachim Smet, author of the now standard history of the Carmelites, seems to think so. However, his name doesn't appear on the scene until the late 14th century (John Grossi, John of Hildesheim, Catalogus sanctorum); his legend is developed only in the second half of the 15th century (Thomas Bradley, Palaeonydorus, Arnold Bostius). Medieval Carmelites had much experience of invention and are probably not to be trusted even in so simple a matter as his name, not to mention the like of his papal embassy to Damascus, the healing of the vice-sultan of Egypt of leprosy and his baptism in the Jordan, etc. His cult was not prescribed till 1564, removed again in 1585, reintroduced in 1609, and has now again been suppressed. Sometime I mean to send in an annotated bibliography on the Carmelites, if anyone is interested, because so much of what is written is either misleading or wrong. On Carmelite saints the most reliable source is Santi del Carmelo, ed. Ludovico Saggi (Rome, Institutum Carmelitanum, 1972)
, which draws largely from articles previously published in the Bibliotheca Sanctorum, some of which are corrected or expanded. Saggi also contributed a very important and unfortunately little-noticed introduction, "Agiografia carmelitana", which is indispensable for studies of the early Carmelites in general and Carmelite hagiography in particular.
Phoebe (first century)
- at end of letter to the Romans, Paul says: 'And I commend you to Phoebe, our sister, who is in the ministry of the church that is in Cenchrae, that you receive her in the Lord as becometh saints and that you assist her in whatsoever business she shall have need of you' - the Bollandists refute the allegation that she had been Paul's wife
Macanisius or Aengus MacNisse, bishop (514)
- for the convenience of his monks, he miraculously changed the course of the river Curi; he also saved the life of the child who was to become St Colman of Kilruaidh
Simeon Stylites the Younger (592)
- from 'before he had lost his first teeth', Simeon lived on isolated rocks and pillars for almost all his life
Remaclus, bishop (c. 675)
- directed the double abbey of Stavelot and Malmedy in Ardenne; had a wide cult in Belgium
Aigulf, martyr (c. 676)
- when, as newly appointed abbot of Lerins, he tried to impose order on the less virtuous monks, they called on some local soldiers to kidnap Aigulf, whom they then murdered
Hildelitha or Hildilid, abbess of Barking, virgin (c. 717)
- a young Anglo-Saxon princess, she went to France where she took the veil; she returned to aid her sister St Ethelburga in running the new convent at Barking (and succeeded her as abbess); St Aldhelm dedicated to her a metrical treatise on virginity, Bede clearly admired her, and St Boniface mentioned that she had confided to him a vision she had experienced
Cuthburga, abbess of Wimborne, widow (c. 725)
- a novice under Hildelitha at Barking, she later founded (together with her sister St Quenburga) the abbey of Wimborne, where no men were allowed to set foot
Guala, bishop of Brescia (1244)
- a disciple of Dominic, he had a vision of this leader's death at the very moment it took place; the third antiphon at Lauds in the office of Dominic refers to this: 'Scala caelo prominens fratri revelatur, per quam pater transiens sursum ferebatur' -- and when it was first sung, after Dominic's 1234 canonisation, Guala himself precented this antiphon
Andrea da Borgo San Sepolcro (1315)
- Andrea Dotti joined the Servites after hearing St Philip Benizi preach; himself a great preacher, he predicted the day of his death, when even though in good health, he was found dead where he had been praying on a rock where he would often preach to his brethren
Marcellus, martyr (c. 178?)
- he accepted an invitation to go to a party hosted by the Roman governor, then got indignant when the governor started to fulfil religious rites; surprisingly, Marcellus was killed -- by being buried up to his waist in the earth on the banks of the Saone river, dying three days later of exposure
Marinus (fourth century?)
- how many saints have a republic named after them? this one does
Boniface I, pope (422)
- elected at an advanced age, he was on very good terms with Augustine; had a devotion to St Felicitas
Ultan, bishop (657)
- while feeding children with his right hand, he put Nordic invaders to flight with his left hand; an early Irish writer said of him: 'Had it been the right hand that noble Ultan raised against them, no foreigner would ever have come into the land of Erin'
Ida of Herzfeld, widow (825)
- to remind herself of her all-too-human destiny, she had a stone coffin made for herself, which she would fill daily with food before distributing it to the poor
Rosalia, virgin (1160?)
- had a popular cult in Sicily in the later Middle Ages; became patron of Palermo in 1624, after being credited with clearing the city of the plague
Rose of Viterbo, virgin (1252?)
- a visionary child saint, who preached in the streets at age 12; canonised in 1457; her body is carried in procession through the streets of Viterbo on this day
Catherine of Racconigi, virgin (1547)
- a Piedmontese Dominican nun; in the breviary lesson for her feast, it is written: 'between Racconigi and [Catherine of] Siena there is only the difference of canonisation'
Bertinus, abbot (c. 700)
- as abbot of Sithiu, this monastery gained a reputation as great as that of Luxeuil
Raymund Lull, martyr (1316)
- commemorated by the Franciscans, he had an incredibly action-packed and long life; aka The Father of Catalan Literature
Gentilis, martyr (1340)
- strangely, we know that he was a martyr but don't know how or where he was martyred
Lorenzo Giustiniani, patriarch of Venice (1455)
- widely renowned for his holiness, he wrote several ascetical treatises; his nephew was his hagiographer; canonised in 1690
Donatian, Laetus and others, bishops and martyrs (c. 484)
- victims of the Arian king of the Vandals, Huneric
Eleutherius, abbot (sixth century)
- lived for many years in Gregory the Great's monastery at Rome (see Dialogues, bk 3, ch. 33)
Chainoaldus or Cagnou or Cagnoald, bishop of Laon (c. 633)
- accompanied St Columban on his travels; was present at the Council of Reims in 630
Bega or Bee, virgin (seventh century)
- the promontory in Northumbria on which she lived is known as St Bee's Head
Bertrand de Garrigues (c. 1230)
- one of the earliest followers of Dominic; prior provincial of Provence; when asked why he rarely celebrated requiem masses, he replied: 'we are certain of the salvation of the holy souls, but of the end of ourselves and other sinners we are not certain'; according to Bernard Gui, he was 'the very image of the blessed Dominic'
Peregrine of Falerone (1240)
- quit being a student at Bologna and joined Francis of Assisi as a lay brother
Liberato da Loro (1258?)
- not much known of him; supposedly a Franciscan, he apparently lived as a contemplative and a hermit
Sante da Monte Fabri (1390)
- celebrated by Franciscans along with Peregrine and Liberato, he became a lay brother after having killed a man
Regina or Reine, virgin and martyr (date unknown)
- native of Alise (Bourgogne), she refused a marriage offer from the local Roman prefect; as she was about to be beheaded, a shining dove was seen hovering above her head
Sozon, martyr (date unknown)
- the local magistrate tortured him by having nails driven upward through the soles of his shoes; when Sozon marched in front of the magistrate in the arena, he called up to him: 'I have finer red shoes than you!'
Grimonia, virgin and martyr (date unknown)
- escaped from Ireland to France in the hope of thus preserving her virginity; she did, but only by defending her honour to the death; on this day in 1231, her relics were enshrined (along with those of another ex-Irish virgin and martyr, St Proba) at Lesquielles
John of Nicomedia, martyr (303)
- according to Lactantius, he was burned alive; he has sometimes been erroneously identified with St George, protector of England
Anastasius the Fuller, martyr (304?)
- although the Roman Martyrology says this saint died on this date in Aquileia, he really died on 26 August in Split
Clodoald or Cloud (c. 560)
- brought up by his grandmother St Clotilda (the widow of Clovis); by a pun on his name, he is venerated in France as patron of nail-makers
Alcmund and Tilbert, bishops of Hexham (781 & 789)
- the seventh and eighth bishops of this see
The Nativity of Mary the Virgin
- feast first mentioned in the West c. 600, in the Auxerre
Hieronymianum (date unknown?)
- for legends of her birthplace, see Analecta Bollandiana 62 (1944) 272-273
Adrian and Natalia, martyrs (c. 304)
- Adrian was a pagan officer moved to convert when he witnessed the torture of 23 Christians; his wife Natalia, to spare her husband having to see others being killed, actually helped the executioners carry out their task; she took away his severed hand as a relic, and travelled to the Christian community in Argyropolis, where she died a peaceful death.
Eusebius, Nestabus, Zeno and Nestor, martyrs (c. 362)
- the first three were brothers, and Nestor was a fellow Christian martyred in Gaza; all were made famous by the brothers' relative, also named Zeno, when he eventually was made bishop in the reign of Theodosius
Disibod (c. 674)
- an Irish bishop, he went to Germany where he founded a monastery on a hill near Bingen; his vita was written by St Hildegard, based on her visions
Sergius I, pope (701)
- after Sergius was elected as pope, the imperial exarch John extorted a huge sum of money from him; as pope, he ordained that the Roman church should observe the four feasts of Mary, including her birthday (which is today -- coincidence?)
Corbinian, bishop (725)
- early apostle of Bavaria; one day when he met a woman accused of being a magician, he 'unsympathetically' stole her provisions and beat her soundly with his own hands; no wonder his hagiographer Aribo says that Corbinian was a man quick to anger
Gorgonius and Dorotheus, martyrs (date unknown)
- killed for protesting against the torments inflicted an a Christian named Peter
Isaac or Sahak I, Katholikos of the Armenians (439)
- son of katholikos St Nerses I, he continued his father's work in bringing his church more in line with Byzantine custom and law; this meant that he himself became the last of the house of St Gregory the Enlightener to rule over his church
Kieran or Queranus or Ciaran, abbot of Clonmacnois (556?)
- his vita contains many great anecdotes; in a practical joke that he played against his mother, he made it so that the blue dye she was using became so strong that anything touching it (including dogs and cats) became entirely blue
Audomarus or Omer, bishop of Therouanne (c. 670)
- left monastery of Luxeuil to become bishop; took along with him others who became known as saints: Mommolinus, Bertrand, Gertinus; in old age, his blindness was cured by the relics of St Vedast
Bettelin (eighth century)
- in his younger, not-so-saintly years, he almost slit St Guthlac's throat while shaving him, in the hope that he would succeed him; he is patron of town of Stafford
Serafina Sforza, widow (c. 1478)
- driven to the convent by her evil husband, she joined the Poor Clares; however, it may be that she plotted against her husband in a not-so-saintly way (cf. B. Feliciangeli, Sulla monacazione di Sueva Montefeltro-Sforza. Ricerche, 1903)
Luisa da Savoia, widow (1503)
- she established the first known poor-box, into which every person in her house who used foul language had to put a contribution
Nemesian and companions, martyrs (257)
- Nemesian, a bishop, and many other Christians of Numidia died during the persecution of Valerian
Menodora, Metrodora and Nymphodora, virgins and martyrs (304?)
- lovely names; three orphan sisters of Bithynia, they were killed by the governor Fronto
Pulcheria, virgin (453)
- lovely name; granddaughter to Theodosius the Great, she was accused of infidelity with 'a handsome but gouty officer', and exiled to Jerusalem; on her return to the court, she nominated Marcian as emperor, and married him on condition that her chastity be respected
Finnian of Moville, bishop (c. 579)
- as a young monk in Strathclyde, he attracted the love of a Pictish princess who was made ill by his saintly indifference; he eventually matched her with a more suitable candidate; like St Frigidian (or Frediano) of Lucca, he changed the course of a river by prayer, so that a mill could be built close to his monastery
Salvius, bishop of Albi (584)
- a friend of Gregory of Tours, he worked among victims of the 584 plague; when he felt himself dying, he ordered his coffin to be made and changed his clothes before giving up the ghost
Theodard, bishop of Maastricht (670?)
- when held up by robbers in the forest of Bienwald, he made a long speech to them, to which they replied with a quotation from Horace before killing him
Aubert, bishop of Avranches (c. 725?)
- founder of the church of Mont-Saint-Michel early in the eighth century
Nicholas of Tolentino (1305)
- like other miracle-workers of the time, this Augustinian friar would distribute bread as a cure for illness; canonised in 1446
Protus and Hyacinth, martyrs (date unknown)
- brothers whose tombs were discovered in the 1840s in the cemetery of Basilla on the Old Salarian Way
Theodora of Alexandria (no date)
- after falling into sin, she repented and lived disguised as a man among the desert monks of the Thebaid
Paphnutius, bishop (c. 350?)
- a supporter of St Athanasius, he survived many years after suffering the torture of having his right eye removed and his left leg made lame
Patiens, bishop of Lyon (c. 480)
- patiently worked as a model bishop: 'holy, active, ascetic and merciful'
Deiniol, bishop in north Wales (c. 584?)
- known as the 'Daniel of the Bangors' (Bangor on Dee near Chester and subsequently Bangor in Gwynedd), he was buried on Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island)
Peter of Chavanon (1080)
- as a priest, he longed for a less active life; when he was 'persecuted by the attentions of a woman who was attracted to him', he founded and built a monastery for canons regular; buried at Pebrac
Louis of Thuringia (1227)
- husband of St Elizabeth of Hungary, when he was dying of malaria, he saw his room filled with doves, and his last words were 'I must fly away with these white doves'
Ailbhe, bishop (c. 526?)
- he was abandoned at birth and raised by a she-wolf; when he became bishop, he saved this she-wolf who was being chased by hounds, and from then on he fed her at his own table
Eanswida, virgin (c. 640)
- daughter of St Ethelbert, the first Christian king among the English; she died on 31 August, but this is the feast of the translation of her relics in c. 1140
Guy d'Anderlecht (c. 1012)
- a simple lay person, he lived a simple life as sacristan of the church of Our Lady at Laeken (near Brussels) before making pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem; a popular patron of people who work with horses
Name of Mary (fifteenth century?)
- following Bernardino of Siena's preaching on the name of Jesus, this devotion seems to have been born; first known feast was in Cuenca (Spain) in 1513
Maurilius, bishop of Angers (453)
- a native of Milan; there is a tradition in Angers that he had a vision of singing angels on the night of 8 September, inducing him to institute the feast of the Birthday of Mary in the diocese there
Eulogius, patriarch of Alexandria (c. 607)
- Gregory the Great really admired his writings, saying to him: 'I find nothing in your writings but what is admirable'
Amatus or Ame, abbot (c. 630)
- first abbot of Remiremont
Amatus or Ame, bishop of Sion in Valais (c. 690)
- like St Goar and some other saints, he would hang up his cloak not on a hook but on a sunbeam
Maternus (fourth century)
- first bishop of Cologne of whom there is 'historical' evidence; there are, however, differing vitae of a St Maternus for this date
Exaltation of the Holy Cross (629)
- celebration of the veneration of the relics of the Cross at Jerusalem after Emperor Heraclius had recovered them from the Persians who had taken them some 15 years earlier
Notburga, virgin (c. 1313)
- patron of Tirolese domestic servants
Our Lady of Sorrows
- made popular by Servite friars from their inception, but was not made a feast throughout the Western church until 1814 (ed. note: thanks to John Wickstrom)
Nicomedes, martyr (date unknown)
- Roman martyrology: 'on saying to those who tried to make him sacrifice, "I do not sacrifice except to the almighty God who reigns in Heaven", he was for a long time beaten with leaded whips and under this torture passed to the Lord'
Nicetas the Goth, martyr (375)
- the other great martyr among the Goths, Sabas, has 12 April as feast; relics taken to Mopsuestia in Cilicia (hence the cult's presence throughout Byzantine and Syrian churches)
Aichardus / Achard, abbot (c. 687)
- abbot of Jumieges (founded by St Philibert); like his predecessor, had gift of foretelling deaths (including his own)
Mirin (seventh century?)
- Irish missionary in Scotland, buried at Paisley; when an Irish king opposed him, Mirin laid the pains of childbirth upon him
Aichardus / Achard, monk (c. 1170)
- recorded in Cistercian menology; master of novices at Clairvaux
Catherine of Genova, widow (1510)
- mystic; wrote treatise on Purgatory and a dialogue of the soul and the body
Cornelius, pope and martyr (253)
- combatted and excommunicated the first formal antipope, Novatian
Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, martyr (258)
- most prominent supporter of pope Cornelius (see above), but opposed succeeding pope, Stephen; completely renounced pagan literaure
Euphemia, virgin and martyr (303?)
- overcame tortures of 'imprisonments, stripes, the wheel, fire, heavy stones, beasts, scourging, sharp nails and burning pans' before being killed by a bear; her tomb in Chalcedon was site of interesting miracle at council of 451, seen as settling the Monophysist heresy
Abundius, Abudantius and companions, martyrs (304?)
- while taken to be martyred, Abundius raised pagan John from the dead (in time for him to be martyred as well)
Ninian, bishop (432?)
- mentioned by Bede, and subject of an interesting vita by Aelred of Rievaulx
Ludmila, martyr (921)
- mother of 'good king' Wenceslaus
Edith of Wilton, virgin (984)
- daughter of King Edgar and Wulfrida; her death was foreseen by Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury; commemorated in the Roman Catholic diocese of Clifton (= Bristol)
Victor III, pope (1087)
- after living as monk and hermit in central Italy (with name of Desiderius), became abbot of Montecassino in 1057; succeeded Gregory VII as pope in 1086
Vitalis of Savigny, abbot (1122)
- founder of abbey of Savigny, part of the 12th-century monastic reform
Louis Allemand, archbishop of Arles and cardinal (1450)
- despite excommunication by pope Eugenius IV, he was restored to cardinalatial dignity by pope Nicholas V
Socrates and Stephen, martyrs (?)
- Butler writes: "Nothing whatever is known of these martyrs and they are only of interest because the Roman Martyrology, following the Martyrology of Jerome, says that their passion took place in Britain."
- Eulogised by his younger brother, Ambrose of Milan.
Lambert, bishop of Maastricht, martyr (705)
- Killed by a gang led by a certain Dodo.
Columba, virgin and martyr (853)
- Native of Cordoba, executed by Moslems.
Hildegard of Bingen, abbess of Rupertsberg (1179)
- a.k.a. in her own day as the Sibyl of the Rhine.
The Impression of the Stigmata upon St Francis (1224)
: With the exception of Francis, I cannot think of any other male stigmatic from the Middle Ages. Are there any others?
In reply to this question Gary Dickson wrote: Herbert Thurston's (old but not quite venerable collection of studies) "The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism" [not at hand] gives the best dossier I know of male stigmati. Before Francis, there was the Blessed Dodo.
Peter Arbues, inquisitor and martyr (1485)
- His zeal made him many enemies.
Ferreolus, martyr (third century?)
- Tribune living in Vienne (Gaul), miraculously escaped imprisonment only to be recaptured and beheaded.
Methodius of Olympus, bishop and martyr (311)
- No details of life or martyrdom, but best known for his Symposium (dealing with virginity).
Richardis, widow (c. 895)
- Married to Charles the Fat, who accused her of unfaithfulness; she then survived an ordeal by fire, and left Charles for a nunnery
Gennaro, bishop of Benevento, and companions, martyrs (305)
- Also known as 'Januarius', is patron of Naples; famous for regularly recurring miracle of his blood, that liquefies during special masses held three times yearly (including today).
Peleus and companions, martyrs (310)
- Died working in mines at Phunon, near Petra.
Sequanus (or Seine), abbot (c. 580)
- Built a monastery near the source of the river Seine, and civilised the people in the area (who were cannibals).
Goericus (or Abbo), bishop of Metz (647)
- In thanksgiving for miracle restoring sight to himself, became a priest; his daughter Precia was first abbess of convent at Epinal.
Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury (690)
- A Greek scholar, held to be the first bishop whom the whole English church obeyed.
Mary of Cerevellon, virgin (1290)
- First nun of the order of our Lady of Ransom (Mercedarians) from Barcelona.
Theodore, David and Constantine (1299, 1321)
- Theodore, duke of Yaroslavl and Smolensk, was father of David and Constantine.
Eustace and his companions, martyrs (2nd century?)
- Placidas, a Roman general under Trajan, while hunting saw a stag, between whose antlers appeared a figure of Christ on the cross; he converted, changed his name, and got himself and his family martyred by being roasted to death in a brazen bull - patron of hunters.
Garth Carpenter wrote: I read recently and extensively that the legend of Eustace concerning the vision of the crucifix appearing between the antlers of a deer was confused with (in the literal sense of that word) that of St. Hubert, and that the Feast Day of both Eustace and St. Hubert is 3 November. Most encyclopaediae give 3 November too. Any comment?
I replied: Good point. I usually take the feast listings from Butler's Lives of the Saints (1956), edited, revised and supplemented by Herbert Thurston and Donald Attwater (London, Burns & Oates). I use this edition as it employs the dates of the pre-Vatican II feasts, and is thus usually in accord with the dates on which the feasts would have been celebrated in the Middle Ages. A further note on the feast date of Eustace - according to the Catholic Encyclopedia (another pre-Vatican II source) it is celebrated in the West on 20 September and in the East on 2 November. Now we have three possible feast days!
