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Title: The Lives of the Saints, Volume 1 (of 16)

Author: Sabine Baring-Gould

Release Date: September 24, 2014 [EBook #46947]

Language: English

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Lives of the Saints




[Pg i]

[Pg ii]


[Pg iii]


Lives of the Saints



New Edition in 16 Volumes

Revised with Introduction and Additional Lives of
English Martyrs, Cornish and Welsh Saints,
and a full Index to the Entire Work








[Pg iv]

Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
At the Ballantyne Press

[Pg v]



he Lives of the Saints, which I have begun, is an undertaking, of whose difficulty few can have any idea. Let it be remembered, that there were Saints in every century, for eighteen hundred years; that their Acts are interwoven with the profane history of their times, and that the history, not of one nation only, but of almost every nation under the sun; that the records of these lives are sometimes fragmentary, sometimes mere hints to be culled out of secular history; that authentic records have sometimes suffered interpolation, and that some records are forgeries; that the profane history with which the lives of the Saints is mixed up is often dark and hard to be read; and then some idea may be formed of the difficulty of this undertaking.

After having had to free the Acts of a martyr from a late accretion of fable, and to decide whether the passion took place under—say Decius or Diocletian, Claudius the Elder, or Claudius the younger,—the writer of a hagiology is hurried into Byzantine politics, and has to collect the thread of a saintly confessor's [Pg vi] life from the tangle of political and ecclesiastical intrigue, in that chaotic period when emperors rose and fell, and patriarchs succeeded each other with bewildering rapidity. And thence he is, by a step, landed in the romance world of Irish hagiology, where the footing is as insecure as on the dark bogs of the Emerald Isle. Thence he strides into the midst of the wreck of Charlemagne's empire, to gather among the splinters of history a few poor mean notices of those holy ones living then, whose names have survived, but whose acts are all but lost. And then the scene changes, and he treads the cool cloister of a mediæval abbey, to glean materials for a memoir of some peaceful recluse, which may reflect the crystalline purity of the life without being wholly colourless of incident.

And then, maybe, he has to stand in the glare of the great conflagration of the sixteenth century, and mark some pure soul passing unscathed through the fire, like the lamp in Abraham's vision.

That one man can do justice to this task is not to be expected. When Bellarmine heard of the undertaking of Rosweydus, he asked "What is this man's age? does he expect to live two hundred years?" But for the work of the Bollandists, it would have been an impossibility for me to undertake this task. But even with this great storehouse open, the work to be got through is enormous. Bollandus began January with two folios in double columns, close print, of 1200 pages each. As he and his coadjutors proceeded, fresh materials came in, and February occupies three volumes. May swelled into seven folios, September [Pg vii] into eight, and October into ten. It was begun in 1643, and the fifty-seventh volume appeared in 1861.

The labour of reading, digesting, and selecting from this library is enormous. With so much material it is hard to decide what to omit, but such a decision must be made, for the two volumes of January have to be crushed into one, not a tenth of the size of one of Bollandus, and the ten volumes for October must suffer compression to an hundredth degree, so as to occupy the same dimensions. I had two courses open to me. One to give a brief outline, bare of incident, of the life of every Saint; the other to diminish the number of lives, and present them to the reader in greater fulness, and with some colour. I have adopted this latter course, but I have omitted no Saint of great historical interest. I have been compelled to put aside a great number of lesser known saintly religious, whose eventless lives flowed uniformly in prayer, vigil, and mortification.

In writing the lives of the Saints, I have used my discretion, also, in relating only those miracles which are most remarkable, either for being fairly well authenticated, or for their intrinsic beauty or quaintness, or because they are often represented in art, and are therefore of interest to the archæologist. That errors in judgment, and historical inaccuracies, have crept into this volume, and may find their way into those that succeed, is, I fear, inevitable. All I can promise is, that I have used my best endeavours to be accurate, having had recourse to all such modern critical works as have been accessible to me, for the determining of dates, and the estimation of authorities.

[Pg viii]

Believing that in some three thousand and six hundred memoirs of men, many of whose lives closely resembled each other, it would be impossible for me to avoid a monotony of style which would become as tedious to the reader as vexatious to myself, I have occasionally admitted the lives of certain Saints by other writers, thereby giving a little freshness to the book, where there could not fail otherwise to have been aridity; but I have, I believe, in no case, inserted a life by another pen, without verifying the authorities.

At the head of every article the authority for the life is stated, to which the reader is referred for fuller details. The editions of these authorities are not given, as it would have greatly extended the notices, and such information can readily be obtained from that invaluable guide to the historian of the Middle Ages, Potthast: Bibliotheca Historica Medii Ævi, Berlin, 1862; the second part of which is devoted to the Saints.

I have no wish that my work should be regarded as intended to supplant that of Alban Butler. My line is somewhat different from his. He confined his attention to the historical outlines of the saintly lives, and he rarely filled them in with anecdote. Yet it is the little details of a man's life that give it character, and impress themselves on the memory. People forget the age and parentage of S. Gertrude, but they remember the mouse running up her staff.

A priest of the Anglican Church, I have undertaken to write a book which I hope and trust will be welcome to Roman and Anglican Catholics, alike. It would have been unseemly to have carried prejudice, impertinent [Pg ix] to have obtruded sectarianism, into a work like this. I have been called to tread holy ground, and kneel in the midst of the great company of the blessed; and the only fitting attitude of the mind for such a place, and such society, is reverence. In reading the miracles recorded of the Saints, of which the number is infinite, the proper spirit to observe is, not doubt, but discrimination. Because much is certainly apocryphal in these accounts, we must not therefore reject what may be true. The present age, in its vehement naturalism, places itself, as it were, outside of the circle of spiritual phenomena, and is as likely to deny the supernatural agency in a marvel, as a mediæval was liable to attribute a natural phenomenon to spiritual causes. In such cases we must consider the evidence and its worth or worthlessness. It may be that, in God's dealings with men, at a time when natural means of cure were unattainable, the supernatural should abound, but that when the science of medicine became perfected, and the natural was rendered available to all, the supernatural should, to some extent, at least, be withdrawn.

Of the Martyrologies referred to, it may be as well to mention the dates of the most important. That of Ado is of the ninth century, Bede's of the eighth;[1] there are several bearing the name of S. Jerome, which differ from one another, they are forms of the ancient Roman Martyrology. The Martyrology of Notker (D. 912), of Rabanus Maurus (D. 856), of Usuardus (875), of Wandalbert (circ. 881). The general catalogue of the Saints by Ferrarius was [Pg x] published in 1625, the Martyrology of Maurolycus was composed in 1450, and published 1568. The modern Roman Martyrology is based on that of Usuardus. It is impossible, in the limited space available for a preface, to say all that is necessary on the various Kalendars, and Martyrologies, that exist, also on the mode in which some of the Saints have received apotheosis. Comparatively few Saints have received formal canonization at Rome; popular veneration was regarded as sufficient in the mediæval period, before order and system were introduced; thus there are many obscure Saints, famous in their own localities, and perhaps entered in the kalendar of the diocese, whose claims to their title have never been authoritatively inquired into, and decided upon. There is also great confusion in the monastic kalendars in appropriating titles to those commemorated; here a holy one is called "the Venerable," there "the Blessed," and in another "Saint." With regard also to the estimation of authorities, the notes of genuineness of the Acts of the martyrs, the tests whereby apocryphal lives and interpolations may be detected, I should have been glad to have been able to make observations. But this is a matter which there is not space to enter upon here.

The author cannot dismiss the work without expressing a hope that it may be found to meet a want which he believes has long been felt; for English literature is sadly deficient in the department of hagiology.


[1] This only exists in an interpolated condition.

[Pg xi]




martyrology means, properly, a list of witnesses. The martyrologies are catalogues in which are to be found the names of the Saints, with the days and places of their deaths, and generally with the distinctive character of their sanctity, and with an historic summary of their lives. The name is incorrect if we use the word "martyr" in its restricted sense as a witness unto death. "Hagiology" would be more suitable, as a martyrology includes the names of many Saints who were not martyrs. But the term "Martyrology" was given to this catalogue at an early age, when it was customary to commemorate only those who were properly martyrs, having suffered death in testimony to their faith; but it is not unsuitable if we regard as martyrs all those who by their lives have testified to the truth, as indeed we are justified in doing.

In the primitive Church it was customary for the [Pg xii] Holy Eucharist to be celebrated on the anniversary of the death of a martyr—if possible, on his tomb. Where in one diocese there were several martyrs, as, for instance, in that of Cæsarea, there were many days in the year on which these commemorations were made, and the Church—say that of Cæsarea—drew up a calendar with the days marked on which these festivals occurred.

In his "Church History," Eusebius quotes a letter from the Church of Smyrna, in which, after giving an account of the martyrdom of their bishop, S. Polycarp, the disciple of S. John the Divine, the Smyrnians observe: "Our subtle enemy, the devil, did his utmost that we should not take away the body, as many of us anxiously wished. It was suggested that we should desert our crucified Master, and begin to worship Polycarp. Fools! who knew not that we can never desert Christ, who died for the salvation of all men, nor worship any other. Him we adore as the Son of God; but we show respect to the martyrs, as His disciples and followers. The centurion, therefore, caused the body to be burned; we then gathered his bones, more precious than pearls, and more tried than gold, and buried them. In this place, God willing, we will meet, and celebrate with joy and gladness the birthday of this martyr, as well in memory of those who have been crowned before, as by his example to prepare and strengthen others for the combat."[2]

[Pg xiii]

S. Polycarp suffered in the year 166; he had been ordained Bishop of Smyrna by S. John in 96. This passage is extremely interesting, for it shows us, in the age following that of the apostles, the Church already keeping the festivals of martyrs, and, as we may conclude from the words of the letter, over the tombs of the martyrs. In this the Church was following the pattern shown to S. John in vision; for he heard the cry of the souls of the martyrs reposing under the altar in heaven. Guided, doubtless, by this, the Church erected altars over the bodies of saints. Among the early Christian writers there are two, S. Paulinus of Nola, and Prudentius, whose testimony is of intrinsic value, not only from its being curiously interesting, but because it is so full and unequivocal as to the fact of the tombs of the martyrs being used as altars.[3] In one of his letters to Severus, S. Paulinus encloses some verses of his own composition, which were to be inscribed over the altar under which was deposited the body of S. Clavus, of whom the venerable prelate says:

"Sancta sub æternis altaribus ossa quiescunt."[4]

[Pg xiv]

Before describing the basilica of Nola, the Saint proceeds to give a sketch of another but a smaller church, which he had just erected in the town of Fondi. After furnishing some details about this latter edifice, he says, "The sacred ashes—some of the blessed relics of the apostles and martyrs—shall consecrate this little basilica also in the name of Christ, the Saint of saints, the Martyr of martyrs, and the Lord of lords."[5] For this church two inscriptions were composed by Paulinus: one, to accompany the painting with which he had adorned the apse; the other, to announce that portions of the relics of the Apostle S. Andrew, of the Evangelist S. Luke, and of S. Nazarius, and other martyrs, were deposited under the altar. His verses may be thus rendered:

"In royal shrines, with purple marble graced, Their bones are under lighted altars placed. A holy band enshrined in one small chest, Full mighty names within its tiny breast."

Prudentius visited not only the more celebrated churches in Spain built over the bodies of the martyrs, he being a Spaniard by birth, but he also visited those of Italy and Rome on a journey made in 405. During his residence in the capital of Christianity, the poet frequented the catacombs; and he has bequeathed to us a valuable record of what he there saw. In his hymn in honour of S. Hippolytus, he tells us that he visited the sepulchral chapel in which were deposited the remains of the martyr; and, after having described the entrance into the cemetery, and the frescoes that adorned it, he adds:

"In gloomy cave the martyr's corpse is placed, And there to God with sacred altars graced, To give the sacrament the board is spread, And zealous guard the holy martyr's bed. The bones are resting in this hallowed tomb, To wait th' eternal Judge's gracious boon; And there with holy food are nourished those Who call on Christ where tawny Tiber flows."[6]

[Pg xv]

In his other hymns, Prudentius bears the most unequivocal testimony to the practice, even then a long time in use, of depositing the relics of the Saints immediately under the altar. It is unnecessary to quote more. The assertions of ancient writers on this point have been several times verified. The bodies of the martyrs have been discovered under the high altars of the churches dedicated to God in their memory. The body of S. Martina, together with those of two other martyrs, SS. Concordens and Epiphanius, were found in 1624 under the high altar of the ancient church near the Roman Forum, which bears the name of the Saint. The body of S. Agnes, and that of another virgin martyr, were also ascertained to be under the high altar of her church, denominated Fuori delle Mura. These, however, had all been removed from the Catacombs into Rome, within the walls.

Now this fact being established, as well as that of the annual commemoration of the Saint reposing in the church, it follows that it became necessary for a Church to draw up calendars marking those days in the year which were consecrated to the memory of martyrs whose relics were preserved in it; for instance, in the Church of Fondi, which contained relics of S. Andrew, S. Luke, S. Nazarius, and others, the Holy Eucharist would be celebrated over the relics on the day of S. Andrew, on that of S. Luke, on that of S. Nazarius, and so on; and it would be necessary for the Church to have a calendar of the days thus set apart.

[Pg xvi]

In the first centuries of the Church, not only the Saints whose bodies reposed in the church, but also the dead of the congregation were commemorated.

When a Roman Consul was elected, on entering on his office he distributed among his friends certain presents, called diptychs. These diptychs were folding tablets of ivory or boxwood, sometimes of silver, connected together by hinges, so that they could be shut or opened like a book. The exterior surface was richly carved, and generally bore a portrait of the Consul who gave them away. Upon the inner surface was written an epistle which accompanied the present, or a panegyric on himself. They were reminders to friends, given much as a Christmas card is now sent. The diptych speedily came into use in the Church. As the Consul on his elevation sent one to his friends to remind them of his exaltation, so, on a death in the congregation, a diptych was sent to the priest as a reminder of the dead who desired the prayers of the faithful. At first, no doubt, there was a pack of these little memorials, each bearing the name of the person who desired to be remembered at the altar. But, for convenience, one double tablet was after a while employed instead of a number, and all the names of those who were to be commemorated were written in this book. From the ancient liturgies we gather that it was the office of the deacon to rehearse aloud, to the people and the priest, this catalogue registered in the public diptychs. In the "Ecclesiastical Hierarchy," attributed to S. Dionysius the Areopagite, but really of a later date, the end of the fifth century, the author says of the ceremonies of the Eucharist, that [Pg xvii] after the kiss of peace, "When all have reciprocally saluted one another, there is made the mystic recitation of the sacred tablets."[7] In the Liturgy of S. Mark we have this, "The deacon reads the diptychs (or catalogue) of the dead. The priest then bowing down prays: To the souls of all these, O Sovereign Lord our God, grant repose in Thy holy tabernacle, in Thy kingdom, bestowing on them the good things promised and prepared by Thee," etc.

It is obvious that after a while the number of names continually swelling would become too great to be recited at once. It became necessary, therefore, to take some names on one day, others on another. And this originated the Necrologium, or catalogue of the dead. The custom of reading the diptychs has ceased to be observed in the Roman Liturgy, though we find it indicated there by the "Oratio supra Diptycha." At present, when the celebrating priest arrives at that part of the Canon called the "Memento," he secretly commemorates those for whose souls he more particularly wishes to pray.

[Pg xviii]

But, in addition to the diptychs of those for whom the priest and congregation were desired to pray, there was the catalogue of the Martyrs and Saints for whom the Church thanked God. For instance, in the modern Roman Mass, in the Canon we have this commemoration: "Joining in communion with, and reverencing, in the first place, the memory of the glorious and ever-virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ; as also of Thy blessed apostles and martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddæus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Laurence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints," etc. This is obviously a mere fragment of a commemoration of the Blessed Virgin, of the apostles, and then of the special Roman martyrs. The catalogue of the Saints to be remembered was long; there were hundreds of martyrs at Rome alone, and their names were written down on sacred diptychs especially appropriated to this purpose. Such an inscription was equivalent to the present ceremony of canonization. The term canonization itself tells the history of the process. It is derived from that part of the Mass called the Canon, in which occurs that memorial already quoted. On the day when the Pope, after a scrutinizing examination into the sanctity of a servant of God, formally inscribes him among the Saints, he adds his name at the end of those already enumerated in the Canon, after "Cosmas and Damian," and immediately reads Mass, adding this name at this place. Formerly every bishop could and did canonize—that is, add the name of any local Saint or martyr worthy of commemoration in his diocese.

When the list became long, it was found impracticable to commemorate all nominatim at once, and the Saints were named on their special days. Thus, out of one set of diptychs grew the Necrologium, and out of the other the Martyrology.

The Church took pains to collect and commit to writing the acts of the martyrs. This is not to be wondered at; for the martyrs are the heroes of [Pg xix] Christianity, and as the world has her historians to record the achievements of the warriors who have gained renown in conflict for power, so the Church had her officers to record the victories that her sons won over the world and Satan. The Saints are the elect children of the spouse of Christ, the precious fruit of her body; they are her crown of glory. And when these dear children quit her to reap their eternal reward, the mother retains precious memorials of them, and holds up their example to her other children to encourage them to follow their glorious traces.

The first to institute an order of scribes to take down the acts of the martyrs was S. Clement, the disciple of S. Peter, as we are told by Pope S. Damasus, in the "Liber Pontificale."[8] According to this tradition, S. Clement appointed seven notaries, men of approved character and learning, to collect in the city of Rome, each in his own region of the city, the acts of the martyrs who suffered in it. To add to the guarantee of good faith, Pope S. Fabian[9] placed these seven notaries under the control of the seven subdeacons, who with the seven deacons were placed over the fourteen cardinal regions of the city of Rome. Moreover, the Roman Pontiffs obtained the acts of martyrs who had suffered in other churches. These acts were the procès verbal of their trial, with the names of the judges under whom they were sentenced, and an account of the death endured. The acts of S. Philip of Heraclea, SS. Hilary and Tatian, and [Pg xx] SS. Peter, Paul, Andrew, and Dionysia, are examples of such acts. Other acts were those written by eye-witnesses, sometimes friends of the martyrs; those of the martyrs, SS. Perpetua, Felicitas, and their companions are instances. The first part of these was written by S. Perpetua herself, and reaches to the eve of her martyrdom; then another confessor in the same prison took the pen and added to the eve of his death, and the whole was concluded by an eye-witness of their passion. Other acts again were written by those who, if not eye-witnesses, were able, from being contemporaries and on the spot, to gather reliable information; such are the narratives of the martyrs of Palestine by Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the acts of the martyrs have come down to us in their genuine freshness; and the Church of Rome, which set the example in appointing notaries to record the facts, has been most careless about preserving these records unadulterated; so that even the acts of some of her own bishops and martyrs, S. Alexander, and S. Marcellinus, and S. Callixtus, are romances devoid of all stamp of truth.

Tertullian[10] says that on the natal days, that is, on the days of martyrdom of the Saints who have suffered for Christ, "We keep an annual commemoration." It is easy to see how this usage necessitated the drawing up of lists in which were inscribed not only the names of the martyrs, and the place of their decease, but also a few words relative to their conflict, so that the people might associate their names with their victories, [Pg xxi]and the names might not become, in time, to them empty sounds. S. Cyprian was absent from Carthage when the persecution was raging there, but he wrote to his clergy, "Note the days of their death, that we may celebrate their commemorations along with the memorials of the martyrs."[11] S. Augustine says,[12] "The Christian people celebrate the memory of the martyrs with religious solemnity, both to excite to imitation, and that they may become fellows in their merits and be assisted by their prayers."

Adrian I. quotes the 13th Canon of the African Church and the 47th of the third Carthaginian Council, in a letter to Charlemagne, in which he says, "The Sacred Canons approved of the passions of the Holy Martyrs being read in Church when their anniversary days were being celebrated."

The names of the martyrs to be commemorated were announced on the eve. By degrees other names besides those of martyrs were introduced into the Martyrologies, as those of faithful servants of God whose lives were deserving of imitation, but who had not suffered to the death in testimony to the truth. Thus we have confessors, or those who endured hardships for Christ, doctors, or teachers of the Church, virgins, widows, bishops and abbots, and even penitents.

The Martyrologies may be divided into two series, the ancient and the modern. We need only concern ourselves with the Ancient Martyrologies.

[Pg xxii]

The first to draw up a tolerably full Martyrology was Eusebius the historian, Bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine, and he did this at the request of the Emperor Constantine. In this Martyrology he noted all the martyrs of whom he had received an authentic account on the days of their suffering, with the names of the judges who sentenced them, the places where they suffered, and the nature of their sufferings. Eusebius wrote about a.d. 320, but there were collections of the sort already extant, as we may learn from the words of S. Cyprian already quoted, who in his instructions to his clergy ordered them to compile what was practically a Martyrology of the Carthaginian Church.

We have not got the Greek Martyrology of Eusebius, but we have the Latin version made by S. Jerome. Bede says of this, "Jerome was not the author, but the translator of this book; Eusebius is said to have been the author."

But even this Latin version has not come down to us in its original form. There are numerous copies, purporting to be the Martyrology of S. Jerome, still extant, but hardly two of them agree. The copies have been amplified. The occasion of S. Jerome making his translation was as follows. At the Council of Milan, held in 390, the presiding Bishop, Gregory of Cordova, read out daily on the eve, as usual, the lists of martyrs whose anniversary was to be celebrated on the morrow. As a good number of those present knew nothing of the martyrs thus commemorated, they wrote by the hands of Chromatius, Bishop of Aquileja, and Heliodorus, Bishop of Altino, to S. Jerome, then at Bethlehem, to request him to draw up for their use a Martyrology [Pg xxiii] out of the collection made by Eusebius of Cæsarea.

To this S. Jerome answered by letter, stating that he had got the passions of the martyrs written by Eusebius, and that he would gladly execute what was asked of him. With this letter he sent the Martyrology, with the name of a martyr to every day in the year except the first of January.[13] Unfortunately, as already said, we have not got a copy of the Martyrology unamended and unenlarged.

Next in importance to the Martyrology of Jerome comes the "Martyrologium Romanum Parvum," mentioned by S. Gregory the Great, who sent a copy of it to the Bishop of Aquileja. Ado, Bishop of Vienne, saw this; it was lent him for a few days, and he made a transcript with his own hand, as he tells us in the preface to his own Martyrology, and it served him as the basis for his work.

Baronius was unable to discover a copy, though he made inquiry for it, in the libraries of Italy; but it was discovered by Rosweydus, the learned Bollandist, and published by him in 1613.

S. Gregory the Great, in his 29th Epistle, says, "We have the names of nearly all the martyrs with their passions set down on their several days, collected into one volume, and we celebrate the Mass daily in their honour."

Cassiodorus, in his "Institution of Divine Lessons," says, "Read constantly the passions of the martyrs, which among other places you will find in the letter of S. Jerome to Chromatius and Heliodorus; they flourished over the whole earth, and provoked to imitation; you will be led thereby to the heavenly kingdom."

[Pg xxiv]

Next in importance to the Martyrology of Jerome and the little Roman Martyrology, comes that of the Venerable Bede. In the catalogue of his own works that he drew up, he says, "I wrote a Martyrology of the natal days of the holy martyrs, in which I took care to set down all I could find, not only on their several days, but I also gave the sort of conflict they underwent, and under what judge they conquered the world."

If we compare this Martyrology with the Acts of the Martyrs, we see at once that Bede took his account from them verbatim, merely condensing the narrative.

The Martyrology of Bede was written about 720; Drepanius Florus, a priest of Lyons, who died 860, added to it considerably, and most of the copies of Bede's Martyrology that we have are those enlarged by Florus.

The next martyrologist was Usuardus, monk of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, who died in 876. He wrote his Martyrology at the request of Charles the Bald, who was dissatisfied with the Martyrologies of Jerome and of Bede because they were too short in their narratives, and also because several days in the calendar were left blank. This account, which Usuardus gives in his preface, does not tally with the words of the epistle attributed to S. Jerome that precedes his Martyrology; and leads to the suspicion [Pg xxv] that this portion of the epistle, at least, is not genuine. Usuardus certainly used the Hieronyman Martyrology as the basis of his work, and this has caused his work to be designated the larger Hieronyman Martyrology. This work of Usuardus was so full, that it displaced the earlier Martyrologies in a great many churches. The best edition of the Martyrology of Usuardus is that of Solerius, Antwerp, 1714-1717.

Usuardus was followed by Wandelbert, monk of Prum, who died in 870. Wandelbert followed the Martyrologies of SS. Jerome and Bede, as amplified by Florus, and wrote the notices of the martyrs in hexameter Latin verses. This monument of patience is composed of about 360 metrical pieces, of which each contains the life of the Saint commemorated on the day. To these, which form the bulk of the work, are prefixed others of less importance, prefaces, dedicatory epistles to Lothair, preliminary discourses on the importance of the Martyrology, on the knowledge of times and seasons, months and days, etc. Although Wandelbert wrote for the most part in hexameters, he abandoned them occasionally for lyric metres, which he managed with less facility. D'Achéry published this Martyrology in his "Spicilegium," but the edition is a bad one.

The next martyrologist is Ado, Bishop of Vienne, who has been already mentioned in connection with the "Martyrologium Parvum." Ado was born about the year 800, and died in 875. In his preface, Ado says: "For this work of noting on their proper days the nativities of the Saints, which are generally found [Pg xxvi] confusedly in calendars, I have made use of a venerable and very ancient Martyrology, at Aquileja, sent to a certain holy bishop by the Roman Pontiff, and this was lent me, when at Ravenna, for a few days by a certain religious brother. This I diligently copied, and thought to place it at the head of my work. I have, however, inserted the passions of the Saints somewhat longer in this Martyrology, for the use of the infirm brothers, and those less able to get at books, that they may be able to read out of a little book a compendium to the praise of God and the memory of the martyrs, instead of overhauling a host of big volumes with much labour." The best edition of Ado's Martyrology is that by Geo. Rhodigini, published at Rome, 1740.

There have been many later Martyrologies, but these are of far inferior importance, and need not be here enumerated. In the East, the Greeks had anciently their collections. That of Eusebius probably formed the basis of later Menologies. In the Horology are contained calendars of the Saints for every day with prayers; this portion of the Horology is called the Menology.

The Menology is divided into months, and contains the lives of the Saints, in abridgment, for each day, or the simple commemoration of those whose acts are extant. The Menology of the Greeks is, therefore, much the same as the Latin Martyrology, and there are almost as many Menologies as there are Martyrologies. The principal is that of the Emperor Basil II. (d. 1025), published by Ughelli in his "Italia Sacra." The larger Menologies are entitled "Synaxaria," because [Pg xxvii] they were read in the churches on days of assembly. These lives are very long, and the Menology contains the substance in a condensed form.

The modern Roman Martyrology was drawn up by order of Pope Gregory XIII., who appointed for the purpose eight commissaries, amongst whom was Baronius. It leaves much to be desired, as it bristles with inaccuracies. A fresh edition was issued with some corrections by Benedict XIV. It demands a careful revision. Many of its inaccuracies have been pointed out in the course of this work.

It is impossible to dismiss the subject of Martyrologies without a word on the "Acta Sanctorum" of the Bollandists. This magnificent collection of Lives of the Saints is arranged on the principle of the Synaxarium, or Martyrology—that is to say, the Saints are not given in their chronological order, but as they appear in the calendar.

Heribert Resweidus, of Utrecht, was a learned Jesuit father, born in 1563, who died 1629. In 1607 he published the "Fasti sanctorum quorum vitæ manuscriptæ in Belgio," a book containing the plan of a vast work on the lives of all the Saints, which he desired to undertake. In 1613 he published "Notes on the old Roman Martyrology," which he was the first to discover. In 1615 he brought out the "Lives of the Hermits," and in 1619 another work on the "Eremites of Palestine and Egypt." In 1626 he published the "Lives of the Virgin Saints." He died before the great work for which he had collected, and to which he had devoted his time and thoughts, was begun. But the project was not allowed to drop. It was taken [Pg xxviii] up by John Bollandus, another Jesuit; with him were associated two other fathers of the same order, Henschenius and Papebrock, and in 1643 appeared the January volumes, two in number. In 1648 the three volumes of the February Saints issued from the press. Bollandus died in 1665, and the March volumes, three in number, edited by Henschenius and Papebrock, appeared in 1668. As the work proceeded, material came in in abundance, and the work grew under their hands. May was represented by seven volumes; so also June, July, and August. The compilation is not yet complete. At present, this huge work consists of about sixty folio volumes, which bring the student down to within three days of the end of the month of October; but a large store of material is being utilized in order to complete that month forthwith, and further stores have been accumulated towards the Lives of the Saints for November and December, about 4000 of such biographies being still to be actually written. Moreover, the earlier volumes are very incomplete, and at least the months of January to April need rewriting.

The principle on which the Bollandists have worked is an excellent one. They have not themselves written the lives of the Saints, but they publish every scrap of record, and all the ancient acts and lives of the Saints that are extant. The work is a storehouse of historical materials. To these materials the editors prefix an introductory essay on the value and genuineness of the material, and on the chronology of the Saint's life. They have done their work conscientiously and well. Only occasionally have they [Pg xxix] omitted acts or portions of lives which they have regarded as mythical or unedifying. These omissions are to be regretted, as they would have been instructive.

Another valuable repository of the lives of Saints is Mabillon's "Collection of the Acts of the Saints of the Order of S. Benedict," in nine volumes, published 1668-1701. The arrangement in this collection is by centuries. Theodoric Ruinart, in 1689, published the Acts of the Martyrs, but not a complete series; he selected only those which he regarded as genuine.

With regard to England there is a Martyrology of Christ Church, Canterbury, written in the thirteenth century, and now in the British Museum (Arundell MSS., No. 68); also a Martyrology written between 1220 and 1224, from the south-west of England; this also is in the British Museum (MSS. Reg. 2, A. xiii.). A Saxon Martyrology, incomplete, is among the Harleian MSS. (2785) in the same museum. It dates from the fourteenth century. There is a transcript among the Sloane MSS. (4938), of a Martyrology of North English origin, but this also is incomplete. There are others, later, of less value. The most interesting is "The Martiloge in Englysshe, after the use of the chirche of Salisbury," printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1526, reissued by the "Henry Bradshaw Society" in 1893. To these Martyrologies must be added the "Legenda" of John of Tynemouth, a.d. 1350; that of Capgrave, a.d. 1450, his "Nova Legenda," printed in 1516; Whitford's "Martyrology," 1526; Wilson's "Martyrologue," 1st edition, 1608, 2nd edition, 1640; and Bishop Challoner's "Memorial of Ancient British [Pg xxx] Piety," 1761. Recently the Rev. Richard Stanton, Priest of the Oratory, London, has issued an invaluable "Martyrology of England and Wales," 1887.

Scottish Kalendars have been reprinted and commented on, and brief lives of the Saints given by the late Bishop Forbes of Brechin, in "Kalendars of Scottish Saints," Edinburgh, 1872.

Unhappily little is known of the Welsh and Cornish and some local English Saints, but it is my purpose to add such information as can be gathered concerning them.


  January 1897.

decoration p.32


[2] Euseb., "Hist. Eccl.," lib. iv., cap. xv.

[3] S. Paulinus was born a.d. 353, and elected Bishop of Nola a.d. 409. Prudentius was born a.d. 348.

[4] Ep. xii., ad Severum, "His holy bones 'neath lasting altars rest."

[5] Ep. xii., ad Severum.

[6] Hymn xi.

[7] "Eccl. Hierarch.," cap. iii.

[8] S. Damasus was born a.d. 304, and died a.d. 384.

[9] He died a.d. 250; see Ep. i.

[10] Born a.d. 160, died a.d. 245.

[11] Ep. xxxvii.

[12] Lib. xx., contra Faustum, cap. xxi.

[13] The copies of these letters prefixed to the Martyrology vary greatly, and their authenticity has been questioned; but the circumstance is probably true.

[Pg xxxi]

decoration p.33


S. Adalhardt 34
"   Adelelm 461
"   Adrian 128
"   Aelred 176
"   Agatho 137
"   Agnes 317
"   Aidan 467
"   Aldegund 460
"   Aldric 96
"   Alexander Acœmetus 228
SS. Anastasius and comp. 334
B. Angela of Foligni 63
S. Anteros 38
"   Anthony 249
"   Apollinaris Synclet 70
"   Apollo 372
"   Arcadius 162
SS. Archelaa and others 278
S. Artemas 370
"   Asclas 346
"   Athanasius 38
"   Atticus 100
"   Audifax 285
"   Augurius 312

S. Babylus 361
"   Baldwin 112
"   Balthazar 148
"   Barsas of Edessa 460
"   Bassian of Lodi 268
"   Bathild 394
"   Benedict Biscop 167
"   Bertilia 51
SS. Blaithmac and comp. 289
S. Brithwald 131
[Pg xxxii]
S. Cadoc 363
"   Cæsaria 167
"   Canute Lavard 97
"   Cedd 91
"   Ceolwulf 236
"   Charlemagne 437
"   Christiana 146
    Circumcision, The 1
S. Clement of Ancyra 347
"   Concord 3
    Conversion of S. Paul 370
S. Cyriacus 163
"   Cyril, Alexandria 418
"   Cyrinus 44
SS. Cyrus, John, and others 465

S. Dafrosa 57
"   Datius 210
"   Deicolus 280
"   Devota 399
"   Domitian 136

S. Egwin 160
SS. Elvan and Mydwyn 5
    Epiphany, The 82
S. Erminold 86
"   Eulogius 312
"   Euthymius 305
"   Eutropius 163

S. Fabian 299
"   Fechin 310
"   Felix 199
"   Fillan 127
"   Francis of Sales 443
"   Frodobert 112
"   Fructuosus 312
"   Fulgentius 10
"   Fursey 243

S. Gaudentius 334
"   Genoveva 46
"   Genulph 247
"   Gerlach 81
"   Germanicus 284
"   Gildas 440
"   Gonsalvo 142
"   Gordius 42
B. Gotfried 194
S. Gregory of Langres 58
"   Gudula 115

S. Habakkuk 285
"   Henry 245
SS. Hermylus and Stratonicus 179
S. Hilary 182
"   Honoratus 240
"   Hyacintha 462
"   Hyginus 149

S. Isidore 228

S. James (Tarantaise) 242
"   James the Penitent 433
"   John the Almsgiver 348
"   John the Calybite 233
"   John Chrysostom 400
"   John of Therouanne 415
"   Julian of Le Mans 398
SS. Julian and comp. 121
S. Justina 133
SS. Juventine and Maximus 371

[Pg xxxiii] S. Kentigern 187

S. Launomar 287
"   Laurence Justiniani 119
"   Leobard 278
"   Lucian of Antioch 88
"   Lucian of Beauvais 99
"   Lupus of Châlons 413

S. Macarius, Alexandria 28
"   Macarius, Egypt 221
"   Macedonius 362
"   Macra 85
"   Macrina 202
"   Marcella 466
"   Marcellus 238
"   Marcian 134
"   Marciana 120
"   Mares 374
SS. Maris and others 285
S. Martha 285
SS. Martyrs at Lichfield 28
"   Martyrs in the Thebaid 65
S. Maurus 234
"   Maximus 371
"   Meinrad 321
"   Melanius 85
"   Melas 239
"   Melor 44
"   Mildgytha 273
"   Mochua or Cronan 20
"   Mochua or Cuan 19
"   Mosentius 163

S. Nicanor 133

S. Odilo 20
B. Ordorico 211
S. Oringa 146

S. Palæmon 149
"   Palladius 417
"   Patiens 100
"   Patroclus 315
"   Paul 215
"   Paula 384
SS. Paul and comp. 277
S. Paulinus 436
"   Pega 118
"   Peter Balsam 39
"   Peter Nolasco 470
"   Peter of Canterbury 86
"   Peter of Sebaste 125
"   Peter's Chair 275
"   Pharaildis 60
"   Polycarp 378
"   Poppo 375
"   Præjectus 375
"   Primus 44
"   Prisca 276
"   Priscilla 238

S. Raymund 357
"   Rigobert 61
"   Rumon 57

S. Sabine 273
SS. Sabinian and Sabina 439
S. Salvius 160
SS. Satyrus and others 163
S. Sebastian 300
"   Serapion 470
"   Sethrida 138
"   Severinus 101
"   Silvester 36
"   Simeon Stylites 72
"   Simeon the Old 383
SS. Speusippus and others 246
[Pg xxxiv] S. Sulpicius Severus 442
S. Susanna 278
"   Syncletica 67

S. Telemachus 7
"   Telesphorus 65
"   Thecla 278
SS. Thecla and Justina 133
S. Theodoric 414
"   Theodosius 151
SS. Theodulus & comp. 202
"   Theognis & comp. 44
S. Theoritgitha 397
SS. Thyrsus and comp. 416
"   Tigris and Eutropius 163
S. Timothy 359
"   Titus 53
"   Tyllo 94

S. Ulphia 468

S. Valentine 90
"   Valerius of Trèves 439
"   Valerius (Saragossa) 417
"   Veronica of Milan 196
"   Vincent 331
"   Vitalis 156

B. Walter of Bierbeeke 341
S. William (Bourges) 139
"   Wulsin 118
"   Wulstan 290

SS. Xenophon and Mary 389
"   XXXVIII Monks, in Ionia 175

SS. Zosimus and Athanasius 38


[Pg xxxv]


Silver-gilt Monstrance   Frontispiece
  In the Treasury of the Cathedral, Aix-la-Chapelle.    
The Circumcision of Christ   to face p. 1
  From the grand Vienna edition of the "Missale Romanum."    
Oblation of an Infant to a Religious Community   on p. 37
S. Genoveva   to face p. 48
  From "Caractéristiques des Saints dans l'Art
populaire énumérées et expliquées," par le

P. Ch. Cahier, de la Compagnie de Jesus.
4to. Paris, 1867.
S. Simeon Stylites   to face p. 72
  From Hone's "Everyday Book."    
The Epiphany   to face p. 82
  From the Vienna Missal.    
Worshippers at the Shrine of a Saint   on p. 87
Seal of the City of Brussels   on p. 98
S. Genoveva   on p. 132
S. Egwin, Bp. of Worcester   to face p. 160
  After Cahier.    
[Pg xxxvi]  
S. Aelred, Ab. of Rievaux   to face p. 176
  From a Design by A. Welby Pugin.    
S. Odilo   on p. 178
S. Hilary Baptizing S. Martin of Tours   to face p. 184
  From a Window, dated 1528, in the Church of
S. Florentin, Yonne.
The Three Children in the Fiery Furnace   184
  From the Catacombs.    
Seal of Robert Wishart, Bp. of Glasgow, 1272-1316   on p. 198
Hermit Saints—S. Anthony   on p. 214
Hermit Saint   to face p. 216
  From a Drawing by A. Welby Pugin.    
S. Ceolwulf (?)   on p. 237
S. Honoré   to face p. 240
  After Cahier.    
S. Anthony tortured by Demons   to face p. 252
  From the Design by Martin Schonguer.    
The Chair of S. Peter in the Vatican   on p. 274
S. Peter's Commission, "Feed my Flock"   to face p. 274
The Apostolic Succession   to face p. 274
Baptism and Confirmation   on p. 283
  From a Painting in the Catacombs.    
S. Wulstan, Bp. of Worcester   to face p. 296
  From a Design by A. Welby Pugin.    
[Pg xxxvii]  
SS. Fabian and Sebastian   on p. 298
S. Sebastian   to face p. 304
  From a Drawing by Lucas Schraudolf.    
The Peacock as a Christian Emblem   on p. 311
S. Agnes   to face p. 316
  From the Vienna Missal.    
The Virgin Appearing to S. Ildephonsus   to face p. 356
  After a Painting by Murillo in the Museum at Madrid.    
S. Timothy   to face p. 360
  From a Window of the Eleventh Century at Neuweiler.    
S. Paul   on p. 369
  After a Bronze in Christian Museum in the Vatican.    
The Conversion of St. Paul   to face p. 370
  After the Cartoon by Raphael.    
Alpha and Omega; the First and the Last   on p. 377
SS. Paula, Prisca, and Paul   to face p. 384
S. Cyril of Alexandria   to face p. 424
  After the Picture by Dominichino (or Dominiquin) in the Church of Grotta Ferrata, Rome.    
S. Cyril of Alexandria   to face p. 432
  After Cahier.    
Charlemagne and S. Louis   to face p. 436
  After a Picture in the Palais de Justice, Paris.    
Baptism of Vanquished Saxons by Command of Charlemagne   on p. 438
  From a Miniature of the 15th Century in the Burgundy Library at Brussels.    
[Pg xxxviii]  
S. Francis of Sales   to face p. 448
S. Aldegund   to face p. 460
  After Cahier.    
Virgin in Crescent   on p. 464
  After Albert Dürer.    
S. Marcella   to face p. 466
  After an Engraving of the Seventeenth Century.    
S. Ulphia   to face p. 468
  From Cahier.    
S. Peter Nolasco   to face p. 470
  From Cahier.    


[Pg xl]


[Pg 1]

Lives of the Saints

January 1.

The Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ.

S. Gaspar, one of the Magi.
S. Concord, P. M., at Spoleto, in Umbria, circ. a.d. 175.
SS. Elvan, B., and Mydwyn, in England, circ. a.d. 198.
S. Martina, V. M., at Rome, a.d. 235.
S. Paracodius, B. of Vienne, a.d. 239.
S. Severus, M., at Ravenna, a.d. 304.
S. Telemachus, M., at Rome, a.d. 404.
S. Fulgentius, B. C. of Ruspe, in N. Africa, a.d. 533.
S. Mochua, or Cuan, Ab. in Ireland, 6th cent.
S. Mochua, or Cronan, Ab. of Balla, in Ireland, 7th cent.
S. Eugendus, Ab. of Condate, in the Jura, a.d. 581.
S. Fanchea, or Fain, V. Abss., of Rosairthir, in Ireland, 6th cent.
S. Clare, Ab. of Vienne, circ. a.d. 660.
S. William, Ab. S. Benignus, at Dijon, a.d. 1031.
S. Odilo, Ab. Cluny, a.d. 1049.



his festival is celebrated by the Church in order to commemorate the obedience of our Lord in fulfilling all righteousness, which is one branch of the meritorious cause of our redemption, and by that means abrogating the severe injunctions of the Mosaic law, and placing us under the grace of the Gospel.

God gave to Abraham the command to circumcise all male children on the eighth day after birth, and this rite was to be the seal of covenant with Him, a token that, through shedding of the blood of One to come, remission of the [Pg 2] original sin inherited from Adam could alone be obtained. It was also to point out that the Jews were cut off, and separate, from the other nations. By circumcision, a Jew belonged to the covenant, was consecrated to the service of God, and undertook to believe the truths revealed by Him to His elect people, and to hold the commandments to which He required obedience. Thus, this outward sign admitted him to true worship of God, true knowledge of God, and true obedience to God's moral law. Circumcision looked forward to Christ, who, by His blood, remits sin. Consequently, as a rite pointing to Him who was to come, it is abolished, and its place is taken by baptism, which also is a sign of covenant with God, admitting to true worship, true knowledge, and true obedience. But baptism is more than a covenant, and therefore more than was circumcision. It is a Sacrament; that is, a channel of grace. By baptism, supernatural power, or grace, is given to the child, whereby it obtains that which by nature it could not have. Circumcision admitted to covenant, but conferred no grace. Baptism admits to covenant, and confers grace. By circumcision, a child was made a member of God's own peculiar people. By baptism, the same is done; but God's own people is now not one nation, but the whole Catholic Church. Christ underwent circumcision, not because He had inherited the sin of Adam, but because He came to fulfil all righteousness, to accomplish the law, and for the letter to give the spirit.

It was, probably, the extravagances committed among the heathen at the kalends of January, upon which this day fell, that hindered the Church for some ages from proposing it as an universal set festival. The writings of the Fathers are full of invectives against the idolatrous profanations of this day, which concluded the riotous feasts in honour of Saturn, and was dedicated to Janus and Strena, or Strenua, a goddess [Pg 3] supposed to preside over those presents which were sent to, and received from, one another on the first day of the year, and which were called after her, strenæ; a name which is still preserved in the étrennes, or gifts, which it is customary in France to make on New Year's Day.

But, when the danger of the heathen abuses was removed, by the establishment of Christianity in the Roman empire, this festival began to be observed; and the mystery of our Blessed Lord's Circumcision is explained in several ancient homilies of the fifth century. It was, however, spoken of in earlier times as the Octave of the Nativity, and the earliest mention of it as the Circumcision is towards the end of the eleventh century, shortly before the time of S. Bernard, who also has a sermon upon it. In the Ambrosian Missal, used at Milan, the services of the day contain special cautions against idolatry. In a Gallican Lectionary, which is supposed to be as old as the seventh century, are special lessons "In Circumcisione Domini." Ivo, of Chartres, in 1090, speaks of the observance of this day in the French Church. The Greek Church also has a special commemoration of the Circumcision.


(about 175.)

[S. Concord is mentioned in all the Latin Martyrologies. His festival is celebrated at Bispal, in the diocese of Gerona, in Spain, where his body is said to be preserved, on the 2nd Jan. His translation is commemorated on the 4th July. The following is an abridgment of his genuine Acts.]

In the reign of the Emperor Marcus Antoninus, there raged a violent persecution in the city of Rome. At that time there dwelt in Rome a sub-deacon, named Concordius, whose father was priest of S. Pastor's, Cordianus by name. [Pg 4] Concord was brought up by his father in the fear of God, and in the study of Holy Scripture, and he was consecrated sub-deacon by S. Pius, Bishop of Rome. Concord and his father fasted and prayed, and served the Lord instantly in the person of His poor. When the persecution waxed sore, said Concord to his father, "My lord, send me away, I pray thee, to S. Eutyches, that I may dwell with him a few days, until this tyranny be overpast." His father answered, "My son, it is better to stay here that we may be crowned." But Concord said, "Let me go, that I may be crowned where Christ shall bid me be crowned." Then his father sent him away, and Eutyches received him with great joy. With him Concord dwelt for a season, fervent in prayer. And many sick came to them, and were healed in the name of Jesus Christ.

Then, hearing the fame of them, Torquatus, governor of Umbria, residing at Spoleto, sent and had Concord brought before him. To him he said, "What is thy name?" He answered, "I am a Christian." Then, said the Governor, "I asked concerning thee, and not about thy Christ." S. Concord replied, "I have said that I am a Christian, and Christ I confess." The Governor ordered: "Sacrifice to the immortal gods, and I will be to thee a father, and will obtain for thee favour at the hands of the Emperor, and he will exalt thee to be priest of the gods." S. Concord said, "Harken unto me, and sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt escape eternal misery." Then the governor ordered him to be beaten with clubs, and to be cast into prison.

Then, at night, there came to him the blessed Eutyches, with S. Anthymius, the bishop; for Anthymius was a friend of the governor; and he obtained permission of Torquatus to take Concord home with him for a few days. And during these days he ordained him priest, and they watched together in prayer.

[Pg 5]

And after a time, the governor sent and brought him before him once more and said to him, "What hast thou decided on for thy salvation?" Then Concord said, "Christ is my salvation, to whom daily I offer the sacrifice of praise." Then he was condemned to be hung upon the little horse; and, with a glad countenance, he cried, "Glory be to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ!"

After this torment he was cast into prison, with irons on his hands and neck. And blessed Concord began to sing praise to God in his dungeon, and he said, "Glory be to God on high, and in earth peace to men of good will." Then, that same night, the angel of the Lord stood by him, and said, "Fear not to play the man, I shall be with thee."

And when three days had passed, the governor sent two of his officers, at night, to him with a small image of Jupiter. And they said, "Hear what the governor has ordered; sacrifice to Jupiter or lose thy head." Then the blessed Concord spat in the face of the idol, and said, "Glory be to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ." Then one of the officers smote off his head in the prison. Afterwards, two clerks and certain religious men carried away his body, and buried it not far from the city of Spoleto, where many waters flow forth.


(about 198.)

[Mentioned in English Martyrologies, and by Ferrarius in his General Catalogue of the Saints. The evidence for these Saints is purely traditional; the first written record of them was by Gildas, a.d. 560, but his account is lost. It is referred to by Matthew of Westminster.]

Saint Elvan of Avalon, or Glastonbury, was brought up in that school erroneously said to have been founded by S. Joseph of Arimathea. He vehemently preached the truth [Pg 6] before Lucius, a British king, and was mightily assisted by S. Mydwyn of Wales (Meduinus), a man of great learning. Lucius despatched Elvan and Mydwyn to Rome, on an embassy to Pope Eleutherius, in 179, who consecrated Elvan bishop, and appointed Mydwyn teacher. He gave them, as companions, two Roman clerks, Faganus and Deruvianus; or, according to some, Fugatius and Damianus. They returned with these to King Lucius, who was obedient to the word of God, and received baptism along with many of his princes and nobles. Elvan became the second archbishop of London. He and Mydwyn were buried at Avalon. S. Patrick is said to have found there an ancient account of the acts of the Apostles, and of Fugatius and Damianus, written by the hand of S. Mydwyn. Matthew of Westminster gives the following account of the conversion of Lucius, under the year 185:—"About the same time, Lucius, king of the Britons, directed letters to Eleutherius, entreating him that he would make him a Christian. And the blessed pontiff, having ascertained the devotion of the king, sent to him some religious teachers; namely, Faganus and Deruvianus, to convert the king to Christ, and wash him in the holy font. And when that had been done, then the different nations ran to baptism, following the example of the king, so that in a short time there were no infidels found in the island."

There is a considerable amount of exaggeration in this account of Matthew of Westminster, which must not be passed over. Lucius is known in the Welsh triads by the name of Lleurwg, or Lleufer Mawr, which means "The great Luminary," and this has been Latinized into Lucius, from Lux, light. He was king of a portion of South Wales only. The Welsh authorities make no mention of the alleged mission to Rome, though, that such a mission should have been sent, is extremely probable. Some accounts say [Pg 7] that Medwy and Elfan were Britons, and that Dyfan and Ffagan (Deruvianus and Faganus) were Roman priests. But both these names are British, consequently we may conjecture that they were of British origin, but resided then at Rome.

Four churches near Llandaf bore the names of Lleurwg (Lucius), Dyfan, Ffagan, and Medwy, which confirms the belief in the existence of these Saints, and indicates the scene of their labours. Matthew of Westminster adds:—"A.D. 185. The blessed priests, Faganus and Deruvianus, returned to Rome, and easily prevailed on the most blessed Pope that all that they had done should be confirmed. And when it had been, then the before-mentioned teachers returned to Britain, with a great many more, by whose teaching the nation of the Britons was soon founded in the faith of Christ, and became eminent as a Christian people. And their names and actions are found in the book that Gildas the historian wrote, concerning the victory of Aurelius Ambrosius."

Geoffrey, of Monmouth, who, unsupported, is thoroughly untrustworthy, mentions the same circumstance, on the authority of the treatise of Gildas, now lost. The embassy to Rome shall be spoken of at length, under the title of S. Lucius, December 11th. See also Nennius, § 22; Bede's Eccles. Hist. i. 4; and the Liber Landavensis, p. 65.


(about 404.)

The following account of the martrydom of S. Telemachus is given by Theodoret, in his Ecclesiastical History, book v., chap. 26:—"Honorius, who had received the empire of Europe, abolished the ancient exhibitions of gladiators in Rome on the following occasion:—A certain man, named Telemachus, who had embraced a monastic life, [Pg 8] came from the East to Rome at a time when these cruel spectacles were being exhibited. After gazing upon the combat from the amphitheatre, he descended into the arena, and tried to separate the gladiators. The bloodthirsty spectators, possessed by the devil, who delights in the shedding of blood, were irritated at the interruption of their savage sports, and stoned him who had occasioned the cessation. On being apprised of this circumstance, the admirable Emperor numbered him with the victorious martyrs, and abolished these iniquitous spectacles."

For centuries the wholesale murders of the gladiatorial shows had lasted through the Roman empire. Human beings, in the prime of youth and health, captives or slaves, condemned malefactors, and even free-born men, who hired themselves out to death, had been trained to destroy each other in the amphitheatre for the amusement, not merely of the Roman mob, but of the Roman ladies. Thousands, sometimes in a single day, had been

"Butchered to make a Roman holiday."

The training of gladiators had become a science. By their weapons, and their armour, and their modes of fighting, they had been distinguished into regular classes, of which the antiquaries count up full eighteen: Andabatæ, who wore helmets, without any opening for the eyes, so that they were obliged to fight blindfold, and thus excited the mirth of the spectators; Hoplomachi, who fought in a complete suit of armour; Mirmillones, who had the image of a fish upon their helmets, and fought in armour, with a short sword, matched usually against the Retiarii, who fought without armour, and whose weapons were a casting-net and a trident. These, and other species of fighters, were drilled and fed in "families" by lanistæ, or regular trainers, who let them out to persons wishing to exhibit a show. Women, [Pg 9] even high-born ladies, had been seized in former times with the madness of fighting, and, as shameless as cruel, had gone down into the arena, to delight with their own wounds and their own gore, the eyes of the Roman people.

And these things were done, and done too often under the auspices of the gods, and at their most sacred festivals. So deliberate and organized a system of wholesale butchery has never perhaps existed on this earth before or since, not even in the worship of those Mexican gods, whose idols Cortez and his soldiers found fed with human hearts, and the walls of their temples crusted with human gore. Gradually the spirit of the Gospel had been triumphing over this abomination. Ever since the time of Tertullian, in the second century, Christian preachers and writers had lifted up their voice in the name of humanity. Towards the end of the third century, the Emperors themselves had so far yielded to the voice of reason, as to forbid, by edicts, the gladiatorial fights. But the public opinion of the mob, in most of the great cities, had been too strong both for Saints and for Emperors. S. Augustine himself tells us of the horrible joy which he, in his youth, had seen come over the vast ring of flushed faces at these horrid sights. The weak Emperor Honorius bethought himself of celebrating once more the heathen festival of the Secular Games, and formally to allow therein an exhibition of gladiators. But, in the midst of that show, sprang down into the arena of the Colosseum of Rome, this monk Telemachus, some said from Nitria, some from Phrygia, and with his own hands parted the combatants, in the name of Christ and God. The mob, baulked for a moment of their pleasure, sprang on him, and stoned him to death. But the crime was followed by a sudden revulsion of feeling. By an edict of the Emperor, the gladiatorial sports were forbidden for ever; and the Colosseum, thenceforth useless, crumbled slowly away into that vast [Pg 10] ruin which remains unto this day, purified, as men well said, from the blood of tens of thousands, by the blood of this true and noble martyr.[14]


(a.d. 533.)

[Roman Martyrology and nearly all the Latin Martyrologies. His life was written by one of his disciples, and addressed to his successor, Felicianus. Many of his writings are extant.]

Fulgentius belonged to an honourable senatorial family of Carthage, which had, however, lost its position with the invasion of the Vandals into Northern Africa. His father, Claudius, who had been unjustly deprived of his house in Carthage, to give it to the Arian priest, retired to an estate belonging to him at Telepte, a city of the province of Byzacene. And here, about thirty years after the barbarians had dismembered Africa from the Roman empire, in the year 468, was born Fulgentius. Shortly after this his father died, and the education of the child devolved wholly on his mother, Mariana. It has been often observed that great men have had great mothers. Mariana was a woman of singular intelligence and piety. She carefully taught her son to speak Greek with ease and good accent, and made him learn by heart Homer, Menander, and other famous poets of antiquity. At the same time, she did not neglect his religious education, and the youth grew up obedient and modest. She early committed to him the government of the house, and servants, and estate; and his prudence in these matters made his reputation early, and he was appointed procurator of the province.

[Pg 11]

But it was not long before he grew weary of the world; and the love of God drew him on into other paths. He found great delight in religious reading, and gave more time to prayer. He was in the habit of frequenting monasteries, and he much wondered to see in the monks no signs of weariness, though they were deprived of all the relaxations and pleasures which the world provides. Then, under the excuse that his labours of office required that he should take occasional repose, he retired at intervals from business, and devoted himself to prayer and meditation, and reduced the abundance of food with which he was served. At length, moved by a sermon of S. Augustine on the thirty-sixth Psalm, he resolved on embracing the religious life.

There was at that time a certain bishop, Faustus by name, who had been driven, together with other orthodox bishops, from their sees, by Huneric, the Arian king. Faustus had erected a monastery in Byzacene. To him Fulgentius betook himself, and asked to be admitted into the monastery. But the Bishop repelled him saying, "Why, my son, dost thou seek to deceive the servants of God? Then wilt thou be a monk when thou hast learned to despise luxurious food and sumptuous array. Live as a layman less delicately, and then I shall believe in thy vocation." But the young man caught the hand of him who urged him to depart, and, kissing it said, "He who gave the desire is mighty to enable me to fulfil it. Suffer me to tread in thy footsteps, my father!" Then, with much hesitation, Faustus suffered the youth to remain, saying, "Perhaps my fears are unfounded. Thou must be proved some days."

The news that Fulgentius had become a monk spread far and wide. His mother, in transports of grief, ran to the monastery, crying out, "Faustus! restore to me my son, and to the people their governor. The Church always protects widows; why then dost thou rob me, a desolate widow, of my child?" Faustus in vain endeavoured to calm her. [Pg 12] She desired to see her son, but he refused to give permission. Fulgentius, from within, could hear his mother's cries. This was to him a severe temptation, for he loved her dearly.

Shortly after, he made over his estate to his mother, to be discretionally disposed of, by her, in favour of his brother Claudius, when he should arrive at a proper age. He practised severe mortification of his appetite, totally abstaining from oil and everything savoury, and his fasting produced a severe illness, from which, however, he recovered, and his constitution adapted itself to his life of abstinence.

Persecution again breaking out, Faustus was obliged to leave his monastery, and Fulgentius, at his advice, took refuge in another, which was governed by the Abbot Felix, who had been his friend in the world, and who became now his brother in religion. Felix rejoiced to see his friend once more, and he insisted on exalting him to be abbot along with himself. Fulgentius long refused, but in vain; and the monks were ruled by these two abbots living in holy charity, Felix attending to the discipline and the bodily necessities of the brethren, Fulgentius instructing them in the divine love. Thus they divided the authority between them for six years, and no contradictions took place between them; each being always ready to comply with the will of the other.

In the year 499, the country being ravaged by the Numidians, the two abbots were obliged to fly to Sicca Veneria, a city of the proconsular province of Africa. Here they were seized by orders of an Arian priest, and commanded to be scourged. Felix, seeing the executioners seize first on Fulgentius, exclaimed, "Spare my brother, who is not sufficiently strong to endure your blows, lest he die under them, and strike me instead." Felix having been scourged, Fulgentius was next beaten. His pupil [Pg 13] says, "Blessed Fulgentius, a man of delicate body, and of noble birth, was scarce able to endure the pain of the repeated blows, and, as he afterwards told us, hoping to soothe the violence of the priest, or distract it awhile, that he might recover himself a little, he cried out, 'I will say something if I am permitted.'" The priest ordered the blows to cease, expecting to hear a recantation. But Fulgentius, with much eloquence, began a narration of his travels; and after the priest had listened awhile, finding this was all he was about to hear, he commanded the executioners to continue their beating of Fulgentius. After that, the two abbots, naked and bruised, were driven away. Before being brought before the Arian priest, Felix had thrown away a few coins he possessed; and his captors, not observing this, after they were released, he and Fulgentius returned to the spot and recovered them all again. The Arian bishop, whose relations were acquainted with the family of Fulgentius, was much annoyed at this proceeding of the priest, and severely reprimanded him. He also urged Fulgentius to bring an action against him, but the confessor declined, partly because a Christian should never seek revenge, partly also because he was unwilling to plead before a bishop who denied the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Fulgentius, resolving to visit the deserts of Egypt, renowned for the sanctity of the solitaries who dwelt there, went on board a ship for Alexandria, but the vessel touching at Sicily, S. Eulalius, abbot at Syracuse, diverted him from his intention, assuring him that "a perfidious dissension had severed this country from the communion of S. Peter. All these monks, whose marvellous abstinence is noised abroad, have not got with you the Sacrament of the Altar in common;" meaning that Egypt was full of heretics. Fulgentius visited Rome in the latter part of the year 500, during the entry of Theodoric. "Oh," said he, "how beautiful must the [Pg 14] heavenly Jerusalem be, if earthly Rome be so glorious." A short time after, Fulgentius returned home, and built himself a cell on the sea-shore, where he spent his time in prayer, reading and writing, and in making mats and umbrellas of palm leaves.

At this time the Vandal heretic, King Thrasimund, having forbidden the consecration of Catholic bishops, many sees were destitute of pastors, and the faithful were reduced to great distress. Faustus, the bishop, had ordained Fulgentius priest, on his return to Byzacene, and now, many places demanded him as their bishop. Fulgentius, fearing this responsibility, hid himself; but in a time of such trial and difficulty the Lord had need of him, and He called him to shepherd His flock in a marvellous manner. There was a city named Ruspe, then destitute of a bishop, for an influential deacon therein, named Felix, whose brother was a friend of the procurator, desired the office for himself. But the people, disapproving his ambition, made choice unanimously of Fulgentius, of whom they knew only by report; and upon the primate Victor, bishop of Carthage, giving his consent that the neighbouring bishops should consecrate him, several people of Ruspe betook themselves to the cell of Fulgentius, and by force compelled him to consent to be ordained. Thus, he might say, in the words of the prophet, "A people whom I have not known shall serve me."

The deacon, Felix, taking advantage of the illegality of the proceeding, determined to oppose the entrance of S. Fulgentius by force, and occupied the road by which he presumed the bishop would enter Ruspe. By some means the people went out to meet him another way, and brought him into the Cathedral, where he was installed, whilst the deacon, Felix, was still awaiting his arrival in the road. Then he celebrated the Divine Mysteries, with great solemnity, and [Pg 15] communicated all the people. And when Felix, the deacon, heard this, he was abashed, and refrained from further opposition. Fulgentius received him with great sweetness and charity, and afterwards ordained him priest.

As bishop, S. Fulgentius lived like a monk; he fed on the coarsest food, and dressed himself in the plainest garb, not wearing the orarium, which it was customary for bishops to put upon them. He would not wear a cloak (casula) of gay colour, but one very plain, and beneath it a blackish, or milk-coloured habit (pallium), girded about him. Whatever might be the weather, in the monastery he wore this habit alone, and when he slept, he never loosed his girdle. "In the tunic in which he slept, in that did he sacrifice; he may be said, in time of sacrifice, to have changed his heart rather than his habit."[15]

His great love for a recluse life induced him to build a monastery near his house at Ruspe, which he designed to place under the direction of his old friend, the Abbot Felix. But before the building could be completed, King Thrasimund ordered the banishment of the Catholic bishops to Sardinia. Accordingly, S. Fulgentius and other prelates, sixty in all, were carried into exile, and during their banishment they were provided yearly with provisions and money by the liberality of Symmachus, Bishop of Rome. A letter of this Pope to them is still extant, in which he encourages them, and comforts them. S. Fulgentius, during his retirement, composed several treatises for the confirmation of the faith of the orthodox in Africa. King Thrasimund, desirous [Pg 16] of seeing him, sent for him, and appointed him lodgings in Carthage. The king drew up a set of ten objections to the Catholic faith, and required Fulgentius to answer them. The Saint immediately complied with his request, and his answer had such effect, that the king, when he sent him new objections, ordered that the answers should be read to himself alone. He then addressed to Thrasimund a confutation of Arianism, which we have under the title of "Three Books to King Thrasimund." The prince was pleased with the work, and granted him permission to reside at Carthage; till, upon repeated complaints from the Arian bishops, of the success of his preaching, which threatened, they said, the total conversion of the city to the faith in the Consubstantial, he was sent back to Sardinia, in 520. He was sent on board one stormy night, that he might be taken away without the knowledge of the people, but the wind being contrary, the vessel was driven into port again in the morning, and the news having spread that the bishop was about to be taken from them, the people crowded to say farewell, and he was enabled to go to a church, celebrate, and communicate all the faithful. Being ready to go on board when the wind shifted, he said to a Catholic, whom he saw weeping, "Grieve not, I shall shortly return, and the true faith of Christ will flourish again in this realm, with full liberty to profess it; but divulge not this secret to any."

The event confirmed the truth of the prediction. Thrasimund died in 523, and was succeeded by Hilderic, who gave orders for the restoration of the orthodox bishops to their sees, and that liberty of worship should be accorded to the Catholics.

The ship which brought back the bishops to Carthage was received with great demonstrations of joy. The pupil of the bishop, and eye-witness of the scene, thus describes it:—"Such was the devotion of the Carthaginian citizens, desiring [Pg 17] to see the blessed Fulgentius again, that all the people ardently looked for him whom they had seen wrestle so manfully before them. The multitude, which stood upon the shore, was silent in expectation as the other bishops disembarked before him, seeking with eyes and thoughts only him whom they had familiarly known, and eagerly expecting him from the ship. And when his face appeared, there broke forth a huge clamour, all striving who should first salute him, who should first bow his head to him giving the benediction, who should deserve to touch the tips of his fingers as he walked, who might even catch a glimpse of him, standing afar off. From every tongue resounded the praise of God. Then the people, going before and following after the procession of the blessed confessors, moved to the Church of S. Agileus. But there was such a throng of people, especially around Fulgentius, whom they especially honoured, that a ring had to be formed about him by the holy precaution of the Christians, to allow him to advance upon his way. Moreover, the Lord, desiring to prove the charity of the faithful, marvellously poured upon them, as they moved, a heavy shower of rain. But the heavy down-pour deterred none of them, but seemed to be the abundant benediction of heaven descending on them, and it so increased their faith, that they spread their cloaks above blessed Fulgentius, and composed of their great love a new sort of tabernacle over him. And the evening approaching, the company of prelates presented themselves before Boniface, the bishop (of Carthage) of pious memory, and all together praised and glorified God. Then the blessed Fulgentius traversed the streets of Carthage, visiting his friends and blessing them; he rejoiced with them that did rejoice, and wept with them that did weep; and so, having satisfied all their wishes, he bade farewell to his brethren, and went forth out of Carthage, finding on all the roads people coming to meet him in the [Pg 18] way with lanterns, and candles, and boughs of trees, and great joy, giving praises to the ineffable God, who had wondrously made the blessed Fulgentius well pleasing in the sight of all men. He was received in all the churches as if he were their bishop, and thus the people throughout Byzacene rejoiced as one man over his return."

Arrived at Ruspe, S. Fulgentius diligently laboured to correct what was evil, and restore what was fallen down, and strengthen what was feeble in his diocese. The persecution had lasted seventy years, so that many abuses had crept in, and the faith of many was feeble, and ignorance prevailed. He carried out his reformation with such gentleness, that he won, sooner or later, the hearts of the most vicious.

In a council, held at Junque, in 524, a certain bishop, named Quodvultdeus, disputed the precedency with the Bishop of Ruspe, who made no reply, but took the first place accorded him by the council. However, S. Fulgentius publicly desired, at the convention of another council, that he might be allowed to yield the precedence to Quodvultdeus.

About a year before his death, the bishop retired from all business, to prepare his soul for its exit, to a little island named Circinia. The necessities of his flock recalled him, however, to Ruspe for a little while.

He bore the violent pains of his last illness with great resignation, praying incessantly, "Lord grant me patience now, and afterwards pardon." He called his clergy about him, and asked them to forgive him if he had shewn too great severity at any time, or had offended them in any way, and then, committing his soul into the hand of God as a merciful Creator, he fell asleep in the evening of January 1st, a.d. 533, in his sixty-fifth year.

Relics, at Bourges, in France, where May 16 is observed [Pg 19] as the feast of his translation, in the year 714.


(about 6th cent.)

[Commemorated in the ancient Irish Martyrologies on the 11th April; probably as being the day of his translation. But he died on Jan. 1st. The life of S. Mochua, in the Bollandists, is legendary, and is full of the wildest fable.]

Saint Mochua was the son of a certain Cronan, of noble race, and spent his youth in fighting. At the age of thirty, he laid aside his arms, and burnt a house, with all its contents, which had been given to him by his uncle, saying that a servant of Christ should take nothing from sinners. Then he settled at a spot called Teach Mochua. He is said to have healed S. Finnan, or Munnu, of leprosy, and when S. Finnan was about to return home, and his horse broke its leg, S. Mochua summoned a stag out of the forest to come and draw the vehicle, in place of the horse.

In his time, the first stone church was erected in Ireland by S. Kieran, and during the building of the church, there fell no rain to impede the masons, for the clouds were stayed by the prayers of S. Mochua. He is said to have founded thirty churches. To assist in drawing wood from the forest to build these churches, Mochua called to his aid twelve stags, which served as patiently and obediently as oxen. And when his virtues drew to him many people and much praise, the old man fled from place to place, for he considered that the glory of this world would turn his heart from the glory of the world to come. And when very aged, he escaped with his oratory bell into a wild and mountainous part, and there the clapper fell to the ground, at a place called Dagrinnis. He was troubled in spirit, so bleak and lonely did the place appear; but an angel announced to him that there he was to build a cell, and there to die; and in this spot he spent thirty years, and wrought many miracles, and [Pg 20] died in the ninety-ninth year of his age.

It is difficult to clear the lives of many of the Irish Saints from the fable wherewith lively imaginations have invested them, in their oral transmission through many hundreds of years.


(7th cent.)

[The day of his death is unknown. He is here mentioned because of the similarity of his name to that of S. Mochua, of Teach Mochua. His life is legendary.]

Saint Mochua, or Cronan, was the third son of Began, a man of good family. As a child, he was despised by his parents, and sent to keep sheep. But S. Congal, passing by his father's house, called the boy to follow him, and made him a monk. S. Mochua founded the monastery of Balla in Connaught. He departed to the Lord in the fifty-sixth year of his age.


(a.d. 1049.)

[Roman and Benedictine Martyrologies. Two lives of S. Odilo are extant, one written by Jotsald, a monk, who had lived under his rule, and who wrote it for Stephen, the nephew of the Saint. The other, a very inferior life, by S. Peter Damian. Both are printed in the Bollandists, but the first is from an imperfect MS. It was printed entire by Mabillon, Acta SS. O. S. B.]

Odilo belonged to the family of Mercœur, one of the most illustrious of Auvergne. Jotsald says:—"In the beginning of the account of his virtues I must relate what happened to him as a boy. And lest it be thought incredible, I mention that I heard it from those to whom he was wont to narrate the circumstance. When he was quite a little boy in his [Pg 21] father's house, before he was sent to school, he was destitute of almost all power in his limbs, so that he could not walk or move himself without help. It happened that one day his father's family were moving to another place, and a nurse was given charge of him to carry him. On her way, she put the little boy down with her bundles before the door of a church, dedicated to the Mother of God, as she and the rest were obliged to go into some adjacent houses to procure food. As they were some while absent, the boy finding himself left alone, impelled by divine inspirations, began to try to get to the door and enter the Church of the Mother of God. By some means, crawling on hands and knees, he reached it, and entered the church, and went to the altar, and caught the altar vestment with his hands; then, with all his power, stretching his hands on high, he tried to rise, but was unable to do so, his joints having been so long ill-united. Nevertheless, divine power conquered, strengthening and repairing the feeble limbs of the boy. Thus, by the intervention of the Mother of God, he rose, and stood upon his feet whole, and ran here and there about the altar. The servants returning to fetch their bundles, and not finding the child, were much surprised, and looked in all directions, and not seeing him, became greatly alarmed. However, by chance, entering the church, they saw him rambling and running about it; then they recognised the power of God, and joyously took the boy in their arms, and went to their destination, and gave him, completely whole, to his parents, with great gladness."

As a child, he showed singular simplicity, modesty, and piety. "Thus passed his childish years, and as the strength of youth began to succeed to boyhood, he silently meditated how to desert the flesh-pots of Egypt, and to strive to enter the Land of Promise, through the trials of the world. O good Jesu! how sweet is Thy call! how sweet the inspiration [Pg 22] of Thy Spirit, which as soon as Thou strikest on the heart, turns the fire of the Babylonish furnace into love of the celestial country. So! as soon as thou strikest the heart of the youth, thou changest it." Whilst he was thus meditating, S. Majolus passed through Auvergne, and Odilo came to him; then the old man, looking on the graceful form and comely face of the youth, and by the instinct of the Saints seeing into his soul, he loved him greatly; also the youthful Odilo felt a great affection for the aged monk. And when they spoke to one another, Odilo opened his heart to Majolus, and the venerable man encouraged the youth to persevere in his good intentions.

Shortly after, Odilo left his home, "as Abraham of old went forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and sought admittance into the abbey of Cluny, as into the Promised Land. O good Jesu! how pleasant it was to see this sheep shorn of its worldly fleece, again ascend as from the baptismal font! Then, wearing our habit, you might have seen our sheep amongst the others of His flock, first in work, last in place, seeking the pastures of eternal verdure; attending to the lamps, sweeping the floors, and doing other common offices. But the pearl could not remain long concealed. After four years, S. Majolus, after many hard labours borne for Christ, went out of the darkness of Egypt, entered Jerusalem, and was placed in eternal peace by Christ. As death approached, he chose Odilo to be his successor, and to him and to the Lord, he committed his flock." But S. Odilo shrank from the position for which his youth, as he considered, disqualified him; however, he was elected by the whole community, and was therefore unable to refuse the office wherewith he was invested by the vote of the brethren, and the desire of the late abbot.

His disciple, Jotsald, gives a very beautiful picture of his master. He describes him as being of middle stature, with [Pg 23] a face beaming with grace, and full of authority; very emaciated and pale; his eyes bright and piercing, and often shedding tears of compunction. Every motion of his body was grave and dignified; his voice was manly, and modulated to the greatest sweetness, his speech straightforward and without affectation or artificiality.

His disciple says that he would recite psalms as he lay on his bed, and falling asleep, his lips would still continue the familiar words, so that the brethren applied to him the words of the bride, "I sleep but my heart waketh," Ego dormio et cor meum vigilat. He read diligently, and nothing gave him greater delight than study. His consideration for others was very marked. "He was burdensome to none, to none importunate, desirous of no honour, he sought not to get what belonged to others, nor to keep what was his own." His charity was most abundant; often the brethren feared that it exceeded what was reasonable, but they found that though he gave largely, he did not waste the revenues of the monastery. Once, in time of famine, he was riding along a road, when he lit on the naked bodies of two poor boys who had died of hunger. Odilo burst into tears, and descending from his horse, drew off his woollen under garment and wrapping the bodies in it, carefully buried them. In this famine he sold the costly vessels of the Sanctuary, and despoiled the Church of its gold and silver ornaments, that he might feed the starving people. Amongst the objects thus parted with was the crown of gold presented to the abbey by Henry, King of the Romans. He accompanied this Prince in his journey to Rome, when he was crowned emperor, in 1014. This was his second journey thither; he made a third in 1017, and a fourth in 1022. Out of devotion to S. Benedict, he paid a visit to Monte Cassino, where he kissed the feet of all the monks, at his own request, which was granted him with great reluctance.

[Pg 24]

"The convocation of the brethren was regularly held by him till he was at the point of death. O how joyous he was in the midst of them, as standing in the midst of the choir, and looking to right and left he saw the ring of young plantings, and remembered the verse of David's song, 'Thy children shall be as the olive branches round about thy table.' Filii tui sicut novellæ olivarum, in circuitu mensæ tuæ. And the more the number of brothers increased, the more he exhibited his joy of heart by signs. And when some seemed distressed thereat, he was wont to say, 'Grieve not that the flock has become great, my brothers, He who has called us in, He governs, and will provide.'"

Fulbert, Bishop of Chartres, called him the archangel of monks; and the name, says his disciple, became him well. S. Odilo, out of his great compassion for the souls of the dead expiating the penalty of their sins in purgatory, instituted the commemoration of All Souls for the morrow of All Saints, in the Cluniac order, which was afterwards adopted by the whole Catholic Church in the West. Many incidents of his travels, and miracles that he wrought, are related by his pupil. As he was riding over the Jura mountains, in snowy weather, the horse carrying his luggage fell, and was precipitated into the valley, and all the baggage was scattered in the snow-drifts. With much trouble, the horse and much of the baggage were recovered, but a valuable Sacramentary, inscribed with gilt letters, and some glass vessels, with embossed work, were lost. That evening, Odilo and his monks arrived at a cell, under the jurisdiction of S. Eugendus, and being much troubled at his loss, as much rain fell in the night, S. Odilo sent some of the brethren early next morning to search for the lost treasures. But the snow-drifts were so deep that they could not find them, and he was obliged to leave without them. However, as the spring came round, a certain priest, named Ermendran, was walking [Pg 25] in the glen, and he found the book uninjured, and the glass goblets unbroken. He brought them to the cell, and on the return of Odilo to the Jura, he received his lost treasures intact.

Another story of a glass vessel comes on good authority. The circumstances were related by Albert, Bishop of Como, in these words, "Once our Abbot and Superior came to the court of the Emperor Henry, and whilst there, it happened one day that at table a goblet of glass, of Alexandrine workmanship, very precious, with coloured enamel on it, was placed before him. He called me and Landulf, afterwards Bishop of Turin, to him, and bade us take this glass to Odilo. We accordingly, as the Emperor had bidden, took it, and going to the abbot, offered it to him, on the part of the Emperor, humbly bowing. He received it with great humility, and told us to return after a while for the goblet again. Then, when we had gone away, the monks, filled with natural curiosity to see and handle a new sort of thing, passed the vessel from hand to hand, and as they were examining it, it slipped through their fingers to the ground, and was broken. When the gentle man of God was told this, he was not a little grieved, and said, 'My brothers, you have not done well, for by your negligence, the young clerks who have the custody of these things will, maybe, lose the favour of the Emperor, through your fault. Now, that those who are innocent may not suffer for your carelessness, let us all go to church and ask God's mercy about this matter.' Therefore, they all ran together into the church, and sang psalms and prayed, lest some harm should befall us—Albert and Landulf, each of them earnestly supplicating God for us. When the prayer was over, the holy man ordered the broken goblet to be brought to him. He looked at it, and felt it, and could find no crack or breakage in it. Wherefore, he exclaimed indignantly, 'What are you about, brothers? You [Pg 26] must be blind to say that the glass is broken, when there is not a sign of injury done to it.' The brethren, considering it, were amazed at the miracle, and did not dare to speak. Then, after a while, I and my companion came back for the vessel, and we asked it of him who was carrying it. He called me apart, and returned it to me, bidding me tell the Emperor to regard it as a great treasure. And when I asked his meaning, he told me all that had happened."

S. Odilo seems to have been fond of art, for he rebuilt the monasteries of his order, and made them very beautiful, and the churches he adorned with all the costly things he could procure. The marble pillars for Cluny were brought, by his orders, in rafts down the Durance, into the Rhone, and he was wont to say of Cluny, that he found it of wood and left it of marble. He erected over the altar of S. Peter, in the church, a ciborium, whose columns were covered with silver, inlaid with nigello work.

When he felt that his death approached, he made a circuit of all the monasteries under his sway, that he might leave them in thorough discipline, and give them his last admonitions. On this journey he reached Souvigny, a priory in Bourbonnais, where he celebrated the Vigil of the Nativity, and preached to the people, although at the time suffering great pain. After that, he announced to the brethren in chapter, that he was drawing nigh to his end, and he besought their prayers. As he was too weak to go to the great Church of S. Peter, which was attended by the monks, he kept the festival of the Nativity with a few brethren, whom he detained, to be with him in the Chapel of S. Mary; joyously he præcented the psalms and antiphons, and gave the benedictions, and performed all the ceremonies of that glad festival, forgetful of his bodily infirmities, knowing that soon he was to see God face to face, in the land of the living, and no more in a glass darkly. Most earnest was he, lest [Pg 27] death should come and find him unprepared. Throughout the Octave, he was carried in the arms of the monks to church, where he assisted at the choir offices, night and day, and at the celebration of the mass, refreshing himself at the sacred mysteries, and looking forward to the feast of the Circumcision, when his friend William, abbot of Dijon, had fallen asleep, on which day, he foretold, he also should enter into his rest.

On that day, carried by his brethren, he was laid before the altar of the Virgin Mother, and the monks sang vespers. Now and then their voices failed, through over much sorrow, and then he recited the words of the psalms they in their trouble had omitted. As night crept in at the windows, he grew weaker and fainter. Then the brothers laid sack-cloth and ashes under him, and as he was lifted in the arms of one, brother Bernard, he asked, reviving a little, where he was. The brother answered, "On sack-cloth and ashes." Then he sighed forth, "God be thanked!" and he asked that the little children, and the whole body of the brethren, might be assembled. And when all were gathered around him, he directed his eyes to the Cross, and his lips moved in prayer, and he died thus in prayer, gazing on the sign of his salvation.