In regard to the vision of the crucifix being confused with that of St Hubert's vision, all that Butler says on the subject is the following: "His worthless legend relates that he was a Roman general under Trajan ... and while out hunting one day he saw coming towards him a stag, between whose antlers appeared a figure of Christ on the cross -which story appears also in the legend of St Hubert and other saints - and a voice issuing there from calling him by name."
Vincent Madelgarius, abbot (c. 687)
- Also known as Mauger or Vincent of Soignies wife (Waldetrudis/Waudru) and kids (Landericus/Landry, Madelberta, Aldetrudis and Dentelinus) also venerated as saints. His vita was written in the abbey of Hautmont in the tenth or eleventh century.
Aline Hornaday commented: In reference to St Vincent Madalgar's family, please remember also his sister-in-law, Aldegunde of Maubeuge, and his wife Waldetrude's niece Aye. This family of saints is venerated today in Belgium. Once each century the relics of Saints Vincent and Waldetrude are taken respectively from Soignies and Mons to meet halfway; the last such procession took place in 1917 during the German occupation of Belgium. One hopes the relics of these two spouses will meet again in 2017.
Matthew, apostle and evangelist (first century)
- Four French churches possess his head.
Laudus (Lo), bishop and confessor (568)
Maura of Troyes, virgin (c. 850)
- Bishop Prudentius, her hagiographer, ascribed his own conversion to her influence. Every Wednesday and Friday she fasted allowing herself only bread and water. She often walked barefoot to the monastery of Mantenay, which was two leagues away, to open up the secrets of her soul to the abbot of that monastery. (I am not exactly sure what two leagues equal, but I am sure it is far, after all she was a saint.)
Michael of Chernigov and Theodore, martyrs (1246)
- Among most popular of Russian martyrs during the Tartar invasions.
Phocas the Gardener, martyr (?)
- Lived near the gate of Sinope, a city of Paphlagonia on the Black Sea. Gave the fruits of his garden to the poor. (In the Roman Martyrology, Phocas, martyr at Antioch on 5 March, and Phocas, Bishop of Sinope and martyr under Trajan on 14 July, are probably both derivatives of Phocas the Gardener.) His relics, or parts of them, were claimed by Antioch, Vienne and several other places.
Maurice and companions, martyrs (287?)
- Augustus Maximian Herculius ordered this legion of six thousand six hundred Christian men to be put to death since they did not join in offering a sacrifice to the gods after a successful expedition.
Felix III (IV), pope (530)
- Felix sent to the second Synod of Orange (529) a number of propositions about grace drawn from the works of Augustine, which led to the condemnation of Semi-Pelagianism by the council.
Salaberga, matron (665)
- Salaberga was cured of blindess as a child by St Eustace of Luxeuil. She and her husband, Blandinus, also a saint, agreed to live holy lives. Blandinus became a hermit, and Salaberga founded a monastery at Laon. Salaberga had a married brother named Bodo; she persuaded him to become a monk. Bodo's wife joined Salaberga's community at Laon. When Salaberga died, she was buried at her monastery in Laon. Her brother was eventually buried next to her.
Emmeramus, bishop (seventh century)
- By his preaching, he converted many to Christianity.
Linus, pope and martyr (79)
- His martyrdom is doubtful as no persecution is recorded in his time; moreover, Irenaeus names only Telesphorus as a martyr among the earliest popes after Peter.
Thecla of Iconium, virgin and martyr (first century)
- Referred to liturgically in the East as "protomartyr among women and equal with the Apostles".
Adamnan (or Eunan), abbot of Iona (704)
- At the Council of Birr he was instrumental in persuading the assembly that women should not take part in warfare and that they and their children should be neither killed nor taken as prisoners.
Mark of Modena, Dominican (1498)
- Renowned preacher. Was prior of the friary at Pesaro where he worked many miracles.
Helen of Bologna, widow (1520)
- Butler wrote: "The common people, who have an almost unerring instinct for detecting true holiness, knew she was a saint."
Geremarus or Germer, abbot (658)
- One of the numerous Frankish noblemen who after marrying and following a secular career, gave it all up for the monastic life.
Gerard, bishop of Csanad, martyr (1046)
- Gerard was originally a monk in the Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore at Venice. While making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he travelled through Hungary where he met King Stephen. Stephen was so impressed with Gerard's learning that he made him tutor of his son Emeric.
Robert of Knaresborough, hermit (1218)
- Like his fellow hermit and fellow Yorkshireman Richard Rolle, Robert Flower, "the Holy Hermit of Knaresborough", enjoyed a considerable cultus in medieval England which was never confirmed by canonisation. His name has not been found in calendars, but the Trinitarian church at Knaresborough was called St Robert's, and Matthew Paris mentions him with St Edmund of Abingdon and St Elizabeth of Hungary as one of the holiest people of his time.
Our Lady of Ransom (patron of Mercedarians, founded c. 1220s)
- On this day, in a vision Peter Nolasco was requested by the BVM to establish a religious order especially devoted to the ransom of captives. Peter Nolasco thereupon founded the Mercedarian order.
Firmin, bishop and martyr (4th century)
- True identity is unclear. Was probably a missionary bishop in Gaul.
Cadoc, abbot (575)
- Miraculously relived a famine by the discovery of an unknown store of wheat.
Aunacharius or Aunaire, bishop of Auxerre (605)
- Zealous for discipline in his diocese, Aunacharius forbade Christians to use churches for dancing and to sing ribald songs. Nor were the people in his diocese to dress themselves up as stags or calves on New Year's day, or to make vows before "holy" bushes, trees and wells, or to practice sympathetic magic.
Finbar, bishop (633)
- Upon his death, the sun did not set for a fortnight.
Ceolfrid, abbot of Wearmouth (716)
- Abbot during Bede's time. Bede writes: "I was ordained deacon in my nineteenth year, and priest in my thirtieth, receiving both these orders at the hands of the most reverend Bishop John at the direction of Abbot Ceolfrid."
Herman the Cripple, monk (1054)
- Born in Swabia of the house of Altshausen in 1013, as a child he entered the abbey of Reichenau on an island of Lake Constance. Among his works is one of the earliest medieval world-chronicles, a long unfinished poem on the deadly sins, and a mathematical/astronomical treatise which begins: "Herman, the rubbish of Christ's little ones, lagging behind the apprentices of philosophy, more slowly than a donkey or a slug..." Also crafted astronomical and musical instruments.
Sergius of Radonezh, abbot (1392)
- Popular among the people. Sergius spent most of his monastic time working with the poor and advising monarchs.
Cyprian, martyr, and Justina, virgin martyr (no date, but early legend)
- Cyprian, extremely learned in black magic, failed in trying to seduce the beautiful Justina; left his arts behind him (including his alliance with the Devil himself) and converted to Justina's faith. How they died: she was scourged, he was torn with iron hooks they both were boiled in a cauldron of pitch before being beheaded.
Colman of Lann Elo, abbot (611)
- One of 12 saints of this name in Ireland for the month of September alone; wrote Alphabet of Devotion.
Nilus of Rossano, abbot (1004)
- Left his family for monastic life. Generally held to be the founder of the monastery of Grottaferrata
John of Meda (1159)
- John Wickstrom gave the list some very valuable information concerning this saint: I did some work on the Humiliati a few years ago; here is the entry on John of Meda from Biblioteca Sanctorum. Giovanni da Meda, Saint? Born in province of Milan. Towards end of 11th c of the family of Oldrati (Oldradi); after a vision of the Virgin, he went to Milan where founded, first, the order of Humiliati composed solely of clerics, in the present palace of Brera (till 1571 a monastery of the order). He founded several other monasteries in the diocese of Milan and in Lombardy, among which S Maria in Rondineto near Como where he lived (giving him the name John of Como). Died at Brera 26 Sept. 1159. But this is all legendary material, flatly contradicted by historical fact of the order's founding. Stephani denied his existence, while Zanoni says not even known if or where canonised and whether worshipped as a saint or blessed.
Sources: Vies des saints, ix, 529, Ency call, vi, col 570, Storia di Milano, iv, 161-5.
I looked up his vita in the VS and decided that he was a legendary figure was invented by the Humiliati who needed a holy founder, since they had coalesced gradually as a group of lay penitents in the 12th century Milan. (The article in the VS is a good one in the de la Haye tradition.) There is no mention of him in the liturgical texts of the Humiliati whatsoever until the Renaissance breviary of 1537, a wholly new text that changed much from medieval office books of the order. Of course the order was suppressed in 1571 after they took a shot at Charles Borromeo, who had been sent to reform them.
Lucy of Caltagirone, Franciscan tertiary (13th century)
- Mistress of novices; had special devotion to the Five Wounds.
Dalmatius Moner, Dominican (1341)
- Another 'flying saint'. Was known as 'the brother who talks with angels'; but with women he would not talk at all, except over his shoulder. His hagiographer reports that his personal appearance was somewhat unattractive.
Cosmas and Damian, martyrs (?)
- Cosmas and Damian were twin brothers who studied sciences in Syria and became eminent for their skill in medicine. Venerated as 'moneyless ones', because they did not charge their patients (rarissimae aves!!!).
- Butler's Lives of the Saints (the usual source of information for the saint postings) does not give any indication about the dates of Cosmas and Damian. The Catholic Encyclopedia provides the following information: The execution took place 27 September, probably in the year 287. At a later date a number of fables grew up about them, connected in part with their relics. The remains of the martyrs were buried in the city of Cyrus in Syria: the emperor Justinian I (527-565) sumptuously restored the city in their honour. Having been cured of a dangerous illness by the intercession of Cosmas and Damian, Justinian in gratitude for their aid rebuilt and adorned their church at Constantinople, and it became a celebrated place for pilgrimage. At Rome Pope Felix IV (526-530) erected a church in their honour, the mosaics of which are still among the most valuable art-remains of the city. The Greek Church celebrates the feast of saints Cosmas and Damian on 1 July, 17 October, and 1 November, and venerates three pairs of saints of the same name and profession. Cosmas and Damian are regarded as the patrons of physicians and surgeons and are sometimes represented with medical emblems. (CE vol. 4 pp. 4030-404)
Elzear and Delphina (1323 & 1360)
- Spouses who adopted a virginal lifestyle. In 1309, Elzear was godfather at baptism of William of Grimoard, a sickly child whose health was restored by the prayers of his sponsor; this boy grew to be pope Urban V, who canonised his godfather in 1369. There is a moral in this.
Wenceslaus of Bohemia, martyr (929)
- Grandmother was St Ludmilla - after celebrating the feast of Cosmas and Damian, he was murdered by his brother Boleslaus's men. Despite the famous Christmas carol named after him, there was not a widespread popular devotion to Wenceslaus in England.
Exsuperius, bishop of Toulouse (412)
- Famous for his generosity. Requested from pope St Innocent I a list of the authentic books of the Bible; this list remains authoritative in the Roman Catholic Church.
Eustochium, virgin (419)
- She and her mother, St Paula, had St Jerome as their spiritual director. Jerome dedicated to her his work concerning the keeping of virginity.
Faustus, bishop of Riez (493)
- A semi-Pelagian made good. A great preacher: St Sidonius would shout himself hoarse during Faustus's sermons (interesting phenomenon!).
Annemund, bishop of Lyon, martyr (658)
- Such an admirer of St Wilfrid of York, who stopped in Lyon with Benedict Biscop en route to Rome, that he offered to adopt him and give him his niece to marry; Wilfrid had other things to do, and said no. According to hagiographer Eddius (and, in turn, Bede), the queen-regent St Bathildis was responsible for Annemund's murder by soldiers, at Macon.
Lioba, virgin (780)
- Of a good Wessex family, she was sent by St Boniface to Germany (with Thecla, Walburga and other female saints); there (but not in England) is her feast celebrated.
Lorenzo di Ripafratta, Dominican (1457)
- As novice director in the priory of Cortona, he directed St Antonino and Fra Angelico. John of Dukla, Franciscan (1484)
: A patron of Poland and Lithuania; influenced by St Giovanni da Capestrano.
Bernardino da Feltre, Franciscan (1494)
- Often credited with the authorship of Anima Christi (but this prayer was written in the previous century), he opened a series of montes pietatis (a sort of holy pawnshop for the poor).
Francesco da Calderola, Franciscan. (1507)
- Colleague of Bernardino da Feltre.
Michael the Archangel
- Actually, this is the feast of the dedication of a basilica to Michael, either on the Salarian Way 9 km from Rome or on Mount Gargano. Christian tradition gives Michael four offices: (1) To fight against Satan. (2) To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the devil, especially at the hour of death. (3) To be the champion of God's people. (4) To call away from earth and bring people's souls to judgement.
Rhipsime, Gaiana and companions, virgins and martyrs (312)
- Apparently the protomartyrs of the Armenian Church.
Theodota, martyr (318)
- While being martyred, kept asking to receive more tortures inflicted upon herself.
Richard of Hampole, mystic (1349)
- Also known as Richard Rolle, author of Incendium amoris. The Breviary of the Church of York had an office prepared for his feast, to which this warning was attached: "The Office of Saint Richard, hermit, after he shall be canonised by the Church, but in the meantime it is not allowed to sing the canonical hours de eo in public, nor to solemnize his feast. Nevertheless, having evidence of the extreme sanctity of his life, we may venerate him in our private devotions seek his intercession, and commend ourselves to his prayers." (Richard was never officially canonised.)
Jerome, doctor (420)
- His father took great care to have his son instructed in religion and in the first principles of letters and sent him to Rome for education. Jerome had there as a tutor the famous pagan grammarian Donatus. Concerning his translation of the Bible, Butler writes: "His new translation from the Hebrew of most of the books of the Old Testament was the work of his years of retreat at Bethlehem ... He did not translate the books in order, but began by the books of Kings, and took the rest in hand at different times. The only parts of the Latin Bible called the Vulgate which were not either translated or worked over by Jerome are the books of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch and the two books of Machabees."
Gregory the Enlightener, bishop of Ashtishat (330)
- Also known as the 'Illuminator', he evangelised Armenia. At the Council of Nicaea, he was represented by his son, St Aristakes.
Honorius, archbishop of Canterbury (653)
- A Roman monk, in 644 he consecrated the first English bishop, St Ithamar.
Simon de Crepy (1082)
- Count of Crepy in Valois, and a relative of Matilda the wife of William the Conqueror, he escaped an arranged marriage by entering the abbey of St-Claude at Condat (Jura). He assisted pope Gregory VII in his negotiations with the Normans, and received last rites from the same pope.
Remigius, or Remi, Bishop of Rheims (530)
- Remi baptised Clovis. On the way to the baptism, Remi conducted the king by the hand, followed by Queen Clotilda and the people. At the font the bishop allegedly told Clovis the following: "Humble yourself, Sicambrian! Worship what you have burned, and burn what you have worshipped!"
Romanus the Melodist (Sixth Century)
- The greatest of the Greek hymn-writers.
Melorus, Melar or Mylor, Martyr (Date Unknown)
- The church of the great nunnery at Amesbury in Wiltshire was dedicated to St Melorus whose relics it claimed. The medieval Life of Melorus states that he was the son of Melianus, Duke of Cornuaille (in Brittany). When he was seven years old his uncle Rivoldus murdered Melianus, usurped his power, and maiming Melorus by cutting off his right hand and left foot, confined him to a monastery. By the time the boy was fourteen his miracles earned him such honour that Rivoldus began to fear him, and bargained with his guardian Cerialtanus to get rid of him. Accordingly Cerialtanus smote off the boy's head. But the story ends happily. The dead body of Melorus wrought several miracles, including the death of his murderers, and it was buried with honour.
- Hermit, also called Allowin! He was a nobleman and after being left a widower was moved to conversion to God by a sermon which he heard St Amand preach at Ghent. He distributed all his money among the poor, and went to the monastery of Ghent that was afterwards called by his name.
Francis of Pesaro, Franciscan tertiary (1350)
- Also called Cecco. Joined the third order of St Francis in 1300 and retired to a hermitage which he had built on the slope of Monte San Bartolo, by Pesaro. Once when he was ill he lost his appetite altogether, and his followers killed a cockerel, intending to cook it carefully in the hope of thereby coaxing him to eat. But Francis missed the bird's crowing and enquired after it. He was devastated when he found out the bird's fate. But wait another happy ending! He prayed over the dead cockerel, which was not only dead but plucked, and its life was restored together with its plumage.
Nicholas of Forca Palena (1449)
- Secular priest from Abruzzo, founded a society of hermits under the patronage of St Jerome.
The Guardian Angels
- A votive mass, Missa ad suffragia agelorum postulanda, was in use at least from the time of Alcuin (d. 804). In Spain, guardian angels not only of people but also of cities and provinces were commemorated.
Eleutherius, martyr (?)
- All we know is his name and the place of his passion (Nicomedia).
Leodegarius or Leger, bishop of Autun, martyr (679)
- Had many struggles with Ebroin, who eventually became absolute master of Neustria and Burgundy. Suffered tortures a number of times; once, after having his eyes put out without groaning, he had his tongue and lips mutilated - but he still could speak. When eventually sent to be murdered, the four servants entrusted with this task begged his forgiveness; he forgave them, and they cut off his head.
Hesychius, monk (fourth century)
- Faithful disciple of St Hilarion.
Ewald and Ewald, martyrs (695)
- They were brothers, they were priests, they preached in Westphalia, they were killed by the locals, they are buried in the church of St Cunibert in Cologne, they are named in the Roman Martyrology, they are patrons of Westphalia. One could distinguish them by the colour of their hair (there was 'Dark Ewald' and there was 'Fair Ewald' - they had the same name.
Gerard of Brogne, abbot (959)
- A native of county of Namur, had conversion experience in chapel on his country estate
- acquired from monks of Saint-Denis in Paris the relics of St Eugenius (companion of Denis); when bishop of Liege doubted their authenticity, Eugenius himself made the bishop realize he was wrong
- after establishing a monastery on his estate, he became abbot at Saint-Ghislain (near Mons); he disciplined monks who had been fundraising by travelling with founder's relics, and exposing them for a fee. He reformed monasteries in Normandy and Flanders; some monks didn't approve, and moved to the abbey of Bath.
Froilan, bishop of Leon, and Attilianus, bishop of Zamora (tenth century)
- Starting out as hermits, they gathered followers into a monastic community at Moreruela in Old Castile
- they were promoted to the episcopate together, and consecrated to adjoining sees
- legend has it that when a wolf killed the donkey carrying Froilan's luggage, the bishop compelled the wolf to do penance by serving him for many years as a beast of burden.
Thomas Cantelupe, bishop of Hereford (1282)
- He studied at Oxford, Paris and Orleans before being named as chancellor of Oxford in 1262
- tough times at Oxford: students were allowed to carry arms and were divided according to whether they were northerners or southerners; a tough disciplinarian, Thomas acquired a significant armoury by confiscating weapons that had been misused.
- Rose to be chancellor of the kingdom; dismissed after the death of Simon de Montfort at Evesham, he retired to Paris. Returning to England, he became bishop of Hereford in 1275. In a dispute with John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas was excommunicated; while travelling to see the pope to whom he had appealed. He died after Peckham received certificate of absolution from the pope, he allowed Thomas's body to be buried in Hereford cathedral, which became the most frequented shrine in the west of England
- 429 miracles are attested in the process of canonization.
Domenico Spadafora, Dominican (1521)
- Entered Dominican order in Palermo, studied at Padova, headed shrine of Madonna delle Grazie near Monte Cerignone.
Ammon, monk (350)
- After 18 years of continent marriage, he and his wife separated: he to the desert, she remaining in her house with other religious women, who were visited and directed by Ammon twice a year. Became friend of Antony the Great, who saw in a vision Ammon's soul ascend to Heaven when he died (despite being very far away).
Petronius, bishop of Bologna (445)
- Built monastery dedicated to Stephen the protomartyr, and remodeled the city's churches so that they reproduced (roughly, at least) the holy places of Jerusalem.
Francesco d'Assisi (1226)
- Noted stigmatist. Founder of Order of Friars Minor. According to Journal of Paleopathology 3 (1991), 133-135, his blindness was most likely caused by iridocyclitis. Francis requested to be buried in the criminals' cemetery on the Colle d'Inferno, but his body was brought to church of St George in Assisi, where it remained until 1230 when it was secretly removed to the great basilica; there it remained hidden until 1818, after a 52-day search found it deep beneath the high altar of the lower church. The most beloved of medieval saints?