His body was laid in the nave of the Church of Souvigny, near that of S. Majolus.

He is often represented saying mass, with purgatory open beside the altar, and those suffering extending their hands to him, in allusion to his having instituted the commemoration of All Souls.


[14] The Hermits, by Rev. C. Kingsley, p. 153, 154.

[15] This passage has been quoted by some to show that at this period special vestments were not in general use for the Eucharist, as an argument against their present use. But it by no means appears from the passage quoted that Fulgentius did not wear Eucharistic vestments. It simply says that he wore at Mass the habit he lived and slept in. This is what monks and friars do now; they put the vestment over the habit.

[Pg 28]

January 2.

The Octave of S. Stephen, the First Martyr.

SS. Frontasius, and Companions, MM. in Gaul.
SS. Martyrs, at Lichfield, circ. a.d. 304.
S. Isidore, B.C., in Egypt, 4th cent.
S. Macarius, of Alexandria, Ab., a.d. 394.
S. Aspasius, C., at Melun, France, a.d. 550.
S. Maximus, Ab. M., in France, a.d. 614.
S. Adalhardt, Ab. of Corbie, a.d. 826.
S. Silvester, Monk of Trani, in S. Italy, a.d. 1185.


(a.d. 304.)

[Anglican Martyrologies.]


ichfield derives its name from Lyke-field, the field of dead bodies, because it is traditionally said, that in the persecution of Diocletian, many Christians suffered there for the faith. The arms of Lichfield are a plain strewn with corpses. Nothing certain is known of this event, which is probably altogether apocryphal.


(a.d. 394.)

[There were two Macarii. Both are commemorated together by the Greeks, on Jan. 19th; but the Latins commemorate S. Macarius of Alexandria, on Jan. 2nd; and S. Macarius the Egyptian, on Jan. 15th. The history of this S. Macarius is perfectly authentic, having been written by S. Palladius (B. 368,) in the year 421; the writer knew S. Macarius personally, having been nine years in "the cells," of which S. Macarius was priest. Three of these years Macarius and Palladius lived together; so that, as the author says, he had every opportunity of judging of his manner of life and actions.]

Saint Macarius the younger was born in Alexandria, of [Pg 29] poor parents, and followed the trade of confectioner. Desirous of serving God with his whole heart, he forsook the world in the flower of his age, and spent upwards of sixty years in the deserts, in the exercise of fervent penance and prayer. He first retired into the Thebaid, or Upper Egypt, about the year 335; then, aiming at greater disengagement, he descended to Lower Egypt, in or about the year 373. Here there were three deserts almost adjoining each other; that of Scété; that of the Cells, so called because of the multitude of cells wherewith its rocks were honey-combed; and a third, which reached the western bank of the Nile, called the Nitrian desert. S. Macarius had a cell in each of these deserts. When he was in Nitria he gave advice to those who sought him. But his chief residence was in the desert of the Cells. There each hermit lived separate, assembling only on Saturday and Sunday, in the church, to celebrate the divine mysteries, and to partake of the Holy Communion. All the brothers were employed at some handicraft, generally they platted baskets or mats. All in the burning desert was still; in their cells the hermits worked, and prayed, and cooked their scanty victuals, till the red ball of the sun went down behind the sandy plain to the west; then from all that region rose a hum of voices, the rise and fall of song, as the evening psalms and hymns were being chanted by that great multitude of solitaries in dens and caves of the earth.

Palladius has recorded an instance of the great self-denial observed by these hermits. A present was made to S. Macarius of a bunch of grapes, newly gathered. The holy man carried it to a neighbouring solitary who was sick; he sent it to another, and each wishing that some dear brother should enjoy the fruit rather than himself, passed it on to another; and thus the bunch of grapes made the circuit of the cells, and was brought back to Macarius.

[Pg 30]

The severity of life practised by these hermits was great. For seven years together S. Macarius lived on raw herbs and pulse, and for the three following years contented himself with four or five ounces of bread a day. His watchings were not less surprising. He told Palladius that it had been his great desire to fix his mind on God alone for five days and nights continuously. And when he supposed he was in the proper mood, he closed his cell, and stood up, and said, "Now thou hast angels and archangels, and all the heavenly host in company with thee. Be in heaven, and forget earthly things." And so he continued for two nights and days, wrapped in heavenly contemplations, but then his hut seemed to flame about him, even the mat on which he stood, and his mind was diverted to earth. "But it was as well," said he; "for I might have fallen into pride."

The reputation of the monastery of Tabenna, under S. Pachomius, drew him to it in disguise. S. Pachomius told him he seemed too far advanced in years to begin to practise the austerities undergone by himself and his monks; nevertheless, on his earnest entreaty, he admitted him. Then Lent drew on, and the aged Macarius saw the monks fasting, some two whole days, others five, some standing all night, and sitting at their work during the day. Then he, having soaked some palm leaves, as material for his work, went apart into a corner, and till Easter came, he neither ate nor drank, nor sat down, nor bowed his knee, nor lay down, and sustained life on a few raw cabbage leaves which he ate on Sundays; and when he went forth for any need he returned silently to his work, and occupied his hands in platting, and his heart in prayer. But when the others saw this, they were astonished, and remonstrated with S. Pachomius, saying, "Why hast thou brought this fleshless man here to confound us with his austerities. Send him away, or we will desert this place." Then the abbot went to [Pg 31] Macarius, and asked him who he was, and when he told his name, Pachomius was glad, and cried, "Many years have I desired to see thee. I thank thee that thou hast humbled my sons; but now, go thy way, sufficiently hast thou edified us; go, and pray for us." Macarius, on one occasion, to subdue his flesh, filled two great baskets with sand, and laying them on his shoulders, walked over the hot desert, bowed beneath them. A friend meeting him, offered to ease him of his burden, but "No," said the old hermit, "I have to torment my tormentor;" meaning his body.

One day, a gnat stung him in his cell, and he killed it. Then, ashamed that he had allowed himself to be irritated by the petty insect, and to have lost an opportunity of enduring mortification with equanimity, he went to the marshes of Scété, and stayed there six months, suffering greatly from the stings of the insects. When he returned, he was so disfigured by their bites, that he was only recognized by his voice.

The terrible severity with which these Egyptian hermits punished themselves is perhaps startling, but it was something needed at a time when the civilized world was sunk in luxury, profligacy, and indifference. That was a time which called for a startling and vivid contrast to lead minds into self-inspection. "Private profligacy among all ranks was such as cannot be described in any modern pages. The clergy of the cities, though not of profligate lives, and for the most part unmarried, were able to make no stand against the general corruption of the age, because—at least if we are to trust such writers as Jerome and Chrysostom—they were giving themselves up to ambition and avarice, intrigue and party spirit. No wonder if, in such a state of things, the minds of men were stirred by a passion akin to despair. It would have ended often, but for Christianity, in [Pg 32] such an actual despair as that which had led, in past ages, more than one noble Roman to slay himself, when he lost all hope for the Republic. Christianity taught those who despaired of society, of the world—in one word, of the Roman empire, and all that it had done for men—to hope at last for a Kingdom of God after death. It taught those, who, had they been heathens and brave enough, would have slain themselves to escape out of a world which was no place for honest men, that the body must be kept alive, at least, for the sake of the immortal soul, doomed, according to its works, to endless bliss or endless torment. But that the world—such, at least, as they saw it then—was doomed, Scripture and their own reason taught them. They did not merely believe, but see, in the misery and confusion, the desolation, and degradation around them, that all that was in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, was not of the Father, but of the world; that the world was passing away, and the lust thereof, and that only he who did the will of God could abide for ever. They did not merely believe, but saw, that the wrath of God was revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men; and that the world in general was treasuring up to themselves wrath, tribulation, and anguish, against a day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who would render to every man according to his works. That they were correct in their judgment of the world about them, contemporary history proves abundantly. That they were correct, likewise, in believing that some fearful judgment was about to fall on man, is proved by the fact that it did fall; that the first half of the fifth century saw, not only the sack of Rome, but the conquest and desolation of the greater part of the civilized world, amid bloodshed, misery, and misrule, which seemed to turn Europe into a chaos, which would have turned it into a chaos, had there not been [Pg 33] a few men left who still felt it possible and necessary to believe in God, and to work righteousness. Under these terrible forebodings, men began to flee from a doomed world, and try to be alone with God, if by any means they might save each man his own soul in that dread day."[16]

S. Macarius, of Alexandria, and his namesake, the Egyptian, lived much together. They were both exiled in 375, at the instigation of the Arian patriarch of Alexandria, who dreaded their influence over the people, and zeal for the orthodox faith. They crossed the Nile together in a ferryboat, when they encountered two military tribunes, accompanied by a great array of horses, with decorated bridles, of equipages, soldiers, and pages covered with ornaments. The officers looked long at the two monks in their old dresses, humbly seated in a corner of the bark. They might well look at them, for in that bark two worlds stood face to face; old Rome, degraded by the emperors, and the new Christian republic, of which the monks were the precursors. As they approached the shore, one of the tribunes said to the cenobites, "You are happy, for you despise the world." "It is true," answered the Alexandrine, "we despise the world, and the world despises you. You have spoken more truly than you intended; we are happy in fact, and happy in name, for we are called Macarius, which means in Greek happy."

The tribune made no answer, but, returning to his house, renounced all his wealth and rank, and went to seek happiness in solitude.

In art, S. Macarius is represented with wallets of sand on his shoulders; sometimes with a hyæna and its young, because the story is told that one day a hyæna brought her young one and laid it at the feet of the hermit. He looked at the animal, and saw that it was blind, therefore he pitied the poor whelp, and prayed to God; then he touched the eyes of the young hyæna, and it saw plain. Next day, the mother brought a sheepskin and laid it at his feet, and this the hermit wore continually afterwards, till he gave it to S. Melania.


[16] Kingsley, The Hermits, p. 4, 6.

[Pg 34]


(a.d. 826.)

[Named in many later Western Martyrologies, but not enrolled in the Roman Kalendar. He is variously called Adelhard, Adalarch, Alard, and Adelhardt. His life was written by S. Paschasius Radbertus, his disciple, and this was epitomized by S. Gerard, of Sauve-Majeur, in the 11th century. Paschasius says that the reason of his writing the life, was "to recall him whom almost the whole world regards as holy and admirable; whom we have seen, and whose love we enjoyed."]

Adalhardt was of royal race, having been the son of Bernhardt, son of Charles Martel, the brother of King Pepin; so that Adalhardt was cousin-german to Charlemagne, by whom he was called to court in his youth, and created Count of the Palace. But when the king put away his wife, the daughter of Desiderius, King of Italy, to marry another, Adalhardt left the court, disgusted with its lawlessness and vice, and became a monk at Corbie, at the age of twenty, in the year 773. He was made gardener, and, as his historian says, "With Mary he sought Jesus in the garden." At Corbie, he was so frequently visited by his relations, his friends, and acquaintances, that he had not sufficient solitude for the labour of turning his soul from earth to heaven; therefore he left Corbie and betook himself to Monte Cassino; but by order of the Emperor Charles, he was brought back again to Corbie, where he was shortly after elected abbot. He was compelled at last, by Charlemagne, to quit the monastery, and take upon him the charge of prime minister to his son Pepin, to whom he had intrusted the [Pg 35] government of Italy.

On the death of Charlemagne, Louis the Pious succeeded to the throne, and dismissed all the old ministers and officers of his father. Bernard, son of Pepin, the elder brother of Louis, who was dead, having asserted his right to the throne, King Louis suspected the abbot of Corbie of having been privy to this attempt, and he exiled him to the island of Heri, or Herimoutier, and his brothers and sisters were sent into monasteries. His brother Walla was forced to become a monk at Corbie; Bernharius was sent to Lerins; his sister Gundrada was given to the charge of S. Radegund, at Poictiers, and only Theodradra was left unmolested at Soissons.

Adalhardt spent seven years in banishment at Herimoutier, and then the king, having recognized his error, recalled him, to the great grief of the monks of Heri, to whom his meekness and charity had made him dear, and to the joy of those of Corbie, to whom he returned. He was not, however, allowed to remain at peace in his abbey at the head of his monks, but was recalled to court, where the king, whose disposition was much changed, followed his advice in all his undertakings, and Adalhardt was of great use to him, in suggesting improvement in the laws. At length, in 823, he obtained leave to return to Corbie, which he governed till his death. He had an admirable memory, so that he never forgot the face, or name, or disposition of one of his monks; and he was careful to speak with each of them once a week.

During the banishment of the Saint, another Adalhardt, who governed the monastery by his appointment, began the foundation of another Corbie, in the diocese of Paderborn, in Westphalia, that it might be a nursery of missionaries for the conversion of the northern nations. S. Adalhardt often journeyed from one Corbie to the other, that he might provide [Pg 36] for the welfare, and look to the discipline of both houses. Finding himself attacked with fever, and knowing that he should not recover, he used every effort to reach the mother house before Christmas. This he achieved, and there he calmly prepared for his passage, communicating daily. Hearing of his sickness, Hildemann, Bishop of Beauvais, who had been a monk under him, hurried to his side, and administered to him the Sacrament of extreme unction, and scarcely left him. One day, however, the bishop left the room for a moment, and, on his return, saw the sick man in great transport. The Abbot exclaimed, "Hither speedily, Bishop, I urge you, and kiss the feet of Jesus, my Lord, for He is at my side." Then the Bishop of Beauvais trembled with awe, and stood still, not knowing what to say or do. But Adalhardt said no more. On the Octave of the Nativity, he called together the brethren, and having received the Body and Blood of Christ, he said to the assembled monks, "O my sons, the fruit of my old age in the Lord! I have finished the number of my days, and to-day I shall depart, and go the way of all flesh, and appear in the presence of my Redeemer. I have finished the course of my struggle, and what reward I shall receive, I know not. But help me, I pray, that I in you, and you in me, may rejoice in the Lord." Thus saying, he surrendered his pure soul to Him who made it. He was buried at the foot of the chancel steps in the Church of S. Peter, at Corbie; but in the year 1040 the body was taken up and enshrined.


(a.d. 1185.)

[S. Silvester, monk of Trani, near Barletta, in South Italy, is held there in great reverence, and commemorated on the 2nd Jan. and 2nd May.]

Saint Silvester, of whom nothing authentic is known, is [Pg 37] traditionally said to have been a monk of the order of S. Basil, in the convent of S. Michael, at Bari. Various miracles are attributed to him, as his having gone one winter day to Catania and back on foot. He is also said to have entered a baker's furnace to scrape the living embers together for him, when he had lost his shovel, and to have come forth unhurt.

Oblation of an Infant Oblation of an Infant to a Religious Community. After a Miniature in the Burgundy Library at Brussels.

[Pg 38]

January 3.

The Octave of S. John, the Evangelist.

S. Anteros, Pope and M., at Rome, a.d. 236.
S. Florentius, B.M., at Vienne, in France, circ. a.d. 258.
SS. Zosimus and Athanasius, MM., in Cilicia, circ. a.d. 290.
S. Peter Balsam, M., at Aulane in Palestine, a.d. 291.
S. Gordius, M., at Cæsarea, circ. a.d. 320.
SS. Theognis, Primus, and Cyrinus, MM., circ. a.d. 320.
S. Melor, M., in Cornwall, circ. a.d. 411.
S. Genoveva, V., at Paris, a.d. 512.
S. Bertilia, V., at Marolles, a.d. 687.


(a.d. 236.)

[Commemorated in the Roman Martyrology, and in that attributed to Bede, that of Usuardus, &c.]


aint Anteros succeeded S. Pontianus as Bishop of Rome in 235. He instituted the office of notaries in the Church, to take down the sayings and sufferings of the martyrs, so that faithful records of their acts might be preserved. He died, June 18th, a.d. 236.


(about a.d. 290.)

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menæa. The Greeks keep their commemoration, however, on Jan. 4th. The authority for the following account is the Greek Menæa.]

These martyrs suffered under Diocletian, in Cilicia. S. Zosimus was a hermit. His ears were burnt off with [Pg 39] red hot irons, afterwards he was plunged into a vessel of molten lead, and was then dismissed. He returned to his desert, converted and baptized Athanasius, and died in his cell.


(a.d. 291.)

[Commemorated in most Latin Martyrologies, and in the Greek Menæa on the 12th Jan. He is mentioned as Peter the Ascetic, by Eusebius; his genuine Acts are given in Ruinart.]

Eusebius, in his account of the martyrs of Palestine, appended to the 8th book of his Ecclesiastical History, says:—"On the eleventh of the month Audynœus, i.e., on the third of the ides of January (11th Jan.), in the same city of Cæsarea, Peter the Ascetic, also called Absolom, from the village of Anea, on the borders of Eleutheropolis, like the purest gold, with a good resolution, gave proof of his faith in the Christ of God. Disregarding both the judge and those around him, that besought him in many ways to have compassion on himself, and to spare his youth and blooming years, he preferred his hope in the Supreme God of all, and even to life itself."

The name of this Saint seems to have been Peter Absolom; the latter appellation has been corrupted into Apselm, Anselm, and Balsam. The acts of his martrydom are authentic. They are as follows:—

At that time Peter, called Balsam, was captured at Aulane, in the time of persecution. He came from the borders of Eleutheropolis, and was brought before the governor, Severus, who said to him, "What is your name?" Peter answered, "I am called by my paternal name of Balsam, but in baptism I received my spiritual name of Peter." The Governor, "To what family do you belong?" [Pg 40] Peter, "I am a Christian." The Governor, "What office do you bear?" Peter, "What office can be more honourable than to live a Christian?" The Governor, "Have you any parents?" Peter, "I have none." The Governor, "There you lie, for I have heard that you have." Peter, "In the Gospel I am commanded to renounce all things when I come to confess Christ." The Governor, "Do you know the imperial edicts?" Peter, "I know the laws of God, the Sovereign true and everlasting." The Governor, "It is commanded by the most clement emperors that all Christians shall either sacrifice, or be executed in various ways." Peter, "And this is the command of the everlasting King. If thou sacrifice to any demon, and not to God alone, thou shalt be plucked out of the Book of the Living. Judge thou which I shall obey." The Governor, "Come, listen to me, sacrifice and obey the law." Peter, "I will not sacrifice to gods made by men's hands of wood and stone." And he poured forth a vehement invective against idolatry. The governor ordered him to the rack, and when he was slung to it, he said, "Well, Peter, what say you to this? How do you like your swing?" Peter said, "Bring the iron hooks; I have already told thee that I will not sacrifice to devils, but to God alone, for whom I suffer." The governor ordered him to be tortured. And when the stress of torment was very great, the martyr uttered no cry of pain, but sang, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, which I will require: even that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord, and to visit His temple. What reward shall I give unto the Lord for all the benefits that He hath done unto me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord." As he thus spake, the governor ordered other executioners to come to the work, being much exasperated. And the crowd standing [Pg 41] by, when they saw much blood run over the pavement, lamented, and urged him, saying, "O man, compassionate thyself, and sacrifice, that thou mayest escape these dreadful pains." But the holy man of God answered them, "These pains are nothing, and give me no suffering; but were I to deny the name of my God, I know that I should fall into greater torments, which would last eternally." The Governor said, "You had better sacrifice, or you will repent it." "No," answered Peter; "I will not sacrifice, and I shall not repent it." The Governor said, "Well, then I shall pronounce sentence." "That," said Peter, "is what I most ardently desire."

Then the governor gave sentence in these words, "I command Peter, continuously despising the commands of the unconquered emperors, to suffer the death of the cross."

Thus, the venerable athlete of Christ, fulfilling his agony, was found worthy to participate in the Passion of his Lord. And he suffered at Aulane, on the third of the nones of January (Jan. 3rd,) under Maximian, the emperor.

This account is somewhat abbreviated from the Acts. There is some little discrepancy between it and that of Eusebius. The ecclesiastical historian says he was executed at Cæsarea; the Acts say at Aulane; but as this was an insignificant village in the district over which the governor of Cæsarea held jurisdiction, the discrepancy is only apparent. Eusebius says he suffered on the third of the ides; the Acts, that he suffered on the third of the nones. It is probable that Eusebius is right, for the Greeks observe the martyrdom of S. Peter Balsam on the 12th Jan., and in the Martyrology, attributed to S. Jerome, the passion of [Pg 42] this Saint is given as occurring on the third of the ides, 11th Jan.


(about 320.)

[Commemorated by the Roman Martyrology and the Greek Menæa on the same day. The account of his passion is given by S. Basil the Great in a panegyric at Cæsarea, on the anniversary of his martyrdom, which he says was then recent. This account, given on the scene of his suffering, within the memory of man, so that some of those who heard the discourse of S. Basil, had seen the conflict of the martyr, is unquestionably trustworthy.]

Saint Gordius was a native of Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, and was a centurion in the army. When Galerius issued his edicts against the Church in the East (303,) Gordius laid aside his office, and retired into the desert, where he lived in fasting and prayer amongst the wild beasts. In the desert he spent many years, but his zeal for Christ gave him no rest. The churches in Cæsarea had been destroyed, the clergy scattered, and many Christians had conformed, rather than lose their lives. It was a heathen city once more, and such salt as had remained had lost its savour. The spirit of the Lord stirred in the soul of Gordius, and urged him to return to his native city, and there play the man for Christ, where so many had fallen away from the faith. "One day that the amphitheatre was crowded to see horse and chariot races in honour of Mars, the god of war, when the benches were thronged, and Jew and Gentile, and many a Christian also," says S. Basil, "was present at the spectacle, and all the slaves were free to see the sight, and the boys had been given holiday from school for the same purpose, suddenly, in the race-course, appeared a man in rags, with long beard and matted locks; his face and arms burned with exposure to the sun, and shrivelled with long fasting; and he cried aloud, "I am found of them who sought me not, and to them who asked not after me, have I manifested myself [Pg 43] openly."

Every eye was directed upon this wild-looking man, and when it was discovered who he was, there rose a shout from Gentile and Christian; the latter cried because they rejoiced to see the faithful centurion in the midst of them again; the former, because they hated the truth, and were wrath at the disturbance of the sports.

"Then," continues S. Basil, "the clamour and tumult became more, and filled the whole amphitheatre; horses, chariots, and drivers were forgotten. In vain did the rush of wheels fill the air; none had eyes for anything but Gordius; none had ears to hear anything but the words of Gordius. The roar of the theatre, like a wind rushing through the air, drowned the noise of the racing horses. When the crier had made silence, and all the pipes and trumpets, and other musical instruments were hushed, Gordius was led before the seat of the governor, who was present, and was asked, blandly, who he was and whence he came. Then he related, in order, what was his country, and family, and the rank he had held, and why he had thrown up his office and fled away. 'I am returned,' said he, 'to shew openly that I care naught for your edicts, but that I place my hope and confidence in Jesus Christ alone.'" The governor, being exceedingly exasperated at the interruption in the sports, and the open defiance cast in his face by a deserter, before the whole city, ordered him at once to be tortured. "Then," S. Basil proceeds to relate in his graphic style, "the whole crowd poured from the theatre towards the place of judgment, and all those who had remained behind in the city ran to see the sight. The city was deserted. Like a great river, the inhabitants rolled to the place of martyrdom; mothers of families, noble and ignoble, pushed there; houses were left unprotected, shops were deserted by the customers, and in the market-place goods lay here and there neglected. [Pg 44] Servants threw up their occupations, and ran off to see the spectacle, and all the rabble was there to see this man. Maidens forgot their bashfulness and shame of appearing before men, and sick people and old men crawled without the walls, that they, too, might share the sight." The relations of Gordius, in vain, urged him to yield and apologise for his defiance of the state religion; signing himself with the cross, he cheerfully underwent the torments of leaded scourges, of the little horse, fire, and knife, and was finally beheaded.


(about a.d. 320.)

[The Martyrologies of S. Jerome, Bede, Usuardus, &c. Commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on this day; in the Greek Menæa on the 2nd Jan. Theognis, especially, is famous throughout East and West. The account in the Menæa and Menology is probably trustworthy. The Acts published by the Bollandists are of doubtful authority.]

Theognis was the son of the Bishop of Cyzicus, in Hellespont. In the persecution of Licinius, he and his companions suffered at Cyzicus, being first scourged, and then cast into the sea.


(about a.d. 411.)

[English Martyrologies on this day, though he died on Oct. 1st, on which day he is mentioned in Usuardus. His life in Capgrave is of no historical value—a composition of the 11th cent. "incertum" even to William of Malmesbury.]

When first Christianity penetrated Britain, a great number of Saints existed, especially in Wales and Cornwall. At this time there was a duke, or prince, of Cornwall, named Melian [Pg 45], whose brother, Rivold, revolted against him, and put him to death. Melian left a son, Melor, and the usurper only spared his life at the intercession of the bishops and clergy. He, however, cut off his right hand and left foot, and sent him into one of the Cornish monasteries to be brought up.

The legend goes on to relate that the boy was provided with a silver hand and a brazen foot, and that one day, when he was aged fourteen, he and the abbot were nutting together in a wood, when the abbot saw the boy use his silver hand to clasp the boughs and pick the nuts, just as though it were of flesh and blood. Also, that one day he threw a stone, which sank into the earth, and from the spot gushed forth a fountain of pure water.

Rivold, fearing lest the boy should depose him, bribed his guardian, Cerialtan, to murder him. This Cerialtan performed. He cut off the head of Melor, and carried it to the duke; but angels with lights stood around the body and guarded it.

On his way to the duke, Cerialtan was parched with thirst, and exclaimed, "Wretched man that I am! I am dying for a drop of water." Then the head of the murdered boy said, "Cerialtan, strike the ground with thy rod, and a fountain will spring up." He did so, and quenched his thirst at the miraculous well, and pursued his way. When Rivold saw the head, he touched it, and instantly sickened, and died three days after. The head was then taken back to the body, and was buried with it. But the relics were afterwards taken to Amesbury, in Wiltshire.

It must be remembered, in reading the legends of the British and Irish Saints of the first period, that we have nothing like contemporary histories of their lives, and that these legends were committed to writing many hundreds of years after their death, so that the original facts became surrounded [Pg 46] with an accretion of fable so dense that it is impossible to distinguish truth from falsehood in the legends as they have reached us.


(a.d. 512.)

[S. Genoveva is mentioned in almost all the Latin Martyrologies. Her life was written by an anonymous learned man, in the reign of Childebert, about eighteen years after her death. Three ancient lives exist, but whether one of these is that then composed, it is impossible to say.]

The blessed Genoveva was born at Nanterre, near Mont Valerien, on the outskirts of Paris. Her father's name was Severus; that of her mother was Gerontia. When S. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, was on his way to Britain, to oppose the heresy of Pelagius, with his companion, S. Lupus, they passed through Nanterre. The people went out to meet him, and receive the benedictions; men, and women, and children in companies. Amongst the children, S. Germanus observed Genoveva, and bade her be brought before him. The venerable bishop kissed the child, and asked her name. The surrounding people told him, and the parents coming up, S. Germanus said to them, "Is this little girl your child?" They answered in the affirmative. "Then," said the bishop, "happy are ye in having so blessed a child. She will be great before God; and, moved by her example, many will decline from evil and incline to that which is good, and will obtain remission of their sins, and the reward of life from Christ the Lord."

And then, after a pause, he said to Genoveva, "My daughter, Genoveva!" She answered, "Thy little maiden listens." Then he said, "Do not fear to tell me whether it [Pg 47] be not thy desire to dedicate thy body, clean and untouched, to Christ, as His bride?" She said, "Blessed be thou, father, for thou hast spoken my desire. I pray God earnestly that He will grant it me."

"Have confidence, my daughter," said S. Germain; "be of good courage, and what thou believest in thy heart, and confessest with thy lips, perform in work. God will add to thy comeliness virtue and fortitude."

Then they went to the church, and sang Nones and Vespers, and throughout the office the bishop held his hand on the little maiden's head. And that evening, after supper had been eaten, and they had sung a hymn, S. Germain bade Severus retire with his daughter, but bring her to him very early in the morning again. So when the day broke, Severus came back bringing the child, and the old bishop smiled, and said, "Hail, my daughter Genoveva. Dost thou recall the promise thou didst make yesterday, about keeping thy body in integrity?" She answered, "I remember what I promised to thee, my father, and to God, that with His help I would preserve the chastity of my mind, and the integrity of my body, unto the end."

Then S. Germain picked up from the ground a little brass coin with the sign of the cross on it, which he had observed lying there whilst he was speaking, and gave it her, saying, "Bore a hole in this, and wear it round thy neck in remembrance of me, and let not any other metal ornament, gold or silver, or pearls, adorn thy neck or fingers." Then he bade her farewell, commending her to the care of her father, and pursued his journey.

It has been supposed by some that the command of S. Germain not to wear gold, &c., indicates that she was of wealthy parents, and they are disposed to doubt the common tradition of the place, and the ancient Breviary, which says that she kept sheep for her father on the slopes of Valerien [Pg 48] at Nanterre. But there need be no difficulty upon this point, for the sons and daughters of men of some position, at that period, were thus employed, and there was not supposed to be anything demeaning in the office. Thus, S. Cuthbert, though of noble race, kept sheep on the Northumbrian moors.

At the age of fifteen she was presented to the Bishop of Paris, to be consecrated to the religious life. With her were two other virgins, and though she was the youngest of the three, the bishop, moved by some interior inspiration, placed her first, saying that heaven had already sanctified her.

On the death of her parents, she moved to Paris, where she was remarked for her sanctity and miraculous powers. When S. Germain was on his way to Britain again, he passed through Paris, and asked after Genoveva, when certain envious persons tried to poison his mind against her; but he, despising their slanders, greeted her with great kindness openly, so as to testify before all the people how highly he honoured her, as he had done before at Nanterre.

The influence exerted by this holy woman must have been very great, for she persuaded the Parisians to remain in the city, instead of flying into the country, when the hosts of Attila, King of the Huns, threatened it. Then Genoveva assembled the pious matrons, and with them fasted, and prayed, asking God incessantly, with many tears, to avert the scourge of the Huns from the city.


[Pg 49]

A tumult, however, arose; many people saying that she was a false prophet, and that she would bring ruin on the citizens by dissuading them from escaping with their goods to places of greater security. The mob, headlong and cruel—as a Parisian mob has ever been—came upon her to stone her, or drown her in the Seine, and they would have carried their ferocious purpose into execution, had not her ancient friend and father in God, S. Germain, stood by her in her extremity. He was then dying at Auxerre, and his thoughts turned to the little girl he had consecrated to God in bygone years, in the humble church of Nanterre. Then, he bade the archdeacon take to her the Eulogæ, or blessed bread,[17] in token of love and regard.

The archdeacon arrived when the feeble woman was in greatest peril. He had heard the prophecy of S. Germain of old; and, running among the people, he exhibited the Eulogies sent by the holy bishop, and told them how highly he had venerated her virtues; so he appeased the multitude and dispersed them.

The saying of the Apostle was fulfilled, "All men have not faith; but the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil;" for by the prayers of S. Genoveva the city was preserved, and the army of Alaric came not near it.

S. Genoveva lived on a little barley bread, and a few beans stewed in oil; but after she was aged fifty, at the command of the bishop, she ate also fish, and drank milk. Feeling a great reverence for S. Denis, she desired greatly to build a church in his honour, and she, one day, urged some priests to undertake the work. But they hesitated, saying that they were not able to do so; one reason being that there was no means of burning lime. Then S. Genoveva said, "Go, and cross the city bridge, and tell me what you hear." The priests left her, and as they passed over the bridge, they heard two swineherds in conversation. One said to the other, "Whilst I was following one of my pigs the other day, it led me into the forest to a large limekiln."

[Pg 50]

"That is no marvel," answered the other, "for I found a sapling in the forest uprooted by the wind, and under its roots was an old kiln." On hearing this, the priests returned and told Genoveva what the swineherds had said, and she rejoiced, and set the Priest Genes over the work; and all the citizens, at the instigation of S. Genoveva, assisted; and she encouraged the workmen, till the church of S. Denis was built and roofed in. This incident is not a little curious, as it exhibits the fall and prostration of the arts at this period, when, apparently, the science of building was forgotten, and old Roman limekilns had to be used, because the Gauls, owing to the incursions of barbarians and civil war, had lost the art of building them.

Childeric, though a heathen, had a great respect for Genoveva, and was unable to refuse her, when she requested him, to spare the lives of his prisoners. On one occasion, when he was about to execute, outside the city, a large number of captives made in war, he ordered the gates to be closed behind him, lest Genoveva should follow, and obtain pardon for them. But when the saintly woman heard that the blood of so many men was about to flow, in a paroxysm of compassion, she hurried through the streets, and reaching the gates, put her hand to them, and though locked and barred, they unclosed at the touch of charity, and she pursued the king; and, falling down before him, would not be comforted till she had obtained pardon for all those whom he had ordered to be executed. After Paris was blockaded by the Franks, the neighbourhood suffered greatly from famine, as the harvests had been destroyed and the country laid waste. Genoveva, seeing that many died of want, conducted vessels to Arcis, and procuring sufficient supplies, returned with them to Paris.

Every Saturday night, Genoveva was wont to watch in prayer, that the Lord coming in the Holy Eucharist of His [Pg 51] day, might find his servant watching. It fell out that one stormy night, as the Sabbath drew towards Sunday morn, and the cock had crowed, she left her home to betake herself to the church of S. Denis, with the virgins who were her fellows, and the lantern that was carried before her was extinguished by a puff of wind; then the maidens were frightened at the pitch darkness, the howling of the storm, and the rain, and the road was so muddy that, without a light, they could not pick their way. Then Genoveva took the lantern in her hand, and the candle lighted of itself within; and holding it, she entered the church.

She performed several pilgrimages to the shrine of S. Martin, at Tours, in company with those holy women who lived with her, and imitated her virtues. She died at the age of eighty-nine, probably in the year 512; but the date is not to be ascertained with certainty.

Patroness of Paris.

Relics, in the church of S. Etienne du Mont, at Paris.

In art, S. Genoveva is represented, (1), with a devil blowing out her candle, and an angel rekindling it. Sometimes, in old sculpture, the devil is provided with a pair of bellows; or, (2), she is restoring sight to her mother with the water of the well of Nanterre; or, (3), guarding her father's sheep; or, (4), with the keys of Paris at her girdle, as patroness of the city; or, (5), holding bread in her lap; or, (6), with the well of Nanterre at her side.


(a.d. 687.)

[Belgian and Gallo-Belgian Martyrologies. The life is from a MS. at Marolles, of uncertain date, but apparently authentic.]

Saint Bertilia was born of noble parents. From an early [Pg 52] age her heart turned to the service of God alone, and she delighted in attending the offices of religion. A youth of noble blood, named Guthland, sought her hand in marriage, for she was very beautiful, gentle in speech, and modest in manner. But Bertilia refused him, desiring to retire into a solitary place; however, when her parents urged her vehemently, she gave a reluctant consent to their wishes, and was married. Nevertheless, at her desire, the young husband and she lived together in all chastity, as brother and sister, serving the poor, and given to hospitality. On the death of her husband, she divided his goods with the Church, and built a great church at Marolles, with a little cell adjoining it for her habitation. One night, after long protracted prayer in the church, she returned to her cell, where she was seized with excruciating pains; nevertheless, she knelt down and prayed with fervour, and prepared her soul for its departure. After having received the last Sacraments, she fell asleep in Christ, and was buried in the church she had built at Marolles. She was taken up and enshrined by Gerard II., Bishop of Cambray, on September 14th, 1081; and translated to another shrine on the 8th October, 1221.

Patroness of Marolles, in the diocese of Cambray.

Relics at Marolles.



[17] The custom of blessing bread and distributing it amongst the faithful, prevails still in the French Church, as may be seen at any festival in a church of importance. The blessed bread is not to be confounded with the Holy Eucharist. It is taken about the church in baskets, and is a sort of sweet-cake. This is a relic of the ancient Love Feasts or Agapæ.

[Pg 53]

January 4.

Octave of the Holy Innocents.

S. Titus, B. and Ap. of Crete, circ. a.d. 105.
SS. Aquilinus, Geminus, Eugenius, and Others, Martyrs in Africa.
S. Dafrosa, W. C., at Rome, a.d. 361.
S. Rumon, B. C., at Tavistock, in Devonshire.
S. Gregory, B. of Langres, in France, circ. a.d. 541.
S. Pharaildis, V., in Brabant, about a.d. 745.
S. Rigobert, B. of Rheims, a.d. 749.
S. Libentius, Abp. of Bremen, a.d. 1013.
B. Angela, of Foligni, in Umbria, a.d. 1309.


(about 105.)

[S. Titus is commemorated on this day in the Roman, and all the Latin Martyrologies. But the Greeks observe the feast of S. Titus on August 25th. Much of his history can be gathered from the first and second epistles of S. Paul to the Corinthians, and from his epistle to S. Titus; also from the Greek Menologium, and his life, written by Zenas, the lawyer, in the Menæa; and that by Peter de Natalibus, compiled from Greek sources.]


aint Titus was born of Gentile parents, being descended from the ancient royal family of Crete.[18] He was a favourite companion of S. Paul, who calls him his son in Christ. His virtue gained him the particular esteem of this Apostle; for we find him employed as secretary and interpreter by S. Paul; and the Apostle styles him his brother.[19] On one occasion, when much depressed, he was consoled by the presence of Titus: "God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;"[20] and he testified, on another occasion, that he found no rest in his spirit, because at Troas he had not met Titus.[21]

[Pg 54]

In the year 51, Titus accompanied S. Paul to the Council that was held at Jerusalem, on the subject of the Mosaic rites. Though the Apostle had consented to the circumcision of Timothy, in order to render his ministry more acceptable among the Jews, he would not allow the same in the case of Titus, apprehensive of giving thereby a sanction to the faction which held to the necessity of combining the rites of the Law with the Sacraments of the Gospel.

Towards the close of the year 56, S. Paul sent Titus from Ephesus to Corinth, with full commission to remedy several subjects of scandal, and to allay the dissensions in that Church. He was there received with great respect, and was satisfied with the penance and submission of the offenders; but could not be prevailed upon to accept from them any present, not even so much as his own maintenance. His love for that Church was very great, and at the request of the Corinthians, he interceded with S. Paul for the pardon of the incestuous man whom he had excommunicated. He was sent the same year by the Apostle, a second time, to Corinth, to bring the alms of that Church to Jerusalem, for the relief of the necessity of the poor Christians there. All these particulars we learn from S. Paul's two epistles to the Corinthians.

S. Paul, after his first imprisonment, returning from Rome into the East, made some stay in the island of Crete, of which Rustilius, the governor, was married to the sister of S. Titus. He consecrated his beloved disciple, Titus, to be bishop of that island, and left him there to finish the work he had begun.[22] "We may form a judgment," says S. Chrysostom, "from the importance of the charge, how great was the esteem of S. Paul for his disciple."[23] But the Apostle, on his return into Europe the year after, finding the loss of such a companion too material, ordered him to meet him at Nicopolis, in Epirus, where he intended to pass the winter, as soon as Artemas or Tychicus, whom the Apostle was about to send to him, to take the place of the bishop during his absence, should arrive.[24] And when he came, he bade him assist Zenas, the lawyer, and Apollos on their journey.[25] From this Zenas we have certain incidents of the life of S. Titus, which have been preserved in a fragmentary condition in the Greek Menæa.

[Pg 55]

Zenas relates the conversion of S. Titus thus:—Titus, living in the island of Crete, was learned in Greek literature, having been studious in youth. But the dreams of the poets and philosophers did not satisfy the inward craving of his soul after truth. One day, when twenty years old, he heard a voice say to him, "Titus, depart hence and save thy soul, for the learning of the Greeks will not profit thee unto salvation." Wondering in himself what this could mean, he was bidden by the same voice to take up a Hebrew volume that he had long disregarded, and open it. And the book was the Prophet Isaiah, and the place of the Scriptures that his eye rested on was this, "Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak,"[26] and what follows.

[Pg 56]

He seems to have read on much of that chapter, with its promise to the isles, and to have applied to himself the words, "Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.... When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them."[27] These were words very different from those of the poets of Greece, and gave an idea of God quite other from that formed by Homer, in whose writings he had found delight; so Titus left his Greek studies and his native island, and sought Jerusalem, the chief city of that people of whom the prophet spake such great things. And when he was there he saw Jesus, and heard Him teach. Perhaps he was one of those Greeks whom S. Andrew brought to Christ.[28] He believed, and was of the number of the first disciples. He remained at Jerusalem after the ascension and the descent of the Holy Ghost. After he joined S. Paul, he accompanied him in most of his journeys. In 65, S. Paul sent him to preach the Word of God in Dalmatia, after he had visited him in Nicopolis;[29] but he probably was there for no great length of time, though the Dalmatians honour him as their Apostle.

Peter de Natalibus relates that when death approached, he saw angels coming from heaven in a glorious train to fetch his soul, and that his face lit up with joy at their approach, and shone with supernatural splendour. He committed his people to God in long and earnest prayer, and then yielded up his spirit in peace to Christ his Saviour.

The body of S. Titus was kept, with great veneration, in the Cathedral of Gortyna; but that city having been ruined by the Saracens, in 823, the metropolitan see was transferred to Candia, seventeen miles from the ancient Gortyna; there the head of S. Titus was preserved, till it was carried off by the Venetians, and is now among the sacred treasures of S. Mark's, at Venice.

Patron of Candia, or Crete.

[Pg 57]


(a.d. 361.)

[Mentioned in Roman Martyrology, and in those of Bede, Ado, Notker, Maurolycus, &c. All known of her is contained in the Martyrologies.]

This Saint was the wife of S. Flavian, a martyr. She was one of the few who suffered in the reign of Julian, the Apostate; having been sentenced by Apronianus, præfect of the city, in Rome, along with her daughters, Demetria and Bibiana. S. Flavian, her husband, was crowned on the 22nd December; and she followed him shortly. She was sent to the house of a certain Faustus, who desired to have her in marriage; but she refused to become his wife, and converted him to the faith. He was baptized by S. John the priest, who is commemorated on June 23rd. Faustus was executed, and his body cast to the dogs; but Dafrosa saved it, and buried it secretly at night. Then, in a dream, her husband Flavian appeared to her, and called her to follow him. And at the expiration of five days, whilst engaged in prayer, she migrated to her heavenly country.


[Does not occur in the Roman Martyrology.]

William of Malmesbury informs us that the history of S. Rumon's life was destroyed by the wars, which devastated England. He was a bishop; but of what see we do not know. Many of the early Saints of the Church in Cornwall, Wales, and Ireland, received episcopal consecration, without jurisdiction. His body was preserved at Tavistock, in Devonshire, where Ordulf, Earl of Devonshire, built a church [Pg 58] under his invocation, before the year 960.


(about a.d. 541.)

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. The life of S. Gregory of Langres was written by S. Gregory of Tours, who died 591.]

Saint Gregory, one of the principal senators of Autun, in France, was appointed count of the city, and for many years administered justice with the utmost prudence and uprightness. His wife, Armentaria, was also of senatorial rank; by her he had several children, of whom Tetricus was numbered among the Saints.

After the death of his wife, having been elected by the clergy and citizens of Langres to be their bishop, he was consecrated by the metropolitan. As bishop, his life was edifying. He was a model of humility, and sought, above all things, to conceal his acts of self-denial, and long communings with God. He ate barley bread, but that this might not be observed, he had wheat cakes piled on the table above his brown barley cakes, so that he could draw from the dish those for his own eating, whilst the others ate white bread, and supposed him to be doing the same. In like manner, at table he used a dull glass goblet, so that it might not be noticed that he drank water, whereas, the others were supplied with wine. At night, he was wont to rise from his bed, when everybody else was asleep, and steal, on tip-toe, to the baptistery of the church, where he passed several hours in prayer and singing psalms. This was long unobserved; but one night a deacon was awake, and saw the bishop rise. Wondering at his proceeding, when S. Gregory had left the dormitory, he rose also, and stole softly after him, and saw him enter the baptistery, the gate opening to him of its own accord. For some time there was [Pg 59] silence; and then the bishop's voice was heard chanting, and immediately many voices took up the psalm, and the singing continued for three hours. "I, for my part," says S. Gregory, of Tours, "think that the Saints, of whom the relics were there preserved, revealed themselves to the blessed man, and sang praises to God in company with him."

One day, as he was walking to Langres, he was struck with fever, and he died shortly after; "and his blessed countenance was so glorified after his departure, that it looked like a blushing rose, whilst the rest of his body was shining like a white lily, so that it seemed then to have a foretaste of its future resurrection beauty." He was buried at Dijon, which was then in the diocese of Langres, and his son, Tetricus, succeeded him in the see of Langres.

There is much uncertainty about the date of his death. In some Martyrologies he is said to have died in 535; Galesinius says in 524. But he was present at the Council of Clermont, in 535, and signed the decrees of the third Council of Orleans by his deputy, Evantius, the priest, in 538; but did not appear at, or send a deputy to, the fourth Council of Orleans, in 541. It is, therefore, probable that the see was then vacant by his death.

In art, S. Gregory appears before a church door, which an angel opens to him; or with chains, because it is said that as his body was being taken to burial, the bier was set down before a prison, and the chains fell off the prisoners, [Pg 60] and they were freed at the same moment.


(about a.d. 745.)

[Belgian and German Martyrologies. Authorities for her life:—A MS. life from the monastery of Mont Gerard, published by the Bollandists, and by Molanus on the Belgian Saints. Besides, we have mention of her in the lives of her mother and sisters.]

Saint Pharaildis was the daughter of Theodoric, duke of Lorraine, and his wife, S. Amalberga. The family was one of Saints. The brother of S. Pharaildis, on the mother's side, was S. Emenbert, Bishop of Cambray, and her sisters were S. Rainelda and S. Gudula. She was born at Ghent, and after her baptism, was taken by her aunt, S. Gertrude, to be by her brought up. She was married, but lived with her husband as though single. For thirty years she rose every night at cock-crow, and sought the church of the nearest monastery to hear prime, and matins, and lauds. She died at the age of ninety, and was buried in the church of S. Bavo, in Ghent, a.d. 745, but afterwards was carried to Nivelles by the religious of Ghent, fleeing the incursions of the Normans. A portion of the relics was left at Nivelles, but the major part was brought back to Ghent, and enshrined in the new church of S. Pharaildis, which was destroyed by the Calvinists in 1566. The relics, however, were saved. On the 17th Dec., 1608, the chapter of S. Pharaildis, in Ghent, gave some portion to a little chapel at Steenockerzeel.

In Flemish, S. Pharaildis is called Veerle, or Verelde.

In art, S. Pharaildis appears as a patroness of Ghent, with a goose in her arms, or at her feet, Gans being the Flemish for a goose; in base Latin, Ganta or Gansa; and the Latin name of Ghent, in the Middle Ages, being Gantum. She is also represented with loaves of bread; for, according to [Pg 61] a legend, a woman having begged bread of her sister for her child, the sister said, "I have none to give to you; there's no bread in the house." And when the poor woman urged her, she exclaimed, "May S. Pharaildis change the bread into stones if there be any here." Whereupon, some loaves she had by her were petrified.


(about a.d. 749.)

[Roman, Benedictine, and Gallican Martyrologies. Authority:—A life of the 9th cent.]

Saint Rigobert, a Benedictine monk, was ordained archbishop of Rheims in the year 696. He consecrated Dagobert II., Chilperic II., and Theoderic II., kings of the Franks. In his diocese he laboured to restore discipline and sanctity of life. When Charles Martel and Ragenfried were fighting for the mastery, the former came with his troops before Rheims, and demanded to be admitted. The bishop refused to open the gates, "Because," said he, "I know not whether you or Ragenfried will be given the kingdom." Charles Martel went away in a fury, and vowed, if he gained the day, he would make the cautious archbishop suffer for it. When Charles Martel had subdued his rival, he returned to Rheims, and drove S. Rigobert into exile, and gave the revenues of the see to laymen, creatures of the court. Whilst at Rheims, S. Rigobert had lived over the city gate, and kept the keys of the town. The window of his chamber looked towards the Basilica of S. Remigius, and at it he was wont to pray, like Daniel, with his face turned to Jerusalem. That he might easily, and at will, descend into the church of S. Peter, which was situated near the gateway, S. Rigobert [Pg 62] had a hole knocked in a turret of the church, so that by a ladder he could descend into the church to prayer, and return by it to a little oratory, dedicated to S. Michael, which he had built on the city wall. But this oratory did not stand very long, for King Louis gave the monastery of S. Peter to his daughter Alpaida; and her husband, Begus, having knocked his head against the lintel of the door when entering the little chapel—he being a very tall man—ordered it to be pulled down, pretending that it cut off the light from the windows of the church. "Humility," says the chronicler dryly, "never knocks its head against any thing."

S. Rigobert, when in exile, retired to Gascony, but was recalled by Pepin, and returned to Rheims; but finding that, contrary to canon law, Milo, an abbot, had been appointed to the see, he went away to Gernicour, a village at no great distance. At Gernicour, he lived in poverty, in great humility and prayer; sometimes he visited Rheims, that he might celebrate on the altar of S. Mary, which had been conceded to him by Milo. One day he was at Cormicy, and visited the church of S. Cyriac, to pray for his poor diocese, a prey to ravening wolves; and his prayer being ended, he conversed with Wibert, comptroller of Rheims, who invited him to dine with him, as the table was ready. But S. Rigobert answered, "I may not eat, as I have to celebrate mass this morning in the church of S. Peter, at Gernicour." Whilst he was speaking, a poor widow brought the deputy-governor a goose. "Here," said Wibert, "as you will not dine with me, take this goose home with you, and cook it for your own dinner." Then S. Rigobert gave it to his little serving boy to carry before him; and he went on his way saying his office; when the goose flew out of the boy's hands, and was gone. The boy was much grieved, and was on the point of crying. The bishop, seeing the sad face of [Pg 63] the child, interrupted his psalm to console him, and to tell him that the loss of this world's goods should not draw forth tears, but that the heart should trust in God, who gives all things bountifully. Then the bishop resumed his psalms, now reciting them to himself, and then breaking forth into song. Presently the goose came fluttering down before the feet of the old man, so the boy put it under his arm again, and brought it safely to Gernicour. But it was not cooked for dinner. Indeed, the bishop would not allow it to be killed, and the goose became so tame, that it followed him about, and would even accompany him on his walks to Rheims, and wait there for him when he said mass at the altar of S. Mary.

Relics, in the church of S. Denis, at Rheims, and in the chapel of S. Rigobert, in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, at Paris.

In art, he is represented with a goose.


(a.d. 1309.)

[B. Angela was beatified by Pope Innocent XII. in 1693. Her life and revelations were written by her confessor, Arnald, friar of the order of S. Francis, in her lifetime, and the revelations were submitted to her for correction.]

The Blessed Angela, of Foligni, belonged to a rich and honourable family in Umbria. She was married, and had children. Upon the death of her mother, husband, and children, her heart turned in an agony of love to God alone, and appeared filled to overflowing with that divine charity of which an earthly affection is but a reflection. She was frequent in prayer, and made a discreet use of the Sacrament [Pg 64] of penance. "Once she confessed her sins to me," says Friar Arnald, "preserving the most perfect knowledge of her sins, and was filled with so much contrition and tears, from the beginning of her confession to the end, and with so great humility, that I wept in my heart, believing most surely, that if the whole world was deceived, God would not permit her, who was full of so much truth and integrity, to be deceived. The following night she was sick, well nigh to death, and next morning she drew herself, with great effort, to the Franciscan Church, and I was then saying mass, and I communicated her, and I know that she never communicated without God giving her some great favour, and that a new one continually. But so great were the consolations and illuminations which she received in her soul, that frequently they seemed to overflow into her body. Thus, when she was standing with me, and her soul was lifted up, her face and body were transformed, through joy, at the divine words of address, and devotion, and delight at the consolations, that her eyes shone as candles, and her face flushed like a rose, and became radiant and angelical, as was beyond nature."

The inner life and meditations of the Blessed Angela were written down from her lips, and were read over to her by the confessor. They are full of instruction and beauty, and are of considerable length. She died on the 4th January, 1309.

Her body reposes in a shrine in the Franciscan Church at Foligni.



[18] Peter de Nat.

[19] 2 Cor. xii. 16.

[20] 2 Cor. vii. 6.

[21] 2 Cor. xi. 13.

[22] Zenas and Peter de Nat. The latter does not say that S. Paul visited Crete, but that he sent Titus there. S. Paul says, "I left thee in Crete," Tit. i. 4, showing that he did visit that island with Titus.

[23] Homil. i. in Tit.

[24] Tit. iii. 12.

[25] Tit. iv. 13.

[26] Isa. xli. 1.

[27] Isa. xli. 9, 10, 17.

[28] John xii. 21.

[29] 2 Tim. iv. 10.

[Pg 65]

January 5.

The Vigil of the Epiphany.

S. Telesphorus, P. M., a.d. 139.
The Holy Martyrs in the Thebaid, a.d. 302.
S. Syncletica, V., in Egypt, 4th cent.
S. Apollinaris Syncletica, V., 5th cent.
S. Simeon Stylites, H., a.d. 460.
S. Emiliana, V., 6th cent.
S. Edward the Confessor, K. of England, a.d. 1066.
S. Gerlach, H., near Maestrecht, a.d. 1170.


(a.d. 139.)

[Mentioned originally in the Carmelite Breviary. This Pope was inserted in the Roman Breviary by Clement VIII. He is commemorated by the Greeks on Feb. 22.]


aint Telesphorus was by birth a Greek, and was the seventh Bishop of Rome. Towards the end of the year 128, he succeeded S. Sixtus I., and sat eleven years on the throne of S. Peter, and saw the havoc which the persecution of Hadrian wrought in the Church. "He ended his life by an illustrious martyrdom," says Eusebius.[30]


(about a.d. 302.)

[Pg 66]

"One cannot but admire," says Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History (lib. viii., c. 8, 9), "those who suffered in Egypt, their native land, where thousands, both men, and women, and children, despising the present life for the sake of our Saviour's doctrine, submitted to death in various shapes. Some, after being tortured with scrapings and the rack, and the most dreadful scourgings, and other innumerable agonies, which one might shudder to hear, were finally committed to the flames; some plunged and drowned in the sea, others voluntarily offering their heads to the executioners; others dying in the midst of their torments, some wasted away by famine, and others again fixed to the cross. Some, indeed, were executed as malefactors usually were; others, more cruelly, were nailed head downwards, and kept alive, until they were destroyed by starving, on the cross itself. But it would exceed all power of detail to give an idea of the sufferings and tortures which the martyrs of Thebais endured. These, instead of hooks, had their bodies scraped with potsherds, and were mangled in this way until they died. Women, tied by one foot, and then raised on high in the air by certain machines, with their naked bodies wholly uncovered, presented this most foul, cruel, and inhuman spectacle to all beholders; others again perished, bound to trees and branches. For, drawing the stoutest of the branches together by machines for this purpose, and binding the limbs of the martyrs to each of these, they then let loose the boughs to resume their natural position, designing thus to produce a violent action, to tear asunder the limbs of those whom they thus treated. But all these things were doing not only for a few days, or for some time, but for a series of whole years. At one time, ten or more; at another, more than twenty; at another time, not less than thirty, and even sixty; and again, at another time, a hundred men, with their wives and little children, were slain in one day, whilst they were condemned to various and varied punishments. We ourselves, when on the spot, saw many crowded together [Pg 67] in one day, some suffering decapitation, some the torments of flames; so that the murderous weapon was completely blunted, and having lost its edge, broke to pieces; and the executioners themselves, wearied with slaughter, were obliged to relieve one another. Then, also, we were witnesses to the most admirable ardour of mind, and the truly divine energy and alacrity of those that believed in the Christ of God. For, as soon as the sentence was pronounced against the first, others rushed forward from other parts to the tribunal before the judge, confessing they were Christians, most indifferent to the dreadful and many kinds of tortures that awaited them, but declaring themselves fully, and in the most undaunted manner, on the religion which acknowledges only one Supreme God. They received, indeed, the final sentence of death with gladness and exultation, so far as even to sing and send up hymns of praise and thanksgiving, until they breathed their last."

The names of these blessed ones, whose bones are strewn over the deserts of Egypt, are unknown to us; but they are written in the Book of Life. At the day of the general Resurrection they will rise and stand, on their feet, a great army.


(4th cent.)

[S. Syncletica is commemorated by the Westerns on the 5th Jan., and by the Easterns on the 4th Jan. Her life, written shortly after her death, has been attributed to S. Athanasius, but on insufficient grounds.]

At a time when luxury was carried to extremities, and the body was pampered, and the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, were the objects for which men and women lived, here and there the spirit of man throbbed with [Pg 68] higher aspirations, and yearned to break away from the gilded round of wealthy frivolity, to live a truer life and breathe a purer air. Society was rotten to its core; decency was not observed in conversation; modesty was forgotten in dress, and all that could gratify the flesh, and excite passion, was studied as an art. In the midst of this hot, sickly atmosphere of evil, pure souls, like that of Syncletica, stifled. The modest mind of a young girl shrank into itself, like a delicate flower that closes at the rude touch, and died to the world. If she were a heathen, she bent her head, and sickened and faded. If she were a Christian, she found in the shadow of the Church, a fresh spot where she might bloom, fanned by the breezes of Paradise.

Syncletica was born at Alexandria, of wealthy parents, of Macedonian extraction, who had settled there. Being very beautiful and well-dowered, she was sought in marriage by many suitors; but declined all offers, for her girlish heart had awakened to a love truer and deeper than any human affection; the best of her love she gave to God, and she desired to be His, and His alone. On the death of her parents she devoted her attention to her blind sister; and together, they served God in prayer and almsgiving. In token of renunciation of the world, and to deliver herself from troublesome pursuit by fortune-hunters, she cut off her hair, and disposed of her estates, but she sought to avoid notice in all that she did, and to conceal her good deeds and self-sacrifices. Nevertheless, she became known, and young maidens and women resorted to her for advice, and to study her example. She was reluctant to be forced thus into a position which she dreaded; nevertheless, unable to refuse the girls and young women that assistance they so much needed, she gave them much instruction, which has been preserved to us in the record we have of her life, and her words abound in practical common sense. "Listen to me," [Pg 69] she said to the maidens; "we all know how we can be saved, but we fail through our own carelessness. The first thing to be done, is to keep the commandment, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself; for in this consists all perfection.' These are few words, but there is plenty of matter in them. Then beware of retrogression. The corn in the Gospel brought forth; some an hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, and some thirty-fold. Beware lest, beginning at sixty, we fall back to thirty. Let those who are virgins take care of their eyes, and their tongue, and their ears, and keep them in modesty, not looking about them boldly, nor talking flippantly, nor listening to certain things that may be said. Obedience is better than asceticism, for asceticism may puff up, but obedience brings one down. There is an asceticism which is of the devil. How are we to distinguish right asceticism from that which is wrong? By its moderation. Have you begun fasting? Don't make pretexts to wriggle out of it on the score of health, for the lady who does not fast is just as much subject to maladies as she who does."

S. Syncletica died at the age of eighty, of cancer on the mouth, and consumption in the lungs, from which she suffered with great patience for three years. The cancer made horrible ravages in her face, and became so distressingly offensive, that to ward off infection from those who nursed her, she allowed it to be treated with the mixture which is used for embalming corpses.


[Pg 70]


(beginning of 5th cent.)

[Commemorated in the Latin Martyrologies on this day, but by the Greeks on Jan. 4th. Her life, written by one who lived at the same time, is given by Metaphrastes. This life represents her as daughter of Anthemius, the Emperor. Metaphrastes concludes, but wrongly, that she was daughter of Anthemius, who was appointed Emperor of the West by Leo I. But it appears more probable that she was the daughter of Anthemius, consular prefect of the city, who acted as regent after the death of Arcadius, during the minority of Theodosius the younger. This Anthemius was grandfather of the Emperor Anthemius. It is quite possible that the regent may have received imperial honours. The narrative in one place, speaking of the expedition of Apollinaris to the Holy Land, says, "A few days after, when we had found companions, we went on to the Holy City. And when, at a certain place, we turned aside, on account of our burdens, and the slaves and serving maids who were with us, we rested awhile." This is the only allusion to himself made by the writer, and it is so casual, that it is difficult not to regard it as an evidence of the authenticity of the piece. The story is, however, so much like a romance, and is open to so many critical objections, that it is difficult to accept it exactly as it is.]

Saint Apollinaris, called from her high rank Syncletica, was the daughter of Anthemius. She had a sister of a different spirit from herself. The parents of Apollinaris desired to unite her in marriage, at an early age, to some wealthy noble, but she manifested such a fixed resolution to remain single, that they yielded to her wish. In her heart she desired to retire completely from the world; having heard of the wondrous lives of the recluses in Egypt, she longed greatly to see and imitate them. Her parents having consented to her making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, she visited the holy places, and in Jerusalem she liberated all the slaves who had been sent to bear her company, and dismissed them with liberal gifts, retaining in her service only an eunuch and an old man to prepare her tent. In Jerusalem, she bribed an aged woman to procure for her, secretly, the habit of a recluse, and this she kept by her for a proper moment. [Pg 71] On her way back she visited the tomb of S. Meria, on the Egyptian coast; and after prayer retired to her sleeping tent, when she assumed the monastic habit, and cast aside her worldly dress, with all its ornaments. Then, in the night, when the two men were asleep without, she stole from her tent, and fled into the desert, and took refuge in a morass. Next morning the servants were filled with consternation, and sought her everywhere in vain. Then they appeared before the governor of the city Lemna (?) where they were; and he assisted in the search, but all was in vain; so the governor sent a letter to the parents of Apollinaris, with her clothes and baggage, narrating the circumstances. Anthemius and his wife wept when they heard of the loss of their daughter, but consoled themselves with the belief that she had entered some community of religious women.

However, S. Apollinaris made her way into the desert of Scété, where lived S. Macarius of Alexandria, at the head of a large monastery of recluses in cells and caves. Apollinaris, having cut off her hair, and being much tanned by exposure to the sun, and wasted with hunger in the marsh, where she had lived on a few dates, passed as a man, and was supposed, from being beardless, to be an eunuch. She spent many years there under the name of Dorotheus. Now it fell out that her sister, being grievously tormented with a devil, Anthemius bethought himself on sending her to Macarius to be healed, for the fame of his miracles had spread far and wide. But when the young girl was brought to Macarius, the aged abbot, moved by some interior impulse, conducted her to Dorotheus, and bade him heal the possessed by prayer. Then S. Apollinaris earnestly, and with many tears, besought Macarius not to tempt her thus, for God had not given to her the gift of performing miracles. Nevertheless he persisted; then the possessed woman was shut into the cell of Dorotheus for several days, that he might, [Pg 72] by prayer and fasting, cast the demon forth. And when, after a while, the virgin seemed to be healed, she was restored to the attendants, who conducted her to her parents with great joy.

Some months after, the maiden suffered from an attack of dropsy, and the parents, in shame and grief, supposing her to be pregnant, questioned her closely thereabout. But she could not account for her size, and when they pressed her more vehemently, moved by the evil spirit, she declared that Dorotheus, the hermit, had seduced her. On hearing this, Anthemius sent to Scété, that Dorotheus should be brought before him. The holy congregation was filled with horror and dismay on hearing the charge, and they went with one accord and cried to God to put away from them so grievous a reproach. Then said Dorotheus, "Be of good courage, my brethren, the Lord will reveal my innocence." And when she was brought before Anthemius, she said, "I am your daughter, Apollinaris." Then they fell on her neck and wept, and she prayed to God, and kissed her sister, and the Lord heard her cry, and healed the damsel of her disease. And after having tarried with them a few days, she returned to the desert once more.


(a.d. 460.)

[Commemorated on this day in the Latin Martyrologies, but on Sept. 1st by the Greeks. There were three of this name; the second, who lived at a later date, is commemorated by the Greeks on May 24th; and the third, whom they designate Priest and Archimandrite, on July 26th. These two later Saints copied the great Simeon Stylites, of world-wide renown. The life of this famous hermit was written by a disciple of his, named Anthony, who was with him when he died; and also by Theodoret, who knew him well in life. Also, by Evagrius in his Ecclesiastical History.]


[Pg 73]

"Simeon," says Theodoret, "was born in the village of Gesa, between Antioch and Cilicia, and as a boy kept his father's sheep. One day, forced by heavy snow to leave them in the fold, he went with his parents to the church, and there heard the Gospel read, which blesses those who mourn and weep; which calls those enviable who have a pure heart. And when he asked a bystander what he would gain who kept the Beatitudes, the man propounded to him the life of self-sacrifice. This," Theodoret adds, "he heard from the Saint's own tongue."

Forthwith, Simeon going out of the church, went to a neighbouring monastery, governed by one Timothy; and falling down before the gate, he lay five days, neither eating nor drinking. And on the fifth day, the abbot, coming out, asked him, "Whence art thou, my son? What parents hast thou, that thou art so afflicted? Or, what is thy name, lest perchance thou hast done wrong? or, perchance, thou art a slave, and fleest from thy master?" Then the lad answered with tears, "No, master! I long to be a servant of God, and to save my soul. Suffer me to enter the monastery, and send me not away."

Then the abbot, taking him by the hand, introduced him into the house, saying to the brethren, "My sons, behold I deliver you this brother; teach him the rules." He was in the convent about four months, serving all without complaint, and in that time he learned the whole Psalter by heart. But the food which he took with his brethren, he gave away secretly to the poor, reserving for himself only food for one day in the seven. But one day, having gone to the well to draw water, he took the rope from the bucket and wound it round his body, from the loins to the neck, and wore it till his flesh was cut into by the rope. One day, some of the brethren found him giving his food to the poor; and when they returned, they complained to the abbot, saying, "We cannot abstain like him; he fasts from Lord's day [Pg 74] to Lord's day, and gives away his food." Then the abbot rebuked him, and Simeon answered not. And the abbot being angry, bade strip him, and found the rope round him, sunk into the flesh, and with great trouble it was uncoiled, and the skin came off with it; then the monks took care of him and healed him. When he was healed, he went out of the monastery and entered a deserted tank, where there was no water; no man knowing. After a few days, he was found, and the abbot descended into the tank. Then the blessed Simeon, seeing him, began to entreat, saying, "I beg you, servants of God, let me alone one hour, that I may render up my spirit; for yet a little while, and it will fail. But my soul is very weary, because I have angered the Lord."

But the abbot said to him, "Come, servant of God, that we may take thee to the monastery." But when he would not, they brought him by force, and he stayed in the community about one year. "After this," says Theodoret, "he came to the Telanassus, under the peak of the mountain, on which he lived till his death, and having found a little house, he remained in it shut up for three years. But, eager to advance in virtue, he tried to persuade Blasus, who was archpriest of the villages around, to leave nothing within by him, for forty days and nights, but to close up the door with clay. The priest warned him that to die by one's own act is no virtue, but is a great crime." "Put by me then, father," he said, "ten loaves, and a cruse of water, and if I find my body needs sustenance, I will partake of them." Then Blasus did so, and at the end of the days Blasus removed the clay, and going in, found the bread and water untouched, and Simeon lying, unable to speak or move. Getting a sponge, he moistened and opened his lips, and then gave him the Holy Eucharist; and strengthened by this immortal Food, he chewed, little by little, lettuces and succory, and [Pg 75] such like.

When he had passed three years in that little house, he took possession of the peak, which has since been so famous; and when he had commanded a wall to be made round him, and procured an iron chain, he fastened one end of it to a great stone, and the other to his right foot, so that he could not, if he wished, have left those bounds. But when Meletius, Bishop of Antioch, saw him, he told him that if he had the will to remain, the iron profited nothing. Then, having sent for a smith, he bade him strike off the chain.

The fame of the wondrous austerities of this man wrought upon the wild Arab tribes, and effected what no missionaries had been able, as yet, to perform. No doubt the fearful severities exercised by Simeon, on himself, are startling and even shocking. But the Spirit of God breathes where He wills, and thou canst not tell whence He cometh and whither He goeth. What but the divine Spirit could have caught that young boy's soul away from keeping sheep, and looking forward to the enjoyment of youth, and precipitated it into this course, so contrary to flesh and blood? Theodoret says, that as kings change the impression on their coins, sometimes stamping them with the image of lions, sometimes of stars, sometimes of angels, so the divine Monarch produces different marks of sanctity at different periods, and at each period He calls forth these virtues, or characters, He needs for a particular work. So was it now; on the wild sons of the desert, no missionaries had made an impression; their rough hearts had given no echo to the sound of the Gospel. Something of startling novelty was needed to catch their attention, and strike their imagination, and drag them violently to the cross. These wild men came from their deserts to see the weird, haggard man in his den. He fled from them as they crowded upon him, not into the wastes of [Pg 76] sand, but up a pillar; first up one six cubits, then one twelve cubits, and finally, one of thirty-six. The sons of Ishmael poured to the foot of the pillar, "like a river along the roads, and formed an ocean of men about it." "And," says Theodoret, "myriads of Ishmaelites, who had been enslaved in the darkness of impiety, were illuminated by that station on the column. For this most shining light, set as it were on a candlestick, sent forth all around its beams, like the sun, and one might see Iberi, Persians, and Armenians coming and receiving divine baptism. But the Ishmaelites (Arabs,) coming by tribes, 200 and 300 at a time, and sometimes even 1,000, denied with shouts the error of their ancestors; and breaking in pieces the images they had worshipped, and renouncing the orgies of Venus, they received the divine Sacraments, and accepted laws from that holy tongue. And this I have seen with my own eyes, and have heard them renouncing the impiety of their fathers, and assenting to Evangelic doctrine." Here was the result. Little did the boy know, as he lay before the monastery door five days without eating, to what God had called him; for what work he was predestined, when he coiled the rope about his body. The Spirit had breathed, and he had followed the impulse, and now he wrought what the tongue of a prophet could not have affected. And it was worth the pain of that rope torn from his bleeding body; it was recompense for those long fastings.

"Three winters, that my soul might grow to Thee, I lived up there on yonder mountain side; My right leg chain'd into the crag, I lay Pent in a roofless close of ragged stones; Inswathed sometimes in wandering mist, and twice Black'd with Thy branding thunder, and sometimes Sucking the damps for drink, and eating not."

It was worth all this, if souls could be added to the Lord, as [Pg 77] they were, by hundreds and thousands. God's ways are not as our ways. The God who needed these souls, called up the soul of Simeon to do the work, and Simeon obeyed, and traversed perhaps the most awful path man has yet trod.

It is not for us to condemn a mode of life which there is no need for men to follow now. It was needed then, and he is rightly numbered with the Saints, who submitted his will to that of God, to make of him an instrument for His purpose in the way that He saw best.

"There came from Arabena a certain good man," says Theodoret, "who, when he had come to that mountain peak, 'Tell me,' he cried, 'by the very Truth, art thou a man, or of incorporeal nature?' But when all there were displeased with the question, the Saint bade them all be silent, and bade them set a ladder to the column, and bade the man come up; and first look at his hands, and then feel inside his cloak of skins, and see not only his feet, but also a severe ulcer in them. But when he saw that he was a man, and the size of that sore, and learnt from him how he took nourishment, he came down and told me all."

"On festivals, from the setting of the sun till its appearance again, he stood all night with his hands uplifted to heaven, neither soothed with sleep, nor conquered by fatigue. But in toils so great, and so great magnitude of deeds, and multitude of miracles, his self-esteem is as moderate as if he were in dignity the least of men. Besides his modesty, he is easy of access of speech, and gracious, and answers every man who speaks to him. And from the bounteous God he has received the gift of teaching, and he makes exhortations to the people twice every day. He may be seen also acting as a judge, giving just decisions. This, and the like, is done after the ninth hour. For all night, and through the day to the ninth hour, he prays perpetually. [Pg 78] After that he sets forth divine teaching to those who are present, and then, having heard each man's petition, having performed some cures, he settles disputes. About sunset, he begins the rest of his converse with God. But though he is employed in this way, he does not give up the care of the churches, sometimes fighting against the impiety of the Greeks, sometimes checking the audacity of the Jews, sometimes putting to flight the heretics, and sometimes sending messages to the emperor; sometimes stirring up rulers to zeal for God, and sometimes exhorting the pastors of the churches to bestow more care on their flocks."

To make trial of his humility, an order was sent him, in the name of the neighbouring bishops and abbots, to quit his pillar, and new manner of life. The Saint, ready to obey the summons, was about to step down; when the messenger, seeing his willingness to obey, said he was empowered to authorize him to follow his vocation.

Once, his mother hearing of his fame, came to see him, but was not allowed to enter the enclosure around the pillar. But when Simeon heard his mother's voice, he said to her, "Bear up, my mother, a little while, and we shall see each other, if God will." But she began to weep and rebuke him, saying, "Son, why hast thou done this? In return for the body I bore thee, thou has filled me with grief. For the milk with which I nourished thee, thou hast given me tears. For the kiss with which I kissed thee, thou hast given me an aching heart." "She made us all weep," says Anthony, who writes this incident. Simeon, on his pillar, was also deeply agitated, and, covering his face with his hands, he wept bitterly, and cried to her, "Lady mother, be still a little while, and we shall see each other in eternal rest." The poor mother, with harrowed heart, hung about the place for three days, crying to her son, and wrung with grief to see his terrible penance. Then Simeon, grieving for her, prayed to [Pg 79] God to give her rest, and at the end of those three days she fell asleep in Christ. Then the people took up her body and brought it where Simeon might see it. And he, weeping, said, "The Lord receive thee in joy, mother! because thou hast endured tribulation for me, and borne me, and nursed and nourished me with labour." Then he prayed, "Lord God of virtues, who sittest above the Cherubim, and searchest the foundations of the abyss, who knewest Adam before he was; who hast promised the riches of the kingdom of heaven to those who love Thee; who didst speak to Moses out of the burning bush; who blessedst Abraham our father; who bringest to Paradise the souls of the just, and sinkest the souls of the ungodly in perdition; who didst humble the lions before Daniel, and mitigate for the Three Children the strong fire of the Chaldees; who didst nourish Elijah by the ravens which brought him food, receive her soul in peace, and put her in the place of the holy Fathers, for Thine is the power, for ever and ever."

A robber, Jonathan by name, fled to S. Simeon, and embraced the column, weeping bitterly, and confessing his sins, and saying that he desired to repent. Then the Saint cried, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven. But beware that thou fall not again." Then came the officials from Antioch, demanding the poor wretch, that he might be cast to wild beasts in the amphitheatre. But Simeon answered, "My sons, I brought him not hither, but One greater than I. I cannot give him up, for I fear Him who sent the man to me."

Then the sergeants, struck with fear, went away. And Jonathan lay for seven days embracing the column, and then asked leave to depart. The Saint asked him if he was going to return to sin. "No, my lord!" answered the robber; "but my time is fulfilled." And straightway he gave up the ghost; and when the sergeants came from Antioch, again insisting that he should be given up to suffer for his [Pg 80] crimes, Simeon replied, pointing to the body, "He who brought the poor sinner here, has come with His angels, and has pardoned this man Himself."

Anthony, his disciple, thus relates the death of the old hermit. "After a few years, it befell one day, that he bowed himself in prayer, and remained so three days, Friday, the Sabbath, and the Lord's day. Then I was terrified, and went up to him on the pillar, and stood before his face, and said, 'Master, arise! bless us, for the people have been waiting three days and nights for a blessing from thee.' But he answered me not, so I said to him again, 'Wherefore dost thou grieve me, my lord! I beseech thee, put out thy hand to me.' And seeing that he did not answer, I thought to tell no one; for I feared to touch him, and standing about half-an-hour, I bent down, and put my ear to listen; and there was no breathing. And so I understood that he rested in the Lord; and turning faint, I wept most bitterly; and bending down, I kissed his eyes; and I cried, 'Master, remember me in thy holy rest.' And lifting up his garments, I fell at his feet, and kissed them, and holding his hands, I laid them on my eyes, saying, 'Bless me, I beseech thee, my lord!'"

The body was taken to Antioch, and there buried with great pomp.


[S. Edward is commemorated on this day in the Roman Martyrology, by order of Innocent IV. On this day, he is mentioned in the old English Martyrologies as well, but the festival of his Translation, Oct. 13th, is that which is chiefly observed in his honour, and to that day we shall refer our readers for his life.]

[Pg 81]


(about 1170.)

[Mentioned in the Cologne, German, and Gallo-Belgic Martyrologies. Two lives of this Saint exist, one written during the life of those who remembered him, and were able to describe his personal appearance; the other written by Wilhelm Cripius, son of the Chancellor of Gueldres, by command of the bishop, Henry Cuyck, of Rœrmund.]

Saint Gerlach sprang from a noble family, in the neighbourhood of Maestricht. He was a knight, and lived a somewhat disorderly life; but one day, as he was about to engage in a tournament, the news reached him of the sudden death of his wife, whom he loved passionately. Casting aside lance and shield, he hastened to his castle, and in grief over her loss, formed the resolution of renouncing the world. He visited Rome, and confessed the sins of his life to Pope Eugenius III., who bade him, as a penance, go to Jerusalem, and for seven years nurse the sick in its hospitals. He obeyed, and on his return to Rome, at the expiration of seven years, found Adrian IV. on the throne. Adrian bade him live a retired life. Accordingly, Gerlach returned to his estates, and distributed all his possessions among the poor, reserving for himself only sufficient for his support. He then took up his abode in a hollow oak; but some envious persons having complained to the Bishop of Liege that he offered idolatrous worship to the tree, the bishop ordered it to be cut down; but afterwards, recognizing the virtue of the penitent knight, he became his protector. He wore sack-cloth next his skin, and over that a battered suit of mail. He spent his nights in prayer, in the church of S. Servais, Maestricht.


[30] Hist., lib. iv. c. 10.

[Pg 82]

January 6.

The Epiphany.

S. Melchior, one of the Magi.
S. Macra, V. M., near Rheims, circ. a.d. 303.
S. Melanius, B. of Rennes, a.d. 580.
S. Peter, Ab. of Canterbury, a.d. 608.
S. Erminold, Ab. of Prufening, and M., a.d. 1121.
The Ven. Gertrude Van Oosten, V., at Delft, a.d. 1358.
S. John Ribeira, Patr. of Antioch, and Abp. of Valencia, in Spain, a.d. 1611.



he principal design of the Church in celebrating this feast is, that her members may show gratitude to God for manifesting the Gospel to the Gentile world, and vouchsafing to it the same privileges as to the Jews, who had hitherto been His chosen and peculiar people; the first instance of this divine favour was the Manifestation of Christ to the Wise Men of the East. But, in all, there are three great manifestations of our Saviour commemorated on this day; all of which, S. Chrysostom says, happened on the same day, though not in the same year. The first of these was His manifestation by a star, which conducted the Magi to come and worship Him. The second Manifestation was that of the Blessed Trinity, at His Baptism. The third was the Manifestation of the Divinity of Christ, at Cana, by miraculously changing water into wine.


[Pg 83]

But the principal event which is this day celebrated, is the Manifestation of our Lord to the Wise Men of the East. These, who are called Magi in Greek, were doubtless men of high rank. Tradition holds them to have been princes or kings; and they are given the names of Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. They are said to have been baptized by the Apostle Thomas, and to have preached the Gospel in Persia. Their bodies were brought by the first Christian emperors from the East to Constantinople, whence they were conveyed to Milan. But the Emperor Frederick I. carried them off to Cologne, in 1162, where they still remain.

Many very curious traditions, of no authority, have attached to these three holy men. They were said to have been Shem, Ham, and Japhet, who had fallen asleep in a cave, and to have woke only at the Nativity of Christ, when they came to adore Him; and then to have returned to their cave and died. A much more trustworthy tradition is to the effect that each wise man belonged to a different stock; that one was of the seed of Shem, another of the family of Japhet, and that the third, represented in art as black, belonged to the descendants of Ham. The three names Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, are not found in any writers earlier than the twelfth century. Before Pope S. Leo the Great spoke of them as three, the number was sometimes supposed to have been as many as twelve. Barhebræus says, "Magi came from the East. Some affirm that three princes came with a thousand men; but James, the bishop (of Edessa,) said that there were twelve princes, who, having left seven thousand soldiers at the Euphrates, came on with a thousand men to Jerusalem."

Some authors have suggested that the seeming star, which appeared to the Magi in the East, might be that glorious Light which shone upon the shepherds of Bethlehem, when the angel came to impart to them the tidings of our Saviour's birth, which, at a distance, might appear like a star. According to an ancient commentary on S. Matthew, this star, on its first appearance to the wise men, had the form of a radiant child, bearing a sceptre or cross; and in some early [Pg 84] Italian frescoes it is thus depicted:—

"In a trice a star shone forth Oh! so brightly shining! Nearer, nearer yet it came, Still towards earth inclining; And 'twas shaped—O! wondrous sight! Like a child with visage bright, Holding sign of kindly might, With a Cross combining."

It is to be expected that the Epiphany, containing in itself, as has been observed, three distinct festivals, would be known by a variety of distinct names. In the Mozarabic ritual it is called the "Apparition of the Lord;" in Germany it is the "Three-Kings' Day."

The Greeks keep the Nativity and the Manifestation to the Wise Men on the same day, the 25th December, and keep the 6th January as the festival of the Baptism of our Lord.

The first historical notice of the Epiphany is found in S. Clement of Alexandria, a.d. 200; in the time of S. Chrysostom, a.d. 400, it is mentioned as an ancient and principal festival of the Asiatic Church. The earliest distinct trace of it in the West is found in Gaul, in the middle of the fourth century. Ammianus Marcellinus (xxi. 2), relates of Julian the Apostate, that in a.d. 361, he celebrated in the Christian Church at Paris, the feast of the Epiphany in January, shortly before he publicly renounced the Christian religion. The title of Day of Lights was given to this festival as commemorating the earthly manifestation of the Light of the World, and also because it was the supposed day of the Baptism of our Lord, to which rite the term "illumination" was especially given. Hence it became, and in the Greek Church it is still, one of the three solemn times of baptism.

Greek Hymn.—O Christ, the True Light, which lighteth [Pg 85] every man that cometh into the world, let the Light of Thy Countenance shine upon us, that thereby we may behold the unapproachable Light, and guide Thou our steps to fulfil Thy Commandments.


(about 303.)

[Mentioned in the Roman and German Martyrologies. The account of her martyrdom is from the Martyrologies, and from her Acts, published by the Bollandists.]

During the savage persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian, emperors, one Rictiovarus was governor at Soissons, in Gaul, who laboured to put down Christianity. The virgin Macra was treated by him with inhuman barbarity; she was exposed to fire, her breasts were cut off, and she was rolled on potsherds and coals; then, spreading out her hands, she prayed, "O Lord Jesu Christ, who madest me triumph over the chains in my dungeon, and madest the fire to which I was exposed as sweet as dew, I pray Thee, receive my soul, for now is the time come for Thee to set my spirit free!" So saying, she entered into her rest.

She is regarded as the patroness of Fimes, near Rheims.

In art, she is represented with her breasts on a book which she carries.


(a.d. 580.)

[Commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on this day. His life was written by a contemporary, according to Ducange.]

S. Melanius was born at Plas, in the neighbourhood of Vannes, in Brittany, and became a monk when grown to [Pg 86] man's estate. Upon the death of S. Amandus, Bishop of Rennes, he was compelled by the clergy and people to fill that see. He accepted the election of himself with great reluctance. He is related to have performed many miracles, and to have extirpated the last remnants of heathenism in his diocese. He died on a journey through his diocese, at La Vilaine. His body was placed in a boat, which, says the legend, returned to Rennes against the stream, without oars or sail.


(a.d. 608.)

[Named in the English Martyrologies. Authority for his life, Bede. Hist. Eccl., i. 33.]

Bede says of this Saint, that he was a disciple of S. Gregory the Great, and first abbot of the monastery of S. Peter, at Canterbury, which was in later years called S. Augustine's monastery. Going to France in 608, he was drowned near the harbour of Ambleteuse, near Boulogne. The peasants of the place buried the body without much regard, not knowing at first whose it was, but by night a light appeared above it; and, perceiving that the drowned man was a Saint, his body was exhumed, and conveyed to Boulogne.


(a.d. 1121.)

[Mentioned in the German Martyrologies. His life was written by a monk of Prufening, about the year 1290.]

S. Erminold sprang from one of the first families in [Pg 87] Swabia, and was given in early life to William, abbot of Hirschau, to be educated. A better tutor could not have been found for him, for William was one of the most learned and pious men of the age. The youthful Erminold made rapid progress in his studies, and he grew up in favour with God and man. When his pupilage was ended, he took the vows of monastic life upon him. In 1110, he was appointed by the Emperor Henry V., to the abbey of Lorch, on the Rhine; but hearing that this had been given him at the request of his brother, as a return for something his brother had done for the Emperor, Erminold threw up the office, so as not to incur the least suspicion of simony, and returned to Hirschau. But the Bishop of Bamberg, having founded an abbey at Prufening, near Ratisbon, he was invited to colonize it, and be its first father. He accordingly betook himself thither, with a few brethren. Having incurred the hostility of some of his monks, by insisting on strict discipline, one, named Aaron, struck him with a knife and mortally wounded him. He died, forgiving his murderer.

Worshippers at the Shrine of a Saint Worshippers at the Shrine of a Saint.

[Pg 88]

January 7.

S. Lucian, P. M., at Antioch, circ. a.d. 312.
S. Nicetas, B. C., circ. a.d. 402.
S. Valentine, B. of Passau, circ. a.d. 440.
S. Cedd, B. of London, a.d. 664.
S. Tyllo, Monk in Gaul, circ. 700.
B. Wittekind, Duke of Westphalia, a.d. 800.
S. Rainold, Monk and M., of Dortmund, in Westphalia.
S. Aldric, B. of Le Mans, in France, circ. a.d. 855.
S. Canute, Duke of Schleswig, a.d. 1133.


(about 312.)

[Commemorated on this day by the Latins, on the 15th October by the Greeks. This S. Lucian is not to be confused with S. Lucian of Beauvais, commemorated on Jan. 8th. He is spoken of by S. Jerome and Theodoret. S. Chrysostom has a homily on S. Lucian. Information concerning him is also obtained from the Greek Menæa, and from the Acts of his martyrdom in Metaphrastes.]


aint Lucian was born at Samosata, in Syria; his parents were Christians, and sought above all things to educate their son in the fear of God. Both died and left him an orphan at the age of twelve, and the boy, in his desolation, distributed his goods to the poor, and took refuge with Macarius at Edessa, who taught out of Holy Scripture the things concerning eternal life. Arrived at man's estate, he was ordained priest, and opened a school at Antioch, and diligently laboured at procuring a correct version of the Holy Scriptures, by comparing together the different Hebrew copies. His version of the sacred writings was used by S. Jerome, and proved of much assistance to him in his work of writing the Vulgate.

When Maximian persecuted the Church, S. Lucian concealed [Pg 89] himself, but was betrayed by a Sabellian priest into the hands of the persecutors; he was taken to Nicomedia, and brought before Maximian. On his way he was the means of recovering forty Christian soldiers, who had lapsed. In Nicomedia he was subjected to torture. His feet were placed in the stocks, which were distended, so as to dislocate his legs. His hands were fastened to a beam, which was above his head, and he was laid on sharp potsherds, so that his back was lacerated and pierced. After this, he was allowed to lie on his cell floor, unable to rise, on account of his legs being out of joint, and was starved to death. He lingered fourteen days. And when the feast of the Manifestation drew nigh, he desired greatly to receive the Holy Eucharist. "When the fatal day had arrived, which was looked forward to, some of the disciples desired to receive from their master his last celebration of the divine mystery. But it seemed doubtful how they might bring a table into the prison, and how they might conceal it from the eyes of the impious. But when many of the disciples were assembled, and others were arriving, he said: 'This breast of mine shall be the table, and I reckon it will not be less esteemed of God than one of inanimate material; and ye shall be a holy temple, standing round about me.' And thus it was accomplished, for because the saintly man was at the end of his life, the guards were negligent, and so God, as I think, to honour his martyr, removed all impediments to that being done which was proposed. For when all stood in close ring round the martyr, so that one standing by the other shut him completely from view, he ordered the symbols of the divine Sacrifice to be placed on his breast. After that he raised his eyes to heaven, and uttered the accustomed prayers. Then, when he had uttered many sacred prayers, and had done all the requisite acts in the sacred rite, he and the rest communicated, and he sent to those who were [Pg 90] absent, as he himself shows in his last Epistle to them. Next day some officers came from the Emperor to see if he were still alive. And as he saw them standing about him, he said thrice, 'I am a Christian,' and so saying, he died."

The body was then thrown into the sea, to the great grief of his disciples, who desired to bury it. But fifteen days after it was recovered. A legend says that a dolphin brought it ashore; be that as it may, it was found and was buried.

In art, S. Lucian is sometimes represented with a chalice and Host, in allusion to his offering the holy Sacrifice in prison; sometimes with a dolphin at his side.


(about 440.)

[Some German Martyrologies, and the Roman, commemorate S. Maximilian, M., and S. Valentine, B.C., on Oct. 29. But S. Valentine is commemorated alone on this day at Passau.]

Valentine was sent by the Pope to preach the Gospel in the Passau. He found that his work was without fruit, and returned to Rome to implore the Holy Father to send him elsewhere. But the Pope consecrated him bishop, and sent him back to Passau, to preach in season and out of season, whether it produced fruit or not. The Bishop renewed his efforts, but the Pagans and Arians combined to drive him out of the city. Thereupon he went among the Rhætian Alps, and his teaching produced abundant fruit among the mountaineers. At length he resolved to serve God, and purify his own soul, in a life of retirement. He therefore built a little chapel and monastery at Mais, in Tyrol, and there he died.

[Pg 91]

Relics, at Passau.


(a.d. 664.)

[English Martyrologies. His life is given by Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History, lib. 3, caps. 21, 22, 23.]

Peada, son of Penda, King of Mercia, being appointed by his father King of the Midland English, by which name Bede distinguished the inhabitants of Leicestershire, and part of Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, from the rest of the Mercians; the young king visited Oswy, King of Northumbria, at Atwell, or Walton, was baptized along with several of his nobles, by Bishop Finan, and was provided by Oswy with two priests to instruct his people in Christianity. One of these was S. Cedd, who had been trained in the monastery of Lindisfarne. "When these two," says Bede, "travelling to all parts of that country, had gathered a numerous church to the Lord, it happened that Cedd returned home, and came to the church of Lindisfarne to confer with Bishop Finan; who, finding how successful he had been in the work of the Gospel, made him Bishop of the Church of the East Saxons, calling to him two other bishops, to assist at the ordination. Cedd, having received the episcopal dignity, returned to his province, and pursuing the work he had begun, with more ample authority, built churches in several places, ordaining priests and deacons to assist him in the work of faith, and the ministry of baptizing, especially in the city which, in the language of the Saxons, is called Ithancester,[31] as also in that named Tilabury (Tilbury); the first of which places is on the bank of the Pante, the other on the bank of the Thames; where, gathering a flock of servants of Christ, he taught them to observe the discipline of regular life, as far as those rude people were then capable.

[Pg 92]

"Whilst the doctrine of everlasting life was thus, for a considerable time, making progress, to the joy of the King and of all the people, it happened that the King, at the instigation of the enemy of all good men, was murdered by his own kindred. The same man of God, whilst he was bishop among the East Saxons, was wont also to visit, at intervals, his own country, Northumberland, to make exhortations. Ethelwald, the son of King Oswald, who reigned over the Deiri, finding him a holy, wise, and good man, desired him to accept some land to build a monastery, to which the King himself might frequently resort, to offer his prayers and hear the word, and be buried in it when he died; for he believed that he should receive much benefit by the prayers of those who were to serve God in that place. The King had before with him a brother of the same bishop, called Celin, a man no less devoted to God; who, being a priest, was wont to administer to him the word and the Sacraments, by whose means he chiefly came to know and love the bishop.

"That prelate, therefore, complying with the King's desires, chose himself a place to build a monastery among craggy and distant mountains, which looked more like lurking places for robbers, and retreats for wild beasts, than habitations for men. The man of God, desiring first to cleanse the place for the monastery from former crimes, by prayer and fasting, that it might become acceptable to our Lord, and so to lay the foundations, requested the King to give him leave to reside there all the approaching Lent, to pray. All which time, except Sundays, he fasted till the evening, according to custom, and then took no other sustenance than a little bread, one egg, and a little milk mixed with water. This, he said, was the custom of those of whom he had learnt the rule of regular [Pg 93] discipline; first, to consecrate to our Lord, by prayer and fasting, the places which they had newly received for building a monastery or a church. When there were ten days of Lent still remaining, there came a messenger to call him to the King; and he, that the religious work might not be intermitted, on account of the King's affairs, entreated his priest, Cynebil, who was also his own brother, to complete that which had been so piously begun. Cynebil readily complied, and when the time of fasting and prayer was over, he there built the monastery, which is now called Lestingan,[32] and established therein the religious customs of Lindisfarne."

At this time, owing to the influence of S. Wilfrid, who had been established at Ripon by Alchfrid, son of King Oswy, a great split was forming in the Church, which made itself felt even in the Royal family. All the missionaries of the north had been brought up in Iona, or Lindisfarne, and followed the Keltic ritual; Wilfrid, ordained by a French bishop, introduced Roman ways. Oswy had been baptized and educated by Keltic monks, and followed the usages of the Mother Church of Iona; but his wife, Eanfleda, had learned in exile Roman ways, and she brought with her to the court of Oswy a Canterbury priest—Romanus by name, and Roman in heart—who guided her religious exercises. Two Easter feasts were thus celebrated every year in the same house; and as the Saxon kings had transferred to the chief festivals of the Christian year, and especially to the Queen of Feasts, the meeting of assemblies, and the occasion which those assemblies gave them of displaying all their pomp, it is easy to understand how painful it must have been for Oswy to sit, with his earls and thanes, at the great feast of Easter, at the end of a wearisome Lent, and to see the Queen, with her maids of honour and her servants, persisting in fasting and penance, it being with her still only Palm Sunday.[33] [Pg 94] To settle this difference, and prevent a rupture, the King convoked a parliament at Whitby, in 664. In this parliament Colman, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Cedd, Bishop of the East Saxons, who had at this time re-established the episcopal see of London, and S. Hilda, the great abbess of Whitby, upheld the Keltic rite. On the other side were S. Wilfrid, the young Prince Alchfrid, and James, the deacon of York. In this parliament, it was decided that the Roman usages should be adopted, and Cedd renounced the customs of Lindisfarne, in which he had been educated, and returned to his diocese of London to spread the Roman usages there.

"Cedd," says Bede, "for many years had charge of his bishopric and of the monastery of Lastingham, over which he had placed superiors. It happened that he came there at the time that a plague was raging, and he fell sick and died. He was first buried in the open air, but in process of time, a church of stone was built in the monastery, in honour of the Mother of God, and his body was interred in the same, on the right hand of the altar."

The Bishop left the monastery to be governed after him by his brother Chad, who was afterwards made bishop. For the four brothers, Cedd, and Cynebil, Celin, and Ceadda (Chad)—which is a rare thing to be met with—were all celebrated priests of our Lord, and two of them also came to be bishops.


(about 700.)

[Cologne, German, and Belgian Martyrologies. The name is sometimes Tyllo, Thillo, or Hillo; in Belgium, Theaulon or Tilman. Authority: A life published in the Bollandists, which agrees with scattered notices of him in various writers.]

S. Tillo, the Patron of Iseghem, in Belgium, was a son of Saxon parents, but was stolen, when young, from his [Pg 95] home, and sold as a slave in Gaul. S. Eligius, who redeemed many slaves, bought the lad, and being struck with his beauty and intelligence, sent him to the monastery of Solignac, to be educated by S. Remacle, then abbot of Solignac. After his education was complete, he was returned to S. Eligius, who was a goldsmith, patronized by King Dagobert and the nobles of the court. With him Tillo learned the trade of a goldsmith, and made many vessels and ornaments of gold and silver, encrusted with gems, for the King. Whilst he worked, he had the Holy Scriptures open before him, and as he chased the silver and gold he studied the Word of God. He kept ever in his heart the maxim, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them," and all his work was done to the best of his ability, and executed with punctuality. Thus, he found favour with Eligius, and with all the customers of his master. When Eligius left his shop, and became a bishop, he called to the clerical office and to the religious life, his apprentice whom he had bought in the market many years before. Tillo, as priest and monk, showed a pattern of holiness, and was made abbot of Solignac, near Limoges. But ruling three hundred monks and attending to the worldly affairs of a great monastery, and more than that, the multitude of visitors, made the life one for which the goldsmith's apprentice, trained to work in silence, and think and read, felt himself unfitted; so one night he fled away and was lost. He penetrated the woods and mountains of Auvergne, seeking out a suitable spot for a hermitage, and one day he lit upon a quiet place, hid away among the rocky mountains, into which he could only just crawl on hands and knees. Having got in, he found a pleasant glade, surrounded with trees, having streams watering it from the mountain side, and there were plenty of apple trees, from which he concluded it had been previously [Pg 96] a hermitage. Here he lived for some time, praying and reading, and tilling the soil. By degrees, it was rumoured that a holy hermit lived in that glade, and the people of the neighbourhood came to see him, and he called himself Brother Paul. And to all who visited him this was the rule of life he gave, "Believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ his Son, also in the Holy Ghost, three persons, but one God. Keep your mind from vain cogitations and your body pure from all uncleanness; avoid self-conceit, and be instant in prayer."

And when there was ever more and more of a concourse, and many desired to put themselves under his direction, he went forth, and sought out a suitable spot, and found it at Bayac, where he founded a monastery. There he remained some while, till a longing came over him to revisit Solignac, and he fled away when all his monks were asleep, as he had fled previously from Solignac. And when he reached Solignac, he was received with great joy. Then he asked the abbot Gundebert to build him a little cell outside the monastery, in which he might reside with one or two of the brethren who sought a stricter life. His wish was granted, and in this cell he spent the rest of his days.

He is regarded with special veneration at Iseghem, in Flanders, because he visited that place in company with S. Eligius, and there remained some time teaching the people.

In art, he is represented with a chalice in one hand and an abbatial staff in the other.


(a.d. 855.)

[Gallican Martyrology. Ancient Life in Baluze: Miscel. iii.]

S. Aldric was born about the year 800. When aged [Pg 97] fourteen his father sent him to the court of Louis the Pious. One day, as he was praying in church at Aix-la-Chapelle, he felt called by God to leave a life in the world, and dedicate himself to the service of the altar. With difficulty he persuaded the King to let him depart, and he was sent to the Bishop of Metz. There he remained some years, received the tonsure, and was ordained priest.

Louis the Pious, hearing of the wisdom and sanctity of Aldric, appointed him to be his chaplain and confessor. Aldric was afterwards elected Bishop of Mans, and was consecrated on the 22nd December, 832. When raised to the episcopal throne, he kept a stricter guard over himself, and treated his body with great rigour, but to others he was gentle and lenient. All his income was spent in works of mercy. He redeemed captives, relieved the poor, built churches, and founded monasteries. In the civil wars which divided the French monarchy, his fidelity to his prince and to Charles the Bald, his successor, involved him in trouble, and he was expelled for about a twelvemonth from his see. On his return, he laboured more indefatigably than ever to perfect the discipline of his diocese, for which purpose he collected the canons of Councils and decrees of the Popes into what he called a Capitulary. Some fragments have reached us of the regulations which he made for the celebration of divine service; in which he orders ten wax candles, and ninety lamps, to be lighted in his Cathedral on all great festivals.


(a.d. 1133.)

[Schleswig and Scandinavian Breviaries. Life in Knytlinga Saga, Saxo Grammaticus, Schleswig Breviary, &c.]

Canute Lavard was second son of Eric the Good, King [Pg 98] of Denmark. His elder brother, Nicolas, became King of Denmark, though he was illegitimate, as Canute was very young. Nicolas had a son named Magnus, who was also brought up with Canute. Canute purchased the duchy of Schleswig, and occupied himself with clearing the seas and islands of Denmark of the pirates who infested them. On one occasion, a pirate whom he had captured, and condemned with others to be hung, cried out that he was of royal blood, and was related to Canute. "Then," said the duke, "you shall hang at the topmast head above the others."

Henry, King of the Sclaves, being dead, Canute succeeded him. The popularity of this prince, owing to his gentleness, virtue, and piety, stirred up the envy of Magnus, who feared lest he should put in a claim to the throne of Denmark, to which indeed he had a right prior to Magnus and his father. In order to make sure of the succession, Magnus decoyed his unsuspicious kinsman into a wood, surrounded him with armed men, and killed him.

Seal of the City of Brussels.


[31] On the Blackwater; there is no city there now, but numerous traces of an ancient settlement, and an old chapel marks the site, in the parish of Bradwell.

[32] Lastingham, near Pickering, in Yorkshire.

[33] Bede iii. 25.

[Pg 99]

January 8.

S. Lucian, B. M., and Companions, at Beauvais.
S. Patiens, B. of Metz, circ. a.d. 152.
S. Atticus, Patr. of Constantinople, a.d. 425.
S. Severinus, P. and Apostle of Austria, a.d. 482.
S. Severinus, B. C., in Italy, 6th cent.
B. Baldwin, Archdeacon of Laon, M., 6th cent.
S. Frodobert, Ab., at Troyes, 7th cent.
S. Gudula, V., at Brussels, circ. a.d. 712.
S. Pega, V., in England, circ. a.d. 718.
S. Erard, Bishop in Bavaria, 8th cent.
S. Garibald, B. of Ratisbon, circ. a.d. 1252.
S. Wulsin, B. of Sherbourn, a.d. 983.
S. Laurence Justiniani, Patr. of Venice, a.d. 1455.


[Roman, Gallican, and Anglican Martyrologies; Bede, Ado, Notker, and others. His date uncertain. As little is known of this S. Lucian, it is probable that the so-called Reformers retained his name in the Anglican Calendar by mistake, confusing him with the S. Lucian of Antioch, Jan. 7th, a much better known Saint.]


here is much uncertainty about this martyr. Some writers maintain that he was a disciple of S. Peter. Others say that he was sent into Gaul by S. Clement, Bishop of Rome, at the end of the first century, and suffered death under the reign of Domitian. It is certain, however, that he came into Gaul to preach the faith to the pagan inhabitants, and that he finished his labours at Beauvais, by the death of a martyr. There is good reason to believe that he was of noble Roman blood, and that he accompanied S. Denys of Paris, or S. Quentin of Amiens, on his mission, about the year 245. S. Lucian was accompanied by his friends, Maximian and Julian. They suffered in different places, [Pg 100] and on different days; but they were laid by faithful disciples in one tomb, and are commemorated together. S. Lucian is called in some calendars a priest; but in an ancient one of the ninth century, he is styled a bishop, and such has been the constant tradition at Beauvais.

In art, he is represented holding his head in his hands.


(about a.d. 152.)

[Roman Martyrology; Martyrologies of Cologne, of Rabanus, Notker, &c. His life is traditional.]

S. Patiens is said to have been a disciple of S. John the Evangelist, and to have been sent by him into Gaul. He settled at Metz, where he became the fourth Bishop.


(a.d. 425.)

[Roman Martyrology, that of Usuardus and the German Martyrologies. Authorities for his life, very numerous: Socrates, Sozomen, Synesius, Palladius, Photius, Nicephorus, Zonaras, &c.]

Atticus, a man of gentle spirit and conciliatory manners, succeeded S. Chrysostom in the see of Constantinople. He, at first, refused to admit the name of his predecessor into the diptychs; but was afterwards moved to yield, in accordance with the Latin Church, which refused communion with the see of Constantinople till the righteousness of the cause of the great Chrysostom had been acknowledged. Atticus was engaged in correspondence on this subject with S. Cyril of Alexandria, who vehemently resented the admission of the name of Chrysostom, till he also yielded at the [Pg 101] instance of Isidore of Pelusium.


(a.d. 482.)

[Roman Martyrology and those of Germany. The life of S. Severinus was written by his disciple, Eugippius, in the year 511, as he states in a letter to Paschatius, the deacon. The following life is extracted from Mr. Kingsley's "Hermits,"[34] with certain necessary modifications. What has been once well done, the author is unwilling to do again, and do in an inferior manner.]

In the middle of the fifth century the province of Noricum (Austria, as we should now call it), was the very highway of invading barbarians, the centre of the human Maelstrom, in which Huns, Allemanni, Rugii, and a dozen wild tribes more, wrestled up and down, and round the starving and beleaguered towns of what had once been a happy and fertile province, each tribe striving to trample the other under foot, and to march southward, over their corpses, to plunder what was still left of the already plundered wealth of Italy and Rome. The difference of race, of tongue, and of manners, between the conquered and their conquerors, was made more painful by difference in creed. The conquering Germans and Huns were either Arians or heathens. The conquered race (though probably of very mixed blood), who called themselves Romans, because they spoke Latin, and lived under the Roman law, were orthodox Catholics; and the miseries of religious persecution were too often added to the usual miseries of invasion.

It was about the year 455-60. Attila, the great King of the Huns, who called himself—and who was—"the Scourge of God" was just dead. His empire had broken up. The whole centre of Europe was in a state of anarchy and war; and the hapless Romans along the Danube were in the last extremity of terror, not knowing by what fresh invader their crops would be swept off up to the very gates of the walled towers, which were their only defence; when there appeared among them, coming out of the East, a man of God.

[Pg 102]

Who he was he would not tell. His speech showed him to be an African Roman—a fellow-countryman of S. Augustine—probably from the neighbourhood of Carthage. He had certainly at one time gone to some desert in the East, zealous to learn "the more perfect life." Severinus, he said, was his name; a name which indicated high rank, as did the manners and the scholarship of him who bore it. But more than his name he would not tell. "If you take me for a runaway slave," he said, smiling, "get ready money to redeem me with when my master demands me back." For he believed that they would have need of him; that God had sent him into that land that he might be of use to its wretched people. And certainly he could have come into the neighbourhood of Vienna, at that moment, for no other purpose than to do good, unless he came to deal in slaves.

He settled first at a town, called by his biographer Casturis; and, lodging with the warden of the church, lived quietly the hermit life. Meanwhile the German tribes were prowling round the town; and Severinus, going one day into the church, began to warn the priests and clergy, and all the people, that a destruction was coming on them which they could only avert by prayer, and fasting, and the works of mercy. They laughed him to scorn, confiding in their lofty Roman walls, which the invaders—wild horsemen, who had no military engines—were unable either to scale or batter down. Severinus left the town at once, prophesying, it was said, the very day and hour of its fall. He went on to the next town, which was then closely garrisoned by a barbarian force, and repeated his warning there: but while the people were listening to him, there came an old man to the gate, and told them how Casturis had been already [Pg 103] sacked, as the man of God had foretold; and going into the church, threw himself at the feet of S. Severinus, and said that he had been saved by his merits from being destroyed with his fellow-townsmen.

Then the dwellers in the town hearkened to the man of God, and gave themselves up to fasting, and almsgiving, and prayer for three whole days.

And on the third day, when the solemnity of the evening sacrifice was fulfilled, a sudden earthquake happened, and the barbarians, seized with panic fear, and probably hating and dreading—like all those wild tribes—confinement between four stone walls, instead of the free open life of the tent and the stockade, forced the Romans to open their gates to them, rushed out into the night, and, in their madness, slew each other.

In those days a famine fell upon the people of Vienna; and they, as their sole remedy, thought good to send for the man of God from the neighbouring town. He went, and preached to them, too, repentance and almsgiving. The rich, it seems, had hidden up their stores of corn, and left the poor to starve. At least S. Severinus discovered (by divine revelation, it was supposed), that a widow named Procula had done as much. He called her out into the midst of the people, and asked her why she, a noble woman and free-born, had made herself a slave to avarice, which is idolatry. If she would not give her corn to Christ's poor, let her throw it into the Danube to feed the fish, for any gain from it she would not have. Procula was abashed, and served out her hoards thereupon willingly to the poor; and a little while afterwards, to the astonishment of all, vessels came down the Danube laden with every kind of merchandize. They had been frozen up for many days near Passau, in the thick ice of the river Enns: but the prayers of God's servant had opened the ice-gates, and let them down the [Pg 104] stream before the usual time.

Then the wild German horsemen swept around the walls, and carried off human beings and cattle, as many as they could find. Severinus, like some old Hebrew prophet, did not shrink from advising hard blows, where hard blows could avail. Mamertinus, the tribune, or officer in command, told him that he had so few soldiers, and those so ill-armed, that he dare not face the enemy. Severinus answered that they should get weapons from the barbarians themselves; the Lord would fight for them, and they should hold their peace: only if they took any captives they should bring them safe to him. At the second milestone from the city they came upon the plunderers, who fled at once, leaving their arms behind. Thus was the prophecy of the man of God fulfilled. The Romans brought the captives back to him unharmed. He loosed their bonds, gave them food and drink, and let them go. But they were to tell their comrades that, if ever they came near that spot again, celestial vengeance would fall on them, for the God of the Christians fought from heaven in his servants cause.

So the barbarians trembled, and went away. And the fear of S. Severinus fell on all the Goths, heretic Arians though they were; and on the Rugii, who held the north bank of the Danube in those evil days. S. Severinus, meanwhile, went out of Vienna, and built himself a cell at a place called "At the Vineyards." But some benevolent impulse—divine revelation his biographer calls it—prompted him to return, and build himself a cell on a hill close to Vienna, round which other cells soon grew up, tenanted by his disciples. "There," says his biographer, "he longed to escape the crowds of men who were wont to come to him, and cling closer to God in continual prayer: but the more he longed to dwell in solitude, the more often he was warned by revelations not to deny his presence to the afflicted [Pg 105] people." He fasted continually; he went barefoot even in the midst of winter, which was so severe, the story continues, in those days around Vienna, that waggons crossed the Danube on the solid ice: and yet, instead of being puffed-up by his own virtues, he set an example of humility to all, and bade them with tears to pray for him, that the Saviour's gifts to him might not heap condemnation on his head.

Over the wild Rugii S. Severinus seems to have acquired unbounded influence. Their king, Flaccitheus, used to pour out his sorrows to him, and tell him how the princes of the Goths would surely slay him; for when he had asked leave of him to pass on into Italy, he would not let him go. But S. Severinus prophesied to him that the Goths would do him no harm. Only one warning he must take: "Let it not grieve him to ask peace even for the least of men."

The friendship which had thus begun between the barbarian king and the cultivated Saint was carried on by his son Feva: but his "deadly and noxious wife," Gisa, who appears to have been a fierce Arian, always, says his biographer, kept him back from clemency. One story of Gisa's misdeeds is so characteristic both of the manners of the time and of the style in which the original biography is written, that I shall take leave to insert it at length.

"The King Feletheus (who is also Feva), the son of the afore-mentioned Flaccitheus, following his father's devotion, began, at the commencement of his reign, often to visit the holy man. His deadly and noxious wife, named Gisa, always kept him back from the remedies of clemency. For she, among the other plague-spots of her iniquity, even tried to have certain Catholics re-baptized: but when her husband did not consent, on account of his reverence for S. Severinus, she gave up immediately her sacrilegious intention, burdening the Romans, nevertheless, with hard conditions, [Pg 106] and commanding some of them to be exiled to the Danube. For when one day, she, having come to the village next to Vienna, had ordered some of them to be sent over the Danube, and condemned to the most menial offices of slavery, the man of God sent to her, and begged that they might be let go. But she, blazing up in a flame of fury, ordered the harshest of answers to be returned. 'I pray thee,' she said, 'servant of God, hiding there within thy cell, allow us to settle what we choose about our own slaves.' But the man of God hearing this, 'I trust,' he said, 'in my Lord Jesus Christ, that she will be forced by necessity to fulfil that which in her wicked will she has despised.' And forthwith a swift rebuke followed, and brought low the soul of the arrogant woman. For she had confined in close custody certain barbarian goldsmiths, that they might make regal ornaments. To them the son of the aforesaid king, Frederick by name, still a little boy, had gone in, in childish levity, on the very day on which the queen had despised the servant of God. The goldsmiths put a sword to the child's breast, saying, that if any one attempted to enter, without giving them an oath that they should be protected, he should die; and that they would slay the king's child first, and themselves afterwards, seeing that they had no hope of life left, being worn out with long prison. When she heard that, the cruel and impious queen, rending her garments for grief, cried out, 'O servant of God, Severinus, are the injuries which I did thee thus avenged? Hast thou obtained, by the earnest prayer thou hast poured out, this punishment for my contempt, that thou shouldst avenge it on my own flesh and blood?' Then, running up and down with manifold contrition and miserable lamentation, she confessed that for the act of contempt which she had committed against the servant of God she was struck by the vengeance of the present blow; and forthwith she sent [Pg 107] knights to ask for forgiveness, and sent across the river the Romans, his prayers for whom she had despised. The goldsmiths, having received immediately a promise of safety, and giving up the child, were in like manner let go.

"The most reverend Severinus, when he heard this, gave boundless thanks to the Creator, who sometimes puts off the prayers of suppliants for this end, that as faith, hope, and charity grow, while lesser things are sought, He may concede greater things. Lastly, this did the mercy of the Omnipotent Saviour work, that while it brought to slavery a woman free, but cruel over much, she was forced to restore to liberty those who were enslaved. This having been marvellously gained, the queen hastened with her husband to the servant of God, and showed him her son, who, she confessed, had been freed from the verge of death by his prayers, and promised that she would never go against his commands."

To this period of Severinus' life belongs the famous story of his interview with Odoacer, the first barbarian king of Italy, and brother of the great Onulf or Wolf, who was the founder of the family of the Guelphs, Counts of Altorf, and the direct ancestors of Victoria, Queen of England. Their father was Ædecon, secretary at one time of Attila, and chief of the little tribe of Turklings, who, though German, had clung faithfully to Attila's sons, and came to ruin at the great battle of Netad, when the empire of the Huns broke up at once and for ever. Then Odoacer and his brother started over the Alps to seek their fortunes in Italy, and take service, after the fashion of young German adventurers, with the Romans; and they came to S. Severinus' cell, and went in, heathens as they probably were, to ask a blessing of the holy man; and Odoacer had to stoop and to stand stooping, so huge he was. The Saint saw that he was no common lad, and said, "Go to Italy, clothed though thou [Pg 108] be in ragged sheepskins: thou shalt soon give greater gifts to thy friends." So Odoacer went up into Italy, deposed the last of the Cæsars, a paltry boy, Romulus Augustulus by name, and found himself, to his own astonishment, and that of all the world, the first German king of Italy; and, when he was at the height of his power, he remembered the prophecy of Severinus, and sent to him, offering him any boon he chose to ask. But all that the Saint asked was, that he should forgive some Romans whom he had banished. S. Severinus meanwhile foresaw that Odoacer's kingdom would not last, as he seems to have foreseen many things. For when certain German knights were boasting before him of the power and glory of Odoacer, he said that it would last some thirteen, or at most fourteen years; and the prophecy (so all men said in those days) came exactly true.

There is no need to follow the details of S. Severinus's labours through some five-and-twenty years of perpetual self-sacrifice—and, as far as this world was concerned, perpetual disaster. Eugippius's chapters are little save a catalogue of towns sacked one after the other, from Passau to Vienna, till the miserable survivors of the war seemed to have concentrated themselves under S. Severinus's guardianship in the latter city. We find, too, tales of famine, of locust-swarms, of little victories over the barbarians, which do not arrest wholesale defeat: but we find, through all, S. Severinus labouring like a true man of God, conciliating the invading chiefs, redeeming captives, procuring for the cities which were still standing supplies of clothes for the fugitives, persuading the husbandmen, seemingly through large districts, to give even in time of dearth a tithe of their produce to the poor;—a tale of noble work indeed.

Eugippius relates many wonders in his life of S. Severinus. The reader finds how the man who had secretly celebrated [Pg 109] a heathen sacrifice was discovered by S. Severinus, because, while the tapers of the rest of the congregation were lighted miraculously from heaven, his taper alone would not light. He records how the Danube dared not rise above the mark of the cross which S. Severinus had cut upon the posts of a timber chapel; how a poor man, going out to drive the locusts off his little patch of corn instead of staying in the church all day to pray, found the next morning that his crop alone had been eaten, while all the fields around remained untouched. Also he records the well-known story, which has a certain awfulness about it, how S. Severinus watched all night by the bier of the dead priest Silvinus, and ere the morning dawned bade him, in the name of God, speak to his brethren; and how the dead man opened his eyes, and Severinus asked him whether he wished to return to life, and he answered complainingly, "Keep me no longer here; nor cheat me of that perpetual rest which I had already found," and so, closing his eyes once more, was still for ever.

At last the noble life wore itself out. For two years Severinus had foretold that his end was near; and foretold, too, that the people for whom he had spent himself should go forth in safety, as Israel out of Egypt, and find a refuge in some other Roman province, leaving behind them so utter a solitude, that the barbarians, in their search for the hidden treasures of the civilization which they had exterminated, should dig up the very graves of the dead. Only, when the Lord willed to deliver them, they must carry away his bones with them, as the children of Israel carried the bones of Joseph.

Then Severinus sent for Feva, the Rugian king and Gisa, his cruel wife; and when he had warned them how they must render an account to God for the people committed to their charge, he stretched his hand out to the bosom of the king. "Gisa," he asked, "dost thou love most the soul [Pg 110] within that breast, or gold and silver?" She answered that she loved her husband above all. "Cease then," he said, "to oppress the innocent: lest their affliction be the ruin of your power."

Severinus' presage was strangely fulfilled. Feva had handed over the city of Vienna to his brother Frederick—"poor and impious," says Eugippius. Severinus, who knew him well, sent for him, and warned him that he himself was going to the Lord; and that if, after his death, Frederick dared touch aught of the substance of the poor and the captive, the wrath of God would fall on him. In vain the barbarian pretended indignant innocence; Severinus sent him away with fresh warnings.

"Then on the nones of January he was smitten slightly with a pain in the side. And when that had continued for three days, at midnight he bade the brethren come to him." He renewed his talk about the coming emigration, and entreated again that his bones might not be left behind; and having bidden all in turn come near and kiss him, and having received the most Holy Sacrament, he forbade them to weep for him, and commanded them to sing a psalm. They hesitated, weeping. He himself gave out the psalm, "Praise the Lord in His saints, and let all that hath breath praise the Lord;" and so went to rest in the Lord.

No sooner was he dead than Frederick seized on the garments kept in the monastery for the use of the poor, and even commanded his men to carry off the vessels of the altar. Then followed a scene characteristic of the time. The steward sent to do the deed shrank from the crime of sacrilege. A knight, Anicianus by name, went in his stead, and took the vessels of the altar. But his conscience was too strong for him. Trembling and delirium fell on him, and he fled away to a lonely island, and became a hermit there. Frederick, impenitent, swept away all in the monastery, leaving [Pg 111] nought but the bare walls, "which he could not carry over the Danube." But on him, too, vengeance fell. Within a month he was slain by his own nephew. Then Odoacer attacked the Rugii, and carried off Feva and Gisa captive to Rome. And then the long-promised emigration came. Odoacer, whether from mere policy (for he was trying to establish a half-Roman kingdom in Italy,) or for love of S. Severinus himself, sent his brother Onulf to fetch away into Italy the miserable remnant of the Danubian provincials, to be distributed among the wasted and unpeopled farms of Italy. And with them went forth the corpse of S. Severinus, undecayed, though he had been six years dead, and giving forth exceeding fragrance, though (says Eugippius) no embalmer's hand had touched it. In a coffin, which had been long prepared for it, it was laid on a waggon, and went over the Alps into Italy, working (according to Eugippius) the usual miracles on the way, till it found a resting-place near Naples, in that very villa of Lucullus at Misenum, to which Odoacer had sent the last Emperor of Rome to dream his ignoble life away in helpless luxury.

So ends this tragic story. Of its truth there can be no doubt. M. Ozanam has well said of that death-bed scene between the saint and the barbarian king and queen—"The history of invasions has many a pathetic scene: but I know none more instructive than the dying agony of that old Roman expiring between two barbarians, and less touched with the ruin of the empire, than with the peril of their souls."[35] But even more instructive, and more tragic also, is the strange coincidence that the wonder-working corpse of the starved and bare-footed hermit should rest beside the last Emperor of Rome. It is the symbol of a new era. The kings of this world have been judged and cast out. The empire of the flesh is to perish, and the empire of the spirit to conquer thenceforth for evermore.

[Pg 112]

Relics, in the church of S. Severino at Naples.

Patron (but not sole Patron) of Austria, Vienna, Bavaria.


(6th cent.)

[German and Gallican Martyrologies. Life by an unknown author.]

The Blessed Baldwin, archdeacon of Laon, in the reign of Dagobert, was the son of Basus, a nobleman, and Salaberga, who is numbered among the Saints. His sister's name was Astruda, who is also reckoned a Saint. Baldwin having incurred the enmity of certain evil men, was by them treacherously murdered. The details are not known.


(7th cent.)

[Gallican and German Martyrologies. S. Frodobert died on Jan. 1st, but his body was translated on Jan. 8th, and on that day, accordingly, his festival is observed at Troyes, and by the Benedictine Order. His life was written by his disciple, Lupellus, and used in the compilation of a later life, by a monk of Moutier la Celle, near Troyes, about 872.]

S. Frodobert, the son of parents of the middle class, from the earliest age was inspired with the love of God, and a wondrous gentleness and child-like simplicity. He is said, as a little boy, to have healed his mother of blindness, as, in a paroxysm of love and compassion for her affliction, he kissed her darkened eyes, and signed them with the cross. At an early age he entered the abbey of Luxeuil, where his singleness of soul and guilelessness exposed him to become [Pg 113] the butt of the more frivolous monks. During the time that he was there, a certain Teudolin, abbot of S. Seguanus, was staying at Luxeuil for the purpose of study, and Frodobert was much with him, being ordered to attend on the wants of the visitor, and obey him implicitly. This Teudolin diversified his labours with playing practical jokes on his gentle assistant; but Frodobert never resented any jest. One day the abbot Teudolin sent Frodobert to another monk, who was also fond of practising jokes on Frodobert, for a pair of compasses, saying that he wanted them for writing. The lay brother took the message without in the least knowing what compasses were. The monk, suspecting that the abbot had sent Frodobert on a fool's errand, put a pair of stones off a hand-mill round his neck, and told him to take them to Teudolin. Frodobert obeyed, but was scarcely able to stagger along the cloister under the weight. On his way, the abbot of Luxeuil, his own superior, met him, and amazed to see the poor brother bowed to earth under this burden, bade him throw down the mill-stones, and tell him whither he was taking them. Frodobert obeyed, and said that the abbot Teudolin had sent him for them, as he wanted them for literary purposes. The superior burst into tears, grieved that the good, simple-minded lay brother should have been thus imposed upon, and hastening to the visitor, and then to the monk who had put the "compasses" about Frodobert's neck, he administered to them such a sharp rebuke, that from that day forward no more practical jokes were played upon him.

As years passed, his virtue became more generally known, and the Bishop of Troyes summoned him to be in attendance on himself. The humble monk in vain entreated to be allowed to return to his monastery; the bishop retained him about his person in his palace.

As he was unable to return to the quiet of his cloister, [Pg 114] Frodobert withdrew as much as possible from the world in which he moved, into the calm of his own heart, and practised great abstinence in the midst of the abundance wherewith the bishop's table was supplied. Living outside his cloister, he kept its rules, and in Lent he never ate anything till after sunset. Those who were less strict in their living, sneered at his self-denial, and told the bishop that Frodobert kept a supply of victuals in his bedroom, and ate privily. To prove him, the prelate gave him a chamber in the church tower, and burst in upon him at all unseasonable moments, but was never able to detect the slightest proof of the charge being well founded. He, therefore, regretted his mistrust, and restored the monk to his room in the palace.

Frodobert was given at last, by Clovis II., some marshy land near Troyes, and on this he built a monastery, which he called La Celle, which was soon filled with numerous monks, and became famous for the learned men it educated. Here S. Frodobert spent many years. He passed his declining years in building a church to S. Peter, and when the church was completed, his strength failed, and he knew that he had not many days to live. His great desire was to see it consecrated on the feast of the Nativity, and he sent two of his monks to the bishop to beseech him to dedicate his new church that day. But the duties of Christmas, in his Cathedral, rendered it impossible for the prelate to grant this request. Frodobert received the refusal with many tears, but lifting his eyes and hands to heaven, he prayed, and God prolonged his days, so that he survived to see his church consecrated on the Octave of the Nativity, Jan. 1st; and when the ceremony was over, he resigned his soul into the hands of God. The body was translated, some years after, on the 8th January. The weather had been wet, and the marshes were under water, so that the abbot and monks [Pg 115] were in trouble, because their house was surrounded with the flood, and it would be difficult for the bishop and clergy of Troyes to attend the ceremony of the translation. "Grant," said the abbot, "that the blessed Frodobert may obtain for us a sharp frost, or we shall have no one here tomorrow." This was said on the eve of the projected translation. That night, so hard a frost set in, that by morning the whole surface of the water was frozen like a stone, and the bishop, clergy, and faithful of Troyes, came to the monastery over the ice.


(about 712.)

[Gallo-Belgian and Cologne Martyrologies. Two lives of S. Gudula exist, besides notices of her in the lives of other members of the family of saints to which she belonged. One life, by a certain Hubert, was compiled after 1047, the other is anonymous, given by Surius. That of Hubert is an amplification of an older life, written in simple and rude style. He did not apparently add anything to the history, except the account of the various translations of her relics, up to his time; but he re-wrote the life in more pedantic and florid style.]

The date of the birth of this holy virgin is uncertain. During the reign of King Dagobert, or of his son Sigebert, there lived in Brabant a count named Witgere. His wife Amalberga, who is said to have been the sister of Pepin of Landen, presented him with many children; Rainilda, Pharaildis, and Emebert, who occupied the episcopal throne of Cambrai, and was afterwards elevated to the ranks of the blessed. Amalberga was again pregnant, and an angel announced to her, in a dream, that the child that should be born to her, would be a model of sanctity. A few days after, S. Gudula was born, and her relative, S. Gertrude, was [Pg 116] her sponsor, and took charge of her education.

When Gudula was still a child, she longed to fly the world. She and her sister Rainilda betook themselves to Lobbes, and asked to be admitted into the monastery. But as women were not permitted to invade its precincts, their request was denied. After waiting three days at the gates, Gudula turned away sorrowful, but her sister Rainilda, more persevering, remained undeterred by repeated refusals, till, overcoming by her persistency, she was allowed to live under the rule of the monastery. Gudula returned to her parents; but living at home, she lived a recluse. In those wild times of civil war and general violence, it is not surprising to see gentle spirits flutter like doves to the convent gates, as to an ark of refuge, from the storms raging without, which they were so powerless to withstand.

About two miles from her parents' castle was a little village named Moorsel, where was an oratory dedicated to the Saviour; thither went S. Gudula every morning at cock-crow. And now follows an incident similar to that related of S. Genoveva. One wild night, the Prince of the Power of the air extinguished the light which the servant girl carried before the Saint; and she, in profound darkness, on a barren heath, knew not how to find the path. Gudula knelt down and prayed to God, and the light rekindled in her lantern, so that she went on her way rejoicing.

At early mass, one frosty morning, the priest, as he turned towards the people, noticed Gudula wrapped in devotion, and her feet were exposed from beneath her gown; he saw with dismay that there were no soles to her shoes, so that though she appeared to be well shod, she in reality walked barefoot. The good priest, pained to think that her tender feet should be chilled by the icy stones of the pavement, as soon as he had unvested, took his warm mittens, and put them under the feet of the young countess; but she [Pg 117] rejected them, much distressed that her act of penance had been discovered. On leaving the church, she met a poor woman, with her crippled dumb son on her back. The boy was bowed double, and was so deformed that he could not feed himself. The Saint looked at the poor mother and then at the unfortunate child, and actuated by a movement of compassion, she took the cripple into her arms, and besought God to pity him. Instantly the stiff joints became supple, and the back was straightened, and the child, feeling himself whole, cried out: "See, mother! see!" Gudula, abashed at the miracle, implored the poor woman to keep what had taken place a secret; but she, full of gratitude, published it abroad. When S. Gudula died, all the people followed her body to the grave. She was buried on the 8th January, 712, according to the general opinion, in a tomb before the door of the oratory of the village of Hamme, near Releghem. On the morrow, a poplar that stood at the foot of her grave was seen, in spite of the season, to have burst into green leaf.[36]

The body was afterwards transported to Nivelles, Mons, and Maubeuge, through fear of the Normans; and then was laid in the oratory of Moorsel, which she had loved so well in life. When Charlemagne came to Moorsel, he built there a monastery, richly endowed; but the convent disappeared in the times of anarchy which followed the death of the founder, and the body was finally taken from the robber baron who had appropriated to himself the lands of Moorsel, and brought to Brussels; where, since 1047, a magnificent church has eternalized the memory of the daughter of Witgere. The site of the chapel at Hamme is now a kiln.

Gudula; French, Gudule; Flemish, Goole.

Relics, at the church of SS. Michel et Gudule, Brussels.

[Pg 118]

Patroness of Brussels.

In art, represented with a lantern, and an angel kindling it.


(about a.d. 718.)

[English Martyrologies. Authorities: Felix of Croyland, Florence of Worcester, Ordericus Vitalis, lib. iv. c. 17.]

S. Pega was the sister of S. Guthlac of Croyland, and though of the royal blood of the Mercian kings, forsook the world and led a retired life in the country, where now stands Peakirk, in Northamptonshire. "There Pega, S. Guthlac's sister, was for a long time a servant of the Lord. After her brother's death, she used all her endeavours to wear out her life for the love of Christ, by still severer austerities. She, therefore, undertook a pilgrimage to Rome, to pray at the threshold of the holy Apostles, for herself and her kinsfolk, and she there triumphantly departed, on the sixth of the ides (8th) of January."

S. Pega, called in Northamptonshire S. Pee, is not to be confounded with S. Bega, or S. Bees, who is commemorated on September 8th.


(a.d. 983.)

[Benedictine Martyrology. In English Martyrologies S. Wulsin was commemorated on Sept. 27th. Mentioned by Matthew of Westminster. His life is given by Capgrave.]

Matthew of Westminster says (De gestis Pontif. Anglorum, lib. 2):—"Dunstan, the archbishop, when he was [Pg 119] Bishop of London, made him (Wulsin), abbot of Westminster, a place where formerly Mellitus had raised a church to S. Peter, and here he formed a monastery of twelve monks. Having discharged his office prudently and with sanctity, he was made Bishop of Sherbourn. Then he at once instituted monks in the episcopal seat, and dismissed the secular clerks, lest he should seem to sleep when so many bishops of the time were patrons of diligence. His sanctity, if manifest in life, was more so in death. For when he was nigh the gates of death, the eyes of his understanding being opened, he exclaimed singing, 'I see the heavens opened, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God!' Which song he uttered without faltering, and singing, he died."


(a.d. 1455.)

S. Laurence Justiniani died on Jan. 8th. He was beatified by Clement VII., in the year 1524, and was canonized in 1698 by Alexander VIII. The 5th Sept., the day of his consecration as bishop, is generally observed in his honour, instead of Jan. 8th, and to that day we refer our readers for his life.



[34] "The Hermits," by the Rev. C. Kingsley. Macmillan, 1869, pp. 224, 239.

[35] La Civilisation Chretienne chez les Francs. Paris, 1861, p. 41.

[36] So related in one of the lives. The other exaggerates the incident, and says that in the night a poplar tree sprang up.

[Pg 120]

January 9.

S. Marciana, V. M., in Africa, circ. a.d. 300.
SS. Julian, Basilissa, Celsus, and Companions, MM, in Egypt, circ. a.d. 310.
S. Peter, B. of Sebaste, circ. a.d. 387.
S. Marcellinus, B. of Ancona, circ. a.d. 566.
S. Fillan, Ab., in Scotland, 8th cent.
S. Adrian, Ab., at Canterbury, a.d. 709.
S. Brithwald, Abp. of Canterbury, a.d. 731.


(about 300.)

[Roman, Spanish, German, and other Martyrologies. There is some difficulty as to whether the African S. Marciana and the Saint of the same name, honoured at Toledo, are to be distinguished; but probably they are the same. Some hagiographers have supposed that there were two, because at Toledo, S. Marciana is commemorated on July 12th, but that is in all probability the day of her translation. The Acts of the African Saint and the Toledan hymn to S. Marciana, as well as the account of her in the Mozarabic Breviary, relate the same incidents. None of these are of any great authority.]


aint Marciana was a native of Rusuccus, in Mauritania. When at Cæsarea, in Mauritania, she was brought before the governor on the charge of having overthrown a marble statuette of Diana, which stood above a drinking fountain in the public street.

For this outrage on the established religion, she was scourged, and then delivered over to the lust of the gladiators, but was miraculously delivered, for God was as careful to protect the modesty of his servant, as was she to proclaim the honour of His name.

She was exposed in the amphitheatre to a lion, which, however, spared her; but a bull gored her with its horns, and a leopard despatched her.

[Pg 121]

Patroness of Tortosa, in Spain.


(about 310.)

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menæa. Authority:—The Acts of these martyrs. They are referred to by S. Eulogius, the martyr, who flourished about a.d. 850. They have been inserted by Metaphrastes in his collection of the lives of the Saints, in Greek. S. Aldhelm of Sherbourne, wrote a panegyric on these Saints, in Anglo-Saxon, in 700; and S. Venantius Fortunatus wrote a hymn in honour of them in 620. The Acts purport to have been written by an eye-witness of the martyrdom, for he says:—"We write the Acts of the Saints from what we saw with our eyes, wherefore we hope to receive some little share in future blessedness." The writer survived to the time of Constantine the Great, for he speaks of churches erected to the memory of these martyrs. Nevertheless, the Acts cannot be regarded as genuine. They are nothing but a religious romance, possibly founded on fact. Such religious romances were common in the 5th cent., written to supply Christians with wholesome reading in place of the sensual fictions of Heliodorus, Achilles, Tatius, &c. As there are no less than thirty-six Julians in the Roman Martyrology, and of these seven are commemorated in January, there is great liability to confusion. S. Julian seems to have suffered on the 6th January; but on account of the concurrence of the Epiphany, his memorial was transferred to different days in different dioceses, and this again has proved an element of confusion.]

S. Julian was born at Antinoe, in Egypt, of noble parents. The love of God, and God alone, filled his heart from earliest childhood. At the age of eighteen his parents required him to marry. This troubled him much, for he had read the saying of S. Paul, "He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife." 1 Cor. vii. 32, 33. He besought his parents to allow him to defer giving them [Pg 122] a final answer till he had well considered their proposal during seven days. He now fasted, and watched, and prayed, revealing to God the desire of his heart, to keep his body in virginity, and his soul devoted to God alone. At the end of the seven days he saw Christ in a vision, who said to him, "Fear not, Julian, to take thee a wife, and to fulfil the desire of thy parents. As virgins ye shall serve me, and I shall not be separated from you, and as virgins shall ye enter into my kingdom." Then Julian was filled with great joy, and he considered whom he should choose. Now there was one maiden, Basilissa by name, who was well-known to his parents, and with whom he had been acquainted from childhood, and whom he loved for her whiteness of soul. Therefore he told his father that he consented to marry Basilissa. And she, on her side, was glad to be the wife of Julian, but her timid soul shrank from the cares and responsibilities of marriage, for she was as yet young and fresh to the world.

The marriage took place with all the boisterous merriment and display, usual then as now; and evening approaching, the young bride was led by the maidens, who were her fellows, to the nuptial chamber. Now when Julian entered, there came an odour in the apartment, as of lilies and roses, though the season was mid-winter, and an awe fell on their young hearts. And they put their hands together, and promised to serve God together in purity and fervour, with singleness of heart all their days. Then they were aware of One present in the room, and kneeling down, they fell prostrate, and besought Him to accomplish the good work He had begun in them. And when they looked up, the chamber was full of light, and they saw Jesus and Mary, and an innumerable company of virgin Saints. Then the Lord said, "Thou hast conquered, O Julian, thou [Pg 123] hast conquered!" And the Blessed Virgin said, "Blessed art thou, Basilissa, who hast thus sought with single heart the glory that is eternal."

Then said Jesus, "My soldiers, who have overcome the wiles of the old serpent, rise and behold what is prepared for you!" Thereupon came two clothed in white robes, and girded about the loins with golden zones, having crowns of flowers in their hands, and they raised them from the ground and showed them an open book seven times brighter than silver, inscribed with golden letters, and round about it stood four elders, having vials in their hands of pure gold, from which ascended diverse odours. And one, answering, said, "In these four vials your perfection is contained. For out of these daily ascends an odour of sweet fragrance before the Lord. Therefore, blessed are ye, because ye have rejected the unsatisfying pleasures of this world to strive after those which are eternal, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive."

Then Julian looked, and beheld his name, and the name of his wife, Basilissa, written in the book. And the elder said, "In that book are written the chaste and the sober, the truthful and the merciful, the humble and gentle, those whose love is unfeigned, bearing adversities, patient in tribulation, and those who, for the love of Jesus Christ, have given up father and mother, and wife and children, and lands, for his sake, lest they should impede the progress of their souls to perfection, and they who have not hesitated to shed their blood for his name, in the number of whom you also have merited to be written."

Then the vision passed. But Julian and Basilissa spent the night in prayer, and singing joyful praises to the Lord.

And when his parents were dead, Julian divided his house [Pg 124] and made it into a hospital, and all his substance he spent in relieving the necessities of the sick and suffering. He ruled over the portion devoted to the men, and Basilissa, his wife, at the head of a number of devout virgins, governed the women's department.

Many men placed themselves under the guidance of S. Julian, and assisted him in his works of charity, and laboured for the advancement of God's glory, and the salvation of their own souls. It is from the circumstance of S. Julian having been the first to establish a hospital for the sick, that he has been called by distinction Julian the Hospitaller.

After many years, Basilissa died in peace; her husband Julian survived her. In the persecution of Diocletian he was seized and subjected to cruel tortures. The governor, Marcian, ordered him to be dragged, laden with chains, and covered with wounds, about the city. As the martyr passed the school where Celsus, the son of the governor, was being instructed, the boys turned out into the street to see the soldier of Christ go by. Then suddenly the lad exclaimed, "I see angels accompanying, and extending a glorious crown to him. I believe, I believe in the God of the Christians!" And throwing away his books, he fell at the feet of Julian, and kissed his wounds. When the father heard this, he was filled with ungovernable fury, and believed that the Saint had bewitched the boy; he ordered them both to be cast into the lowest dungeon, a loathsome place, where the corrupting carcases of malefactors lay, devoured by maggots. But God filled this hideous pit with light, and transformed the stench into fragrant odours, so that the soldiers who kept the prison were filled with wonder, and believed. That same night, a priest, Antony, who lived with seven little boys, orphans committed to his care by their parents, summoned by God, came with these seven [Pg 125] children to the prison. An angel went before them, and at his touch the gates flew open. Then Antony, the priest, baptized Celsus and the believing soldiers.

On the morrow the governor, supposing that the night in the pit had cured his son, sent him to his mother, and the boy, having related to her in order all he had seen and heard, she believed with her whole heart, and was baptized by the priest.

The governor, Marcian, ordered all these converts to death. The soldiers were executed with the sword, the seven boys were cast into the fire, the rest were tortured to death.

Relics, at Morigny, near Etampes, and in the church of S. Basilissa, at Paris.

Patron of hospitals.

In art, S. Julian and S. Basilissa are represented holding the same lily stalk, or looking on the Book of Life wherein their names are written.


(about 387.)

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menæa. The life of S. Peter occurs in that of his sister, S. Macrina, written by his brother, S. Gregory of Nyssa. He is also spoken of by Socrates, Theodoret, and Philostorgius.]

The family of which S. Peter was descended was very ancient and illustrious, as we are informed by S. Gregory Nazianzen. It has become famous for its saints, for three brothers were at the same time eminently holy bishops, S. Basil, S. Gregory of Nyssa, and S. Peter of Sebaste; and their elder sister, S. Macrina, was the spiritual mother of many saints. Their father and mother, S. Basil the elder, and S. Emilia, were banished for their faith in the reign of [Pg 126] Galerius Maximian, and fled into the deserts of Pontus; they are commemorated in the Roman martyrology on May 30th. The grandmother of S. Peter was S. Macrina the elder, who had been instructed in the way of salvation by S. Gregory the Wonder-worker. S. Peter of Sebaste, was the youngest of ten children; he lost his father whilst still an infant, and was therefore brought up by his mother and sister. When the aged Emilia was dying, she drew her two children—the only two who were present—to her, and taking their hands, she looked up to heaven, and having prayed God to protect, govern, and sanctify her absent children, she said, "To Thee, O Lord, I dedicate the first-fruits; and the tenth of my womb. This, my first-born, Macrina, I give thee as my first-fruits; and this, my tenth child, Peter, I give thee as my tithe. They are thine by law, and thine they are by my free gift. Hallow, I pray thee, this my first-born daughter, and this my tenth child, and son." And thus blessing them, she expired, says S. Gregory Nyssen. S. Emilia had founded two monasteries, one for men, the other for women; the former she put under the direction of her son Basil, the latter under that of her daughter Macrina. Peter, whose thoughts where wholly bent on cultivating the seeds of piety sown in his heart, retired into the house governed by his brother, situated on the bank of the river Iris; and when S. Basil was obliged to quit that post in 362, he left the abbacy in the hands of S. Peter, who discharged this office for several years with great prudence and virtue. Soon after S. Basil was made Bishop of Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, in 370, he promoted his brother Peter to the priesthood. His brother, S. Basil, died on Jan. 1st, a.d. 379, and Eustathius, Bishop of Sebaste, an Arian and a furious persecutor of S. Basil, died soon after. S. Peter was consecrated in his room, in 380, to root out the Arian heresy in that diocese, where it had taken deep [Pg 127] hold. In 381, he attended the general council held at Constantinople, and joined in the condemnation of the Macedonian heresy. His death happened in summer, about the year 387, and his brother, S. Gregory of Nyssa, mentions that his memory was honoured at Sebaste by an anniversary solemnity. "Peter," says Nicephorus (lib. ii. c. 44), "who sprang from the same parents as Basil, was not so well-read in profane literature as his brother, but he was not his inferior in the splendour of his virtue."


(8th cent.)

[Scottish and Irish Martyrologies. Life in the Aberdeen Breviary.]

S. Fillan, whose name is famous in ancient Scottish and Irish Calendars, was the son of Feriach, a noble, and his saintly wife Kentigerna, daughter of Cualann, king of Leinster. His father ordered him to be thrown into the lake, near his castle, and drowned, when he was shown to him, for he was somewhat unshapely. But, by the ministry of the angels, at the prayer of his mother, he floated ashore. S. Fillan was given by Bishop Ibar to the abbot Munna, to be educated. As he wrote at night in his cell, he held up his left hand, and it shone so brilliantly that he was able to write with the right hand by the light shed by the left hand.

When the abbot Munna died (a.d. 635), S. Fillan was elected to succeed him as head of the monastery of Kilmund in Argyleshire. After some years, he resigned his charge, and retired to his uncle Congan, brother to his mother, in a place called Siracht, a mountainous part of Glendarshy, in Fifeshire, where, with the assistance of seven others, he built a church. He was buried at Straphilline, and his relics [Pg 128] were long preserved there with honour. The Scottish historians attribute to his intercession a memorable victory obtained by King Robert Bruce, in 1314, over the English at Bannockburn. His pastoral staff and bell still exist.


(a.d. 709.)

[Anglican and some of the German Martyrologies. Life in Bede, Eccles. Hist., lib. iv., c. 1, 2; lib. v. c. 20.]

"Deusdedit," says the Venerable Bede, "the sixth Bishop of the church of Canterbury, died on the 14th July, 665. The see then became vacant for some considerable time, until the priest Wighard, a man skilled in ecclesiastical discipline, of the English race, was sent to Rome by King Egbert (of Kent), and Oswy, King of the Northumbrians, with a request that he might be ordained Bishop of the Church of England; sending at the same time presents to the Apostolic Pope, and many vessels of gold and silver. Arriving at Rome, where Vitalian presided at that time over the Apostolic see, and having made known to the aforesaid Pope the occasion of his journey, he was not long after snatched away, with almost all his companions that went with him, by a pestilence which happened at that time.

"But the Apostolic Pope, having consulted about that affair, made diligent inquiry for some one to send to the Archbishop of the English Churches. There was then in the Niridian monastery, which is not far from the city of Naples, an abbot called Adrian, by nation an African, well versed in holy writ, experienced in monastic and ecclesiastical discipline, and excellently skilled in both Greek and Latin. The Pope, sending for him, commanded him to accept the bishopric, and repair to Britain; he [Pg 129] answered that he was unworthy of so great a dignity, but said he would name another, whose learning and age were fitter for the ecclesiastical office. And having proposed to the Pope a certain monk, belonging to a neighbouring monastery of virgins, whose name was Andrew, he was by all that knew him, judged worthy of a bishopric; but bodily infirmity prevented his being advanced to the episcopal office. Then again Adrian was pressed to accept the bishopric, but he desired a respite for a time, to see whether he could find another fit to be ordained bishop.

"There was at that time, in Rome, a monk called Theodore, well-known to Adrian, born at Tarsus, in Cilicia, a man well instructed in worldly and divine literature, as also in Greek and Latin; of known probity of life, and venerable for age, being sixty-six years old. Adrian offered him to the Pope to be ordained bishop, and prevailed; but upon these conditions, that he should conduct him into Britain, because he had already travelled through France twice upon several occasions, and was, therefore, better acquainted with the way, and was, moreover, sufficiently provided with men of his own; as also that, being his fellow labourer in doctrine, he might take special care that Theodore should not, according to the custom of the Greeks, introduce anything contrary to the true faith into the Church where he presided. Theodore, being ordained sub-deacon, waited four months for his hair to grow, that it might be shorn into the shape of a crown; for he had before the tonsure of S. Paul[37] the Apostle, after the manner of the Easterns. He was ordained by Pope Vitalian, in the year of the Lord 668, on Sunday, the 26th of March, and on the 27th of May was sent with Adrian into Britain.

[Pg 130]

"They proceeded by sea to Marseilles, and thence by land to Arles, and having delivered to John, Archbishop of that city, Pope Vitalian's letters of recommendation, were by him detained, till Ebroin, the king's mayor of the palace, sent them a pass to go where they pleased. Having received the same, Theodore repaired to Agilbert, Bishop of Paris, and was by him kindly received, and long entertained. But Adrian went first to Emme, and then to Faro, Bishops of Sens and Meaux, and lived with them a considerable time; for the hard winter had obliged them to rest wherever they could. King Egbert, being informed by messengers, that the bishop they had asked of the Roman prelate was in the kingdom of France, sent thither his præfect, Redford, to conduct him; who, being arrived there, with Ebroin's leave, conveyed him to the port of Quentavic (S. Quentin); where, being indisposed, he made some stay, and as soon as he began to recover, sailed over into Britain. But Ebroin detained Adrian, suspecting that he went on some message from the Emperor to the kings of Britain, to the prejudice of the kingdom, of which he at that time took especial care; however, when he found that he really had no such commission, he discharged him, and permitted him to follow Theodore.

"As soon as he came, he received from him the monastery of S. Peter the Apostle, where the Archbishops of Canterbury are usually buried; for at his departure, the Apostolic Lord had ordered that Theodore should provide for him in his diocese, and give him a suitable place to live in with his followers.

"Theodore arrived in his church the second year after his consecration, on Sunday, May 27th. Soon after, he visited all the island, wherever the tribes of the Angles inhabited; and everywhere attended and assisted by Adrian, he taught the right rule of life, and the canonical custom of celebrating Easter. This was the first Archbishop whom all the English Church obeyed. And forasmuch as both of [Pg 131] them were well read in both sacred and secular literature, they gathered a crowd of disciples, and there flowed from them daily rivers of knowledge to water the hearts of their hearers; and, together with the books of Holy Writ, they also taught them the arts of ecclesiastical poetry, astronomy, and arithmetic. A testimony of which is, that there are still living at this day some of their scholars, who are as well versed in the Greek and Latin tongues as in their own, in which they were born. Nor were there ever happier times since the English came into Britain; for their kings, being brave men and good Christians, were a terror to all barbarous nations, and the minds of all men were bent upon the joys of the heavenly kingdom of which they had just heard; and all who desired to be instructed in sacred reading had masters at hand to teach them."

S. Adrian died a.d. 709, after having spent thirty-nine years in Britain. His tomb was famous for miracles wrought at it.


(a.d. 731.)

[Bede, lib. v., c. 8, 23. William of Malmesbury: De Gest. Pontificum Anglorum; Roger of Hoveden; Matthew of Westminster, &c. He is called also Bretwald and Berthwald.]

Bede says that after the death of S. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 690, "Berthwald succeeded, being abbot of the monastery of Reculver, which lies on the north side of the mouth of the river Inlade. He was a man learned in the Scriptures, and well instructed in ecclesiastical and monastic discipline, yet not to be compared with his predecessor. He was chosen Bishop in the year of our [Pg 132] Lord's Incarnation, 692, on the first day of July, Withred and Suebhard being kings of Kent; he was consecrated the next year, on Sunday, the 29th June, by Godwin, Metropolitan Bishop of France, and was enthroned on Sunday, April 31st."

"In the year of our Lord's Incarnation, 731, Archbishop Berthwald died of old age, on the 9th of January, having held his see thirty-seven years six months and fourteen days."

S. Genoveva. S. Genoveva, Jan. 3, p. 46.


[37] This tonsure consisted in shaving the whole head.

[Pg 133]

January 10.

S. Nicanor, M., a.d. 76.
SS. Thecla, V., and Justina, Confessors in Sicily, 3rd cent.
S. Marcian, P. C., at Constantinople, circ. a.d. 476.
S. Domitian, B. C., in Armenia, circ. a.d. 600.
S. Agatho, Pope of Rome, a.d. 682.
S. Sethrida, V., Abbess of Brie, in France, 7th cent.
S. William, Ab. and Abp. of Bourges, a.d. 1209.
S. Gonsalvo, P. C., Portugal, a.d. 1259.
B. Christiana, or Oringa, V., in Etruria, a.d. 1310.


(a.d. 76.)

[Roman Martyrology. Commemorated by the Greeks on July 28th and December 28th.]


aint Nicanor, one of the first seven deacons appointed by the Apostles, was a native of Cyprus, to which he returned, that he might preach the Gospel on the dispersion of the Apostles. He was variously tortured and then executed, in the reign of Vespasian, but where is not known.


(3rd cent.)

[Authority for the lives of these Saints: the lections in the proper offices for this day in the church of Lentini, in Sicily.]

S. Thecla was a noble virgin of Lentini, and daughter of S. Isidore. She buried the bodies of the martyrs with loving reverence. For three years she suffered from paralysis, and could not leave her bed, but was healed by the [Pg 134] prayers of SS. Alphius, Philadelphus, and Cyrinus. When they were in prison for the faith, she visited them and ministered to their necessities, and when they had been slain and cast into a well, she extracted the bodies and buried them. Tertullus, the governor, hearing of this, sent for her, but his sudden death saved her from injury. During the persecution, she concealed Agatho, Bishop of Lipari, in one of her farms; and when the persecution was over, she and her friend Justina spent their fortunes in works of mercy.


(about 476.)

[Honoured in the Greek Menæa and Roman Martyrology on the same day. His life, by an anonymous writer, is given by Simeon Metaphrastes.]

S. Marcian was born at Constantinople; he belonged to a noble Roman family, related to that of the Emperor Theodosius. From his childhood he served God in watching, fasting, and prayer. His great compassion for the necessities of the poor made it impossible for him to refuse relief, when he had anything to give away.

In the reign of the Emperor Marcian, Anatolius, the Archbishop, ordained him priest. His love for the poor manifested itself, not merely in abundant almsgiving, but also in his making their instruction in the truth his favourite pursuit. The severity of his morals was made a handle by those who feared the example of his virtue, as a tacit rebuke of their sloth and avarice, to fasten on him a suspicion of Novatianism; but his meekness and silence triumphed over this, and other slanders.

The patriarch Gennadius conferred on him the dignity of treasurer of the church of Constantinople. S. Marcian [Pg 135] built, or repaired, in a stately manner a great number of churches. The following incident is related of the dedication of the church of S. Anastasia, for which he had obtained a site, and which he had built in spite of numerous impediments. On the day that the church was to be consecrated, he was on his way to attend the ceremony, when he was accosted in the street by a very poor man, whose rags scarce held together, and who implored him, for the love of God, to give him an alms. S. Marcian felt in his bosom, but found he had no money there. The pauper would take no refusal, and the compassionate heart of the treasurer was melted at the aspect of his tatters and emaciation. Quickly he slipped off the tunic he wore under his sacerdotal vestments, handed it to the beggar, and then hurried on to the new church, drawing his alb and chasuble about him, to conceal the deficiency of a nether garment. The church was crowded, the Emperor Leo and the Empress, the senate, and almost the whole city were present. Marcian was bidden celebrate the Holy Sacrifice before all, in the new church he had built. So, full of shame, he began, hoping that the folds of his chasuble would conceal the absence of a tunic. But all saw him as though clothed beneath his sacerdotal vestments with a garment as of pure gold, which flashed as he moved. The patriarch Gennadius was offended, and rebuked him when the liturgy was over, for having worn a private garment, more splendid than his ecclesiastical vesture, and worthy only of an emperor. Marcian fell at his feet, and denied that he had worn any such raiment. Then Gennadius, wroth at his having spoken falsely, as he thought, for he supposed his eyes could not have been deceived, caught him by the vesture, and drew it aside, and behold! Marcian was bare of all other garments save his sacerdotal apparel.

S. Marcian built also the church of S. Irene, another of [Pg 136] S. Isidore, and a baptistery of magnificent appearance, surrounded with five porches, like that at Jerusalem. "But this one," says the chronicler, "was greater than that by the sheep market, for here greater miracles were wrought than there. To that, an angel descended on one day in the year, and healed but one at a time; at this, whenever a servant of the Lord ministers, Christ himself is present. The healing, moreover, is not but once a year, but daily, and not of bodies only, but of souls as well."

S. Marcian's great compassion extended to women of bad character, and despising the slander and gossip which he might occasion, by visiting them in their houses, setting only before his eyes the blessedness of plucking these brands from the burning, he often sought them out in haunts of crime; and if they had taken up evil courses through poverty only, he found for them honest occupations, and by his exhortations and tears, and his overflowing charity, he convinced and persuaded many of these unhappy women, so that they came openly and did penance, and some he sent on pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and some went into solitude, and recompensed for the past by self-mortification in the desert.


(about 600.)

[Greek Menæa and Roman Martyrology. His life in the Menæa, and fuller by Theophylact Simocatta. He is mentioned also by Evagrius, his contemporary. A letter to him from S. Gregory the Pope, is extant, praising his learning, prudence and zeal.]

S. Domitian was the son of pious parents, Theodore and Eudoxia by name. He was an intimate friend, if not, as Evagrius says, "a kinsman of the Emperor Maurice." He was married for a few years, but his wife dying, he devoted himself to the services of the Church, and was consecrated [Pg 137] Bishop of Melitene, in Armenia, at the age of thirty.

On the murder of Hormisdas, the Persian King, his son Chosroës II., succeeded him (592), but the General Varam having revolted against him, and being deserted by many of his soldiers, Chosroës fled with his wife, and two newly-born children, to Circesium. Thence he sent an embassy to the Emperor Maurice, desiring peace; for at that time war was being waged between the Persians and the Roman emperors. At the persuasion of S. Domitian, Maurice admitted his suit, and treated Chosroës as his guest, instead of as an exile, welcomed him with royal gifts, and placed the whole of his body-guards, and the entire Roman army, at his disposal. Moreover, by way of still greater distinction, he sent Domitian, Bishop of Melitene, to attend him. The Roman army defeated Varam, and Chosroës was reinstated on the throne of Persia.

Domitian was liberally recompensed for his share in this transaction, but he kept nothing for himself. Every gift made him, he offered to the Church, or to the poor; restoring churches, and supporting hospitals. He died at Constantinople, whither he had been summoned by the Emperor.


(about 682.)

[His life by Anastasius, the librarian. Commemorated by the Greeks on Feb. 21st.]

Agatho, a Sicilian by birth, was remarkable for his charity and gentleness. Having been several years treasurer of the Church of Rome, he succeeded Domnus in the Pontificate, in 679. He was represented by three legates in the sixth general council, the third of Constantinople, in [Pg 138] 680, against the Monothelite heresy, which he confuted in a learned letter to the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus, appealing to the constant tradition of the Apostolic Church of Rome, "acknowledged," says he, "by the whole Catholic Church to be the mother and mistress of all the churches, and to derive her superior authority from S. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, to whom Christ committed his whole flock, with a promise that his faith should never fail."

On the 25th day of February, the Council decided against Macarius, author of the Monothelite heresy, and solemnly was the episcopal stole (orarium) removed from his shoulders, and from those of Basil, Bishop of Crete, who followed his opinion, and their thrones were cast out of the council hall, in token that they were removed from their office, and ejected from the communion of the Church. This Pope restored S. Wilfrid to the see of York, from which he had been ejected by the Bishops and King of Northumbria, with the consent of S. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury.


(7th cent.)

[Anglican Martyrologies, Saussaye. Authority:—Bede, Eccles. Hist., lib. iii. c. 8.]

Bede says that Sethrida was a daughter of the wife of Anna, King of the East Angles, and that she served God in the monastery of Brie, "for at that time, but few monasteries being built in the country of the Angles, many were wont, for the sake of the monastic conversation, to repair to the monasteries of the Franks or Gauls; and they also sent their daughters there to be instructed, and delivered to their heavenly bridegroom, especially in the monasteries of [Pg 139] Brie, Chelles, and Andelys."


(a.d. 1209.)

[Gallican Martyrologies. His life, written by a contemporary, was published, with the style altered and shortened, by Surius; the same is re-published by the Bollandists, together with a second life, written by another contemporary, from a MS. at Antwerp. Another life by a Canon of Bourges, date uncertain, was published by Labbe, Bibl. nova II., p. 379, 386.]

On the death of Henry de Sully, Archbishop of Bourges, the clergy of that church, unable to agree upon a successor, requested Eudo, Bishop of Paris, to nominate. For this purpose, the bishop came to Beauvais, but found it no easy matter to decide, without causing an eruption of party feeling. In his desire to choose a good man, and one who would commend himself to all, in consultation with two friends, he resolved on committing the matter to God. Accordingly, all the most advisable names were written on slips of parchment, and were sealed, and then deposited beneath the corporal on the altar. The Bishop celebrated very early, with great devotion, and earnestly besought God to indicate him whom he had chosen. When mass was over, he put his hand beneath the corporal, and drew forth one of the billets. He broke the seal in the presence of his two friends, and saw that the name of William, abbot of Challis, was written on the parchment.

No one else was privy to this appeal. As he left the church, the clergy whom he had convened to elect cried out "that they desired William of Challis as their bishop," and on him the majority of votes fell. Then the bishopric was offered to William, but he recoiled from accepting it, with the greatest dismay, for he was a man of retiring habits and of singular humility. However, on an order coming to him from the superior of the society, the abbot of [Pg 140] Citeaux, and also from the papal legate, he was unable to refuse; and he was consecrated in the year 1200. After the ceremony was over, he laid aside the vestments in which he had received his ordination, and which were of little value, in a press, till his dying day.

In his new dignity he omitted nothing of the severity of his cloister life, disciplining himself more strictly than before, because his business was calculated to distract his thoughts, and his high position was dangerous to humility.

He was gentle and loving to penitent sinners; and towards the incorrigible he was stern, but he refused to have recourse to the civil power against them; he had a horror of shedding blood, so that he looked with the utmost repugnance upon the violence and warlike customs of his time. When the crusade against the Albigenses was resolved upon, William of Beauvais resolved on accompanying the expedition. Perhaps his earnestness would move the heretics to repentance, and his horror of bloodshed might serve as a check upon the crusaders. The Albigensian heresy, which was a revival of Paulicianism, ate as a canker into the Church of France. It was not even a form of Christianity, but was a heathen philosophical sect which had adopted a few Christian tenets.

The history of the sect was as follows:—Manes, a Persian heathen, flourished in the middle of the third century, dying about 277, the founder of a new religion, after having been, like Simon Magus, a temporary and nominal convert to the Gospel. He was not an inventor of his religion, but merely a blender of the earlier Gnostic heresies with the Persian doctrines of Zoroaster, added to a somewhat larger element of Christianity than the Gnostics had chosen to accept. The Paulicians were a sect which took shape about 660, out of Manichæism, or the religion of Manes. They were cruelly persecuted by the Byzantine Emperors, during two [Pg 141] whole centuries, and spread to the West by degrees; one stream emigrated to Bohemia, where it became the parent of Hussitism; the other to the south of France, where it was called Albigensianism.