Placid, martyr (sixth century)
- Not to be confused with the Placid rescued from drowning by Maurus following Benedict's orders, this Placid founded the monastery of St John the Baptist at Messina. He was martyred with Eutychius and 30 companions by Moorish Moslem pirates from Spain; this despite the fact that there were no Moors in Spain in the sixth century, and no Saracen descents on Sicily until the middle of the seventh century.
Apollinaris, bishop of Valence (520)
- Son of Hesychius, bishop of Vienne; brother of Avitus, bishop of Vienne (both of them saints). Venerated in Valence under popular name of 'Aplonay'.
Galla, widow (550)
- Gregory's Dialogues tells of her widowhood at an early age, after which she joined group of women living near basilica of St Peter. Suffering from breast cancer, she had a vision of St Peter calling her, 'come follow me'; she said she would go only if accompanied by her friend Benedicta, but Peter said Benedicta would have to wait 30 days; so, Galla died and Benedicta died 30 days after her.
- Jo Ann McNamara added this very useful piece of information: Just an addition to the capsule life of Galla. As a widow, she fell victim to that well-known medical problem of built-up sexual heat. The temperature level of her metabolism rose so high that it ignited her male hormones. She was warned that if she did not give up her celibate life and re-marry she would grow a beard and she cheerfully accepted this terrible condition of her continued fidelity to God. Now that I think of this, I wonder if the breast cancer should be construed as a more painful consequence of this renunciation of her womanhood.
Magenulf or Meinulf, confessor (857)
- Godchild of Charlemagne
- after dying and while being carried to burial he sat up and exclaimed, 'Tell the bishop of Paderborn not to interfere in the election of a new superior!'.
Flora of Beaulieu, virgin (1347)- A levitating, spiritually discerning nun who didn't eat much.
Raymund of Capua, Dominican (1399)
Confessor of Catherine of Siena.
Bruno, founder of the Carthusian order (1101)
- Born c. 1030; taught grammar and theology at the cathedral school of Rheims, before being named as chancellor of the diocese
- abandoned active involvement and lived in a hermitage, under Robert of Molesmes (who was to become founder of Citeaux). Calling upon Hugh of Grenoble, he and his companions were granted land high in the mountains nearby, named Chartreuse. After some time there, his former pupil, Urban II, called him to Rome as an assistant. He went on to establish a religious house in Calabria, at La Torre, where he died. Perhaps the last great saint not to be canonised formally. (His first foundation gave its name to a fine liqueur and the most beautiful of cats.)
Faith or Foy, virgin and martyr (third century)
Well named (but not as well as Quodvultdeus). Very widespread cult in Middle Ages; BHL lists 38 different Latin texts, and there are many vernacular ones, especially in French.
Nicetas of Constantine, monk (838)
- A courtier of Empress Irene and then prefect of Sicily, he entered the monastery of Khrysonike in Constantinople after the murder of Emperor Nicephorus in 811. He had a precious icon taken from him by Emperor Leo V, and remained in refuge for several years. Refusing to recognize the communion of Iconoclast patriarch Antony, he wandered for some time until settling on a farm at Katisia in his native Paphlagonia.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, patriarchs
- Paul Chandler informed the List: The Carmelites used to celebrate Abraham, Isaac and Jacob on 6 October, a feast taken over from the calendar of the church of the Holy Sepulchre. I wonder if anyone else celebrated it? Among the Carmelites it did not survive the liturgical reforms after the Council of Trent.
It is interesting that the feast of Elisha (Eliseus) was in the Carmelite missal from 1399, but that of his master Elijah (Elias) was introduced only in 1551. This is apparently because of the belief that Elijah was still alive and waiting with Enoch to return to earth in the time of the Antichrist, and cult could not be offered to a living person. This inhibition was not felt in the East, where the cult of Elijah is very ancient. Jerome and Egeria both attest Elijan sanctuaries in Palestine in the 4th c., and by the 6th the cult was widespread.
There was lively interest in Elijah and Elisha in the West in the Middle Ages, even in the absence of a formal cult, especially after Joachim of Fiore used Moses and Elijah to symbolise the two orders whose preaching would usher in the new age. Various Dominicans and Franciscans identified themselves with these prophecies. Francis mentions Enoch and Elijah at the end of the Regula non bullata. Salimbene records receiving the relics of Elisha from the archbishop of Ravenna, but being cheated of the head by Augustinian friars.
Sergius and Baccus, martyrs (303)
- When they refused to enter temple of Jupiter with emperor Maximian, he stripped these soldiers of their uniforms and made them walk the streets in women's clothes; later they were martyred separately.
Marcellus and Apuleius, martyrs (?)
- According to Roman Martyrology, they were followers of Simon Magus. They were converted by St Peter and martyred in Rome after his passion.
Justina, virgin martyr (?)
- After the discovery of her alleged relics in 1117 in Padova, a forged account of her passion was published.
Mark, pope (336)
- First pope elected after Constantine's 'freeing of Christianity', he lived less than a year after his election. He is praised in a poem by pope Damasus.
Osyth, virgin martyr (675)
- Daughter of a Marcian chief. Osyth was raised in a nunnery
- when married to king of East Saxons, he attempted to embrace her when he saw a stag and left her to hunt it; when he returned, she was gone to re-enter religious milieu. Founded a nunery at a place called Chich; pirates eventually raided the place and killed her.
Matthew of Mantova, confessor/Dominican (1470)
- Met a child named Stefana Quinzani and told her she would be his heiress; when she grew up and he died, every Friday, she would get a pain in her bosom, as Matthew used to have.
Feast of Mary's Rosary (established 1573)
- Established following Christian victory at Lepanto over Turks Dominicans claim rosary was devised by Dominic himself, who used it while preaching against the Albigensians - the use of beads as device for aiding counting of prayer is ancient, especially among Eastern monks
- William of Malmesbury wrote that Lady Godiva of Coventry (died 1075) bequeathed to a statue of Mary 'the circlet of precious stones which she had threaded on a cord in order that by fingering them one after another she might count her prayers exactly. In thirteenth century these were called 'paternosters'; people who made them were called 'paternosterers'; in London these people worked in street called 'Paternoster Row'.
Holy Simeon (first century)
- The old man present in the temple at Jesus' presentation.
Pelagia the Penitent (?)
- Actress of Antioch, converted and baptised by St Nonnus, after which she put on men's clothes and went to live as a hermit, 'Pelagius, the beardless monk'.
- Egyptian courtesan, converted by St Paphnutius, who locked her in a cell for three years, facing the east and repeating 'Thou who hast created me, have pity on me'; she died 15 days after leaving the cell.
Reparata, virgin and martyr (?)
- At age 12, thrown into a fire by Romans, where she stood unharmed and sang God's praises until removed and beheaded.
Demetrius, martyr (?)
- Cult centred in Salonika, where miraculous oil exuded from his relics and where known as 'Megalomartyr' (the great martyr); significant medieval cult as patron of soldiers.
Keyne, virgin (sixth century)
- Venerated in south Wales and west England - lived as virgin in Keynsham (just outside the city of Bristol), and turned snakes she saw into stone.
Demetrius, bishop of Alexandria (231)
- Said to be eleventh successor of St Mark. He protested against preaching and teachings of Origen.
Dionysius the Areopagite (first century)
- After a simple mention in Acts 17,34, his cult spread throughout Europe, partly by identification with St Denis of Paris, partly due to attributed authorship of work on Divine Names, Mystical Theology, Celestial Hierarchy (main source for medieval angelology) and Ecclesiastical Hierarchy (works actually composed c. 500).
Dionysius or Denis, bishop of Paris, Rusticus and Eleutherius, martyrs (258?)
- Over their tomb was built the great abbey of Saint-Denis; Denis is popularly regarded as a patron saint of France.
- Jim Bugslag commented: According to Erwin Panofsky's introduction to his
edition of Abbot Suger on the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis and its Art
Treasures, 2nd edn (Princeton, 1979), pp. 17ff., a Greek manuscript of the Pseudo-Dionysius was obtained by Louis the Pious in the ninth century from the Byzantine Emperor Michael the Stammerer and was immediately deposited at Saint-Denis (B.N., MS Grec. 437) and translated by John the Scot at the invitation of Charles the Bald, who was titular abbot of Saint-Denis at the time.
Panofsky makes much, however, of Suger's reading of the Pseudo-Dionysius that has been quite thoroughly debunked by more recent authors. Panofsky gives two works that may be helpful on this identity:
Raymond J. Loenertz, 'La legende parisienne de S. Denys l'Areopagite, sa genese et son premier temoin', Analecta Bollandiana 69 (1951), 217ff.
Henri Moretus Plantin, 'Les passions de saint Denys', in Melanges offerts au R.P. Ferdinand Cavallera (Toulouse, 1948), 215 ff.
Again according to Panofsky, Abelard chanced upon a passage in Bede according to which the titular saint of the Abbey was not the same person as the famous Dionysius the Areopagite and held to have been the first bishop of Athens, but was identical with the more recent and far less famous Dionysius of Corinth.
All three may have been conflated at Saint-Denis, where they stood to gain the most from it, but at Chartres Cathedral, which isn't that far away, according to the thirteeth-century Ordinary, the feast of St Denis the Areopagite was celebrated on 3 October with three lessons, while the feast of SS Denis, Rusticus and Eleutherius was celebrated on 9 October with nine lessons, so the identification was not, perhaps, as widespread as might be thought.
- Werner Robl commented: The confusion about Dionysius was caused by abbot Hilduin of Saint-Denis (814-844), who, unconsciously, conflated Dionysius the Areopagite and Dionysius, bishop of Paris, into one person.
Here are some references concerning the Dionysius problem: Jeauneau, E., 'Pierre Abélard à Saint-Denis', in Abélard en son temps, Actes de colloque international, Paris, 1981.
Loenertz, R.L., 'La légende parisienne de saint Denys l'aréopagite, sa genèse et son premier témoin', in Acta Bollandiana 69, 1951, p. 217ff.
Théry, G., Ètudes dionysiennes: Hilduin, traducteur de Denys, Tome I et II, Paris, 1932.
Bedae Venerabilis expositio Actuum Apostolorum, PL 92, col 981; CCL 121, 73f.; Laistner, L.W., Cambridge, Mass, 1939
Rescriptum Hilduini, MPL 106, col. 17f.
Letter of Abelard to abbot Adam of Saint-Denis, PL 178, col 341ff.
The problems of the last letter are discussed by Smits, E.R., Peter Abelard, Letters IX-XIV, 137ff.
Publia, widow (370)
- Lived common life with consecrated virgins and widows in Antioch. One day, Julian the Apostate happened to walk by their house and heard them singing Psalm 115 ('The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold... they have mouths and speak not... Let them that make them become like unto them...); this got Julian angry, but the women just kept singing; although he ordered Publia to be beaten, he never got around to carrying out his threat of killing the women.
Andronicus and Athanasia (fifth century)
- Husband and wife, they separated to take up separate monastic lives. After 12 years, Andronicus met an old monk, and they became close friends; when the old monk died, it was discovered that 'he' was Athanasia.
Savin (fifth century)
- Venerated as apostle of the Lavedan, the area of the Pyrenees near Lourdes. An eremitical preacher, he was noted for his miracles: one night, having no dry kindling wood, he lit his candle by the flames from his own heart.
Gislenus or Ghislain, abbot (c. 680)
- Resigned a bishopric and became a hermit; according to legend, King Dagobert I was hunting a bear, which escaped the king and went to Ghislain, showing the hermit where to found a monastery.
- Cousin of St Stephen of Hungary, lived a worldly life until aged 50, when he fell under the influence of Gothard of Hildsheim. He atoned for his sins through severe mortification, and constantly encouraging Stephen in the christianisation of his realm. He rationed how much water his monks could drink.
Gereon and companions, martyrs (?)
- According to the Roman martyrology, a whole heap o' martyring took place on this day in the area of Cologne; yet, the first passio we have for any of them was composed in the early thirteenth century by Helinand of Froidmont.
Eulampius and Eulampia, martyrs (310)
- Brother and sister martyrs; died after various tortures (including a bath in boiling oil) culminated with their heads being severed from their necks.
Maharsapor, martyr (421)
- A noble Persian, after years of imprisonment he was placed in a pit for several days; when the guards finally checked on him, his lifeless body was on its knees and bathed in light.
Cerbonius, bishop of Populonia (575)
- Patron of Massa Marittima (Tuscany); since he lived the common life with his clergy, his feast is kept by the Canons Regular of the Lateran.
Paulinus, bishop of York (644)
One of the second group of missionaries sent to England by Gregory the Great, he became guardian of Ethelburga until she became queen, at which time he converted her husband Edwin, King of Northumbria. Widespread cult in northern England
Daniel and companions, martyrs (1227)
- Seven Franciscans who tried to convert Muslims in Morocco, but were very soon put to death.
Tarachus, Probus and Andronicus, martyrs (304)
- In Pompeiopolis in Cilicia, when taken to the amphitheatre to be killed by wild animals, the beasts refused to eat them and the spectators tried to leave. But the governor forced the public to remain while his gladiators killed the three.
Nectarius, archbishop of Constantinople (397)
- Despite being married and a father, and not being baptised yet, he was named bishop anyway; he soon was baptised (and we know nothing of his family)
- his predecessor was Gregory Nazianzen, his successor John Chrysostom.
Canice or Kenneth, abbot (599)
- Irishman, son of a bard, founded several monasteries throughout Ireland before accompanying Columba
- when Pictish King Brude threatened him with a sword, he paralyzed the king's hand by making a sign of the cross.
Agilbert, bishop of Paris (688)
- After missionary work in Britain (he ordained St Wilfrid), he returned to the continent partly due to his difficulty in making himself understood in olde English
- after becoming bishop of Paris, Saxon king Coenwalh asked him to return, despite his outrageous accent; Agilbert sent his nephew Eleutherius instead.
Gummarus or Gommaire (774)
- Native of Brabant, his wife was such an extravagant and perverse person that he was pleased to absent himself for eight years, accompanying king Pepin; upon his return, he found his wife had become even worse, yet he managed to persuade her to change her ways, but only temporarily; finally giving up life with this person, he left home and became a hermit.
Bruno the Great, archbishop of Cologne (965)
- Youngest son of Emperor Henry the Fowler and St Matilda, became archbishop of Cologne in 953, and was continually involved in aiding his brother Otto in political affairs while paying particular attention to the education of German clergy.
James of Ulm (1491)
- Dominican laybrother in Bologna, noted for unfailing obedience and his incredible skill of painting on glass; also known for his ecstasies.
Maximilian, bishop of Lorch, martyr (284?)
- of wealthy parents, he gave away his inheritance and made pilgrimage to Rome; pope Sixtus sent him back to do missionary work in area near Bavaria; survived persecutions of Valerian and Aurelian, but fell to Numerian, prefect of Noricum
Felix and Cyprian and 4964 companions, martyrs (c. 484)
- the slow martyrdoms of this community of Christians is recounted by a contemporary African bishop, Victor of Vita
Edwin, martyr (633)
- king of Northumbria, he slowly deliberated his conversion to Christianity while being married to Ethelburga, a Christian; eventually baptised at Easter 627, on site of present York Minster; slain in a battle, following years of the most perfect peace
Ethelburga, abbess of Barking, virgin (c. 678)
- not Edwin's wife, but sister of St Erconwald; when starting a new abbey, she called for assistance to St Hildlitha, who came over to help
- several miracles at the abbey involved mystical visions at time of death (including that of Ethelburga)
Wilfrid, bishop of York (709)
- en route to Rome, St Annemund (bishop of Lyon) tried to convince Wilfrid to stick around and marry his niece (remember? cf Feast 28 September), but did not succeed
- Wilfrid, returning to England, became abbot of Ripon, where he introduced the Rule of Benedict
- very pro-Roman, was leading figure at Whitby (664), where dating of Easter was settled according to Roman tradition/computus
- his companion Eddius described Wilfrid as 'a quick walker'
- a 19th-century biographer of Wilfrid, F.W. Faber, converted to Catholicism, taking Wilfrid as his confirmation name, built a church dedicated to Wilfrid, took religious name of 'Brother Wilfrid' in congregation he founded, whose members became known as 'Wilfridians'; it is not known whether these Wilfridophiles used to walk quickly.
Faustus, Januarius and Martial, martyrs (304?)
- called by Prudentius 'the Three Crowns of Cordova'
- while Martial prayed for strength as he was on the rack, the other two had their noses, ears, eyelids and lips cut off until all three were burned.
Comgan, abbot (eighth century)
- founded monastery near Skye; buried on Iona by nephew St Fillan; feast celebrated in Aberdeen.
Gerald of Aurillac (909)
- count of Aurillac, a monastic founder who lived in a monastic fashion but never became a monk; biographer was Odo of Cluny.
Coloman, martyr (1012)
- on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, passed through Austria; near Vienna, he was accused of being a spy; since he could not give an understandable account of himself due to his ignorance of the local language, the locals hanged him; held to be saint due to his patience under unjust sufferings; body translated to Melk; object of popular cult in later Middle Ages.
Edward the Confessor (1066)
- king of England; marriage with Edith was a continent one
- on good terms with William, duke of Normandy ('the Conqueror); this did not hurt his posthumous reputation
- rebuilt and endowed monastery in honour of St Peter, known as West Minster (in distinction from church of St Paul, in the east of London).
Maurice of Carnoet, abbot (1191)
- Cistercian, native of Brittany, became abbot of monastery founded by Duke Conan IV in forest of Carnoet
- feast celebrated in Breton dioceses and by Cistercians everywhere.
Maddalena Panattieri, virgin (1503)
- born and spent her entire life in small northern Italian village of Trino Vercellese; a Dominican tertiary, she gave conferences to women and children, and eventually to men (lay and clerical) in a chapel.
Callistus or Calixtus, I, pope and martyr (c. 222)
- as a youth (and slave), he worked in a sort of bank, and lost the money deposited with him
- after many adventures, returned to Rome and was elected pope, whereupon he was attacked by St Hippolytus for believing, inter alia, that commission of mortal sin was not in itself sufficient reason for deposing a bishop
- according to some, he died after being thrown down a well during a popular uprising.
Justus or Juste, bishop of Lyon (c. 390)
- after calamitous events in Lyon, he furtively went to Egypt, living in a monastery until his death
- his feast is mentioned on five different dates in the Hieronymianum, proof of the spread of his cult.
Manechildis, virgin (sixth century?)
- like herself, her six sisters are also venerated as saints in different parts of Champagne.
Angadrisma or Angadreme, virgin (c. 695)
- she asked God to make her so ugly as to make marriage impossible; her request was followed by becoming a leper
- but, when she took the veil, her leprosy disappeared, and she became even more beautiful than before her illness.
Burchard, bishop of Wurzburg (754)
- left Wessex to become missionary in Germany, where he became first bishop of Wurzburg.
Dominic Loricatus (1060)
- he became a priest after his parents gave the bishop a present of a goatskin; hearing this after the fact, he was so remorseful that he escaped to the Apennines and lived as a hermit
- eventually joined community of Fonte Avellana, governed by Peter Damian
- into pain, he wore a coat of mail next to his skin (hence his nickname), wore chains on his limbs, and flagellated himself more than did most other people
- died while singing Prime, on this day in 1060.
Leonard of Vandoeuvre, abbot (c. 570)
- introduced monasticism to the valley of the Sarthe; after initial hesitation, King Clotaire became a patron of Leonard's abbey.
Thecla of Kitzingen, virgin (c. 790)
- one of the nuns sent by Tetta, abbess of Wimborne, into Germany to help the mission of Boniface.
Euthymius the Younger, abbot (898)
- at age 18, flat left his wife and child for a 'laura' on Mount Olympus in Bithynia, under direction of St Joannicius
- moving to Mt Athos, had an ascetic battle with another hermit; the other hermit lost, having remained in his cell for only one year while E. remained within his cell for three years
- moving to east of Salonika, he founded monasteries for men and women before dying.
Martinian and other martyrs, and Maxima (458)
- Maxima, a holy maiden, converted Martinian and some other slaves of Arian King Genseric to Christianity, who ended up getting martyred while Maxima retired to a monastery.
- Famous disciple of Columban; refused abbacy of Luxeuil. Where two bishops had failed, Gall exorcized a demon from a girl, the evil spirit leaving her in the form of a black bird (a crow?). His own fame has been surpassed by the monastery bearing his name, built on the site of his hermitage on the Steinach.
Mommolinus, bishop of Noyon (686)
- A monk at Luxeuil, he became a missionary and bishop of Noyon, following St Eloi (Eligius).
Bercharius, abbot (696?)
- Another Luxeuil monk, he founded a monastery in the forest of Der. While sleeping he was stabbed by a young monk, who immediately felt so terrible that he summoned the community to help save the abbot, but it was too late.
Lull, bishop of Mainz (786)
- Native of kingdom of West Saxons, went to Germany to assist Boniface. Eventually succeeding and burying Boniface, governed diocese of Mainz for thirty years. Late in life he retired to his abbey at Hersfeld, where he died.
Anastasius of Cluny (1085)
- After heeding Hugh of Cluny's request to join his monastery, he was ordered by pope Gregory VII to convince the Spanish to give up their Mozarabic liturgy for the Roman. Afterward lived as a preaching hermit for several years, before dying en route to recommence monastic life; buried at Doydes.
Bertrand, bishop of Comminges (1123)
- Bishop for fifty years. Once, the people of the Val d'Azun were so upset with having earlier treated the bishop badly that they promised to give in perpetuity to the see of Comminges all the butter that was made in Azun every year during the week before Whitsunday; this they did until the Revolution
- associated with miracle of the 'Great Pardon' at his cathedral.
Hedwig, widow (1243)
- Aunt of St Elizabeth of Hungary
- after bearing some children, she convinced her husband to agree to a celibate marriage - after 1209 she spent most of her life based at Trebnitz monastery, but spent her time administering her many activities aiding the poor; noted for ascetic living and working of miracles.
John the Dwarf (fifth century)
- Noted for his obedience to the precepts of his masters; known mainly through anecdotes in the Apophthegmata; last words: 'I never followed my own will; nor did I ever teach another what I had not first practised myself.'
Anstrudis or Austrude, virgin (c. 700)
- Probably the daughter of St Salaberga, founder of an abbey at Laon; succeeded her mother as abbess.
Nothelm, archbishop of Canterbury (740)
- Was chief aid to Bede in composition of the Ecclesiastical History.
- Mentions 6 miracles and 18 parables not referred to in the other gospels
- patron of physicians, surgeons and painters of pictures.
Justus of Beauvais, martyr (?)
- Beheaded as a youth; after the execution, his headless body stood up and proclaimed, '... I am sinless'; holding his head in his hands, he directed his father and brother to bury his body in a cave, and to take the head home to his mother (a conversation piece?)
- widespread medieval cult in northwestern Europe.
Ptolomaeus, Lucius and another person, martyrs (161)
- Ptolomaeus was turned in to the authorities by the husband of someone he was initiating into the faith; he was tried and condemned, at which time two others stood up and declared he should not be killed; they also were summarily condemned, and all three were martyred.
Varus, martyr, and Cleopatra, widow (fourth century?)
- After the death of Varus, Cleopatra took his bones to a church she founded; that night her son died, and she reviled Varus, whom before she had honoured so greatly. In her sleep, she saw Varus and her son, with Varus promising that he was taking care of her son, and that all would be well; she awoke, and lived the rest of her life in penitence.
Ethbin (sixth century)
- As a child, was entrusted to the care of St Samson, and then St Winwaloe in Brittany; under the latter, and then as an adult in Ireland, he performed many miracles (but his name does not appear in Irish calendars).
Aquilinus, bishop of Evreux (695)
- After years of living in courts and camps, he met his wife, and the two devoted their lives to serving God and the poor; but, when St Aeternus died, Aquilinus was considered the best candidate for the vacant episcopate, which he accepted only when having thought of arranging for a hermitage to be built next to the cathedral.
Frideswide, virgin (735)
- Patron of Oxford; probably founded a monastery in the area, which was refounded by Augustinian canons regular in the twelfth century.
Thomas of Biville, confessor (1257)
- After extensive travelling and studies, became a priest in native Normandy and northern France. His relics were so beloved that local people saved them from the ravages of the Revolution.
Caprasius, martyr (third century?)
- first bishop of Agen; witnessed passion of Ste Foy (Faith), then asked the prefect, Dacian, for her body; Dacian, impressed with the bishop's good looks and youth, offered him rewards and favours if he would apostatise; refusing, he and three others (including Foy's sister Alberta) were beheaded
Artemius, martyr (363)
- interesting case: imperial prefect of Egypt, on behalf of the Arian emperor Constantius he attacked both the orthodox and the pagans; when Julian the Apostate became emperor, the persecutor became the persecuted, and was beheaded.
Acca, bishop of Hexham (740)
- according to Bede, Acca (in accompanying Wilfrid to Rome) 'learned many useful things about the government of Holy Church which he could not have learned in his own country'; he formed a library, devoted largely to lives of confessors (he also assiduously searched for their relics); reputed to be a good singer.
Andrew of Crete, martyr (766)
- during the torture of some orthodox Christians, Andrew went up to the emperor Constantine V and protested; Constantine called him an idolater; Andrew called him a heretic; Constantine arranged for various tortures until he died.
John of Kanti, confessor (1473)
- lecturer at University of Krakow, he once saw a beggar go by while he was eating, and rushed out to give him his food, but when he returned to his table he found his plate again full; this was commemorated for many years in the university by a ritual involving the feeding of a poor man
- at least until recently, was the only non-episcopal confessor who had different hymns for Matins, Lauds and Vespers in the Roman Breviary.
Hilarion, abbot (c. 371)
- after baptism at age 15, stayed with St Antony for two months before arranging to go and live in solitude
- he never changed a tunic until it was worn out, and never washed his hair-shirt
- life was marked by continuous flights from crowds of people attracted by his miracles; travelled to many parts of the Mediterranean before dying at age 80 in Cyprus.
Ursula and her maidens, martyrs (?)
- although Pope Benedict XIV tried to eliminate this feast altogether, it was one of the most popular feasts in medieval northern Europe
- a church in Cologne was built on the site of the martyrdom
- at end of ninth century, a calendar makes first mention of Ursula, with 11 companions; within a few years, this number became became 11,000. This change in number is a result of a misreading of the abbreviation in an inscription at the memorial. Whereas this could have read 'XI M.V.'(that is 'undecim martyres virgines'), this could have been misread as 'undecim milia virginum'. This legend has been discussed at great length; see, M. Coens in Analecta Bollandiana 47 (1929) 80-110.
Malchus (fourth century)
- Jerome narrates that Malchus, after living as a hermit, returned to monastic life following contemplation of a crowd of ants.
Fintan (or Munnu) of Taghmon, abbot (c. 635)
- among the most austere of early Irish monks; an angel normally visited Fintan twice a week, but when it missed a day due to ministering to particular needs of St Molua, Fintan was not pleased.
Condedus (c. 685)
- an Englishman who wandered in France until finding seclusion on island of Belcinac, in the Seine near Caudebec.
John of Bridlington (1379)
- after study at Oxford, took religious habit in Augustinian priory of Bridlington
- King Henry V attributed his victory at Agincourt to this saint's intercession (with that of John of Beverley).
James Strepar, archbishop of Galich (c. 1409)
- Franciscan missionary preacher in Galician Ukraine; was a senator as well as archbishop.
Peter of Tiferno (1445)
- little known of him, due mainly to destruction by fire of archives of Dominican friary of Cortona, where he lived most of his life
- used to hold a skull in his hands while preaching.
Matthew, bishop of Girgenti (1450)
- joined Franciscan Conventuals at age 18 in native Sicily, but left the place to join Bernardino of Siena, and the two became close friends.
Abercius, bishop of Hieropolis (c. 200)
- according to legend, his fame as bishop reached Marcus Aurelius, who arranged for Abercius to visit him; while there, he exorcised a devil from the emperor's daugher, Lucilla.
Philip, bishop of Heraclea, and companions, martyrs (304)
- despite Diocletian's edicts resulting in his church being sealed, Philip continued to preach outdoors.
- description of martyrdom of Philip, Hermes and Severus is very detailed, and among the best attested of the episodes of the Diocletian persecution.
Mallonus (or Mellon), bishop of Rouen (fourth century?)
- nothing is known of him, except that he is supposedly the first bishop of Rouen; but according to legend, he was a pagan Briton (native of Cardiff) who converted in Rome and was sent by pope Stephen I to preach to the Gauls.
Nunilo and Alodia, virgins and martyrs (851)
- sisters, living at Huesca, who devoted their lives to being Christian virgins; authorities tried to corrupt them by forcing them to live with wicked women, but this didn't work so their heads were chopped off.
Donatus, bishop of Fiesole (c. 876)
- an Irishman who, returning to his home from a pilgrimage to Rome, happened to pass through this town while everyone was in the square deciding on a new bishop; as Donatus entered, the bells began to ring, and it was he who was chosen.
Theodoret, martyr (362)
- killed after debate with the uncle of Julian the Apostate, whose name was also Julian, and who also was an apostate
- uncle Julian not only got in trouble from his namesake for having created such a noteworthy martyr, but he immediately fell ill, and suffered horribly for 40 days until he died.
Severinus / Seurin, bishop of Bordeaux (c. 420)
- a voice and miracle indicated that he should become bishop of Cologne, and he did; same thing happened with Bordeaux, where he succeeded St Amand.
Severinus Boethius, martyr (524)
- best-selling author and translator (Consolation of Philosophy, Greek philosophical works).
- despite recurrent debates whether he really was a Christian when he died, pope Leo XIII in 1883 confirmed his cult in Pavia and the church of Santa Maria in Portico in Rome.
Romanus, bishop of Rouen (c. 640)
- famous on account of the Privilege de la Fierte or of the Chasse de St Romain, whereby, until the Revolution, the parlement of Rouen freed a criminal condemned to death.
- this arose from legend that Romanus killed a great serpent named Gargouille, with the aid of a murderer he had taken out of a dungeon.
Ignatius, patriarch of Constantinople (877)
- son of emperor Michael, his life was marked by political activity
- major figure at ecumenical council of Constantinople IV (869), which condemned his archrival Photius.
- patron of Pescia in Tuscany, was a shepherd who became involved with almshouse of Val di Nievole; founded shelters at fords, mountain passes, bridges; credited with bringing peace between Ravenna and Faenza.
John Buoni (1249)
- after years of debauchery, converted and lived as a hermit
- to escape the crowds drawn to his hermitage, he went out one night and walked continuously until dawn, when he found himself in front of his hermitage; he took this as a sign that he was meant to remain in that place, and he did
- founded congregation of penitents.
Bartholomew, bishop of Vicenza (1271)
- Dominican, served as bishop of Cyprus and befriended St Louis of France, but later ran into trouble with Ezzelino da Romano
- preached the panegyric at the second translation of the relics of St Dominic
- sermons - very interesting, and among the earliest to form a Mariale collection - have been recently edited: Bartolomeo da Breganze O.P., I Sermones de beata Virgine (1266). Introduzione ed edizione critica di Laura Gaffuri. (Padova: Editrice Antenore, 1993). Series Fonti per la storia della terraferma veneta, 7. Pp. CLXXXVIII + 882 (!).
Raphael the Archangel
- Michael and Gabriel are the only other archangels named in the Bible
- although venerated from early times (more in East than West), it was not until pontificate of Benedict XV that this feast was made obligatory throughout the west.
Felix, bishop of Thibiuca, martyr (303)
- tortured and beheaded for not giving up his books; a great patron for bibliophiles.
Proclus, archbishop of Constantinople (446)
- disciple of John Chrysostom who became secretary to John's opponent, Atticus
- quotable quote: 'We do not proclaim a deified man, but we confess an incarnate God'.
Aretas and the martyrs of Najran, and Elesbaan (523)
- 4,000 were martyred in Najran, a Christian stronghold in Yemen
- among these was the wife of the leader Aretas; she repulsed the lust of the invaders' leader, and had to witness her daughters being executed before her eyes and then drink their blood before she herself was beheaded
- Mohammed mentions the massacre in the Koran, and condemns its perpetrators to Hell
- news of the massacre reached the Aksumite king, Elesbaan, who restored Najran to Christianity; later, he resigned his throne and lived as an anchorite.
Senoch, abbot (576)
- contemporary and acquaintance of Gregory of Tours, who celebrated the abbot's funeral.
Martin or Mark (c. 580)
- Gregory the Great, in the Dialogues (iii, 16), calls him Martin; the Roman martyrology calls him Mark
- was a solitary in Campania; lived for some time fastened to his cave by a chain.
Maglorius or Magloire or Maelor, bishop of Dol (sixth century)
- born in Glamorgan, son of St Umbrafel; built a monastery on isle of Sark, where he got rid of a dragon
- feast observed in Rennes diocese, Channel Islands and Portsmouth.
Martin of Vertou, abbot (sixth century)
- at times confused with Martin of Braga; born at Nantes, he preached in Poitou without much success (he converted only the owners of the house where he stayed) before retiring to become a successful hermit then abbot of monastery on the river Sevre.
Evergislus, bishop of Cologne (c. 600)
- succeeded St Severinus as bishop; killed at night in church while he prayed.
Mansuy, monk of Citeaux (twelfth century)
- according to Rozanne Elder, information on Mansuy is to be found in the Vita Prima [sancti Bernardi] 1.3; Exordium Magnum 1.26; and Helinand of Froidmont, Chronicon 1.47 (PL 112:1000).
John Angelo Porro (1506)
- Servite, active with children, poor and unlearned in Milan; venerated by Servites as their patron of novice masters.
Chrysanthus and Daria, martyrs (?)
- Chrysanthus' father got so upset when he heard his son had been baptized, he hired five prostitutes to get the lad to lose his religion; didn't work, though
- he then arranged for his son to marry a priestess of Minerva, Daria; although they did get married, the husband converted the wife, and they lived in chastity
- furious, the father consigned them to the Roman soldiers; imagine how angry he got when they (and their commander and his family) converted
- the emperor put a stop to all these conversions, and killed the lot of them.
Crispin and Crispinian, martyrs (?)
- sent from Rome to Soissons, they preached by day and made shoes by night
- placed in the hands of a Roman agent, they so resisted torture that in a fit of pique the agent himself, out of frustration, jumped into the fire that was not harming the two Christians; he was harmed, mortally
- eventually they were beheaded
- notable cult in northern Europe, especially England; they are mentioned by Shakespeare (Henry V, iv, 3).
Fronto and George, bishops (?)
- several different legends exist for this pair, including one saying they were baptized by St Peter; Fronto was first bishop of Perigueux; George the first bishop of Le Puy.
Gaudentius, bishop of Brescia (c. 410)
- consecrated by Ambrose of Milan; on a papal mission to defend John Chrysostom, was imprisoned in Thrace
- renowned for his preaching; Rufinus called him 'glory of the doctors of his age'.
Thomas of Florence (1447)
- after wild youth, became great penitent of the Observance at Fiesole
- preached to the Muslims, and was ransomed from them at the last minute by pope Eugenius IV; he was so disappointed by this that he tried to return to the Muslims again, so that this time they might finish the job and kill him; but he died en route, at Rieti
- so many miracles took place at the tomb that John of Capestrano went there and ordered Thomas to stop it, so that the pope could proceed smoothly in the matter of canonizing Bernardino of Siena; Thomas obeyed, and because of that (?) never got canonised himself.
Balthasar of Chiavari, OFM (1492)
- friend of Bernardino of Feltre, but had to stop accompanying him due to illness (but still remained much in demand by locals who wished to see him or have him as their confessor).
Evaristus, pope and martyr (c. 107)
- son of a Hellenic Jew; accorded title of martyr, but no passio exists.
Lucian and Marcian, martyrs (250?)
- studied black magic before converting; unlike many martyrs flung into fires, these two actually did burn and die (instead of coming out and having to be beheaded).
Rusticus, bishop of Narbonne (c. 461)
- no formal vita exists; a letter by Jerome c. 411 is supposedly addressed to him; attended synod at Arles which condemned Monophysism.
Cedd, bishop of the East Saxons (664)
- brother of St Chad; agreed to forsake Celtic custom re Easter observance at Whitby synod of 664; died soon afterward.
Eata, bishop of Hexham (686)
- as abbot of Melrose, received Cuthbert as a novice; Bede says he was meek and simple.
Bean, bishop of Mortlach (eleventh century)
- founder of bishopric of Mortlach in Banff, Scotland; feast observed in diocese of Aberdeen.
Damian of Finario (1484)
- as an infant, snatched from home by a lunatic, but found thanks to a miraculous light showing where the boy lay hidden
- a Dominican, renowned in Lombardy and Liguria for his preaching.
Frumentus, Bishop of Aksum (c. 380)
- as a youth was enslaved by Abyssinian king; became a favourite of the royal household, and eventually made bishop (ordained by Athanasius)
- apparently his feast used to be celebrated in the state of Louisiana; some held this to be a gesture toward the African slaves there.
Otteran or Odhran, abbot (563)
- abbot from Meath who followed Columba; when Otteran died, Columba saw good and bad angels fighting for his soul, but the good guys won.
Simon and Jude (or Thaddeus), apostles (first century)
- Simon: no description of him in Bible apart from his name, Zelotes (referring to his zeal for the Jewish law before his conversion); Menology of Basil says he died peacefully in Edessa, but in Roman liturgy he joined Jude in Persia, where both were martyred (hence their shared feast in the west)
- Jude: a question he posed to Jesus at the Last Supper is recorded (John 14); name of an epistle bears his name; Bernard of Clairvaux carried a relic of his; patron of lost causes.
Anastasia and Cyril, martyrs (?)
- according to the Roman Martyrology, the virgin Anastasia was taken to a prefect, tortured with fire and scourges, had her breasts cut off, her nails torn out, her teeth broken, her hands and feet cut off before being beheaded; Cyril was killed for having brought water to the tortured virgin
- their Greek passio says she was a consecrated virgin, taken before the prefect and stripped naked, after which she was tortured as per above.
Fidelis of Como, martyr (303?)
- having visited imprisoned Christians in Milan, he fled with five of them (along with two soldiers) toward the Alps; all but Fidelis were caught near Como, but he got as far as the other side of the lake before being chased down, scourged and beheaded
- object of an ancient cult at Como.
Salvius or Saire (sixth century)
- a hermit in the forest of Bray in Normandy; no vita exists, only breviary lessons.
Faro, bishop of Meaux (c. 672)
- brother of St Chainoaldus of Laon and of St Burgundofara, first abbess of Faremoutier; after some time of marriage, he and wife entered religious life; became chancellor under Dagobert I
- an early Romance work is known as the Cantilene de St Faron.
Anastasius of Suppentonia (c. 570)
- abbot whose life and miracles are described in Gregory the Great's Dialogues.
Colman of Kilmacduagh (632)
- of royal blood, he founded a monastery where he lived on weeds and water before becoming first bishop of Kilmacduagh.
Anna the Young (ninth century)
- in order to live the religious life she desired, she disguised herself as a man named Euphemianus and lived among monks for several years; then lived with two eunuch monks for a few years before ending her days in Constantinople.
- supposedly a Frankish queen; buried in church of St Frambaud in Senlis until the French Revolution.
Remi of Lyon (875)
- served as chaplain to emperor Lothar II.
Aethelnoth of Canterbury (1038)
- baptised by St Dunstan; had great influence on king Canute; supposedly wrote a work on the Virgin Mary, but no trace of this exists.
Allucio di Campugliano (1134)
- founded hospitals in Tuscany; in one of them, he invited men to live there who had left behind 'pro Dei praedia vel uxores atque filios'.
Pierre le Borgne (1186)
- abbot of Clairvaux, who supposedly wept so much over his sins that he lost sight in one eye.
Ida of Leau (thirteenth century)
- became nun of Ramiege after schooling with beguines; known for her passion for copying and correcting liturgical books; lived for some time with mystics Beatrice of Nazareth and Ida of Nivelles.
Benvenuta Boiani (1292)
- joined Dominican third order, where after five years of paralysis she vowed to make pilgrimage to St Dominic's tomb in Bologna if she were able; after miraculous cure, she fulfilled her vow.
Serapion, bishop of Antioch (c. 212)
- kept busy by condemning heretics and apostates; he at first allowed his flock to read the Gospel of Peter, but upon reading it himself he condemned it
- no cult in the East, but named in the Roman Martyrology and his feast kept by the Carmelites, who claimed he belonged to their order.
Marcellus the Centurion, martyr (298)
- one of the pre-Diocletian martyrs; as an interesting discussion on the list last October would conclude, he was one of the 'Early Christian Pacifists'
- after a sudden conversion, he declared: 'For it was not right for a Christian man, who serves the Lord Christ, to serve in the armies of the world'; he then was martyred.
Asterius, bishop of Amasea (c. 410)
- little known about him, but 21 of his homilies are extant.
Dorothy of Montau, widow (1394)
- widowed at age of 43, spent the next - and last - year of her life as a recluse in a cell by the church of the Teutonic Knights at Marienwerder; at that time gained reputation for holiness
- her vitae were written in Latin and German; author was her confessor; popularly regarded as patron of Prussia.
Quintinus or Quentin, martyr (?)