The fundamental dogma of this new Manichæism was a dualism of good and evil principles or gods, equally matched. The evil was the origin of the visible creation, the world and men's bodies; the good God was the creator of the invisible world and men's souls. The opposition of matter and spirit constituted the basis of their moral systems. These systems were diverse; some, regarding everything natural as evil, abstained from meat, from marriage, and from all employments; whilst others, regarding the soul as so distinct from the body as to be incapable of being soiled by any of its actions, gave themselves up to the grossest licentiousness.

The moral condition of Provence, where Albigensianism held sway, was like Sodom and Gomorrah, as may be seen by the poetry of the troubadours; so that God's wrath could not but fall on a land so polluted. The licentiousness which this creed encouraged, helped to make it spread, and the Christianity of the whole of the south of France was imperilled. At the head of these heretics, the Count of Toulouse invaded the lands of the King of Aragon, devastated them, robbed the churches, burnt the monasteries, and ill-treated the clergy, "and slaughtered the Christians of either sex, and every age, without mercy," says Matthew Paris. "But this being at length made known, their heretical aggression was put down by the faithful Christians, who, at the command of Pope Gregory, had come as crusaders from various parts of the West, for the defence of the Christian faith."

William of Beauvais was not, however, destined to play a part in that sanguinary war. He was called to his rest in [Pg 142] January, 1209. Drawing near his end, he received first extreme unction, and then, as the Blessed Sacrament was brought to him, he struggled up in his bed, and falling on his knees, with many tears, and hands outspread in the shape of a cross, he adored the presence of his Saviour. The night following, he began as usual to recite the Office of Nocturns, but was unable to pronounce more than the first two words, and sign himself with the cross. Then he was laid, at his desire, on ashes, and the vestments in which he had been consecrated bishop were produced, that he might be laid dressed in them in his grave. His body was buried in the Cathedral of Bourges, but was burnt, and the ashes scattered to the winds, by the Calvinists, on the occasion of their plundering the Cathedral in 1562.

Patron of Bourges, and of the ancient University of Paris.

In art, he is represented holding a monstrance, or in adoration before one, to represent his great devotion towards the Blessed Sacrament. He is also represented with tears on his cheeks, for he is said to have wept whenever he was told of some scandal of his diocese, or wrong done to the poor. It may be noted, as a coincidence, that his festival was the day of Archbishop William Laud's martyrdom in 1644.


(about 1259.)

[His life was compiled in Portuguese, by Didacus de Rosario, of the order of Friar Preachers, from scattered notices and confused accounts.]

S. Gonsalvus or Gonsalvo, was born of noble parents, at the little village of Vizzella, in the diocese of Braga, in Portugal. Many little incidents are related of his childhood, as how, when an infant at the font, he stretched out [Pg 143] his little hands to the crucifix; how his nurse was wont to take him with her to church, and watch his little eyes fixed intently upon the figure of Christ crucified, on the rood screen; how, when nothing else would still his cries, the child was taken to church, and there was content looking at the statues and pictures of the Saints.

When he grew to man's estate, he was ordained priest, and was appointed rector of the church of S. Payo, near his father's estates. Here he lived as a father to the poor, and was regular in the fulfilment of his duties as parish priest. After a while the desire came upon him to visit the Holy Land, and he left his nephew, a priest, who had been trained in his house, and in whose principles he had confidence, to take charge of the parish during his absence. He then started on his pilgrimage, and was absent for fourteen years. In the meantime, his nephew, relieved of the constraint of his uncle's presence, abandoned himself to the indulgence of his ruling passion, a love of field sports. He filled the parsonage house with dogs and hawks, and spent his time in hunting and revelry. The poor were forgotten, and the church was neglected. At length, Gonsalvo not returning, the nephew asked the Bishop to institute him to the living, pretending that he had received authentic information of the death of his uncle.

One day Gonsalvo, ragged, sunburnt, with grizzled locks and foot-sore, returned to his parsonage; but the dogs, at the sight of a mendicant, began to bark furiously, and when he attempted to pass them, bit him and tore his rags, so that he was compelled to retire. The parish priest hearing the noise, looked from his window, and seeing a poor man in tatters defending himself against the dogs, sent a servant to call them off, and tell the poor man that the owner of the house objected to beggars.

Gonsalvo, filled with indignation against his nephew for [Pg 144] the manner in which he had betrayed his trust, rushed into the house, passed the dogs which the servant restrained, and appeared in the door of the dining apartment, as the nephew was seating himself to an abundant and sumptuous meal.

Then the old pilgrim's wrath flamed forth, and he cried, "Was it for this that thy uncle left his parish and committed the care of souls into thy hands? A wolf now guards the sheep and devours them!"

The nephew, exasperated at the words of reproach, and angry at the intrusion, caught up a stick, and running upon the old man, drove him with many blows from the house, refusing to listen to him, and believe him, when he declared his name.

Then Gonsalvo, full of grief, retired to a wild spot near Amarante, where was an old shed, beside the river Tamego. Amarante was once a small town; at this time it had fallen into complete ruin, and was deserted. Here Gonsalvo erected a little oratory in honour of the Blessed Virgin, and laboured to instruct the peasantry of the neighbourhood in Christian doctrine, and to stir up in their hearts the love of God. But he was not satisfied that he was serving his Master in the way which He willed. He therefore prayed most earnestly to be guided aright, and to have the will of God made clear to him. After long fasting, one day, as he lay prostrate in supplication before the altar, Our Lady appeared to him and said, "Rise, Gonsalvo, and enter that religious order in which thou shalt hear the Angelic Salutation open and close the offices of prayer."

Then Gonsalvo took his staff and wandered from city to city, and from monastery to monastery, listening to the choir offices, but ever being disappointed, for they closed with Benedicamus Domino, and not with the Ave Maria. And when he came to Vinerana, where were four religious houses, whereof one was Dominican, and another Franciscan, [Pg 145] by chance he sought shelter in the former. Then when the bells began to chime for vespers, he went to the church, and heard the friars begin their office with Ave Maria. With beating heart he waited for the conclusion of vespers, and heard them close with the Angelic Salutation. Then he knew that he had found the place of his rest; and he asked to be admitted into the order, and was gladly received. But after awhile he desired to go back to his poor peasants at Amarante; therefore he asked leave of the superior, and it was accorded him. So he returned to his cell and oratory, and there preached to the people the word of God.

Now it happened that at Amarante there was a ford of the Tamego, which was much used, as it lay in the direct route from Braga to Lamego and the south. It was, however, dangerous, and a great number of lives were lost whilst Gonsalvo lived at Amarante. He considered much the necessity there was that a bridge should be built, how many lives it would be the means of saving, and what a great convenience it would prove to travellers. He accordingly resolved on building one, and he went round the country begging for his bridge. By many his project was regarded as visionary, and he would himself have despaired of accomplishing his undertaking, had he not been upheld by his strong confidence in the goodness of God. This confidence was, moreover, sustained by signs and wonders, showing him that God approved his undertaking. If we may believe the life of him, written by De Rosario, on one occasion he begged of a nobleman, who, as a rude joke, and to get rid of the beggar, scribbled a couple of lines on a scrap of paper, and bade him take it to his wife, who would give him something. The Saint walked to the nobleman's castle, and was exhausted with fatigue when he reached it and presented the note. The lady looked at it, and saw [Pg 146] written therein, "The bearer is a poor fool who wishes to build a bridge. Let him have the weight of this paper in cash." She laughed, and showed the message to Gonsalvo, telling him that her husband had been making sport of him. "Be it so," said the priest, "yet give me the weight of that note in money." She cast the paper into one scale, and into the other she put silver; then, to her amazement, the note weighed a large sum of money. Thus God compensated his servant for his labour, and punished the nobleman for his bitter jest.

Little by little the money was begged, and at length the poor priest was able to set masons to work, and to erect the desired bridge over the Tamego.

S. Gonsalvo died, and was buried at Amarante, of which place he is patron.

(Gonsalvus, in Portuguese, Gonçalo, Gonsallo, or Gonsalvo.)

In art, he is represented with a bridge in his hand.


(a.d. 1310.)

[Her life, from an ancient MS., in the Convent of S. Clara, at Florence, was published by Silvanus Razzi, and reprinted in the Acta Sanctorum.]

The Blessed Oringa was born at Sancta Croce, on the Arno, in the year 1237, of poor parents, who died whilst she was young. She kept the cattle on the farm occupied by her two brothers. The cows were taken by her into the woods to pasture, and they became so docile that they obeyed her voice in all things. When she grew to a marriageable age, her brothers determined that she should become the wife of a small farmer in the parish; but she ran [Pg 147] away, and escaping across the river, made her way to Lucca. The way was long, and night falling, the young girl lost the road, and wandered in a forest. At the same time her fancy conjured up horrible forms to frighten her. She would had died of terror, but for the companionship of a little hare which played about her skirts, as tamely as if it had been a favourite kitten, and rested on her lap all night, when she cast herself down in weariness. Next morning, the hare gambolled before her, and led her into the road, after which it ran away. At Lucca she entered the service of a pious family. As she was annoyed on account of her beauty, she stained her skin with walnut juice. Having gone on a pilgrimage to Mount Gargano, on which the archangel Michael had once appeared, for she held the angels in great reverence; on her return, some men with whom she fell in on the road, towards dusk, misled her with evil purpose; but S. Michael himself flashing out of the darkness at her side, protected her, and led her in the right road. Later in life she visited Rome, and took service in the house of a pious widow, named Margaret, who treated her as a daughter rather than as a domestic. At Rome she was called Christiana, instead of her baptismal name of Oringa. She occasionally fell into ecstasies as she prayed, and saw into futurity. When aged seventy she was struck with paralysis, in which she lay three years. As she died, her face is said to have shone with a celestial light.


[Pg 148]

January 11.

S. Balthazar, K., one of the Magi, circ. a.d. 54.
S. Hyginus, Pope, a.d. 156.
S. Leucius, B. of Brindisi, in Italy.
S. Palæmon, H., 4th cent.
S. Theodosius, of Antioch, circ. a.d. 412.
S. Theodosius the Cœnobiarch, a.d. 529.
S. Vitalis, Monk of Gaza, 7th cent.
S. Salvius, B. of Amiens, circ. a.d. 615.
S. Egwin, B. of Worcester, circ. a.d. 720.
S. Paulinus, Patr. of Aquileia, a.d. 803. (See Jan. 28.)


(about 54.)

[Cologne Breviary. In some Martyrologies S. Gaspar is commemorated on this day, and S. Balthazar on the 6th Jan.; but the Cologne use is to commemorate S. Melchior on the 1st, S. Gaspar on the 6th, and S. Balthazar on the 11th January, as the 1st Jan. is the Circumcision, and the 6th is the Epiphany; at Cologne this day is kept, with special services, as the Feast of the Three Kings; Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar being hereon commemorated together.]


n this day S. Balthazar, one of the Magi, King and Bishop, having received consecration from the hands of the Apostle S. Thomas, after celebrating the Holy Sacrifice, fell asleep. According to some authorities, the Three Kings met in the royal church of the city Sewe, in the East; when the eldest, Melchior, being one hundred and sixteen years old, consecrated the venerable mysteries on Jan. 1st, the Octave of the Nativity, and then died. On the feast of the Epiphany, Gaspar, aged one hundred and twelve, did the same; and on the 11th January, Balthazar, aged one hundred and nine, offered the adorable sacrifice, gave up [Pg 149] the ghost, and was laid in the same sepulchre with the two others. See what has been said on the subject of the Three Kings in the account of the Epiphany.



Of this Pope, who succeeded S. Telesphorus, little is known. Eusebius informs us that he sat four years in the chair of S. Peter. He brought the church in Rome into more complete organization than heretofore, taking advantage of the repose after persecution, enjoyed under the mild Emperor Antoninus Pius. He is said to have been a Greek, and to have been educated in philosophy. In his reign the heretics Cerdo and Valentine came to Rome.


(4th cent.)

[From the authentic life of S. Pachomius, of whom S. Palæmon was the master.]

S. Palæmon was an aged hermit in the deserts of Upper Egypt, when Pachomius, released from military service, and desiring to flee the world, came to him and desired to become his pupil. The old anchorite refused to receive him, because his manner of life was too severe for a youth. "I eat nothing but bread and salt," said he; "I never taste wine, and I watch half the night." Then, answered Pachomius, "I believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, who will give me strength and patience to assist thee in thy prayers to follow thy holy conversation."

[Pg 150]

Then Palæmon, beholding him with his spiritual eye, saw that he was a chosen vessel, and admitted him to be his disciple. So they lived together, serving the Lord in fasting and tears and prayer.

When the feast of Easter came, Pachomius, to honour the day of the Resurrection, prepared a dinner of herbs and oil, and set it before the master. But Palæmon, pressing his brow with his hands, exclaimed, "My Lord suffered on the Cross, and shall I taste oil?" So he refused it, and contented himself with bread and salt.

One evening, a solitary came into their cell, and asked to join them in prayer; then, filled with a spirit of presumption, he said, "If we are the true servants of God, let us say our prayers standing on live coals."

But Palæmon was wroth, and rebuked him for his pride.

However, the monk persisted, and by Satan's craft, he stood unhurt on the red-hot cinders. Then he retired to his own cell, puffed up with self-confidence. But pride goes before a fall, and shortly after he fell into fleshly lust; then, filled with shame, he crept back to the cave of Palæmon, and falling at his feet, with bitter tears, confessed his sin.

When S. Pachomius was inspired to found a monastery at Tabenna, he announced his intention to S. Palæmon. The old man accompanied his pupil, and took up his abode at Tabenna, for he loved Pachomius as his own son, and he could not bear to be separated from him. Therefore he said, "Let us make a compact together, that we part not the one from the other, till God break our union." And to this Pachomius gladly agreed. So they lived much together, till the old man died, and then his disciple buried [Pg 151] him at Tabenna.


(a.d. 529.)

[Greek Menæa and Roman Martyrology. The life of S. Theodosius, written by a contemporary anonymous author, supposed by Baronius, but without sufficient grounds, to be Cyril, the author of the lives of SS. Euthemius, Saba, and John the Silent. But Cave says that the life of S. Theodosius was written by Theodore, Bishop of Pera.]

Theodosius was born in the little town of Marissa, in Cappadocia, in 423. He was ordained reader, but some time after, being moved by Abraham's example, to quit his country and friends, he resolved to visit the holy places. He accordingly set out for Jerusalem, and visited the famous S. Simeon Stylites, near Antioch, on his way. S. Simeon accosted him by name, and bade him ascend his pillar, when he embraced him, and foretold several circumstances of his life, giving him advice how to act under them. Having satisfied his devotion in visiting the holy places in Jerusalem, he betook himself to the cell of Longinus, a holy man, who dwelt near the tower of David, and to him he became dear, on account of his singular virtue. A lady, named Icelia, having built a church to the honour of the Virgin Mother of God, on the high road to Bethlehem, Longinus appointed his disciple, Theodosius, to the charge of this church. But he did not retain this charge long; loving solitude, he retired to the mountains, and took up his abode in the cave, where the Wise Men were traditionally held to have reposed on their way to Bethlehem. Here he passed his time in labouring with his hands, in fasting, and in prayer. His food was coarse pulse and herbs; for thirty years he did not taste bread. Many desired to serve God under his direction: he at first determined to admit six or seven, but was soon obliged to receive a greater number, and at length came to a resolution never to reject any that [Pg 152] presented themselves with dispositions that seemed sincere. The first lesson he taught his monks was, that the continual remembrance of death is the foundation of religious perfection. To impress the thought of death more deeply on their minds, he caused a great sepulchre to be constructed as the common burying place of his monks. When it was complete, half seriously and half in jest, he said: "The tomb is finished, which of you will be its first inmate?" Then one, Basil, a priest, knelt at his feet, and asked to be the first to celebrate the dedication of the sepulchre. Therefore S. Theodosius ordered all the offices of the dead to be recited for Basil, first for three days, then for nine, and then for forty; and at the close of the forty days he died without sickness or pain, as though going to sleep. And for forty days after his death he was seen by the abbot Theodosius in his place among the brethren, chanting the praises of God. None others saw him, but one Aetius heard his voice. Then the abbot, hearing Aetius confess this, prayed to God to open his eyes, and seeing the dead monk again in choir, he pointed him out; and then Aetius saw him, and ran, and would have embraced him, but he vanished out of his sight.

Once, as Easter approached, there was a deficiency of food in the monastery, and they had not even bread for the Holy Sacrifice. This troubled them sore, for they feared that the holy feast would come, and pass, without their being able to celebrate the divine liturgy. Therefore they prayed with one accord to God, and behold! mules laden with provisions arrived at the monastery, and amongst the provisions was bread for the sacrifice.

The lustre of the sanctity of S. Theodosius drawing great numbers to him, who desired to serve God under his direction, he resolved on building a large monastery to receive them all; but where to build it he knew not. [Pg 153] After some consideration, he took a censer, and put charcoal and incense thereon, but no fire, and he prayed: "O God who didst of old, by many and great miracles, confirm Israel; who didst to thy servant Moses persuade by many and various marvels, to take on him the burden of ruling that people; who didst turn the water of Egypt into blood, and then re-convert it again; who didst give to Gideon an earnest of his victory in the fleece and the dew; who didst assure Hezekiah of an addition to his days, by the return of the shadow on the dial; who didst at the cry of Elias send fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice. Thou art the same Lord, unto whom this day I plead! Hear thou the prayers of the servant, and show me where I shall build a temple to Thy honour, and a habitation for thy servants and my disciples. Show, O Lord! by the kindling of these coals, where the place shall be, to Thy glory, and to the acknowledgment of many, and the confirmation of the truth." Having uttered this prayer, he walked through the land with the censer in his hand. And when he came, after much wandering, to a desert spot called Gutilla, on the shores of the Dead Sea, he turned and came home, and as he neared his cave the coals kindled, and the smoke of the incense rose towards heaven, as a sign that thence should ascend the prayers of the faithful from age to age, in the daily sacrifice. There accordingly he erected his monastery, and it was soon filled with holy monks. To this monastery were annexed several infirmaries; one for the sick monks, two for sick lay folk; one for the aged and feeble monks, and one for persons deranged. All succours, spiritual and temporal, were afforded in these hospitals, which were kept in admirable order, and were attended by the monks with alacrity and care. S. Theodosius erected also several buildings for the reception of strangers, in which he exercised an unbounded hospitality, entertaining all that came, for whose [Pg 154] use there were, on one occasion, above a hundred tables served with provisions. The monastery itself was like a city of saints in the midst of a desert; and in it reigned regularity, silence, charity, and peace. There were four churches belonging to it, one for each of the three nations of which his community was composed, each speaking a different language, and the fourth church was for the use of the recovering lunatics. The nations into which his community was divided were the Greeks, and all those using the liturgy in the Greek tongue; the second church was used by those having divine worship in the Armenian language; and in the third church the holy praises of God were sung, and the sacrifice was offered in the language of the Bessi, that is, of the wandering nations of Arab race. "Thus by them," says the contemporary writer; "the rule of hymnody was carried out, and seven times a day was it offered to the God of all. But when it behoved them to participate in the venerable Sacrament, the law was very beautifully constituted among them, that till after the Gospel, divinely inspired, each should hear in his own church and language the divine voice; but after that they were assembled into one—the possessed alone excepted—namely, into the large church of the Greeks, as is done to this day, and there they participate together of the sanctifying gifts."

At times not set apart for public prayer and necessary rest, every monk was obliged to apply himself to some trade or manual labour. Sallust, patriarch of Jerusalem, appointed S. Sabas superior of all the hermits in Palestine, and S. Theodosius head of all the monks living in community, for which reason he obtained the title of Cœnobiarch.

These two great servants of God lived in close friendship, and together strove against the heresy of Eutyches, which then devastated the Church. For the Emperor Anastasius [Pg 155] favoured the Eutychians; he banished the patriarch of Antioch and the patriarch of Jerusalem, and introduced an heretical bishop, Severus, into the latter see, commanding the Syrians to obey and hold communion with him. Then these great ascetic saints, with those bodies of religious men whom they ruled, proved bulwarks of the faith, uncompromising defenders of the truth. Like rocks in the desert, they remained unchanged and immovable. In vain did the emperor employ persuasion, attempt bribery, and finally exile the Cenobiarch; he could not be moved, but journeyed through the land from which the bishops had been expelled, confirming the faithful, and denouncing the established heresy. At Jerusalem, having assembled the people together, he from the pulpit cried with a loud voice, "If any man receives not the four General Councils as the four Gospels, let him be anathema!" Such boldness in an old man, venerated for his sanctity, inspired with courage those whom the edicts had frightened. His discourses produced a wonderful effect on the people, and God gave a sanction to his zeal by miracles. The Emperor sent an order for his banishment, which was executed; but dying soon after, Theodosius was recalled by his successor Justin, who was a Catholic.

Our Saint survived his return eleven years. So great was his humility, that, seeing two monks at variance with each other, he threw himself at their feet, and would not rise till they were reconciled. Once, having excommunicated one of his monks for some offence, the man defiantly excommunicated Theodosius, and he meekly accepted the sentence, and acted as one cut off from the society of the faithful and participation in the Sacraments, till the guilty monk, confounded and repentant, removed the ban. During the last year of his life he was afflicted with a painful disease, which reduced him to a shadow. It was noticed by those [Pg 156] who nursed him, that, even in his sleep, his lips murmured the familiar words of prayer. Perceiving the hour of his dissolution draw nigh, he gave his last exhortations to his disciples, and foretold many things which came to pass after his death; and then fell asleep in Christ, on the 11th Jan., 529. Peter, patriarch of Jerusalem, and the whole country, assisted at his interment. He was buried in the first cell the cave of the Magi.


(beginning of 7th cent.)

[Greek Menæa. His history occurs as an episode in the life of S. John the Almsgiver, patriarch of Alexandria, by Leontius, Bishop of Naplous in Cyprus, from the relation of the Acts of S. John, by his clergy. This life was commended in the seventh General Council, and is perfectly authentic.]

The story of Vitalis, or Vitali, monk of Gaza, is brought in by the Bishop of Naplous, in his life of S. John the Almsgiver, almost accidentally, to illustrate the long suffering and charity of S. John, that thinketh not evil. But I know not, in all the glorious histories of the blessed ones, one story so deeply touching as that of the little known, and soon forgotten, monk of Gaza.

Where he was born we know not; of what parents he was born we are ignorant; but we do know that his was a heart full, to overflowing, with the divine charity of Him who came to seek and to save those that were lost.

Whilst John the Almsgiver was patriarch of Alexandria, there arrived in that city, an old man of sixty, or thereabouts, in monk's garb. In his cell he had thought over the crimes of that pleasure-loving city, and having read in the Gospel the story of the woman taken in adultery, in the old monk's heart kindled a sudden fire of zeal, which [Pg 157] drove him to Alexandria, that he might save some of those poor women who sold themselves. Arrived in the city, he obtained the names of all the harlots, and then hired himself as a day labourer. Every evening he took his wage, and with it went to one of the unfortunate women, and supped with her, and gave her the rest, and said, "I pay thee this, that thou mayest spend one night without sin." Then he retired into a corner of the room, where she slept, and passed the night in reciting psalms, and praying with many tears for the woman present; and he rejoiced that, by his toil of the day, he had saved her from evil on that one night.

And thus he visited all the harlots in Alexandria, and from each, as he went forth in the morning, he took a solemn promise that she would reveal to none what had taken place, so long as he was alive.

Now, considerable scandal arose, and Vitalis was loudly condemned. One said to him, "Monk, take to thyself a wife, and lay aside thy religious garb, that the name of God be not blasphemed through thee." But Vitalis answered, "I will not take to myself a wife, nor will I change my habit. He that will be scandalized, let him be scandalized. What hast thou to do with me? Hath God constituted you to be my judges? Go to, look to yourselves, ye have not to answer for me. There is one Judge and one holy day of judgment, wherein every man shall give an account of his own works."

One of the Defenders of the Church (this was the name of an officer who saw to the order and morals of the clergy and monks,) came to the patriarch John, and told him what he had heard of the abbot Vitalis. But the patriarch closed his ears, and rebuked the accuser, saying, "Remember what were the words of Constantine of pious memory; he said that the crimes of priests ought not to be divulged, [Pg 158] and that if he detected a priest or a monk in wrong-doing, he would draw his purple imperial robe over him, so that none might be scandalized. And when quarrelsome individuals wrote accusations against certain prelates, he formed them into a packet, and cast them into the fire."[38]

But Vitalis, though he bore without a murmur the shame, the hard speeches, and false accusations that fell to his share, was deeply sensitive for the souls of others, lest through him they should be wounded. Yet he could not relinquish his mission;—the love of God constrained him thereto, and many a poor woman, moved by the tears and prayers of the holy man, deserted her evil courses, and married and settled into ways of steadiness; and many, filled with bitter compunction, fled from that city of temptation, to expiate their offences in the desert. Seeing how great a blessing attended his work, Vitalis persevered in spite of obloquy; but he prayed to God to reveal the truth after his death, that the reproach might be wiped off the monastic garb he wore; but he would not suffer the truth to be known whilst he lived, or the houses of ill-fame would be closed against him, and the prosecution of his mission would be hindered.

One morning, very early, as he left a harlot's door, a man came in, and seeing a monk issue forth, he struck him over the head, exclaiming, "How long, rascal, do you outrage Christ by not mending your wicked ways?"

Then said Vitalis, "Believe me, friend, thou shalt receive from me, a humble monk, such a stroke that all Alexandria shall ring with it." So saying, he went his way to the little chamber where he lodged, by the church of S. Metras, near the Gate of the Sun.

[Pg 159]

What followed is not very clear. But if we put aside some absurd fable which has attached itself to the story, we shall find that it was something like this:—Probably from the unfortunate woman, from whom Vitalis had gone forth, and to whom the man who had smitten him entered, that man heard the truth; then, full of contrition, he rushed forth and proclaimed abroad how he had wronged Vitalis, and how mistaken was the popular opinion concerning him. So a crowd collected, and rolled in the direction of the cell of Vitalis, by the Gate of the Sun. The man foremost of all cried, "Pardon me my violence, Vitalis, thou man of God!" And so the mob broke into the little hovel where he dwelt. Then they saw the despised monk kneeling upright, with his hands clasped, dead and rigid; and before him lay a sheet of paper, whereon were written the words of the Apostle, 1 Cor. iv. 5, "Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart."

Then, when this was noised abroad, almost the whole city came together, and the patriarch John arrived, and all the clergy, and they took up the body of Vitalis. Thereupon, all those women who had been converted by him, and were married, came forth, bearing lamps and candles, and went before him, beating their breasts and crying, "We have lost our deliverer and instructor!" And they told how, by his urgent prayers and burning zeal for their souls, he had rescued them from a life of misery. But he who had smitten the old monk his death-blow, struck with compunction, renounced his vicious ways, and entered the monastery at Gaza, and lived and died in the cell once occupied by Vitalis. Thus did Vitalis deal him such a blow that all [Pg 160] Alexandria rang with it.


(about 615.)

[Roman Martyrology. There are three bishops, Saints, of this name, one Bishop of Albi, one Bishop of Angoulême, and this one, Bishop of Amiens; they are often confounded by writers.]

S. Salvius lived as a monk for many years, in what monastery is not known. He was afterwards elected abbot. Being chosen Bishop of Amiens, he ruled the diocese with prudence, but little or nothing is known of his acts. As he died in an ecstasy, a brilliant light is said to have illuminated his cell, and praying with extended arms, he surrendered his soul.


(about 720.)

[The life of S. Egwin was written by his contemporary, S. Brithwald, Archbishop of Canterbury. This original has not descended to us, but a fragment of a somewhat later recension of this life exists; and a still later life, probably an amplification of that by Brithwald. Moreover, S. Egwin is mentioned by Matthew of Westminster, Florence of Worcester; William of Malmesbury also speaks of him in his Acts of the English Bishops.]

S. Egwin was of the royal blood of the Mercian kings, and was born at Worcester, in the reign of Ethelred and Kenred. He was elected Bishop in 692. By his zeal in rebuking the illicit connexions formed by some of the great men in his diocese, and vehemence in reforming the corrupt morals of all, he stirred up a party against him, and with the connivance of the King, he was expelled his diocese. Egwin, meekly bending to his fate, determined to make a pilgrimage to Rome. According to a popular mediæval legend, he also resolved to expiate at the same time certain sins of his youth, by putting iron fetters on his feet, which were fastened with a lock, and he cast the key into the Avon. As he neared Italy, on a ship from Marseilles, a huge fish floundered upon deck, and was killed and cut open; when, to the surprise of the Saint, in its belly was found the key to his fetters. He accepted this as an expression of the will of heaven, and released his limbs. According to another version of the story, the fish was caught in the Tiber, after S. Egwin had appeared before the Pope in Rome; but William of Malmesbury doubts the whole story as an idle legend.


[Pg 161]

After his return, with the assistance of Kenred, King of Mercia, S. Egwin founded the famous abbey of Evesham, under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin. After this he undertook a second journey to Rome, in company with Kenred, and Offa, King of the East Saxons. S. Egwin died on the 30th December, 717, and was buried in the monastery of Evesham. The translation of his relics probably took place on Jan. 11th, on which day many English Martyrologies mark his festival.



[38] Theodoret, lib. i. c. 11.

[Pg 162]

January 12.

S. Arcadius, M., in Africa, circ. a.d. 260.
SS. Satyrus, Cyriacus, Mosentius, MM.
SS. Tigris, P., and Eutropius, MM., a.d. 404.
S. John, B. C. of Ravenna, circ. a.d. 495.
S. Cæsaria, V., at Arles, circ. a.d. 530.
S. Victorinus, Ab., in Spain, a.d. 560.
S. Benedict Biscop, in England, a.d. 703.
SS. XXXVIII, Monks, MM., in Ionia, circ. a.d. 750.
S. Aelred, Ab. of Rievaulx, in Yorkshire, a.d. 1166.


(about a.d. 260.)

[Roman Martyrology, those of Bede, Ado, Usuardus, Notker, &c. Authority, a panegyric by S. Zeno, Bishop of Verona, his contemporary.]


uring a severe outbreak of persecution, in the reign of Gallienus, in the north of Africa, Arcadius, doubting his own constancy, sought refuge in flight, and escaping from Cæsarea, hid himself. As he did not appear at the sacrifices, the Governor ordered his house to be searched. It was found to be deserted, save by a relative of his, whom the soldiers seized, and, at the command of the Governor, detained till Arcadius should surrender himself.

Hearing of this capture, and unwilling that his kinsman should suffer, Arcadius deserted his hiding place, and gave himself up. The Governor, exasperated at his constancy in refusing to adore the gods of the state religion, ordered him to be dismembered, piecemeal and leisurely. First his fingers were taken off, joint by joint; then his toes, then his hands at the wrists, and his feet at the ankles. As he extended his hands to amputation, he prayed, "Thy hands [Pg 163] have made me and fashioned me; O give me understanding that I may keep thy law." Thereupon the judge ordered his tongue to be cut out. He was cast on his back, and his feet were taken off. Then his legs and arms were amputated at the knees and elbows, finally at the thighs and shoulders, so that he was nothing save a human trunk in a pool of blood, with his limbs in little fragments scattered about him. Thus he expired; but the Christians collected the portions of his body, and buried them with the trunk reverently, glorifying God for having given such constancy to his martyr.

In art, represented as a torso; sometimes, for some reason unknown, with a candle in his hand.



[All Martyrologies. Nothing is known for certain of the date of their martyrdoms, or whether they all suffered together.]

S. Satyrus is said to have signed the cross, and breathed on an idol in the street of Achaia (on the Euxine?), and it fell. Wherefore he was executed by decapitation. This is stated in all the Martyrologies, but some say the act was done at Antioch. Of the others, his companions, nothing is known.


(a.d. 404.)

[Roman Martyrology and German Martyrologies. Not commemorated by the Greeks. Authorities: Sozomen, lib. viii. c. 22, 23; Nicephorus Callistus, lib. xiii.; S. John Chrysostom also, in his 12th letter to S. Olympias, speaks of Tigris the priest.]

When S. John Chrysostom had incurred the anger of the [Pg 164] Empress Eudoxia, by declaiming against her silver statue set up close to the church of the Eternal Wisdom at Constantinople, by her machinations he was deposed and exiled from the city, and Arsacius was ordained patriarch of Constantinople in his room. But a large company of bishops and priests, and others of the clerical order, refused to recognize the right of Arsacius, and being driven from the churches, held their divine worship in places apart. For the space of two months after his deposition, Chrysostom remained at his post, though he refrained from appearing in public; after that he was obliged to leave, being banished by the Emperor Arcadius. On the very day of his departure the church caught fire, and a strong easterly wind carried the flames to the senate house.[39] The party opposed to S. John Chrysostom immediately spread the report that this fire was the result of a wilful act of incendiarism by the Johannites, or party of the exiled bishop. Socrates, the historian, strongly prejudiced against Chrysostom, distinctly charged them with the act. He says, "On the very day of his departure, some of John's friends set fire to the church," and then he adds, "The severities inflicted on John's friends, even to the extent of capital punishment, on account of this act of incendiarism, by Optatus, the prefect of Constantinople, who being a pagan was, as such, an enemy to the Christians, I ought, I believe, to pass by in silence." There can be no doubt that the fire was purely accidental, and that it was used as a means of endeavouring to excite the people of Constantinople against their favourite Chrysostom, that bold champion of the truth against spiritual wickedness in high places, and the Erastianism of a large party of bishops and clergy, just as before Nero had charged the burning of old Rome on the Christians.

[Pg 165]

On this false charge some of the most faithful and zealous adherents of Chrysostom suffered, amongst them were the priest Tigris, and the reader Eutropius. The rest shall be quoted from Sozomen, who, belonging to the party of Chrysostom, gives those details which Socrates found it convenient to omit:—"Both parties mutually accused each other of incendiarism; the enemies of John asserted that his partizans had been guilty of the deed from revenge; the other side, that the crime had been perpetrated by their enemies, with intention of burning them in the church. Those citizens who were suspected of attachment to John, were sought out and cast into prison, and compelled to anathematize him. Arsacius was not long after ordained over the Church of Constantinople. Nothing operated so much against him as the persecution carried on against the followers of John. As these latter refused to hold communion, or even to join in prayer with him, and met together in the further parts of the city, he complained to the Emperor of their conduct. The tribune was commanded to attack them with a body of soldiers, and by means of clubs and stones he soon dispersed their assembly. The most distinguished among them in point of rank, and those who were most zealous in their adherence to John, were cast into prison. The soldiers, as is usual on such occasions, went beyond their orders, and stripped the women of their ornaments. Although the whole city was thus filled with trouble and lamentation, the affection of the people for John remained the same. After the popular insurrection had been quelled, the prefect of the city appeared in public, as if to inquire into the cause of the conflagration, and to bring the perpetrators of the deed to punishment; but, being a pagan, he exulted in the destruction of the Church, and ridiculed the calamity.

"Eutropius, a reader, was required to name the persons [Pg 166] who had set fire to the church; but, although he was scourged severely, although his sides and cheeks were torn with iron nails, and although lighted torches were applied to the most sensitive parts of his body, no confession could be extorted from him, notwithstanding his youth and delicacy of constitution. After having been subjected to these tortures, he was cast into a dungeon, where he soon afterwards expired.

"A dream of Sisinius concerning Eutropius seems worthy of insertion in this history. Sisinius, the Bishop of the Novatians, saw in his sleep a man, tall in stature, and handsome in person, standing near the altar in the Novatian Church of S. Stephen. This man complained of the rarity of goodness among men, and said that he had been searching throughout the city, and found but one who was good, and that one was Eutropius. Astonished at what he had seen, Sisinius made known the dream to the most faithful of his priests, and commanded him to make search for Eutropius, wherever he might be. The priest, rightly conjecturing that this Eutropius could be no other than he who had been so barbarously tortured by the prefect, went from prison to prison in quest of him. At length he found him, and made known to him the dream of the Bishop, and besought him with tears to pray for him. Such are the details we possess concerning Eutropius.

"Tigris, a priest, was about the same time stripped of his clothes, scourged on the back, bound hand and foot, and stretched on the rack. He was a foreigner, and an eunuch, but not by birth. He was originally a slave in the house of a man of rank, and on account of his faithful services had obtained his freedom. He was afterwards ordained priest, and was distinguished by his moderation and meekness of disposition, and by his charity towards strangers and the poor. Such were the events which took place in Constantinople. [Pg 167] Those who were in power at court procured a law in favour of Arsacius, by which it was enacted that the orthodox were to assemble together in churches only, and that if they seceded from communion with the above-mentioned Bishop, they were to be exiled."


(about a.d. 530.)

[Gallican Martyrologies. Her history from the life of S. Cæsarius of Arles, her brother, by his disciple, Cyprian.]

S. Cæsaria was the superior of a convent of religious women, erected by her brother, S. Cæsarius, at Arles. When, in 507, the Franks and Burgundians, under Alaric, had been defeated by Clovis, Theodoric invaded the south of Gaul from Italy, and besieged the city, and battered down the convent which had been erected for S. Cæsaria. When tranquillity was re-established, Cæsarius rebuilt the monastery, and called his sister from Marseilles to inhabit it. The rule of S. Cæsaria, drawn up by her brother, exists, and is published by the Bollandists.


(a.d. 703.)

[Roman, Benedictine, and Anglican Martyrologies. Life from William of Malmesbury, Bede's Homilies and Ecclesiastical History, Florence of Worcester, Matthew of Westminster. The following account is condensed from the life of S. Benedict Biscop, in Montalembert's Monks of the West, Bk. xiii., c. 2.]

Benedict was born of the highest Anglo-Saxon nobility, in the year 628. While he was still very young, he held an office in the household of King Oswy. At twenty-five he [Pg 168] gave up secular life, marriage, and his family, restored his lands to the king, and dedicated himself to the service of God. Before he settled in any community he went to Rome, whither he had been long attracted by that desire of praying at the tomb of the Apostles, which became so general among the Anglo-Saxons. He started in company with S. Wilfrid, but the two young Northumbrian nobles separated at Lyons. After his first visit to Rome, Benedict returned thither a second and a third time, having in the meantime assumed the monastic habit in the island of Lerins. Pope Vitalianus, struck with the piety and knowledge of so constant and zealous a pilgrim, assigned to him, as guide and interpreter, that Greek, Theodore, who became Archbishop of Canterbury, and who, when he went to England, transferred the monk of Lerins to be abbot of the principal monastery in Canterbury.

After thus spending two years with the new Archbishop, the abbot Benedict, instead of re-visiting his native district, went for the fourth time to Rome, 671. He was then in the prime of life; but when it is considered what were the difficulties and dangers of such a journey—at such a time—when we remember that a journey from London to Rome then took twice as long, and was a hundred times more dangerous than a journey from London to Australia is now, we are amazed at the energy which induced so many Anglo-Saxon monks, not once only, but many times in their life, to cross the sea and the Alps on their way to Rome. His fourth expedition was undertaken in the interests of literature. He brought back a cargo of books, partly sold, partly given to him; and, in passing by Vienne, the ancient capital of the Gauls, on his return, he brought with him many more which he had deposited there in the charge of his friends. When he returned at length to his native Northumbria, he sought King Egfrid, the son of his former [Pg 169] master, Oswy, then the reigning monarch, and told him all he had done during the twenty years that had passed since he left his country and the royal service. Then, endeavouring to communicate to him the religious ardour with which his own heart was filled, he explained to the King all he had learned at Rome and elsewhere, of ecclesiastical and monastic discipline, showing him the books and relics which he had brought back. Egfrid, who had not yet begun his struggle with Wilfrid, allowed himself to be won by the stories of the pilgrim, for whom he conceived a great affection; and in order that he might apply his experience to the government of a new community, he detached from his own possessions, and presented to Benedict, an estate situated at the mouth of the Wear, a little stream which flows through Durham, and throws itself into the Northern sea, a little south of the Tyne.[40] This gave the name of Wearmouth to the new monastery, which was dedicated to S. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, according to the express wish of Egfrid, in agreement with that of Benedict, as an evidence of his leanings towards Rome.

This foundation was no sooner assured, than the unwearied Benedict took ship again, to seek in France masons to build him a stone church, in the Roman style, for everything that came from Rome was dear to him. The church was carried on with so much energy, that, a year after the first stone was laid, the church was roofed in, and mass was celebrated under one of those stone arches which excited the surprise of the English in the seventh century. He brought glass-makers also from France, for there were none in England; and these foreign workmen, after having put glass into the windows of the church and new monastery, taught their art to the Anglo-Saxons. Animated by a zeal which nothing could discourage, and inspired by intelligent patriotism, [Pg 170] and a sort of passion for beauty in art, which shrank neither from fatigue nor care, he sent to seek beyond the seas all that he could not find in England—all that seemed necessary to him for the ornamentation of his church; and not finding even in France all he wanted, he went for the fifth time to Rome. Even this was not his last visit, for some years later he made a sixth pilgrimage. On both occasions he brought treasures back with him, chiefly books in countless quantities, and of every kind. He was a passionate collector, as has been seen, from his youth. He desired each of his monasteries to possess a great library, which he considered indispensable to the instruction, discipline, and good organization of the community; and reckoned upon the books as the best means of retaining his monks in their cloisters; for much as he loved travelling himself, he did not approve of other monks passing their time on the highways and byways, even under pretext of pilgrimages.

Along with the books he brought a great number of pictures and coloured images. By introducing these images from Rome to Northumberland, Benedict Biscop has written one of the most curious, and, at the same time, forgotten pages in the history of art. The Venerable Bede, who speaks with enthusiasm of the expeditions of his master and friend, leads us to suppose that he brought back with him only portable pictures, but it may be supposed that the abbot of Wearmouth brought back with him both painters and mosaic-workers, to work on the spot at the decoration of his churches. How can it be otherwise explained, how pictures on wood, brought even by water from Rome to England, should have been large enough to cover the walls and arches of the two or three churches of which Bede speaks. However this may be, the result was that the most ignorant of the Christians of Northumbria found, on [Pg 171] entering these new monastic churches, under a material form, the attractive image of the instructions which the monastic missionaries lavished on them. Learned and unlearned could contemplate and study with delight, we are told, here the sweet and attractive form of the new-born Saviour, there the Twelve Apostles surrounding the Blessed Virgin; upon the northern wall all the parables of the Gospels; upon the southern, the visions of the Apocalypse; elsewhere, a series of pictures which marked the harmony between the Old and New Testaments; Isaac carrying the wood for his sacrifice opposite to Jesus bearing His Cross; the brazen serpent opposite Jesus crucified, and so on.[41] All these Bede, who had seen them, describes with great delight.

After Latin and Greek books, after art, it was the turn of music. On his return from his fifth voyage, Benedict brought back with him from Rome an eminent monk, called John, precentor of S. Peter's, to establish at Wearmouth the music and Roman ceremonies with entire exactitude. As soon as he had arrived at Wearmouth, this learned abbot set out in writing the order of the celebration of all feasts for all the year, of which he soon circulated numerous copies. Then he opened classes, at which he taught, viva voce, the liturgy and ecclesiastical chants. The best singers of the Northumbrian monasteries came to listen to him, and invited him to visit their communities.

The passionate zeal of Benedict for the building and decoration of his monastic houses, did not make him forget the more essential interests of his foundations. Before leaving Rome he took care to constitute his community upon the immovable basis of the rule of S. Benedict. He obtained from Pope Agatho a charter which guaranteed the liberty and security of the new monastery of Wearmouth. In order to give Benedict a new mark of sympathy, King Egfrid assigned to him another estate, near to the first. This was the cradle of the monastery of Jarrow, the name of which is inseparably linked with that of Bede. This monastery he dedicated to S. Paul, and appointed one of his most intimate friends and fellow pilgrims, Ceolfrid, abbot of the new foundation.

[Pg 172]

In order to be more at liberty to devote his time to travel, Benedict took a coadjutor in the government of Wearmouth. This new abbot was his nephew, Easterwin, his junior by twenty-two years, and like Biscop, of high birth. The noble youth took pride in following minutely the rule of the house, like any other monk. Thanks to his illustrious biographer, we know what the occupations of a Saxon thane turned monk were in the seventh century. His duties were to thrash and winnow the corn, to milk the goats and cows, to take his turn in the kitchen, the bakehouse, and the garden, always humble and joyous in his obedience. When he became coadjutor, and was invested, in Biscop's absence, with all his authority, the young abbot continued the course of communal life; and when his duties as superior led him out of doors to where the monks laboured in the fields, he set to work along with them, taking the plough or the fan in his own hands, or forging iron upon the anvil. He was robust as well as young and handsome; but his look was infinitely gentle, and his conversation full of amiability. When he was compelled to reprove a fault, it was done with such tender sadness that the culprit felt himself incapable of any new offence which should bring a cloud over the benign brightness of that beloved face. His table was served with the same provisions as that of the monks; and he slept in the general dormitory, which he left only five days before his death, being then hopelessly ill, to prepare himself in a more solitary place, for the last [Pg 173] struggle. When he felt his end approaching, he had still strength enough left to go down into the garden; and, seating himself there, he called to him all his brethren, who wept the anticipated loss of such a father. Then, with the tenderness which was natural to him, he gave to each of them a last kiss. The following night (March 7th, 686) he died, aged thirty-six, whilst the monks were singing matins. When Benedict returned from his last expedition to Rome he found his benefactor, King Egfrid, and his nephew, Easterwin, both dead, along with a great number of his monks, carried off by one of the epidemics then so frequent. The only survivors at Jarrow were the abbot and one little scholar, whose fame was destined to eclipse that of all the Saxon Saints and kings, who are scarcely known to posterity except by his pen.[42]

Benedict Biscop did not lose courage, but promptly collected new subjects under his sway, recommenced and pursued, with his habitual energy, the decoration of his two churches of S. Peter and S. Paul. The monks had already chosen as successor to Easterwin a deacon named Sigfried, a learned and virtuous man, but affected with lung disease, and the first of the English in whom history indicates a malady so general and so fatal to their race.

[Pg 174]

Benedict's own turn was, however, soon to come. God preserved his life to purify him, and put his patience to a long and cruel trial, before calling him to his eternal recompense. After having devoted the first thirteen years of his abbacy to the laborious and wandering life so dear to him, and to those distant expeditions that produced so many fruits for his order and his country, he was stricken with a cruel disease, which lasted for three years, and paralysed all his members one after the other. Though kept to his bed by his infirmity, and unable to follow his brethren to the choir, he, notwithstanding, continued to celebrate each service, both day and night, with certain of the monks, mingling his feeble voice with theirs. At night his sleepless hours were consoled by the reading of the Gospels, which was kept up without interruption by a succession of priests. Often, too, he collected the monks and novices round his couch, addressing to them urgent and solemn counsels, and among other things begging them to preserve the great library which he had brought from Rome, and not to allow it to be spoiled or dispersed; but above all, to keep faithfully the rules which, after a careful study of the seventeen principal monasteries which he had visited during his journeys, he had collected for them. He also dwelt much upon the injunction he had already often repeated, that they should pay no regard to high birth in their choice of an abbot, but look simply to his life and doctrine. "If I had to choose between two evils," said he, "I should prefer to see the spot on which I have established our dear monastery fall back into eternal solitude, rather than to be succeeded here by my own brother, who, we all know, is not in the good way."

The strength of the abbot, and at the same time that of his poor coadjutor, was by this time so exhausted by their respective diseases, that they both perceived that they must die, and desired to see each other for the last time before departing from this world. In order that the wish of these two tender friends should be accomplished, it was necessary to bring the dying coadjutor to the bed of the abbot. His head was placed on the same pillow; but they were both so feeble that they could not even embrace each other, and the help of brotherly hands was necessary to join their lips. [Pg 175] All the monks assembled in chapter round this bed of suffering and love; and the two aged Saints, having pointed out among them a successor, approved by all, breathed together, with a short interval between, their last breath. Thus died, at the age of sixty-two, S. Benedict of England, a worthy rival of the great patriarch of the monks of the West, whose robe and name he bore.


(about 750.)

[The account of their martyrdom was written by Theosterictus, a confessor in the same Iconoclastic persecution.]

In the horrible persecution of the orthodox by Constantine Copronymus, on the subject of the images, concerning which more shall be said elsewhere, the blessed martyr Stephen the younger, Archimandrite of Auxentia, was in prison, when a monk, Theosterictus by name,[43] was admitted to him, with his nose cut off, and his cheeks burnt with pitch; he came from the monastery of Peleceta, and related to the abbot how, on the Wednesday in Holy Week, as the unbloody Sacrifice was being offered in the monastery church, a band of soldiers, by command of the heretical Emperor, broke into the sacred building and interrupted the mysteries. Thirty-eight monks were chained, the rest were mutilated, their noses cut off, and their beards steeped in tar, and then fired. Then the soldiers set the whole convent in flames. The thirty-eight were carried off to the borders of Ephesus, and thrust into the furnace of an old bath; the openings were then closed, and they were suffocated therein.


[39] Socrates, Eccl. Hist., lib. vi. c. 18.

[40] Monk-Wearmouth on the north bank of the river.

[41] Bede: Vitæ Abbt. in Wiramuth, c. 6.

[42] This is Bede, who describes, further on, how the abbot and that little boy celebrated alone, and in great sadness, the whole psalms of the monastic service, with no little labour, until new monks arrived.

[43] Not to be confused with Theosterictus, disciple of the abbot S. Nicetas, who writes this account.

[Pg 176]


(a.d. 1166.)

[Authorities: His life in Capgrave, and his own writings, still extant.]

He was of noble descent, and was born in the north of England, in 1109. Being educated in learning and piety, he was invited by David, the pious King of Scotland, to his court, made master of his household, and highly esteemed both by him and the courtiers. His virtue shone with bright lustre in the world, particularly his meekness, which Christ declared to be his favourite virtue, and the distinguishing mark of his true disciples. The following is a memorable instance to what a degree S. Aelred possessed this virtue:—A certain person of quality having insulted and reproached him in the presence of the King, Aelred heard him out with patience, and thanked him for his charity and sincerity, in telling him his faults. This behaviour had such an influence on his adversary that it made him ask his pardon on the spot. Another time, whilst he was speaking on a certain matter, one interrupted him with very harsh reviling expressions: the servant of God heard him with tranquility, and afterward resumed his discourse with the same calmness and presence of mind as before. He desired ardently to devote himself entirely to God, by forsaking the world; but the charms of friendship detained him some time longer in it, and were fetters to his soul; reflecting notwithstanding that he must sooner or later be separated by death from those he loved most, he condemned his own cowardice, and broke at once those bands of friendship, which were more agreeable to him than all other sweets of life. To relinquish entirely all his worldly engagements, he left Scotland, and embraced the austere Cistercian order, at Rievaulx, in Yorkshire, where Walter de l'Especke had founded a monastery in 1122. At the age of twenty-four, in 1133, he became a monk under the first abbot, William, a disciple of S. Bernard.


[Pg 177]

In spite of the delicacy of his body he set himself cheerfully to practise the greatest austerities, and employed much of his time in prayer and reading. His heart turned with great ardour to the love of God, and this made him feel all his mortifications sweet and light. "Thy yoke doth not oppress, but raiseth the soul; thy burden hath wings, not weight," said he. He speaks of divine charity with love, and by his frequent ejaculations on the subject, it seems to have been the sweet consolation of his soul. "May thy voice (says he) sound in my ears, O Good Jesus, that my heart may learn how to love thee, that my mind may love thee, that the interior powers, the bowels of my soul, and very marrow of my heart may love thee, and that my affections may embrace thee, my only true good, my sweet and delightful joy! O my God! He who loves thee possesses thee; and he possesses thee in proportion as he loves, because thou art love itself. This is that abundance with which thy beloved are inebriated, dissolved to themselves, that they may live into thee, by loving thee." He had been much delighted in his youth with reading Cicero; but after his conversion found that author, and all other reading, tedious and bitter, which was not sweetened with the honey of the holy name of Jesus, and seasoned with the word of God, as he says in the preface to his book On Spiritual Friendship. He was much edified with the very looks of a holy monk, called Simon, who had despised high birth, an ample fortune, and all the advantages of mind and body, to serve God in that penitential state. This monk went and came as one deaf and dumb, always recollected in God; and was such a lover of silence, that he would scarce speak a few words to the prior on necessary occasions. His silence however was sweet, agreeable, and full of edification. Our [Pg 178] Saint says of him, "The very sight of his humility stifled my pride, and made me blush at the want of mortification in my looks." This holy monk, having served God eight years in perfect fidelity, died in 1142, in wonderful peace, repeating with his last breath, "I will sing eternally, O Lord, thy mercy, thy mercy, thy mercy!"

S. Aelred, much against his inclination, was made abbot of a new monastery of his order, founded by William, Earl of Lincoln, at Revesby, in Lincolnshire, in 1142, and after, in 1143, of Rievaulx, where he governed three hundred monks. Describing their life, he says that they drank nothing but water, ate little, laboured hard, slept little, and on hard boards; never spoke, except to their superiors on necessary occasions; and loved prayer.

[Pg 179]

S. Odilo, Jan. 1, p. 20. S. Odilo, Jan. 1, p. 20.

January 13.

The Octave of the Epiphany.

S. Potitus, M., a.d. 166.
SS. Hermylus and Stratonicus, MM., at Belgrade, a.d. 315.
S. Glaphyra, V., at Amasia, circ. a.d. 324.
S. Agricius, B. of Trèves, circ. a.d. 335.
S. Hilary, B. of Poictiers, a.d. 368.
S. Virentius, P., in Burgundy, a.d. 400.
S. Kentigern, B. of Glasgow, a.d. 601.
B. Berno, Ab. of Cluny, a.d. 920.
S. Heldemar, H., in Artois, a.d. 1097.
B. Gotfried, of Kappenberg, a.d. 1127.
B. Jutta, W. and Recluse, at Huy, in Belgium, a.d. 1228.
B. Veronica, V. at Milan, a.d. 1497.


(a.d. 315.)

[Greek Menæa and Menologium. The Acts in Metaphrastes are compiled from the original genuine Acts, and may be trusted.]


hen Licinius was in Mysia he sought out the Christians, to punish them with death, being moved thereto by his great hatred to the religion of Christ, which Constantine protected. Socrates says, in his "Ecclesiastical History," that Licinius hated the Christians; and that, although for a while, from dread of Constantine, he avoided open persecution, yet he managed to plot against them covertly, and at length proceeded to acts of undisguised malevolence. The persecution, however, was local, not extending beyond those districts where Licinius himself was, but these and other public outrages could not long remain concealed from Constantine. By [Pg 180] this perfidy he drew upon himself the Emperor Constantine's heaviest displeasure; and the pretended treaty of friendship having been so flagrantly violated, it was not long before they took up arms against each other.[44]

When Licinius was at Sigidunum (Belgrade), on the Danube, a deacon, named Hermylus, was denounced to him as a despiser of the gods of Rome. The Emperor ordered him to be brought before him. The order was obeyed.

Then the Emperor said, "Answer me, and tell me openly, dost thou confess thyself to be a Christian?"

"Not only do I acknowledge myself to be a Christian, but to be consecrated a deacon to the service of God."

"Well then, be deacon in the service of the gods," said Licinius.

"Thou must be deaf, Emperor! I said that I served God the all-seeing, not these blind stocks."

Licinius ordered the deacon to be smitten on the cheeks, and said, "Not so glib with thy tongue, Hermylus. Honour the Emperor, sacrifice to the gods, and save thy life."

Then Hermylus cried out with a loud voice, "Thou shalt endure torments without end, from the hand of God, because thou dost adore vain idols, and seekest to destroy those who serve the living God, as though envious of their superiority."

Then the martyr was taken back to prison. And after three days he was again brought forth, and when Licinius had mounted the tribunal, he said, "Well now, Hermylus, art thou prepared to abandon this folly and escape what is in store for thee?"

But the deacon answered, "I am ready to endure. There is one God in heaven to whom I live, and to whom I am ready to die. He will succour me."

[Pg 181]

"We shall soon see what His succour is worth," said the Emperor; and ordered him to be beaten. Then six men cast him on the ground and stripped him, and scourged him. But Hermylus cried, "O Lord my God, who before Pilate enduredst the scourge, strengthen me suffering for Thee, that I may finish my course, and that, being made partaker in Thy sufferings, I maybe made also to partake in Thy glory."

Then there was heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Verily, verily, Hermylus, in three days shalt thou receive a glorious reward!" Hearing this, the martyr was filled with boldness, and a great fear fell on all around. Then Licinius hastily remitted the deacon to prison. Now the jailor's name was Stratonicus, and he was a disciple, but secretly, like Nicodemus, not having great boldness, and he comforted Hermylus in the dungeon as well as he could, for he was also his personal friend.

On the morrow, the Emperor ordered the brave soldier of Christ to be led forth again, and beaten on the stomach, as his back was one great wound, and the instrument wherewith he was to be beaten was a willow rod, twisted and knotted into a triangle, and this, say the Acts, was a most excruciating torture, for the angles and knots cut like knives into the flesh. But as he bore this with unflinching constancy, the tyrant commanded that his belly should be torn with little iron hooks. Then Stratonicus, the jailor, unable to bear the sight of his friend's sufferings, covered his face with his hands and burst into tears. Seeing this, the soldiers who stood by jeered him, and called the attention of the Emperor to the agitation of the jailor. Then Stratonicus, mustering up all his courage, cast himself before Licinius, and cried, "Sire! I am a Christian, I believe in God, the maker of heaven and earth." Then Licinius ordered him to be scourged. And Stratonicus, looking piteously at his friend, said, "Hermylus, pray for [Pg 182] me to Christ, that I may be able to endure!"

And when Licinius saw that Stratonicus was covered with wounds, he bade the executioners desist, and he remitted the jailor and the prisoner to the same dungeon. But on the morrow, finding Stratonicus resolute, he ordered him and Hermylus to be drowned in the Danube. Then they were tied up in nets and cast into the river. Three days after their bodies were washed up, and were buried by the Christians.


(a.d. 368.)

[In the Roman Missal, before 1435, there was no mention of S. Hilary; in the reformed Breviary of Cardinal Quignon, published by authority of Pope Paul III., S. Hilary was commemorated on Jan. 31st, the same day as that on which he was noted in the York Calendar, because Jan. 13th is the Octave of the Epiphany. Afterwards, however, the commemoration of S. Hilary was fixed for Jan. 14th, his name being inserted in the Martyrology on the 13th; but with this clause, "His festival is, however, to be celebrated on the morrow," so as not to interfere with the Octave of the Epiphany. The Sarum, Dominican, Belgian, and some of the German Calendars mark the 13th as the feast of S. Hilary. The Anglican Calendar also notes his name on this day. The Bollandists give his life on this day, though in the Roman offices the commemoration is on the morrow. His own writings, and the histories of his age, contain all the materials for his life.]

S. Hilary was born at Poictiers in Gaul. There is some reason to believe that his family was illustrious in that country. His parents were pagans, and he was brought up in idolatry. He gives an account of his conversion to the faith of Christ in his book "On the Trinity." He was married before his conversion; and his wife, by whom he had a daughter, named Apra, was yet living when he was chosen Bishop of Poictiers, about the year 353; but from the time of his ordination he lived in perpetual continence. It is [Pg 183] probable that S. Hilary was elected Bishop from the rank of a layman, as was often the case in the early ages, and received all orders by accumulation. He soon became renowned in Gaul as a preacher; and S. Martin, then a young man, was attracted by his name, and lived for a time at Poictiers as his disciple.

Immediately after the Arian Council at Milan, in a.d. 355, which had condemned S. Athanasius, and had prevailed on the Emperor Constantius to banish all the Bishops who adhered to him, S. Hilary wrote to the Emperor, entreating him to stop the persecution, to recall the Catholic Bishops, and forbid secular judges to interfere in the affairs of the Church. This remonstrance had no effect; but he had the satisfaction of seeing the Gallican Bishops remain firm during those days of trial. Saturninus, Bishop of Arles, alone united with Ursacius and Valens, two Illyrian Bishops, to vex the Catholics. They held an Arian synod at Béziers in Languedoc, at which Saturninus himself presided. S. Hilary there made a noble confession of the Nicene Faith, and refuted the heresy of Arius; but the party of Saturninus, reinforced by Bishops from the neighbouring countries, was too strong for him, and he was condemned and deposed; and immediately afterwards the Emperor Constantius banished him into Phrygia. He left Gaul early in a.d. 356, in company with Rhodanus, Bishop of Toulouse, whom God called from those evils to His kingdom, soon after their arrival in Phrygia.

His departure was followed by a cruel persecution of the Gallican clergy; but nothing could daunt their constancy, or prevail on them to communicate with the enemies of S. Hilary and the Nicene Faith, or to fill up his see, which in the eye of the Church was not vacant. The priests and deacons of Toulouse were severely beaten, and their church profaned. In a.d. 357 the Bishops wrote a letter [Pg 184] to S. Hilary assuring him of their fidelity and firmness. About the same time S. Hilary received a letter from Apra, his only daughter, informing him that she had been asked in marriage by a young man. She was then about thirteen or fourteen years of age. He immediately wrote to her, entreating her to set her thoughts on the more precious rewards which the Lord Jesus has promised to those virgins who devote themselves wholly to their Heavenly Spouse, and are not entangled in the snares of earthly love. He reminded her of that blissful company whom the Church commemorates on the feast of the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28), who sing a new song which no man can learn but they who are virgins and follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. She yielded to his pious counsel; and on his return home God took her to Himself at his request, without pain or any visible sickness. Bishop Jeremy Taylor relates this little story in his own beautiful language in the "Holy Dying."

In return for the comforting letter which the Gallican Bishops had sent him, and at their request to be informed regarding the faith of the Eastern Churches, S. Hilary wrote his "History of Synods" in the end of a.d. 358. It contains an account of the various councils that had been assembled in the East on the subject of the Arian heresy, together with a defence of the Nicene Faith. It is addressed to the British Bishops among others, whom he congratulates on their steadfastness. The Saint also wrote his book "On the Trinity" during his exile, and a smaller treatise "Against the Arians." He was also the undoubted author of several hymns, and others have been attributed to him.


[Pg 185]

In a.d. 359 the Western Bishops held a synod at Rimini, at which nearly four hundred were present. The Arian party among them beguiled the rest by its address, to sanction its errors by their signatures. The Bishops of Agen and Tongres took a prominent lead in the proceedings of the synod. In September of the same year S. Hilary was invited with other Catholic Bishops by the semi-Arians to their council at Seleucia, in Isauria. Their object was to defeat the Arians, and they hoped that the Catholics would assist them. In this council S. Hilary bore witness to the faith of the Western Church being the same as that declared to be the Catholic Faith at the Council of Nice in a.d. 325, and he protested against both the Arian and semi-Arian opinions as novelties. He accompanied the deputies of the council to Constantinople, in hopes of obtaining from the Emperor Constantius the recall of his sentence of banishment.

While the Arian synod was sitting at Constantinople, in January, a.d. 360, he entreated the Emperor to grant him a conference with Saturninus, Bishop of Arles, the author of his exile, and that he might be allowed to appear in the synod, and bear witness to the Catholic Faith. He also complained of the perplexity which the multiplication of creeds and confessions of faith had occasioned; for in the preceding year alone four had been published to the Church. The Emperor refused to grant S. Hilary what he asked; but the Arians so much dreaded his presence in the East, that they persuaded Constantius to send him back to Gaul, yet without formally recalling the sentence of exile.

The joy of his return to his Church and his native land was much lessened by the miserable confusion which he left behind him in the East. Still it must have been very great; and his approach was hailed with delight by the Church in Gaul. S. Martin, who had been living in retirement in the island of Gallenari, off the city of Genoa, went to Rome to meet him; but finding that he had already left it, he followed him to Poictiers, and soon after built a monastery near the town (see November 11.) S. Hilary immediately applied himself to repair the mischief which the Council of Rimini had done: and a synod was assembled at Paris, [Pg 186] which condemned its proceedings, and declared the true Faith of the consubstantiality of the Son of God. The Bishops also corresponded with their banished brethren in the East.

In a.d. 363 S. Hilary made a journey into Italy in company with Eusebius of Vercelli. They were at Milan in the autumn of the following year, at the time when the Emperor Valentinian arrived there. The people were Catholic, and even abstained from entering the churches, to avoid communicating with Auxentius their Arian Bishop. In a public disputation which the Emperor invited him to hold, S. Hilary extorted from the Arian a confession of the Nicene Faith, which was taken down in writing and preserved. Auxentius was enraged at being thus vanquished, and prevailed on the Emperor to send S. Hilary away from Milan. Before his departure he addressed a letter to the Catholic Bishops and laity in the neighbourhood, exhorting them to remain firm. This was the last public act of his life which is recorded. He returned home to Poictiers, and finished his labours by a blessed death in January, a.d. 368, according to the testimony of the greater number of historians. A brilliant light is said to have filled the chamber where the body of the holy man was lying. S. Gregory of Tours attests the truth of a miracle performed at his tomb; and others also are authenticated by various writers. But neither the fame of these, nor respect for the memory of the saintly Confessor, prevented his tomb from being [Pg 187] violated by the Calvinists in 1567.


(a.d. 601.)

[His life was written by S. Asaph, his disciple in the monastery of Llan-Elwyn, in Wales, founded by Kentigern when exiled. This life has not come down to us in its original form. We have, however, his life compiled in 1125 by Jocelyn, monk of Furness, from ancient authorities, by order of Bishop Jocelyn of Glasgow. Undoubtedly the life of S. Asaph formed the basis of this compilation. S. Kentigern is also spoken of by many ancient Scottish historians, John Major de Gest. Scotorum, lib. ii. c. 7; Hector Boece, lib. ix; Leslie, lib. iv., &c.]

S. Kentigern is said[45] to have been the illegitimate son of Themin, daughter of Loth, King of the Picts, by Eugenius III., King of the Scots; but there is great uncertainty about his origin. When the Pictish King found that his daughter was likely to become a mother, he was filled with grief and anger, and ordered her to be thrown down a rock, on Mount Dunpeld. By God's mercy she was not injured, and was then, by her father's orders, sent to Culross, where she brought forth a son. At the same time S. Servan, being engaged in saying matins, heard angels singing. When he had finished his office he left his cell, and descending to the sea shore in the grey dusk, found there a mother rocking her new-born babe, wherefore the old hermit exclaimed, being moved with compassion, "Mochoche, mochoche!" which being interpreted is, My dear, my dear! Then he took the unfortunate girl and her babe to his cell, instructed her in the faith of Christ, and baptized her and her little one, and he called her Tanca, and him he named Kentiern.[46] So the child grew up in the old man's cell, and became so dear to him, that he called him familiarly Mungho, or Dearest, and by this name he is generally known in Scotland. His mother learned to love God, and to serve him with all her heart, and bitterly to bewail her fault.

[Pg 188]

Many pretty legends of the childhood of Kentigern have been wafted down to us. S. Servan had a pet redbreast which was wont to eat out of his hand, and to perch on his shoulder, and when he chanted the psalms of David, the little bird flapped its wings and twittered shrilly.

Now Servan had several lads whom he educated at Culross, and these envied Kentigern, because he was the favourite of the old master, so in spite they wrung the neck of the redbreast, and charged the favourite boy with having done the deed. But Kentigern took the little dead bird, and crying bitterly, and praying to God, signed the cross over it. Then when the old man returned from church, the bird hopped to meet him as usual, chirping joyously. In those days it was no easy matter to kindle a fire, indeed, without a flame from which to light one, it was impossible, for in the north, sticks are not dry enough to be rubbed into a blaze as they can be in hot climates. Therefore it was necessary that fires should never be allowed to become extinct. It was the duty of the boys of S. Servan, in turn by weeks, to rise during the night and mend the fire, so that there should not be a deficiency of light for illumining the Church at the matin offices. When it was Kentigern's week, the boys, to bring him into trouble, extinguished the fire. Mungo, rising as usual, went to the hearth but found the fire out. Then he took a stick and placed it over the cold ashes, and invoking the name of the Holy Trinity, he blew upon the dead cinders, and a flame leaped up which kindled the branch; and thereat he lighted the Church candles.

At last, unable to endure longer the envy of his fellow pupils, Kentigern ran away. And when S. Servan discovered it, he pursued him, and reached the bank of a river, but Kentigern had escaped to the other side. Then the old [Pg 189] man cried to him, "Alas! my dearest son, the light of my eyes, and the staff of my age, wherefore hast thou deserted me? Remember that I took thee from thy mother's womb, nursed thee, and taught thee to this day. Do not desert my white hairs."

Then Kentigern, bursting into tears, answered, "My father, it is the will of the Most High that I should go."

Servan cried out, "Return, return, dear son, and I, from being a father, will be to thee as a son, from being a master I will become a disciple."

But Kentigern, suffused with tears, replied, "It cannot be, my father; return and admonish thy disciples, and instruct them by thine example. I must go where the Lord God calls me."

Then Servan blessed him across the river, lifting up his holy hands, and sorrowfully they parted the one from the other, to see each other's face no more in this life.

Kentigern settled near Glasgow, where he inhabited a cave in the face of a rock, where the people looked at him with respectful curiosity, while he studied the direction of the storms at sea, and drank in with pleasure the first breezes of the spring. Having converted many of the people, together with the King of Strathclyde, he was consecrated Bishop by an Irish prelate, the Keltic Church being ignorant of the Nicene canon requiring three to consecrate, "with unction of holy oil, invocation of the Holy Spirit, and imposition of hands."

The district of Strathclyde, or Cumbria, on the west coast of Britain, from the mouth of the Clyde to that of the Mersey, that is to say, from Glasgow to Liverpool, was occupied by a mingled race of Britons and Scots, whose capital was Al-Cluid, now Dumbarton. It was in this region that S. Kentigern was called to labour.

As bishop, he still dwelt in his rocky cell, where he used [Pg 190] a stone for a pillow, and to inure his body to hardships, he stood in the Clyde to recite his psalter. He wore a dress of goat-skin bound about his loins, and a hood, and over all, his white linen alb, which he never left off; and carried in his hand his pastoral staff of wood without ornament, and in his other hand his office book. Thus he was ever prepared to execute his ministry; and thus attired, he went through the kingdom from the Clyde to the Firth of Forth. In his cell he lived on bread and cheese and milk, but when he was with the King, he relaxed the severity of his fasting, so as not to appear ungracious when offered more abundant and better food; however, on his return to his cell, he curtailed his allowance, so as to make up for his relaxation of rule at court.

When S. Kentigern was made Bishop of Glasgow, Gurthmel Wledio was King of the North Britons. He was succeeded by Roderick the Liberal (Rydderach Hael), a religious and deserving prince, who was driven by his rebellious subjects under Morken Mawr to Ireland. Morken having usurped the throne of Strathclyde, drove S. Kentigern out of the country, and the Saint took refuge in Wales with S. David, Bishop of Menevia, and remained with him till the Prince of Denbigh bestowed on him lands, where he built the famous monastery of Llan-Elwyn, afterwards called S. Asaph. Here he gathered about him a great number of disciples and scholars, and he was there at the date of the death of S. David, in 544.

On the death of Morken, Roderick returned to Scotland, and recovered his crown. He immediately recalled Kentigern to his see, and he, leaving his monastery to the care of S. Asaph, went back to Glasgow in 560.

Roderick's mother was Irish, and he had been baptized by an Irish monk, and greatly respected Kentigern. The Saint returned bringing with him a hive of Welsh [Pg 191] monks, and established the seat of his renewed apostleship once more at Glasgow, where Ninian had preceded him nearly a century before, without leaving any lasting traces of his passage. Kentigern, more fortunate, established upon the site of a burying-ground, consecrated by Ninian, the first foundation of that magnificent cathedral which still bears his name, though diverted to a religion different from that he professed.

Kentigern collected round him numerous disciples, all learned in holy literature, all working with their hands, and possessing nothing as individuals. "They dwelt," says Jocelyn, "in separate cells, as did Kentigern, thence were they called Calledei." He distinguished himself during his episcopate by his efforts to bring back to the faith the Picts of Galloway, which formed part of the kingdom of Strathclyde; and afterwards, by numerous mission and monastic foundations throughout all Albyn—a name which was then given to midland Scotland. His disciples penetrated even to the Orkney Isles, where they probably met with the missionaries of S. Columba, despatched from Iona.

The salutary and laborious activity of Kentigern must often have encroached upon the regions which were specially within the sphere of Columba. But the generous heart of Columba was inaccessible to jealousy. He was, besides, the personal friend of Kentigern and of King Roderick.[47] The fame of the Bishop of Strathclyde's apostolic labours drew him from his isle to do homage to his rival in love and good works. He arrived from Iona with a great train of monks, whom he arrayed in three companies at the moment of their entrance into Glasgow. Kentigern distributed in the same way the numerous monks who surrounded him in his episcopal monastery, and whom he led out to meet the abbot of Iona. He divided them, [Pg 192] according to their age, into three bands, the youngest of whom walked first; then those who had reached the age of manhood; and last of all, the old and grey-haired, among whom he himself took his place. They all chanted the anthem, "They shall sing in the ways of the Lord: that great is the glory of the Lord. The path of the just is made: and the way of the saints is prepared." The monks of Iona, on their side, chanted the versicle, "The saints shall go from strength to strength: and unto the God of gods appeareth every one of them in Sion."[48] From every side echoed the Alleluia; and it was to the sound of these words of Holy Scripture that the Apostles of the Picts and Scots met at what had been the extreme boundary of the Roman empire, and limit of the power of the Cæsars, and upon a soil henceforth for ever freed from paganism and idolatry. They embraced each other tenderly, and passed several days in intimate and friendly intercourse.

The historian, who has preserved for us the account of this interview, does not conceal a less edifying incident. He confesses that some robbers had joined themselves to the following of the abbot of Iona, and that they took advantage of the general enthusiasm to steal a ram from the Bishop's flock. They were soon taken; but Kentigern pardoned them. Columba and his fellow Apostle exchanged their pastoral staves before they parted, in token of mutual affection. The staff of S. Columba, afterwards used by S. Kentigern, was in later times given to S. Wilfred, who placed it in the monastic church he founded at Ripon.

[Pg 193]

I know not how far we may put faith in another narrative of Jocelyn, which has remained Kentigern's most popular title to fame. The wife of King Roderick, led astray by a guilty passion for a knight of her husband's court, had the weakness to bestow on him a ring which had been given to her by the King. When Roderick was out hunting with this knight, the two took refuge on the banks of the Clyde, during the heat of the day, and the knight, falling asleep, unwittingly stretched out his hand, upon which the King saw the ring which he had given to the Queen as a token of his love. It was with difficulty that he restrained himself from killing the knight on the spot; but he subdued his rage, and contented himself by taking the ring from his finger, and throwing it into the river, without awakening the guilty sleeper. When he had returned to the town, he demanded his ring from the Queen, and, as she could not produce it, threw her into prison, and gave orders for her execution. She obtained, however, a delay of three days, and having in vain sought the ring from the knight to whom she had given it, she had recourse to S. Kentigern. He, moved by the remembrance of his mother, through whose sin he had entered the world, and anxious that the unhappy woman should be given time for repentance, prayed to God, and the ring was found in the belly of a salmon caught in the Clyde, and sent by him to the Queen, who showed it to her husband, and thus escaped the punishment which awaited her. On her liberation she hastened to Kentigern, confessed her fault to him, and was exhorted by him to amend her life and do penance for the past. It is for this reason that the ancient effigies of the Apostle of Strathclyde represent him holding the episcopal cross in one hand, and in the other a salmon with a ring in its mouth.

S. Kentigern lived to a very advanced age, and his jaws being too weak to masticate his food, his lower jaw was supported by a band of linen tied round his head. He died gently as he was being lifted out of a warm bath, in [Pg 194] the year 601.

Patron of Glasgow.

In art, represented with a fish and a ring. (See above.)


(a.d. 1127.)

[His life by a writer of the same time, a monk of Kappenberg, who, though he did not know Gotfried himself, derived his information from those who knew him well. He is also mentioned, and the principal incidents of his life noticed, in the life of S. Norbert.]

Godfrey or Gotfried, Count of Kappenberg,[49] in Westphalia, lived at a period when the nobles of Germany were engaged in constant feuds with one another, falling on each others lands, burning the villages, and carrying off the cattle. It was a period when the poor suffered untold woes. "It is good to live under the crook," they said, meaning that their only place, where they could live in security, was on the lands of the abbeys. One little incident mentioned in the life of Count Gotfried, shews the lawlessness of the times. The Count and the city of Münster not being on good terms, a party of the Kappenbergers made a foray, and swept up all the cattle from the farms in the neighbourhood of Münster, and brought them in triumph to the Count; but he rebuked them saying, "Take all these back again; my quarrel is with the men of the city; it is not seemly that the innocent and helpless farmers should lose their all on account of a contest of the rights of which they know nothing."

Gotfried happening to attend, along with his brother Otto, the preaching of S. Norbert, who traversed Westphalia at this time, was converted, and resolved on turning his fortress into a monastery. His wife at first opposed his [Pg 195] intention, and his relations used all their influence to dissuade him. But his earnestness moved his wife at last to withdraw her objections, and to consent to his entering the religious life; she, at the same time, also resolved to take the veil. Accordingly, Gotfried and his brother Otto, who was his junior, received the tonsure, and became canons of S. Augustine, under the rule of S. Norbert of Prémontré. Frederick, Count of Arnsberg, the father of Gotfried's wife, was furious. He was a man of great cruelty, in whose dungeons languished many wretches, and who delighted in war. His protests were in vain, the Count of Kappenberg transformed his castle into a monastery, and built two more, at Varlar and Elstadt. So great was the humility of Gotfried, that finding he was continually given his title of Count, even by the brethren, he took upon himself the most disagreeable office in the house, that of scourer of the privies.

Frederick, Count of Arnsberg, finding remonstrances in vain, threatened to fall on the county of Kappenberg, and drive the monks out "As for that Norbert!" he exclaimed, "who has come riding on an ass through Westphalia, turning men's heads, let me catch him, and I'll hang him and his ass at the two ends of one rope over a bough, and see which is the heaviest fool of the twain."

Gotfried and his brethren sent to Prémontré, to tell their father in religion, that it was impossible for them to remain in Germany, that Count Arnsberg would attack them shortly; and they added the threat uttered against Norbert himself and his ass.

"Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world, said Christ," he wrote back to them, "and as for me and my ass, we are coming into Westphalia to be weighed one against the other." Nor was S. Norbert long in coming; he rode upon his ass to the door of Kappenberg; but there was no further danger, Count Frederick of Arnsberg was dead.

[Pg 196]

Before he died, Gotfried visited the cradle of his order, Prémontré, the home of S. Norbert. On his way back, next year, he sickened, and died at Elstadt.


(a.d. 1497.)

[Beatified by Pope Leo X. Her life and revelations were written by Brother Isidore of Isolani, O.S.D., from the account given him by those who had known her well; among others from the notes of Benedetta, and the recital of Thaddæa, two sisters, who had been intimately acquainted with Veronica. This account was printed in 1518, at Milan.]

Veronica was the daughter of a pious peasant at Binasco, a small village between Milan and Pavia. Her father was noted for his integrity, and when he sold a horse he always mentioned its defects to the purchaser. Veronica was employed in the fields weeding, as the parents were too poor to send her to the school. Veronica desired earnestly to become a sister in the convent of S. Martha, at Milan, but her mother assured her that it was impossible to join a religious community without a knowledge of letters. Accordingly, every night Veronica laboured, by the light of her little oil lamp, at her alphabet and spelling book; but she made little progress. One night, as she lay with her hands spread out on the table, and her head bowed, disheartened at the difficulty of her task, the Blessed Virgin appeared to her in a robe of dazzling blue, like the summer sky. "My child," said the gentle Mother, "trouble thyself not with this scholarship, the only learning thou needst is comprised in three letters, white, black, and red. This white letter is purity of soul and body; this black letter is simplicity, contentedness with what God sends you, and freedom from taking offence; this red letter is meditation [Pg 197] on the passion of my dear Son. Let these three branches of learning be mastered, and all the other letters come of themselves."

Veronica, some years later, entered the convent of S. Martha, as a lay sister, and her duties were to beg for the society, as her ignorance of reading and Latin disqualified her from chanting the choir offices with the full sisters.