- after many tortures inflicted at Amiens, he escaped with the help of an angel; recaptured, he was beheaded, at which a dove was seen to fly from his neck into the heavens.
Foillan, abbot (c. 655)
- founded monastery at Nivelles, and evangelized the people of Brabant
- killed, with companions, by outlaws in a forest; body not found for more than two months.
Wolfgang, bishop of Regensburg (994)
- retained many monastic habits even after he became a bishop; educated the young Henry, who became emperor and eventually a canonized saint; he himself was canonized in 1052.
- following fourth-century commemorations for all martyrs, by the eighth century there are clear indications of this celebration commemorating all saints; for example, c. 775 Cathwulf asked Charlemagne to institute a feast, with a fasting vigil preceding, 'in honour of the Trinity, the Unity, the angels and all the saints; the northern English ninth-century calendar in ms. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 63, lists All Saints on 1 November as a principal feast.
Caesarius and Julian, martyrs (?)
- placed in a sack and thrown into the sea, for their indignation regarding living sacrifices to Apollo in Terracina, Italy.
Benignus of Dijon, martyr (third century?)
- his tomb was thought to be that of a pagan until a dream revealed the truth to St Gregory, bishop of Langres (according to Gregory's great-grandson, Gregory of Tours).
Austremonius, bishop of Clermont (fourth century?)
- apostle and first bishop of Clermont, but a legendary account tells of him being one of the 72 disciples of Jesus; buried at Issoire.
Mary, virgin and martyr (fourth century?)
- a Christian slave, she suffered horrible tortures before being allowed to escape by a sympathetic soldier; although she later died a natural death, the Roman Martyrology deems her a martyr due to the sufferings she withstood during her life.
Maturinus or Mathurin (fourth century?)
- noted for his preaching in the Gatinais and his success as an exorcist, he died in Rome and was translated to Sens.
Marcellus, bishop of Paris (c. 410?)
- succeeded Prudentius as bishop; knownn for many miracles, includin victory over a dragon); buried in catacomb on left bank of the Seine.
Vigor, bishop of Bayeux (c. 537)
- noted for his missionary activity in the area, he founded churches and monasteries
- a limited cult took hold in England after the Norman Conquest; he is the patron saint of Stratton-on-the-Fosse, near Bath (the location of Downside Abbey).
Cadfan, abbot (sixth century)
- venerated as founder of an abbey of '20,000 monks'on isle of Bardsey (Ynys Enlli); in a medieval poem he is called a patron of warriors; in a chapel near Quimper he is dressed as a soldier, with a sword.
- first formal witness to a collective day of the dead is from the first half of the ninth century, when monasteries would commemorate their dead as well as the souls of their benefactors
- became more established at Cluny, under St Odilo (for more on Cluny and this feast, see below)
- in Armenian rite, there is a special commemoration of the dead on Easter Monday.
Isabelle Cochelin provided us with following information two years ago:
On the subject of All Souls, The information is given in a Vita of Odilo and in the customaries. For instance, in the Vita by Pierre Damien (PL 144, col.936-37), you can read: Tunc venerabilis pater Odilo per omnia monasteria sua constituit generale decretum ut, sicut primo die mensis Novembris, juxta universalis Ecclesiae regulam, omnium Sanctorum solemnitas agitur, ita sequenti die in psalmis et eleemosynis et praecipue missarum solemniis omnium in Christo quiescentium memoria celebretur.
The other Vita of the saint is by the monk Jotsaud (PL 142, col.897-14, plus two chapters edited by E. Sackur in Neues Archiv, 15 (1890): 118-21). I re-read it quickly and did not see any mention of the Feast. But I might have gone through it too quickly. You have a chapter of the Liber tramitis reserved to this subject: the fact that Odilo created the feast of all souls: ed. P. Dinter, Liber tramitis aevi Odilonis Abbatis, (Corpus consuetudinum monasticarum, X), 1980, 138,p.199. It is then mentioned again in the customaries by Ulrich (PL 149, I,xlii,col.688-89 with a reference to the Vita) and Bernard (ed. M. Herrgott, Cura disciplina monastica, 1726, II, xxxii,p.353-54).
Victorinus, bishop of Pettau, martyr (c. 303)
- passio has been lost; Jerome quoted from some of his biblical commentaries
Marcian (c. 387)
- lived in desert between Antioch and the Euphrates; went to great lengths to avoid the people who were looking to claim his body when he died, as he did not wish there to be any memorial to himself
Thomas of Walden (1430)
- Carmelite, known for his opposition to Wyclif and the Lollards; confessor to England's Henry V (who died in his arms at Vincennes in 1422)
- known as Doctor authenticus, and Doctor praestantissimus
Winifred or Gwenfrewi, virgin and martyr (c. 650)
- fleeing from a chieftan from Hawarden, he caught up to her and sliced off her head; he was swallowed up by the earth on the spot, and where her head fell there arose a stream with red-streaked pebbles (St Winifred's Well); this site became extremely popular for pilgrims (as late as 1774, Dr Johnson saw people bathing there)
Rumwald (seventh century?)
- born to the royal house of Northumbria; when soon after his birth he was baptized by a bishop, the baby pronounced his own profession of faith, and died soon afterward (but not before preaching to his parents).
Hubert, bishop of Liege (727)
- founder of the city and diocese of Liege
- with St Eustace, he is the patron saint of hunters, and is invoked against rabies.
Pirminus, bishop (753)
- traditionally regarded as founder of abbey of Reichenau, on an island in Lake Constance - the oldest Benedictine house in Germany.
Amicus (c. 1045)
- a secular priest of Camerino, he became a solitary in Abruzzo before joining the monastery of Fonte Avellana (recently founded by St Dominic of Sora).
Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh (1148)
- a close friend of Bernard of Clairvaux, he died in the abbot's arms; canonised by Clement III in 1190 (first canonized Irishman)
- supposed author of a hilariously bad set of prophecies regarding the popes from his days to the end of time; according to the prophecies, there are only two more popes to come.
Alpais, virgin (1211)
- born in diocese of Orleans, she was unable to move; yet, she was so holy and fasted so much (drinking nothing and eating only the Eucharist), the archbishop William of Sens arranged for a church to be built next to her lodging
- her hagiographer was a Cistercian monk who knew her personally.
Ida of Toggenburg, matron (1226)
- although the great Bollandist scholar Delehaye says that all we know about Ida is that she was buried at Fischingen and her anniversary was kept there on this day, she was the subject of an interesting 'romance' with the 'happy ending' of her living in a cave for 17 years before telling her husband she really did not want to see him, upon which she joined a nunnery at Fischingen.
Simon of Rimini (1319)
- Dominican laybrother who acted as gardener; walked through the streets of Rimini holding a cross and calling the children to catechism; big on self-discipline with an iron chain.
Vitalis and Agricola, martyrs (?)
- a vision revealed to Eusebius, bishop of Bologna, that these two martyrs were buried in a Jewish cemetery; they were unearthed and translated; one of the witnesses to the translation was Ambrose of Milan, who mentioned the two in a sermon on virginity
- Gregory of Tours complained that no passio of these martyrs existed; but later two 'came to light', supposedly written by Ambrose.
Pierius (c. 310)
- head of catechetical school of Alexandria, he was known as the 'younger Origen'; he survived the Diocletian persecution and died in Rome.
John Zedazneli and companions (c. 580)
- John led a band of 13 Syrian monks into the Caucasus, and were among the most effective evangelisers of the region
- in Georgia, there is a common feast under the name of the 'Fathers of the Iberian Church', and each of the 13 has his own separate feast.
Clarus, martyr (eighth century?)
- an Englishman, he went to Normandy and lived as a hermit near Rouen; there, a noble woman he had repulsed sent two men to kill him, and so they did.
- after a dissolute youth, he learned to live the monastic life, then lived as a hermit; defended orthodoxy from emperor Leo V and other iconoclasts after first having been one of their allies.
- only son of St Stephen, king of Hungary, born in 1007; killed while hunting, many miracles were wrought at his tomb in the church of Szekesfehervar.
Frances d'Amboise, widow (1485)
- a noble, she founded a convent at Nantes for Poor Clares, and worked for the canonisation of Vincent Ferrer before entering the Carmelite nunnery at Vannes (that she helped found).
Carlo Borromeo, archbishop of Milan and cardinal (1584)
- leading Counter-Reformation figure; his reforms of local clergy included the insistance that all clergy should be clean-shaven: this drew much indignation and surprise, as many considered a man with a shaved face to be decadent.
Zachary and Elizabeth (first century)
- parents of John the Baptist, among the protagonists of Luke, ch. 1
- several Fathers declared Zachary died a martyr; Peter Damian (third sermon on the birth of Mary) said that to inquire about things the evangelists chose not to recount about these two shows an improper and superfluous curiosity.
Galation and Episteme (?)
- the son of Clitophon and Leucippe (!), Galation was so named due to his milk-white complexion (Galakteon); he eventually married the pagan Episteme (= Knowledge) and convinced her to live with him in chastity and to convert to Christianity
- but soon after the conversion, they agreed to live apart in separate religious communities
- three years later, Galation was arrested, and Episteme rushed to join him; when her clothes were ripped off her, the 53 officers who were watching became blind; the two were then beheaded.
Bertilla, virgin (705?)
- born near Soissons, she was appointed the first abbess of Chelles; later, royal women such as the widows Hereswitha and Bathildis joined the nunnery under her leadership.
Leonard of Noblac (sixth century?)
- supposedly converted by St Remigius, with Clovis as godfather; later, thanks to Leonard's prayers that enabled wife of Clovis to give birth safely, Clovis gave Leonard as much land as he could ride around in a night on a donkey; founded a monastery on this land
- widespread devotion to him in north-west and central Europe in the later Middle Ages.
Melaine, bishop of Rennes (c. 530)
- succeeded Amand as bishop; played leading role at Council of Orleans in 511.
Illtud or Illtyd, abbot (sixth century)
- ordained by St Germanus of Auxerre, he was renowned for his wisdom and learning; spent much time in Wales
- attempts have been made to identify him with the Galahad of Arthurian legends; no mention of him in pre-11th-century liturgical texts.
Winnoc, abbot (717?)
- although Winnoc spent little time in Britain, he is commemorated in nearly all English calendars of tenth and eleventh centuries.
Demetrian, bishop of Khytri (c. 912)
- after 40 years as a monk, he was elected bishop; he fled and hid in a cave, but his 'friend' who had previously helped him told the authorities where they could find the fugitive; regarded as one of the greatest bishops and saints of Cyprus.
Barlaam of Khutyn, abbot (1193)
- born into a wealthy family, he sold all he had, gave it to the poor and lived as a solitary on the banks of the Volga; here, due to the constant stream of admirers, he founded the monastery of the Transfiguration.
Christina of Stommeln, virgin (1312)
- an extraordinary case: at 13 became a beguine at Cologne; had many visions (e.g. Satan, disguised as St Bartholomew, tried to get her to kill herself)
- her biographer, Peter of Dacia, witnessed many incidents (such as her stigmata that bled profusely during Holy Week, and showers of filth that poured down 'from nowhere' on her and her visitors)
- after Peter left town, Christina still corresponded with him through the parish priest, who sometimes added to her dictation comments of his own; this priest died in 1277, and was succeeded by a schoolmaster, whose accounts are the most extreme of all; not for the faint of stomach!
Jeanne Marie de Maille, widow (1414)
- lived in chaste marriage for 16 years; her husband then went to war and was captured, so she sold everything to raise the ransom but he escaped with the help of a miracle of the Virgin
- eventually, she became completely destitute, sleeping with pigs and in dog-kennels; however, at age 57 she started to live in a tiny room of a church in Tours, where she worked many conversions and miracles.
- born in Lisbon in 1360, as a young soldier he helped establish Portugal as a distinct state from Castile; later, he entered a Carmelite friary he had founded.
Margaret of Lorraine, widow (1521)
- a noble widow, influenced by Francis of Paola, she founded a convent under the rule of the Poor Clares at Argentan.
Herculanus, bishop of Perugia, martyr (c. 547)
- although he was beheaded, the Perugians who dug up his body 40 days after the execution found the head attached to the rest of the body.
Florentius, bishop of Strasbourg (seventh century)
- an Irishman (supposedly) who settled as a hermit in Alsace; having healed king Dagobert's deaf- mute daughter, he was granted land for a monastery.
Willibrord, bishop of Utrecht (739)
- native of Northumbria, he studied in Ireland before going to Frisia, which he evangelised
- every Whit-Tuesday, the folkloric Dancing Saints ritual is held at his shrine (even bishops have taken part).
Englebert, archbishop of Koln, martyr (1225)
- although excommunicated at a young age for taking up arms against emperor Otto IV, he was soon rehabilitated, and became archbishop
- killed by men sent by a cousin, whom Engelbert would not allow to take lands from a convent.
Helen of Arcella, virgin (1242)
- Francis of Assisi led her to become a Poor Clare; known for her patience with many ailments, and her visions of Purgatory.
Margaret Colonna, virgin (1280)
- another Poor Clare who suffered greatly and who had gift of miracles; vita was written by her brother, John.
Matthia of Matelica, virgin (1300)
- ANOTHER Poor Clare; abbess for 40 years; miracles at her grave were so frequent they moved it to a tomb next to the high altar; in 1756, on the occasion of repairs to the church, her body was found to be incorrupt and sweet-smelling.
Peter of Ruffia, martyr (1365)
- Dominican inquisitor-general of Piemonte, Upper Lombardy and Liguria, killed in Susa (supposedly by Waldensians).
The Four Crowned Ones, martyrs (306?)
- the original legend tells of five martyrs from Pannonia, but the better known one narrates the martyrdom of four Romans
- one legend says the four were stone-masons; they have been adopted as patrons of such craftsmen (including English Freemasons, whose journal is entitled Ars Quatuor Coronatorum)
- church where they are buried is one of the titular churches of the cardinal-priests of Rome
Cybi or Cuby, abbot (sixth century)
- most information on him is from a thirteenth-century Latin vita
- born in Cornwall, went to Ireland, until forced to leave over a dispute concerning a cow that kept straying
- almost all places with his name are on or near the sea
- quotable quote: 'There is no misfortune like wickedness'.
Deusdedit, pope (618)
- Roman, son of a subdeacon, he was pope for three years; said to be the first pope to have used the leaden seals called bullae (hence the term 'papal bulls').
Tysilio or Suliau, abbot (seventh century?)
- abbot of Meifod, he was forced to flee from a widowed sister-in-law who wished to marry him; went to Brittany, near St-Malo, where he died.
Willehad, bishop of Bremen (789)
- Northumbrian, friend of Alcuin, went eventually to area of Utrecht, then to the court of Charlemagne; sent first to evangelise the Saxons in general, and Bremen in particular; last of the great English missionaries of the eighth century.
Godfrey, bishop of Amiens (1115)
- oblate of Mont-Saint-Quentin, became abbot of Nogent, a house that was almost abandoned; he built it up, before becoming bishop of Amiens
- noted for his rigid discipline; became so discouraged with his critics that he considered resigning and joining the Carthusians, but did not do so.
Dedication of St John Lateran
- actually the church is the 'Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour', but has taken on the name of John the Baptist from the dedication of its baptistery, and from the fact it was served by monks from an adjoining monastery of John the Baptist and John the Divine.
Theodore Tiro, martyr (306?)
- the preservation of Pontus from attacks of the Scythians was attributed to him.
Benignus or Benen, bishop (467)
- a boy converted by St Patrick in Meath; while Patrick slept, the boy would scatter flowers on him
- known for his good singing, he was nicknamed 'Patrick's psalmodist'
- he evangelized Clare and Kerry.
Vitonus or Vanne, bishop of Verdun (c. 525)
- named as bishop after Clovis took the city; his episcopate lasted over 25 years, during which he completely converted the remaining pagans of the diocese
- a major Benedictine congregation bore his name.
Margery Kempe, English mystic (1440c?)
- Sarah Salih reported that Margery Kempe is honoured as a 'minor commemoration' at King's Lynn, her home town. Anna Sander added: Margery was on the list of saints (& co.) commemorated at York Minster for November 9, too. There are no annotations such as 'minor commemoration' on said list, so no immediately observable differentiations between the degrees of commemorability of those on it. Carolyn Muessig comments: 'I wonder what David Knowles would have made of this since he described Margery Kempe as a person who was 'improperly' or 'accidentally' classed among the English Mystics?'
Theoctista, virgin (?)
- her vita is based on the last days of Mary of Egypt, and supposedly took place in the early tenth century
- after kidnapping by Arabs, she lived on island of Paros
- after her death, a friend cut off her hand to take away as a relic, but a storm prevented him from leaving the island until he returned the hand to the rest of Theoctista's body; it grew again on to the wrist.
Trypho, Respicius and Nympha, martyrs (?)
- their relics were preserved in Rome's hospital of the Holy Ghost in Sassia.
Aedh Mac Bricc, bishop (589)
- after a miraculous birth, he worked with his father's pigs until meeting saints Brendan of Birr and Canice, then Illathan
- worked many extravagant miracles, including transporting himself through the air.
Justus, archbishop of Canterbury (c. 627)
- accompanied Augustine of Canterbury in England; first bishop of Rochester; before his death he
consecrated St Paulinus
Martin of Tours, bishop (397)
- among the most renowned early medieval saints, there are well over 50 extant Latin vitae and related sources dealing with him
- oldest extant church in England bears his name
- in parts of Italy, traditionally, 'the feast of St Martin' is associated with moving from one house to a new one
- Marija-Ana Duerrigl (Zagreb) commented: 'In these parts of Central Europe the feast of St Martin is traditionally associated with "baptising young wine", a colourful and merry occasion at which "bishop Martin" and his ministers perform the "transforming" of must into wine in numerous vineyard cottages...'
Beryl Cook commented: In Border Scots lore it would seem that the Feast of St Martin has something
of the same connotations of Hallowe'en:
'It fell about the Martinmas
When the nights were lang and mirk,
The carlin wife's three sons came hame,
And their hats were of the birk ...'
('The Wife of Usher's Well').
point is that the three sons are revanants as we learn in the second verse of the ballad that the three sons were all drowned at sea and the purpose of their visit it to offer some comfort to their bereft and widowed mother who has cursed the weather until her three sons should come home "in earthly flesh and blood"...
birchwood of which their hats are made grows at the gates of Paradise...
Kristin Lissins mentions a Flemish St Martin tradition: In Belgium we have ST Nicholas (December 6) bringing gifts to all the children. But in some parts of Flanders, St Martin (called Sinte Maarten) does so on the 11th. The area is around Aalst. I never really understood what could be the link.
Mennas, martyr (?)
- although his existence is fairly certain due to the localised, wide-spread and early cult, his story is of late fabrication; anyone know any good Mennas episodes?
Theodore the Studite, abbot (826)
- greatly venerated in the East, noted for his monastic legislations and defending of icons and of authority of see of Rome.
Bartholomew of Grottaferrata, abbot (c. 1050)
- a companion of St Nilus (commemorated tomorrow, November 12), founder of the monastery, noted for its teaching and its production of manuscripts.
Nilus the Elder (c. 430)
- a disciple of John Chrysostom, he left married life to become a hermit. Patrick Nugent asked if this Nilus was the same as St Nilus of Ancyra, to whom some of the works of Evagrius Ponticus were attributed for a while.
Emilian Cucullatus, or Milla'n de la Cogolla, abbot (574)
- a patron of Spain, he was a shepherd until age 20, when he went to live with a hermit; when he eventually founded the abbey of San Milla'n, he gave away so many goods to the poor that he was reported to the bishop for wasting the goods of the church.
Machar or Mochumma, bishop (sixth century)
- in the Aberdeen Martyrology, he is described as 'archbishop of Tours'; water from St Machar's well at Old Aberdeen used to be used for baptisms in the cathedral of Aberdeen.
Martin I, pope and martyr (c. 656)
- native of Todi (Umbria), as pope he incurred the wrath of the emperor Constans II, who imprisoned then exiled him to Kherson in the Crimea, where he died; last of the popes to be venerated as a martyr.
Cunibert, bishop of Cologne (c. 663)
- a royal counsellor, he helped evangelise the Frisians.
Cumian, abbot (c. 665)
- son of Fiachna, king of West Munster, he founded a house at Kilcummin in Offaly, where he introduced the Roman computation of Easter.
Livinus, bishop and martyr (?)
- baptised and ordained by Augustine of Canterbury, he became bishop of Dublin before evangelising Brabant, where he got his head chopped off at Eschen near Alost.
Lebuin or Liafwine (c. 773)
- some scholars say this is the same person as Livinus.
Benedict and companions, martyrs (1003)
- Benedict of Benevento and four other followers of St Romuald (founder of Camaldolese Order) were sent from Ravenna to evangelize the Slavs of Pomerania, where they were murdered by robbers; venerated in Poland as the Five Polish Brothers.