She persevered in the study of those three letters shown her by the Queen of Heaven, and in studying them she advanced far on the way of perfection. She was honoured with wondrous revelations, but her modesty was so great that she sought to conceal them. On the Octave of Corpus Christi, 1487, during mass, she saw in the adorable Sacrament exposed in the Tabernacle, the form of Jesus Christ as a little child surrounded by adoring angels. In her simplicity she asked one of the other sisters if she had seen the Holy Child, and when she answered in the negative, Veronica flushed red, and said no more.

It was a great disappointment to her that she was unable to sing the choir offices, and she made it a special object of prayer that her understanding might be enlightened, so that she might join the others in their psalmody. Then an angel descended to her cell, and he held in his hand the psalter, and opening it before her, bade her read, and all her difficulty passed away, and she chanted the psalms of David, with the antiphons and responses, alternately with the Angel of God. One night, when she had been very ill, and deprived of the privilege of communion, she rose from her sick bed, drawn by an irresistible impulse to the church. It was full of light; she cast herself at the altar steps, before the adorable Sacrament, and Jesus in a cloud of glory communicated her Himself.

She lay three years in a lingering illness, all which time she would never be exempted from any of the duty of the [Pg 198] house, or make use of the least indulgence, though she was given leave; her answer always was, "I must work whilst I can, whilst I have time."

Sister Thaddæa informed the writer of her life, that on Whitsun-Monday, 1496, she went to the cell of Veronica, who was ill, at the hour of nones, and was astonished to see a bright light streaming from the chinks in the door. Looking in through a hole, she saw Veronica, in dazzling light, chanting nones. Veronica died in the year 1497.

Seal of Robert Wishart Seal of Robert Wishart, Bp. of Glasgow, 1272-1316. See life of S. Kentigern, p. 193.


[44] Lib. I., c. 3, 4.

[45] By David Camerarius, Hector Boece, and Condeus.

[46] From Ken-tiern, chief lord.

[47] Adamnan i. 15.

[48] In viis Domini magna est gloria Domini, et via justorum facta est: et iter sanctorum præparatum est. Ibunt sancti de virtute in virtutem: videbitur Deus corum in Sion.

[49] Near Lunen, on the river Lippe.

[Pg 199]

January 14.

S. Pontian, M., at Spoleto, 2nd cent.
S. Felix, P. C., at Nola, 3rd cent.
S. Macrina, at Neocæsarea, 4th cent.
SS. Theodulus, Paul, Proclus, Hypatius, Isaac, and Others,
Monks, MM., at Sinai, 5th cent.
S. Datius, Abp. of Milan, a.d. 552.
S. Fulgentius, B. of Carthagina, a.d. 619.
B. Engelmar, H. M. in Bavaria, beginning of 12th cent.
B. Sabbas, Abp. of Servia, 13th cent.
B. Ordorico, Friar at Udine, in Italy, a.d. 1331.
For S. Hilary, see Jan. 13.


(3rd cent.)

[On this day are commemorated two priests, Confessors, of Nola, of the same name, Felix. This has led to almost inextricable confusion among Martyrologists. There is another, a martyr, of this name. The life of S. Felix is given by S. Gregory of Tours, De Glor. Martyr, lib. i. c. 104, and by the Venerable Bede. The miracles wrought by him have also been recorded by S. Paulinus of Nola.]


aint Felix was a native of Nola, in Campania, where his father, Hermias, who was by birth a Syrian, and had served in the army, had purchased an estate and settled. He had two sons, Felix and Hermias, to whom, at his death, he left his property. The younger, loving the things of Cæsar rather than the things of God, says Bede, served in the army, but Felix, more happy—as his name implies—enrolled himself as a soldier of Jesus Christ. Having passed the grades of lector and exorcist, he was finally ordained priest by Maximus, Bishop of Nola.

Persecution having broken out, the aged Bishop, mindful [Pg 200] of the injunction, "When they persecute you in one city flee to another" (Matt. x. 23), escaped to the hills, and left his flock to the charge of Felix, whom he designated as his successor. The persecutors, not finding the Bishop, seized on Felix, and cast him, heavily ironed, into a dungeon strewn with broken crockery, into which no ray of light entered. In the meantime, Maximus was perishing with cold and hunger in the mountains, hardships which his great age made him unable to endure.

One night an angel appeared to Felix, and bade him go forth out of prison and succour the aged Bishop. Then his chains fell off his neck, and hands, and feet, and the doors opened to him of their own accord, and guided by the angel, he was brought to the hiding place of Maximus, whom he found prostrate and speechless, and apparently dying. He moistened the old man's lips with wine, and forced some food into his mouth, and chafed his frozen limbs. By slow degrees the Bishop was restored, and then laying him upon his shoulders, Felix carried him home before daybreak, where a pious old woman took care of him.

Felix, with the blessing of his pastor, repaired secretly to his own lodgings, and there kept himself concealed, praying for the Church without ceasing, till peace was restored to it by the death of the Emperor Decius in 251. Persecution breaking forth again, the sergeants were sent in quest of Felix. Meeting him in the street, and not recognizing him, they stopped him and asked if he had met Felix on the way. "No," he answered; "I have not met him." They went on, but something arousing their suspicion, they had not gone far before they turned and hastened back. Felix had, in the meantime, crept through a small hole in some old broken walls. The officers came to the place, but seeing a spider's web covering the hole, they did [Pg 201] not search the place, thinking that Felix could not have passed that way. But this was the Lord's doing. He had sent the little spider to drop his lines and lace them together, with the utmost rapidity, over the place through which His servant had escaped. Felix, finding among the ruins, between two houses, an old well half dug, hid himself in it for six months; and received during that time wherewithal to subsist from a devout Christian woman.

Peace having been restored to the Church, the Saint quitted his retreat, and was received in the city as an angel from heaven. Soon after, S. Maximus dying, Felix was unanimously elected Bishop; but he persuaded the people to make choice of Quintus, because he was the senior priest, having been ordained seven days before him.

His property having been confiscated in the persecution, S. Felix rented a little spot of barren land, not exceeding three acres, which he tilled with his own hands, and was able by his industry to support himself, and give something in alms to the poor. He died at a good old age, on Jan. 14th, on which day the Martyrology, under the name of S. Jerome, and all others of later date mention him.

Patron of Nola, in conjunction with other Saints.

Relics, in the Cathedral at Nola.

In art, he is represented (1), with an angel striking off his chains; (2), with a bunch of grapes, wherewith he fed S. Maximus; (3), bearing S. Maximus on his shoulders, or [Pg 202] in his arms; (4), with a spider.


(4th cent.)

[Spoken of by S. Gregory Nyssen, her grandson, in his life of his sister Macrina. S. Gregory Nazianzen gives a fuller account in his life of her grandson, S. Basil the Great.]

In the persecution of Galerius, a.d. 304, S. Macrina and her husband were obliged to hide till the tyranny was overpast, in a wooded mountain in Pontus, for seven years, suffering severely from cold and from insufficiency of food. They were, however, able to catch and kill wild deer.


(5th Cent.)

[Roman Martyrology. German Martyrology on the 13th Jan. The account of the martyrdom of these monks was written by S. Nilus himself, an eye-witness of their passion, and father of Theodulus, one of the sufferers, though not the martyr of the same name.]

"O my friends," says S. Nilus, in his account of the tragedy commemorated this day;[50] "I, wretched man that I am, had two sons, one of whom I had to lament, the other remained with his mother. After I had become the father of these two, my wife and I separated. A vehement craving after solitude and rest drew me into the desert; I could think and look to nothing else. When the desire of anything has engrossed the mind, it draws it violently from all things else, even from good works, and strains towards that which it desires, heeding no impediments and toils. When, then, I was thus impelled to go forth, I took my two [Pg 203] sons—they were quite little fellows then—and I led them to their mother, and I gave one to her, and kept the other with me, and I told her my design, and begged her not to oppose it. She did not resist me, seeing my earnestness, yielding rather to necessity than consenting spontaneously. But know, all of you, that the separation of those who have been united in legitimate marriage, and have become one body, by Him who in His secret council has joined them, is no light matter. It is like hacking through a living body with a sword."

Nilus, having escaped with his little son Theodulus into the deserts of Sinai, took up his abode with the monks, and served God in the solitude and rest he had so much desired, "Among these," continues Nilus, "Cæsar's money does not circulate, for they neither buy nor sell. Each is ready to give freely to the other whatever he wants. Olives and dates, and rarely bread, is all they have to give, but they become tokens of charity, and sufficiently evidence liberality of intention. There is no envy among them, and he who abounds less in good works does not feel jealous of him who abounds more. Their cells are not close together, but at some little distance from one another, not because of want of love, but that they may mould themselves to the pattern God has set before them in all quiet and silence. On the Lord's Day they all assemble in one church, and meet accordingly once a week; lest, on the other hand, total isolation should break the bonds of concord and make them forgetful of the offices due to one another, and their manners become savage and uncouth. After having all participated of the Divine Mysteries, they accordingly meet to converse. But why should I relate more of their ways? All at once a storm came on, a cloud of barbarians burst upon the settlement, early one morning, when the hymns had just ceased. I was there then with my son. I was descending the holy [Pg 204] mountain to visit the Saints who inhabited the bush, as I was wont to do often, when I heard the noise of shouts and cries, and like yelping of dogs, the barbarians carried off all the Saints had prepared for their winter provision. They dragged them out of the church and stripped them, and made a circle round them with drawn swords, and eyes filled with fury, ready to kill them. Then, first they bade the priest stretch out his neck, and he, without a cry, though they cut him on the back with their blades, signed himself and whispered, 'Blessed be the Lord!' One blow cut him from the back-bone to the jaw, and cut through his ear; the next blow was from his shoulder to his cheek. So the holy man sank down modestly. The previous evening that admirable man at supper had said, 'How do we know whether we shall all live to meet again at table?' After that they killed him who lived with the old priest, and then the boy who served them." Then the Arabs, brandishing their bloody weapons, rushed after the monks, who scattered in all directions, some escaping down the valley, and some, Nilus included, flying up the all but inaccessible rocks of Sinai, whither the Arabs did not trouble themselves to pursue them. Nilus escaped reluctantly, for his boy was in the hands of the barbarians. "I stood bewildered," he says "not knowing what to do, and bound to the child by my bowels of love, and unable to fly till the boy made signs to me with his eyes to escape; but I could hardly persuade myself to do so. My feet went forward and dragged my body along, I hardly knew how, for my heart would not leave him, and I turned my face ever and anon to look at the boy. Thus I reached the mountain, following the others, and saw my poor boy carried away, unable to look about him as he would, but furtively casting glances towards where I was. Such is the tie of nature, that separation of bodies does not break it, but it is cruelly wrenched. The cow [Pg 205] which is led away lows piteously and often, always turning its head towards the dear calf, and by its eyes proving the intensity of its grief. And I, when I had reached, I know not how, the mountain top, with my mind one way and my body elsewhere, I tried still to see my son, but I could not, the distance was too great. Then I burst into prayer to God, weeping for my captive son and the murdered saints."

"After the barbarians had killed many others, they went their way; and as day declined we were able, without fear, to descend and bury the bodies. We found some quite dead, but Theodulus, the priest, was still breathing and able to speak. Therefore we, sitting down there, passed the night there, weeping, at the old man's request." The dying priest bade them be of good cheer, reminding them that Job was robbed of his substance and his children, and was grievously plagued in his body, yet, trusting in God, he was given in the end more than he had lost. Then, kissing the survivors, he breathed forth his holy soul. S. Theodulus and these martyrs fell on Jan. 14th; but other sufferers who were put to death by this horde of barbarians are commemorated with them. S. Nilus gives an account of the sufferings of several of these, whom the Arabs hunted from the rocks, wherever there was a spring of water and a patch of herbage.

Nilus, having obtained money, went into the desert in quest of the Arabs, in company with an armed embassy, to their chief or king, that he might ransom his son. "Having gone eight days, we were hard pressed for want of water; but those who knew the locality said that there was a spring somewhere near. So the party ran here and there in their eagerness to find and enjoy it; and I went along too, but on account of my age was not able to travel as fast as they, and could not run without loss of dignity. Now the [Pg 206] well was really behind them, hidden behind a little hill, so that they kept rushing further from it, and I, ascending the mound, lighted suddenly upon it, for it lay on the other side, and there I saw a number of Arabs gathered round it. When I thus fell into the hands of the enemy, I cannot say whether I was glad or sorry, for I was between the two conditions of mind, being fearful for my personal safety, but very anxious to see my son, whom I hoped to deliver out of captivity, or at least to share captivity with him. Those who had accompanied me escaped, throwing themselves down, and creeping away behind the hill; but the barbarians, shouting, surrounded me, and dragged me violently about, but I looked about with great desire, hoping among them to catch a sight of my boy.

"Suddenly, some of our party, armed, appeared on the horizon, and the barbarians, in great alarm, fled away, and in a moment the spot where they had swarmed was bare and lifeless.

"Next day we continued our course, and so for four days did we persevere, till we reached the camp; and when it was announced that there were ambassadors come to the King, we were brought before Haman, the chief of the barbarians. Who, when we had presented gifts, gave us a gracious reception, and lodged us near him, till he could make perquisition for the offenders. My heart beat violently, and I waited the result in an agony of suspense. Every sound seemed to me to speak of him whom I sought so anxiously; my ears were ever on the alert, and my mind on the stretch for the tidings, that I might be certified whether my son lived or was dead. Ever before my eyes I saw his image, sometimes I saw him killed in one way, sometimes in another, and I fancied I heard his weeping voice calling me. O wretched boy! art thou alive or art thou dead? If thou hast escaped death, what miserable bondage is thine? If [Pg 207] thou hast died, where is thine unburied corpse?

"At last the messengers returned, and by their faces I read the sad news. 'You need not speak,' I said, 'I see in your countenances that I have no hope.' But they assured me that Theodulus, my little fellow, was not dead, but was sold to some one or other in the city Eleusa. Then I resolved to go there in quest of him. But I had no rest in mind, for I thought, Well, if he lives, he is lost to me, for he serves as a slave; he cannot follow his free will, but is for ever subject to the caprice of a master.

"As we were on our way to Eleusa, a young man, driving some laden animals, met us. He had already seen me in the camp, and he knew all about my affair. He, being in Eleusa, made inquiries, and learned that my son had been brought there by the barbarians, and had been sold. Seeing me coming, he advanced last and smiling towards me, and when we were within speaking distance, he shouted cheerily to me, and stretching forth his right hand, he turned it behind him over his shoulder, and pulled out a letter from his quiver, which he gave to me, telling me that my boy was alive, and bade me be of good cheer, and not to be out of heart because he was a slave, for he had been bought by a Christian priest.

"Then I, being without money or home, and unable thus to reward the fellow, blessed him with many tears, and prayed that he might be abundantly rewarded by God for the joy he gave me, I being unable to offer him anything.

"But I, as soon as I reached the city, went first of all to the church, as to the source of all good, and I gave honour there to God, watering the pavement with my tears, and filling the sacred building with the sound of my sobs. Thence I was guided to the house where my son was, sending first of all before me messengers to break the news of my coming. All knew me, by the report which had preceded [Pg 208] me, to be the father of the boy who had been sold there, and there was not a person all along the street who did not express joy, in countenance, and running out of their houses with glad faces, seemed as though each rejoiced with me over a lost son re-found.

"Now when we came to the door of the house, he was called out and told that I was there, and they brought him to salute me. And when we saw one another, we did not rejoice, nor exclaim at first, but both cried till our tears dribbled over our breasts. He ran to me, but scarcely knew me, I was so ragged in dress, and my hair uncombed. Believing what others said rather than knowing me, he came with arms outspread and clasped me round with bursting heart. But I knew him when he was a long way off, though there were numbers of others there, for it was just the same face, stamped by constant remembrance on my mind; and unable to contain my joy, my strength suddenly failed me, and I fell down. Then the people, seeing me with open mouth on the ground, thought me dead. There was great outcry, but when my son had clasped me in his arms, my spirit came back, and I knew where I was, and who I was, whom I saw before me with mine eyes. Then I hugged him and he hugged me, never satisfying our great desire. However, at last, when more composed, I blamed myself to him as the cause of all these misfortunes, because I had taken him away from his home to a wild place which was full of danger, and it was so, as I said."

Then Theodulus told his father all his adventures with the Arabs. "Father," said he, "on the night after we were taken, the barbarians had prepared everything for a sacrifice, altar, sword, incense, and the like, and we thought we were sure to be killed and offered up on the morrow. Then my fellow captive, in the night, ran away and escaped, but I was afraid to do so, not knowing whither to go in the desert, but [Pg 209] I prayed to God till I fell asleep. And, waking early in the morning when dawn broke on the horizon, I knelt with my hands on my knees, and my face bowed upon them, wetting my bosom with my tears, and again with my whole heart I cried out to Him who alone could deliver me, 'Thou, Lord, alone hast power over life and death, Thou hast shown wonders of old and hast delivered Thy servants out of peril. Thou didst save Isaac, lying on the altar, and Joseph from the hands of his brethren. Save me, too, for Thy great Name's sake.'

"Then, presently, the Arabs awoke, and making a great noise because my companion was gone, asked me where he was; but when I said that I did not know, because I had not run away, they were not angry. Then my mind became calm, and I blessed God. After that they consulted, and brought me to the city to sell me. They stripped me naked, and put a sword round my neck, to show that if I was not bought they would kill me. Then I was exposed for sale, and I stretched out my hands suppliantly to the purchasers to save me from death, promising my glad service if they would redeem my blood. Then after a while he came by and bought me, even the Bishop of this place."

Now the Bishop had bought the boy out of charity, and he at once surrendered him to his father, regarding nothing the price he had paid for him, and he, moreover, furnished them with food for their long journey home; and before he dismissed them, feeling confident of their vocation, he ordained [Pg 210] together to the priesthood both father and son.


(a.d. 552.)

[Roman and other Latin Martyrologies. Datius, Dacius, or Dasius, is spoken of by Procopius Cassidorus, whose letter to S. Datius is extant, and by S. Gregory the Great, who relates the incident of his reduction of the evil spirits to silence, narrated in the text, in his Dialogues, lib. iii., c. 4.]

S. Datius ruled the see of Milan in a stormy time, when Italy was over-run with the Goths. When Milan was threatened, S. Datius implored Belisarius to come to its protection, or send troops to defend the city. Belisarius was then at Rome, and S. Datius made the journey to Rome, on purpose to urge upon him, in person, the protection of the city. Belisarius, though hard pressed through the deficiency of supplies afforded him by the Emperor Justinian, detached a body of men to the defence of the Milanese, and for a time Milan was thought to be safe. Soon, however, a large army of Goths and Burgundians swooped down upon it and besieged it. Belisarius, seeing the danger to which the city was exposed, sent troops under his generals, Martin and Uliaris, to the succour. But they, through timidity, did not venture to attack the Goths. In the city famine prevailed to such an extent, that as S. Datius relates in his Annals, an unfortunate mother roasted and ate her infant, that being the first morsel she had eaten since her confinement. The city was surrendered, but the terms of surrender were not kept. It was given up to plunder, and the streets ran with the blood of the butchered citizens. What became of the Archbishop is not known; some assert that he was taken captive to Ravenna, but was liberated at the intercession of his friend Cassiodorus.

The Arian King, Totila, drove S. Datius from his see, and he escaped to Constantinople. On his way occurred that incident recorded by S. Gregory the Great, by which he is [Pg 211] chiefly known. Arriving at Corinth, and looking about for a large house, which would lodge him and his companions, he saw a mansion, which seemed exactly suited to his purpose, and was apparently unoccupied. Having instituted inquiries, he was told that the house was haunted, and that it was impossible for any man to spend the night in it. "Ghost and devil will not scare a servant of God!" said S. Datius, and he ordered beds to be made in the haunted house. He said his prayers as usual, and then retired to rest. About midnight he was aroused by a hideous rout, like the braying of asses, the grunting of swine, the squeaking of rats, and the hissing of serpents. Then Datius, raising himself in bed, shouted, "Oh, Satan! thou who saidst in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will be like the most High! (Isa. xiv. 13, 14.) Well done, I say, Satan. Thou, who wouldst be like God, art reduced to bray like a jackass, and grunt like a hog." Instantly there was dead silence, and S. Datius was no more troubled with unearthly noises.


(A.D. 1331.)

[His life, by several writers on the Franciscan Saints. His travels were dictated by him to Friar Guglielmo, who wrote them down, and added an account of his death. No copy of his original Latin MS. exists, and the Italian and Latin copies we have vary so much from one another that it is difficult to know which is the most correct. Copyists, not considering the things related in his travels as sufficiently marvellous, have supplied by their fancy what Ordorico never dictated. Although no copy of the original MS. exists, we can trace the progress of amplification and error by comparing the oldest and best account of the travels extant, with some of the later narratives of Friar Ordorico's life and adventure.]

Among the early travellers in the East a conspicuous [Pg 212] place is due to Friar Ordorico de Pordenone, commonly called Il Beato, the Blessed. He was born in the district of Pordenone, in the Friuli, about the year 1286. Early in life he entered the Order of Friars Minors, or Franciscans, and took the vows in their house at Udine. After many years of exemplary life and industry he girded up his loins for the perilous pilgrimage and great mission—that is, he proceeded to the remote countries of the East to convert the infidel and idolater. He is believed to have been absent from Italy for the long space of sixteen years. He took with him his monastic habit, his cord, and his pilgrim's staff, and apparently no other thing. Where there were Christians, he claimed their charity; and where there were none, he threw himself upon the hospitality of the unbelievers. Friar Ordorico went from the Adriatic Sea to Constantinople, and proceeding from that great city to the Black Sea, he landed at Trebizond. From Trebizond he travelled through Armenia and Persia, and came to Ormuz on the Persian Gulf. At Ur of the Chaldees, he was shocked to find that the men did the knitting and spinning; and he was surprised that they liked a head of venison more than four fat partridges. At Bagdad, says he, the men are handsome and the women ugly; the women carry loads and the men saunter about in idleness. But this, alas! is not confined to Bagdad. At the port of Balsora he embarked, and crossing the Indian Ocean, he reached the coasts of Malabar. There, says he, he much surprised, the people prefer dates to venison. Thence he turned round upon Ceylon. He landed in that magnificent island, and travelled through the greater part of it. He describes the quantities of elephants which are found in the interior of that country; the blood-sucking land-leeches, so well-known to the Indians, which render the passage through the jungle so painful to Europeans; he correctly describes the general qualities of [Pg 213] that remarkable tree, the talipot, which flourishes in the island of Ceylon, and in the contiguous Malabar country. He mentions Adam's Peak, and the lake at its side, which the natives told him was formed of the tears of Adam and Eve after their fall. "But," adds the friar, "I perceived this to be false, for I saw the water flowing from the mountain into the lake, and filling it." He adds that on the sides of the lake rubies are discovered. His account of the pearl fishery is without exaggeration. In the neighbouring continent some of the Brahminical superstitions are correctly set down. The excessive cruelty and indisputable cannibalism of the Andaman Islanders, who are called natives of Bodan, are accurately noted. So shocked was the friar with what he saw there, that he remained there some while preaching, but he admits with no success. Then he voyaged to Meliapore. After this he ran down the Indian Ocean to Sumatra and Java, whence he appears to have reached some of the islands of Japan, which he calls Zapan. He next entered the empire of China, and there he remained several years. He travelled through various of the vast provinces of China, and then turned West, and after long and dangerous wayfaring, he entered the country of Thibet.

In company with three other friars, he was one day resting with them under a tree, when the Khan passed by. Then one of the friars, who was a bishop, put on his pontifical vestments, and took his pastoral cross, and all four advanced to meet the Khan chanting the Veni Creator. Then the Khan stopped his car, and asked who these were, and when told that they were four Frank missionaries, he called them to him, and kissed the cross of the bishop. Then, because it is the custom of the country not to approach the king empty-handed, the friars offered him a plate with some apples on it. The Khan took two, ate one, and drove away tossing [Pg 214] the other about in his hands. From his kissing the cross the friars were satisfied that he knew something of the Catholic faith.

The account left of these travels breaks off abruptly in Thibet, leaving us entirely in the dark as to the route and the manner by which the friar reached Europe. It is known, however, from a postscript to his book, that he returned in 1330, when he was forty-four years old. His health appears to have been much broken by the fatigues and privations he had undergone during his peregrinations; and he died within a few months after his return to his native country.[51]

Hermit Saints. S. Anthony. Hermit Saints.    S. Anthony.


[50] The narrative of S. Nilus is necessarily much condensed. I regret having to do this, as it is most touching in its entirety.

[51] A much fuller account of the travels of B. Ordorico than I am able to give here may be read in MacFarlane's "Romance of Travel," II. c. 1. The most correct version of these travels is that given by Bollandus, Jan. T. 1, pp. 920-986, which MacFarlane does not seem to have seen.

[Pg 215]

January 15.

S. Ephysius, M., at Cagliari.
S. Paul, the First Hermit in Egypt, a.d. 341.
S. Macarius of Egypt, P. and Ab., in Scété, a.d. 391.
S. Isidore, P. and Monk, at Alexandria, a.d. 404.
S. Alexander Acœmetus, at Constantinople, circ. a.d. 430.
S. John the Calybite, 5th cent.
S. Maurus, Ab. of Glanfeuil, in France, a.d. 584.
S. Ytha, V., in Ireland, 6th cent.
S. Bonitus, or Bon, B. of Claremont, beginning of 8th cent.
S. Embert, B. of Cambrai, beginning of 8th cent.
S. Ceolwulf, K. and Monk, in England, 8th cent.


(a.d. 341.)

[S. Paul died on Jan. 10th, on which day he is commemorated in most ancient Martyrologies, as the Roman, that of Cologne, Bede, &c. But both Greeks and Latins have transferred his feast to Jan. 15th, so as not to interfere with the celebration of the Octave of the Epiphany. The York Breviary and those of Paul III., and of the Dominican Order, commemorate him on the 29th Jan. His life, written by S. Jerome, is perfectly authentic. The following is a translation, much abridged, from the original.]


nder the persecuting Emperors Decius and Valerius, at the time that Cornelius was Bishop at Rome, and Cyprian, Bishop at Carthage, were condemned to shed their blessed blood, a cruel tempest swept over the Churches in Egypt and the Thebaid.

"In those days, in the Lower Thebaid, was Paul, to whom had been left a rich inheritance, at the death of both his parents, with a sister already married. He was then about fifteen years old, well taught in Greek and Egyptian literature, gentle tempered, and loving God much. When the [Pg 216] storm of persecution burst, he withdrew into a distant city. But his sister's husband purposed to betray him, notwithstanding the tears of his wife; however, the boy discovered it, and fled into the desert hills. Once there, necessity became a pleasure, and going on, and then stopping awhile, he reached at last a stony cliff, at the foot of which was a great cave; its mouth closed with a stone. Having rolled this away, and exploring more greedily, he saw within a great vault open to the sky above, but shaded by the spreading boughs of an ancient date-palm; and in it a clear spring, the rill of which, flowing a short space forth, was sucked up again by the soil.

"There were, besides, not a few dwellings in that cavernous mountain, in which he saw rusty anvils and hammers, with which coin that had been stamped of old. For this place was an old workshop for base coin.

"Therefore, in this beloved dwelling, offered him as it were by God, he spent all his life in prayer and solitude, while the palm-tree gave him food and clothes.

"When the blessed Paul had been leading the heavenly life on earth for 113 years, and Antony, ninety years old, was dwelling in another solitude, this thought (so Antony was wont to assert) entered his mind—that no monk more perfect than himself had settled in the desert. But as he lay still by night, it was revealed to him that there was another monk far better than he, to visit whom he must set out. So when the light broke, the venerable old man, supporting his weak limbs on a staff, began to go he knew not whither. And now the mid-day, with the sun roasting above, grew fierce; and yet he was not turned from the journey he had begun, for he said 'I trust in my God, that he will show His servant that which He has promised.' Antony went on through that region, seeing only the tracks of wild beasts, and the wide waste of the desert. What he should do, or whither turn, he knew not. A second day had now run by.


[Pg 217]

One thing remained, to be confident that he could not be deserted by Christ. All night through he spent a second darkness in prayer, and while the light was still dim, he saw afar a she-wolf, panting with heat and thirst, creeping in at the foot of the mountain. Following her with his eyes, and drawing nigh to the cave when the beast was gone, he began to look in: but in vain; for the darkness stopped his view. However, as the Scripture saith, perfect love casteth out fear; with gentle step and bated breath the cunning explorer entered, and going forward slowly, and stopping often, watched for a sound. At length he saw afar off a light through the horror of the darkness; then he hastened on more greedily, struck his foot against a stone, and made a noise, at which the blessed Paul shut and barred his door, which had stood open.

"Then Antony, casting himself down before the entrance, prayed there till the sixth hour, and more, to be let in, saying, 'Who I am, and whence, and why I am come, thou knowest I know that I deserve not to see thy face; yet, unless I see thee, I will not return. Thou who receivest beasts, why repellest thou a man? I have sought, and I have found. I knock that it may be opened to me: which if I win not, here will I die before thy gate. Surely thou shalt at least bury my corpse.'

"'No one begs thus to threaten. No one does injury with tears. And dost thou wonder why I do not let thee in, seeing thou art a mortal guest?' Thus spake Paul, and then smiling, he opened the door. They mutually embraced and saluted each other by name, and committed themselves in common to the grace of God. And after the holy kiss, Paul, sitting down with Antony, thus began—

"'Behold him whom thou hast sought with such labour; with limbs decayed by age, and covered with unkempt white [Pg 218] hair. Behold, thou seest but a mortal, soon to become dust. But, because charity bears all things, tell me, I pray thee, how fares the human race? whether new houses are rising in the ancient cities? by what emperor is the world governed? whether there are any left who are led captive by the deceits of the devil?' As they spoke thus, they saw a raven settle on a bough; who, flying gently down, laid, to their wonder, a whole loaf before them. When he was gone, 'Ah,' said Paul, 'the Lord truly loving, truly merciful, hath sent us a meal. For sixty years past I have received daily half a loaf, but, at thy coming, Christ hath doubled his soldiers' allowance.' Then, having thanked God, they sat down on the brink of the glassy spring.

"But here a contention arising as to which of them should break the loaf, occupied the day till well-nigh evening. Paul insisted, as the host; Antony declined, as the younger man. At last it was agreed that they should take hold of the loaf at opposite ends, and each pull towards himself, and keep what was left in his hand. Next they stooped down, and drank a little water from the spring; then, offering to God the sacrifice of praise, they passed the night watching.

"And when day dawned again, the blessed Paul said to Antony, 'I knew long since, brother, that thou wert dwelling in these lands; long since God had promised thee to me as a fellow-servant: but because the time of my falling asleep is now come, and (because I always longed to depart, and to be with Christ) there is laid up for me, when I have finished my course, a crown of righteousness; therefore thou art sent from the Lord to cover my corpse with mould, and give back dust to dust.'

"Antony, hearing this, prayed him with tears and groans not to desert him, but take him as his companion on such a journey. But he said, 'Thou must not seek the things which are thine own, but the things of others. It is expedient [Pg 219] for thee, indeed, to cast off the burden of the flesh, and to follow the Lamb: but it is expedient for the rest of the brethren that they should be still trained by thine example. Wherefore go, unless it displeases thee, and bring the cloak which Athanasius the bishop gave thee, to wrap up my corpse.' But this the blessed Paul asked, not because he cared greatly whether his body decayed covered or bare (for he had long been used to clothe himself with woven palm leaves), but that Antony's grief at his death might be lightened when he left him. Antony astounded that he had heard of Athanasius and his own cloak, dared answer nothing: but keeping in silence, and kissing his eyes and hands, returned to the monastery. Tired and breathless, he arrived at home. There two disciples met him, who had been long sent to minister to him, and asked him, 'Where hast thou tarried so long, father?' He answered, 'Woe to me a sinner, who falsely bear the name of a monk. I have seen Elias; I have seen John in the desert; I have truly seen Paul in Paradise;' and so, closing his lips, and beating his breast, he took the cloak from his cell, and when his disciples asked him to explain more fully what had befallen, he said, 'There is a time to be silent, and a time to speak.' Then going out, and not taking even a morsel of food, he returned by the way he had come. For he feared—what actually happened—lest Paul in his absence should render up his soul to Christ.

"And when the second day had shone, and he had retraced his steps for three hours, he saw amid hosts of angels, amid the choirs of prophets and apostles, Paul shining white as snow, ascending up on high. The blessed Antony used to tell afterwards, how he ran the rest of the way so swiftly, that he seemed to fly like a bird. Nor without cause. For entering the cave he saw Paul on bended knees, erect with hands spread out on high,—a lifeless [Pg 220] corpse. And at first, thinking that it still lived, he prayed in like wise. But when he heard no sighs come from the worshipper's breast, he gave him a tearful kiss, understanding how the very corpse of the Saint was praying to that God to whom all live.

"So, having wrapped up and carried forth the corpse, and chanting hymns, Antony grew sad, because he had no spade, wherewith to dig the ground; and thinking over many plans in his mind, said, 'If I go back to the monastery, it is a three days' journey. If I stay here, I shall be of no more use. I will die, then, as it is fit; and, falling beside thy warrior, O Christ! breathe my last breath.'

"As he was thinking thus to himself, two lions came running from the inner part of the desert, their manes tossing on their necks. Seeing these, he shuddered at first: but then, turning his mind to God, he remained without fear. They came straight to the corpse of the blessed old man, and crouched at his feet, wagging their tails, and roaring with mighty growls, so that Antony understood them to lament, as best they could. Then they began to claw the ground with their paws, and, carrying out the sand eagerly, dug a place large enough to hold a man: then at once, as if begging a reward for their work, they came to Antony, drooping their necks, and licking his hands and feet. But he perceived that they prayed a blessing from him; and at once, bursting into praise of Christ, because even dumb animals felt that He was God, he said, 'Lord, without whose word not a leaf of the tree drops, nor one sparrow falls to the ground, give to them as thou knowest how to give.' And, signing to them with his hand, he bade them go.

"And when they had departed, he bent his aged shoulders to the weight of the holy corpse; and laying it in the grave, heaped earth on it, and raised a mound as is the wont. [Pg 221] And when another dawn shone, lest the pious heir should not possess aught of the goods of the intestate dead, he kept for himself the tunic which Paul had woven out of the leaves of the palm; and returning to the monastery, told his disciples all throughout; and, on the solemn days of Easter and Pentecost, he always clothed himself in Paul's tunic."


(a.d. 391.)

[Not to be confounded with S. Macarius of Alexandria (Jan. 2nd). This Macarius is commemorated by the Greeks on Jan. 19th; by the Roman later Martyrology on Jan. 15th, but in earlier ones on the same day as the other Macarius, Jan. 2nd. Authorities for his life are Palladius, in his History Lausiaca, a thoroughly trustworthy contemporary, Ruffinus, Sozomen, Socrates, Cassian, &c.]

S. Macarius the Elder was born in Upper Egypt, about the year 300, and was brought up in the country to attend cattle. In his childhood, in company with some others, he stole some figs and ate one of them; but from his conversion to his death, he never ceased bewailing this offence. By a powerful call of divine grace, he was led to desert the world in his youth, and to take up his abode in a little cell made of mats. A wicked woman falsely accused him of having deflowered her; for which supposed crime he was dragged through the streets, beaten and insulted, as a base hypocrite under the garb of a monk. He suffered all with patience, and sent the woman what he earned by his work, saying to himself, "Well, Macarius, having now another to provide for, you must work all the harder." But the woman, in the anguish of her travail, confessed that she had maligned him, and told the real name of her seducer. Then the people regarded him as a Saint, whom lately they would have slain. To shun the esteem of men he fled into the desert of Scété, [Pg 222] being then about thirty years of age. In this solitude he lived sixty years, and became the spiritual father of innumerable holy persons, who put themselves under his direction, and were governed by the rules he prescribed them; but all dwelt in separate hermitages. S. Macarius admitted only one disciple with him to entertain strangers.

He was compelled by an Egyptian bishop to receive the order of priesthood, about the year 340, the fortieth of his age, that he might celebrate the Divine Mysteries for the convenience of his holy colony. When the desert became better peopled, there were four churches built in it, served by as many priests. The austerities of S. Macarius were very severe. He usually ate but once a week. Evagrius, his disciple, once asked him leave to drink a little water, under a parching thirst: but Macarius bade him be satisfied with reposing a little in the shade, saying, "For these twenty years I have never eaten, drunk, nor slept as much as nature demanded." To deny his own will, he did not refuse to drink a little wine, when others desired him; but he would punish himself for this indulgence by abstaining two or three days from all manner of drink; and it was for this reason that his disciples desired strangers never to tender him a drop of wine. He delivered his instructions in few words, and principally inculcated silence, humility, mortification and continual prayer, to all sorts of people. He used to say, "In prayer you need not use many or grand words. You can always repeat, Lord, show me mercy as Thou knowest best; or, Assist me, O Lord!"

His mildness and patience were invincible, and occasioned the conversion of a heathen priest. A young man applying to S. Macarius for spiritual advice, he directed him to go to a burying place and upbraid the dead; and after that to go and flatter them. "Well," said Macarius, when the young man returned, "How did the dead receive thy abuse [Pg 223] of them." "They answered not a word," he replied. "And how did they behave when flattered?" "They took no notice of that either." "Go," said Macarius, "and do thou likewise."

A monk complained to Macarius that he could fast in the monastery, but not in solitude. "Ah!" said the abbot, "thou likest to have people see that thou art fasting. Beware of vainglory."

God revealed to Macarius that two women in the nearest city excelled him in virtue, in spite of all his fasting, and tears, and prayer. He took his staff, and left the desert, and went in quest of them, and lo! they were two homely married women, of whom no one talked, but who were extremely careful not to say spiteful things of their neighbours, who had not the smallest idea that they were saints, and who laboured night and day to make home pleasant to their husbands and children.

Lucius, the Arian usurper of the see of Alexandria, who had expelled Peter, the successor of S. Athanasius, in 376, sent troops into the deserts, to disperse the zealous monks, several of whom sealed their faith with their blood. The chiefs, the two Macarii, Isidore, Pambo, and others, were banished, by the authority of the Emperor Valens, to a little isle of Egypt, in the midst of stagnant marshes. The inhabitants, who were pagans, were all converted to the faith by these confessors. The public indignation obliged Lucius to suffer them to return to their cells.

The Church of God flashes forth some peculiar type of sanctity at one time, and then another. It is like a rain-drop in the sun, blazing now crimson, now green, now yellow, now blue. As there is need, God calls up an army of Saints, exactly adapted to meet the difficulties of the times, to uphold the truth, and form, as it were, a prop to stay up his tottering Church. Now it is the martyrs, who by their [Pg 224] constancy conquer the infidels, now it is these hermits of the Syrian and Egyptian deserts, against whose orthodoxy Arianism breaks and crumbles to powder. Humanly speaking, these hermits saved the doctrine of the Godhead of Christ from being denied, and disappearing from the creed of the Church. An age like the present, so like the condition of the Roman world in its highest civilization, when pleasure and self-will are the sole things sought, and when Arianism is in power in high places, and the learned and polished, admitting the excellency of Christianity in general, allow to Christ only the place of a founder of a school of religious thought—such an age as this seems one meet for the revival of the hermit life as a witness for the truth, and a protest against luxury. This, and this only, as far as we can judge, will meet the great want of the day; it is not preaching that will recover the multitude lapsed into religious indifference; it must be the example of men, believing with such a fiery faith, that they sacrifice everything the world holds precious, for the sake of the truth that Jesus Christ, the everlasting God, came in the Flesh.

Nothing in the wonderful history of the hermits of Egypt is so incredible as their number. But the most weighty authorities agree in establishing it. It was a kind of emigration of towns to the desert, of civilization to simplicity, of noise to silence, of corruption to innocence. The current once begun, floods of men, of women, and of children threw themselves into it, and flowed thither during a century, with resistless force. Let us quote some figures. Pachomius, who died at fifty-six, reckoned three thousand monks under his rule; his monasteries of Tabenna soon included seven thousand, and S. Jerome affirms that as many as fifty thousand were present at the annual gathering of the general congregation of monasteries which followed his rule.

There were five thousand on the mountain of Nitria [Pg 225] alone. Nothing was more frequent than to see two hundred, three hundred, or five hundred monks under the same abbot. Near Arsinoë (now Suez), the abbot Serapion governed ten thousand, who, in the harvest time, spread themselves over the country to cut the corn, and thus gained the means of living and giving alms. It has even been asserted that there were as many monks in the deserts of Egypt as inhabitants in the towns. The towns themselves were, so to speak, inundated by them, since in 356, a traveller found in the single town of Oxyrynchus (Abou Girge) upon the Nile, ten thousand monks and twenty thousand virgins consecrated to God.[52] The immense majority of these religious were cenobites, that is to say, they lived in the same enclosure, and were united by common rule and practice under an elected head, whom they everywhere called abbot, from the Syriac word abba, which means father. The cenobitical life superseded rapidly, and almost completely, the life of solitaries. Scarcely any man became a solitary until after having been a cenobite, and in order to meditate upon God during the last years of his life. Custom has, therefore, given the title of monks to cenobites alone.

Ambitious at once of reducing to subjection their rebellious flesh, and of penetrating the secrets of the celestial light, these cenobites united the active with the contemplative life. The various and incessant labours which filled up their days are known. In the great frescoes of the cemetery of Pisa, they appear in their coarse black or brown dresses, a cowl upon their shoulders, occupied in digging up the soil, in cutting down trees, in fishing in the Nile, in milking the goats, in gathering the dates which served them for food, in plaiting the mats on which they [Pg 226] were to die. Others are absorbed in reading or meditating on the Holy Scriptures. Thus a Saint has said that the cells united in the desert were like a hive of bees. There each had in his hands the wax of labour, and in his mouth the honey of psalms and prayers. The days were divided between prayer and work. The work was divided between field labour and the exercise of various trades. There were among these monks entire colonies of weavers, of carpenters, of curriers, of tailors, and of fullers.[53] All the rules of the patriarchs of the desert made labour obligatory, and the example of their holy lives gave authority to the rule. When Macarius of Egypt came to visit the great Antony, they immediately set to work on their mats together, conferring thus upon things important to souls; and Antony was so edified by the zeal of the priest, that he kissed his hands, saying, "What virtues proceed from these hands!"

Each monastery was then a great school of labour; it was also, at the same time, a great school of charity. The monks practised charity not only among themselves, and with regard to the poor inhabitants of the neighbouring countries, but especially in the case of travellers whom the necessities of commerce called to the banks of the Nile, and of the numerous pilgrims, whom their increasing fame drew to the desert. A more generous hospitality had never been exercised, nor had the universal mercy, introduced by Christianity into the world, blossomed anywhere to such an extent. A thousand incidents in their history reveal the most tender solicitude for the miseries of the poor. The Xenodochium—that is, the asylum for the poor and strangers—formed from that time a necessary appendix to every monastery. The most ingenious combinations, and the most gracious inspirations of charity are to be found in this history. A certain monastery served as an hospital for sick [Pg 227] children; another was transformed by its founder into an hospital for lepers and cripples. "Behold," said he, in shewing to the ladies of Alexandria the upper floor which was reserved for women, "behold my jacinths." Then conducting them to the floor below, were the men were placed, "See my emeralds."

They were hard only upon themselves. Under a burning sky, in a climate which has always seemed the cause, or the excuse of vice, in a country given up at all times to every kind of luxury and depravity, there were thousands of men who, during two centuries, interdicted themselves from the very shadow of a sensual gratification, and made of the most rigorous mortification a rule as universal as a second nature.

It was their rule also to cultivate the mind by the study of sacred literature. The rule of S. Pachomius made the reading of divers portions of the Bible a strict obligation. All the monks, besides, were required to be able to read and write. To qualify themselves for reading the Scriptures was the first duty imposed upon the novices.

When, towards evening, at the hour of vespers, after a day of stifling heat, all work ceased, and from the midst of the sands, from the depths of caverns, from pagan temples cleared of their idols, and from all the vast tombs of a people dead, now occupied by these men dead to the world, the cry of a living people rose to heaven; when everywhere, and all at once, the air vibrated with hymns, prayers, and the pious and solemn, tender and joyous songs of these champions of the soul and conquerors of the desert, who celebrated, in the language of David, the praises of the living God, the thanksgivings of the freed soul, and the homage of vanquished passions,—then the traveller, the pilgrim, and especially the new convert stood still, lost in emotion, and transported with the sounds of that sublime concert, cried aloud, "Behold, this is Paradise."[54]

[Pg 228]

"Go," said the most eloquent doctor of the Church at that period; "go to the Thebaid; you will find there a solitude still more beautiful than Paradise, a thousand choirs of angels under human form, nations of martyrs, armies of virgins, the diabolical tyrant chained, and Christ triumphant and glorified."[55]


(a.d. 404.)

[Almost all the ancient Martyrologies commemorate S. Isidore on the same day as S. Macarius the Elder. Authorities for his life, same as for S. Macarius.]

S. Isidore, priest and monk, lived in Alexandria as hospitaller, that is, in charge of a hospital for the reception of strangers and the poor. He suffered many persecutions, first from Lucius, the Arian Bishop, who ill-treated the two Macarii, and afterwards from the orthodox bishop, Theophilus, who, moved by some jealousy, unjustly charged him with favouring the views of Origen. He took refuge at Constantinople with S. John Chrysostom, where he repudiated the heresy of Origen, declaring that he was falsely accused of holding it, and died in 404.


(about a.d. 430.)

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menæa. The life of S. Alexander, written by a disciple of his, exists in Greek. From this the following epitome is taken.]

[Pg 229]

S. Alexander was of Asiatic origin, and was educated at Constantinople, where he entered the army, and was advanced to the office of eparchus, or proctor. Being a studious reader of the Old and New Testament, he often mused on the words of Christ, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Matt. xix. 21).

Then, moved by these words, he resolved to obey the command, and he sold his possessions and made distribution unto those that had need; and hastening away, into the solitudes of Syria, he became a monk for seven years.

After that, inflamed with zeal against idolatry, he went into the nearest city, which was Edessa, on a solemn festival of the heathen gods, and set fire to the temple. He was at once seized and brought before the governor, Rabbulus, who remanded him till the rage of the populace should be abated, and he could be judged with calmness and equity.

Rabbulus often sent for Alexander out of prison, and heard him gladly. And Alexander unfolded to him the doctrine of Christ and the great power of God. And as he expounded to him the Scriptures, he related the wondrous works of Elijah, how that he had prayed, and God had withheld the rain three years, and at his prayer had again brought a cloud and abundance of rain upon the earth, and also how he had cried, and God had sent fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice. Then, hearing this, Rabbulus said, "Nay! thou speakest of marvels. If the God of whom thou tellest wrought those wonders then, He can work them now. Cry unto Him to send fire on earth, that I may see and believe."

Instantly, filled with confidence, the holy man, Alexander, turned to the East and spread forth his hands, and prayed; then there fell fire from heaven, and consumed the mats that were laid upon the ground, but hurt nothing else. And [Pg 230] the Governor bowed his head, and said, "The Lord He is God, the Lord He is God!" Then he was baptized,[56] he and all his house, and he suffered Alexander to go forth to the people, and in their audience plead for the cause of Christ against their false gods. So they hastened and destroyed their images, and multitudes were added to the Church. And after that Alexander went away into the desert, where he heard there was a band of robbers, desiring to save their souls, as Jesus on the Cross had saved the thief. So the robbers took him, and he exhorted them, and spake the Word to them, and they believed, they and their chief, so that he tarried some while with them—they were thirty in number—and he baptized them. But the robber-chief, as he was being baptized, prayed in secret. Then said Alexander, "I saw thy lips move. What was thy petition?" And he answered, "I have been a great sinner, and I fear my old habits of evil resuming the mastery. I prayed God, if it were His will, to let His servant depart in peace, now that mine eyes have seen salvation." The prayer was heard, and the captain died within eight days, whilst still in the white dress he wore for his baptism. But Alexander remained with the robbers, and turned their den into a monastery, and converted the robbers into monks, and they served God in fasting and prayer. Now when he saw that they were established firmly in the course of penitence, he appointed one of them to be their abbot, and he went his way into Mesopotamia, and founded a monastery on the Euphrates, where he dwelt twenty years, and had very many monks under him. And after that he visited Antioch, Palmyra, and other cities, taking with him one hundred and fifty of his monks, that they might preach the Gospel to those who were yet in heathen darkness. The people of Palmyra shut their gates against him, saying that such a host of [Pg 231] monks would devour all the produce in the market. Then Alexander and his brethren halted outside the city for three days, and the heathen people around brought them food, which they accepted with thanks. After that Alexander took the Book of the Gospels, and stood in the way, and cried: "Glory be to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men." This was the signal of departure, so the whole moving monastery deserted their camp and went towards Antioch, where the brother of Alexander, Peter by name, was superior of a large monastery. Alexander and one companion went to the gate and knocked. Then the porter looked forth, and said, "Wait without, till I go to the abbot, and ask permission for you to enter and refresh yourselves." But Alexander thrust in on the heels of the porter, and went after him to the abbot's chamber, and there Peter knew him, and cast himself on his neck. But Alexander said, "Our father Abraham went forth himself to receive strangers, and invited them in, and our Lord Jesus Christ exhorted his followers to show glad hospitality, but thou lettest a wayfaring man stand without, and makest a favour of admitting him!" Then he turned, and went away in a rage, and would not eat in the monastery of his brother. And when they would enter into Antioch, the bishop, Theodotus, being prejudiced against Alexander, ordered that he and his monks should be refused admission. So they sat down all day in the heat outside, but rising up to sing their psalms at midnight, they all went forward chanting, and no man stayed them, through the streets of Antioch, and they found an old bath-house, and lodged there. Then the Bishop feared to disturb them, for all the people magnified them. There they stayed some time and erected a large hospital, where they cherished the sick and the poor.

But one Malchus, a sub-deacon, who was greatly offended [Pg 232] with the monks, went to the Bishop, and urged that they should be expelled. And when he had been given license, he went with all the church sextons and drove the monks from their lodgings, and he boxed Alexander on the ear, saying, "Go forth, thou rascal!" But Alexander said nothing, save that he quoted the words of S. John, "The servant's name was Malchus." (xviii. 10.) Then the Governor of the city, finding that the people would take part with the monks, and that a tumult would be made, came with force, and drave the brethren without the walls. So Alexander and his monks swarmed off to the Crithenian monastery, which he had founded, and there he saw that the discipline was admirable.

Thence he went to Constantinople, taking with him from Crithene twenty-four monks, and in all he was now followed by three hundred, and they were Greeks, and Romans, and Syrians, and he settled them at Gomon, on the Bosphorus, near Constantinople, and divided them into six choirs, who should alternately sing the divine office, so that ceaselessly, night and day, the praises of Christ might ascend. Thence his order was called the Acœmeti, or the Sleepless Ones, for, in it, some were ever watching for the coming of the Bridegroom. However, even in Constantinople, he was not left in peace, but the civil powers interfered and broke up the monastery, and the monks were imprisoned and beaten, and ill-treated in divers ways, so that, for a while, the incessant song was interrupted. But when the persecution was over, the monks flowed together again, and the sleepless vigil recommenced.

[Pg 233]

S. Alexander died and was buried at Gomon.


(about 450.)

[Commemorated on the same day by Greeks and Latins. Some old Western Martyrologies honoured him on Feb. 27th. Authority, his life by Simeon Logotheta.[57]]

S. John the Calybite is the Eastern counterpart of the Western S. Alexis. At an early age he met a monk of the Sleepless Ones, founded by S. Alexander, as mentioned in the immediately preceding life; and he was so struck with what he heard of the religious life, that he desired to enter it. Returning home, he asked his parents, who were wealthy, to make him a present of the Holy Gospels. They, surprised that the boy desired a book, instead of some article of dress or of play, purchased him a handsomely illuminated and illustrated book of the Gospels. The boy read, "He that loveth father and mother more than me, is not worthy of me." Then he ran away from home, and made his way to Gomon, where he entered the Sleepless order. The archimandrite, or abbot, thinking him too young, objected to receive him, but when the boy persisted, he made him undergo the discipline of the monks. He remained there, however, six years, and then a longing came over him to see his father and mother again; so he told the superior, who said, "Did I not say to thee, thou art too young. Go in peace to thy home." So John left the monastery. But returning home, he did not make himself known to his parents, but, changing clothes with a beggar, he crouched at the gate of his father's house and begged. Then his father gave him daily food from his kitchen; but after a while his mother, disliking the presence of a squalid beggar at the door, bade the servants remove him to a little cot, and thence he took his name of Calybite, or Cotter. Three years after, as he was dying, he sent for his mother, and revealed himself to her.

[Pg 234]

He was buried beneath the hut, and his parents built a church over his tomb.

Relics, in the church dedicated to him at Rome; his head at Besançon, in the church of S. Stephen.


(a.d. 584.)

[The life of S. Maurus, professing to be by S. Faustus, is not of the date it pretends to. It was written by Odo of Glanfeuil (D. 868); it is, however, probable that he used a previous composition of S. Faustus, monk of Cassino (D. 620), amplifying and altering in style. Other authorities are S. Gregory the Great, Dialog. II., and a metrical life, falsely attributed to Paulus Diaconus.]

A nobleman, named Eguitius, gave his little son Maurus, aged twelve, to the holy patriarch Benedict, to be by him educated. The youth surpassed all his fellow monks in the discharge of his monastic duties, and when he was grown up, S. Benedict made him his coadjutor in the government of Subiaco. Placidus, a fellow-monk, going one day to fetch water, fell into the lake, and was carried about a bow-shot from the bank. S. Benedict seeing this from his cell, sent Maurus to run and draw him out. Maurus obeyed, walked upon the water, without perceiving it, and pulled out Placidus by the hair, without himself sinking.

The fame of Benedict and his work had not been slow to cross the frontiers of Italy; it resounded especially in Gaul. [Pg 235] A year before the death of the patriarch, two envoys arrived at Monte Cassino, from Innocent, Bishop of Mans, who, not content with forty monasteries which had arisen during his episcopate in the country over which he ruled, still desired to see his diocese enriched by a colony formed by the disciples of the new head and law-giver of the cenobites in Italy. Benedict confided this mission to the dearest and most fervent of his disciples, the young deacon Maurus. He gave him four companions, one of whom, Faustus, is the supposed author of the history of the mission; and bestowed on him a copy of the rule, written with his own hand, together with the weights for the bread, and the measure for the wine, which should be allotted to each monk every day, to serve as unchanging types of that abstinence which was to be one of the strongest points of the new institution.

At the head of this handful of missionaries, who went to sow afar the seed destined to produce so great a harvest, Maurus came down from Monte Cassino, crossed Italy and the Alps, paused beneath the precipices which overhang the monastery of Agaunum now S. Maurice in the Valais, beside the foaming Rhone, which the Burgundian king, Sigismund, had just raised over the relics of the Theban Legion; then went into the Jura to visit the colonies of Condate. Arrived upon the banks of the Loire, and repulsed by the successor of the Bishop who had called him, he stopped in Anjou, which was then governed by a viscount called Florus, in the name of Theodebert, King of Austrasia. This viscount offered one of his estates to the disciple of Benedict, that he might establish his colony there, besides giving one of his sons to become a monk, and announcing his own intention of consecrating himself to God. On this estate, bathed by the waters of the Loire, Maurus founded the monastery of Glanfeuil, which afterwards [Pg 236] took his own name. The site of this monastery, now lost among the vineyards of Anjou, merits the grateful glance of every traveller who is not insensible to the advantages which flowed from that first Benedictine colony over the whole of France.

The beloved son of S. Benedict spent forty years at the head of his French colony; he saw as many as a hundred and forty monks officiate there; and when he died, after having lived apart for two years in an isolated cell, to prepare himself in silence for appearing before God, he had dropped into the soil of Gaul, a germ which could neither perish nor be exhausted.

In art, S. Maurus is represented holding the weights and measures given him by S. Benedict.


(a.d. 767.)

[Old English Martyrologies on March 14th; later ones on this day, on which he is commemorated in the Roman Calendar. Authorities: Bede, Florence of Worcester, William of Malmesbury, Henry Huntingdon, Simeon of Durham, &c.]

Bede dedicated his "History of the English" to Ceolwulf, King of Northumbria, whose tender solicitude for monastic interests made the monk of Jarrow look to him as a patron. Ceolwulf was of the race of Ida the Burner; after two obscure reigns, Ceolwulf was called to the throne, and vainly attempted to struggle against the disorder and decay of his country. He was vanquished and made captive by enemies whose names are not recorded, and was shut up in a convent. He escaped, however, regained the crown, and reigned for some time in a manner which gained the applause of Bede. But after a reign of eight [Pg 237] years, a regret, or an unconquerable desire for that monastic life which had been formerly forced upon him against his will, seized him. He made the best provisions possible for the security of his country, and for a good understanding between the spiritual and temporal authorities, nominating as his successor a worthy prince of his race. Then, giving up the cares of power, and showing himself truly the master of the wealth he resigned, he cut his long beard, had his head shaved in the form of a crown, and retired to bury himself anew in the holy island of Lindisfarne, in the monastery beaten by the winds and waves of the northern sea. There he passed the last thirty years of his life in study and happiness. He had, while king, enriched this monastery with many great gifts, and obtained permission for the use of wine and beer for the monks, who, up to that time, according to the rigid rule of ancient Keltic discipline, had been allowed no beverage but water and milk.

dec. image.

[52] For authorities for these statements, see Montalembert's Monks of the West, I. p. 315.

[53] S. Jerome, Prœf. in Reg. S. Pachomii, § 6.

[54] Pallad. Hist. Lausiaca, c. 7.

[55] S. John Chrysostom, in Matt., hom. VIII. The above account of the life of the monks in Egypt is by the eloquent pen of the Count de Montalembert.

[56] Rabbulus was afterwards consecrated Bishop of Edessa.

[57] Bollandus gives two lives; one is authentic, the other is not. The first states that he lived at Constantinople, from which he escaped to Gomon, threescore furlongs from the city, by water. The second, mistaking new Rome for old Rome, makes him voyage from Italy to Bithynia.

[Pg 238]

January 16.

S. Priscilla, Matron, at Rome, 1st cent.
S. Marcellus, Pope, M., at Rome, circ. a.d. 309.
S. Melas, B. C., at Rhinoclusa, 4th cent.
S. Honoratus, B. C., of Arles, circ. a.d. 430
S. James, B. C., of the Tarantaise, 5th cent.
S. Valerius, B. C., of Sorrente, circ. a.d. 600.
S. Tatian, B. C., at Underzo, in Italy, 7th cent.
S. Fursey, Ab., in France, circ. a.d. 653.
S. Tossa, B. C., of Augsburg, a.d. 661.
S. Henry, H., in Northumberland, a.d. 1127.
SS. Franciscan Martyrs, in Mauritania, a.d. 1220.


(1st cent.)

[Roman Martyrology. This Priscilla is not to be confounded with the wife of Aquila (Acts xviii. 26.) She was the mother of S. Pudens (2 Tim. iv. 21), who was the father of SS. Praxedes and Pudentiana, the guests and disciples of S. Peter. Nothing more is known of her.]


(about a.d. 309.)

[The Greeks have confounded Marcellus with his predecessor, Marcellinus, who is commemorated on April 26th. Roman Martyrology, that of Bede, Ado, Notker, &c. The Acts are not to be trusted.]


aint Marcellus succeeded Pope Marcellinus, in 308, after the see had been vacant for three years and a half. An epitaph written on him by Pope Damasus, says that by enforcing the penitential canons, he drew on himself the hostility of lukewarm Christians. For his severity to an apostate he [Pg 239] was exiled by the tyrant Maxentius.

Relics, in the church of S. Marcellus at Rome; also at Mons and Namur, in Belgium.


(4th cent.)

[Roman and German Martyrologies. Authority for his life, Sozomen.]

Rhinoclusa, or Rinocorurus, was near the river of Egypt, dividing Egypt from Palestine; of this city and monastic settlement S. Melas was Bishop. Sozomen, in his Ecclesiastical History, gives the following account of him (lib. vi. c. 31):—

"Rinocorurus was celebrated at this period, on account of the holy men who were born and flourished there. I have heard that the most eminent among them were Melas, the Bishop of the country; Denis and Solon, the brothers and successors of Melas. When the decree went forth for the ejection of all bishops opposed to Arianism, the officers appointed to execute the mandate found Melas engaged in trimming the lights of the church, and clad in an old cloak soiled with oil, fastened by a girdle. When they asked him for the Bishop, he replied that he was within, and that he would conduct them to him. As they were fatigued with their journey, he led them to the episcopal dwelling, made them sit down at his table, and placed before them such things as he had. After the repast, he supplied them with water to wash their hands, and then told them who he was. Amazed at his conduct, they confessed the mission on which they had arrived; but, from respect to him, gave him full liberty to go wherever he would. He, however, replied that he would not shrink from the sufferings to which the [Pg 240] other bishops, who maintained the same sentiments as himself, were exposed, and that he was ready to go into exile. He had been accustomed, from his youth up, to practise all the virtues of asceticism. The Church of Rinocorurus, having been thus, from the beginning, under the guidance of such exemplary bishops, never afterwards swerved from their doctrine. The clergy of this Church dwell in one house, sit at the same table, and have all things in common."


(about a.d. 430.)

[Honoratus, in French Honoré, is commemorated in almost all the Western Kalendars. His life by his kinsman and successor, S. Hilary. Another life of him is apocryphal. "A tissue," says Bollandus, "of fables and crazes;" "which," says Baronius, "cannot be read without nausea, except by those with iron stomachs, and wits covered with the rust of ignorance." This life, therefore, must be completely put aside, as worthless, and we must draw all our information from that by S. Hilary, Bishop of Arles.]

The sailor who proceeds from the roadstead of Toulon towards Italy or the East, passes among two or three islands, rocky and dry, surmounted here and there by a slender cluster of pines. He looks at them with indifference, and avoids them. However, one of these islands has been, for the soul and for the mind, a centre purer and more fertile than any famous isle of the Greek sea. It is Lerins, formerly occupied by a city, which was already ruined in the time of Pliny, and where, at the commencement of the fifth century, nothing more was to be seen than a desert coast, rendered unapproachable by the number of serpents which swarmed there.

S. HONORÉ. After Cahier. Jan. 16.

[Pg 241]

In 410 a man landed and remained there; he was called Honoratus. Descended from a consular race, educated and eloquent, but devoted from his youth to great piety; he desired to be made a monk. His father charged his eldest brother, a gay and impetuous young man, to turn him from the ascetic life; but, on the contrary, it was he who gained his brother. After many difficulties, he at last found repose at Lerins; the serpents yielded the place to him; a multitude of disciples gathered round him. A community of austere monks and indefatigable labourers was formed there. The face of the isle was changed, the desert became a paradise; a country bordered with deep woods, watered by streams, rich with verdure, enamelled with flowers, revealed the fertilizing presence of a new race. Honoratus, whose fine face was radiant with a sweet and attractive majesty,[58] opened the arms of his love to the sons of all countries who desired to love Christ. A multitude of disciples of all nations joined him.

There is, perhaps, nothing more touching in monastic annals than the picture traced by S. Hilary, one of the most illustrious sons of Lerins, of the paternal tenderness of Honoratus for the numerous family of monks whom he had collected round him. He could reach the depths of their souls to discover all their griefs. He neglected no effort to banish every sadness, every painful recollection of the world. He watched their sleep, their health, their food, their labours, that each might serve God according to the measure of his strength. Thus he inspired them with a love more than filial. "In him," they said, "we find not only a father, but an entire family, a country, the whole world." When he wrote to any of those who were absent, they said, on receiving his letter, written according to the usage of the time, upon tablets of wax, "It is honey which he has poured back into that wax, honey drawn from the inexhaustible sweetness of his heart."

[Pg 242]

In that island paradise, and under the care of such a shepherd, the perfume of life breathed everywhere. These monks, who had sought happiness by renouncing secular life, felt and proclaimed that they had found it; to see their serene and modest joy, their union, their gentleness, and their firm hope, one would have believed one's self, says S. Eucher, in the presence of a battalion of angels at rest.[59] How S. Honoratus converted S. Hilary by his prayers, as told by S. Hilary himself, shall be related when we speak of that Saint. Honoratus was, by compulsion, made to assume the direction of the see of Arles, and was consecrated Bishop in 426. He died in the arms of S. Hilary, who succeeded him in 429.

Relics, at S. Honoré, formerly Lerins.

In art, he appears expelling serpents from the isle with his staff.


(5th cent.)

[Authority for his life, a fragmentary life of uncertain date, published by Bollandus.]

James, of Asiatic origin, and a soldier, was one of the first disciples of S. Honoratus in his monastic settlement at Lerins. When S. Honoratus was appointed Archbishop of Arles, he called James to be the first Bishop of the Tarantaise, the valleys of the Isère and Arc, of which Moutiers is the modern capital, between the Graian and Pennine Alps. S. James made Centronum, or Moutiers, the seat of the bishopric, and there he laboured to convert the people still buried in heathenism. Of him is related a story [Pg 243] very similar to that told of other Saints, viz., that as his monks were cutting down trees in the forest, for the construction of his cathedral church, a bear killed one of the oxen which drew the timber. Then the monks fled in consternation to S. James, who went boldly to the bear and said, "I, James, the servant of Christ, command thee, cruel beast, to bow thy stubborn neck to the yoke, in place of the ox thou hast slain." Then the bear was obedient, and drew the timber to the church.

S. James is also said to have taken an ass's load of pure snow of the mountain in mid-summer, as a tribute to Gondecar, King of the Burgundians, having nothing else to offer, when the king had ordered a tax to be levied on all the produce of the land.


(about a.d. 653.)

[Roman, Donegal, and Scottish Martyrologies, but English on March 4th; Feb. 25th is noted in several Kalendars as the festival of the translation of his relics, also Sept. 28. A very ancient life of S. Fursey, of the date of Bede, exists; later and more prolix lives exist, but are of less authority. Bede himself relates the principal events of the life of this Saint in his history, and quotes the above-mentioned life, lib. iii. c. 19.]

Fursey, son of Fintan, an Irish prince, was abbot of a monastery in the diocese of Tuam. Afterwards, travelling with two of his brothers, Fullan and Ultan, through England, he entered the province of Essex, and was honourably received by the king, Sigebert, "and performing his usual employment of preaching the Gospel," says Bede, "by the example of his virtue, and the efficacy of his discourse, he converted many unbelievers to Christ, and confirmed in faith and love those that already believed. Here he fell [Pg 244] into some infirmity of body, and was thought worthy to see a vision from God; in which he was admonished diligently to proceed in the ministry of the Word, and indefatigably to continue his usual vigils and prayers. Being confirmed by this vision, he applied himself with all speed to build a monastery on the ground which had been given him by King Sigebert, and to establish regular discipline therein. The monastery was pleasantly situated in the woods, and with the sea not far off; it was built within the area of a castle called Cnobheresburg (Burghcastle, in Suffolk.) There, falling sick, he fell into a trance, and quitting his body from evening till cock-crow, he was found worthy to behold the choirs of angels, and to hear the praises which are sung in heaven."

The abbot Fursey, becoming desirous of ridding himself of all business of this world, quitted his monastery, having first confided the care of it to his brother Fullan; and resolved to end his life as a hermit. He repaired to his brother Ultan, who had already adopted the life of a solitary, and lived a whole year with him in prayer and hard labour.

Afterwards, the province being desolated by war, he crossed the sea to France, and was there honourably entertained by Clovis, King of the Franks, and then by the noble Erconwald. He built a monastery at Lagny, about six miles north of Paris, on the Marne, and falling sick not long after, departed this life.

Erconwald took his body, and deposited it in the porch of a church he was building in his town of Peronne, till the church itself should be dedicated. This happened twenty-seven days after, and the body being taken from the porch to be re-buried, near the altar, was found as entire as if he had but just died.

Fursey in French is Fourcy, and in Flemish Fro.

[Pg 245]

Patron of Lagny and Peronne.

Relics, at Peronne.

In art, (1), with oxen at his feet, because his body was placed on a wagon, and the oxen allowed to conduct it without guide, and they went to Peronne; or (2), making a fountain spring up at Lagny, by thrusting his staff into the soil; or beholding a vision, (3), of angels, or (4), of the flames of purgatory and hell, in reference to his remarkable vision.[60]


(a.d. 1127.)

[English Martyrologies. His life in Capgrave.]

S. Henry was of Danish origin. Leaving his parents and wife, he resolved to serve God in solitude, and escaped to Coquet Island, off the coast of Northumberland. His relatives came after him, urging him to return to his home; then, in an agony of doubt, he cast himself before his crucifix, and implored God to reveal to him what was His will. Then it seemed to him that the Saviour said to him, "Abide here, play the man, and strengthen thine heart to resist. I have called thee in mine eternal purpose."

So he remained, and laboured in the islet, and a few brethren joined him, but lived in separate cells. And when he died, they heard the bell of his little hovel ring violently, so they ran, and found him dead, with the bell rope in his hand, and the candle by his side was alight.

His body was taken to Tynemouth, and was buried in the church of the Blessed Virgin, near that of S. Oswin.


[58] S. Eucher, De laude Eremi, p. 342.

[59] So far Montalembert's Monks of the West, Vol. I., Book III.

[60] There is not space to give an account of S. Fursey's vision, which seems to have been the original of Dante's Divina Commedia.

[Pg 246]

January 17.

SS. Brethren, Speusippus, Eleusippus, Meleusippus, and Companions, MM. in Cappadocia.
S. Genulph, B. in France, 3rd cent.
S. Antony the Great, Ab. in Egypt, a.d. 356.
S. Sabine, B. of Piacenza, in Italy, 4th cent.
S. Nenn, Ab. in Ulster, Ireland, 6th cent.
S. Sulpicius, B. of Bourges, in France, circ. a.d. 647.
S. Mildgytha, V. in Kent, circ. a.d. 730.
S. Ricmer, Ab. at Le Mans, in France, circ. a.d. 700.



[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menæa. The relics of these Saints having been moved to Langres, in France, they are sometimes called Martyrs of Langres, and are supposed to have suffered there; but this is a mistake. A copy of the Acts of their martyrdom was sent from Langres by one Varnahair to S. Ceraunus, Bishop of Paris, in the beginning of the 7th century. The original Acts are said to have been written by SS. Neo and Turbo, but they have not come down to us without manifest corruption and interpolation.]


peusippus, Eleusippus, and Meleusippus were three sons at a birth of a believing mother and a heathen father. They were instructed in the Christian faith by their aunt, Leonilla, and then, in boyish enthusiasm, they rushed from her knee, where they had been taught, to demolish the idols in the temples of the city they inhabited. They were taken and burnt in one pyre, and received the baptism of blood. Jonilla, a woman standing by, with her little babe in her arms, cried out, "I also am a Christian, I believe in Christ, my God and my King." Then the judge ordered her hands to be bound behind her [Pg 247] back, and that she should be hung by her hair. Her husband, horrified at the sentence, implored her to save her life for his sake and that of the babe; but she answered, "True, that I gave life to this dear little one, but it is true also that I owe my life to God, and I cannot set God after my child." Leonilla, the aunt of the brothers, was executed. Then Neo, who wrote these Acts, closing his tablets, in which he had inscribed what had taken place, gave them to his colleague, Turbo, and ran to the image of Nemesis, and cast it down, and stamped on the marble fragments. And when the guardians of the temple saw this, they seized him and beat and stoned him till he yielded up his soul to God. "Turbo also, who wrote the victories of these confessors, not long afterwards suffered martyrdom." With these words the Acts close.

These saintly brothers are called in France Les SS. Jaumes, that is to say Gemelli, for Tergemini; sometimes Geaumes.


(3rd cent.)

[Commemorated on this day at Cahors, of which diocese he is regarded as the Apostle and first Bishop. He is however mentioned in several Martyrologies as Bishop of Bourges. It is probable that he was a missionary Bishop without settled see. Called in the Roman Martyrology, June 17th, Gundulph; same day and name the same in the Bourges Breviary, that being the day of his translation, Jan. 17th, of his death. His life was written by S. Sebastus, three years after the death of S. Genulph, but this has not come down to us in its original form. It has, however, doubtless formed the basis of a life written about a.d. 910, published by Bollandus.]

Genitus and his wife, Aclia, were pious Christians at Rome, serving God constantly, night and day, and happy in one another's love. But one thing they lacked which [Pg 248] grieved them sore, they had no child. Having asked God to look upon them and give them a son, He heard their prayer, and the wife of Genitus brought forth a man-child, and they called him Genulph, or Gundulph. At the age of five, the parents gave him to S. Sixtus, Bishop of Rome, to educate him in the knowledge and love of God. On the breaking out of the Decian persecution, S. Sixtus ordained Genulph bishop, bade him and his father go into Gaul, and preach the Gospel there. S. Genulph ever wore a garment of camel's hair, "except when he celebrated the Holy Mysteries, when he was arrayed in soft linen, and such other shining vestments as pertain to so great a mystery. But when the mystery was celebrated, he put on him again the rough garb."[61] Having entered the territory of the Cadurci, now called Cahors, he preached the word of God vehemently, and wrought many miracles of healing. Then he and his father were denounced to the Governor, and were beaten and scorched with fire, but remained constant to the faith, witnessing a good profession, so that the Governor marvelled, and questioned them about their faith, and so was brought to a knowledge of the truth; and he released the confessors from prison, and they preached boldly, and multitudes came and were baptized; so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. And afterwards he left Cahors, and went north, till he came to the country of the Bituriges, or Berry, and there he took up his residence in a haunted cell, which all the people of the neighbourhood avoided, through fear. But Genulph sprinkled it with holy water, and signed himself with the cross, and boldly took up his residence therein, nor was he troubled by evil spirits. Living in this cell, he laboured diligently with his hands, cultivating the soil, and keeping very many cocks and hens. The fame of his sanctity drew others to him, and [Pg 249] he became the head of a community. Also many sick came there to be nursed, and the peasants to be instructed. Then Genulph fed them with the eggs, and with the hens, which he killed and roasted. One day a fox came, and carried off a hen. Hearing the noise in the poultry yard, Genulph ran out, and saw the fox stealing away with his prey. Then he cried, "Reynard! that hen is not thine. Wherefore dost thou rob the poor brothers, who have not injured thee?" And the fox let go the hen unhurt.

When he was dying, he exhorted the brethren to wrap him in sack-cloth and bury him outside the church, "for it seemed to him unfitting that the prey of worms and corruption should be placed within the holy tabernacle."


(a.d. 356.)

[S. Antony is famous in the East as in the West, and is named in all Kalendars. His life was written by S. Athanasius, and is quite genuine. S. Antony is also spoken of at length by Sozomen, Socrates, S. Jerome, Ruffinus, Theodoret, Evagrius, &c. The following account is a condensed translation of the life of the great patriarch of monks, by S. Athanasius. It is necessarily very much abbreviated.]

Antony was an Egyptian by race, born of noble parents,[62] who had a sufficient property of their own: and as they were Christians, he too was Christianly brought up, and when a boy was nourished in the house of his parents, besides whom and his home he knew nought. But when he grew older, he would not be taught letters,[63] not wishing to mix with other boys; but all his longing was (according to what is written of Jacob) to dwell simply in his own [Pg 250] house. But when his parents took him into the Lord's house he was not saucy, as a boy, nor inattentive as he grew older; but was subject to his parents, and attentive to what was read, turning it to his own account. Nor, again, did he trouble his parents for various and expensive dainties; but was content with what he found, and asked for nothing more. When his parents died, he was left alone with a little sister, when he was about eighteen or twenty years of age, and he took care both of his house and of her. But not six months after their death, as he was going as usual to the Lord's house, and collecting his thoughts, he meditated, as he walked, how the Apostles had left all and followed the Saviour; and how those in the Acts brought the price of what they had sold, and laid it at the Apostles' feet, to be given away to the poor; and what, and how great, a hope was laid up for them in heaven. With this in his mind he entered the church. And it befell then that the Gospel was being read; and he heard how the Lord had said to the rich man, "If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor; and come, follow me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven." Antony, therefore, as if the remembrance of the saints had come to him from God, and as if the lesson had been read on his account, went forth at once from the Lord's house, and gave away to those of his own village the possessions he had inherited from his ancestors (three hundred plough-lands, fertile and very fair), that they might give no trouble either to him or his sister. All his moveables he sold, and a considerable sum which he received for them he gave to the poor. But having kept back a little for his sister, when he went again into the Lord's house, he heard the Lord saying in the Gospel, "Take no thought for the morrow;" and, unable to endure any more delay, he went out and distributed that too to the needy. And having committed his sister to known and faithful [Pg 251] virgins, and given to her wherewith to be educated in a nunnery, he himself thenceforth devoted himself, outside his house, to training; taking heed to himself, and using himself severely. For monasteries were not then common in Egypt, nor did any monks know the wide desert; but each, who wished to take heed to himself, exercised himself alone, not far from his own village. There was then, in the next village, an old man who had trained himself in a solitary life from his youth. When Antony saw him, he emulated him in that which is noble. And first he began to stay outside the village; and then, if he heard of any earnest man, he went to seek him, and did not return till he had seen him. So dwelling there at first, he settled his mind neither to look back towards his parents' wealth nor to recollect his relations; but he put all his longing and all his earnestness on training himself more intensely. For the rest he worked with his hands, because he had heard, "If any man will not work, neither let him eat;" and of his earnings he spent some on himself and some on the needy. He prayed continually, because he knew that one ought to pray secretly, without ceasing. He attended also so much to what was read, that with him none of the Scriptures fell to the ground, but he retained them all, and for the future his memory served him instead of books. Behaving thus, Antony was beloved by all; and submitted truly to the earnest men to whom he used to go. And from each of them he learnt some improvement in his earnestness and his training: he contemplated the courtesy of one, and another's assiduity in prayer; another's freedom from anger; another's love of mankind: he took heed to one as he watched; to another as he studied: one he admired for his endurance, another for his fasting and sleeping on the ground; he laid to heart the meekness of one, and the long-suffering of another; and stamped upon [Pg 252] his memory the devotion to Christ and the mutual love which all in common possessed. And thus filled full, he returned to his own place of training, gathering to himself what he had got from each, and striving to show all their qualities in himself. He never emulated those of his own age, save in what is best; and did that so as to pain no one, but make all rejoice over him. And all in the village who loved good, seeing him thus, called him the friend of God; and some embraced him as a son, some as a brother.

But the devil, who hates and envies what is noble, would not endure such a purpose in a youth: but attempted against him all that he is wont to do; suggesting to him the remembrance of his wealth, care for his sister, relation to his kindred, love of money, love of glory, the various pleasures of luxury, and the other solaces of life; and then the harshness of virtue, and its great toil; and the weakness of his body, and the length of time; and altogether raised a great dust-cloud of arguments in his mind, trying to turn him back from his righteous choice. But when the enemy saw himself to be too weak for Antony's determination, then he attacked him with the temptations which he is wont to use against young men; but Antony protected his body with faith, prayers, and fastings. At last, when the evil one could not overthrow Antony even thus, as if beside himself he appeared to the sight as a black child, and falling down before him, no longer tempted him to argue, but using a human voice, said, "I have deceived many; I have cast down many. But now I have been worsted in the battle." Then, when Antony asked him, "Who art thou who speakest thus to me?" he forthwith replied in a pitiable voice, "I am the spirit of impurity."