Astrik or Anastasius, archbishop of the Hungarians (c. 1040)
- probably a close friend of St Adalbert of Prague; worked with King St Stephen for the settlement of the Church in Hungary.
Giovanni della Pace (c. 1332)
- early this century, S. Barsotti found that there were two holy people of this name who became confused; the first was founder of the Fraticelli della Penitenza at Pisa who died c. 1332, but about one hundred years later there died a furrier who lived in matrimony all his life.
Gabriele d'Ancona (1456)
- a Franciscan Observant, he encouraged the use of the devotion called the Seraphic Crown, a type of rosary in honour of the joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Didacus or Diego (1463)
- another Franciscan Observant, he became guardian of the chief convent of the Canary Islands, even though he was only a lay-brother.
Arcadius and companions, martyrs (437)
- these were Spanish men who were killed by the Arian Vandals.
Brice, bishop of Tours (444)
- although brought up by St Martin of Tours, he was a very troublesome young man, claiming his master was insane; eventually he begged Martin's forgiveness, which was granted with the words, 'If Christ could tolerate Judas, surely I can put up with Brice'.
Eugenius, archbishop of Toledo (657)
- a monk at Saragossa, he hid in a cemetery to avoid ecclesiastical promotion, but this was in vain; he was a good musician, who tried to improve the poor singing he would often hear.
Maxellendis, virgin and martyr (c. 670)
- she so resisted getting married that her intended, in his anger, killed her; he went blind immediately, and was cured only during the translation of his victim's remains about three years later.
Kilian (seventh century)
- native of Ireland, he visited his relative St Fiacre (remember him?)after a pilgrimage to Rome, and remained in the Artois region as a preacher.
Nicholas I, pope (867)
- according to the Liber Pontificalis, he 'was patient and temperate, humble and chaste, beautiful in face and graceful in body ... he was devoted to penance and the Holy Mysteries, the friend of widows and orphans, and the champion of all the people'.
Abbo of Fleury, abbot (1004)
- much in demand as a diplomat, this learned abbot is most remembered for a collection of canons and a vita of St Edmund, king and martyr.
- son of a merchant in Cremona, he himself became a merchant, making his holiness all the more remarkable; he was canonized two years after his death (one of the fastest such events ever); patron of tailors and clothworkers in Italy, France and Germany.
Dubricius or Dyfrig, bishop (sixth century)
- founded numerous monastic houses around Hereford and Ross; according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, he crowned King Arthur at Colchester.
Laurence O'Toole or Lorcan Ua Tuathail, archbishop (1180)
- son of chieftain of the Murrays; lived as a monk even after election as archbishop of Dublin; almost murdered by a madman at Canterbury cathedral, just a few year's after martyrdom of Thomas Becket; died at abbey of St Victor at Eu (diocese of Rouen); canonised in 1225.
- Jim Buslag added: His rather splendid late 12th-century tomb survives in the crypt of the church in Eu, now dedicated to Notre-Dame and St Laurence.
Serapion, martyr (1240)
- as a Mercedarian devoted to the redemption of captives, he himself was imprisoned in Algiers, where he was nailed to a cross and cut to pieces.
Giovanni Licio (1511)
- Sicilian Dominican prior, who supposedly died at age of 111.
Gurias, Samonas and Abibus, martyrs (fourth century)
- the first two were hung up by one hand with weights tied to their feet, then beheaded; Abibus was burnt to death; all three, martyrs of Edessa, are 'avengers of unfulfilled contracts'.
Desiderius or Didier, bishop (655)
- elected in 630 to succeed his brother as bishop of Cahors, even though he was still a layman.
Malo, bishop (seventh century)
- born in south Wales, he was ordained then moved to Brittany; among many marvels, he once celebrated Easter on the back of a whale.
Fintan of Rheinau (879)
- native of Leinster, enslaved by Vikings and taken to the Orkney islands; escaped and made pilgrimage to Rome; on his return he stayed with some hermits in the Black Forest, where he spent the rest of his life.
Leopold of Austria (1136)
- at the request of his son, Otto of Freising, he founded the abbey of Heiligenkreuz in the Wienerwald; also founded Klosterneuburg, near Vienna; refused to be nominated as Emperor.
Albert the Great, bishop and doctor (1280)
- taught Thomas Aquinas at Dominican studium of Cologne; helped the Franciscan Berthold of Ratisbon to preach the crusade in Germany; in 1278, during a lecture, his memory suddenly failed; he died two years later, sitting in his chair among his Dominican brothers in Cologne; patron of students of natural sciences.
Eucherius, bishop of Lyon (449)
- he had two sons, Salonius and Veranus, who both became bishops and were venerated as saints; he left his family and retired to Lerins before living as a hermit on the island of Sainte-Marguerite, where he wrote a book on the solitary life; served as bishop for last fifteen years of his life.
Afan, bishop (sixth century?)
- known only by a tombstone near Builth Wells in the county of Brecon, Wales, reading: 'Hic Iacet Sanctus Avanus Episcopus'.
Edmund of Abingdon, archbishop of Canterbury (1240)
- as a schoolboy in Oxford, he had a vision of the boy Jesus, who told him that whoever should before sleeping trace the words 'Jesus of Nazareth' on his or her forehead should be preserved that night from sudden and unprepared death: this was supposedly the origin of a custom of tracing the initials 'INRI' on the forehead while praying
- in the late 1220s, he was commissioned by pope Gregory IX to preach the crusade against the Saracens; later, as archbishop, he had many troubles with monks of his diocese as well as with king Henry III, going into exile in France, where he stayed with Cistercian monks of Pontigny; canonised in 1246.
Agnes of Assisi, virgin (1253)
- sister of St Claire of Assisi; abbess of convent of Monticelli in Florence, she supervised many foundations.
Luigi Morbioli (1485)
- after a near-death experience, he changed his lifestyle, left his wife, stopped curling his hair, and lived as a beggar in Bologna; he may have become a Carmelite tertiary.
Gratia of Kotor (1508)
- a Dalmatian sailor, he converted after hearing a sermon by the Augustinian friar, Simon of Camerino
Lucia da Narni (1544)
- after three years of chaste marriage, she joined a community of Dominican tertiaries in Rome; she then moved to Viterbo, where she received the stigmata.
Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria (265)
- in opposition to the schism of Novatian, he ordered that no one should be refused communion as long as it was requested in the right disposition; late in his life, it was so dangerous in his see that he had to write letters to his flock, since he said it was easier to go from East to West than from Alexandria to Alexandria.
Gregory the Wonderworker, bishop of Neocaesarea (268)
- it was he who, according to Gregory's Dialogues, had such faith that he moved a mountain; invoked in times of earthquakes and floods.
Alphaeus and Zachaeus, martyrs (303)
- in Palestine, after having their flesh ripped with iron hooks and combs, then stretched in the stocks, they were beheaded.
Acisclus and Victoria, martyrs (fourth century)
- brother and sister, they were put to death in the amphitheatre of Cordova.
Anianus or Aignan, bishop of Orleans (c. 453)
- helped defend his city against Attila and his Huns.
Gregory, bishop of Tours (594)
- he attributed all miracles associated with himself to Martin of Tours and other saints, whose relics he always carried.
Hilda, virgin (680)
- she was head of double monastery of monks and nuns at Streaneshalch, also known as Whitby: there, the great synod of 664 was held; her name appears in the calendar of St Willibrord, written at the beginning of the eighth century.
Julia Barrow commented: Bede's dating of Hild's career poses several problems. Bede's dating for her birth and death don't necessarily seem to be problematic - obviously her father must have died before Edwin was able to return from exile and become king in 616, and presumably Hild did die in 680. This means that Hild could, as Bede says, have been 66 (a double perfect age) at death.
What is trickier is when she decided to become a nun. Bede says this was half way through her life, at 33 (perfect age), which would be in about 647. But he says that at this point she spent time in E. Anglia wondering about whether to go to Chelles to become a nun there. But Chelles was surely founded by Balthild - and since it was on Merovingian royal property it could only have been founded once Balthild married Clovis II - and the marriage apparently happened soon after 648. Presumably Balthild didn't found her nunnery immediately after she became queen, but slightly later. Does anyone have any ideas? and is there any information to help with dating for the foundation of Chelles? And when was Streaneshealh founded?
Arlene Hilfer replied: My English Heritage guide to Whitby notes that Hilda brought a community to the site in 657 to resettle the site of 'what may have been, in the twilight empire, a Roman coastal fort or signal sation'.
Hugh, bishop of Lincoln (1200)
- Carthusian bishop, but not the only one; in pictures, he is portrayed with a swan, recalling his pet wild swan which guarded him so zealously that no one could 'approach the bishop without being attacked by it' (Magna Vita, by Adam of Eynsham, Hugh's chaplain).
Donald Mowbray added this interesting tidbit about Hugh: He is also famous for having 'translated' part of the relic of Mary Magdalen's arm to Lincoln by biting a chunk out of it and bringing it home (according to Adam of Eynsham).
Salome, widow (1268)
- a member of Polish royalty, she lived as a Franciscan tertiary before retiring to a Franciscan convent, where she eventually was elected abbess.
Gertrude the Great, virgin (1302)
- noted mystic, she had visions such as one in which Christ told her: 'You have licked the dust with my enemies and sucked honey from thorns; now come back to me, and my divine delights shall be as wine to you'; took communion frequently, and had devotions to St Joseph and the Sacred Heart.
Giovanna da Signa, virgin (1307)
- lived as a solitary for forty years on the banks of the Arno.
Elizabeth the Good, virgin (1420)
- one of the last great medieval mystics, she once fasted for three years, to have it ended only by the devil disguised as her confessor.
Dedication of the Basilicas of St Peter and of St Paul
- St Peter's basilica, as we see it today, was consecrated by Urban VIII on 18 November 1626; the new basilica of St Paul-outside-the-walls, built after the primitive one was destroyed by fire, was consecrated by Pius IX on 10 December 1854, but the annual commemoration was appointed for 18 November.
Romanus of Antioch, martyr (304)
- they tried to burn him, but a sudden storm put out the fire; they ripped his tongue out of his mouth, but he still spoke; they finally strangled him to death.
- a boy of seven, he confessed one God at the urging of Romanus; he was then scourged and beheaded.
Mawes or Maudez, abbot (sixth century?)
- an Irishman who went to Brittany, his cult was one of themost widespread in Brittany.
Odo of Cluny, abbot (942)
- when the abbey of Cluny was founded, its first abbot (StBerno) appointed Odo to run the monastery school; Odo succeeded Berno as abbot, and was noted for his stern rule and discipline (at least once, monks threatened to kill him); wrote a life of Gerald of Aurillac, moral essays, poems and works on music.
Pontian, pope and martyr (c. 236)
- exiled to Sardegna by emperor Maximinus, he resigned his office; some sources state he was beaten to death with sticks.
Nerses I, Katholikos of the Armenians, martyr (c. 373)
- poisoned at dinner hosted by king Pap.
Barlaam, martyr (fourth century?)
- a judge tried to get this pious peasant to sacrifice to pagan gods in this way: he set up an altar with burning coals and incense upon it; Barlaam's hand was placed on it, so that in shaking the embers off his hand, it could be said that he was offering sacrifice; but Barlaam kept his hand in the fire, until the rest of his body was consumed by the fire.
Elizabeth of Hungary, widow (1231)
- promised in marriage at age of four to Louis, son of the landgrave of Thuringia; eventually did marry him, and with his help she worked with the poor; after his death, she joined the Franciscan Third Order (of which she is now patron); canonised four years after her death.
Mechtildis, virgin (1298)
- German mystic, known for her singing as a 'nightingale of Christ', she wrote Book of Special Grace (Revelations); some have identified her with the Donna Matelda in Dante, Purgatorio 27-28.
Dasius, martyr (303?)
- beheaded for not accepting the role of 'lord of misrule' in pre-Saturnalia celebrations.
Nerses, bishop of Sahgerd, and other martyrs (343)
- killed by Sapor II of Persia for refusing to worship the sun.
Maxentia, virgin and martyr (?)
- an Irish princess, she fled to France (place now known as Pont-Sainte-Maxence, near Senlis) to escape a suitor; he tracked her down and cut off her head.
Edmund, martyr (870)
- at age 14, elected king by nobles and clergy of Norfolk; a talented leader and pious man, he memorised the Psalter as a way of emulating king David; part of his martyrdom involved being shot with arrows by Danes until he looked 'like a hedgehog whose skin is closely set with quills, or a thistle covered with thorns'; buried in Bury St Edmund's.
Bernward or Berward, bishop of Hildesheim (1022)
- guardian of the young emperor Otto III; the Hildesheim Gospels are supposedly written and illuminated by the saint's own hand; was also a fine metal-worker.
Felix of Valois (1212)
- co-founder of the Trinitarian Order, with his disciple St John of Matha, dedicated to redeeming captives.
Ambrogio Traversari, abbot (1439)
- a true Renaissance man, he collected a fine library for Camaldolese monastery of Our Lady of the Angels, Florence (not Paris); became abbot general of the Camaldolese Order, then helped achieve short-lived union between Western and Eastern churches.
Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- associated with story, told in several apocryphal gospels, that she was brought to the Temple of Jerusalem at age of three; probable origin of the feast in the East is linked with dedication of new St Mary's church in Jerusalem in 543; earliest observance in the West was in eleventh-century England, but only in 1585 did this feast become part of the Western calendar.
Gelasius I, pope (496)
- insisted on communion in both kinds due to Manicheans' regard of wine as unlawful, and their abstinence from the eucharistic cup; referred to bishop of Constantinople as 'an unimportant suffragan of Heraclea'.
Albert of Louvain, bishop of Liege, martyr (1192)
- when his election as bishop was contested, he travelled in disguise to Rome, where the pope confirmed the election; while in exile in Rheims, he was murdered by agents of emperor Henry VI.
Columbanus, Irish monk and missionary (615)
- founder of Luxeuil and Bobbio, and author of both a monastic rule and a couple of rather harsh-sounding penitentiaries (Jim Bugslag). In Ireland, his feast day (as in the current Roman calendar) is November 23, q.v.
Philemon and Apphia, martyrs (first century)
- apostle Paul addresses one of his epistles to Philemon; in it is mentioned 'our dearest sister' Apphia; according to legends, they were captured by a pagan governor, scourged, then buried in a pit up to the waist, when they were stoned to death.
Cecilia, virgin and martyr (?)
- of patrician birth, she converted her betrothed husband and his brother to Christianity; martyred by being suffocated with the steam of a hot bath in her own mansion (later converted into a church); perhaps martyred during reign of Septimus Severus (193-222); named in the canon of the Mass; at a translation of her remains in 1599, her body was seen to be complete and incorrupt (although in an earlier translation, her head had been enshrined separately); patron of music and musicians.
Last year Julia Bolton Holloway added the following to the various details related to the martyrdom of Cecilia:
There were three sword wounds to her neck and she went on preaching. Chaucer mentions this: `Thre strokes in the nekke he smoot hir tho,/ The tormentour, but fo no maner chaunce/ He myghte noght smyte al hir nekke atwo;/ And for there was that tyme an ordinaunce/ That no man sholde doon man swich penaunce/ The ferthe strook to smyten, softe or soore, This tormentour ne dorste do namoore' (shades of `Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'!), after which she preached for three days, her blood being mopped up by sheets, with Urban I's blessing, before dying, and Julian in the Long Text similarly wanted three wounds, in the Short Text citing St Cecilia's (the Amherst Manuscript engrossing the words for emphasis).
Wyclif cited Cecilia preaching in her own house which became her church. Adam Easton, Norwich Benedictine and Julian's contemporary, learned in Hebrew, which he taught at Oxford, and owning the complete works of Pseudo-Dionysius, then preached to the laity in Norwich, bringing his books with him, was Wyclif's opponent, became Cardinal, his titular basilica being Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, where he is buried in a fine marble tomb near St Cecilia's, his having on it his arms surmounted by the Cardinal's hat with tassels and those of England. He knew both Birgitta of Sweden and Catherine of Siena. He earlier defended Pope Urban VI. When he defended Birgitta's `Revelationes', and her canonisation, he cited Philip's four daughters who were prophets, St Cecilia, etc., as examples of saintly but preaching women.
The detail about Cecilia preaching is not in the Golden Legend. Though it is there `sword' and `swordsman', is it not (I only checked a translation)? Julian has it, `I harde Aman telle of halye kyrke of the Storye of. Saynte Ce=/cylle [engrossed, rubricated, underlined]. In the whilke schewynge. I vndyrstode that sche hadde thre woundys with ASwerde. In the nekke withe the whilke sche py=/ned to the dede. By the styrrynge of this. I conseyved amyghty/desyre Prayande oure lorde god that he wolde grawnte me thre woundys in my lyfe tyme . . . . ' (Amherst, fol. 97 verso, lines 16-21). Nor is Pope Urban I the right one for her dates. But apparantly the ruins of the bathroom (hypocaust) can still be seen at Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. It's interesting, the reader response by Christina of Markyate, Chaucer's Second Nun and Julian to the Legend of St Cecilia.
Clement I, pope and martyr (c. 99)
- third successor of Peter, yet a contemporary of his; famous for a letter (found in some early biblical manuscripts) he wrote to the Christians of Corinth.
Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium (c. 400)
- gave up a promising career as a lawyer to become a hermit, but was soon elected to be bishop; often assisted St Basil the Great, and well known to Sts Gregory of Nazianzen and Jerome; known for his theological works defending the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
Gregory, bishop (c. 603)
- a Sicilian, he went on pilgrimage to Palestine, where he lived as a monk; after ordination, went to Constantinople and Rome, where he was made bishop of Girgenti (Agrigento); there, he made enemies, who reportedly placed a woman of ill repute in his chambers, where she was duly 'discovered'; however, Gregory was cleared of all charges by the pope.
Columban, abbot of Luxeuil and Bobbio (615)
- considered the greatest of the Irish missionary monks to the continent; he became a monk in order to escape the attentions of women; founded his first monastery in the Vosges, c. 590, then another nearby at Luxeuil; he was later ordered deported to Ireland, but circumstances prevented this, and he ended up going to the Alps, then Milan, where the Lombard king gave him a ruined chuch and some land at Bobbio, between Genova and Piacenza.
Stan Methany helped get rid of the confusion regarding the actual feast day of Columban (see November 21): The last edition of the Martyrologium Romanum (recently reprinted by the CLV in Rome) listed Columbanus on 21 November. However, the current Calendarium Romanum Generale assigns the feast to 23 November.
Trudo or Trond (c. 690)
- preached and founded a monastery and a nunnery in his native Brabant.
Chrysogonus, martyr (c. 304?)
- named in canon of the Roman Mass, this Roman official became spiritual father of St Anastasia; may have been martyred in Aquileia.
Colman of Cloyne, bishop (sixth century)
- poet and royal bard, he was converted in his late 40s by St Brendan; taught the boy Columba to read.
Flora and Mary, virgins and martyrs (851)
- Flora was daughter of a Muslim father, but raised secretly in the Christian faith of her mother; Mary was sister of a deacon; they were beheaded together; their intercession was credited for the release of St Eulogius and other Christians from prison.
John of the Cross (1591)
- born near Avila, he considered joining the Carthusians but was led by St Teresa to become a Carmelite; eventually he founded the Institute of Discalced (Bare-Footed) Carmelites, approved in 1580 by pope Gregory XIII; author of outstanding works on mystical theology and prayer, declared Doctor in 1926.
Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and martyr (?)
- as a beautiful and learned student, she debated with fifty philosophers and converted them; in prison, she converted the wife of the local tyrant, along with an officer and two hundred of his troops; she was sentenced to die by being placed on a spiked wheel, but the wheel broke, killing many onlookers; she was finally beheaded, and milk-like fluid flowed from her severed veins
- patron of maidens, women students, philosophers, preachers, apologists, wheelwrights, millers and others, her voice was one of the heavenly voices heard by St Joan of Arc.
Mercurius, martyr (?)
- a soldier martyr, who appeared in visions through the centuries, including at the death of Julian the Apostate and (with St George and St Demetrius) at Antioch during the First Crusade.
Moses, martyr (251)
- a correspondent of St Cyprian and an enemy of Novatianist heretics, he died after eleven months and eleven days spent in prison.
Peter, bishop of Alexandria, martyr (311)
- as his prison was surrounded by Christians protesting his innocence, Peter, knowing he would surely be executed, convinced the guards to make a hole in the prison wall in the night during a storm, so that no one would see or hear him being taken away to the place where he was executed.
Siricius, pope (399)
- condemned the monk Jovinian and the bishop of Sardinia Bonosus as heretics, as they denied the perpetual virginity of Mary and the merit of virginity.
Basolus or Basle (c. 620)
- a soldier-turned-solitary, he is one of several saints who performed a miracle wherein a hunted beast took refuge with the holy person, so that the noble hunter, in awe, let the beast live and gave the hermit some land.
Conrad, bishop of Constance (975)
- represented with a chalice and spider: while he celebrated mass one Easter, a large and supposedly poisonous spider dropped into the chalice; out of devotion and respect for the mysteries, he deliberately swallowed the spider, and 'miraculously' lived
- canonised in 1123.
Nikon 'Metanoeite' (998)
- a missionary to Crete, he began all his sermons with the word 'Metanoeite' (= repent!).
Pontius of Faucigny, abbot (1178)
- a Savoyard noble, he became a canon regular and founded a religious house at Sixt.
Silvestro Gozzolini, abbot (1267)
- founder of Benedictine congregation that was to bear his name ('Silvestrine').
Giacomo Benefatti, bishop of Mantova (1338)
- his body was found to be incorrupt in 1483 and in 1604 (I wonder if anyone has checked lately?).
Barlaam and Josaphat (?)
- in a vita once attributed to St John Damascene, story is told of how the ascetic Barlaam converted the young prince Josaphat and eventually his father, king Abenner; all three left the world and lived as hermits
- this vita appears to be a borrowing of the legend of Siddartha Buddha.
- In answer to Phyllis Jestice's request, 'Can anyone explain who did poor James in? It seems an odd time for such a bloody-minded martyrdom', Jim Bugslag answered: According to Butler, James was both a Christian and a Persian noble
much favoured by King Isdegerdes I, who was very favourably disposed
towards Christians, in general, until a bishop named Abdas got a bit
carried away and burnt a pagan temple. Because Abdas refused to
rebuild the temple, Isdegerdes began persecuting Christians, and
rather than lose his position at the royal court, James renounced his
Upon Isdegerdes death, however, James's Christian mother and wife managed to convince him to return to the Christian faith, whereupon Isdegerdes' son and successor, Vararanes V, reproached him with ingratitude. James refused to abjur his faith again, and Vararanes threatened him with a slow and lingering death. James retorted: "Any kind of death is no more than a sleep; 'May my soul die the death of the just'."
"Death," said the tyrant, "is not a sleep: it is a terror to lords and kings." James answered: "It indeed terrifies kings, and all others who contemn God; because 'the hope of the wicked shall perish' (Prov. 2:28)"
The king then took him up on these words, and said sharply: "Do you then call us wicked men, O idle race, who neither worship God, nor the sun, moon, fire, or water, the illustrious offspring of the gods?" "I accuse you not," replied James,"but I say that you give the incommunicable name of God to creatures."
The king was so incensed by this reply that he brought together all the ministers and judges of his kingdom to think up a new and particularly horrible and cruel method of execution.
Vararanes V apparently martyred a few Christians - Butler also mentions St Mahorsapor - before being defeated by Theodosius the Younger in 427, who forced him to stop his persecutions.
James Intercisus, martyr (c. 421)
- executed by having his fingers, then his toes, then his arms, then his legs cut off, and then having his thighs ripped out of his hips; throughout this process, James Intercisus (= 'chopped-to- pieces') praised God (that is, until his head was chopped off)
- possibly the inspiration of a character in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Secundinus or Sechnall, bishop (447)
- one of three seniores sent from Gaul to assist St Patrick; noted as a composer of hymns.
Maximus, bishop of Riez (c. 460)
- second abbot of Lerins, he tried to avoid becoming bishop of Riez in Provence by escaping in a boat, but failed in the attempt; lived like a monk even after he became bishop.
Cungar, abbot (sixth century)
- founded a monastery in a marshy place near Yatton, Somerset, now known as Congresbury; according to a Breton tradition, he died at Saint-Congard in Morbihan.
Fergus, bishop (eighth century?)
- he left Ireland for Scotland, where he founded three churches in honour of St Patrick.
Virgil, bishop of Salzburg (784)
- he left Ireland on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but did not make it past Bavaria; apostle of the Slovenes
- supposedly he was once denounced (by St Boniface) for teaching that beneath the earth there exists another world and other men and also a sun and moon.
Bernardino da Fossa (1503)
- refused bishopric of L'Aquila in order to live as a simple friar; wrote a Chronicle of the Friars Minor of the Observance.
Stephen the Younger, martyr (764)
- defending icons, he was persecuted by the emperor and then lynched by a mob.
Simeon Metaphrastes (c. 1000)
- known as 'The Reteller', he was the greatest compiler of saints' legends in the East.
Giacomo della Marca (1476)
- a noted preacher, he continued the work of St Giovanni da Capistrano in Austria and Hungary against the Hussites.
Saturninus, martyr (c. 309)
- a priest who came to Rome from Carthage; imprisoned, put on the rack, beaten, scourged, scorched with fire, then beheaded, he was buried in the cemetery of Thraso.
Saturninus or Sernin, bishop of Toulouse, martyr (third century?)
- first bishop of Toulouse, he preached on both sides of the Pyrenees; he was captured by non- Christian priests, who in anger tied his feet to a bull, that dragged him through the city until he died.
Radbod, bishop of Utrecht (918)
- like his episcopal predecessors, he lived as a monk throughout his adult life; wrote hymns, poems and brief liturgical works.
Frederick of Regensburg (1329)
- an Augustinian lay-brother, renowned for receiving communion from an angel.
Andrew, apostle (first century)
- in 1204, relics 'translated' from Constantinople to Amalfi by crusaders
- first representations of his martyrdom on an X-shaped (= saltire or decussate) cross date from after the thirteenth century
- patron of Russia and Scotland.
Sapor, Isaac, Mahanes, Abraham and Simeon, martyrs (339)
- in Persia, Sapor, a bishop, was beaten to death; Isaac,also a bishop, was stoned; the skin of Mahanes was flayed from the top of his head to his navel; Abraham's eyes were poked out with a hot iron; Simeon was buried in the ground up to his chest and shot full of arrows.
Andrew of Antioch (c. 1348)
- served the basilica of Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem as holder of the key; died on a fund-raising mission.
Ansanus, martyr (304?)
- first apostle of Siena.
Agericus or Airy, bishop of Verdun (588)
- while hosting king Childebert, he blessed his last cask of wine, and it flowed with more than enough for the assembled multitude.
Tudwal, bishop (sixth century)
- in Brittany, he was known as Pabu 'Father', on account of which a legend grew that he was made pope.
Eligius or Eloi, bishop of Noyon (660)
- one of the most popular saints in medieval France; patron of smiths and metalworkers, and invoked on behalf of horses.
- Brenda Cook added: A maker of reliquaries and wedding rings and also because of his honesty made Master of the Mint to Dagobert II; but my favourite story about him is that on one occasion - not wanting to hurt the horse whom he was shoeing - he 'took off the horse's leg', shoed the hoof and refixed the leg ... When the mind has stopped boggling, it is possible to see here amazement and delight in a man clearly so gentle and concerned for the well-being even of domestic animals.
- a companion of St Francis of Assisi, he was noted for his preaching and for his levitation in prayer.
Giovanni da Vercelli (1283)
- sixth master general of the Order of Preachers
Gerardo Cagnoli (1345)
- inspired by the sanctity of St Louis of Toulouse, he joined the Franciscans as a lay-brother in Sicily, where he acquired a great reputation for his many and varied miracles.
Antonio Bonfadini (1482)
- native of Ferrara, he served the Franciscan mission in the Holy Land; died in Cotignola in Romagna, where he is buried and venerated.
Richard Whiting, abbot of Glastonbury, and companions, martyrs (1539)
- among the 'incriminating' documents he possessed was a life of Thomas Becket; the abbot was hanged, drawn and quartered on Glastonbury Tor, along with his treasurer and sacristan.
- Tom Izbicki wrote: This reminds me of an article I just finished reading: R.E. Scully Jr., 'The unmaking of a saint: Thomas Becket and the English Reformation', The Catholic Historical Review 86 (2000): pp. 579-602.
Bibiana or Viviana, virgin and martyr (?)
- killed after being whipped with scourges loaded with lead, her corpse was left exposed so that dogs would eat it, but they did not.
Chromatius, bishop of Aquileia (c. 407)
- he helped finance the work of his friend Jerome, to translate the Bible into Latin.
John Ruysbroeck (1381)
- Augustinian canon and mystical writer of works such as Book of the Kingdom of God's Lovers, Spiritual Espousals, and Book of the Spiritual Tabernacle.
- Julia Bolton Holloway added this important information: You can find the text of the Middle English Jan van Ruusbroec, Sparkling Stone, which is in the same manuscript as the earliest extant version of Julian of Norwich's Showings (and which may have been part of her library in an earlier manuscript), the Amherst Manuscript, transcribed on the Juliansite web pages.
Lucius (second century?)
- supposedly was a British king who wrote to Marcus Aurelius, asking to be made a Christian.
Claudius, Hilaria and companions, martyrs (?)
- the tribune Claudius was drowned in the Tiber; his wife Hilaria died in prison; his sons and seventy soldiers were beheaded.
Cassian, martyr (298?)
- while recording the testimony of the trial of St Marcellus the Centurion, Cassian was so enraged by the death sentence accorded to Marcellus that he protested, resulting in his death.
- an English disciple of St Boniface who became a hermit near Eichstatt.
Francis Xavier (1552)
- one of the seven men who were the first Jesuits; a determined diplomat and missionary never too busy to work miracles (on which, see Analecta Bollandiana 16 (1897), 52-63.
Barbara, virgin and martyr (?)
- one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, she is invoked against lightning and fire, and is patron of gunners, miners, architects, builders and stonemasons
- Margaret Cormack brought the following new book to our attention: The Old-Norse Icelandic legend of Saint Barbara, ed. Kirsten Wolf, published by the Pontifical Institute. Along with editions (and a translation) of the two Icelandic texts, there is an edition of the Latin text in Douai Bibliotheque Municipale Codex 838.
- John Flood informed us who the Fourteen Holy Helpers are:
Achatius 22 June
Aegidius (Giles) 1 September
Barbara 4 December
Blasius 3 February
Christopher 25 July
Cyriacus 8 August
Dionysius (Denis) 9 October
Erasmus 2 June
Eustachius 20 September
George 23 April
Katharina (Catherine) 25 November
Margaret 29 July
Pantaleon 27 July
Vitus 15 June
Sophie Oosterwijk added the following:
The list of the Fourteen Holy Helpers may vary but usually consists of Acacius, Barbara, Blaise, Catharine of Alexandria, Christopher, Cyriacus, Denys, Erasmus, Eustace, George, Giles, Margaret of Antioch, Pantaleon and Vitus, although one may also find Antony, Leonard, Nicolas, Sebastian or Roch.
These saints were supposed to be particularly helpful against various diseases and afflictions; they were venerated as a group from the fourteenth century.
Clement of Alexandria (c. 215)
- renowned apologist, but his name is not in the Roman Martyrology.
Maruthas, bishop of Maiferkat (c. 415)
- he brought so many saints' relics to his city that it became known as 'Martyropolis'.
Peter Chrysologus, archbishop of Ravenna, doctor (c. 450)
- preached so vehemently that he would become speechless from excitement.
Anno, archbishop of Cologne (1075)
- leader of the German bishops who supported pope Alexander II against antipope Cadalus of Parma.
Osmund, bishop of Salisbury (1099)
- came to England with the Normans, and nominated by king William as bishop of Salisbury in 1078; responsible for revision of Sarum Use; enjoyed copying and binding books.
Bernard, bishop of Parma and cardinal (1133)
- abbot general of the Vallombrosan order, made bishop by pope Paschal II; forced from his see in 1104 by followers of antipope Maginulf.
Crispina, martyr (304)
- Augustine frequently mentions her as well known in Africa, ranking in popularity with Agnes and Thecla.
Pelino, bishop and martyr (fourth century?)
- only extant vita is 12th-century MS (Citta' del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Lat. 1197)
- while taken from his bishopric of Brindisi to Rome, his prayers caused the destruction of a 'pagan' temple, whose priests (along with others) killed Pelino
- site of martyrdom is in the Peligna valley of central Italy; the name of the valley dates from pre- Roman times, yet Pelino was supposedly born in the Balkans
- patron of the village of Corfinio (ancient Corfinium), Abruzzo, Italy, population 998.
Sabas, abbot (532)
- one of the leading figures of early monasticism; named at the preparation in the Byzantine mass
- patriarch of the monks of Palestine.
Nicetius, bishop of Trier (c. 566)
- last Gallo-Roman bishop of Trier in the early days of Frankish domination in Gaul
- born with a corona of hair, taken to be an omen of his future state
- after time as monk at Limoges, king Theoderic I named him bishop
- feast in Trier is kept on 1 October.
Birinus, bishop of Dorchester (c. 650)
- Roman priest, sent by pope Honorius I to go to Britain
- became known as 'Apostle of Wessex'; died and buried at Dorchester, but soon after death his relics were translated to Winchester.
Bill East pointed out: Birinus merits the mede of one melodious tear. He baptised King Cynegisl, which argues some phonological dexterity. This Dorchester was of course the one in Oxfordshire, not Dorset; his relics, as you say, are no longer there, but there is a commemorative shrine in Dorchester Abbey.
Peter Binkley continued, saying: His accomplishments are all the more impressive when you consider the horrors he faced as he headed north from balmy Italy to Britain (as described by Henry of Avranches, ed. David Townsend, Analecta Bollandiana 112 (1994), p. 324:
... eo tendens quo nullus peruenit Austri flatus, sed glacie tellus constricta perhenni. Cum nec parturiat bachas nec proferat uuas, Tetidis et Cereris celebrat connubia uulgus. Inter se choisse deas Hymeneus abhorret; pronuba Thesiphone thalamis ululauit in illis, et cecinit dirum bubo mortalibus omen. Connubii prolem tam detestabilis - immo nescio quod Stigie monstrum conforme paludi - ceruisiam plerique uocant. Nil spissius illa dum bibitur, nil clarius est dum mingitur, unde constat quod multas feces in uentre relinquit. Non tamen ille timet monstri nocumenta maligni, nec remorantur eum quecumque pericula, potus letalis, cibus inficiens, aer grauis, equor monstriferum, tellus sterilis, gens perfida, lingua barbara; nec reuocant horum contraria, uinum dulce, cibus sapidus, aer placabilis, equor nullum, terra ferax, gens credula, lingua Latina.
A slightly bowdlerised translation: "...heading where no breath of Auster (the south wind) reaches, where the earth is locked in perpetual ice. Since it neither breeds berries nor produces grapes, the people celebrate the wedding of Thetis (i.e. water) and Ceres (i.e. grain). Hymen abhors the union of these goddesses; the bridesmaid Thesiphone (one of the Furies) howled in their honeymoon suite, and an owl sang a harsh omen for mortal men. The offspring of so detestable a marriage - or rather, some sort of swamp-monster from hell - many call beer. Nothing is murkier when you drink it, or clearer when you piss it, which shows that it leaves many dregs in the stomach. But he (Birinus) does not fear the wounds of this wicked monster, nor is he delayed by any dangers, lethal drink, poisonous food, bad weather, the monster-filled deep, barren land, treacherous people, barbaric language; nor do their opposites call him back: sweet wine, tasty food, pleasant weather, no sea, fruitful land, faithful people, and Latin."
Sigiramnus, or Cyran, abbot (c. 655)
- so wanted to become a religious that he ignored his father's attempt to betrothe him to a noble lady, and became a priest
- this did not mean that he escaped parental control, for his father was bishop of Tours!
- after father's death, he founded a monastery in the forest of Brenne.
Nicholas of Sibenik, martyr (1391)
- native of Dalmatia, he became a Franciscan and preached for 20 years in Bosnia before going to Palestine, where he was killed for publicly preaching to Muslims.
Bartholomew of Mantova, confessor (1495)
- joined Carmelites at age 17; founded confraternity of Lady of Mount Carmel; novice-master of Carmelite poet, Battista Spagnuolo.
Nicholas, of Myra, Bari, and Manhattan (fourth century)
- above-noted descriptor is from the title of a superb book, subtitled Biography of a Legend, by Charles W. Jones (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1978), which contains more fascinating trivia than you can shake a stick at
- patron of Christmas shoppers.
As Marleen Cre informed us:
In some regions of Belgium and in the Netherlands, this saint has the function of Santa, although the way he brings people toys and where he comes from are different. Dutch and Belgian customs differ as well. Sinterklaas (the Dutch name for Nicholas as Santa) either lives in Spain or in heaven. (This poses immense problems for some children, because he cannot live in two places at once. This problem causes many children to lose their belief.) On the evening of 5 December, you put your shoe in front of the fire (because Sinterklaas travels across roofs on a white horse and drops presents through the chimney - problem in modern houses with central heating !). In your shoe you put a carrot, a turnip or lumps of sugar for the horse. In the morning the child finds sweets and toys. It's only lucky children who find sweets and toys. Naughty children are taken away by Sinterklaas's help, Black Peter. Sinterklaas infallibly knows whether you have been a good child or not. As such he is a handy child-rearing aid, especially when 6 December draws near. An example of how saints' lives influence folklore. Read more in : Ghesquiere, Rita Van, Nicolaas van Myra tot Sinterklaas : de kracht van een verhaal (Leuven : Davidsfonds, 1989).
Dionysia, Majoricus, Dativa, Emilian, Boniface and Tertius, martyrs (484)
- killed during persecutions in Africa by Arian king, Huneric.
Abraham, bishop of Kratia (c. 558)
- after 10 years as an abbot, he fled secretly into Palestine, but was forced to return; soon after, he was named bishop, but after another 13 years he again fled, this time for a permanent stay in a Palestinian monastery.
Peter Pascual, bishop of Jaen, martyr (1300)
- tutor in Aragon's royal household; when young prince Sancho was made archbishop of Toledo, Peter was appointed administrator
- later, imprisoned by Moslems, he wrote a treatise against Islam; this led to his martyrdom.
Eutychian, pope (283)
- Roman martyrology says he was martyred, but there were no persecutions going on at that time
- buried in catacomb of Calistus.
Ambrose, bishop of Milan, father (of western Church) (397)
- acclaimed after a child began saying, 'Ambrosius episcopus'
- Augustine marvelled at how he could read without moving his lips.
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- first clear evidence of the feast in the West, under this name, found in pre-Conquest Winchester, Canterbury and Exeter.
Romaric, abbot (653)
- monk at Luxeuil, became abbot of Remiremont.
Hipparchus and his companions, the seven martyrs of Samosata (c. 300?)
- the account in the passio that tells of the baptism by Hipparchus of five of the other soon-to-be-martyrs is of interest regarding early liturgy regarding baptism; the text is translated from the Syriac into French in H. Leclercq, Les martyrs, vol. 2 (1903), pp. 391-403.
Leocadia, virgin and martyr (304?)
- patron of Toledo (Spain, not Ohio).
Gorgonia, matron (c. 372)
- eldest child of St Gregory Nazianzen the Elder and his wife, St Nonna; sister of St Gregory Nazianzen (the Younger?) and St Caesarius.
Budoc or Beuzec, abbot (6th century?)
- some of the many miracles related in the vita deal with the mother of the saint, who was the daughter of the king of Brest; in order to distract a snake that was biting her father, she smeared her breast with milk and aromatic oil; the snake bit her breast and would not let go, so she had to cut her breast off; God, in recognition of her piety, gave her back a breast of gold.
Miltiades or Melchiades, pope and martyr (314)
- during his reign, toleration was granted to Christians by Constantine; labelled a martyr due to his sufferings during the persecution of Maximian.
Mennas, Hermogenes and Eugraphus, martyrs (?)
- Mennas, an orator, gave a four-hour speech to a court that ended up ordering his eyes and tongue should be removed, and his feet flayed; however, the next day, these injuries were completely healed, but this did not prevent him, his subordinate Eugraphys and his judge Hermogenes (converted by the spectacle) from being beheaded.
Eulalia of Merida, virgin and martyr (304?)
- most celebrated virgin martyr of Spain; there is a sermon by Augustine for her feast.
Gregory III, pope (741)
- sent the pallium to St Boniface in Germany, before also sending him St Willibald.
Damasus, pope (384)
- his epitaph, in the cemetery of St Callistus, reads: I, Damasus, wished to be buried here, but I feared to offend the ashes of these holy ones.
Barsabas, martyr (?)
- an abbot, he was beheaded in Persia, along with his twelve monks.
Fuscian, Victoricus, and Gentian, martyrs (?)
- Roman missionaries in Gaul, the first two were seen to walk away from the site of their execution, carrying their heads in their hands.