[Pg 253]

This was Antony's first struggle against the devil: or rather this mighty deed in him was the Saviour's, who condemned sin in the flesh that the righteousness of the Lord should be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. But neither did Antony, because the evil one had fallen, grow careless and despise him; neither did the enemy, when worsted by him, cease from lying in ambush against him. Antony ate once a day, after the setting of the sun, and sometimes only once in two days, often even in four; his food was bread with salt, his drink nothing but water. When he slept he was content with a rush-mat; but mostly he lay on the bare ground. He would not anoint himself with oil, saying that it was more fit for young men to be earnest in training than to seek things which softened the body; and that they must accustom themselves to labour. So forgetting the past, he daily, as if beginning afresh, took more pains to improve, saying over to himself continually the Apostle's words, "Forgetting what is behind, stretching forward to what is before." Antony then went to the tombs, which happened to be some way from the village; and having bidden one of his acquaintances bring him bread at intervals of many days, he entered one of the tombs, and, shutting the door upon himself, remained there alone. But Satan, terrified lest in a little while he should fill the desert with his training, coming one night with a multitude of dæmons, beat him so much with stripes that he lay speechless from the torture. But by the providence of God, the next day his acquaintance came, bringing him the loaves. And having opened the door, and seeing him lying on the ground for dead, he carried him to the Lord's house in the village, and laid him on the ground; and many of his kinsfolk and the villagers sat round him, as round a corpse. But about midnight, Antony coming to himself, and waking up, saw them all sleeping, and only his acquaintance awake, and, nodding to him to approach, begged him to carry him back to the tomb, without waking any one. When that was done, the door was shut, and he remained as before, alone [Pg 254] inside. And because he could not stand on account of the dæmon's blows, he prayed prostrate. And after his prayer, he said with a shout, "Here am I, Antony: I do not fly from your stripes; yea, do your worst, nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ." And then he sang, "Though an host were laid against me, yet shall not my heart be afraid." So then, in the night, the devils made such a crash, that the whole place seemed shaken, and the dæmons, as if breaking in the four walls of the room, seemed to enter through them, changing themselves into the shapes of beasts and creeping things; and the place was forthwith filled with shapes of lions, bears, leopards, bulls and snakes, asps, scorpions and wolves, and each of them moved according to his own fashion. The lion roared, longing to attack; the bull seemed to toss; the serpent writhed, and the wolf rushed upon him; and altogether the noises of all the apparitions were dreadful. But Antony lay unshaken and awake in spirit. He groaned at the pain of his body: but clear in intellect, and as it were mocking, he said, "If there were any power in you, it were enough that one of you should come on; but since the Lord has made you weak, therefore you try to frighten me by mere numbers. And a proof of your weakness is, that you imitate the shapes of brute animals." And taking courage, he said again, "If ye can, and have received power against me, delay not, but attack; but if ye cannot, why do ye disturb me in vain? For a seal to us and a wall of safety is our faith in the Lord." The devils, having made many efforts, gnashed their teeth at him, because he rather mocked at them than they at him. But neither then did the Lord forget Antony's wrestling, but appeared to help him. For, looking up, he saw the roof as it were opened, and a ray of light coming down towards him. The devils suddenly became invisible, and the pain of his body forthwith ceased, and the building [Pg 255] became quite whole. But Antony, feeling the succour, and getting his breath again, and freed from pain, questioned the vision which appeared, saying, "Where wert thou? Why didst thou not appear to me from the first, to stop my pangs?" And a voice came to him, "Antony, I was here, but I waited to see thy fight. Therefore, since thou hast withstood, and hast not been worsted, I will be to thee always a succour, and will make thee become famous everywhere." Hearing this, he rose and prayed, and was so strong, that he felt that he had more power in his body than he had before. He was then about thirty-and-five years old. And on the morrow he went out, and was yet more eager for devotion to God; and, going to that old man aforesaid, he asked him to dwell with him in the desert. But when he declined, because of his age, and because no such custom had yet arisen, he himself straightway set off to the mountain. But the fiend cast in his way a great silver plate. But Antony, perceiving the trick of him who hates what is noble, stopped. And he judged the plate worthless; and said, "Whence comes a plate in the desert? This is no beaten way. Had it fallen, it could not have been unperceived, from its great size; and besides, he who lost it would have turned back and found it, because the place is desert. This is a trick of the devil. Thou shalt not hinder, devil, my determination by this: let it go with thee into perdition." Then again he saw gold lying in the way as he came up. Antony, wondering at the abundance of it, stepped over it and never turned, but ran on in haste, until he had lost sight of the place. And growing even more and more intense in his determination, he rushed up the mountain, and finding an empty enclosure full of creeping things, on account of its age, he dwelt in it. The creeping things straightway left the place: but he blocked up the entry, having taken with him loaves for six months (for the [Pg 256] Thebans do this, and they often remain a whole year fresh), and having water with him, entering, as into a sanctuary, he remained alone, never going forth, and never looking at any one who came. Thus he passed a long time there training himself, and only twice a year received loaves, let down from above through the roof. But those of his acquaintance who came to him, as they often remained days and nights outside (for he did not allow any one to enter), used to hear as it were crowds inside clamouring, thundering, lamenting, crying, "Depart from our ground. What dost thou even in the desert? Thou canst not abide our onset." At first those without thought that there were some men fighting with him, and that they had got in by ladders: but when, peeping in through a crack, they saw no one, then they took for granted that they were devils. His acquaintances came up continually, expecting to find him dead, and heard him singing, "Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered; let them also that hate Him flee before Him. Like as the wax melteth at the fire, so let the ungodly perish at the presence of God." And again, "All nations compassed me round about, but in the name of the Lord will I destroy them."

He endured this for twenty years, training himself alone; neither going forth, nor being seen by any one for long periods of time. But after this, when many longed for him, and wished to imitate his training, and others who knew him came, and would have burst in the door by force, Antony came forth, as from some inner shrine, initiated into the mysteries of God. And when they saw him they wondered; for his body had neither grown fat, nor waxed lean from fasting, but he was just such as they had known him before his retirement. They wondered again at the purity of his soul, because it was neither contracted, as if by grief, nor relaxed by pleasure, nor possessed by laughter or by depression; for he was neither troubled at beholding the crowd, [Pg 257] nor over-joyful at being saluted by too many; but was altogether equal, as being governed by reason, and standing on that which is according to nature. Many sufferers in body, who were present, did the Lord heal by him. And He gave to Antony grace in speaking, so that he comforted many who grieved, and reconciled others who were at variance, exhorting all to prefer nothing in the world to the love of Christ, and persuading and exhorting them to be mindful of the good things to come, and of the love of God towards us, who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. He persuaded many to choose the solitary life; and so, thenceforth, cells sprang up in the mountains, and the desert was colonized by monks.

But when he returned to the cell, he persisted in the noble labours of his youth; and by continued exhortations he increased the willingness of those who were already monks, and stirred to love of training the greater number of the rest; and quickly, as his speech drew men on, the cells became more numerous; and he governed them all as a father.

The cells in the mountains were like tents filled with divine choirs, singing, discoursing, fasting, praying, rejoicing over the hope of the future, working that they might give alms thereof, and having love and concord with each other. And there was really to be seen, as it were, a land by itself, of piety and justice; for there was none there who did wrong, or suffered wrong; but a multitude of men training [Pg 258] themselves, and in all of them a mind set on virtue. After these things, the persecution which happened under the Maximinus of that time,[64] laid hold of the Church; and when the holy martyrs were brought to Alexandria, Antony too followed, leaving his cell, and saying, "Let us depart too, that we may wrestle if we be called, or see them wrestling." And he longed to be a martyr himself, but, not choosing to give himself up, he ministered to the confessors in the mines, and in the prisons. And he was very earnest in the judgment-hall to excite the readiness of those who were called upon to wrestle; and to receive and bring on their way, till they were perfected, those of them who went to martyrdom. At last the judge, seeing the fearlessness and earnestness of him and those who were with him, commanded that none of the monks should appear in the judgment-hall, or haunt at all in the city. So all the rest thought good to hide themselves that day; but Antony cared so little for the order, that he washed his cloak, and stood next day upon a high place, and appeared to the Governor in shining white. Therefore, when all the rest wondered, and the Governor saw him, and passed by with his array, he stood fearless. He himself prayed to be a martyr, and was like one grieved, because he had not borne his witness. But the Lord was preserving him for our benefit, and that of the rest, that he might become a teacher to many in the training which he had learnt from Scripture. For many, when they only saw his manner of life, were eager to emulate it. So he again ministered continually to the confessors; and, as if bound with them, wearied himself in his services. And when at last the persecution ceased, and the blessed Bishop Peter had been martyred, he left the city, and went back to his cell. And he was there, day by day, a martyr in his conscience, and wrestling in the conflict of faith; for he imposed on himself a much more severe training than before; and his garment was within of hair, without of skin, which he kept till his end.

When, then, he retired, and had resolved neither to go [Pg 259] forth himself, nor to receive any one, one Martinian, a captain of soldiers, came and gave trouble to Antony. For he had with him his daughter, who was possessed by a devil. And while he remained a long time knocking at the door, and expecting him to come to pray to God for the child, Antony could not bear to open, but leaning from above, said, "Man, why criest thou to me? I, too, am a man, as thou art. But if thou believest, pray to God, and it shall come to pass." Forthwith, therefore, he believed, and called on Christ; and went away, his daughter made whole. Most of the sufferers, when he did not open the door, sat down outside the cell, and praying, were cleansed. But when he saw himself troubled by many, and not being permitted to retire, as he wished, being afraid lest he himself should be puffed up by what the Lord was doing by him, or lest others should count of him above what he was, he resolved to go to the Upper Thebaid, to those who knew him not. And, in fact, having taken loaves from the brethren, he sat down on the bank of the river, watching for a boat to pass, that he might embark and go up in it. And as he watched, a voice came to him: "Antony, whither art thou going, and why?" And he, not terrified, but as one accustomed to be often called thus, answered when he heard it, "Because the crowds will not let me be at rest; therefore am I minded to go up to the Upper Thebaid, on account of the many annoyances which befall me; and above all, because they ask of me things beyond my strength." And the voice said to him, "Even if thou goest up to the Thebaid, even if, as thou art minded to do, thou goest down to the cattle pastures,[65] thou wilt have to endure more; but if thou wilt really be at rest, go now into the inner desert." And when Antony said, "Who will [Pg 260] show me the way, for I have not tried it?" forthwith he was shown Saracens who were going to journey that road. So, going to them, and drawing near them, Antony asked leave to depart with them into the desert. They willingly received him; and, journeying three days and three nights with them, he came to a very high mountain;[66] and there was water under the mountain, clear, sweet, and very cold, and a plain outside; and a few neglected date-palms. Then Antony, as if stirred by God, loved the spot. Having received bread from those who journeyed with him, he remained alone in the mount, no one else being with him. For he recognized that place as his own home, and kept it thenceforth. And the Saracens themselves seeing Antony's readiness, came that way on purpose, and joyfully brought him loaves; and he had, too, the solace of the dates, which were then small and paltry. But after this, the brethren, having found out the spot, like children remembering their father, were anxious to send things to him; but Antony saw that, in bringing him bread, some were put to trouble and fatigue; so he asked some who came to him to bring him a hoe and a hatchet, and a little corn; and when these were brought, having gone over the land round the mountain, he found a very narrow place which was suitable, and tilled it; and, having plenty of water to irrigate it, he sowed; and, doing this year by year, he got his bread from thence, rejoicing that he should be burdensome to no one on that account. But after this, seeing again some people coming, he planted also a very few pot-herbs, that he who came might have some small solace, after the labour of that hard journey. At first, however, the wild beasts in the desert, coming on account of the water, often hurt his crops and his tillage; but he, gently laying hold of one of them, said to them all, "Why do you hurt me, who have not hurt you? [Pg 261] Depart, and, in the name of the Lord, never come near this place." And from that time forward, as if they were afraid of his command, they never came near the place. So he was there alone in the inner mountain, having leisure for prayer and for training. But the brethren who ministered to him asked him that they might bring him olives, and pulse, and oil every month; for, after all, he was old.

Being once asked by the monks to come down to them, and to visit them and their places, he journeyed with the monks who came for him. A camel carried their loaves and their water, for that desert is all dry, and there is no drinkable water except in that mountain where his cell is. But when the water failed on the journey, and the heat was most intense, they all began to be in danger; for finding no water, they could walk no more, but lay down on the ground, and they let the camel go, and gave themselves up. Then the old man, seeing them in danger, was grieved, and departing a little way from them, he bent his knees, and stretching out his hands, he prayed, and forthwith the Lord caused water to come out where he had stopped and prayed. Thus all of them drinking, took breath again; and having filled their skins, they sought the camel, and found her; for it befell that the halter had been twisted round a stone, and thus she had been stopped. So, having brought her back, and given her to drink, they put the skins on her, and went through their journey unharmed. And when they came to the outer cells, all embraced him, looking on him as a father. And there was joy again in the mountains, and comfort through their faith in each other. And he too rejoiced, seeing the willingness of the monks, and his sister grown old in maidenhood, and herself the leader of other virgins. And so, after certain days, he went back again to his own mountain.

[Pg 262]

And after that many came to him; and others, who suffered, dared also to come. Now to all the monks who came to him he gave continually this command: To trust in the Lord and love Him, and to keep themselves from foul thoughts and fleshly pleasures; and not to be deceived by fulness of bread; and to avoid vainglory; and to pray continually; and to sing before sleep and after sleep; and to lay by in their hearts the commandments of Scripture; and to remember the works of the Saints, in order to have their souls attuned to emulate them. But especially he counselled them to meditate continually on the Apostle's saying, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath;" and this he said was spoken of all commandments in common, in order that, not on wrath alone, but on every other sin, the sun should never go down; for it was noble and necessary that the sun should never condemn us for a baseness by day, nor the moon for a sin or even a thought by night; therefore, in order that that which is noble may be preserved in us, it was good to hear and to keep what the Apostle commanded: for he said, "Judge yourselves, and prove yourselves." Let each then take account with himself, day by day, of his daily and nightly deeds; and if he has not sinned, let him not boast, but let him endure in what is good and not be negligent, neither condemn his neighbour, neither justify himself until the Lord comes who searches secret things. For we often deceive ourselves in what we do. Giving therefore the judgment to Him, let us sympathize with each other; and let us bear each other's burdens, and examine ourselves; and what we are behind in, let us be eager to fill up. And let this, too, be our counsel for safety against sinning. Let us each note and write down the deeds and motions of the soul as if we were about to relate them to another; and be confident that as we shall be utterly ashamed that they should be [Pg 263] known, we shall cease from sinning, and even from desiring anything mean. As therefore, when in each other's sight we dare not commit a crime, so if we write down our thoughts, and confess them, we shall keep ourselves the more from foul thoughts, for shame lest they should be known. And thus forming ourselves we shall be able to bring the body into slavery, and please the Lord on the one hand, and on the other trample on the snares of the enemy. This was his exhortation to those who met him: but with those who suffered he suffered, and prayed with them. And those who suffered he exhorted to keep up heart, and to know that the power of cure was none of his, nor of any man's; but only belonged to God, who works when and whatsoever He chooses. So the sufferers received this as a remedy, learning not to despise the old man's words, but rather to keep up heart; and those who were cured, learned not to bless Antony, but God alone.

But when two brethren were coming to him, and water failed them on the journey, one of them died, and the other was about to die. In fact, being no longer able to walk, he too lay upon the ground expecting death. But Antony, as he sat on the mountain, called two monks who happened to be there, and hastened them, saying, "Take a pitcher of water, and run on the road towards Egypt; for of two who are coming hither one has just expired, and the other will do so if you do not hasten. For this has been showed to me as I prayed." So the monks, going, found the one lying dead, and buried him; and the other they recovered with the water, and brought him to the old man. Now the distance was a day's journey. But this alone in Antony was wonderful, that sitting on the mountain he kept his heart watchful, and the Lord showed him things afar off.

And concerning those who came to him, he often predicted some days, or even a month, beforehand, and the [Pg 264] cause why they were coming. For some came only to see him, and others on account of sickness, and all thought the labour of the journey no trouble, for each went back aware that he had been benefited.

But how tolerant was his temper, and how humble his spirit! for though he was so great, he wished to put every ecclesiastic before himself in honour. For to the bishops and priests he bowed his head; and if a deacon came to him, he discoursed with him on what was profitable, but in prayer he gave place to him. He often asked questions, and deigned to listen to all present, confessing that he was profited if any one said aught that was useful. Moreover, his countenance had great and wonderful grace; and this gift too he had from the Saviour. For if he was present among the multitude of monks, and any one who did not previously know him wished to see him, as soon as he came, he passed by all the rest, and ran to Antony himself, as if attracted by his eyes. He did not differ from the rest in stature or in stoutness, but in the steadiness of his temper, and the purity of his soul; for as his soul was undisturbed, his outward senses were undisturbed likewise, so that the cheerfulness of his soul made his face cheerful. And he was altogether wonderful in faith, and pious, for he never communicated with the Meletian[67] schismatics, knowing their malice and apostasy from the beginning; nor did he converse amicably with Manichæans or any other heretics, save only to exhort them to be converted to piety. For he held that their friendship and converse was injury and ruin to the soul. So also he detested the heresy of the Arians, and exhorted all not to approach them, nor hold their misbelief.[68]

[Pg 265]

Being sent for by the bishops and all the brethren, he went down from the mountain, and entering Alexandria, he denounced the Arians, teaching the people that the Son of God was not a created thing, but that He is the Eternal Word and Wisdom of the Essence of the Father. Wherefore he said, "Do not have any communication with these most impious Arians; for there is no communion between light and darkness. For you are pious Christians: but they, when they say that the Son of God, who is from the Father, is a created being, differ nought from the heathen, because they worship the creature instead of the Creator." All the people therefore rejoiced at hearing that heresy anathematized by such a man; and all those in the city ran together to see Antony; and the Greeks,[69] and those who are called their priests, came into the church, wishing to see the man of God. And many heathens wished to touch the old man, believing that it would be of use to them; and in fact as many became Christians in those few days as would have been usually converted in a year. And when some thought that the crowd troubled him, he quietly said that they were not more numerous than the fiends with whom he wrestled on the mountain. But when he left the city, and we were setting him on his journey, when we came to the gate, a certain woman called to him: "Wait, man of God, my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil; wait, I beseech thee, lest I too harm myself with running after thee." The old man hearing it, and being asked by us, waited willingly. But when the woman drew near, the child dashed itself on the ground; and when Antony prayed and called on the name of Christ, it rose up sound, the unclean spirit having gone out; and the mother blessed God, and we all gave thanks: and he himself rejoiced at leaving the city for the mountain, as for his own home.

[Pg 266]

Now he was very prudent; and what was wonderful, though he had never learnt letters, he was a shrewd and understanding man.

When some philosophers met him in the outer mountain, and thought to mock him, because he had not learnt letters, Antony answered, "Which is first, the sense or the letters? And, which is the cause of the other, the sense of the letters, or the letters of the sense?" And when they said that the sense came first, Antony replied, "If then the sense be sound, the letters are not needed." So they went away wondering, when they saw so much understanding in an unlearned man. For though he had lived, and grown old, in the mountain, his manners were not rustic, but graceful and courteous; and his speech was seasoned with the divine salt.

The fame of Antony reached even the kings, for Constantine, and his sons, Constantius and Constans, hearing of these things, wrote to him as to a father, and begged to receive an answer from him. But he did not make much of the letters, nor was puffed up by their messages; and he was just the same as he was before the kings wrote to him. And he called his monks and said, "Wonder not if a king writes to us, for he is but a man: but wonder rather that God has written His law to man, and spoken to us by His own Son." So he declined to receive their letters, saying he did not know how to write an answer to such things; but being admonished by the monks that the kings were Christians, and that they must not be scandalized by being despised, he permitted the letters to be read, and wrote an answer; accepting them because they worshipped Christ, and counselling them, for their salvation, not to think the present life great, but rather to remember judgment to come; and to know that Christ was the only true and eternal king; and [Pg 267] he begged them to be merciful to men, and to think of justice and the poor. And they, when they received the answer, rejoiced. Thus was he kindly towards all, and all looked on him as their father. He then betook himself again into the inner mountain, and continued his accustomed training. But often, when he was sitting and walking with those who came unto him, he was astounded, as is written in Daniel. And after the space of an hour, he told what had befallen to the brethren who were with him, and they perceived that he had seen some vision. Often he saw in the mountain what was happening in Egypt, and once he told what he had seen, to Serapion the Bishop, who saw him occupied with a vision. For as he sat, he fell as it were into an ecstasy, and groaned much at what he saw. Then, after an hour, turning to those who were with him, he fell into a trembling, and rose up and prayed, and bending his knees, remained so a long while; and then the old man rose up and wept. The bystanders, therefore, trembling and altogether terrified, asked him to tell them what had happened, and they tormented him so much, that he was forced to speak. And he groaning greatly—"Ah! my children," he said, "it were better to be dead than to live and behold the things that I have seen shall come to pass." And when they asked him again, he said with tears, that "Wrath will seize on the Church, and she will be given over to men like unto brutes, which have no understanding; for I saw the table of the Lord's house, and mules standing all around it in a ring and kicking inwards, as a herd does when it leaps in confusion; and ye all perceived how I groaned, for I heard a voice saying, 'My sanctuary shall be defiled.'"

This the old man saw, and after two years there befell the [Pg 268] present inroad of the Arians,[70] and the plunder of the churches, when they carried off the holy vessels by violence, and made the heathen carry them: and when too they forced the heathens from the prisons to join them, and in their presence did on the Holy Table what they would.[71] Then we all perceived that the kicks of those mules foreshadowed to Antony what the Arians are now doing, without understanding, as brute beasts. But when Antony saw this sight, he exhorted those about him, saying, "Lose not heart, children; for as the Lord has been angry, so will He again be appeased, and the Church shall soon receive again her own order and shine forth as she is wont; and ye shall see the persecuted restored to their place, and impiety retreating again into its own dens, and the pious faith speaking boldly everywhere with all freedom. Only defile not yourselves with the Arians, for this teaching is not of the Apostle, but of their father the devil; barren and irrational like the deeds of those mules."

All the magistrates asked him to come down from the mountain, that they might see him, because it was impossible for them to go in thither to him. And when he declined, they insisted, and even sent to him prisoners under the charge of soldiers, that at least on their account he might come down. So being forced by necessity, and seeing them lamenting, he came to the outer mountain. And his labour this time too was profitable to many, and his coming for their good. To the magistrates, he was of use, counselling them to prefer justice to all things, and to fear God, and to know that with what judgment they judged they should be judged in turn. But he loved best of all his life in the mountain. Once again, when he was compelled in the same way to leave it, by those who were in want, and by the general of the soldiers, who entreated him earnestly, [Pg 269] he came down, and having spoken to them somewhat of the things which conduced to salvation, he was pressed also by those who were in need. But being asked by the general to lengthen his stay, he refused, and persuaded him by a graceful parable, saying, "Fishes, if they lie long on the dry land, die; so monks who stay with you lose their strength. As the fishes then hasten to the sea, so must we to the mountain, lest if we delay we should forget what is within."

Another general, named Balacius, bitterly persecuted us Christians on account of his affection for those abominable Arians. His cruelty was so great that he even beat nuns, and stripped and scourged monks. Antony sent him a letter to this effect:—"I see wrath coming upon thee. Cease, therefore, to persecute the Christians, lest the wrath lay hold upon thee, for it is near at hand." But Balacius, laughing, threw the letter on the ground, and spat on it; and insulted those who brought it, bidding them tell Antony, "Since thou carest for monks, I will soon come after thee likewise." And not five days had passed, when the wrath laid hold on him. For Balacius himself, and Nestorius, the Eparch of Egypt, went out to the first station from Alexandria, which is called Chæreas's. Both of them were riding on horses belonging to Balacius, and the most gentle in all his stud: but before they had got to the place, the horses began playing with each other, as is their wont, and suddenly the more gentle of the two, on which Nestorius was riding, attacked Balacius and pulled him off with his teeth, and so tore his thigh that he was carried back to the city, and died in three days.

But the rest who came to Antony he so instructed that they gave up at once their lawsuits, and blessed those who had retired from this life. And those who had been unjustly used he so protected, that you would think he, and not they, was the sufferer. And he was able to be of use to all; so that many who were serving in the army, and many [Pg 270] wealthy men, laid aside the burdens of life and became thenceforth monks; and altogether he was like a physician given by God to Egypt. For who met him grieving, and did not go away rejoicing? Who came mourning over his dead, and did not forthwith lay aside his grief? Who came wrathful, and was not converted to friendship? What poor man came wearied out, and, when he saw and heard him, did not despise wealth and comfort himself in his poverty? What monk, who had grown remiss, was not strengthened by coming to him? What young man coming to the mountain and looking upon Antony, did not forthwith renounce pleasure and love temperance? Who came to him tempted by devils, and did not get rest? Who came troubled by doubts, and did not get peace of mind? For this was the great thing in Antony's asceticism, that (as I have said before), having the gift of discerning spirits, he understood their movements, and knew in what direction each of them turned his endeavours and his attacks. And not only he was not deceived by them himself, but he taught those who were troubled in mind how they might turn aside the plots of devils, teaching them the weakness and the craft of their enemies. How many maidens, too, who had been already betrothed, and only saw Antony from afar, remained unmarried for Christ's sake! Some, too, came from foreign parts to him, and all, having gained some benefit, went back from him as from a father. He was visiting, according to his wont, the monks in the outer mountain, and having learned from Providence concerning his own end, he said to the brethren, "This visit to you is my last, and I wonder if we shall see each other again in this life. It is time for me to set sail, for I am near a hundred and five years old." And when they heard that, they wept, and kissed the old man. And he, as if he were setting out from a foreign city to his own, spoke joyfully, and exhorted them not to grow [Pg 271] idle in their labours, or cowardly in their training, but to live as those who died daily. And when the brethren tried to force him to stay with them and make his end there, he would not endure it, on many accounts, as he showed by his silence; and especially on this:—The Egyptians are wont to wrap in linen the corpses of good persons, and especially of the holy martyrs, but not to bury them underground, but to lay them upon benches and keep them in their houses;[72] thinking that by this they honour the departed. Now Antony had often asked the bishops to exhort the people about this, and, in like manner, he himself rebuked the laity and terrified the women; saying that it was a thing neither lawful, nor in any way holy; for that the bodies of the patriarchs and prophets are to this day preserved in sepulchres, and that the very body of our Lord was laid in a sepulchre, and a stone placed over it to hide it, till He rose the third day. And thus saying, he showed that those broke the law who did not bury the corpses of the dead, even if they were saints; for what is greater or more holy than the Lord's body? Many, then, when they heard him, buried their dead thenceforth underground; and blessed the Lord that they had been taught rightly. Being then aware of this, and afraid lest they should do the same by his body, he hurried himself, and bade farewell to the monks in the outer mountain; and coming to the inner mountain, where he was wont to abide, after a few months he grew sick, and calling those who were by—and there were two of them who had remained there within fifteen years, he said to them, "I indeed go the way of the fathers, as it is written, for I perceive that I am called by the Lord. Promise to bury me secretly, so that no one shall know the place, save you alone, for I shall receive my body incorruptible from my Saviour [Pg 272] at the resurrection of the dead. And distribute my garments thus. To Athanasius, the bishop, give one of my sheepskins, and the cloak under me, which was new when he gave it me, and has grown old by me; and to Serapion, the bishop, give the other sheepskin; and do you have the hair-cloth garment. And for the rest, children, farewell, for Antony is going, and is with you no more."

Saying this, when they had embraced him, he stretched out his feet, and, as if he saw friends coming to him, and grew joyful on their account (for, as he lay, his countenance was bright), he departed and was gathered to his fathers. And they forthwith, as he had commanded them, preparing the body and wrapping it up, hid it under ground: and no one knows to this day where it is hidden, save those two servants only.

In art, S. Antony appears (1), with a hog which has a bell attached to its neck. Sometimes, however, S. Antony holds the bell. He was regarded as the Patron of the Hospitallers; and when ordinances were passed forbidding the poor from allowing their swine to run loose about the streets, as they were often in the way of horses, an exception was made in favour of the pigs of the hospitallers, on consideration of their wearing a bell round their necks. But it is possible that this did not originate the symbol, but that rather, on account of the hog being the symbol of S. Antony, the Antonine Hospitallers were allowed to preserve theirs, and that the hog represents the flesh which S. Antony controlled, and the bell is a common symbol of hermits; (2), he is represented with his peculiar cross. The cross of S. Antony is a crutch, or the Egyptian cross, [Pg 273] like the letter T.


(end of 4th cent.)

[Authorities: Roman Martyrology and the Dialogues of S. Gregory the Great, lib. III., c. 10.]

S. Sabine or Savine, was of Roman origin; he was made Bishop of Piacenza in Italy, and was present at the great Council of Nicæa, and also at that of Aquileija. S. Gregory relates of him, that on one occasion the river Po had overflowed its banks, and was devastating the church lands. Then Sabine said to his deacon, "Go and say to the river, 'The Bishop commands thee to abate thy rage, and return into thy bed.'" But the deacon refused to go, thinking he was sent on a fool's errand. Therefore Sabine said to his notary, "Write on a strip of parchment these words, Sabine, servant of the Lord Jesus Christ to the river Po, greeting:—I command thee, O river, to return into thy bed, and do no more injury to the lands of the church, in the name of Jesus Christ, our common Lord." And when the notary had thus written, the Bishop said, "Go, cast this into the river." And he did so; then the flood abated, and the Po returned within its banks, as aforetime. After having governed his diocese forty-five years, he died on December 11th, and was buried in the church of the Twelve Apostles, but now known as the church of S. Savine, on Jan. 17th.


(about a.d. 730.)

[Mildgytha, Mildwitha, Milgith or Milwith, as she is variously called, is commemorated in the English Kalendars.]

Nothing more is known of S. Mildgytha than that she [Pg 274] was the youngest sister of S. Mildred and S. Milburgh, and daughter of S. Ermenburga and Merewald, Prince of Mercia, who was the son of the terrible Penda, the great enemy of Christianity in Mid-England. Mildgytha, like her sisters, took the veil, and died a nun at Canterbury.

The Chair of S. Peter in the Vatican. The Chair of S. Peter in the Vatican.



[61] Vita, ex duobus veteribus MSS., Bolland. II. p. 83

[62] He is said to have been born at Coma, near Heracleia, in Middle Egypt, A. D. 251.

[63] Seemingly the Greek language and literature.

[64] a.d. 301. Galerius Valerius Maximinus (his real name was Daza) had been a shepherd-lad in Illyria, like his uncle Galerius Valerius Maximianus; and rose, like him, through the various grades of the army to be co-Emperor of Rome, over Syria, Egypt, and Asia Minor; a furious persecutor of the Christians, and a brutal and profligate tyrant. Such were the "kings of the world" from whom those old monks fled.

[65] The lonely alluvial flats at the mouths of the Nile. "Below the cliffs, beside the sea," as one describes them.

[66] Now the monastery of Deir Antonios, over the Wady el Arabah, between the Nile and the Red Sea, where Antony's monks endure to this day.

[67] Meletius, Bishop of Lycopolis, was the author of an obscure schism calling itself the "Church of the Martyrs," which refused to communicate with the rest of the Eastern Church.

[68] Arius (whose most famous and successful opponent was Athanasius, the writer of this biography) maintained that the Son of God was not co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, but created by Him out of nothing, and before the world. His opinions were condemned in the famous Council of Nicæa, a.d. 325.

[69] I.e. those were still heathens.

[70] Probably that of a.d. 341, when Gregory of Cappadocia, nominated by the Arian Bishops, who had assembled at the Council of Antioch, expelled Athanasius from the see of Alexandria, and great violence was committed by his followers and by Philagrius the Prefect. Athanasius meanwhile fled to Rome.

[71] I.e. celebrated there their own Communion.

[72] Evidently the primæval custom of embalming the dead, and keeping mummies in the house, still lingered among the Egyptians.

[Pg 275]

January 18.

S. Peter's Chair, at Rome, a.d. 43.
S. Prisca, V. M., at Rome, about a.d. 50.
SS. Paul and Thirty-Six Companions, MM., in Egypt.
SS. Archelaa, Thecla, and Susanna, V., MM., at Salerno, in Italy, a.d. 285.
S. Volusian, B. C. of Tours, in France, circ. a.d. 400.
SS. Liberata and Faustina, VV., at Como, in Italy, circ. a.d. 580.
S. Leobard, H., Marmoutier, France, circ. a.d. 583.
S. Deicolus, Ab. of Lure, in Burgundy, beginning of 7th cent.
S. Face, C., at Cremona, in Italy, a.d. 1272.


(a.d. 43.)

[All ancient Latin Martyrologies. The commemoration having, however, died out, it was restored by Pope Paul IV. The feast of the Chair of S. Peter is found in a copy of the ancient Martyrology, passing under the name of S. Jerome, made in the time of S. Willibrod, in 720.]


t was an ancient custom observed by churches to keep an annual feast of the consecration of their bishops, and especially of the founding of the episcopate in them. The feast of S. Peter's Chair is the commemoration of the institution of the patriarchal see of Rome by S. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. "This day," says S. Augustine (Serm. xv. de Sanctis), "has received the name of the Chair from our predecessor, because S. Peter, the first of the Apostles, is said on this to have taken the throne of his episcopate. Rightly, therefore, do the churches venerate the natal day of that chair which the Apostle received for the good of the churches."

The ancient wooden seat of S. Peter is preserved in the Vatican. That S. Peter founded the church at Rome by [Pg 276] his preaching is expressly asserted by Caius, an ecclesiastical writer born about a.d. 202,[73] who relates that he and S. Paul suffered there. The same is affirmed by Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, in the second age.[74] S. Irenæus, who lived in the same age, calls the Church of Rome "the greatest and most ancient church, founded by the two glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul."[75] Eusebius says, "Peter, that powerful and great Apostle, like a noble commander of God, fortified with divine armour, bore the precious merchandise of the revealed light from the east to those in the west, and came to Rome, announcing the light itself, and salutary doctrine of the soul, the proclamation of the kingdom of God."[76] And he adds that his first epistle was said to have been composed at Rome, and that he shows this fact, by calling the city by an unusual trope, Babylon; thus, "The Church of Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you." (1 Pet. v. 13.[77])


(about a.d. 50.)

[Roman Martyrology. She is often confounded with S. Priscilla mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, the wife of Aquila, but called Prisca in the second epistle of Paul to Timothy. What adds to the confusion is, that S. Prisca is said in her Acts to have suffered under Claudius, but whether Claudius, who reigned from 41-54, or the second Claudius, who reigned from 263 to 270, is not stated; but it seems probable that it was under the first Claudius.[78] The Acts of S. Prisca are a forgery, and deserve no confidence. The following account is taken from the Martyrologies.]

S. Prisca, a maiden of consular birth, being accused of Christianity, at the age of thirteen, was ordered by the [Pg 277] Emperor Claudius to sacrifice to idols. On her steadfastly refusing, she was beaten with the hand and cast into prison. On the morrow she was again urged to sacrifice, but when she remained invincible, she was beaten with rods, and then taken back to prison. The third day she was exposed to a lion, which however crouched at her feet, doing her no injury. Then, having been tortured on the little horse, with hooks and pincers, she was led outside of the city, and was decapitated.

An eagle is said to have defended her body from dogs, till Christians came and buried it.



[From the ancient Acts in Bollandus and Ruinart.]

In Egypt thirty-seven Christian soldiers entered into a zealous confederacy to spread the Gospel throughout the country. Their leader was one Paul. They divided themselves into four companies. Paul and nine others went eastwards. Recumbus, with eight more, went to the north; Theonas, with the like number, to the south; and Popias, with the remainder, to the west. The Governor of Egypt, alarmed at the report he heard of this confederacy, sent troops to apprehend them, and when they were brought before him he ordered them to instant execution; those who went to the east and south, to be burnt; those who went to the north to be beheaded, and those who travelled west to be crucified. They suffered on the 18th January, [Pg 278] but in what year is not mentioned.


(about a.d. 285.)

[The Acts of these martyrs constitute the lections for this day in the Salerno Breviary.]

Archelaa, a virgin consecrated to God, during the persecution of Diocletian, took refuge with two maidens, Thecla and Susanna, in a private house outside the walls of Nola, in Campania, hoping to remain unnoticed till the storm was passed. But Leontius, Governor of Salerno, having heard that they were Christians, ordered them to be brought before him. Archelaa was exposed to lions, but was unhurt; then the inhuman judge ordered boiling oil and pitch to be poured over her naked body. In her agony, she spread her hands to heaven, and cried: "Look, O Lord, on us, and be mindful of thy servants. Extinguish the fire which consumes me, and cool my tortured body, refreshing me after the wounds the wicked one has dealt me!" Then a sudden sunbeam shot from between the clouds upon her, and a voice was heard, "O Martyr, fear not! A crown is laid up for thee in heaven. Fear not, I am with thee, and I will give thee refreshment and succour." Then Leontius ordered Archelaa, Thecla, and Susanna to have their heads smitten off with the executioner's sword.


(about a.d. 583.)

[Gallican Martyrologies. Authority: the life of S. Leobard, written by his friend, S. Gregory of Tours.]

Leobard was the son of noble parents in Auvergne. [Pg 279] The youth loved study and prayer. On reaching his majority, his father urged him to marry, but the young man, having no wish to take to himself a wife, refused. The father, however, pressed him so strongly, that at last he consented to be betrothed. "Then," says S. Gregory, "the ring, the kiss, and the shoe were given, and the betrothal feast was kept." But Leobard lost his father shortly after, and taking the betrothal gifts, he rode to his brother's house, to make them over to him. He found his brother so drunk that he did not even invite him to stay the night with him, so Leobard tied up his horse, and crept into a hay loft and slept there. But in the middle of the night he woke, and his mind turned to the importance of saving his soul, and of striving to be like Christ. Then he resolved to renounce the world wholly; but first to seek counsel at the tomb of S. Martin at Tours. From Tours he went to Marmoutier, and joined himself to a hermit named Alaric, who spent his time in making parchment and writing out Holy Scripture. Leobard lived in a cave, which he dug out of the rock, enlarging it and improving it as he saw fitting; and here he spent twenty-two years in prayer and study and writing, and in labour with his hands. He was frequently visited by S. Gregory of Tours, who was his personal friend. On a Sunday, being very ill, he said to him who ministered to him in his sickness, "Prepare me some food." "It is ready, sir," answered the servant shortly after. "Go forth," said the hermit, "and see if the people are returning from mass." And this he said because he knew that his hour was come, and he desired to be alone with God when he migrated. So the servant went out and looked towards the church, and waited, and presently he returned to say that he saw the congregation drifting homewards, then he saw his master lying dead upon the ground, [Pg 280] and he, too, was going home.


(beginning of 7th cent.)

[Deicolus, in Irish Deichul, in French Déel, Dèlé, Dielf, Dieu, or Diel, is commemorated on this day in the Roman Martyrology and in the Anglican Kalendars. His translation is observed on Feb. 15th or Nov. 21st. His life was written by an anonymous author about the year 700.]

Deicolus quitted Ireland, his native country, with S. Columbanus, and lived with him, first in the kingdom of the East Angles, and afterwards at Luxeuil, the great monastery he founded in France. When S. Columbanus was expelled by the fierce Queen Brunehaut and her son Thierri, King of Burgundy, Deicolus followed him, but his strength failing him, he was unable to continue in the companionship of the energetic and active Columbanus; therefore, falling at the feet of his superior, he besought his permission to retire to some solitude where he could serve God in tranquillity. Then Columbanus, compassionating the exhaustion of his companion, said in a fatherly tone, "God Almighty, out of love to whom thou didst leave thy country, and hast ever obeyed me, make us together to rejoice in the presence of His Majesty." And when they had long clasped each other, and had shed many tears, then the abbot blessed his follower with these words, "The Lord give thee blessing out of Zion, and make thee to see Jerusalem in prosperity all thy life long." Then he hastily tore himself away weeping, and Deicolus remained alone in Burgundy. And after he had knelt down and commended himself to God, he turned and went through the wild tangled thicket and waste lands, seeking where he might settle. But the country was a wilderness without habitation. Then, by chance, he lighted on a swineherd, who was feeding pigs on acorns in the forest; who was much surprised to see a stranger. But Deicolus said, [Pg 281] "Fear not, my brother, I am a monk. And now I beseech thee, show me a commodious spot where I may settle." Then the swineherd mused and said, "There is no such place in this wilderness, save a little lake we call Luthra, with fresh springs." And when Deicolus urged him to conduct him thither, the swineherd said, "I cannot do so, for I shall lose my hogs if I leave them without a keeper." But Deicolus took his staff, and planted it in the ground, and said, "Be without fear, my staff shall be thy substitute, and the swine will not stray till thou returnest." Then the pigwarden believed the word of the man of God, and he left his swine, and guided Deicolus to the place called Luthra; and there was a little chapel, dedicated to S. Martin, built by a gentleman named Weifhardt, where service was occasionally performed by his chaplain.[79]

Now Deicolus was pleased with the place, and he dwelt in the forest, and every day he visited the little chapel and opened the door and went in, and there he prayed. But the priest who served that chapel was very wroth, and he spoke to the people, saying, "There is a man, a sort of hermit, who haunts the woods, and he intrudes on this chapel, and uses it, as if it were his own private property. If he be caught here by me, I swear that I will beat him well."

Then the people choked the windows and door with brambles and thorns, to prevent the ingress of the hermit. Nevertheless, regardless of the impediment, he came as usual. So the priest complained to Weifhardt, who flew into a rage, and ordered his servants to scour the woods for Deicolus, and when they had caught him, savagely to maltreat him. All which they obeyed. But shortly after, the gentleman fell sick of a most painful disorder, and when his wife, Berthilda, thought that he must die, she considered that perhaps [Pg 282] the disease was sent in punishment for the injury done to the hermit. Therefore she bade her servants find him and bring to the sick-bed. Now when Deicolus heard that Weifhardt was grievously tormented, mindful of the command of Christ, to return good for evil, he hasted and went to the castle of the gentleman, and entered the room. And as the day was hot, and he had walked fast, he plucked off his mantle, for he was heated. Then the servants ran to take it from him, but Deicolus exclaimed, "On him who serves God the elements attend, and he needeth not the assistance of man." Then, seeing a sunbeam shot through the window, he cast his mantle upon it, and it rested on the sunbeam.[80]

And when he had prayed, the Lord healed the gentleman; and Berthilda gave Deicolus the farm of Luthra, and the little chapel, and the wood adjoining. Then the hermit walked round the land given him, and he rejoiced and cried, "This shall be thy rest for ever; here shalt thou dwell, for thou hast a delight therein."

[Pg 283]

Now it happened one day, as he sat reading in his cell, that King Clothaire II. was hunting in the forest, and his dogs pursued a wild boar, and when the beast was hard pressed, it rushed into the oratory of Deicolus, covered with foam. Thereupon the hermit extended his hand, and laid it on the boar, and said, "Believe me, because thou hast taken refuge in the love of the brethren, thy life shall be spared to-day." Then the hunters came up, with the hounds, and they found the boar lying panting before the altar, and the man of God standing at the door to protect the beast. So the King asked Deicolus who he was, and whence he came, and when the hermit had told him that he was the disciple of Columbanus, who had promised to him in old times that he should reign over three kingdoms, which now had come to pass, he gave to Deicolus the game in the wood and the fish in the waters, and some vineyards. So Deicolus gathered brethren, and built a monastery. And after a time the abbot Deicolus became desirous of visiting Rome, so he went with some of his brethren, and obtained a charter from the Pope, conferring privileges on his monastery. After his return he remained some years governing his monks, ever cheerful and of amiable disposition; the joy and peace of his soul beamed in his countenance. S. Columbanus once said to him in his youth, "Deicolus, why art thou always smiling?" He answered in simplicity, "Because no one can take my God from me."

The year of his death is not known with certainty. It was on the 18th January that he heard God's call to depart. Then he took the Holy Sacrament, and after having communicated himself, he kissed all the brethren, and when he had kissed the last he fell asleep.

Baptism and Confirmation Baptism and Confirmation, from a Painting in the Catacombs.


[73] Euseb. Hist. Eccl., lib. II. c. 25.

[74] Euseb. lib. II. c. 25.

[75] Lib. III. c. 3.

[76] Euseb. lib. II. c. 14.

[77] Ibid. c. 15.

[78] That Claudius I. did persecute the Church appears from Acts xviii. 2. Why Alban Butler should give S. Prisca the date 275, after the death of the second Claudius, when all notices of her are unanimous in saying she suffered under Claudius I., I am at a loss to conjecture.

[79] Lure is in the diocese of Besançon, among the Vosges mountains, between Vesoul and Belfort.

[80] A similar story is told of S. Goar (July 6th), S. Florence (Nov. 7th), S. Amabilis (Oct. 19th), S. Cuthman (Feb. 8th), S. David, abbot in Sweden (July 15th), S. Hildevert, B. of Meaux (May 27th), S. Robert of Chaise-Dieu, S. Cunegunda, S. Odo of Urgel, S. Leonore, S. Lucarus of Brixen, S. Bridget, B. Utho of Metten, and the Blessed Alruna of Altaich. I give it for what it is worth. The story is traditional, not having been consigned to writing for a hundred years after the death of S. Deicolus.

[Pg 284]

January 19.

S. Germanicus, M., at Smyrna, in Asia Minor, a.d. 161.
SS. Maris, Martha, Audifax, and Habakkuk, MM., near Rome, a.d. 270.
S. Bassian, B. of Lodi, in Italy, circ. a.d. 409.
S. Catellus, B. of Castellamare, in Italy, a.d. 617.
S. Launomar, P., Ab. of Corbion, in France, a.d. 593.
S. Remigius, B. of Rouen, circ. a.d. 771.
SS. Blaithmaic, Ab., and Companions, Monks and MM., at Iona, in
, a.d. 824.
S. Canute, K. M., in Denmark, a.d. 1086. See July 10.
S. Wulstan, B. of Worcester, a.d. 1095.
S. Henry, B. M., at Upsala, in Sweden, a.d. 1150.


(a.d. 161.)

[Roman Martyrology, and those of Usuardus, Ado, Notker and that attributed to Bede, also the later ones of Maurolycus, Bellinus and Galesinius, sometimes also on Feb. 18. Authority, the contemporary Epistle of the Church of Smyrna to the Church of Pontus, describing the martyrdom of SS. Germanicus, Polycarp, and others; quoted by Eusebius, lib. IV. c. 15.]


he Epistle of the Church of Smyrna, narrating its sufferings under the Emperors Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius, says:—"Germanicus, a noble youth, was particularly pre-eminent as a martyr, for, strengthened by divine grace, he overcame the natural dread of death implanted in us; although the pro-consul was desirous of persuading him, and urged him from consideration of his youth, that, as he was so young and blooming, he should take compassion on himself. He, however, hesitated not, but eagerly irritated the wild beast let loose upon him, that he might be the sooner freed from this unjust and lawless generation."

[Pg 285]

The Acts of this martyr have been lost.


(a.d. 270.)

[Modern Roman Martyrology, but the ancient Roman Martyrology commemorated them on Jan. 20th, so did that attributed to S. Jerome, and many others. Authority, the authentic Acts.]

In the time of the Emperor Claudius II., there came a man from Persia, named Maris, with his wife Martha, and his two sons, Audifax and Habakkuk, to Rome, where they sought out the Christians who were in prison, and ministered to them.

At this time Claudius had given orders for the suppression of Christianity. Two hundred and sixty Christians were condemned to work in the sand-pits on the Salarian way; but were afterwards brought into the amphitheatre, and were killed with arrows, and their bodies thrown on a pyre. Maris and his sons withdrew the bodies from the fire, and with the assistance of a priest, named John, they buried many of them in the catacomb on the Salarian way. And in the evening, passing under a house, they heard singing, and they knew that what they heard was a Christian canticle. Then they struck at the door, and those who were within feared to open, thinking it was the soldiers come to take them; but the bishop, who was with the congregation, went boldly to the door and opened it; then they knew that these were Christians who stood without; so they fell on their necks and kissed them.

Now it fell out that Maris and his wife and sons were in the house of Asterius, a new convert, on a certain occasion, with Valentine the priest, when the soldiers entered the house and took all within before the Emperor, who remanded them to Muscianus, the prefect, to be by him [Pg 286] sentenced according to their deserts.

Muscianus ordered Maris and his two sons to be beaten, and then to be placed on the little horse and tortured with iron hooks and lighted torches, but Martha to stand by, and see her husband and children tormented. As they remained constant, he commanded their hands to be struck off. Then Martha stooped and dipped her finger in their blood, and signed her brow therewith. Exasperated to the last degree, the judge ordered Maris and the two sons to be decapitated in a sand-pit, and Martha to be drowned in a well, all which was carried into execution.[81] A pious matron, named Felicitas, rescued the bodies, and buried them in her farm.


(about a.d. 409.)

[Roman and many other Martyrologies. Double feast with octave at Lodi. Authorities, his life by an anonymous author, of uncertain date, also the lections for this day in the Lodi Breviary. S. Ambrose, in his 60th letter, speaks of S. Bassian.]

Bassian was the son of Sergius, præfect of Syracuse, a heathen. As a child he is said to have scrawled the sign of the cross in the dust, and was rebuked for so doing by his nurse. This set him wondering, and his mind turned to the religion of the Crucified, so that when sent to Rome, at the age of twelve, to be educated in the liberal arts, he sought out those who reverenced that sign which his nurse had forbidden him to scribble. A priest, named Gordian, instructed the lad in the Christian faith, and finally baptized him. As soon as his father heard of his conversion, he sent orders to have him brought home at once. Then Bassian, [Pg 287] fearing the result, should he be re-conducted to Syracuse, ran away to Ravenna. On his way occurred one of those simple and touching incidents which abound in the lives of the saints, and which in spite of repetition, must be related. A stag with her two fawns bounded into the road, the hunters were in pursuit, the stag was not willing to desert her little ones, and they were too young to make good their escape. Seeing the distress of the mother, Bassian called to her, and she came to him with her fawns, and licked his feet, as he caressed her dappled hide. Soon after the hunters came up, and one more impetuous than the rest, attempted to take the stag. Then Bassian threw his arms round her neck, and called on God to protect her. Instantly the man, whose anger had flamed up at the resistance offered him, fell in an apoplectic fit; and when he recovered, withdrew in fear, without injuring the stag.

In the reign of Valerian, Bassian was elected Bishop of Lodi, and ruled the diocese with zeal and discretion. He built in his Cathedral city the church of the Twelve Apostles, and S. Ambrose assisted in its dedication. Bassian was with S. Ambrose when he died.


(a.d. 593.)

[S. Launomar, called in French Laumer or Lomer, is commemorated in the Gallican Martyrologies. His life was written by one who apparently knew him, as we may conclude from certain passages therein.]

S. Laumer as a boy kept his father's sheep near Chartres; afterwards, having learned his letters, he heard the call of God, and gave himself up to his service. He was ordained priest, and entering a monastery, was appointed steward. However, such a life did not suit him, and he retired into the forest, escaping from the monastery one stormy night, [Pg 288] when all the brethren were asleep, taking in his hand nothing save his staff. He took refuge in the depths of the forest, where he hoped none would find him, but his sanctity becoming known, disciples flocked to him. Two miracles occur in his forest life very similar to those related of other saints. One night as he prayed, the Prince of the power of the Air, hoping to frighten him, by leaving him in the dark, thrice extinguished his light, and thrice was it rekindled. One day he saw a hind pursued by wolves, he ordered the wolves to desist from pursuing the poor animal, which came and crouched at his feet, whilst he patted it. Then he gave the hind his blessing and dismissed it. When the number of his disciples increased, so that he felt his solitude dissolved, Laumer fled away again, and hid himself in the wood, where afterwards rose the monastery of Corbion, near Dreux. But a city set on a hill cannot be hid, his cell of green leaves and wattles soon became the centre of a colony of monks, and a nobleman whose land this was, gave it to him, that he might build thereon a monastery. One instance of the gentleness of S. Laumer deserves not to be passed over. During the night, some robbers stole a cow belonging to the monks. The brethren were in despair. The robbers however, had lost their way in the tangled forest, as they drove the cow away, and they wandered all night and the next day, unable to discover the road; when, as evening settled in, they saw the forest lighten, and they came out, driving the cow, upon the clearing of the monastery, and S. Laumer himself stood before them. They at once fell at his feet, asking his pardon, and imploring him to direct them aright; but he raised them, and said, "I thank you, kind friends, for finding and bringing back to me my strayed cow; you must be very tired and hungry, follow me." Then he led them into his hut, and set before them such things as he had, and they ate and were refreshed, and he [Pg 289] set them on their right road, but of course, without the cow.


(a.d. 824)

[Irish Martyrologies. Authority:—The Acts of S. Blaithmac written in verse by his contemporary Walafrid Strabo, and the Irish Annals.]

S. Blaithmac was a native of Ireland, son of Flann, perhaps one of the southern Niells, princes of Meath, the names of Flann and Blaithmac having been common in that family. He was heir to a principality, but he abandoned his prospects in this world to become a monk, and afterwards an abbot. Blaithmac had an ardent desire to visit foreign parts, but he was prevented by his friends and companions from leaving Ireland. At length he passed over to Iona, which was shortly after invaded by a party of Northmen. As he was anxious to receive the crown of martyrdom, he determined to remain there whatever might happen, and by his example induced some others to stay with him, advising those who feared death to take refuge on the mainland. While he was celebrating mass the Danes burst into the church, and having slaughtered the monks, demanded of the abbot where was the precious shrine of S. Columba. This had been carried off and concealed underground, where the abbot knew not. Accordingly he answered that he was ignorant where it was, and added that even if he had known, he would not have pointed out the spot to them. They then put him to death. The Ulster Annals give his martyrdom in 825-828. The Irish annals generally agree in fixing his death at 823 (a.d. 824). Mabillon was wrong in supposing it took place in 793. Blaithmac is derived from Blaith, a [Pg 290] flower; hence his latinized name is Florigenius or Florus.


(a.d. 1095.)

[Anglican and German and Roman Martyrologies. Authorities: his life by Florence of Worcester (D. 1118),[82] and William of Malmesbury, written 47 years after the death of S. Wulstan; another in Roger of Wendover, and numerous notices in other old English historians. He is called variously Wulstan and Wulfstan.]

S. Wulstan was born in Warwickshire of pious parents. His father's name was Ealstan, and his mother's Wulfgeova. Both his parents were so devoted to the religious life, that, by mutual consent, they retired into monastic houses. Inspired by such examples, but chiefly by his mother's persuasion, Wulfstan quitted the world whilst yet young, and took the monastic habit in the same monastery in Worcester where his father had devoted himself to the service of God. He was there ordained deacon, and then priest, by the bishop. Observing a very strict course of life, he soon became remarkable for his vigils, fasting and prayers. In consequence of his discipline of himself, he was first appointed master of the novices, and afterwards, on account of his acquaintance with the ecclesiastical services, precentor and treasurer of the church. Being now intrusted with the custody of the church, he embraced the opportunities it afforded him for being almost perpetually in the sacred edifice, spending whole nights before the altar in prayer; and when he was exhausted with fatigue, he lay on one of the church benches, and placed his prayer-book beneath his head as a pillow.

[Pg 291]

After some time, on the death of the prior, Bishop Aldred appointed Wulstan to succeed him. As prior, he preached every Lord's Day to the people, with so great unction, that they were moved to tears. One of the monks grumbled, and said that Wulfstan forgot his place,—it was the office of the bishop to preach, and that of the monk to hold his tongue. Hearing this, Wulfstan said, "My brother, the Word of God is not bound."

Although very abstemious and moderate in his diet, he had not refrained from meat, till one day that roast goose was being prepared for dinner, the fragrance filled the church, and Wulstan, who was at the altar celebrating mass, was so distracted with the delicious odour, for he was very hungry, as it was the late choral mass, that he could not collect his thoughts. Then, filled with shame, before he left the altar he vowed never to touch meat again, and he kept this vow to his dying day.

On the elevation of Aldred, Bishop of Worcester, to the archbishopric of York, by unanimous consent of the clergy and laity in the election of a successor, Wulstan was chosen; the king having granted them permission to elect whom they pleased.

It chanced that the legates from the Pope were present at the election, but neither they nor the clergy and people could persuade Wulstan to accept the charge, of which he declared himself to be unworthy. At last, being sharply reproved for his obstinate willfulness by Wulfsi, a hermit, and being strongly urged by S. Edward the Confessor, then king, he yielded, and was consecrated on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1062.

As bishop, Wulstan maintained the same severity towards himself; every day he sang the late high mass; it being usual for the priests to take the choral mass by weeks, in turns, it being very trying, as the celebrant had to remain fasting till a late hour. Wulstan not only sang the high mass daily, but also all the canonical hours, and when he rode on journeys, he had his book open before him on the pommel [Pg 292] of his saddle, and he chanted aloud the psalms of David.

As the old church and monastic buildings reared by S. Oswald were being demolished, to make way for more splendid edifices, Wulstan stood one day, and looked at the roofless church, and the walls that were being torn down, and his eyes filled with tears. "Why should you weep," said a monk, standing by; "you should rather laugh, to see the meanness of the first house swept away, to make room for a glorious second one." "No," answered Wulstan, "I see nothing to rejoice over in the demolition of the work of our Saints. True, they knew not how to rear a stately building; but under a mean roof, they offered the adorable sacrifice to God with great devotion, and set saintly examples to their flock; and we—we collect and carve the stones of the material temple, and neglect the edification of that which is spiritual—the souls of men."

Below him in church sat a curly-headed choir boy. One day the bishop bent down, and laying his hand on the glossy curls, said, "All these will fall off one day!" Then the boy in alarm, turned round and said, "Oh, save my curls for me!" "My child, do not fear, as long as I live you shall retain your abundant hair." And so he did, for many long years, till Wulstan died, and then, says the chronicler who records this strange little incident, his hair came off as the bishop had foretold.[83]

[Pg 293]

When William the Conqueror established himself in England, he not only gave the lands to his Norman nobles, but also the bishoprics to his Norman clergy. "Wulstan is a fool, he cannot speak French!" said William, and he ordered Lanfranc, his Norman Archbishop of Canterbury, to depose the plain Saxon Bishop of Worcester, on the charge of ignorance. A conclave was held in Westminster Abbey in 1074, to decide a dispute between Robert, Archbishop of York, and Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, as to the question whether the diocese of Worcester belonged to the northern or the southern province, and at the same time to deprive Wulstan. When called in question as to his slender attainments in learning, he rose and said, "We have not sung Sext yet. Let us chant the office first, and I will answer afterwards."

But those around him remonstrated, saying, "Let us do our business first, and we can sing the service afterwards; we shall become objects of ridicule to the king and nobles, if we keep them waiting till we have done our office."

"No!" exclaimed Wulstan; "the duty to God must be done first, and then we will consider the petty disputes of men." Having sung the service, he directly proceeded to the council chamber. To his dependants, who were desirous of withholding him, and who could not be persuaded that their cause was not in danger, he said, "Know for certain, that I here see the holy archbishops, Dunstan of Canterbury and Oswald of York, defending me this day by their prayers, and they will darken the understandings of my gainsayers." Then he gave his benediction to a monk who could speak Norman French, but imperfectly at best, and ordered him to state his case for him.[84]

[Pg 294]

There stood the grave long-bearded Saxon bishop arraigned for ignorance before the Norman king, and his smooth-shaven[85] Norman prelates. Wulstan, the representative of the people, Lanfranc of the nobles; Wulstan, the bishop of the conquered, and Lanfranc of the conquerors. When the poor Saxon peasants had come to him at Worcester, and had complained that these Norman invaders trampled down their corn, and robbed them of their cattle, and ground them down with taxes; "They are God's scourge, these Normans, punishing us for our sins, my children," said Wulstan. And now he was to be deprived of his office by these invaders, that a Norman might occupy his stool, and shepherd with his crook the Saxon bondsmen. The council decided, in accordance with the royal pleasure, that Wulstan was too ignorant to deserve to retain his see, and that therefore he must resign his pastoral staff and ring. The ring, the token that he was wedded to his diocese before God, that he said he would never resign, in life or in death. "I received this ring without coveting it, and I will bear it with me to my grave."[86] But the staff, the token of jurisdiction, that he could be deprived of, so rising from his place, with unruffled composure, and placid countenance, holding his staff, he said, "Truly, my Lord Archbishop, truly I know that I am unworthy of this honour, nor fit to bear this burden, nor sufficient to endure the labour. I knew this when the clergy elected me, and when the bishops urged me, and when my own master, King Edward, invited me. He, with the authority of the apostolic see, laid this burden on my shoulders, and ordered me to be invested with the episcopate, by the token of this staff. Now thou desirest of me this pastoral staff, which thou gavest me not; thou demandest of me the surrender of the office thou laidest not on me. I, indeed, am well aware of my ignorance, and yielding to the sentence of this holy conclave, I resign my staff—not to thee, but to him who gave it me." Saying this he went forth from the chapter house to the tomb of S. Edward the Confessor, and standing before the stone, he cried, "Thou [Pg 295] knowest, O my Master! how reluctantly I received this burden, how often I fled away from it; how, when sought, that it might be imposed on me, I secreted myself. I confess that I am a fool, but thou didst constrain me. There lacked not the election of the brethren, the entreaty of the people, the will of the bishops, the favour of the nobles; but none of these things weighed with me like thy authority; it was thy will that bent mine. And now we have a new king, a new law, a new archbishop, who found new rights and declare new sentences. They convince thee of error, who commanded, and me of presumption, who obeyed. Therefore, not to them who demand, but to thee who gavest; not to them, fallible, walking in darkness, but to thee who hast been led forth into the clear light of very truth, and hast escaped out of this region of error and ignorance, to thee I resign my staff, to thee I surrender the cure of those thou didst commend to me, to thee I commit them in confidence, knowing well thy merits."

Having said this, he slowly raised his hand a little, and said, "My lord and king, accept this, and surrender it to whom thou choosest!" Then he struck the staff into the sepulchral stone, and laying aside his pontifical habit, he seated himself, as a monk, among the monks.

Was there ever a grander incident in English Church history? Was there ever a nobler speech uttered by an English bishop?

Then all, surprised, saw that the staff stood in the stone; and one ran and told Lanfranc, but he believed it not, and bade Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, to whom he had promised the bishopric of Worcester, to go and bring back the staff. So Gundulf went, but the staff was immovably imbedded in the stone.

Then the archbishop and the king went to the tomb, and sought to wrench the staff from where it stood, but they [Pg 296] were unable. Lanfranc at once turned, and coming straight down to where the monk sat, he bowed to him, and said, "Verily God resisteth the proud and giveth grace unto the humble. Thy simplicity was scorned by us, brother, but thy righteousness is made clear as the light. Our wisdom has been brought to naught, and thy ignorance has prevailed. Take then again that charge which we unadvisedly deprived thee of, but which we, by our authority and the judgment of God, commit to thee once more."

But Wulstan hesitated; however, being urged vehemently by those who stood by, he went to the tomb again, and said:—"Now, my lord and king, to whose judgment I commended myself, and to whom I resigned my staff, show me what is thy pleasure. Thou hast preserved thine honour, thou hast made manifest my innocence. If thine old sentence stands, restore to me my staff; if not, yield it to whom thou wilt!" Then he put forth his hand, and touched the staff, and he removed it at once with ease.[87]

To Lanfranc and Wulstan, acting conjointly, is due the cessation of the slave traffic in England. It was the custom of the English to sell slaves to the Irish, and this was subject to a tax which passed into the royal exchequer. "The credit of this action," says Malmesbury,[88] "I know not whether to attribute to Lanfranc, or to Wulstan, who would scarcely have induced the king, reluctant from the profit it produced to him, to this measure, had not Lanfranc commended it, and Wulstan, powerful through the sanctity of his character, commended it by episcopal authority."


[Pg 297]

Having taken the oath of allegiance to William, Wulstan remained faithful. When, in the same year, 1074, some of the Saxon earls rose against the Conqueror, Wulstan and the abbot of Evesham, supported by the sheriff of Worcester and Walter de Lacy, prevented their junction, by raising their vassals and occupying the ford of the Severn.[89]

In the Barons' revolt, 1088, "Bernard du Neuf-Marché, Roger de Lacy, who had lately wrested Hereford from the king, and Ralph de Mortimer, with the vassals of the Earl of Shrewsbury, having assembled a numerous army of English, Normans and Welsh, burst into the province of Worcester, declaring that they would burn the city of Worcester, plunder the Church of God and S. Mary, and take summary vengeance on the inhabitants for their loyalty to the king. On hearing this, the reverend father Wulstan, Bishop of Worcester, a man of deep piety and dove-like simplicity, beloved alike by God and the people he governed, faithful to the king as his earthly lord, was in great tribulation; but soon rallying, by God's mercy, prepared to stand manfully by his people and city. While they armed themselves to repel the enemy, he poured forth supplications in the impending danger, exhorting his people not to despair. Meanwhile, the Normans, taking counsel, entreated the bishop to remove from the church into the castle, saying that his presence there would give them more security, if they were in great peril, for they loved him much. Such was his extraordinary kindness of heart, that from duty to the king, and regard for them, he assented to their request.

[Pg 298]

"Thereupon, the bishop's retainers made ready, and the garrison and the whole body of citizens assembled, declaring that they would encounter the enemy on the other side of the Severn, if the bishop would give them leave. Taking their arms, and being arrayed for battle, they met the bishop, as he was going to the castle, and besought him to grant their desire, to which he freely assented. 'Go,' said he, 'My sons, go in peace, go in confidence, with God's blessing and mine. Trusting in God, I promise you that no sword shall hurt you this day. Be loyal, and do valiantly for the safety of the people and the city.'" The victory was complete. The rebels were routed, and the king's liege-men and the bishop's retainers returned home in triumph, without the loss of a single man.[90]

He died in the year 1095, on January the 19th, and was buried with his ring on his finger. "God suffered no man to remove from his finger the ring with which he had received episcopal consecration," says Florence of Worcester; "that the holy man might not appear to forfeit his engagement to his people, to whom he had often protested that he would not part with it during his life, nor even on the day of his burial."

SS. Fabian and Sebastian. Jan. 20. SS. Fabian and Sebastian. Jan. 20.


[81] At Santa Ninfa, about thirteen miles from Rome.

[82] Florence knew S. Wulstan personally, as appears from his account of his vigils. He says, "He sometimes went four days and nights without sleep,—a thing we could hardly have believed, if we had not heard it from his own mouth."

[83] S. Wulstan sometimes joked; but the specimen recorded by Malmesbury is not striking for wit, nor for its reverence, wherefore I give it in Latin. Being asked why he wore lamb's wool garments in winter, instead of cat's skin like the other clergy he answered, "Nunquam audivi cantari Cattus Dei, sed Agnus Dei; ideo non catto, sed agno volo calefieri."

[84] So far William of Malmesbury, who abruptly closes, saying that he will no longer torture the patience of his readers. What follows is from Roger of Wendover.

[85] Dr. Rock: Church of our Fathers, II. p. 99, plate.

[86] Roger of Wendover, and Capgrave.

[87] This most striking incident is not mentioned by Florence of Worcester, or William of Malmesbury, but occurs in Roger of Wendover and Matthew of Westminster.

[88] Chronicle, lib. III.

[89] Florence of Worcester.

[90] Florence of Worcester.

[Pg 299]

January 20.

S. Fabian, Pope and M., at Rome, a.d. 250.
S. Sebastian, M., at Rome, a.d. 303.
S. Euthymius the Great, Ab. in Palestine, a.d. 473.
S. Fechin, Ab., at Fore, in Ireland, a.d. 665.
S. Maur, B. of Cesena, in Italy, middle of 7th cent.
S. Benedict, H., near Fiesole, in Italy.


(a.d. 250.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities: Eusebius, lib. vi. c. 29 and 39; the Liber de Romanis Pontificibus; S. Jerome, lib. de Eccles. Script. c. 54; a letter of S. Cyprian (55) to Cornelius, &c.]


aint Fabian succeeded Anteros in the see of Rome. It is said that Fabian had come to Rome out of the country, and, by divine grace, he was singled out in a very remarkable manner to be bishop. For, when all the brethren had assembled in the church for the purpose of ordaining him that should succeed in the episcopate, though there were many eminent and illustrious men present, yet no one thought of any but Fabian. They relate that a dove, suddenly fluttering down, rested upon his head, bringing up before their minds the scene when the Holy Spirit of old came down on the Saviour. Thereupon the whole body exclaimed with one voice, as if moved by the Spirit of God, "He is worthy!"[91] and without delay they took him and placed him upon the episcopal throne.[92]

[Pg 300]

S. Fabian governed the Church of Rome for sixteen years. He is said by some to have converted and baptized the Emperor Philip. "Philip, after a reign of seven years," says Eusebius, "was succeeded by Decius, who, in consequence of his hatred to Philip, raised a persecution against the Church, in which Fabian suffered martyrdom, and was succeeded, as Bishop of Rome, by Cornelius."[93]

Relics, in the churches of S. Martin de la Monte, S. Praxedes, a head and an arm in that of S. Sebastian, in Rome.

In art, he appears with the pontifical tiara and a dove.


(a.d. 303.)

[All the ancient Latin Martyrologies. The Greeks commemorate him on December 18th. The original Acts are not in our possession. What is regarded as the Acts appears to be a panegyric, falsely attributed to S. Ambrose, on S. Sebastian's Day. The incidents are no doubt taken from the original Acts, but the long sermons and theological instructions put into the mouths of S. Sebastian and Tranquillinus, are certainly oratorical compositions of the author who passes for S. Ambrose.]

S. Sebastian was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, but his parents were of Milan, in Italy, and he was brought up in that city. He was a fervent soldier of Christ at the same time that he served in the army of the Emperor. He was so greatly regarded by the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian, that he was elevated to the command of the first cohort, for he was a man prudent, upright in word and act, faithful in business, fervent in spirit. He was enabled, by his rank and office, to be of service to those who were imprisoned for the faith of Christ. He relieved their sufferings, and urged them to constancy.

[Pg 301]

Two brothers, Marcus and Marcellianus, had been accused of being Christians, and were expecting execution in prison, when their friends, admitted to see them, implored them with tears to save their lives by apostasy. They seemed to waver; they promised to deliberate. Sebastian heard of this, and rushed to save them. He was too well known to be refused admittance, and he entered their gloomy prison as an angel of light.

Tranquillinus, the father of the two youths, had obtained from Agrestius Chromatius,[94] prefect of the city, a respite of thirty days for them, to try their constancy; and, to second his efforts, they had been placed in the house of Nicostratus, the keeper of the records (primiscrinius).

Sebastian's was a bold and perilous office. Besides the two Christian captives, there were gathered in the place sixteen heathen prisoners; there were the parents of the unfortunate youths weeping over them, to allure them from their threatened fate; and there was the magistrate, Nicostratus, with his wife Zoë, drawn thither by the compassionate wish of seeing the youths snatched from their fate. Could Sebastian hope that of this crowd not one would be found whom a sense of official duty, or a hope of pardon, or hatred of Christianity, might impel to betray him, if he avowed himself a Christian?

[Pg 302]

The room was illumined only by an opening in the roof, and Sebastian, anxious to be seen by all, stood in the ray which shot through it; strong and brilliant where it beat, but leaving the rest of the apartment dark. It broke against the gold and jewels of his rich tribune's armour, and as he moved, scattered itself in brilliant reflections into the darkest recesses of the gloom; while it beamed with serene steadiness on his uncovered head.[95]

"O most happy soldiers of Christ, valiant warriors in the fight! are ye now, after having undergone so much that ye touch the palm, are ye now, I ask, about to withdraw from the fight and lay aside the crown, overcome by these blandishments? Let them see in you the fortitude of Christian soldiers, sheathed rather in fortitude than in armour of iron. Can it be that you will cast away the rewards of victory at the instigation of a woman? Can it be that half-conquering already, you will bow your necks to be trampled on by the deadly foe?" Words of reproach and threatening and promise poured from his lips.[96]

The scene that followed baffles description. All were moved; all wept. Marcus and Marcellianus were ashamed of their late hesitation. Tranquillinus and his wife were convinced; the prisoners joined in the tumult of these new affections; and Sebastian saw himself surrounded by a group of men and women smitten by grace, softened by its influences, and subdued by its power; yet all was lost if one remained behind. He saw the danger, not to himself, but to the Church, if a sudden discovery were made, and to those souls fluttering in uncertain faith.

[Pg 303]

Zoë knelt before Sebastian with a beseeching look and outstretched arm, but she spoke not a word, for, six years before, her tongue had been paralysed in a severe sickness, and she had not spoken since. Sebastian looked at her earnestly, and read in her signs, and the expression of her countenance, that she believed in her heart. Then he asked wherefore she spoke not, and it was told him that she was dumb. Then, raising his hand and signing her mouth with a cross, he said, "If I am the true servant of Christ, and those things are true which I have spoken, and thou O, woman, hast heard, may the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom I believe, restore the use of thy tongue, and open thy mouth, as he opened the mouth of his prophet Zachariah."

Then suddenly the woman cried out:—"Blessed art thou, and blessed is the word of thy mouth, and blessed are they that believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God." And when Nicostratus saw the grace of God revealed by the healing of his wife, he fell at the feet of Sebastian, and offered to break the chains off the hands and feet of the confessors, and let them go; but to this they would not consent. Then Nicostratus transferred them all, with Tranquillinus and his wife, to the full liberty of his house, after having obtained leave from Claudius the keeper of the prisons (Commentariensis.) Sebastian lost no time in putting them under the care of the priest Polycarp, of the title, or parish of S. Pastor, who diligently instructed them, night and day. In the meantime, Claudius, the gaoler, came to the house of Nicostratus, and said, "The prefect is much disturbed at my having allowed the prisoners to be in your house; and therefore he requires you to appear before him and explain the reason."

Nicostratus at once went to the prefect, and told him that he had taken the Christian prisoners into his own house, with the purpose of moving them the more easily to apostasy. "You did well," said Chromatius, and he dismissed him. On his way home, the keeper of the rolls told Claudius the truth; and when he related how Sebastian had healed his wife, Claudius exclaimed in an agony of eagerness:—"Send [Pg 304] him to my house, I have two lads, sons of my first wife, one dropsical, the other a poor wretched cripple. If he cured your wife, he can heal my sons." Then running home, he brought his two boys, one in each arm, to the house of Nicostratus, and introduced them into the company of the neophytes, and casting the boys in the midst, implored the disciples to recover his poor children, and declaring that he believed with all his heart. Then Polycarp, the priest, took the names of the whole company, they were sixty-eight in all, and he baptized them. Now when the two boys rose from the baptismal water, they were healed of their infirmities; and Tranquillinus, who had suffered excruciating torments from the gout, also felt that he was made whole.

Chromatius, the prefect, was afterwards converted, and having resigned his office, retired into privacy.

The care which Sebastian took of the Christian prisoners, and the efforts he made to stimulate their courage, could not long remain secret; and he was denounced to the Emperor Diocletian, who sent for him, and in a rage, exclaimed, "What! I have had thee about my person, and thou hast conspired against my safety!"

S. Sebastian answered, "I pray daily for thy safety and for the prosperity of the state, to the God of heaven, for I reckon no succour can be got from gods of stone."

Then Diocletian ordered him to be taken out into a field, and be shot to death with arrows. Therefore the soldiers placed him as their mark, and left him for dead, bristling with arrows. But a certain woman, named Irene, the widow of the martyr Castulus, finding that he still lived, took him to her lodgings, at the head of the great staircase of the palace, and there nursed him till he was convalescent. And one day, as he began to walk, the Emperor passed. Then he started out to the head of the stairs. He had heard the familiar trumpet notes, which told him of the Emperor's approach, and he had risen, and crept to greet him.


[Pg 305]

"Diocletian!" he cried out, in a hollow but distinct voice; "False are the words of thy idol priests, my sovereign, who say that we Christians are adversaries to the state; who cease not to pray for thy welfare and that of the realm."

"What!" exclaimed the Emperor; "Art thou Sebastian?" "I am Sebastian, raised as from death to witness against thee for thy cruel persecution of the servants of Christ."

Then the Emperor, in a rage, ordered him to be taken into the court-yard of the palace, and to be beaten to death with clubs, and his body to be cast into the sewer.

And when all this had been done, a devout woman, named Lucina, by night rescued the body from the place where it had been cast, and buried it reverently in her own garden.

A church was afterwards built over his relics by Pope Damasus.

Patron of Chiemsee, Mannheim, Oetting, Palma, Rome, Soissons; of makers of military laces, of archers, makers of fencing foils.

Relics, at Soissons, the head at Eternach, in Luxemburg, portions at Mantua, at Malaga, Seville, Toulouse, Munich, Paris, Tournai, in the Cathedral; Antwerp, in the church of the Jesuits; and at Brussels, in the Court Chapel.

In art, can always be recognized as a young man, transfixed with arrows.


(a.d. 473.)

[Greek and Latin, and Syriac Martyrologies. Authority, his life by Cyrillus, monk of his monastery, in 543, sixty years after the death of Euthymius; he derived much of his information from an old monk who had been the disciple of the Saint.]

There was a man named Paul, with his wife Dionysia, at [Pg 306] Melitene in Armenia, good Christians, loving one another, but childless. Then, with one consent, they entered into the church of the Martyr Polyeuctus, and abode there many days instant in prayer, that they might be given a son.

And after this had continued some time, in a vision of the night, the martyr appeared to them, and said, "Your prayer is heard, now therefore depart in peace; and when the child is born, let him be named Euthymius, or the 'Well disposed.'"

Now it fell out, that shortly after the child's birth, Paul died. Then Dionysia, the widow, took her babe, and went to her brother Eudoxius, the chaplain or confessor to the Bishop of Melitene, and gave the little boy to him, as Hannah presented Samuel to Eli, that he should minister before the Lord.

After that, Dionysia was ordained deaconess, and in due course Euthymius received the sacred orders of lector, and sub-deacon, and finally was made priest, and appointed to the oversight of all the monasteries in the diocese.

Euthymius often visited the church of S. Polyeuctus, and loving solitude, was wont to spend whole nights in prayer on a neighbouring mountain. But the love of being alone with God grew upon him, so that he could not rest, and at the age of twenty-nine, he secretly deserted his native place, and went to Jerusalem, where he visited the holy places; and then retired into the desert, near the Laura of Paran,[97] he found a cell in every way convenient, and there he abode. Now there was a monk near his cell, named Theoctistus, and him Euthymius loved greatly, for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost. "The love of the same things," says his biographer; "and society in labour, united them so closely in the bond of charity, and to such an extent were their spirits blended in affection, that each was, as it were, planted in the heart of the other."

[Pg 307]

After five years spent in Paran, Euthymius resolved, with his friend Theoctistus, to fly into a solitude, more remote. So they went away into the barren mountains, near the Dead Sea; and there, searching for a place where they might dwell, they discovered a ravine, down which a torrent poured, and in the face of the rock was a cave. Then they entered into it and there they abode, living on vegetables, and drinking the water of the brook. Now it fell out, one day, that some shepherds came that way, and ascending to the cavern looked in, and were frightened when they saw two men, very haggard, with long beards. But Euthymius bade them be of good cheer, for they were hermits who dwelt there on account of their sins. Then the shepherds noised it abroad, and many disciples came to them, and they built a monastery, and Euthymius appointed Theoctistus to rule over it; and then he retired, loving solitude, into a remote hermitage, whence he issued forth only on the Sabbath (Saturday) and the Sunday. He enjoined on the monks to be diligent in work, and never to allow their hands to be idle. "For," said he, "if men in the world labour to support themselves, their wives, families and children, how much rather we, who have the poor depending upon us."

Having cured Terebon, the son of Aspebetes, of paralysis, which afflicted one side of his body, Aspebetes, chief of the Arabs in Palestine, desired baptism, and took the name of Peter. Such multitudes of Arabs followed his example, that Juvenal, patriarch of Jerusalem, ordained him bishop of the wandering tribes, and he assisted at the council of Ephesus against Nestorius, in 431.

He built S. Euthymius a Laura on the right hand of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, in the year 420. Euthymius [Pg 308] could never be prevailed upon to depart from his rule of strict solitude; but he governed his monks by superiors to whom he gave directions on Sundays.

"Do not suppose," said he to his monks, "that you come into the desert to leave temptation behind you." And then he related to them the following story. There was in Egypt a man afflicted with a very violent temper. So he ran away from his home into a monastery, where he thought he would be free from incentives to anger. But there he was frequently irritated by the other monks who, unintentionally, gave him annoyance. So he determined to escape wholly from the society of men, and then said he, I cannot give way, for I shall never be tempted. So he took with him only an earthenware bowl, out of which to drink, and he hid himself in a remote desert.

Now, one day, he was fetching water from the spring, and he upset the bowl, and the water fell; then he dipped the vessel again, and as he was going, his foot tripped, and again the water was spilt; he dipped it once more, but his hand shook, and he overturned the basin a third time. Then, flaming into a furious passion, he dashed the bowl against a stone, and shivered it to fragments. And when his anger cooled down, he looked at his shattered bowl, and said, "Oh fool that I am! how can I escape the temptation which is in my nature! If I have not men to be angry with I rage against an earthen pot!"

There was a man in the Laura, named Auxentius, whom the steward told to attend upon the mules, for "he was apt at mule-grooming." But Auxentius indignantly refused, saying, he came to the monastery to be a monk, and not an ostler. And when he constantly refused, on the next Lord's Day, the steward complained to Euthymius, who sent for the man. Then Euthymius said, "My son, it is necessary that some one of the brethren should attend to the [Pg 309] stables. Why shouldst not thou do this?"

"Because," answered Auxentius, "I don't like it."

"Alas," exclaimed the abbot; "I see thou art not imitating Him who said, I came not to do mine own will, I came not to be ministered to, but to minister."

When the monk still refused, Euthymius said sadly, "Well, go thy way, and see if self-will will make thee happy."

And presently the man fell ill, and in his sickness his conscience smote him, and he sent for the abbot, and he said, "I was wrong, I will look to the mules."

Then Euthymius healed him, and Auxentius did as was required of him.

S. Euthymius showed great zeal against the Nestorian and Eutychian heretics. The turbulent Empress Eudocia, after the death of her husband, Theodosius, retired into Palestine, and there continued to favour them with her protection. Aroused by domestic affliction, the captivity of her daughter and grand-daughters, and the plunder of Rome, she sent to ask advice of S. Simeon Stylites. He answered that her misfortunes were the consequence of her sins, and especially of her having persecuted the orthodox faith; and ordered her to follow the direction of Euthymius. By the advice of S. Euthymius, she renounced Eutychianism, and embraced the Catholic communion. In 459, she sent word to Euthymius that she was coming to see him, and that she designed settling on his Laura sufficient revenues for its subsistence. He returned her answer that she need not do so, and that she must prepare for death. She obeyed, and died shortly after. One of the last disciples of our Saint was the young S. Sabas, whom he dearly loved. In the year 473, on the 13th January, Martyrius and Elias, two monks, to whom S. Euthymius had foretold that they should become patriarchs of Jerusalem, came with several others to [Pg 310] visit him, and to conduct him to his Lent retreat in a solitary place. He said that he would stay with them all that week, and leave them on the Saturday following, meaning, by death. Three days after, he gave orders that a general vigil should be observed on the eve of S. Anthony's Day; on this he made a discourse to his spiritual children. He appointed Elias to be his successor, and foretold that Domitian, a beloved disciple, who had long ministered to him, should follow him out of this world, on the seventh day, which happened accordingly. Euthymius died on Saturday, the 20th of January, being ninety-five years old, of which he had spent sixty-eight in his beloved deserts.


(a.d. 665.)

[Authority, a life written in the 12th century, from tradition. Like so many of these Irish lives which were handed down from generation to generation, it contains many improbabilities.]

S. Fechin was abbot of Foure, in West Meath, where he governed three hundred monks. He is said to have pitied the monks engaged in grinding their corn in querns, he therefore brought water from a marsh to the monastery, by cutting a tunnel through the rock, and then established a water mill. Of this Giraldus Cambrensis relates the following:—There is a mill at Foure, which S. Fechin made most miraculously with his own hands, in the side of a certain rock. No women are allowed to enter either this mill or the church of the saint; and the mill is held in as much reverence by the natives as any of the churches dedicated to him.[98] The Saint finding a poor leper, full of sores one day, [Pg 311] took him to the Queen, and bade her minister to him as to Christ. She bravely overcame her repugnance, and tended him with gentle care.[99] Fechin was the son of Coelcharna, descendant of Eochad Fionn, brother to the famous king Conn of the Hundred Battles, and his mother Lassair was of the royal blood of Munster. When fit to be sent to school he was placed under S. Nathy of Achonry. Having finished his studies he was ordained priest, and retired to a solitary place at Fore in Westmeath, there to live as a hermit. But he was followed by many disciples, and Fore became a monastery of three hundred monks. He also established a religious house in the island of Immagh, near the coast of Galway. The inhabitants were then pagans, but Fechin and his monks converted them. His influence was very great with the kings and princes of his age. He died of a dreadful pestilence which swept Ireland in a.d. 665.

The Peacock as a Christian Emblem The Peacock as a Christian Emblem


[91] This was the common acclamation at the election of bishops, of which we have many examples in Philostorgius, lib. ix. c. 10. And in the relation of things done at the election of Eradins (recorded in S. Augustine's Epistles), we read that they cried out twenty times, "He is worthy and just!" and five times, "He is deserving, he is worthy!"

[92] Eusebius. lib. vi. c. 29.

[93] Ibid. c. 39.

[94] This name presents a difficulty, as it does not appear in the lists of the prefects of the city. Bollandus suggests, not very plausibly, that on account of his secession from the state religion, his name was expunged.

[95] This is H. E. Cardinal Wiseman's elegant description of the scene, which accords exactly with the Acts. This incident is not due to his imagination, but occurs in the Acts in these words:—"Igitur, cum hæc Beatissimus Sebastianus, indutus chlamyde, succinctus baltheo, ex suo ore proferret, subito per unam fere horam splendore nimio de cœlo veniente illuminatus est."

[96] In the version of the Acts by S. Ambrose, the whole lengthy exhortation is given. This can hardly, however, be original, but is the composition of the author who passes for S. Ambrose.

[97] A Laura was a colony of eremites dwelling in separate hovels or caves, and differed in this particular from a monastery, where all dwelt under one roof.

[98] Topography of Ireland, c. 52.

[99] Here occurs a very favourite incident in the lives of these Irish saints; it shall be given in Latin. The same is told of S. Mochua and others. "Leprosus ad Reginam dixit: Nares meas in ore tuo suge, et phlegma inde extrahe. At illa viriliter agens, sicut imperavit fecit, et phlegma in linteum posuit; iterum quoque ei mandavit, ut similiter faceret, et id quod extraheret, S. Fechino reservaret." When the Queen looked into the handkerchief, she found two clots of solid gold, one of which she retained, the other she gave to S. Fechin. The incident I give as characteristic, rather than edifying.

[Pg 312]

January 21.

SS. Fructuosus, B.M., Augurius, and Eulogius, DD., MM., at Tarragona,
in Spain
, a.d. 259.
S. Patroclus, M., at Troyes, in France, circ. a.d. 272.
S. Agnes, V.M., at Rome, circ. a.d. 303.
S. Epiphanius, B. of Pavia, in Italy, a.d. 496.
S. Meinrad, H. M., at Einsiedeln, in Switzerland, a.d. 861.


(a.d. 259.)

[Roman Martyrology, those of Usuardus, Bede, Notker, Ado, &c. The perfectly genuine Acts, which are extant, were read in the Church on this day, as S. Augustine testifies in his sermon for their commemoration.]


alerian and Gallienus being emperors,[100] Æmilian and Bassus consuls, on January 16th, being the Lord's-day, Fructuosus, the Bishop, Augurius and Eulogius, the deacons, were taken. Fructuosus was in bed, but hearing the tramp of the officers, he rose at once and went out barefoot.[101] To whom the soldiers said, "Come, the governor wants thee and thy deacons." Fructuosus said, "Let us go, but please, let me put on my shoes." The soldiers said, "As thou desirest, shoe thyself." As soon as they were come, they were put into prison. Fructuosus, certain and glorying in the crown of the Lord, to which he was called, prayed without ceasing. There were also with him some of the brethren, praying him to have them in remembrance. Next day, he baptized in the [Pg 313] prison our brother Rogatian. And they were six days in prison, and then were brought forth. It was on the 21st January, and a Friday, that they were heard. Æmilian, the governor, said, "Let Fructuosus, the Bishop, Augurius and Eulogius be brought forward." According to custom it was said, "They are here." Æmilian, the governor, said to Fructuosus, the Bishop, "Hast thou heard what the Emperors have ordered!" Fructuosus, the Bishop, said, "I do not know what their orders are; I am a Christian." Æmilian said, "They have ordered that the gods be worshipped." Fructuosus said, "I worship one God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that therein is." Æmilian said, "Do you know that there are many gods?" The Bishop said, "No, I do not." "Then thou soon shalt," said the governor. Fructuosus, the Bishop, looked up to the Lord, and began to pray within himself. Æmilian said, "Who will be heard, who feared, who adored, if the gods and the countenance of the Emperor are despised?" Then he said to Augurius, the deacon, "Don't listen to the words of Fructuosus." Augurius answered, "I worship the Almighty God." Æmilian, the governor, said to Eulogius, the deacon, "Dost thou not worship Fructuosus?" "By no means," said Eulogius, "but I worship the same God as does Fructuosus." Æmilian said to Fructuosus, "Art thou a Bishop?" Fructuosus answered, "I am." "You were one," said the Governor, and he ordered them to be burnt alive.

And when Fructuosus, the Bishop, and his deacons, were led into the amphitheatre, the people began to mourn for Fructuosus, for he was greatly beloved, not by the brethren only, but also by the heathen. For he was a vessel of election and a teacher of the people. And when some, in brotherly charity, offered them a spiced cup to drink, he said, "The hour of breaking fast is not yet come." For it was the fourth hour, though indeed they had solemnly celebrated [Pg 314] the station (fast) on the fourth day (Wednesday) in the prison. Therefore joyously on the sixth day (Friday) they hastened to conclude this station (fast) with prophets and martyrs in Paradise. And when they had come to the amphitheatre, one, named Augustalis, a lector, ran to him, with tears, beseeching him to suffer him to unloose his shoes. But the blessed martyr said, "Stand aside, I can put off my own shoes." And when he had done so, our brother and fellow-soldier, Felix, went up to him, and took his right hand, asking him to remember him.[102] To him S. Fructuosus replied in a clear voice, so that all heard, "It behoves me to hold in mind the whole Catholic Church, extending from east to west." Then, as he was in the gate of the amphitheatre, ready to advance to his unfading crown, rather than to his pains, as the officers saw, and the brethren heard, and the Holy Spirit urged and spake, Fructuosus the Bishop, exclaimed, "A pastor will not be lacking to you, nor will the love and promises of the Lord fail, now or hereafter. This which ye behold is the infirmity of one hour." And when the bands wherewith their hands were tied had been burnt through, rejoicing, they cast themselves on their knees, sure of the resurrection, and having formed the sign of victory,[103] they poured forth their souls, praying to the Lord.

[Pg 315]

The brethren, sad as if bereft of a shepherd, endured their solitude; not that they lamented Fructuosus, but rather they desired to be mindful of the faith and passion of each. When night came, they hastened to the amphitheatre with wine, with which to extinguish the charred bodies, which being done, they collected the ashes of the martyrs, and each carried away a portion. But neither in this did the marvellous works of the Lord fail; that the faith of the believers might be stimulated, and an example might be given to the little ones. After his passion, Fructuosus appeared to the brethren, and exhorted them to restore, without delay, what each had carried off of the ashes, out of love, that they might be laid altogether in one place.[104]

Fructuosus in Spanish Frutos, in French Fruteux.

Patron of Taragona.

Relics, in the Benedictine monastery, near the Porto Fino, at Genoa; some portions, however, in the church of S. Montana, at Barcelona.


(about a.d. 272.)

[From the Acts published by Bollandus, an early recension of the original Acts.]

When the Emperor Aurelian was in Gaul, he came to Troyes, and hearing that there was a Christian there, named Patroclus, he ordered him to be brought before him, when the following examination was had of him:—

Aurelian—"What is thy name?" He answered, "I am called Patroclus."

Aurelian—"What is thy religion, or, what God dost thou worship?"

Patroclus—"I adore the living and true God, who inhabits heaven, and regards the humble, and knows all things or ever they are done."

Aurelian—"Give up this nonsense, and adore and serve our Gods, from whom you will derive honour and riches."

Patroclus—"I will adore only the true God, who made all things visible and invisible."

Aurelian—"Dispute of those things which you say are true."

[Pg 316]

Patroclus—"Those things which I declare are true and probable; but I know why falsehood hates the truth."

Aurelian—"I will burn you alive if you will not sacrifice to the gods."

Patroclus—"I offer the sacrifice of praise, and myself as a living victim to God who has deigned to call me to martyrdom."

Then Aurelian commanded—"Put fetters on his feet, and hot manacles on his hands, and cudgel him on the back, and then shut him up in a privy cell, until I make up my mind what is to be done with him."

Then Patroclus was given into custody to one Elegius until the third day. And when he was brought forth again to be examined, Aurelian greeted him with, "Well, despiser, hast thou thought better of it, and art thou ready to sacrifice?"

Patroclus—"The Lord delivereth the souls of his servants, and will not forsake them that hope in Him. If thou desirest anything out of my treasures, I will freely give it thee, for, believe me, thou art poor."

Aurelian—"I, poor!"

Patroclus—"Thou hast earthly wealth, but art poor in faith of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Aurelian—"Enough of this. Our gods are mighty."

Patroclus—"Who are they?"

Aurelian—"First Apollo, the chief;[105] then Jove, the great god; and Diana, the mother of the gods."[106]

Patroclus—"Why, how can they be almighty, when Apollo kept sheep for Admetus, and Jove died of a pain in his belly; and as for your Diana, every one knows she is the noon-tide demon."

Then Aurelian, inflamed with rage, ordered Patroclus to be taken to a marshy place, and to be there executed. But when the soldiers led him to the bank of the Seine, which had overflowed, Patroclus escaped from them across the river, and took refuge on a hill dedicated to idol worship. Here a woman saw him, and she went straightway and told the soldiers. Then they came upon him, and smote off his head.


[Pg 317]

S. Patroclus in France is called S. Parre. He is one of the Patrons of Troyes.


(about a.d. 303.)

[Roman Martyrology, modern Anglican Kalendar, and Greek Menæa. The Greeks commemorate her on Jan. 14th, 21st, and July 5th. Her Acts, attributed to S. Ambrose, are a rhetorical recension of her genuine Acts. S. Ambrose refers to S. Agnes in lib. I. De Virginibus, and in his Commentary on Ps. civ., and in lib. I. c. 4 of his offices. There is also a hymn of Prudentius, relating the Acts of this famous martyr. The Acts are sufficiently elegant to be really by S. Ambrose, and are far superior in style to those of S. Sebastian, falsely attributed to him.]

S. Jerome says that the tongues and pens of all nations are employed in the praises of this Saint, who overcame both the cruelty of the tyrant, and the tenderness of her age, and crowned the glory of chastity with that of martyrdom.[107] S. Augustine observes that her name signifies chaste in Greek, and a lamb in Latin. She has been always looked upon in the Church as a special patroness of purity. We learn from S. Ambrose and S. Augustine, that she was only thirteen years old at the time of her death. She suffered in the persecution of Diocletian. Her riches and beauty excited one of the young nobles of Rome, the son of the prefect of the city, to attempt to gain her hand in marriage. To him she answered, "I am already engaged to one—to him alone I keep my troth."[108] And when he asked further, her answer was, "He has already pledged me to Him by his betrothal [Pg 318] ring, and has adorned me with precious jewels. He has placed a sign upon my brow that I should have no other lover but he. He has showed me incomparable treasures, which he has promised to give me if I persevere. Honey and milk have I drawn from His lips, and I have partaken of His body, and with His blood has he adorned my cheeks. His mother is a virgin, and His father knew not woman. Him the angels serve, His beauty sun and moon admire; by His fragrance the dead are raised, by His touch the sick are healed. His wealth never fails, and His abundance never grows less. For Him alone do I keep myself. To Him alone in true confidence do I commit myself. Whom loving I am chaste, whom touching I am clean, whom receiving I am a virgin."

The youth repulsed, and filled with jealousy against the unknown lover, complained to the father of Agnes, who was much disturbed, doubting whether she were mad, or had given her heart to some one without his knowing it. By degrees it transpired that Agnes was a Christian. Thereupon Symphronius,[109] the governor, sent for her parents, and they, alarmed for her safety, urged her to submit, and marry the young man. She, however, constantly refused, declaring that she desired to remain a virgin. "Very well," said the Governor; "then become a vestal virgin, and serve the goddess in celibacy."

"Do you think," answered Agnes, "that if I have refused your living son, of flesh and blood, that I shall dedicate myself to gods of senseless stone?"

"Be not headstrong," said Symphronius; "you are only a child, remember, though forward for your age."

[Pg 319]

"I may be a child," replied Agnes; "but faith dwells not in years, but in the heart."

"I will tell you how I shall deal with you," cried Symphronius. "You shall be stripped, and driven naked into a house of ill-fame, to be subjected to insult and outrage." Then the clothes were taken off the slender body of the girl, and she was forced out into the street. In shame she loosened the band that confined her abundant hair, and let it flow over her body, and cover her. "You may expose my virtue to insult," said she to the prefect, "but I have the angel of God as my defence. For the only-begotten Son of God, whom you know not, will be to me an impenetrable wall, and a guardian never sleeping, and an unflagging protector."

And so it was. For when she was placed in the brothel, the room was filled with light, and an angel brought her a robe, white as snow, to cover her nakedness. And also, when the governor's son burst in at the door in tumultuous exultation, the angel smote him, that he fell senseless on the ground.[110] Thereupon there was an uproar, and the people said, she had slain him by her enchantments. But when he was come to himself he was ashamed, and the governor feared. Therefore he committed the sentencing of Agnes to the deputy, Aspasius, who ordered that she should be immediately executed. And all the people rushed after her, crying, "Away with the witch, away with her!"

[Pg 320]

Then a fire was kindled, and Agnes was placed upon the pyre. But she, lifting up her hands in the midst of the fire, prayed, "O Father Almighty, who alone art to be worshipped, feared, and adored, I give Thee thanks for that through thy holy Son, I have escaped the threats of the profane tyrant, and with unstained footstep have passed over the filthy slough of lust; and now, behold, I come to Thee, whom I have loved, have sought, and have always longed for. Thy name I bless, I glorify, world without end."[111] And she continued, "So now I am bedewed with the Holy Ghost from on high; the furnace grows cold about me, the flame is divided asunder, and its heat is rolled back on them that quickened it. I bless Thee, O Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, who permittest me, intrepid, to come to Thee through the fires. Lo! what I have believed, that now I see; what I have hoped for, that now I hold; what I have desired, that now I embrace. I confess Thee with my lips, and with my heart, I altogether desire Thee. I come to Thee one and true God, who with our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, and with the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest through ages of ages. Amen." And when she had finished praying, the fire became wholly extinct; then Aspasius, the deputy, ordered a sword to be thrust into her throat. "But," said he suddenly, "why is she not bound?" The executioner turned over a quantity of manacles, and selected the smallest pair he could find, and placed them round her wrists. Agnes with a smile, shook her hands, and they fell, like S. Paul's viper, clattering at her feet.[112] Then she calmly knelt down, and with her own hands drew forward her hair, so as to expose her neck to the blow.[113] A pause ensued, for the executioner was trembling with emotion, and could not wield his sword.[114]

As the child knelt alone, in her white robe, with her head inclined, her arms crossed modestly upon her bosom, and her locks hanging to the ground, and veiling her features, she might not inaptly have been compared to some rare plant, of which the slender stalk, white as a lily, bent with the luxuriance of its golden blossom. "And thus, bathed in her rosy blood," said the author of the Acts, "Christ betrothed to Himself his bride and martyr."

[Pg 321]

Then her parents, having no sorrow, but all joy, took her body, and placed it in a tomb on their farm, not far from the city, on the Numentan road. But there being a great crowd of Christians following, the pagan mob and soldiers pursued them, and drove them away with stones and weapons. But Emerentiana, who was the foster-sister of Agnes, a holy virgin, though only a catechumen, stood intrepid and motionless by the tomb, and there she was stoned to death.

After her death Agnes appeared in glory to her parents.

From the heavenly regions Girt with heavenly legions, Eight days past, her home she sought; And a lamb, the whitest, Loveliest, purest, brightest, In her loving arms she brought.
"These thou seest, my mother These, and many another, Are my blest companions now."

Relics, in the church of S. Agnes, at Rome; portions at Utrecht; a few small particles at Rouen, in the church of S. Ouen; at Melun; in the Cathedral at Cologne; in the Court Chapel at Brussels; and in the Jesuit Church at Antwerp.

In art, she appears (1) with a lamb, or (2) with an angel protecting her, or (3) standing on a flaming pyre, or (4) with a sword.


(a.d. 861.)

[Authority, an ancient anonymous and perfectly authentic life in the library of the monastery at Einsiedeln.]

About the year of grace 797, was born Meinrad, Count [Pg 322] of Hohenzollern. He was born in that part of Swabia, then called Sulichgau, which comprised the valleys of Steinlach and Sturzel, and the towns of Rottenburg and Sülchen.

Berthold, the father of Meinrad, had married the daughter of the Count of Sülchen, and lived with his wife in the strong castle of Sülchen on the Nekar.

Meinrad lived at home till he was ten or eleven years old. At that time the island of Reichenau possessed a Benedictine monastery of great reputation. This island is situated in the arm of the lake of Constance, called the Zeller-see, and very fertile. The monks superintended two schools in this island, connected with their monastery, one for the boys who were in training to be monks, the other for the sons of nobles, who desired to live in the world. At the time that Meinrad entered the school, his kinsman, Hatto of Sülchen, was abbot.

At this period the great lesson that the monks had to teach the Germans was, the dignity of labour. The Germans were a turbulent people, loving war, harrying their neighbour's lands, hunting and fighting, despising heartily the work of tilling the land, and tending cattle. The monks began to labour with their hands, and by degrees they broke through the prejudices of the time, and converted the Germans into an agricultural people. In 818, when Meinrad was aged 21, the first vines were planted in Reichenau, to become, to this day, the principal source of revenue to those to whom it belongs. The position of Reichenau, on the main road to Italy, gave it a special importance. Many foreign bishops, who, halting there on their journeys, had carried away with them a pleasant memory of that quiet isle in the blue lake, returned to it to spend their last years in peace. Thus the Bishop Egino retired to Reichenau, and built there, in 799, the church of Our Lady, at the western extremity of the island, which still exists. At the time of the consecration of [Pg 323] this church, Meinrad was in the monastery school; this was in 816. Seven hundred monks, a hundred novices, and four hundred scholars assisted at the ceremony, and sang the grand psalms and Cœlestis urbs with wondrous effect.

The time came for Meinrad to leave school and decide on his career. The voice of his heart called him to the service of God, and he prepared for Holy Orders. In 821 he was ordained deacon, and shortly afterwards priest. He was fond of study; but the book that most charmed his imagination was the account of the Fathers of the Desert, by Cassian. The forms of these venerable hermits in their caves seemed to appear to him and beckon him on. The voice which had called him to the priesthood said to him, "Friend, go up higher," and he took vows as a monk in the abbey of Reichenau, to his great-uncle Erlebald, now superior, on the resignation of Hatto in 822. He was then aged twenty-five.

At the upper extremity of the Lake of Zürich was the little cloister of Bollingen, dependant on that of Reichenau. It contained a prior and twelve brethren, who had established themselves in this wild neighbourhood, lost, as it were, among the mountains, to become the teachers of a neighbourhood buried in darkness. They established a school for the gentry and also for the serfs, in which they taught the boys what was suitable for their different stations in life. Being in want of a master for this school, they sent to the abbot of Reichenau for one. His choice fell on Meinrad, who was at once despatched to the humble priory, situated on the confines of civilization, to which the mountains and dense forests seemed to say, "Thus far and no further shalt thou go."

In his new situation, Meinrad drew upon himself general esteem and affection. His prudence in the direction of souls, his learning, and his modesty, endeared him to all.

[Pg 324]

Nevertheless, from the moment of his entering into the priory, Meinrad had felt a yearning in his heart for a life more secluded, in which he could pray and meditate without distraction. About two leagues off, beyond the lake, rose Mount Etzel, covered with dense forest. Often from the window of his cell did his eyes rest, with an invincible longing, on the blue mountain. The desire became, at length, so uncontrollable, that he resolved to visit the Etzel, and seek among its rocks for some place where he might pass his days in repose. One day, accordingly, he took with him one of his pupils, and, entering a boat, rowed to the foot of the desired mount. A few hours after he was at the summit, and his heart beat with a sweet joy at the sight of a place to which his yearning soul had long turned. Behind him was a pathless forest of pines, inhabited by wolves, but he feared them not. He descended the hill by the side of Rapperschwyl, and arrived at the village, called afterwards Altendorf. He rested at the house of a pious widow, who received him hospitably. To her Meinrad confided his design, and asked her to minister to his necessities on the Etzel, should he retire thither. She readily promised to do so. Having thanked her, he returned full of joy to Bollingen. He asked the prior to give him his benediction and permission to accomplish his project. He, with regret, permitted him to respond to the call of grace, and Meinrad at once tore himself from his companions and pupils, and crossed the lake to the beloved mountain. This was in June, 828, when Meinrad was aged thirty-one. He took nothing with him save his missal, a book of instructions on the Gospels, the rule of S. Benedict, and the works of Cassian. Burdened with these volumes, he climbed the Etzel, and stood on a commanding point. At his feet and before him lay the blue lake of Zürich, its waters sleeping in sunshine; behind him was the gloomy horror of the forest. Beyond, the Alpine [Pg 325] peaks wreathed in glaciers, glittering in the light, and around him a solemn silence, broken only by the distant scream of a magpie, or the creaking of the pines in the breeze.

The first care of the new solitary was to provide himself with shelter against rain and storm. He collected broken boughs, and interlaced them between four pines that served as corner posts to his hovel, and roofed it in with fern. This was his first house; but shortly after, the widow, having heard that he had retired to the Etzel, built him a hut of pine logs, and a little chapel, in which he might offer the Holy Sacrifice. She attended to all his necessities, as she had promised, and Meinrad was now at the summit of happiness.

Strange must have been those first evenings and nights in loneliness. There is a sense of mystery which oppresses the spirit when alone among the fragrant trees, that stand stiff and entranced, awaiting the coming on of night. To persons unaccustomed to the woods, few moments of greater solemnity could occur than those following the set of sun. A shadow falls over the forest, and in the deep winding tunnels that radiate among the grey, moss-hung trunks, the blackness of night condenses apace.

Mysterious noises are heard; the rustling of large birds settling themselves for the night, the click of falling cones, the cry of the wild cat, or the howl of the wolf. The gold light, that all day has flickered through the boughs and diapered the spine strewn soil, has wholly disappeared, save that for a moment it lies a flake of fire on the distant snowy peak. Patches of ash-grey sky, seen through the interstices of the branches, diffuse no light. Perhaps an evening breeze whispers secrets among the pine-tops and pipes between the trunks, or hums an indistinct tune, pervading the whole air, among the green needle-like leaves of the firs. And then, when night has settled in, the moon shoots its fantastic [Pg 326] silver among the moving branches, and draws weird pictures over the brambles and uneven soil. Branches snap with a report like a pistol, and voices of unseen birds and beasts sound ghost-like among the dark aisles of the labyrinth of firs.

It is well to picture these surroundings, when we call up before us the figures of the old hermits. Their trials were not only of hunger, and thirst, and cold; there was the trial of nerve as well.

In the forest cell, Meinrad disciplined his body by rigorous fasts, and his soul by constant prayer. By degrees, his cabin became a resort of pilgrims, who arrived seeking ease to their troubled consciences, or illumination to their dark understandings. Always united to God, always penetrated with the sense of His presence, he strove to know the will of God, and to submit his own will wholly to that.

Seven years passed, and the number of those who visited him increased every day. Then, finding his solitude no more a solitude, he resolved to leave the Etzel, and bury himself in some nook far from the habitations of men.

Behind the Etzel extended a vast forest untrodden by man, whose savage and gloomy loneliness attracted Meinrad. Whilst he was musing on his projected flight, some of his old pupils at Bollingen came, as was their wont occasionally, to visit their former master. Meinrad descended the mountain with them to the point where the river Sihl, after numerous windings in the forest, flows gently through an agreeable valley, and empties itself into the lake. The pines on its banks were reflected in the glassy water, and in its crystal depths could be seen multitudes of trout. The young monks desiring to have a day's fishing, Meinrad crossed the river, and entered the forest. He walked on silent and meditating, looking around him, in hopes of discovering some place suitable for the purpose that occupied his mind. [Pg 327] After a walk of an hour and a half, in a southerly direction, he reached the foot of a range of hills which formed a semi-circle as far as the Alb. In this basin, enclosed within the arms of the mountain, wound a little stream over a bed of moss, from a spring beneath the roots of two large pines. To the south lay the valley of the Alb, blocked by the rugged snow-topped crags of the Mythen. This was just such a solitude as Meinrad had desired. He fell on his knees, and thanked God for having brought him to so pleasant a spot, and drinking for the first time from the fountain, he returned to his companions, who, having caught a bag full of fish, went back with him to his hermitage, and as evening fell, returned to Bollingen.

Meinrad now prepared to leave the Etzel. He went to Altendorf to thank the widow who had provided for him, and then he departed, taking with him one monk of Bollingen and a peasant, to carry such things as would be necessary in the wilderness. As they descended the hill towards the river, the brother saw a nest of ravens on a branch; he climbed the tree, and taking the nest, brought it along with the two young birds it contained to Meinrad, who kept them, to be the companions of his solitude.

A few paces above the spring, where there was a gentle rise, he decided should be the site of his habitation, and there accordingly he erected a simple hut of logs. Providence did not desert him. The abbess Hedwig, head of a small community of women at Zürich, undertook to minister to his necessities, in place of the widow of Altendorf; and from time to time she sent him food, and such things as be needed.

He was now left in complete solitude, and often the temptation came upon him, as he lay shivering with cold in the winter nights, and the snow drifted about his cabin, to give up this sort of life, and return to the community at [Pg 328] Bollingen or Reichenau. But he resisted these thoughts, as temptations of the evil one, with redoubled prayer and fasting. In this place he spent several years in perfect retirement, till a carpenter of Wollerau, coming there one day in quest of some wood, discovered his cell. After that, he was visited by hunters, and then, by degrees, a current of pilgrims flowed towards his abode, as had been the case on the Etzel. What added to this was the present of a statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child, made to Meinrad by Hildegard, daughter of Louis the German, who had been appointed by her father abbess of Zürich, in 853. This image speedily acquired the credit of being miraculous, and thus began that incessant pilgrimage which has continued for over a thousand years to the venerated shrine where it is preserved.

Meinrad had spent twenty-five years in solitude; and his love for this mortified and retired life had grown stronger in his heart as he grew older. He was glad when winter, the frost, and the snow came to block the paths, and diminish the concourse of pilgrims; yet in spite of the rigour of the climate at that season, and the want of roads through the forest, he still saw many visitors, who came to confide to him their troubles, as children to a father, and to ask counsel of his prudence. There were also days in which he was alone, and, shut up in his log-hut, heard only the hissing of the wind among the trees, and the howling of the wolves, pressed by hunger in the forest; all was sad around the hermitage, the flowers, the grass, the little spring slept under the snow, spread like a white pall over dead nature. The two ravens, perched on a branch of pine which overhung the cabin door, uttered their plaintive croak. Meinrad alone was happy. He celebrated the Divine Mysteries, and holding in his hands the eternal Victim, offered himself, in conjunction with the sacrifice of Calvary; desiring earnestly that he might be found worthy to die the death of a martyr. [Pg 329] His prayer was heard.

During the last years of Meinrad's life, pilgrims laid presents at the door of Meinrad, and before the image of Mary. Those that served to adorn the chapel he kept, the rest he gave away to the poor. Two men, one from the Grisons, named Peter, the other a Swabian, named Richard, suspecting that he had a store of money collected from the pilgrims, resolved on robbing him. They met in a tavern at Endigen, where now stands Rapperschwyl, where they spent the night. Next day, January 21st, 861, long before daybreak, they took the road to the Etzel and entered the forest. For a while they lost their way, for the paths were covered with snow. However, at length they discovered the hermitage. The ravens screamed at their approach, and fluttered with every token of alarm about the hut, so that, as the murderers afterwards confessed, they were somewhat startled at the evident tokens of alarm in the birds. The assassins reached the chapel door. S. Meinrad had said his morning prayers, and had celebrated mass. The murderers watched him through a crack in the door, and when he had concluded the sacrifice, and had turned from the altar, they knocked. Meinrad opened, and received them cheerfully. "My friends," said he; "had you arrived a little earlier, you might have assisted at the sacrifice. Enter and pray God and His Saints to bless you; then come with me and I will give you such refreshments as my poor cell affords." So saying he left them in the chapel, and went to prepare food in his own hut.

The murderers rushed after him, and he turned and said, smiling, "I know your intention. When I am dead, place one of these tapers at my head, and the other at my feet, and escape as quickly as you can, so as not to be overtaken."

He gave to one his cloak and to the other his tunic; and they beat him about the head with their sticks, till he [Pg 330] fell dead at their feet. Then they threw his body on the bed of dried leaves whereon he was wont to sleep, and cast a rush mat over it. They then searched the hut for money, but found none. Before leaving, they remembered the request of Meinrad, and placed one of the tapers at his head, the other they took to the chapel, to light it at the ever-burning lamp. When they returned, to their astonishment, they saw that the candle at the head of the body was alight. Filled with a vague fear, they set down the other candle and took to flight. But the two faithful ravens pursued them, screaming harshly, and dashing against the heads of the murderers with their beaks and claws, as though desirous of avenging their master's death. Frightened more and more, and continually pursued and exposed to the attack of the enraged birds, the murderers ran towards Wollerau, where they met the carpenter who had discovered the retreat of Meinrad. This man, recognizing the tame ravens of the hermit, and suspecting mischief, hastily bade his brother not allow the two men to escape out of his sight, and then ran to the hermitage, where he found the body of the Saint. The candle at his feet had set fire to the mat, but the flame had expired as soon as it had reached the corpse. The carpenter at once returned to Wollerau, where he spread the news of the murder, and having bade his wife and some friends take care of the body of S. Meinrad, he went in pursuit of the assassins on the Zürich road. He soon overtook them. The ravens were fluttering with shrill screams at the windows of a house. He entered and denounced the murderers. They were taken, and delivered over to justice. By their confession all the circumstances of the martyrdom were made known.

Relics, at Einsiedeln, where, in 1861, the thousandth anniversary of the Saint's death was celebrated with great pomp.


[100] This account is a translation of the Acts; it is a very fair specimen of the original documents as written by the Church notaries at the time. The style being too simple to please the taste of later ages, too many of them were re-written in florid diction, and long speeches were put in the martyrs' mouths.

[101] One reading is insolutus, another in soleis.

[102] That is, to intercede for him when he, the martyr, stood in the presence of Christ in Paradise.

[103] That is, extending their arms, so that they formed the symbol of the Cross.

[104] Slightly abbreviated from the Acts.

[105] Aurelian was a special votary of the sun.

[106] There is some blunder here.

[107] S. Hieron, Ep. 6.

[108] S. August. Serm. 274.

[109] Here a difficulty occurs. There is no such name in the lists of the prefects of the city. According to this account, he transferred to the deputy, Aspasius, the duty of sentencing her. In some accounts he is called Aspasius Paternus. A Paternus was prefect of the city in 264 and 265; an Ovinius Paternus in 281. Aspasius Paternus, pro-consul of Africa, in or about 260, is mentioned by S. Cyprian. It is probable that Symphronius was not prefect of the city, but a powerful senator, and that Aspasius is the same as Ovinius Paternus. Transcribers made havoc of the names in the Acts.

[110] Antiphon to Ps. cix. Dixit Dominus, for S. Agnes' Day, and Greek Menæa.

[111] This is appointed as the antiphon to the Magnificat for S. Agnes' Day.

[112] Prudentius.

[113] Ibid.

[114] S. Ambrose lib. I. De Virgin. c. 2.

[Pg 331]

January 22.

S. Vincent, D. M., at Saragossa, in Spain, a.d. 304.
SS. Vincent, Orontius, Victor, and Aquilina, MM., at Gerunda, in Spain, a.d. 304.
S. Blæsilla, W., at Rome, a.d. 383.
S. Gaudentius, B. of Novara, in Italy, circ. a.d. 418.
SS. Anastasius and Lxx. Companions, MM., in Assyria, a.d. 628.
S. Dominic, Ab. of Sora, in Italy, a.d. 1031.
S. Brithwald, B. of Wilton, in England, a.d. 1045.
B. Walter Van Bierbeeke, Monk, at Hemmerode, in Belgium, circ. a.d. 1220.


(a.d. 304.)

[All Western Martyrologies, and by the Greeks on the same day, and Nov. 11th. The Acts, very ancient, quoted by Metaphrastes, are a very early recension of the original Acts by the notaries of the Church. Also, a hymn of Prudentius.]


his most illustrious martyr of the Spanish Church was born at Saragossa in Arragon, the mother of martyrs, as Prudentius calls it. His parents are mentioned in his Acts, which are at least older than S. Augustine (August 28), in whose time they were publicly read in the church of Hippo. The name of his father was Eutychius; and his mother, Enola, was a native of Osca, or Huesca, which sometimes claims the honour of his birth. He was trained in the discipline of the Christian faith by Valerius, Bishop of Saragossa, and was in due time ordained to the office of deacon. The Bishop was a man of venerable piety, but laboured under an impediment in his speech. He therefore devoted himself to prayer and contemplation, and intrusted the care of teaching to S. Vincent, whom he also appointed his principal or archdeacon. Dacian was then Governor of Spain under Diocletian and Maximian, [Pg 332] and had already distinguished himself by his cruelty against the Christians. The imperial edict for the seizure of the clergy had just been published in the end of the year 303, in which the laity were not included until the following year. Valerius and his deacons were accordingly loaded with chains and carried to Valencia, where the Governor then was. The pains of hunger were added to their sufferings, in the hope of subduing their fortitude. When they were brought before Dacian he first tried the effect of mild language and promises of reward if they would obey the orders of the Emperors and sacrifice to the gods. He reminded Valerius of the influence which his episcopal dignity gave him; and to Vincent he represented the honour of his family, and the sweet joys of youth which still lay before him. But the confessors of Christ were not to be thus moved. Valerius, being unable from his infirmity to reply to the artful persuasions of the tempter, Vincent made a noble profession of the faith in the name of them both.

The Bishop was condemned to exile, where he seems afterwards to have finished his course by martyrdom; and Vincent was remanded to prison, thence to pass by a more painful but a speedier way to his crown. His body was stretched upon the rack and cruelly torn with iron hooks, but no torture could shake his resolution or disturb the calm which sat upon his countenance. He defied the utmost efforts of his tormentors; and, when they began to grow weary, Dacian ordered them to be beaten, suspecting that they spared the martyr. But the Governor himself was at last moved to a faint pity by the miserable spectacle, and entreated Vincent to purchase his deliverance by at least giving up the Christian books. Vincent, still continuing firm, was taken from the rack and led to a more terrible torture called the Question. It was an iron frame with bars running across it, sharp as scythes, and underneath a fire was kindled, [Pg 333] which made the whole frame red hot. To this fearful agony the martyr walked with a willing step, and even went before the executioners. And, as he lay bound upon the bed of torture, his eyes were fixed on heaven, his lips moved as if in prayer, and a peaceful smile would sometimes pass across his countenance. No cruelty was spared that diabolical ingenuity could invent, but the love of Christ surpassed the wrath of man and won the day. When the malice of his enemies could do no more, he was carried back to prison, and laid in a dark dungeon strewn with broken potsherds, which allowed his wounded body no rest. His feet, too, were fastened in the stocks. But God was mindful of His servant, and sent His angels to comfort him, bestowing a foretaste of his reward while his trial was as yet unfinished. His cell was illuminated with the light of heaven, his bonds were loosed, and the floor of his prison seemed to be strewn with flowers. The martyr and his celestial visitants sang hymns together, and the unwonted sound astonished the jailer. He looked into the cell, and, overpowered by what he saw and heard, confessed the power of God and the truth of the Christian faith. When Dacian heard of it he shed tears of rage; but, finding it was useless to continue his cruelty, he gave orders that some repose should be allowed to the martyr. His motives for this act of clemency are variously represented; perhaps he only meant to recruit the strength of Vincent that he might endure further tortures; or perhaps he feared that, if he expired under them, the Christian faith might be exalted in the eyes of the people by his constancy. But, whatever was the policy of Dacian, God overruled it to obtain for His blessed servant an easy departure. The scattered remnant of Christians gathered round him, and tended him with anxious care. They provided a soft bed, on which he was no sooner laid than he yielded up his soul to the Lord, on January 22, a.d. 304. The rage of the Governor followed his poor remains. His [Pg 334] body was cast out into a field to become the prey of wild beasts and birds; but was defended by a raven. Then, to add further indignities to it, it was taken out in a boat and thrown into the sea with a mill-stone about the neck. During the night it was washed ashore, and at last was privately buried by some good Christians in a humble chapel near Valencia. When the fury of the persecution had ceased, it was removed with great honour, and buried under the altar of the principal church.


(about a.d. 418.)

[From his life by an anonymous writer in, or about, 760; quite trustworthy.]

Gaudentius was a native of Ivrea (Eporœdia), under the shadows of the Alps; he was brought up as a Christian, and exhibited early indications of piety. On reaching man's estate he went to Novara, was ordained priest, and became so distinguished for his sanctity, that S. Ambrose visited him. When Constantius, the Arian Emperor, exiled S. Eusebius, the Catholic Bishop of Vercelli, Gaudentius went into exile with him; on his return he was elected to the episcopal throne of Novara.


(a.d. 628.)

[Commemorated by Greeks and Westerns. His Acts are genuine, having been written either by the monk commissioned to attend him during his passion, or from his dictation. These Acts were referred to in the 7th General Council, 180 years after his death.]

There lived in Rages, in Persia, at the time when the true [Pg 335] Cross fell into the hands of Chosroës, King of Persia, a.d. 614, a young man, named Magundat, the son of a Magian of rank. The capture of the Cross was famed all through Persia, and Magundat was led by curiosity to enquire about it of some Christians. Thus he learned the history of the Passion of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine of the Redemption. It left a deep impression on his mind. He was soon after called to serve in the army that marched under Sarbar through the north of Asia Minor to Chalcedon, but on his retreat, Magundat left the army, and visited Hierapolis in Syria. In that city he lodged with a Persian Christian, a silversmith, with whom he often went to the Christian Church. There he contemplated the pictures of saints glorified on golden grounds, and martyrs in their agonies, and asked about them. His curiosity was satisfied, and being greatly moved by what he heard, he felt a desire to visit those holy places where Christ had been born and where he had died, as he had seen painted on the walls of the Church of the Martyrs in Hierapolis. Therefore he went to Jerusalem, and he lodged there also in the house of a smith, who was a Christian; and to him he opened his heart, and related how he had been led to desire baptism, and a right to the Resurrection of the Just. He was, therefore, placed under instruction, and was afterwards baptized by Modestus, "vicar of the Apostolic seat," as he is called in the Acts, who governed Jerusalem, Zachary the patriarch being in captivity. He prepared himself for the Holy Sacrament with great devotion, and spent the octave after it—which persons baptized passed in white garments—in continuous prayer. At his baptism he took the name of Anastasius, thereby meaning, in Greek, his resurrection to a new life.

After his baptism, the more perfectly to keep inviolably his baptismal vows and obligations, he resolved on becoming [Pg 336] a monk in a monastery five miles from Jerusalem. Justin, the abbot, made him first learn the Greek tongue and the psalter; then cutting off his hair, gave him the monastic habit, in the year 620.

Anastasius was always most earnest in all spiritual duties, especially in assisting at the celebration of the Divine Mysteries. His favourite reading was the lives of the saints; and when he read the triumphs of the martyrs, his eyes overflowed with tears, and he longed to be found worthy to share their glory. Being tormented with the memory of the superstitious and magical rites, which his father had taught him, he was delivered from that troublesome temptation by discovering it to his director, and by his advice and prayers. After seven years spent in great perfection in this monastery, his desire of martyrdom daily increasing, and having been assured by a revelation that his prayers for that grace were heard, he left that house, and visited the places of devotion in Palestine, at Diospolis, Gerizim, and Our Lady's church at Cæsarea, where he stayed two days. This city, with the greatest part of Syria, was then subject to the Persians. The Saint, seeing certain Persian soothsayers of the garrison occupied in their abominable superstitions in the streets, boldly spoke to them, remonstrating against the impiety of such practices. The Persian magistrates apprehended him as a suspected spy; but he informed them that he had once enjoyed the dignity of Magian amongst them, but had renounced it to become a humble follower of Christ. Upon this confession he was thrown into a dungeon, where he lay three days without eating or drinking, till the return of Marzabanes, the governor, to the city. When interrogated by him, he confessed his conversion to the faith. Marzabanes commanded him to be chained by the foot to another criminal, and his neck and one foot to be also linked together by a [Pg 337] heavy chain, and condemned him, in this condition, to carry stones. The Persians, especially those of his own province, and his former acquaintance, upbraided him with having disgraced his country, kicked and beat him, plucked his beard, and loaded him with burdens above his strength.

The Governor sent for him a second time, but could not induce him to pronounce the impious words which the Magians used in their superstitions; "For," said he, "the wilful calling of them to remembrance defiles the heart." The judge then threatened he would write immediately to the king, if he did not comply. "Write what you please," said the Saint, "I am a Christian: I repeat it again, I am a Christian." Marzabanes commanded him to be forthwith beaten with knotty clubs. The executioners were preparing to bind him fast to the ground; but the Saint told them it was unnecessary, for he had courage enough to lie down under the punishment without moving, and he regarded it as his greatest happiness to suffer for Christ. He only begged leave to put off his monk's habit, lest it should be treated with that contempt which only his body deserved. He therefore laid it aside respectfully, and then stretched himself on the ground, and, without being bound, remained all the time of the cruel torment, bearing it without changing his posture.

The Governor again threatened him to acquaint the king with his obstinacy. "Whom ought we rather to fear," said Anastasius, "a mortal man, or God, who made all things out of nothing?" The judge pressed him to sacrifice to fire, and to the sun and moon. The Saint answered, he could never acknowledge as gods creatures which God had made only for the use of man; upon which he was remanded to prison.

His old abbot, hearing of his sufferings, sent two monks to assist him, and ordered prayers to be offered daily for him. [Pg 338] The confessor, after carrying stones all the day, spent the greatest part of the night in prayer, to the surprise of his companions; one of whom, a Jew, saw and showed him to others at prayer in the night, shining in brightness and glory like a blessed spirit, and angels praying with him. As the confessor was chained to a man condemned for a public crime, he prayed always with his neck bowed downwards, keeping his chained foot near his companion, not to disturb him.

Marzabanes, in the meantime, having informed Chosroës, and received his orders, acquainted the martyr by a messenger, without seeing him, that the king would be satisfied if he would by word of mouth abjure the Christian faith: after which he might choose whether he would be an officer in the king's service, or still remain a Christian and a monk; adding he might in his heart always adhere to Christ, provided he would but for once renounce Him in words privately, in his presence, "in which there could be no harm, nor any great injury to his Christ," as he said. Anastasius answered firmly, that he would never even seem to dissemble, or to deny his God. Then the Governor told him that he had orders to send him bound into Persia to the king. "There is no need of binding me," said the Saint: "I go willingly and cheerfully to suffer for Christ." The Governor put on him and on two other prisoners the mark, and gave orders that they should set out after five days. In the meantime, on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the 14th of September, at the request of the Commerciarius, or tax-gatherer for the king, who was a Christian of distinction, Anastasius had leave to go to the church and assist at the Divine Sacrifice. His presence and exhortations encouraged the faithful, excited the lukewarm to fervour, and moved all to tears. He dined that day with the Commerciarius, and then returned with joy to his prison. On the day appointed, the martyr [Pg 339] left Cæsarea in Palestine, with two other Christian prisoners, under a strict guard, and was followed by one of the monks whom the abbot had sent to assist and encourage him. The Acts of his martyrdom were written by this monk, or at least from what he related by word of mouth. The Saint received great marks of honour, much against his inclination, from the Christians, wherever he came. This made him fear lest human applause should rob him of his crown, by infecting his heart with pride. He wrote from Hierapolis, and again from the river Tigris to his abbot, begging the prayers of his brethren.

Having reached Barsaloe in Assyria, six miles from Discartha or Dastagerde, near the Euphrates, where the king then was, the prisoners were thrown into a dungeon, till his pleasure was known. An officer came from Chosroës to interrogate the Saint, who made answer, touching his magnificent promises: "My religious habit and poor clothes show that I despise from my heart the gaudy pomp of the world. The honours and riches of a king, who must shortly die himself, are no temptation to me." Next day the officer returned to the prison, and endeavoured to intimidate him by threats and reproaches. But the Saint said calmly, "My lord judge, do not give yourself so much trouble about me. By the grace of Christ I am not to be moved: so execute your pleasure without more ado." The officer caused him to be unmercifully beaten with staves, after the Persian manner, insulting him all the time, and often repeating, that because he rejected the king's bounty, he should be treated in that manner every day, as long as he lived. This punishment was inflicted on him three days; on the third, the judge commanded him to be laid on his back, and a heavy beam pressed down by the weight of two men on his legs, crushing the flesh to the very bone. The martyr's tranquility and patience astonished the officer, who went again [Pg 340] to acquaint the king with his behaviour. In his absence the jailer, a Christian, gave every one free access to the martyr. The Christians immediately filled the prison; every one sought to kiss his feet or chains, and kept as relics whatever had been sanctified by their touch. The Saint, with confusion and indignation, strove to hinder them, and expressed his dissatisfaction at their proceedings. The officer, returning from the king, caused him to be beaten again, which the confessor bore rather as a statue than as flesh and blood. Then he was hung up for two hours by one hand, with a great weight at his feet, and tampered with by threats and promises. The judge, despairing to overcome him, went back to the king for his last orders, which were, that Anastasius and all the Christian captives should be put to death. He returned speedily to put these orders into execution, and caused the two companions of Anastasius, with threescore and eight other Christians, to be strangled one after another, on the banks of the river, before his face, the judge all the time pressing them to return to the Persian worship, and to escape so disgraceful a death. Anastasius, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, gave thanks to God for bringing his life to so happy a conclusion; and said he expected that he should have met with a more cruel death, by the torture of all his members; but seeing that God granted him one so easy, he embraced it with joy. He was accordingly strangled, and when dead, his head was struck off. This was in the year 628, the seventeenth of the Emperor Heraclius. His body, along with the rest of the dead, was exposed to be devoured by dogs, but it was the only one they left untouched.

It was afterwards redeemed by the Christians, who laid it in the monastery of S. Sergius, a mile from his place of triumph, in the city of Barsaloe, called afterwards from that monastery, Sergiopolis. The monk that attended him brought back his colobium, or linen sleeveless tunic. [Pg 341] The Saint's body was afterwards brought into Palestine, thence it was removed to Constantinople, and finally to Rome.

Relics, in the church of SS. Vincent and Anastasius at Rome, also in the chapel of the Santa Scala, near S. John Lateran, at Rome.

In art, he figures with a hatchet. Often his head alone, on a plate; to be distinguished from that of S. John Baptist, by the cowl that accompanies it.


(about a.d. 1220.)

[Authority, life in Cæsarius of Heisterbach's "Dialogus Miraculorum," Distinctio VII. c. xxxviii. ed. Strange. Cæsarius knew Walter, and some of the things he relates from what Walter told him, or from some of the brethren who where eye-witnesses to the events he describes. At the same time allowance must be made for the great credulity of Cæsarius.]

Walter of Bierbeeke, in Brabant, was a knight of noble blood, having been related to Henry, Duke of Louvain. He fought against the Saracens in the Holy Land, and was a brave and upright chevalier. He was also a man of deep piety, and of a fervent devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Like Sir Galahad he might have said:—

"—— all my heart is drawn above, My knees are bowed in crypt and shrine; I never felt the kiss of love, Nor maiden's hand in mine. More beauteous aspects on me beam, Me mightier transports move and thrill; So keep I fair through faith and prayer A virgin heart in work and will."

The great German writer, Fouqué, seems to have had this [Pg 342] Brabantine hero in his mind's eye, when he wrote his "Aslauga's Knight." Like Froda, in that exquisite story, Walter of Bierbeeke had fixed his heart on a heavenly mistress, whose pure image haunted his dreams.

A story told by Cæsarius, illustrative of this, must not be omitted, though we may doubt its truth. Walter rode with a brilliant company of knights to a tournament. On his way he passed a little chapel, and the bell was tinkling for mass. It was a feast of Our Lady, and the good knight, leaping from his horse, entered the chapel to hear the mass of the Blessed Virgin. "You will be late for the tournament!" shouted his companions. "My duty is first to Her," answered Walter, pointing to the image of the Mother of God. Now when the mass was said, and the beginning of the Gospel of S. John was read, then the knight rose from his knees, remounted his horse, and rode towards the town.

As he neared the lists, he asked of some hurrying from it how matters fared. "The tournament is well nigh over," was the answer, "Walter of Bierbeeke has borne down all competitors. He has done marvellously." But the knight understood not. He asked others, and the same answer was given. Then he rode into the lists, but met with no distinguished success. And when all was over, many knights came to him and said, "Deal graciously by us." "What mean you?" he asked. "We were captured and disarmed by thee in the lists, and we must ransom ourselves." "But I was not there."

"Nay, but it was thou," they replied; "for we saw thy cognizance on helm and shield, and heard thy cry, and knew thy voice." Then Walter knew that his heavenly Mistress had sent an angel to fight for him, whilst he worshipped at her humble shrine.

And after that, many a token did she show, that she had accepted Walter as her knight. Then his love to her [Pg 343] waxed daily stronger, and he said, "I have been her knight, now will I be her slave." So he went into a little chapel, dedicated to his dear Lady, and put a rope round his neck, and offered himself at the altar to be her serf, and to pay to her a yearly tax.

"And because out of honour to the heavenly queen he so humbled himself," says Cæsarius; "therefore she, on the other hand, glorified him, whom she loved, in many ways."

After a while he wearied of wearing coat of mail, and he cast his weapons and harness aside, and donned the Cistercian habit in the monastery of Hemmerode. There he was not allowed to live in such retirement as he loved; being unskilled in Latin, he was made to serve as a lay-brother instead of being in constant attendance in choir. Several pretty stories are told of his cloister life. At dinner, as is usual in monasteries, a monk read aloud from a Latin book. The abbot noticed Walter during the meal, every day, to seem very intent on what was being read; smiles came out on his face, and sometimes tears trickled down his cheeks. At last the abbot sent for him, and asked him, "What art thou attending to? Thou understandest not the Latin book." "No, not that book," said Walter; "but I have another book open before my mind's eye, full of sacred pictures, and I look at the first, and there I see Gabriel announcing to Mary that Christ is coming. Then I turn over the leaf, and I see the stable of Bethlehem, and the adoring shepherds; and I see the Magi come; and the next picture is the Presentation in the Temple; and so my book goes on, and I come at last to Calvary and the grave. And that is a picture book of which I never weary."

Once he was sent in a boat laden with wine to Zealand. And a storm arose so that the vessel was in great danger, and she drave before the wind all night. Thinking that they must all perish, Walter made his confession to his servant, [Pg 344] there being no priest on board, and then he descended into the hold, after midnight, and placing his little ivory statue of the Blessed Virgin before him, he knelt down and prayed, expecting death. As he prayed he slept. Then, in a dream, he saw the monastery of Hemmerode, and in it was an old monk, Arnold by name, harping, and singing psalms, and praying for those who "go down to the sea in ships and exercise their business in great waters." Then Walter awoke, and went to the mariners and said, "Be of good cheer, we shall not perish, Arnold at Hemmerode is not asleep to-night, but is harping on his harp and singing to God for us."

Now when they had come safe to land, Walter returned to his monastery, and told the abbot of his dream. Then the abbot sent for the monk Arnold, and he said to him, "What wast thou doing on the vigil of S. Nicholas?" For it was on that night that the vessel had been in danger.

"I could not sleep at all that night," answered the monk, "so I prayed to, and praised God."

"But thou wast harping on a harp," said the abbot.

"Nay, my lord," answered the monk Arnold; "this is what I do. I play with my fingers on an imaginary harp, under my habit, making music in my soul; and this I do whenever my devotion flags."

Now Walter went with his superior, the abbot Eustace, to the monastery of Villars, which was of the same Cistercian order. And in the evening the abbot of Villars called all the monks before the abbot Eustace of Hemmerode. And he said, "Are they all here?" He answered, "All are here but two little French boys, who have communicated to-day, and on such days as they communicate they love to remain in silence by themselves."

Now on the morrow, when the convent had gone to nones, and the elder of these boys was waiting the sound of [Pg 345] the bell, leaning on his spade before the church door, he read the little nones of Our Lady, and reading, he fell asleep. Then he thought he saw the Blessed Virgin, with a great company enter the church, and she looked not towards him. And he cried, "Oh wretched me! she calls me not!" Then the Mother of God turning, looked at him, and signing to a monk, bade him go and call the boy, and this the monk did, coming to him, and saying, "The Mistress calleth thee."

When he woke, he told his fellow the dream; and when they went within, he saw Walter, and he whispered to his companion, "If that monk had a grey habit instead of a white one, I would say that it was he who summoned me."

Now on the morrow, when Walter and the abbot Eustace were about to depart, they stood in the door, and Walter wore his grey travelling habit. Then the boy exclaimed, "Yes, that certainly is he." A few days after, the blessed Walter of Bierbeeke died at Hemmerode, and strange to say, within a day or two, the little French boy was called away also.


[Pg 346]

January 23.

S. Parmenas, one of the first Seven Deacons, end of 1st cent.
S. Messalina, V. M., at Foligno, in Italy, a.d. 250.
S. Asclas, M., at Antinoë, in Egypt, circ. a.d. 304.
S. Emerentiana, V. M., at Rome, a.d. 304. (See p. 321.)
S. Clement, B. of Ancyra, and Companions, MM., beginning of 4th cent.
S. Amasius, B. C. of Teano, near Capua, circ. a.d. 356.
S. Eusebius, Ab. in Syria, 4th cent.
S. Mausimas, P. in Syria, circ. a.d. 400.
S. Urban, B. of Langres, 5th cent.
S. John the Almsgiver, Patr. of Alexandria, a.d. 616.
S. Ildephonsus, B. of Toledo, a.d. 667.
S. Boisilus, of Melrose, circ. a.d. 664.
S. Maimbod, M., at Besançon.
S. Bernard, Ab. of Vienne, in France, 9th cent.
S. Raymond, of Pennaforte, C. in Spain, a.d. 1275.
S. Margaret, V., at Ravenna, a.d. 1505.


(about a.d. 304)

[S. Asclas was martyred on Jan. 21st, but his body was found on Jan. 23rd, and on this latter day he is usually commemorated. His Acts, in a fragmentary condition, are genuine.]


sclas, a native of Antinoë, was brought before the Roman governor, Arrianus, when he visited Hermopolis, in the Thebaid, or Upper Egypt. After a close interrogation, which is faithfully recorded in the Acts of this martyr, the Governor exclaimed, "Come, now! sacrifice to the gods, and consult thy safety. I have various instruments at hand, as thou seest." "Try, now," said the martyr, boldly. "Try, now, which will prevail, thou and thy instruments, or I and my Christ." The Governor ordered him to be swung from the little horse, and his flesh to be torn off in ribands. This was done. Then Arrianus said sullenly, "I see he is as obdurate as ever." [Pg 347] An orator, standing by, remarked, "The approach of death has robbed him of his wits." Asclas turned his head, and said, "No, I am robbed neither of my wits nor of my God."

Now this had taken place on the further side of the river, near Antinoë; and as there were not sufficient conveniences for continuing the torture, the Governor said, "We will return to Hermopolis." So he ordered Asclas into one boat; and when he had been taken over the Nile, then Arrianus entered his boat, and began to cross. Thereupon Asclas cried out, "O Lord, for whose sake I have suffered, may Thy name be glorified now, even by unwilling lips. Retain the vessel in the midst of the river, till Arrianus confesses Thy power." Then suddenly the boat stood, as though it had grounded on a sand-bank, and it could not be moved, till the Governor wrote on a piece of parchment: "The Lord of Asclas, He is God, and there is none other god save He." And when he had sent this to the martyr, the boat floated, and was propelled to the shore. Then the Governor, inflamed with rage, thinking that the captive had used magical arts, tortured him by applying fire to his sides and belly, till his body was one great sore. And after that he cast him, with a stone attached to his neck, into the Nile.


(beginning of 4th cent.)

[Commemorated by the Greeks. The Greek Acts of these martyrs are not genuine.]

S. Clement, Bishop of Ancyra, was the son of a heathen father and a Christian mother. When Clement was ten years old, his mother died. Before her death, she summoned him to her side, and urged him not to desert Christ, whatever sufferings [Pg 348] he might be called on to endure for His sake. Being possessed of private means, on coming of age, he adopted a number of poor boys, and educated them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He was at length ordained Bishop of Ancyra, his native city. In the persecution of Diocletian, he was taken and brought before the governor. He was treated with great barbarity, being torn with hooks, and his teeth and jaw broken with a large stone. As he lay among other prisoners that night in the jail, a bright light filled it, and the prisoners saw a man enter in dazzling garments, who held in his hand the Holy Eucharist, and therewith he communicated the bishop. But whether he were mortal priest, or an angel of God, no man knows. Along with Clement, one Agathangelus and many others, men, women, and boys suffered for Christ, whose names are written in the Book of Life.


(a.d. 616.)

[S. John died on Nov. 11th. But as that is the feast of S. Mennas, among the Greeks, they commemorate him on Nov. 12th; and as the 11th is the feast of S. Martin among the Latins, the commemoration of S. John is transferred in some Martyrologies to Jan. 23rd, in others to Feb. 3rd, and in others again to July 13th. Authority, his life by Leontius, Bishop of Cyprus, and S. John Damascene, Orat. 3; also a life in Metaphrastes. Leontius wrote from the account of the priests of Alexandria, who had been under S. John.]

John the Eleemosynary, or the Almsgiver, was a very wealthy native of Amathus in Cyprus, and a widower. Having buried all his children, he employed his whole fortune in relieving the necessities of the poor.

On his election to the metropolitan see of Alexandria, [Pg 349] he at once ordered a list to be made of his masters. When asked what he meant, he replied that he desired to know how many poor there were demanding his services in the great city, for, like his Lord, he had come to minister to their needs.

As many as 7,500 were found without a livelihood. John at once undertook to relieve them. Finding that their poor little savings were wasted by the fraud of tradesmen, who used unequal balances and unjust measures, he at once began an attack on such dealings, and thereby stirred up no small hostility against himself on the part of the petty shopkeepers.

Twice in the week he drew his chair outside the church door, and placed two benches before it, that he might hear the complaints of the oppressed, and remedy them, as far as lay in his power. One day he was found softly crying. "Why these tears?" he was asked. "None seek my assistance this day," he replied. "Thou shouldst rather rejoice that there is no need," said his interlocutor. Then he raised his eyes to heaven, with a joyous smile, and thanked God. He built hospitals for the sick and visited them, "not as captives, but as brothers," says Leontius. He was discreet in his charities. To women and girls he gave twice as much as to men, because they are less able to earn a living. But he would not allow anything to be given to those who were dressy and adorned with trinkets. But it was not the poor alone that he assisted. A merchantman, having been twice ruined by shipwrecks, had as often relief from the good patriarch, who the third time gave him a ship belonging to the church, laden with corn. This vessel was driven by a storm to Britain, where raged a famine. He was therefore able to sell the corn at a good price, and brought back a load of British silver.[115] A nobleman having [Pg 350] been greatly reduced, the patriarch ordered his treasurer to give him fifteen pounds of gold. The treasurer thinking this too much, reduced the gift to five. Almost directly after, a wealthy lady sent him an order for five hundred pounds. The patriarch, who had expected more from that quarter, asked her to come to him. "May it please your Holiness," said she; "I wrote the order last night for fifteen hundred pounds, but this morning I saw that the 10 on the cheque had disappeared." S. John at once concluded that this was God's doing. He turned to the treasurer and asked how much had been given the poor nobleman. On the hesitation of this man, he sent for the gentleman, and found that his liberal orders had not been complied with. "What is sown to the Lord, the Lord restores an hundred fold," said the patriarch. "I knew that five pounds alone could have been given, when He returned me only five hundred."

Nicetas Patricius, sub-prætor of Africa, saw the lavish charity of the patriarch with a jealous eye. The state exchequer was without funds, and he thought to appropriate the wealth of the patriarch to such purposes as the state required. Accordingly, one day he visited John the Almsgiver, with his attendants, and peremptorily demanded his money. "Here is my strong box," said the patriarch; "but the money belongs to the church, not to the state. If you choose to take it, you may do so, but I will not give it you, for it is not mine to give."

Nicetas, without more ado, ordered his servants to shoulder the money chest, and take it away. As he opened the door to leave, he saw some domestics bringing up a number of pots labelled "Virgin Honey." "Hah!" said the sub-prætor, "I wish you would give me a taste of your honey!" "You shall have some," said the Patriarch. Now when the pots were opened, it was found that they contained [Pg 351] a contribution in money sent to the Bishop; as indeed those who brought them announced.[116] When John saw the amount thus supplied to his pillaged treasury, he ordered one of his servants to take a pot, labelled as it was, to Nicetas, and to put it on his table, saying, "All those pots you met coming upstairs, as you went out, were full of the same sort of honey." And John wrote a note, which he attached to the pot, to this effect: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee, said the Lord; and His word is true, and no lie. Think not that mortal man can restrain the everlasting God. Farewell."

Now, Nicetas was sitting at table with friends at supper, when it was announced that the patriarch's honey awaited him. He ordered it at once to be set on the table, and said, "That patriarch is out of temper with me, that I can see, or he would have sent me more than one miserable little pot." But when he opened the jar, behold! it was full of money. Then he felt compunction for what he had done, and he ordered his servants to haste, and return to the patriarch his cash-box, and all the contents of the honey-pot.

Nicetas, after this, became friendly to the patriarch, who, as a token of response, stood godfather to his children. On one occasion this friendship was clouded, and threatened dissolution. The governor had imposed a tax, which fell with peculiar severity on the poor. John complained, and back-biters were not slow to excite Nicetas against John, by representing him as fomenting general discontent. The governor rushed to the patriarch's lodgings, and exploded into a storm of angry words, which left our Saint agitated and distressed. As evening drew on, he wrote on a scroll the words, "The sun is setting," and sent it to Nicetas, who, recalling the maxim of S. Paul, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath," was moved to regret his violence, and he sped with the same celerity as before, but with different purpose, to the residence of the patriarch, to ask his pardon, and heal their friendship.

[Pg 352]

The good prelate could ill bear to be at discord with another, though the fault was none of his.

On one occasion he had excommunicated, for a few days, two clerks, who had attacked each other with their fists. One bore the sentence in a right spirit of compunction, but the other with resentment. Next Sunday, the patriarch was at the altar celebrating. As the deacon was about to remove the veil covering the sacred vessels, John remembered all at once the hostility of the clerk, and the words of our Lord: "If thou bringest thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." (Matt. v. 25, 24.) Then, bidding the deacon recite the general prayer over and over again till his return, he left the altar, and, entering the vestry, sent a minister to bring the clerk who was not in charity with him. And when this man came, the patriarch fell before him on his knees, and bowed his white head, and said, "Pardon me, my brother!" Then the clerk, full of shame to see the patriarch, an aged man, in all his splendid vestments, at his feet, flung himself down, weeping, confessed his wrong, and asked forgiveness. Then the patriarch embraced him, and returning to the altar, finished the sacrifice.

Having in vain exhorted a certain nobleman to forgive one with whom he was at variance, he invited him to his private chapel, to assist at his mass. Now as they were reciting the [Pg 353] Lord's Prayer, the patriarch kept silence after he had said, "Give us this day our daily bread;" and the server, at a signal from him, ceased also; but the nobleman continued, "And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us,"—and then noticed that he had made that one petition alone, so he paused. Then the patriarch turned round at the altar and said, "What hast thou now asked?—to be forgiven by God as thou forgivest others." The nobleman was pricked at the heart, and fell down and promised to forget the wrong that had been done him.

Observing that as soon as the Gospel was read at Mass, a portion of the congregation retired and stood outside the church, talking among themselves, the patriarch went forth and seated himself amongst them, saying, "Where the sheep are, there the shepherd must also be," and they with shame came into church. Thus he broke through a pernicious custom.

The patriarch, one day, took a bishop named Troilus, then visiting Alexandria, to see his poor in a certain quarter, where he had erected for their accommodation a number of domed huts, supplied with beds, mattrasses, and blankets for the winter. Now Troilus had seen a handsome chased silver drinking cup in the town, and had set his heart upon it; it cost thirty pounds, and he had brought this sum with him, intending to buy the cup on his return, and when he had shaken himself free from the charitable patriarch. "I see," said John, "you have some money with you—many pounds, if I mistake not; distribute it among these my poor."

Troilus was unable to refuse; and so, most reluctantly, his gold went into the pocket of the beggars instead of into that of the silversmith. He was so greatly put out about this that he fretted himself into a fever. The patriarch, not seeing him, or hearing of him, for some days, sent a servant to invite [Pg 354] him to dinner; but the Bishop declined, saying that he suffered from a bad cold and fever. Then S. John hastened to his house to sympathize with the sick man, but soon discovering that there was more of temper than malady in the case, he guessed the cause, and said, "By the way, I borrowed of you thirty pounds the other day, for my poor; if you are so disposed, I will at once repay the sum."

Then—says the writer of the life of S. John—when the Bishop saw the money in the hand of the patriarch, all at once his fever vanished, his cold flew away, and his colour and vigour came back; so that any one might have seen what was the real cause of his indisposition. "And now, if you are well enough, you will dine with me," said the patriarch. "I am ready," answered Bishop Troilus, jumping off his bed, on which he had cast himself in his fever of vexation.

Now it fell out that after dinner the Bishop dropped asleep with his head on the table, and in a dream he saw himself in a wondrous land of rare beauty; and there he beheld a glorious house of unearthly beauty, over the door of which was inscribed, "The Eternal Mansion and Place of Repose of Troilus, the Bishop." Having read this, he was glad. But there came by a certain One, with many attendants in robes of white, and He looked up and read the title, and said: "Not so, change the superscription." Then the attendants removed the writing, and replaced it with this, "The Eternal Mansion and Place of Repose of John, Archbishop of Alexandria, purchased for Thirty Pounds."

One of his domestic servants having fallen into great difficulties, the patriarch privately helped him, by giving him two pounds. "I do not know how I can sufficiently thank your excellence and angelic holiness," said the servant. [Pg 355] "No thanks," said the patriarch, "Humble John"—so he was wont to call himself—"has not yet shed his blood for you, as his Master taught him."

There was a certain man, named Theopentus, greatly given to charity, who died leaving an only son. And on his death-bed, he called the boy, and said to him, "I have ten pounds, and that is all that remains to me; shall I give it to you or to the Virgin Mother of God?" And when the boy said, "It shall be her's;" then the father said, "Go and spend it among the poor."

Now when the patriarch heard of this, and that the orphan was left destitute, and was in great want; knowing that it would hurt him to offer him charity, he devised an innocent deception. He bade a scribe draw up a false pedigree, making himself and the deceased to be cousins, and he bade him show it to the youth, and bring him to the residence of the patriarch. And when this was done, the holy man ran to the lad and kissed him, and said, "How is this! that the child of my dear kinsman is in poverty. I must provide for thee, my dear son." So he made him an allowance, and married and settled him comfortably in Alexandria.

When the Persians devastated the Holy Land and sacked Jerusalem, S. John entertained all who fled into Egypt, and nursed the wounded. He also sent to Jerusalem, for the use of the poor there, a large sum of money, and a thousand sacks of corn, as many of pulse, one thousand barrels of wine, and one thousand Egyptian workmen to assist in rebuilding the churches. He moreover despatched two bishops and an abbot to ransom the captives.

S. John lived a simple life, his apparel, the furniture of his house, his diet, were all of the meanest. A person of distinction in the city, being informed that he had only an old tattered blanket on his bed, sent him a very handsome one. "Humble John" wore it over him for one night, but sold it [Pg 356] next day, and gave the price to the poor; for, during the night, he thought of some poor wretches who had no blankets at all. The friend, being informed of this, bought the blanket, and sent it to him again. It met with the same fate as before, and he again and again re-purchased it. "We shall see who will be tired first," said the patriarch; "he of buying, or I of selling, the blanket."

There was one class of men to whom it was peculiarly difficult to offer assistance, and that was the slaves, placed at the almost complete disposal of their masters. But the watchful care of S. John did not forget them. To the masters he spoke noble words: "These men are made in the image of God. What constitutes you different from them? You and your slaves have legs and arms, and eyes and mouths, and a soul alike. S. Paul said, 'Whosoever is baptised into Christ hath put on Christ—ye are all one in Christ.' In Christ master and slave are equal. Christ took on Him the form of a servant, teaching us to respect our servants. God regardeth the humble, we are taught; He says not, the lofty ones, but those who are least esteemed. For the sake of the poor slave were the heavens made, for him the earth, for him the stars, for him the sun, for him the sea and all that therein is. For him Christ abased Himself to wash His servants' feet, for him He suffered, for him He died. Shall we purchase with money such an one, so honoured, redeemed with such precious blood? You ill-treat a servant, as though he were not of like nature with you, yet is he highly honoured by God."

A monk arrived in Alexandria with a young Jewess in his company, whom he had converted and baptized; this caused great scandal, and by order of the patriarch, he was severely beaten. The monk bore his chastisement meekly, without exculpating himself. Next day it was made so evident that the monk was without the least blame, that the patriarch sent for him to ask his forgiveness, and ever after


[Pg 357]

he was most careful not to judge rashly. "My sons," said he, when he heard people blame others; "be not hasty to judge and condemn. We see often the sin of fornication, but we see not the hidden repentance. We see the crime of a theft, but we see not the sighs and tears of contrition. We severely blame the fornicator, the thief, or the perjurer, but God receives his hidden confessions, and bitter sorrow, and holds it as very precious."

Nicetas, the governor, persuaded the Saint to accompany him to Constantinople, to pay a visit to the Emperor. S. John was admonished from heaven, whilst he was on his way, at Rhodes, that his death drew near; so he said to Nicetas, "You invite me to the king of the earth; but the King of heaven calls me to Himself." He therefore sailed to his native island of Cyprus, and soon after died at Amanthus, the home of his boyhood and married life, and where he had laid his wife and children, and there he fell asleep in Christ at the age of sixty-four, after having ruled the patriarchal see of Alexandria ten years.


(a.d. 1275.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities: The bull of his canonization, by Clement VIII., in 1601, and a life by Leander Albertus.]

S. Raymund was born in 1175, at Pennaforte, a castle in Catalonia. At the age of thirty he went to Bologna, in Italy, to perfect himself in the study of canon and civil law. In 1219 the Bishop of Barcelona, who had been at Rome, took Raymund home with him and made him archdeacon of Barcelona. In 1222 he took the religious habit of S. Dominic, eight months after the founder had died. James, [Pg 358] King of Arragon, had married Eleonora of Castile within the prohibited degrees, without a dispensation. A legate of Pope Gregory IX., in a council of bishops held at Tarragona, declared the marriage null. Acting on the mind of the prince, by his great sanctity and earnestness, Raymund persuaded him to introduce the inquisition into the kingdom to suppress the Waldenses and Albigenses, who had made many converts to their pernicious doctrines. The object of S. Raymund doubtless was that it should serve as a check to the diffusion of heresy, and be a protection to simple souls against the poison which the ministers of Antichrist strove to infuse into them. The inquisitors were to be the dogs protecting the sheep from the wolves. S. Raymund laboured diligently, by exhortation and example, to convert the Moors and heretics, and his efforts were attended with extraordinary success.

Pope Gregory IX., having called S. Raymund to Rome, made him his confessor. In 1235 he was named to the archbishopric of Tarragona, but, by his tears, he persuaded the Pope not to enforce his acceptance of the responsible charge. In 1238 he was chosen general of the Dominican order. He made the visitation of the order on foot, and reduced the constitution to a more complete system than heretofore. Being in Majorca with the king, he discovered that King James was living in adultery with a lady of his court. As the king would not dissolve the sinful union, the Saint implored leave to depart; the king refused, and forbade any shipper taking him into his vessel. Thereupon Raymund boldly spread his cloak on the water, and standing on it, was wafted across to Barcelona. This miracle so alarmed the king, that he became a sincere penitent. Raymund died on Jan. 6th, 1275, at the age of a hundred.


[115] From the mines in the Cassiterides, Devon and Cornwall.

[116] We see here an instance of the manner in which some stories of miracles were formed. Leontius, who heard the story from the clergy acquainted with all the circumstances, says that the bearer of the pots told the Patriarch that they contained money; but that, for greater security, they were labelled honey. But Metaphrastes, in telling the story, says that, miraculously, the honey was converted into gold.

[Pg 359]

January 24.

S. Timothy, B. M. at Ephesus, a.d. 97.
SS. Babylus, B., and Companions, MM., at Antioch, 3rd cent.
S. Felician, B. M. of Foligni, in Italy, a.d. 250.
S. Macedonius, H., in Syria, beginning of 5th cent.
S. Eusebia, V., at Mylasa, in Caria (Asia Minor), 5th cent.
S. Cadoc, Ab., in Wales, and M., 6th cent.
S. Zosimus, B. of Babylon, in Egypt, 6th cent.


(a.d. 97.)

[By almost all the ancient Latin Martyrologies, S. Timothy is commemorated on this day, but by the Greeks on Jan. 22. The Martyrology called by the name of S. Jerome on Sept. 27. That of Wandelbert on May 16, possibly because of some translation of relics. Authorities: the Epistles of S. Paul, and the Acts of S. Timothy, by Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus (210), which, however, we have not in their original form, but in a recension of the 5th or 6th century; other Acts of S. Timothy, also in Greek, and a life in Metaphrastes.]


aint Timothy, the beloved disciple of S. Paul, was born at Lystra in Lycaonia. His father was a Gentile, but his mother, Eunice, was a Jewess. She, with Lois, his grandmother, embraced Christianity, and S. Paul commends their faith. S. Timothy had made the writings of the Old Testament his study from infancy.[117] S. Paul took the young man as the companion of his labours,[118] but first he had him circumcised at Lystra, as a condescension to the prejudices of the Jews. He would not suffer S. Titus, born of Gentile parents, to be brought under the law, but Timothy, on account of his Jewish mother, to avoid scandal to the Jews, he submitted to circumcision.

[Pg 360]

When S. Paul was compelled to quit Beræa, he left Timothy behind him to confirm the new converts. But on his arrival at Athens S. Paul sent for him, and sent him to Thessalonica where the Christians were suffering persecution. Thence he returned to S. Paul, who was then at Corinth, to give an account of his mission.[119] From Corinth S. Paul went to Jerusalem, and thence to Ephesus. Here he formed the resolution of returning into Greece, and he sent Timothy and Erastus before him through Macedonia, to apprize the faithful in those parts of his intention of visiting them. Timothy had a special charge to go afterwards to Corinth, to correct certain abuses there. S. Paul awaited his return, in Asia, and then went with him into Macedonia and Achaia.

During the subsequent imprisonment of S. Paul, Timothy appears to have been with him. He was ordained Bishop of Ephesus, probably in the year 64. S. Paul wrote his first Epistle to Timothy from Macedonia, in 64; and his second in 65, from Rome, while there in chains, to press him to come to Rome, that he might see him again before he died.

S. Timothy was afterwards associated with S. John; and in the Apocalypse he is the Angel, or Bishop, of the Church of Ephesus, to whom Christ sends His message by S. John.[120] During the great annual feast of the Catagogii, which consisted of processions bearing idols, with women lewdly dancing before them, and ending in bloodshed, S. Timothy moved by righteous zeal, rushed into the portico of the temple, and exhorted the frenzied revellers to decency; but this so enraged them, that they fell upon him with sticks and stones, and killed him.


[Pg 361]


(3rd cent.)

[Latin Martyrologies Jan. 24; Greek Menæa Sept. 4. Authorities: Eusebius, Sozomen, Philostorgius; and his Acts, written by Leontius, patriarch of Antioch, a.d. 348, which exist only in a fragmentary condition; also S. Chrysostom: Contra Gentiles de S. Babyla, and Hom. de S. Babyla; the latter written in 387.]

On the death of Zebinus, patriarch of Antioch, in the year 237, S. Babylus was elected to the patriarchal throne. The Emperor Philip, passing through Antioch in 244, and being, as is supposed, a catechumen, desired to visit the church. Babylus, informed of his approach, went to meet him at the gate, and forbade his ingress, because he was stained with the blood of his predecessor, Gordian, who had associated him in the empire, and whom he had basely murdered.

According to S. Chrysostom, who relates this anecdote, the Emperor withdrew in confusion. But according to the Acts it was not the Emperor Philip, but the governor, Numerian, who attempted to enter the church, but was repulsed as being an idolator and stained with murder, by the dauntless Bishop; and Nicephorus Callistus, and Philostorgius say the same. Certain it is that S. Babylus suffered under this governor Numerian, son of Carus, who was afterwards, for eight months, emperor, conjointly with his brother Carinus. Babylus, and three little boys, aged respectively twelve, nine, and seven, orphans, whom he brought up in his house, were so cruelly handled by the torturers before the governor, that the boys died, and Babylus expired shortly after in prison. In order to put a stop to the abominations of the famous temple and oracle of Daphne, the zealous Emperor Gallus, brother of Julian, buried the body of S. Babylus opposite the temple gate. From that day [Pg 362] the oracle ceased to speak. The apostate Emperor Julian ordered its removal, in hopes of restoring liberty to the demon who uttered the oracles, and the Christians translated the sacred relics to the city, "singing psalms along the road," says Sozomen. "The best singers went first, and the multitude chanted in chorus, and this was the burden of their song: Confounded are all they that worship carved images, and delight in vain gods."[121]


(beginning of 5th cent.)