Daniel the Stylite (493)
- one of the greatest pillar-saints, he was buried at the foot of the pillar he had lived upon for 33 years.
Pietro Pettinaio, or Pietro Tecelano (1289)
- a comb-maker by trade, he joined the third order of St Francis; so noted for the efficacy of his prayers that people believe him to be the Pier Pettinagno who Dante refers to in Purgatorio 13, 128.
Franco da Grotti (1291)
- lived a debauched life in Siena, but converted by a vision when he was 65 years old; became a Carmelite lay-brother.
Ugolino Magalotti (1373)
- a Franciscan tertiary and hermit.
Girolamo Ranuzzi (1455)
- Servite priest, who after education in Bologna spent much time in and around Urbino, where he was known to Federico da Montefeltro, the duke of Urbino.
Epimachus and Alexander and other martyrs (250)
- their martyrdom in Alexandria is recounted by the local bishop, St Epimachus.
Finnian of Clonard, bishop (c. 549)
- as a monk he lived on the island of Flatholm in the Severn River estuary, and while there he cleared the (tiny) island of vermin
- in reality, there is little evidence of his being a bishop.
Corentin or Cury, bishop (sixth century?)
- first bishop of Cornouaille, whose see is now at Quimper
- he kept a fish in a well, and he would daily cut off part of the fish, return it to the water, and take it out the next day completely recovered, and then repeat the procedure again.
Last year Sophie Oosterwijk provided a very helpful explanation for this sort of miracle:
It seems to me to be a Christian adaptation of a much older tradition. Of course, the symbolism of the fish and rebirth is quite appropriate for a saintly bishop but the idea of animals eaten today yet alive again tomorrow is one that one finds, for example, in Norse mythology where boars in Walhalla can be killed and consumed one day and hunted all over again the next. I am sure the folklore expert Malcolm Jones can give many more examples of this.
Edburga, abbess of Minster, virgin (751)
- had such a great reputation as a calligrapher that St Boniface gave her a present of a silver stilus for writing on wax.
Vicelin, bishop of Staargard (1154)
- founded the first church of Lu"beck, his cult is active in north-western Germany, even though he is not in the Roman Martyrology.
Antiochus, martyr (c. 121)
- martyred on island of Solta.
Lucy, virgin and martyr (303)
- refusing marriage to a suitor, she was sentenced to be placed in a brothel, but the governor's guards were unable to move her there; she was then ordered to be burned, but the flames had no effect; finally, her throat was slit
- along the way, her eyes were gouged out, but these were miraculously restored; often portrayed in art as holding a dish or shell bearing two eyeballs.
Eustratius, Orestes, and others, martyrs (303)
- Eustratius was an Armenian, burned to death in a furnace; killed with him in the furnace were his servant Eugenius, two friends (Mardarius and Auxentius) who had pleaded for his life, and Orestes, a soldier who was converted by the courage of Eustratius, and roasted to death on a grill.
Abra, confessor (400)
- daughter of well-known bishop and saint, Hilary of Poitiers (but born before he became bishop).
Aubert, confessor (c. 668)
- bishop of Cambrai, he is believed to have converted a group of lay people to the monastic life and to have performed many miracles.
Judoc or Josse (c. 668)
- son of king Juthael of Amorica (Brittany), ordained c. 636 at Ponthieu and after a pilgrimage to Rome, became a hermit at Runiacum (later named Saint-Josse).
Odile, virgin (eighth century)
- born blind, she received sight at age twelve when baptized by St Erhardt of Regensburg; patron of Alsace and of the blind, her shrine (near Strasbourg) remains a major pilgrimage centre.
- The feast day of Odile was timely regarding a thread on the Medieval-Religion List concerning canonesses. Odile was the foundress of the convent of Hohenburg. In the tenth-century vita of Odile her hagiographer gives an account of Odile speaking to her sisters. She asks them if they should be canonesses or nuns. Because the Hohenburg is located so high up on a mountain and the women often seek their water outside of the walls of the convent, she argues that it would be logistically better to be canonesses since they could then fetch their water anytime. The implications is that nuns would be strictly enclosed and not able to get their water when they needed it; see Jo Ann McNamara, Sister in Arms (Cambridge/London, 1996, pp. 176-77). The Hohenburg convent was reformed in the twelfth century by two canonesses Relinde and Herrad. Herrad went on to compose her encyclopedic masterpiece, the Hortus deliciarum. (See Carolyn Muessig, 'Learning and Mentoring in the Twelfth Century: Hildegard of Bingen and Herrad of Landsberg', in George Ferzoco and Carolyn Muessig, eds, Medieval Monastic Education (London, 2000): pp. 87-104.
Elizabeth Rose, virgin (1130)
- died at Villechausson, near Courtenay.
Heron, Arsenius and Isidore, martyrs (250)
- burned to death in Alexandria.
Dioscorus (late third century)
- tortured along with the above-mentioned martyrs, he was released because of his young age (fifteen years).
Justus and Abundus, martyrs (284)
Spiridion, confessor (350)
- a Cypriot shepherd, he became bishop; famed for his knowledge of the Bible despite his lack of education, at the Council of Nicaea he supposedly converted a philosopher.
- Andrew Jotischky observed: There is a 13th-century wall-painting of Spiridion in, of all places, the church of St Mary, Upchurch, Kent. He wasn't a saint who, to my knowledge, appeared extensively in western iconography, though there are of course mosaic cycles depicting him in Cyprus. One speculation as to the source of transmission of the legend is that a Kentish crusader came across him in Cyprus; another link may be the Carmelites, who founded a convent at Aylesford, in Kent, in 1242, only four years after their first settlement in Cyprus and who seem to have had a devotion to Spiridion at any rate by the 15th century and possibly earlier. What seems most odd about the Upchurch cycle is that the iconography does not relate to the best-known traditions about Spiridion as told by Sozomen and Socrates, but rather to the 10th century compilation of Simeon Metaphrastes. One would have expected the Historia Tripartita, the Latin translation of Eusebius and his continuators, to have been better known in 13th cent. England than Simeon Metaphrastes. The paintings themselves are much mutilated, but drawings were made in 1875 when they were uncovered.
- Bill East added: Spiridion is patron saint of Corfu, where his uncorrupt body is kept. Almost all the men of Corfu are called Spiros after him. The body is kept in a glass-topped coffin, which stands usually in the horizontal position. However, on his several feast days it is carried around vertically in procession.
Nicasius, Florentius, Jucundus, and Eutropia, martyrs (c. 407)
- the first three - respectively bishop, deacon and lector of Reims - were beheaded by marauding barbarians (weren't all barbarians 'marauding'?); Eutropia, the bishop's sister, was killed when she attacked her brother's murderers.
Venantius Fortunatus, confessor (600)
- bishop of Poitiers, noted poet and hagiographer (author of vita of Radegunde).
Fulquinus, confessor (855)
- bishop of Therouanne.
John of the Cross, confessor (1591)
- great Carmelite mystic, declared Doctor of the Church in 1926.
Irenaeus, Antonius, and others, martyrs (257)
- martyred in Rome.
Christiana (third century)
- often called 'apostle of the Iberians'.
Valerian, confessor (457)
- bishop of Abbenza in Africa during the reign of Vandal King Genseric, he was driven from his home at age of eighty, and died of exposure and neglect on the streets of his city.
Maximinus, abbot of Miscy (sixth century)
Adalbert II, bishop of Metz (1005)
Valentine, Concordius, and others, martyrs at Ravenna (c. 303)
African Virgins (482)
- in the persecution by Arian Vandal king, Huneric, some of these virgins were hung up with weights attached to their feet, while others were burned with heated plates of metal.
Ado, confessor (874)
- archbishop of Vienne, author of vitae of saints Desiderius and Theuderis, and of a universal chronicle of the world (as well as a martyrology).
Lazarus, confessor (first century)
- known mainly from John 11, 1-44, the story of his resurrection by Jesus; he supposedly went on to become the first bishop of Marseilles.
Olympias, widow (c. 410)
- she gave away so much money that John Chrysostom had to order her to stop.
Begga, widow and abbess (seventh century)
- daughter of Pepin of Landen, mayor of the palace, and St Itta, she eventually married Ansegilius, son of St Arnulf of Metz; she was the mother of Pepin of Herstal, founder of the Carolingian dynasty.
Florian, Calinicus, and companions, martyrs at Eleutheropolis in Palestine (eighth century).
- 'Apostle of the Saxons', he was the first German to become a Benedictine; founded the monastery of Fulda.
William Longsword, martyr (943)
- Norman duke, assassinated and venerated in Rouen.
The Expectation of the Confinement of Mary
- festival originated formally at the tenth council of Toledo, in 654; in France this day is sometimes known as 'Notre-Dame de l'O', because on it begins the antiphon, 'O Sapientia', the first of the eight Greater Antiphons, all beginning with 'O'.
Rufus and Zosimus, martyrs at Philippi in Macedonia (c. 107)
Quintus, Simplicius, and others, martyrs in Africa (c. 251)
Moyses, martyr (third century)
- known for having excommunicated Novatus.
Gatian, confessor (c. 301)
- first bishop of Tours.
Auxentius, confessor (early fourth century)
- bishop of Mopsuestia.
Bodagisl or Arnoald, confessor (588)
- a noble of the courts of Austrasia, father of St Arnoald (bishop of Metz), and husband of St Oda.
Flavitas, confessor (620)
- lived as a hermit near Sens.
Flannan, confessor (seventh century)
- first bishop of Killaloe, and amazing worker of miracles (e.g. he sailed to Rome, but on a stone instead of a ship).
Nemesion, martyr at Alexandria (c. 250)
Prothasia, martyr (c. 287)
- lived as a virgin near Senlis.
Darius, Zosimus, Paul, and Secundus, martyrs (c. 303)
- died in Nicaea.
Meuris and Thea (c. 305)
- martyrs in Gaza (although Thea survived the tortures and died later).
Gregory, bishop of Auxerre (c. 530)
Samthana (eighth century)
- abbess of Clonebrone in Longford.
Ammon, Zeno, Ptolemy, Ingenes and Theophilus, martyrs (c. 250)
- these Egyptian soldiers were present at the martyrdom of a Christian, and exhorted the Christian to remain steadfast throughout his tortures; when the judge noticed this, he ordered the soldiers to be beheaded, and so they were.
Philogonius, confessor (323)
- after a successful career as a lawyer, he became bishop of Antioch, and was one of the first to denounce Arianism.
Eugenius and Macarius, martyrs in Arabia (362)
Dominic, bishop of Brescia (c. 600)
Dominic Silos, abbot (1073)
- helped his monastery of San Sebastian to become one of the leading spiritual houses and scriptoria in Spain.
Thomas, apostle and martyr (first century)
- of doubting fame, he in fact was the first to declare explicitly the divinity of Christ; officially known as the apostle of India, where he supposedly went and preached.
Themistocles, martyr in Lycia(c. 249)
Glycerius, martyr in Nicomedia (303)
Severinus, bishop of Treves (fourth century)
Anastasius, martyr (609)
- second patriarch of Antioch of his name, he was murdered during a Jewish uprising, which in turn was suppressed with great violence.
Ischyrion, martyr at Alexandria (250)
- a servant to a ruler, he disobeyed an order to sacrifice; Ischyrion's employer was not amused, so he took a long pole and shoved it through the Christian's bowels.
Chaeremon, martyr (250)
- bishop of Nilopolis, who in his old age left his bishopric and fled into the Arabian mountains with a friend; neither of them was ever seen again.
Thirty Martyrs of Rome (303)
- in Rome, at one time, thirty people were killed on account of their Christian faith; because of this, they became known as the Thirty [or 'XXX'] Martyrs of Rome
- anyone know anything else about these people, apart from them being martyrs, thirty in number, who were killed in Rome?
Zeno, martyr at Nicomedia (304)
Flavian, martyr (380)
- prefect of Rome under Constantius, he was branded on the forehead and exiled to Acquapendente, where he died in the act of praying.
- Brother Alexis added: According to The Book of Saints: A Dictionary of the Servants of God, compiled by the Benedictine Monks of Ramsgate Abbey, 6th ed., Morehouse Pulishing, Harrisburgh, PA, USA, 1989, reprint. 1994, a cura di Dom Bede Millard, OSB, BA, MTh (ISBN 0-8192-1611-9), this St. Flavian died in 362, and was exiled by the apostate emperor Julian; he was a slave at the time of his branding, and Acquapendente is in Tuscany.
Ernan or Ferreolus (640)
- monk of Drumhome in Donegal, he was a nephew of St Columba.
Felix II, bishop of Metz (731)
Theodulus, Saturninus and others, martyrs in Crete (c. 250)
Victoria, virgin and martyr (253)
- following the exhortations of her friend St Anatolia, she refused to marry a pagan.
Migdonius, Mardonius, and others, martyrs at Nicomedia (303)
Servulus, confessor (590)
- a beggar afflicted with palsy from infancy, he lived in the porch of St Clement's church in Rome, where he would preach to passers-by; when people gathered around him at his death bed and sang hymns, he sang along with them until he said, 'Be quiet now, I hear sweet music from heaven!', at which point he died.
Mazota or Mayota, virgin (seventh century)
- a contemporary of St Columba, she lived in a church at Abernethy, where the Irish king and all his family were baptised.
Ivo, confessor (1115)
- bishop of Chartres, and great canonist.
Thorlac, confessor (1193)
- apparently, the remains of his body in Skalholt cathedral show his skeleton to be normal except for the skull; according to Baring-Gould, this is in fact a coconut.
Forty Virgins, martyrs at Antioch (250)
Gregory of Spoleto, martyr (303)
- among his many tortures, he was put in an iron pot over a fire, but an earthquake upset the pot before Gregory was quite cooked; typically, his torturers got fed up at a certain point, and cut off his head.
Euthymius, martyr at Nicomedia (304)
Delphinus, confessor (404)
- bishop of Bordeaux, who baptised and taught St Paulinus of Nola.
Tarsilla, virgin (sixth century)
- aunt of St Gregory the Great; after her death, her knees were found to be as hard as camel hide, due to her continual kneeling in prayer (this, according to Gregory's testimony).
- Julia Bolton Holloway added this: The same is said in St Birgitta of Sweden's Vita, that her knees became as hard as those of a camel. Presumably her daughter Catherine saw them. I had thought this was noted because both mother and daughter would have seen camels on their Holy Land pilgrimage in 1372. but now I sadly realise it is just a hagiographical topos! However, I can remember as a novice when my knees got calloused!
Levan, confessor (sixth century)
- a native of Cornwall, he crossed over to Brittany, where he was consecrated regionary bishop and lived in a cell at Tre'darzec, near Tre'guier.
Irmina and Adela, virgins (c. 707)
- daughters of Dagobert II, king of the Franks, who lived as virgins after Irmina's husband-to-be was murdered by one of her servants.
Nativity of Jesus
- it is not until the reign of pope Liberius in the mid-fourth century that we hear of this feast being celebrated generally.
Eugenia, virgin and martyr at Alexandria (258)
Martyrs at Nicomedia (303)
- several thousand Christians were assembled on the feast of the Nativity when Diocletian ordered the doors of the church to be closed, and the building to be burned to the ground
- but as the feast was not celebrated in this place until well after the time of Diocletian, we know this to be an inaccurate tale (yet it is told just the same).
Anastasia the Younger, martyr (304)
- devoted to imprisoned Christians, she herself was deported with them to the island of Palmaria, where she was stretched to posts stuck in the earth, her hands and feet extended like a St Andrew's cross, and a fire lighted around her which soon consumed her.
Adalsendis, virgin (c. 678)
- youngest daughter of St Adalbald and St Rictudis, she entered the convent of Marchiennes in Hainault with her mother, and died soon afterward on 25 December; her mother restrained her tears for her beloved until the Feast of the Innocents, lest her sorrow mar the solemnity of the Nativity.
Peter the Venerable, abbot (1156)
- a venerable abbot named Peter, who headed the monastery of Cluny for thirty-four years.
Fulk of Toulouse, confessor (1231)
- born in Genova, he was a minstrel until he joined the Cistercians, and then was named bishop of Toulouse, becoming known as 'the minstrel bishop'; highly esteemed by contemporaries for his preaching.
- John Mundy commented: Fulk was probably a good preacher and even a passable poet, but he was a great deal more than that as the Cathars and their followers could have attested and as the inhabitants, even the orthodox ones, of his see's capital city agreed. He was feared and hated quite as much as loved. That note about him converts an interesting man into a Valentine's day card.
Jacopone da Todi (1306)
- member of the Spiritual Franciscans, and author of many hymns and 'laude'; reputed to have written the Stabat Mater dolorosa and Stabat Mater speciosa.
Stephen, protomartyr (c. 33)
- portrayed in art as holding the palm of martyrdom, and one or more stones.
Dionysius, pope (269)
- a Calabrian, as pope he subdivided the parishes of Rome, and constituted parishes outside its walls.
Marinus, martyr (283)
- a Roman senator, he was placed on a rack and torn with hooks before being placed on a gridiron, where the fire was extinguished by a heavenly dew; he was then thrown to the beasts, but they lost their appetite at his arrival; brought to worship the gods, the idols fell and were broken; only then did they decide to cut off his head.
Zeno, bishop of Majuma (fourth century)
Zosimus, pope (418)
- remembered mainly for theological disputes that arose during his papacy but which remained unresolved until after his death.
Jarlath, confessor (c. 560)
- bishop of Tuam (Ireland).
Ildefonsus, confessor (667)
- after a time as abbot of Agali, he became bishop of Toledo; among his works was a treatise written in opposition to those who taught that Mary was the real wife of Joseph, and bore him children after the birth of Jesus.
John the Divine (c. 100)
- of the disciples, perhaps the best off financially (cf. Mark 1,20; John 19,27)
- with Peter, the first to receive from Mary Magdalene the news of the Resurrection.
Maximus, confessor (281)
- bishop of Alexandria.
Theodore and Theophanes, confessors (ninth century)
- in Constantinople, these brothers were tortured and had twelve lines of verses cut into their skins for their opposition to iconoclasm
- Theodore soon afterward died, but Theophanes eventually became bishop of Nicaea and, ironically (given his torture), a noted poet.
The Holy Innocents
- much debate has taken place on the probable number of babies slaughtered by order of Herod, after the birth of Jesus; estimates have ranged from c. 6 to c. 144,000!
- this feast was known in England as Childermas.
Theodore the Sanctified, abbot (368)
- a disciple and successor of St Pachomius, one of his miracles involved one of the earliest recorded uses of blessed water as a sacramental for healing.
Antony of Lerins (c. 520)
- a native of Lower Pannonia, he became a monk in the area of Lake Como, where his fame caused him to flee across the Alps to Lerins.
Trophimus (third century?)
- this saint could be the Trophimus named as a companion of St Paul in the Temple of Jerusalem, or one sent along with St Dionysius to preach at Arles.
Marcellus Akimetes, abbot (c. 485)
- third abbot of a monastery that was divided into several choirs which, succeeding one another, continued the Divine Office uninterrupted all day and night.
Ebrulf or Evroult, abbot (596)
- lived in the forest of Ouche in Normandy as leader of a group of hermits.
Peter the Venerable, abbot (1156)
- abbot of Cluny, he arranged for Latin translations of many Arabic texts.
Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, martyr (1170)
- for a unique record of his cult, see book by list member Phyllis Roberts, Thomas Becket in the Medieval Latin Preaching Tradition. An Inventory of Sermons about St Thomas Becket c. 1170 - c. 1400 (Steenbrugge/Den Haag, St Peter's Abbey/Martinus Nijhoff, 1992), (Instrumenta Patristica, 25).
Sabinus and companions, martyrs (303?)
- Sabinus was a bishop, who along with some of his clergy was executed in Spoleto by the governor of Etruria.
Anysia, martyr (304?)
- Anysia was a orphaned Christian girl of Thessalonica, who used the money she had inherited to help the needy.
Anysius, bishop of Thessalonica (c. 410)
- pope Damasus made him patriarchal vicar in Illyricum; he was later praised by popes and saints Innocent I and Leo the Great.
Egwin, bishop of Worcester (717)
- founded the renowned abbey of Evesham, where he was buried.
Silvester I, pope (335)
- relieved emperor Constantine of his leprosy, and baptised him.
Columba of Sens, virgin and martyr (?)
- a Spanish girl, she was baptized at Vienne and beheaded at the fountain of Azon on the road to Meaux; her cult was spread over France, Spain and parts of Italy.
Melania the Younger, widow (439)
- a wealthy Roman patrician, she eventually was permitted to lead a religious life, during which she not only helped the poor but also copied books (in the tenth century, manuscripts were extant that were attributed to her hand.
- he was a canon regular at Dorat in the Limousin.
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