[Greek Menæa. Authorities: Theodoret in his Philotheus, c. 13, and his Ecclesiastical Hist. lib. v. c. 20; Nicephorus Callistus, lib. xii. 44. Theodoret's mother was under the direction of S. Macedonius.]

S. Macedonius lived a life of great austerity on barley and water. For forty-five years he inhabited a dry ditch, after that he spent twenty-five in a rude cabin.

A sedition having broken out in Antioch, and the people having overthrown the statue of the Empress Flacilla, Theodosius, the Emperor, in a fit of rage, ordered the city to be set on fire and reduced to the condition of a village. Blood would also have been infallibly shed, had not S. Ambrose obtained from Theodosius, shortly before, the passing of the law that no sentence against a city should take effect till thirty days had expired. The Emperor sent his chamberlain, Eleutherius, to Antioch to execute his severe sentence against the city and its inhabitants. As he entered the streets lined with trembling citizens, a ragged hermit, it was Macedonius, plucked him by the cloak and said: "Go to the Emperor, and say to him from me, You are not only [Pg 363] an Emperor, but a man; and you ought not only to remember what is due to an empire, but also to human nature. Man was made in the image and likeness of God. Do not then order the image of God to be destroyed. You pass this cruel sentence, because an image of bronze has been overthrown. And for that will you slay living men, the hair of whose head you cannot make to grow?" When this speech was reported to the Emperor, he regretted his angry sentence, and sent to withdraw it.


(BETWEEN A.D. 522 AND 590.)

[English and Gallican Martyrologies. Through a strange confusion, S. Cadoc of Wales has been identified with S. Sophias of Beneventum in Italy; because S. Cadoc appears in the Martyrologies as S. Cadoc, at Benavenna (Weedon), and S. Sophias or Sophius Bishop of Beneventum being commemorated the same day, the life given by Bollandus, with hesitation, is a confused jumble of these two saints into one. The best account of S. Cadoc is in Rees "Lives of the Cambro-British Saints;" and in La Ville-marqué's La Légende Celtique. There is also a poem composed in honour of S. Cadoc, by Richard ap Rhys of Llancarvan, between 1450 and 1480, published in the Iolo MSS., p. 301, and the sentences, proverbs and aphorisms of S. Cadoc are to be found in Myvrian Archæology, iii. p. 10. The following epitome of his life is from M. de Montalembert's Monks of the West, with additions from M. de Ville-marqué and corrections from Rees.]

Immediately after the period occupied in the annals of Wales by King Arthur and the monk-bishop David, appears S. Cadoc, a personage regarding whom it is difficult to make a distinction between history and legend, but whose life has left a profound impression upon the Keltic races. His father Gwynllyw Filwr, surnamed the Warrior, one of the petty kings of South Wales, having heard much of the beauty of the daughter of a neighbouring chief, had her carried off by a band of three hundred vassals, from the [Pg 364] midst of her sisters, and from the door of her own chamber, in her father's castle. The father hastened to the rescue of his daughter with all his vassals and allies, and soon overtook Gwynllyw, who rode with the young princess at the croup, going softly not to fatigue her. It was not an encounter favourable for the lover: two hundred of his followers perished, but he, himself, succeeded in escaping safely with the lady. Of this rude warrior and this beautiful princess was to be born the saint who has been called the Doctor of the Welsh, and who founded the great monastic establishment of Llancarvan. The very night of his birth, the soldiers, or, to speak more justly, the robber-followers of the king, his father, who had been sent to pillage the neighbours right and left, stole the milch cow of a holy Irish monk, who had no sustenance, he nor his twelve disciples, except the abundant milk of this cow. When informed of this nocturnal theft, the monk got up, put on his shoes in all haste, and hurried to reclaim his cow from the king, who was still asleep. The latter took advantage of the occasion to have his new-born son baptized by the pious solitary, and made him promise to undertake the education and future vocation of the infant. The Irishman gave him the name of Cadoc, (Cattwg,) which means warlike; and then, having recovered his cow, went back to his cell to await the king's son, who was sent to him at the age of seven, having already learned to hunt and fight. The young prince passed twelve years with the Irish monk, whom he served, lighting his fire and cooking his food, and who taught him the rudiments of Latin grammar. Preferring the life of a recluse to the throne of his father, he went to Ireland for three years, to carry on his education at Lismore, a celebrated monastery school, after which he returned to Wales, and continued his studies under a famous Roman rhetorician, newly arrived from Italy. This doctor had [Pg 365] more pupils than money; famine reigned in his school. One day poor Cadoc, who fasted continually, was learning his lesson in his cell, seated before a little table, and leaning his head on his hands, when suddenly a white mouse, coming out of a hole in the wall, jumped on the table, and put down a grain of corn; then Cadoc rising, followed the mouse into a cellar, one of those old Keltic subterranean granaries, remains of which are found to this day in Wales and Cornwall. There Cadoc found a large heap of corn, which served to feed the master and his pupils for many days.

Having early decided to embrace monastic life, he hid himself in a wood, where, after making a narrow escape from assassination by an armed swineherd of a neighbouring chief, he saw, near a forgotten fountain, where a white swan floated, an enormous wild boar, white with age, coming out of his den, and make three bounds, one after another, stopping each time, and turning round to stare furiously at the stranger who had disturbed him in his resting place. Cadoc marked with three branches the three bounds of the wild boar, which afterwards became the site of the church, dormitories, and refectory of the great abbey of Llancarvan. The abbey took its name, "The Church of the Stags," from the legend that two deers from the neighbouring wood came one day to replace two idle and disobedient monks who had refused to perform the necessary labour for the construction of the monastery, saying, "Are we oxen, that we should be yoked to carts, and compelled to drag timber?"

The rushes were torn up, the briars and thorns were cut down, and S. Cadoc dug deep trenches to drain the morass formed about the fountain he had discovered. One day, when the chapel he was building was nearly completed, a monk came that way, bearing on his back a leather pouch [Pg 366] containing tools for working metal, and some specimens of his handicraft. His name was Gildas. He was the son of a chief in Westmoreland, and his brother, Aneurin, was one day famous among the bards of Britain.[122] Gildas opened his bag and produced a bell. Its form was that of a tall square cap, and it was made of a mixture of silver and copper, not molten, but hammered.

Cadoc took the bell and sounded it, and the note was so sweet that he greatly desired the bell, and asked Gildas to give it him. "No," said the bell-maker; "I have destined it for the altar of S. Peter at Rome." But when Gildas offered the bell to the Pope, the holy father was unable to sound it; then Gildas knew he must give it to the Welsh monk; so he returned to Britain, and offered it to Cadoc, and when he held it, the bell rang sweetly as heretofore.

Llancarvan became a great workshop, where numerous monks, subject to a very severe rule, bowed their bodies under the yoke of continual fatigue, clearing the forests, and cultivating the fields when cleared; it was besides, a great literary and religious school, in which the study of the Holy Scriptures held the van, and was followed by that of the ancient authors, and their more modern commentators. Cadoc loved to sum up, chiefly under the form of sentences in verse and poetical aphorisms, the instructions given to his pupils of the Llancarvan cloister. A great number of such utterances have been preserved. We instance a few. "Truth is the elder daughter of God. Without light nothing is good. Without light there is no piety. Without light there is no religion. Without light there is no faith. The sight of God, that is light." "Without knowledge, no power. Without knowledge, no wisdom. Without knowledge, no freedom. Without knowledge, no beauty. [Pg 367] Without knowledge, no nobility. Without knowledge, no victory. Without knowledge, no honour. Without knowledge, no God." "The best of attitudes is humility. The best of occupations is work. The best of sentiments, pity. The best of cares, justice. The best of pains, peacemaking. The best of sorrows, contrition. The best of characters, generosity." When one of his disciples asked him to define love, he answered, "Love, it is Heaven." "And hate?" asked his disciple. "Hate is hell." "And conscience?" "It is the eye of God in the soul of man." "The best of patriots," said S. Cadoc, "is he who tills the soil."

When a chief at the head of a band of robbers, came to pillage Llancarvan, S. Cadoc went against him with his monks armed with their harps, chanting and striking the strings. Then the chief recoiled, and left them unmolested. Another chief, enraged at Cadoc receiving his son into his monastery, came with a force to reclaim the youth and destroy the cloister. Cadoc went to meet him, bathed in sunshine, and found the chief and his men groping in darkness. He gave them light, and they returned ashamed to their homes.

Cadoc had the happiness of assisting in the conversion of his father. In the depths of his cloister he groaned over the rapines and sins of the old robber from whom he derived his life. Accordingly he sent to his father's house three of his monks, to preach repentance. His mother, the beautiful Gwladys, was the first to be touched, and it was not long before she persuaded her husband to agree with her. They called their son to make to him a public confession of their sins, and then, father and son chanted together the psalm, "Exaudiat te Dominus"—"The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble." When this was ended, the king and queen retired into solitude, establishing themselves in two cabins on the bank of a river, where they worked for their [Pg 368] livelihood, and were often visited by their son.

The invasion of the Saxons obliged S. Cadoc to fly, first to the island of Flat-holmes in the Bristol Channel, and then into Brittany, where he founded a new monastery, on a little desert island of the archipelago of Morbihan, which is still shown from the peninsula of Rhuys; and to make his school accessible to the children of the district, who had to cross to the isle and back again in a boat, he threw a stone bridge four hundred and fifty feet long across this arm of the sea. In this modest retreat the Welsh prince resumed his monastic life, adapting it especially to his ancient scholarly habits. He made his scholars learn Virgil by heart: and one day, while walking with his friend and companion, the famous historian Gildas, with his Virgil under his arm, the abbot began to weep at the thought that the poet, whom he loved so much, might be even then perhaps in hell. At the moment when Gildas reprimanded him severely for that "perhaps," protesting that without any doubt Virgil must be damned, a sudden gust of wind tossed Cadoc's book into the sea. He was much moved by this accident, and, returning to his cell, said to himself, "I will not eat a mouthful of bread, nor drink a drop of water, till I know truly what fate God has allotted to one who sang upon earth as the angels sing in heaven." After this, he fell asleep, and soon after, dreaming, he heard a soft voice addressing him, "Pray for me, pray for me," said the voice, "never be weary of praying; I shall yet sing eternally the mercy of the Lord."

The next morning a fisherman brought him a salmon, and the Saint found in the fish the book which the wind had snatched out of his hands.

After a sojourn of several years in Brittany, Cadoc left his new community flourishing under the government of another pastor, and to put in practice that maxim which he loved to [Pg 369] repeat to his followers:—"Wouldst thou find glory? march to the grave." He returned to Britain, not to find again the ancient peace and prosperity of his beloved retreat of Llancarvan, but to establish himself in the very centre of the Saxon settlements, and console the numerous Christians who had survived the massacres of the Conquest, and lived under the yoke of a foreign and heathen race. He settled at Weedon, in the county of Northampton;[123] and it was there that he awaited his martyrdom. One morning, when vested in the ornaments of his priestly office, as he was celebrating the Divine Sacrifice, a furious band of Saxon cavalry, chasing the Christians before them, entered pell-mell into the church, and crowded towards the altar. The Saint continued the sacrifice as calmly as he had begun it. A Saxon chief, urging on his horse, and brandishing his lance, went up to him and struck him to the heart. Cadoc fell on his knees; and his last desire, his last thought, were still for his dear countrymen. "Lord," he said, while dying, "invisible King, Saviour Jesus, grant me one grace,—protect the Christians of my country!"

S. Paul, after a Bronze S. Paul, after a Bronze in Christian Museum in the Vatican.


[117] 2 Tim. iii. 14.

[118] 1 Thess. iii. 2; 1 Cor. iv. 17.

[119] Acts xviii.

[120] Rev. ii. 1, 7.

[121] Hist. Eccl. v. c. 19: also Socrates, Eccl. Hist. iii. 19.

[122] The Gododdin, a poem descriptive of the massacre of the British chiefs at Stonehenge by Hengest, was composed by Aneurin whilst in prison.

[123] The ancient name of Weedon having been Benavenna, this has helped to cause the confusion which arose between S. Cadoc and S. Sophias of Benevento in Italy.

[Pg 370]

January 25.

Conversion of S. Paul.
S. Artemas, M., at Puteoli.
SS. Juventine and Maximus, MM., at Antioch, a.d. 362.
S. Publius, Ab. of Zeugma, in Syria, 4th cent.
S. Apollo, Ab. in Egypt, circ. a.d. 395.
S. Mares, Ab. in Syria, 5th cent.
S. Præjectus, B., and Companions, at Clermont, a.d. 674.
S. Poppo, Ab. of Stavelot, in Belgium, a.d. 1048.
B. Henry of Suso, O.S.D., at Ulm, in Germany, a.d. 1365.


[The circumstances of the Conversion of S. Paul are so fully recorded in the Acts of the Holy Apostles, chaps. xix., xxii., xxvi., as not to need repetition here, being familiar to all. Among the Greeks, S. Ananias, who baptized S. Paul, is commemorated on this day.]


[Commemorated at Puteoli and Naples under the name of Artemas, but in the ancient Martyrology attributed to S. Jerome, he is called Antimasius, a mistake of copyists for Artimasius or Artemas. The Acts are those preserved by the Church of Puteoli, and seem to be founded on others of great antiquity; they exist only in a fragmentary condition, and give no clue to the date of the martyrdom.]


rtemas was a pious Christian boy in Puteoli, in the south of Italy. He was sent to school to one Cathageta, a heathen. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, and the boy, filled with faith, spoke of his belief to some of his fellow-scholars. It was soon known among the boys that Artemas was a Christian, and it came to the master's ears. Cathageta lectured and browbeat the little scholar, and threatened him with the rod. "You may whip," said the brave boy; "but you will only whip my faith deeper into me." Then the master, in a rage, shouted to the boys to punish him, and the cruel tiger-cubs, educated to bloodshed by the atrocities of the arena, fell upon him with their iron pens, used for scratching on wax tablets, and stabbed him to death.


[Pg 371]


(a.d. 362.)

[Authorities: the 40th Homily of S. John Chrysostom; Theodoret, Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. c. 15; Nicephorus Callistus, lib. x. c. 12.]

Theodoret says:—"The Emperor Julian continued to oppose religion with greater and greater boldness, while he assumed the specious appearance of clemency, in order to lay snares to entrap men, and seduce them into irreligion. He cast things offered to idols into the fountains of the city of Antioch, so that no one could drink of the streams without partaking of the hateful sacrifices. He defiled in the same way everything that was sold in the market-place; for he had water which had been offered to idols sprinkled on the bread, meat, fruit, herbs, and all other articles of food. The Christians lamented these abominations, yet partook of the food according to the precept of the Apostle. (1 Cor. x. 25.) Two of the Emperor's guards, who were his shield-bearers and companions in arms, vehemently deplored, at a certain convivial meeting, the perpetration of such odious deeds. One of those who had been present acquainted the Emperor with this speech. The Emperor sent for these two men, and asked what it was that they had said. This question they answered thus, in the warmth of their zeal: 'O [Pg 372] Emperor, having been brought up in the true religion, and having been accustomed to the admirable laws of Constantine, we cannot but be deeply grieved at witnessing the very food contaminated by being mixed with idol offerings. We lamented this privately, and now, publicly, we express our regret. This is the only cause of sorrow which we experience under your government.' On hearing these words the Emperor threw off the mask of clemency. Such excruciating tortures were, by his orders, inflicted on these two men, that they expired under them. The Church of Antioch honoured them as defenders of religion, and interred them in a magnificent tomb; and even to this day an annual festival is celebrated in their honour. Their names were Juventius (Juventinus) and Maximus."


(about a.d. 395.)

[Commemorated on this day by Greeks and Latins alike, though some Latin Martyrologies note him on the 18th April. Authorities: his life by Palladius in the Hist. Lausiaca; and Sozomen, lib. iii. c. 14, who calls him Apollonius. Palladius is an excellent authority, for during his residence among the hermits of the Thebaid, he was personally acquainted with Apollo.]

This illustrious hermit began his discipline of himself by a solitary life in the desert, at the age of fifteen. He spent forty years by himself, and then, called by God to guide the souls of others, he became head of a congregation of monks in Upper Egypt. In the reign of Julian the Apostate, hearing that his brother, who was in the army, was imprisoned for his religion, he went at the head of his monks to visit him. The tribune entering the prison shortly after, and seeing so many monks within, ordered the gates to be [Pg 373] closed, and vowed he would enlist them all as soldiers. But in the night an angel came, bearing a lamp, and opened the doors of the prison and led them forth, and they escaped with great joy to their beloved desert. About fifty monks obeyed him; but he did not confine his sympathies to them. Hearing that the country people were about to fight one another about some trifling subject of contention, Apollo rushed from his rocks, and flinging himself amongst them, conjured them not to shed one another's blood. One party promised to retire, but the other, headed by a redoubted robber, confident in his powers, held out. Then Apollo turned to the chief and said, "My son, lay down thine arms, and I will pray God to pardon thy many offences." The man cast away his weapons, and threw himself at the feet of the abbot. On another occasion he heard that a village procession of a famous wooden idol was about to take place; he went down, and kneeling, prayed God to prevent it. Then the image became immovable, so that neither priest nor people could take it from its place in the temple. The priests said, "A Christian has done this." "Yes," said Apollo, "I have done it by my prayers," and he exhorted the people to forsake the worship of such vain gods.

One Easter day the community had only some old stale loaves and a few dried olives, and they lamented that on so great a day they must fast, as in Lent. "Be of good cheer," said the abbot, "let each ask for what he likes best, and on such a day the loving God will give it him." But they would not ask, thinking themselves unworthy of such a favour. But he said, "Fear not, I will pray." Then they all knelt down, and Apollo asked, and they said Amen. Now as this response came, behold there arrived men and asses bringing a present to the monks, and it consisted of fresh loaves, pomegranates, citrons, honey in the comb, nuts, and a pitcher of fresh milk, grapes and figs, and large luscious dates [Pg 374] (nicolai).

The monks of Apollo communicated every day, and some ate nothing from communion to communion, living only on this heavenly food. These were some of the pieces of advice Apollo gave to his monks:—"It behoves us to be ever joyous, for we ought not to be sad about our salvation. The Gentiles are sad, the Jews weep, and sinners mourn, all those whose affections are fixed on earthly things have cause to be agitated in mind, but not we." And it was so, that the monks were always cheerful and gay, and if any appeared sad, the abbot knew the cause must be sin, and he sent for him. "Let the monks communicate every day, for those who withdraw from the Sacraments, from them God withdraws Himself. But he who approaches them assiduously receives the Saviour. That is a salutary saying, 'He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in Me, and I in him.' Daily, therefore, let the monks prepare themselves, and daily let them receive it." "Let asceticism," he added, "be secret. I do not like those who put chains on their necks,—they do it to be seen of men; let them rather fast in their cells, where no one will know anything about it."


(5th cent.)

[From the Philotheus of Theodoret, cap. 20.]

S. Mares spent thirty-seven years in a small damp cell, constant in prayer. Theodoret says that towards his end, "I went to his door, and he bade me open. He was aged ninety, and wore common goat's hair garments. All his food was bread and salt. As, for long, he had desired to see the Holy Sacrifice offered, but was not able, he asked that [Pg 375] the oblation of the Divine Gift might be made there. I willingly obeyed, and having ordered the sacred vessels to be brought from the village, and using for an altar the hands of the deacons, I offered the mystic, divine, and salutary Sacrifice. But he was filled with all spiritual delight, and thought that he saw heaven, and declared he had never had such joy. I was greatly pleased with him, and I should be doing him and myself a wrong, if after his death I did not praise him."


(a.d. 674.)

[S. Præjectus, in French S. Priest, Priets, Prie, or Prix, is commemorated in the Gallican, Belgic, Sarum, and other Martyrologies. Authority: his life by two contemporary writers.]

S. Præjectus, Bishop of Clermont in Auvergne, severely rebuked one Hector, a noble of Marseilles, for having ravished a young lady of Auvergne, and seized on her estates. His remonstrances having been disregarded, he hastened to King Childeric II. to lay his complaint before him, and the king gave orders for the execution of Hector. On the return of the Saint to his see, some friends of Hector waylaid him at a place called Volvic, near Clermont, and murdered him.


(a.d. 1048.)

[Modern Roman Martyrology. The name occurs in no ancient Martyrologies; it owes its insertion to Baronius. His life was written by Everhelm, abbot of Hautmont, his contemporary, in 1069.]

The blessed Poppo, born in Flanders in 978, as a youth [Pg 376] served in arms. He made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and, on his return, engaged himself to the daughter of his friend Frumhold. When the time of his marriage drew nigh, Poppo mounted his horse one night, together with some retainers, to ride to fetch his bride. He had not gone far before a dazzling flash of light illumined him within, in his soul, and bathed his body in a blaze of glory. As it faded away, he spurred on his horse, and then noticed that a flame burnt on the point of his spear; it was as though he rode bearing a tall church taper in his hand. Astounded at this marvel, he reined in his steed, and turning to his companions said, "God calls me to another life."

Then he left home and went, with the light still illuminating his soul, and served in a hospital for the sick. One day a miserable leper was brought in so covered with sores that he could not be placed with the other inmates. Thinking that the poor creature was cold in the night, Poppo went to him with his own coverlid, and laid it over him. Next morning the leper was whole, the charity of Poppo had healed him. Richard, abbot of Verdun, appointed Poppo to rule the abbey of S. Vedast, which had fallen into scandalous disorder. When the Emperor Henry II. was in the Betawe, between the two branches of the Rhine, Poppo, having to visit him about some affairs concerning his monastery, found the prince enjoying a favourite pastime of his; a naked man was smeared with honey and exposed to bears; and the sport consisted in the bears trying to lick the man, and he eluding their embraces. As this sport not unfrequently ended in the man being injured, and sometimes killed, Poppo rebuked the king, and brought him to a sense of the impropriety of encouraging such coarse and dangerous amusements. That this sport was popular, appears from Hincmar, Archbishop of Rheims, being obliged to forbid his clergy and monks attending either it or bear-bating.

[Pg 377]

On another occasion, when Poppo was on his way to the Emperor, then at Strasburg, as he passed through the Ellisgau, with some of his monks, they saw a wolf carry off a man by the neck into a marsh. Poppo at once called his monks to the rescue. They were unable, on account of the loose texture of the swamp, to go direct to where the man lay, but they surrounded the marsh, and following the bloody traces, recovered the man, who was much mangled; they bound up his wounds, and he finally recovered. What became of the wolf they saw not, and hoped, and hoping believed, he was smothered in the marsh.

Poppo was afterwards created abbot of Stavelot, where the monks had fallen into grave disorders. His efforts to reform them so irritated some of the worst, that they attempted to poison him, but failed. Having thoroughly reformed the monastery, he rebuilt and beautified the church, and died on the feast of the Conversion of S. Paul, after having received extreme unction from the hands of the abbot Everhelm, who is his biographer.

Alpha and Omega Alpha and Omega; the first and the Last.

[Pg 378]

January 26.

S. Polycarp, B. M. of Smyrna, a.d. 167.
S. Simeon the Old, Ab. in Syria, end of 4th cent.
S. Paula, W., at Bethlehem, a.d. 404.
S. Xenophon, his Wife and Sons, 5th cent.
S. Bathild, Q., in France, circ. a.d. 670.
S. Theoritgitha, V., at Barking, in Essex, 7th cent.
S. Gobert, C., at Foss, in Belgium.
S. Alberic, Ab. of Citeaux, beginning of 12th cent.
B. Haseka, R., in Westphalia, a.d. 1261.


(a.d. 167.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities: His Acts, written by the Church of Smyrna immediately after his martyrdom, Eusebius, &c.]


aint Polycarp was converted to Christianity in the year 80, when quite young, and he had the privilege of accompanying those who had seen Jesus Christ. S. John, whose special disciple he was, consecrated him Bishop of Smyrna in the year 96. He is supposed to be the Angel or Bishop of the Church of Smyrna, to whom alone, in the messages recorded in the Apocalypse, did Jesus Christ address praise unmixed with blame.[124] "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich), and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer; behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."

[Pg 379]

In the year 158, S. Polycarp visited Rome. The cause of his visit is not exactly declared; but he had a conference with Pope Anicetus concerning the time of celebrating the Paschal Feast; and the disputes upon this subject were carried on so warmly, in the second century, that perhaps we are to seek no other reason for Polycarp undertaking so long a journey. The first day of the week, or Sunday, appears to have been held sacred, on account of our Lord's Resurrection, from the very beginning of the Church. The eastern and western Christians agreed in keeping a solemn fast for some time preceding the feast of the Resurrection. There was, however, one important difference between them. The Asiatic Christians kept a feast on the true Passover, as well as observing the great Easter festival. The western Christians kept the Paschal feast on Easter Day. By separating the Passover feast from the feast of the Resurrection, the Easterns had a burst of festivity interrupting discordantly the hush of the great fast, which caused great offence to the western sense of propriety. Both parties laid claims to apostolic authority for their respective customs. The eastern Christians asserted that SS. John and Philip had sanctioned their custom; while the brethren at Rome defended themselves by the authority of SS. Peter and Paul. This being the case, and neither of the parties being willing to concede, a conference between an Asiatic Bishop and the Bishop of Rome seemed a very desirable measure. Polycarp had been personally known to S. John, and had been appointed by him to his bishopric. Anicetus was, singularly enough, the seventh Bishop of Rome since the beginning of the century, but Polycarp had occupied the see of Smyrna during the whole of that time. S. Irenæus, who relates the conference between Anicetus and Polycarp, states that neither could convince the other. The meeting was, however, conducted and terminated in [Pg 380] perfect amity. The two bishops were firm, and wedded to their respective customs; but the bond of peace was not broken between them; and as proof of their mutual goodwill, they received together the supersubstantial food, the Pope allowing Polycarp, out of respect for his age and character, to celebrate.

In the sixth year of the reign of Marcus Aurelius, an exhibition of games in Smyrna kept the city in excitement for some days, and the Christians were made to fight with wild beasts for the amusement of the populace. Polycarp himself was advised to withdraw from the storm, and he concealed himself for some time at a short distance from the city. His retreat was betrayed by a boy, who was threatened with the rack unless he discovered him. Herod, the magistrate, whose office it was to prevent misdemeanours, sent horsemen by night to beset his lodgings. The Saint was above stairs in bed, but refused to make his escape, saying, "God's will be done." He went down, met them at the door, ordered them a handsome supper, and desired only some time for prayer before he went with them. This granted, he began his prayer standing, and continued it in that posture for two hours, recommending to God his own flock and the whole Church, with so much earnestness and devotion, that several of those that were come to seize him, repented having undertaken the commission. They set him on an ass, and were conducting him towards the city, when he was met on the road by Herod and his father, Nicetes, who took him into their chariot, and endeavoured to persuade him to a little compliance, saying, "What harm is there in sacrificing, to escape death?" The bishop at first was silent, in imitation of our Saviour: but being pressed, he gave them this resolute answer, "I shall never do what you desire of me." At these words, they thrust him out of the chariot with such violence, that his leg was bruised by [Pg 381] the fall. The holy man went forward cheerfully to the place where the people were assembled. Upon his entering it, a voice from heaven was heard by many: "Polycarp, be courageous, and play the man." He was led directly to the tribunal of the pro-consul, who exhorted him to respect his own age, to swear by the genius of the Emperor, and blaspheme Christ. Polycarp replied, "I have served Him these fourscore and six years, and He never did me any harm, but much good. How can I then blaspheme my King and my Saviour? If you require of me to swear by the genius of Cæsar, as you call it, hear my free confession; I am a Christian: but if you desire to learn the Christian religion, appoint a time, and hear me."

The pro-consul then, assuming a tone of severity, said, "I have wild beasts." "Call for them," replied the Saint: "for we are unalterably resolved not to change from good to evil. It is only good to pass from evil to good." The pro-consul said, "If you despise the beasts, I will cause you to be burnt to ashes." Polycarp answered, "You threaten me with a fire which burns for a short time, and then goes out; but are, yourself, ignorant of the judgment to come, and of the fire prepared for the wicked. Why do you delay? Bring against me what you please." Whilst he said this his countenance shone with a certain heavenly grace, insomuch that the pro-consul was struck with admiration. However, he ordered a crier to make public proclamation three times, "Polycarp has confessed himself a Christian." At this proclamation the whole multitude of Jews and Gentiles gave a great shout. They unanimously demanded that he should be burnt alive. Their request was no sooner granted than every one ran, with all speed, to fetch wood from the baths and shops. The Jews were particularly active and busy on this occasion. The pile being prepared, Polycarp put off his garments, untied his girdle, and began to take off his shoes. The wood and [Pg 382] other combustibles were heaped around him. The executioners would have attached him to the stake; but he said to them, "Suffer me to be as I am. He who gives me grace to endure this fire, will enable me to stand still without that precaution." They, therefore, contented themselves with tying his hands behind his back, and in this posture, looking up towards heaven, he prayed as follows: "O Almighty Lord God, Father of Thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of Thee, God of angels, powers, and every creature, and of all the race of the just that live in Thy presence! I bless Thee for having been pleased in Thy goodness to bring me to this hour, that I may receive a portion in the number of Thy martyrs, and partake of the chalice of Thy Christ, for the resurrection to eternal life, in the incorruptibleness of the Holy Spirit. Grant me to be received this day as a pleasing sacrifice, such an one as thou Thyself hast prepared, that so Thou mayest accomplish what Thou, O true and faithful God! hast foreshown. Wherefore, for all things I praise, bless, and glorify Thee, through the eternal high priest Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, with whom, to Thee, and the Holy Ghost, be glory now and for ever. Amen." He had scarce said Amen, when fire was set to the pile, and increased to a mighty flame. "But behold a wonder seen by us," say the authors of these Acts. "The flames forming themselves into an arch, like the sails of a ship swelled with the wind, gently encircled the body of the martyr; which stood in the middle, like purified gold or silver, appearing bright through the flames; and his body sending forth such a fragrance, that we seemed to smell precious spices." The heathen were exasperated to see that his body could not be consumed, and ordered a spearman to pierce him through, which he did, and such a quantity of blood issued out of his left side as to quench the fire. The malice [Pg 383] of the devil ended not here: he endeavoured to obstruct the relics of the martyr being carried off by the Christians; for many desired to do it, to show their respect to his body. Therefore, by the suggestion of Satan, Nicetes advised the pro-consul not to bestow it on the Christians, lest, said he, abandoning the crucified man, they should adore Polycarp: the Jews suggested this, "Not knowing," say the authors of these Acts, "that we can never forsake Christ, nor adore any other, though we love the martyrs, as his disciples and imitators, for the great love they bore their King and Master." The centurion then cast the body into the midst of the fire, and burnt it to ashes. "We afterwards took up the bones," say the writers of the Acts, "more precious than the richest jewels or gold, and deposited them decently in a place at which, may God grant us to assemble with joy, to celebrate the birthday of the martyr."

His tomb is still shown near Smyrna.


(end of 4th cent.)

[Greek Menæa. Authority, Theodoret, in his Philotheus, c. 6.]

Simeon the Old dwelt a life of solitude in a cave, feeding on vegetables. One day some travellers arrived at his cell, having lost their way and asked the old hermit to direct them to a certain fort for which they were bound. The hermit called two lions from the desert, and gave them to [Pg 384] the travellers as guides. This incident was related to Theodoret by one who was present on the occasion. When a large number of disciples assembled under his direction, the aged Simeon went away to mount Amanus, near Antioch, and there built a monastery. But afterwards, being desirous of ending his days on Sinai, he went into the desert of that mountain. And there he saw one day two hands raised from the mouth of a cave. Thinking it might be a snare of the devil, he approached with caution. At the sound of his footsteps the supplicating hands were drawn in, and he saw no man; then he cried to the dweller of the cave to come forth, and there issued out of it an old hermit dressed in palm leaves, who said that he and a brother hermit had come to establish themselves on Sinai, and they had promised each other never to separate. Now before they reached the holy mount the brother hermit died; so the survivor buried his corpse, and, faithful to his promise, tarried by his grave till the Lord should call him; and every day a lion brought him a bunch of dates. Now when Simeon had partaken of his dates, and they had sung together the matin office, he went on, and reaching Sinai with his monks, established on the mountain two monasteries, one at the summit, and the other at the foot.


(a.d. 404.)

[Roman Martyrology. S. Paula died on Jan. 26th, after sunset, consequently some commemorate her on Jan. 27th. Authority: her life written by S. Jerome, her director, in a letter to her daughter Eustochium.]


[Pg 385]

The blessed Paula was born at Rome in the year 347. Her father was Rogatus, of noble Grecian origin. Her mother, Blesilla, reckoned the Gracchi, the Scipios and Paulus Æmilius among her ancestors. This illustrious birth was made more honourable by her union with Toxotius, of the Julian race, and very wealthy. Her virtues endeared her to the people of Rome, and her modesty, gravity, and prudence caused her to be generally respected. Her husband died when she was aged twenty-three, and grief for his loss nearly brought her to the grave as well. Toxotius left behind him four daughters, Blesilla, Paulina, Eustochium, Julia, and Ruffina; the youngest child was a boy, and he bore the name of his father.

The heart-broken widow at length found repose in submission to the will of God. Filled with a sense of the vanity of all earthly things, she strove to detach her affections daily from all save God. After the death of her husband she would not sit down to table with any man, not even with the bishops, whose advice she sought, and who were most hospitably entertained in her house. By degrees she accustomed herself to plain food, and inexpensive clothing. Instead of a downy couch, she made her bed on the hard floor. "Hitherto all my care has been how I might please my husband," said she, "now I will care for naught save how I may best serve Jesus Christ."

She was now called on to bewail the death of her eldest daughter Blesilla, who died shortly after her husband, to whom she had been married only for a short time. S. Jerome wrote on this occasion to S. Paula from Bethlehem. After having tenderly recalled the pale and gentle face, bowed with exhaustion after fever on the slender neck, the angelic form, of the departed daughter, S. Jerome adds; "But what am I doing? I would dry the tears of a mother and mingle mine with hers. I do not conceal my emotion. I write weeping. But Jesus wept over Lazarus, because He loved him. It is difficult to console another when one is also overwhelmed with grief, and when the broken heart can find [Pg 386] no words. O Paula, I take Jesus Christ to witness, whose Majesty Blesilla now sees; I take the holy angels to witness, whose companion she now is; that I suffer the same anguish of heart as you, for I, having been her spiritual father, had learned to love her dearly."

Paula saw also her second daughter Paulina die, who had been married to Tammachius, a man of noble consular birth, as illustrious for his piety as for his descent, "the first of monks in the first of cities," S. Jerome called him in after years, when he had embraced the monastic life in Rome. She also survived her fourth daughter Ruffina, married to the patrician Aletheus, but this affliction fell upon her when she was no longer in Rome.

Her daughters had grown up, and her son Toxotius, having been secured a careful bringing up, by his sister Ruffina, S. Paula felt that she might now follow at liberty the bent of her desire. The stirring life in Rome gave her no rest. Her noble birth and great wealth made her in great request, and the time, which she desired to devote to God alone, was broken up by the petty business and formalities of social life, which could not be dispensed with in the great city. She therefore resolved to abandon Rome, her palace, her crowds of servants, her numerous acquaintances, many friends, and dear children.

She desired to visit the holy scenes consecrated by Christ, and then to settle quietly down near her old confessor and director Jerome, then inhabiting a cell at Bethlehem. It was no light matter parting with her relations and children, but she had this consolation, Eustochium, her unmarried daughter, accompanied her, one in heart with her mother, desirous of consecrating her virginity, as Paula desired to dedicate her widowhood, to Jesus Christ.

When they left Rome, the kinsmen accompanied them to the port. It was a heart-breaking scene. Paula took her [Pg 387] place on the deck of the vessel that was to bear her away for ever. The anchor was drawn up, the moorings cast loose, and the rowers bowed to their task. Then the grief of Toxotius became incontrollable; he stretched forth his arms to her, sobbing, "Mother, mother! do not leave me." The grief of the others was silent, manifesting itself in copious tears. But Paula, raising her dry eyes to heaven, turned her face from the shore, and conquered by a superhuman effort the agony caused by the rending of so many dear ties. On reaching Jerusalem she found that a palace had been furnished for her reception by the governor, with every comfort and even luxury. She, however, chose the meanest chamber therein, in which to lodge, and spent her time in visiting the holy sites. She prayed long and earnestly before the true Cross, kissed the stones on which the body of Jesus had lain, and watered with her tears the dust of the Dolorous Way along which He had borne His Cross.

She then journeyed to Bethlehem, and adored Christ in the cave of the Nativity. Overwhelmed with awe she exclaimed, "Oh, how dare I, a poor sinner, kiss the crib where the Lord wailed as a little babe? How dare I offer my prayer, where the Virgin brought the Word into the world in the substance of our flesh! Let the home of my Redeemer be henceforth my resting place, here will I dwell where He walked the earth as man."

Having settled at Bethlehem into a poor little house, she engaged workpeople to erect on the road to Jerusalem a spacious hospital for pilgrims and sick persons, and also a monastery for S. Jerome and his monks. She then erected three convents for women, with one church in which all the inmates of the three houses assembled for the divine office. There they met to sing prime, tierce, sext, nones, vespers, compline, and the midnight lauds; thus they daily sang the whole psalter, which every sister was required to learn by [Pg 388] heart. On Sundays they went to the neighbouring church where the Divine Sacrifice was offered, and where they communicated.

All the sisters worked with their hands, and made clothes for themselves and for the poor. No man was ever suffered to set foot within their doors. Paula governed them with great charity and discretion, animating them by her own example. Neither she nor her daughter, Eustochium, refused to perform the most menial offices in the sisterhood. If any of the sisters proved talkative she was separated from the rest, and made to walk last and to eat alone.

She was gladdened to hear in her retreat of the marriage of her son Toxotius to a pious maiden, named Leta, to whom S. Jerome addressed the first treatise on the education of women which the Christian spirit had inspired, and which prepared for cloistral life the young Paula, her daughter, devoted to the Lord from the cradle, and a nun, like her grandmother and her aunt. He offered with the candour of genius, to educate the child himself, and "old as I am," said he, "I shall accustom myself to infantine lispings, more honoured in this than was Aristotle, for I shall instruct not a king of Macedon, destined to perish by poison of Babylon, but a servant and spouse of Christ, to be presented to Him in the heavens."

But Toxotius and his wife seem to have thought that an aged monk, immersed in study, would not prove so suitable for the nurture of the little maiden as a woman, and they therefore sent her to S. Paula, her grandmother. S. Paula lived to the age of fifty-six years and eight months, of which she had spent in her widowhood five at Rome, and almost twenty at Bethlehem. In her last illness she repeated almost incessantly the verses of the psalms, which express the ardour of the soul to see Jerusalem which is above, and there to be united to her God. When she was no longer able to speak, [Pg 389] she formed the sign of the Cross on her lips, and expired in perfect peace, on Jan. 26th, a.d. 404. Her body, borne by bishops, attended by acolytes holding lighted tapers, was buried on the 28th of the same month, in the church of the Holy Manger at Bethlehem.


(5th cent.)

[Commemorated by the Greeks on this day, and introduced into the Roman Martyrology by Clement the VIII. Authority: a life in Simeon Metaphrastes of uncertain date.]

In the Court of Constantine the Great at Byzantium was a senator named Xenophon, a devout Christian, whose wife's name was Mary. They had two sons whom they loved as the apples of their eyes, John and Arcadius. These sons were destined for the law, and after they had finished their education in Greek at home, Xenophon sent them in a ship destined for Berytus, to be there instructed in law, that being then a great legal school. At the time of their departure, Xenophon was sick nigh unto death, and he bade them farewell from his bed. The young men had not been many days at sea before a violent tempest burst upon them, and the vessel was speedily reduced to a wreck. The brothers cast their arms round each other's necks and kissing, bade one another farewell. Then the wreck broke up on a reef, and in the havoc of the waves rending the fragile ship, they lost sight of one another. However, it fell out that both reached the land on broken pieces of the vessel, but they were cast up so far apart that each supposed that he alone was saved. John came ashore not far from a monastery, into which he was hospitably received, and where he was well cared for till he had recovered the exhaustion consequent on battling with [Pg 390] the waves for life. In the monastery John found a calm and cheerfulness such as he had not experienced in the world; it seemed to him a peaceful refuge for the storm-tossed soul as well as for the shipwrecked body, and he resolved to remain there as a monk.

Arcadius had also come ashore; he made his way to Jerusalem, in great trouble of mind, having lost in the vessel all the money his father had given him wherewith to prosecute his studies, and above all, his brother. Now alone and poor, he knew not whither to go, and what to do. Then one day he came to a monastery governed by an aged abbot, who comforted him, and urged him to despise the world, and seek rest in God. Arcadius remembered how, as a little boy, he had heard his father descant on the peace of the cloister and the happiness of monastic life. He therefore gladly assumed the habit, and bent his head for the tonsure.

Now at Byzantium, Xenophon had recovered of his malady, and he and his wife often communed together of their absent sons. Not hearing any news of them, he sent a servant to Berytus to make enquiries. The servant returned one day when Xenophon was at court, so that the mother, Mary, was the first to hear of the loss of the vessel. The servant said that it was feared at Berytus that all on board had perished. "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord," said she.

Evening came, and with it returned her husband from the court, with a crowd of servants and torch-bearers. He found supper spread, and his wife awaiting him. He sat down, but noticing that she was grieved in spirit, and that her eyes were full of tears, he asked the reason. She changed the subject, and after a while, so as gently to break the news to him, she said that the servant was on his way home. Xenophon started from the table in agitation, and asked where he was. "How do you know that he is here? he may have [Pg 391] been delayed through sickness on the way," said Mary, restraining her grief with an effort. "But the letters, where are the letters?" asked her husband, white with emotion. "Surely you can delay reading them till tomorrow," said the wife; "eat your supper now, at least, with a glad mind." Then her tears streamed down her cheeks. Xenophon looked steadily at her, and asked in a low voice, "Is it well with the boys?" Then she told him all. And Xenophon said, "The Lord's name be praised who has given me such a prudent and self-constrained wife," and instead of giving way, went to Mary and kissed her and comforted her, for now that the need for control was removed, all her mother's heart gave way in a passion of tears and sobs.

Xenophon and his wife had no rest. Were their children dead or alive? That they must know; so they resolved to go together to Palestine to find them alive or dead. On arriving at Jerusalem they visited the holy places, and prayed everywhere that if it were the Lord's will, they might see again once more the faces of their sons. One day in the street they saw a servant they had given to the youths now wearing the monastic habit; Xenophon fell down reverently before him, and when the man, full of shame, implored him not to do so, "It is not you I reverence, but your habit," said the nobleman. Then the man told him how the ship had been wrecked, and how nearly all had perished, but he, escaping to land, had taken the monastic profession upon him.

Three years had passed since John and Arcadius had sailed from Byzantium, and the parents began to despair of hearing any tidings of them, when one day they visited the monastery of the abbot who had received Arcadius. The old man having heard their story, knew at once that one of their sons was with him, and from what he had learned, he conjectured that the other was alive in another house. He therefore bade them be of good cheer, assuring them that [Pg 392] their sons lived, and he bade them meet him on a certain day upon Mount Calvary, by which time he would be supplied with further information.

Now it fell out that John was then in Jerusalem visiting the scenes of the Passion. The aged abbot sent for him and spake with him, and soon learned that his suspicions were correct, and that he was the brother of his monk. Arcadius at this moment arrived. The abbot said to John, "Brother, what is thy history, I pray thee relate it to me." So John began, "I am the son of wealthy parents in Byzantium, who sent me with my brother to Berytus, to study law; I loved my brother as my own soul. He was dearer to me than my life. On our voyage a storm fell on us, and the vessel was wrecked, then my brother Arcadius and I"—hereat Arcadius trembled, and extended his hands, and fell at the feet of the abbot, and stammered forth, "It is my brother, my brother!" And when John heard his voice, he knew him; but they knew each other not before, for they were both cowled, and greatly altered through fasting. And the brothers lifted up their voices and wept, and embraced each other with exceeding joy. Then the abbot said, "My sons, I bid you be silent and restrain yourselves. Your parents come this way, and too great joy falling too suddenly upon them may be more than they can bear, therefore I say unto you, refrain yourselves awhile." Hardly had he done speaking, and the two monks had fallen behind, before Xenophon came up Calvary, leading Mary.

They were much aged by care. They came on with their wistful eyes fixed on the old abbot; and scarce regarded the monks who followed him, for their thoughts were on what he had to tell them. They cried, "Where are our dear sons, father?" Then the abbot said, "Rejoice, my children, rejoice and praise the Lord! your sons are found. [Pg 393] Now go and prepare a feast, and I will come shortly with my two disciples whom you see here, and when we have eaten, I will bring your sons to your arms."

Now when Xenophon and Mary heard this, they were filled with joy, and they hasted and made ready a feast, and the abbot came, he and his two disciples, and they sat down and did eat. But all the while, as Arcadius and John heard the dear voices of father and mother, they shook with suppressed emotion, and turned their heads aside, and bowed them on their breasts, that the tears might trickle unseen. And as they ate, the conversation turned to the holy lives of the ascetics in the monasteries and lauras of Palestine. "Oh" said Xenophon; "how peaceful and glad of heart are all there; methinks there the word of the prophet is fulfilled, that the desert should bloom as a rose. Right glad should I be, were my dear boys to seek such blessed places of heavenly consolation, and lying down in those green pastures, there find rest." "But if they were to do this, thou wouldst be deprived of their society," said the abbot.

"That matters not," said Xenophon; "If I could but see their faces again, and know that they had set their hearts on God alone, I should be comforted."

"And now," said the abbot; "let one of these monks speak, and say why he has entered on the monastic life." Thereupon Arcadius began with faltering voice: "I and my brother here present were born at Byzantium, of good Christian parents, and the name of the one was Xenophon, and the name of the other was Mary."

Upon this the father and mother uttered a cry, and ran, and they were locked in the embrace of their children.

The abbot stood by and saw with joy their tears and kisses; and after a while he said, "Give glory to God!" so they raised their hands and eyes to heaven, and praised Him who had brought them together again.

[Pg 394]

But now that Xenophon and his wife had found their children, they felt that there was nothing more for which they cared on earth, and they also went into solitude, and served God in fasting and prayers night and day. Thus the whole family laboured with one heart for one end, the salvation of their souls and the glory of God; and though separated in body, they were united in heart, and now they dwell together in the Paradise of God.


(about a.d. 670.)

[Roman and other Martyrologies. In some, however, on Jan. 27th; at Paris on Jan. 30th. Authorities: her life by two contemporary writers. The first is in plain unpolished style. Its date appears from allusions such as this:—"The venerable Theudofred, who is now bishop, was then abbot." "The illustrious offspring of Bathild, now reigning, &c." The writer of the other expressly states that he had seen and known the virtues of her whom he describes.]

Archimbold, mayor of the palace, in the reign of Dagobert, King of France, bought a slender fair-haired English slave girl. The name of this girl was Bathild, given her probably because of her work, for the name signifies "the damsel of the lady's bower."[125] In service she grew up to woman's estate, and was very beautiful, but, withal, adorned with a meek and quiet spirit.

[Pg 395]

She is thus described by one of her biographers:—"Her pious and admirable conversation attracted the admiration of the prince, and all his ministers. For she was of a benignant spirit and sober manners, prudent and shy, never scheming evil, never light in talk, or pert in speech; but in all her actions upright. She was of Saxon race, in shape graceful and pleasing, with a bright face and a staid gait, and as such, she found favour with the prince, so that he constituted her his cup-bearer, and as such, dealing honestly, she stood often by him ministering to him. But so far from being lifted up by her position, she showed the utmost humility to her fellow-servants, cheerfully obeying them, ministering reverently to her elders, often taking their shoes off for them, scraping and cleaning them, and bringing them their washing water, and mending their clothes also. All this she did without a murmur, with gentle and pious alacrity."

Now it fell out that Archimbold lost his wife, and he looked about for one to fill her place. Then his glance rested on the fair-haired, blue-eyed Saxon maid, so kindly and so obliging. But when he announced that it was his intention to make her his wife, she was so alarmed that she hid herself among the under maids of the kitchen, dishevelled her light hair, begrimed her face, and worked in rags, so that the mayor supposed she had gone clean away, and after a while forgot her, and possibly thinking that such a match might have been after all a mistake, he married some one else. Then Bathild shook her tatters off, braided her flaxen hair, washed her sunny face, and shone forth in her accustomed place. But she had fled the mayor to catch the king. How Clovis became attached to her is not recorded; possibly he had long noticed the meek maiden at the mayor's elbow filling his wine goblet, and her disappearance had made him aware of the strength of his passion. Certain it is that shortly after, he asked her to be his lawful wife, and to sit at his side on the throne of France. There was no escaping a king; and at the age of nineteen, in 649, she was married accordingly to Clovis II. As queen she exercised a most salutary influence over the mind of her husband, and persuaded him to enact many salutary laws. She became a nursing [Pg 396] mother to the Church in France, and exerted herself to the utmost of her power to relieve the necessities of the poor, and ameliorate the condition of the serfs. She bore her husband three sons, who all successively wore the crown, Clothaire III., Childeric II., and Thierry I. After six years of married life, in 655, Bathild was left a widow, when her eldest son was only five years old. She then became regent of the kingdom. The gentle queen remembered her sorrows as a slave, and resolved to become the benefactress of the slave. Slavery was universally and firmly established in France. To root out such an institution at once was impossible; it could only be done with caution, lest it should alarm and rouse to opposition the great slave owners. She had sufficient penetration to discover the great cause of slavery in France. The old Gallic population was crushed beneath an enormous tax, to pay which mothers were obliged to sell their children, and which reduced into bondage those unfortunates who could not pay. This impost she abolished, and thereby cut off the source of slavery. She also forbade the retention or purchase of Christian slaves; but, to save vested interests, this law did not emancipate those already in bonds, but was of future operation only. She employed, moreover, all the money she could spare in the purchase out of bondage of such children as mothers had sold, out of dire necessity. She also sent ambassadors to all the European courts, to announce that the sale of French subjects was strictly forbidden, and that any slave who should set foot on French soil would be held from that moment to be free.

Bathild also founded a large number of religious houses. France was then overspread with forests; vast districts were pathless wildernesses, uninhabited by men. Old cities which had thriven under the Roman empire had fallen into ruins, and the wolf made his lair in the deserted chambers. How was all this desolation to be remedied, this waste land to be [Pg 397] reclaimed? A number of men must be gathered together at certain spots, and these must become civilizing centres, diffusing knowledge amongst the people, and cultivating the soil. Such were the monasteries. They were dotted about in the wildest parts of the vast woods, and little by little the trees were cleared away about them, and pastures and corn land usurped their place, and with the advance of agriculture, civilization spread. Bathild founded Corbie, Chelles, and Jumièges, besides others of less note. Towards the close of her days, when her son Clothaire was of an age to govern, she retired into the monastery of Chelles, where she finished her days in peace, dying at the age of fifty, in 680.


(7th cent.)

[Anglican Martyrologies, but new Anglo-Roman Martyrology, Jan. 23. Authority: Bede's Eccl. Hist. lib. 4. c. 9.]

Theoritgitha was a holy sister in the convent of Barking on the Thames, under the rule of the abbess Ethelberga. "She had always endeavoured to serve God in all humility and sincerity," says Bede, "and she took care to assist this same mother in keeping up regular discipline, by instructing and reproving the younger ones." She suffered nine years from a cruel distemper, which purified her soul. She saw in a vision a sign of the approaching death of S. Ethelberga.



[124] Rev. ii. 9.

[125] Bath-hildr in Norse, meaning the maiden (hildr) of the Bath-stofa, the female apartment in a Norse, Saxon or Frankish house. She is sometimes called Bathildes, sometimes Baltidis.

[Pg 398]

January 27.

S. Julian, B., of Mans, in France.
S. Julian, M., at Atina, in Italy, circ. a.d. 133.
S. Devota, M., in Corsica, circ. a.d. 303.
S. Peter the Egyptian, H., in Syria, circ. a.d. 400.
S. Chrysostom, B. D., at Constantinople, a.d. 407.
S. Domitian, Monk and Deacon in Judea, a.d. 473.
S. Marius, Ab. of La-val-benoit, near Sisteron, in France, 6th cent.
S. Lupus, B., of Chalons-sur-Saone, in France, beginning of 7th cent.
S. Vitalian, Pope of Rome, a.d. 671.
S. Emerius, Ab., and his mother, S. Candida, at Banoles, in Spain,
end of 8th cent.

S. Gamelbert, P., in Bavaria, end of 8th cent.
S. Sulpicius, B., of S. Ghislain in Belgium.
S. Theodoric II., B, of Orleans, a.d. 1022.
S. Gildwin, Can. of Dol, in Brittany, a.d. 1077.
S. John, B. of French Flanders, a.d. 1130.



[Called the Apostle of Celtic Gaul; he is commemorated on this day in the Roman Martyrology. In the Paris Martyrology on the 28th Jan., others on the 31st; that of Cologne on 26th Jan. In the Roman Martyrology he is said to have been sent by S. Peter into Gaul; but as Bollandus has shown, this is an error. His life was written by one Brother Lethald in, or about, a.d. 990.]


aint Julian was the first to carry the light of the Gospel into that portion of France of which Le Mans is the capital. There he laboured with great success, destroyed the idol which the people worshipped, and persuaded great numbers to be baptized. His life, written several hundreds of years after his death, is of small authority, and contains little of interest. His relics were given to Paderborn in Westphalia, [Pg 399] in 1143.


(about a.d. 303.)

[Deivota seems to have been the correct form of her name, but she is usually called Devota. Authority: her Acts.]

Deivota, or Devota was brought up from childhood in the Christian faith; when she was quite young, she was taken into the house of Eutyches, a senator, and probably a relation.

Eutyches was not a Christian, but he was a kindly disposed man, who disliked persecution. On the publication of the edict of Diocletian against Christianity, he sacrificed along with the other senators; but the governor, being told that he sheltered in his house a little Christian maiden, ordered him to be poisoned, and Devota to be executed with great barbarity. Her feet were tied together, and she was dragged over rough ground till her limbs were dislocated, and she was cut and bruised over her entire person. When, after this, she was stretched on the rack, she besought Jesus Christ to release her. Her prayer was heard, and with a gentle sigh she expired. At the same moment a white dove was seen fluttering over her; it expanded its pure wings, and mounting, was lost in the deep blue of the sky. During the night a devout priest, named Benenatus, a deacon, Apollinarius, and a believing boatman, Gratian by name, removed her body, and placing it amidst spices in the little skiff, rowed out to sea. Then a white dove appeared, skimming over the water, then waiting, and hovering before them, then darting forward; and they, remembering the apparition at her death, followed the guidance of the dove, and reached Monaco, where they [Pg 400] laid her.


(a.d. 407.)

[Authorities: Socrates, Sozomen, life by Palladius, and his own writings, &c.]

John Chrysostom was the son of Secundus, a military officer, born about 347, at Antioch, and on his father's death, soon afterwards, he became indebted for a careful and Christian training to his pious mother, Anthusa. He studied rhetoric under the accomplished pagan teacher Libanius, who afterwards, on being asked to name his own successor, replied, "John would be the fittest, if the Christians had not stolen him."

He was baptized by Meletius, patriarch of Antioch; his chief friend was S. Basil, and Anthusa's earnest pleadings were required to counteract Basil's proposal that they should both retire into monastic life. Chrysostom, as we may most conveniently call him, could not resist his mother's appeal; he continued to live at home, but in the practice of monastic asceticism and the diligent reading of Scripture. He studied theology under Diodore, the companion of Flavian, who had been the champions of orthodoxy against Arianism, first as laymen, and afterwards as priests, in Antioch. Meletius, who had baptized John Chrysostom, was himself a confessor. It was probably about 372-374 that Chrysostom and Basil were spoken of as likely to be made bishops; and Chrysostom, by a singular artifice—the justification of which forms the least pleasing portion of his treatise "On the Priesthood,"—procured Basil's consecration while evading the burden himself.

For several years he carried out the plan which, during his mother's lifetime he had abandoned, living first in cenobitic "tabernacles," and afterwards as a hermit in a cave, [Pg 401] until his health, never robust, gave way, and he was obliged to return to Antioch, where he entered the ministry.

Early in 387, an increase of taxes provoked the people of Antioch to sedition. They threw down the brazen statues of the Emperor Theodosius, and his deceased wife, the pious and charitable Flacilla. Flavian, who had been elected and consecrated patriarch, on the death of Meletius, set forth a little before Lent, to appease the emperor, and met the officers of the empire, sent from court to avenge the insult. His absence was well supplied by Chrysostom, who had recently received priest's orders, and who began to turn this trouble to account by a course of "Sermons on the Statues," as they are called. In these he endeavoured to allay the people's terror, and to convince them of their besetting sins—of which swearing was the chief—and so far succeeded, that the churches were thronged all day. The people of Antioch were pardoned by the emperor at the intercession of the patriarch.

S. Chrysostom had been five years deacon, and twelve years priest, when Nectarius, bishop of Constantinople died, in 397, after an episcopate which had relaxed the general tone of the clergy. "Then," says the biographer of S. Chrysostom, "there came together some who were not wanted, priests unworthy of the priesthood, besetting the palace gates, resorting to bribery, falling on their knees even, before the people." Disgusted by this scandalous eagerness for an office which saints were wont to dread, the faithful entreated Arcadius, the Emperor, to look out for one who could administer it worthily. Eutropius, the emperor's chamberlain, had learned by visiting Antioch to admire the character of Chrysostom. He made Arcadius write to the military commander at Antioch, desiring him to send the priest John to Constantinople, without causing any public [Pg 402] excitement. The commander sent a message to Chrysostom, asking him to meet him "at the Church of the Martyrs, near the Roman Gate." Chrysostom complied; was placed in a public conveyance, and hurried away from the scene of his early life and priestly labours. Several bishops were summoned for the consecration. Theophilus of Alexandria had come to Constantinople to solicit the appointment for his priest Isidore. He was required to consecrate Chrysostom, but endeavoured to withdraw, reading the decision and earnestness of Chrysostom in his face, and disliking him, for he was a thoroughly worldly, self-seeking prelate. Eutropius showed him some papers, however, saying, "Choose between consecrating John, and undergoing a trial on the charges made against you in these documents." Theophilus could make no reply. He consecrated Chrysostom on Feb. 26th, a.d. 398; but he never forgave him for having been the cause of this severe mortification.

Over a city in which intrigue and adulation were practised as the royal road to honour, John Chrysostom, straight forward and outspoken, was set as patriarch. He came to be chief shepherd over a clergy given up to ease and sycophancy, flattering the rich and powerful, fawning on the emperor for place, and betraying their charge, the poor.

Chrysostom set to work at once as a reformer of abuses. He forbad the clergy frequenting the banquets of great men; he struggled against the practice of entertaining "spiritual sisters." Several clergy were deprived; Chrysostom drew upon himself the bitter dislike of many members of their body. He examined the accounts of the church-stewards, cut off superfluous expenses, and ordered the sum thus saved to be applied to the maintenance of hospitals. He scrutinized the lives of the widows receiving pension from the Church; he earnestly besought contributions to a fund for the poor; he exhorted the faithful to attend the nocturnal [Pg 403] services, but to leave their wives at home with the children. He rebuked the rich for their pride and selfishness. So great was the charm of his "golden tongued" eloquence, and of the unmistakeable nobleness and sincerity of his character, that "the city put on a new aspect of piety;" and the worship of the Catholics became more real, and their lives more earnest and pure.

Among those of the higher classes in Constantinople who were offended by the uncompromising character of their new archbishop, was Eutropius, the chamberlain, who had raised him to the see. He desired to see the Church respectable and subservient, the patriarch pious and obedient, to the state. The Church, in his view, was a portion of the state organization, the clergy the moral police, always to be under the direction of the crown. But under Chrysostom's government it was becoming unmanageable and independent. To curtail its liberties, he procured a law to annul the right of asylum in the churches, which had been growing up during the century. But he was soon driven himself, by a revolution in the emperor's counsels, to clasp the altar as the safeguard of his life. Chrysostom violated the new law in defence of its author; and while Eutropius lay cowering in the sanctuary, bade the people take home this new lesson on the vanity of vanities. "The altar," said he, "is more awful than ever, now that it holds the lion chained." He called on his hearers to beg the emperor's clemency, or rather, to ask the God of mercy to save Eutropius from threatened death, and enable him to put away his many crimes. He bravely withstood the court in the cause of Christian humanity; but Eutropius himself quitted the church, and was condemned to exile.

At this time the Origenist controversy was raging with great acrimony. It is difficult to pronounce an opinion upon it. Origen had unquestionably published some [Pg 404] heretical opinions, but some were also attributed to him which he did not hold. Theophilus of Alexandria had leaned strongly towards the Origenists, but he was not a man of principle, and he adopted that view which suited his purposes at the time. Finding it would answer his ends better to oppose Origenism, he denounced it in his Paschal letters, in 401. The monks and hermits of Egypt had been regarded with an evil eye by heathens, Arians, and insincere Christians. All the learned, the philosophers, and men of letters, among the pagans, were emulous in their protest. The impassioned activity of the monks against idolatry, their efforts, more and more successful, to extirpate it from the heart of the rural population, naturally exasperated the last defenders of the idols. The Arians were still more implacable than the Pagans. The tendency of these enemies of the Divinity of Christ was in everything to abuse, degrade, and restrain the spirit of Christianity. How should the monastic life, which was its most magnificent development escape their fury? The war between them and the monks was therefore long and cruel. The persecution which Paganism had scarcely time to light up to its own advantage under Julian, was pitiless under the Arian Constantius, and more skilful, without being more successful, under the Arian Valens. In the time of Constantius, entire monasteries, with the monks they contained, were burnt in Egypt, and in the frightful persecution under the Arian patriarch Lucius, raised in Alexandria, a troop of imperial soldiers ravaged the solitude of Nitria, and massacred its inhabitants. And now Lucius was succeeded by the worldly, ambitious, and utterly unspiritual Theophilus, who hated the poor monks of the desert as a living reproach upon his own self-seeking, and his aim to accommodate Christianity to worldliness. He soon quarrelled with S. Isidore the hospitaller, who had suffered under the Arian [Pg 405] Lucius, and whom he now drove from Alexandria, hating him, as those holding to mammon always will hate those who hold to Christ. Isidore fled to Nitria. Theophilus brought the charge of Origenism against the monks there. The chief Nitrian monks were Dioscorus, Bishop of Nitria, Ammonius, Eusebius, and Euthymius; they were known as the "Tall Brothers." Theophilus ordered them to be expelled; when they came to remonstrate, his eyes flashed, his face became livid, he threw his episcopal pall round the neck of Ammonius, struck him on the face with open palm and clenched fist, and cried, "Heretic, anathematize Origen!" They returned to Nitria; the patriarch, in a synod, condemned them unheard, and proceeded by night to attack their monasteries, at the head of a drunken band. Dioscorus was dragged from his throne; the cells of the other three were burned, together with copies of both Testaments, and even the reserved portions of the Holy Eucharist. It was said that a boy perished in the flames. The brothers, with many of their companions, fled to Scythopolis in Palestine, hoping to support themselves in a place famous for palms, by their occupation of weaving palm-baskets. The enmity of Theophilus hunted them out of this refuge; they reached Constantinople, and fell at Chrysostom's feet, "Who is it," asked he with tears, "that has injured you?" They answered, "Pope Theophilus; prevail upon him, father, to let us live in Egypt, for we have never done aught against him or against our Saviour's law."

He lodged them in the church called Anastasia; allowed them to attend the service, but prudently, to avoid, if possible, a breach with their persecutor, debarred them from the communion. They had been condemned by their own patriarch, and it was not for him to admit them to communion without a fair investigation and authoritative exculpation. He wrote to Theophilus, in the tone of a "son and [Pg 406] brother," praying him to be reconciled to the fugitives; but Theophilus, who disclaimed his right to interfere, defamed them as sorcerers and heretics. The Tall Brothers now appealed to the emperor and empress, who ordered Theophilus to be summoned, and the accusations against the brothers made by him to be examined. The accusations were soon proved to be groundless. Theophilus, who openly said he was "going to court in order to depose John," arrived in Constantinople in June, 402, with a load of gifts for the emperor, the empress, and the court, from Egypt and India. He at once assumed a tone of contumelious hostility towards S. Chrysostom. He would not visit or speak to him; he even abstained from entering the church.

While Chrysostom declined to hear judicially the complaints of the Tall Brothers, Theophilus was concocting a scheme for his deposition. All the courtiers among the bishops, and the worldly among the clergy desired it, for their tempers rebelled against godly discipline, and the example of his own self-denial was a standing protest against their self-indulgence. Acacius, Bishop of Berrhœa, had been provided with so homely a lodging by Chrysostom that he joined the malcontents, venting his spleen in the curious menace, "I will cook a dish for him!" Eudoxia, the empress, who had heard of a sermon in which Chrysostom had lashed the pride of women, took the side of his enemies, who determined to hold a council at a suburb of Chalcedon, called "The Oak." The bishops who attended were thirty-six. Twenty-nine charges were advanced against the patriarch. Some were of open violence; that he had beaten and chained a monk, had struck a man in church so as to draw blood, and then had offered the sacrifice. Others were of evil speaking; he had said his clergy "were not worth three-pence;" he had accused three deacons of having stolen his [Pg 407] pall. He was also charged with misconduct in his office; he sold church furniture, had been careless in conferring orders; he was unsociable, gave women private interviews, was irreverent in church, and ate wafers while sitting on his throne. Some of these charges were gross exaggerations of that plain-spoken severity which knew no respect of persons. Others were inventions more or less malignant. One of the basest was the charge about disposing of church ornaments. Like other saints, he had done so for the sake of the suffering poor.

While these charges were being read at the Oak, he sat in his palace with forty bishops, and consoled them by quoting texts of Scripture. "I am now ready to be offered. Do not weep and break my heart! To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Now entered two young bishops from the council at the Oak citing "John" to appear, with other clergy. The forty bishops sent a deputation to remonstrate with Theophilus. Chrysostom, for himself, sent word that he objected to Theophilus and three others as disqualified, by avowed hostility, to be his judges. A bishop, named Isaac, produced a new list of charges, three of which were remarkable. He had used strong language about fervour of rapturous devotion. He had been emphatic in his assurances of Divine long-suffering. This was denounced as an encouragement of sinners in their sins; but it was forgotten that he had warned men against presuming thereon. "He had eaten before administering baptism," that is the Paschal baptism which was followed immediately by a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and which therefore implied non-fasting performance of the sacrifice; and "he had given the Eucharist to persons who were not fasting;" two charges which he vehemently denied. "If I have done this, may my name be effaced from the roll of bishops," he said. The council pronounced him contumacious, [Pg 408] and deposed him, requesting the emperor, Arcadius, also to punish him for insolence towards Eudoxia. This was in 403.

Appealing in vain to a more just tribunal, Chrysostom was dragged from his church, and hurried by night into Bithynia. That night an earthquake shook the palace; Eudoxia, frightened at the omen, wrote to the exile, entreating him to return. He was escorted to the city by a joyous multitude, bearing tapers and chanting psalms, who forced him, in spite of the irregularity of such a proceeding, to ascend his throne, before the sentence of the council of the Oak could be annulled. This was, however, speedily done by a synod of sixty bishops; the hostile assembly could not stand its ground, and Theophilus, after meanly forcing the two surviving brothers, on the ground of their monastic obedience, to ask his pardon, consulted his safety by flight to Alexandria.

New troubles soon began. In September of the same year 403, a silver statue of the Empress Eudoxia was erected near the cathedral, and the Manichean governor of the city encouraged wild and heathenish dancing in its honour, which interrupted the church service. Chrysostom spoke strongly on the subject, and was said to have begun a sermon with the words, "Again Herodias rages, again she demands the head of John." The foes of the archbishop seized the opportunity. His old enemy Theophilus sent three bishops to Constantinople. The feeble Emperor Arcadius was persuaded to order that Chrysostom should be refused the use of the churches. Easter-eve came, April 16. Arcadius said to the chief adversaries of Chrysostom, "See to it, that you are not giving me wrong counsel." "On our heads," they answered, "be the deposition of John!" One of the forty faithful bishops bade the haughty empress fear God, and have pity on her own children. As the churches [Pg 409] were closed to S. John Chrysostom, he held the solemn services of the day in the Baths of Constantine. Thither the people thronged, abandoning the churches. The courtier bishops complained, and it was resolved to break up this assembly. A band of soldiers was sent together with four hundred barbarian recruits to clear the bath, about 9 p.m. They pressed onwards to the font, dispersed the catechumens, for on that day it was customary to baptize great numbers, struck the priests on the head until their blood was mingled with the baptismal water, rushed up to the altar where the sacred Body and Blood were reserved for communicating the newly baptized, and overthrew them, so that as S. Chrysostom says in his letter to Pope Innocent of Rome, "the most holy Blood of Christ, as might be expected in so great a tumult, was spilled on the clothes of the soldiers." Thus were the Arian horrors renewed. On Easter-day, Arcadius, riding out of the city, saw some three thousand newly baptized in their white robes. "Who are those persons?" he asked. "They are heretics," was the answer; and a new onslaught was made upon them. During the paschal season, those who would not disown S. Chrysostom were cast into prison. Within the churches, instead of the joyful worship of the season, were heard the sounds of torture, and the terrible oaths by which men were commanded to anathematize the archbishop. His life was twice attempted; his people guarded his house; he wrote an account of what had happened to the Bishops of Rome, Milan and Aquileia. Pope Innocent, who had already heard Theophilus' version of the story, continued his communion for the present to both parties, but summoned Theophilus to attend a council.

Towards the end of Whitsun-week, Arcadius was prevailed upon to send another mandate to Chrysostom—"Commend your affairs to God, and depart." Chrysostom [Pg 410] was persuaded to depart secretly; he called his friends to prayer; kissed them, bade farewell in the baptistry to the deaconesses, and desired them to submit to a new bishop, if he were ordained without having solicited the see. "The Church cannot be without a bishop." Whilst the people waited for him to mount his horse at the great western door, he went out at the eastern; repeating to himself the words of Job, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked I return thither!"

This was his final expulsion, June 20th, 404; he crossed over to Bithynia, while a fire broke out which consumed the cathedral and the palace of the senate. Some ascribed it to incendiaries; others called it a sign of divine wrath. Several of Chrysostom's friends, the "Joannites," as they were called, were cruelly treated, as if guilty of the fire.[126]

The place of his exile was Cucusus, in Armenia; and there, after a journey, the pain of which was only alleviated by marks of sympathy and reverence, he arrived in the middle of September. The bishop of Cucusus offered to resign his see in his favour; and Dioscorus, a man of rank, entreated him as a favour to occupy his own house, which he fitted up for the exile's convenience, with a liberality against which Chrysostom writes, "I am continually exclaiming." Very soon after he reached Cucusus, the Empress Eudoxia bore a dead child and expired.

Pope Innocent wrote to the exile, exhorting him to patience by Scriptural examples. "A good man can be exercised, but he cannot be overcome, while the Divine Scriptures fortify his mind. Venerable brother, let your conscience comfort you." He also wrote to the clergy and laity of Constantinople, declaring his intention of holding a General Council for the composing of these miserable quarrels.

[Pg 411]

The saintly exile in Cucusus, while suffering from illness and intense cold, and in constant peril from freebooters, continued to discharge the office of a good shepherd. He wrote letter after letter to the faithful lady Olympias in Constantinople, exhorting her to remember that the only trial really terrible was sin. He lamented that faithful bishops were suffering for adherence to his communion; he exhorted them and their clergy to be of good courage. His pastoral thoughtfulness extended far beyond a merely general care for his brethren's welfare. We find him rebuking two priests of Constantinople, one of whom had only preached five times between his expulsion and October, while the other had not preached once; setting on foot a mission to the pagans of Phœnicia; anxious to have a good bishop consecrated for the Goths; drawing tighter the old ties which bound him to the clergy of Antioch, and employing part of his friend's contributions in the redemption of captives, and the relief of the poor.

Pope Innocent now boldly espoused his cause, as that of a confessor for righteousness' sake. He assembled a synod, and persuaded Honorius, Emperor of the West, who had already remonstrated with Arcadius, Emperor of the East, to write in a more peremptory tone, demanding a council at Thessalonica, and pointing out Theophilus of Alexandria as the reputed author of the present evils.

Towards the end of the year, the furious incursions of the Isaurian robbers, filling the country with rapine and bloodshed, compelled S. Chrysostom to take shelter in the castle of Arabiscus. The winter was again a time of discomfort; he could not obtain a sufficiency of medicines; and the snow-drifts prevented him from receiving his friend's letters. About this time the western delegates sent from Rome with four eastern bishops who had gone thither to plead the cause of Chrysostom, were intercepted [Pg 412] on their way to Constantinople, and confined in a fortress, their credentials were violently wrung from them, and instead of being allowed to see Arcadius, the westerns were sent back to Italy, the easterns banished to the frontiers of the empire. On their way they were cruelly harassed, robbed of their money, wearied by prolonged days' journeys, and compelled to lodge in the lowest haunts of profligacy. One of them consoled his brethren by observing that their presence recalled the wretched women to thoughts of God, which might result in their salvation, and His glory. That the persecution was in great measure a systematic revenge on Chrysostom as the representative of clerical strictness, is evidenced by such a fact as that a venerable man named Hilary was scourged, not by a judge, but by the clergy. Chrysostom wrote to thank his western friends for their sympathy, and sent a second letter to Pope Innocent, assuring him that "in the third year of exile, amid famine, pestilence, war, sieges, indescribable solitude, and daily peril from Isaurian swords, he was greatly consoled and delighted by Innocent's genuine, stedfast, and abundant charity."

The winter of 406-7 was severe, but Chrysostom preserved his health by never stirring out of a close and well-warmed chamber. In the summer his enemies, dreading his influence on the people of Antioch, who went to visit him, procured an order for his removal to Pityus on the shores of the Black Sea, the last fortress of the empire. His guards were ordered to exhaust him by long journeys. Through scorching heat and drenching rains, he was hurried on, and never allowed the refreshment of the bath; one only of the guards being disposed to show him furtive kindnesses. For three months this painful journey lasted; at length they halted at the Church of S. Basiliscus, a short distance from Comana, in Pontus. That night, the sufferer [Pg 413] had a foreboding that his release was at hand. The martyr Basiliscus appeared to him and said, "Courage, brother John, tomorrow we shall be together." In the morning, Sept 14, 407, he begged to be allowed to stay in the church until eleven o'clock in the forenoon. It could not be; he was forced to proceed, but after travelling about four miles, he was so evidently dying, that they returned to the church. There he asked for white garments, and exchanged for them those which he wore. He was still fasting; he received the Holy Communion, doubtless from the priest of the church, offered up his last prayer, added his usual thanksgiving, "Glory to God for all things," and sealed it with a final, Amen. "Then he stretched out his feet, which had run so beauteously for the salvation of the penitent, and the rebuke of the habitual sinners," and calmly expired, in about the sixtieth year of his age, and in the tenth of his episcopate. He was buried beside the martyr Basiliscus, the funeral being attended by a throng of virgins and monks from Syria, Cilicia, Pontus, and Armenia. No comment on his glorious life could be so expressive as the doxology with which it closed, and which, gathering into one view all its contrasts, recognised not only in success and honour, but in cruel outrage, and homeless desolation, the gracious presence of a never-changing Love.[127]


(7th cent.)

[Called in France Loup, Leul, or Leu. He was canonized by Pope John VIII, in 879; he is commemorated on this day at Châlons; also there on April 30th, the day of his canonization. His life is by an anonymous writer, who says that he wrote it from the remembrance of those who had read the Acts of S. Lupus which had been destroyed by fire.]

[Pg 414]

S. Lupus, Bishop of Cabilinum, or Châlons sur Saone, flourished about the year 610. He was the son of honourable parents, and he commended himself to the people by his abundant charity, his self-denial, and his tenderness to the sick. Châlons being ill-provided with drinking water, and the soil dry and sandy, he miraculously provided it with an abundant spring which flows to the present day. The story is thus told. He stood one day with his ivory pastoral staff in hand watching the hay makers; the sun was hot, and the labourers were exhausted. Moved with compassion, and knowing that the turbid waters of the river were unfit to drink, he struck his staff into the sand, and a limpid spring bubbled up. When dying he sent for the governor of Châlons, and begged him to pardon the unfortunate wretches who languished in the prison under sentence of death. The governor roughly refused. After Lupus was dead, his funeral passed the city prison, and the bier was set down at that place. The prisoners stretched their hands through the bars of their windows crying piteously. Instantly their chains fell off, the doors flew open, and they were set at liberty.


(a.d. 1022.)

[Called in France Thierry. Authority: an ancient life in Bollandus.]

S. Thierry was born at Château Thierry, so called from an ancestor of the saint, whose family was noble and wealthy. He was taken to court and gained the confidence of King Robert the Good. On the death of Bishop Arnulf of Orleans, Thierry was elected, with the consent of the king, to fill the vacant see. His appointment was opposed by a priest named Adalric who had desired the throne for himself, and who had the indecency to burst into the church [Pg 415] with a band of armed men, and thrust up to the very altar, uttering violent menaces, when Thierry was being consecrated, in the hopes of terrifying the consecrating bishops from what they were doing. Afterwards the priest at the head of a party of ruffians waylaid the Bishop by night, in a lane, and throwing him from his horse, ran him through, as they believed, with a sword. The weapon providentially cut through his garments without wounding him; and when the would-be assassins had fled, he rose and regained the city. Adalric, fearing the consequences, threw himself on the compassion of the Bishop, and asked his pardon, which Thierry frankly accorded him. Thierry died on a journey at Tonnerre, where his kinsman Count Milo built the church of S. Michael over his body. He was succeeded on the throne of Orleans by the priest Adalric.


(a.d. 1130.)

This saint was forced into the episcopate by Pope Urban against his desire. He was a most meek and gentle-spirited man, full of thought for others, but severe upon himself, as was evidenced by one little fact noticed by his biographer. He was wont to rise very early to his prayers, and when he did so, he took the greatest care not to disturb others in the room and house. When he was dying, crowds of people came to see his loved face for the last time, and he gave them his benediction, and died in so doing.


[126] See concerning the fire and subsequent persecution in the account of SS. Eutropius and Tygris, Jan. 12th; p. 163.

[127] This life is, for the most part, taken from the Rev. Canon Bright's "Hist. of the Church from a.d. 313 to a.d. 451." London, 1863.

[Pg 416]

January 28.

SS. Thyrsus, Leucius and Others, MM., in Asia, a.d. 250.
SS. Emilian, B., Hilarian, Mk., and Others, MM., at Trevi, in
, a.d. 303.
S. Valerius, B. of Saragossa, beginning of 4th cent.
S. Palladius, H., in Syria, end of 4th cent.
S. Cyril, Pat. of Alexandria, a.d. 444.
S. John, Ab. of Reomay, circ. a.d. 545.
S. James, H., in Palestine, 6th cent.
S. Paulinus, Patr. of Aquileia, a.d. 804.
B. Charlemagne, Emp., a.d. 814.
S. Richard, Ab. of Valcelles, in France, 12th cent.
S. Julian, B. of Cuenca, in Spain, a.d. 1207.
B. Margaret, of Hungary, V.O.S.D.; a.d. 1271.
B. Gentile, W., Ravenna, a.d. 1530.


(a.d. 250.)

[Roman Kalendar on Jan. 28th; Greek Menæa on Dec. 14th; Mart. attributed to S. Jerome on Jan. 20th. The martyrs not having all suffered the same day or in the same places, has led to considerable variety in the days of their commemoration. Their Acts are extant in three forms, agreeing together in most particulars, and evidently amplifications by different hands of the original Acts. They are not to be implicitly relied upon.]


n the reign of the Emperor Decius, Combritius, the governor of Bithynia, made the circuit of the province, to carry into execution the severe imperial edict against the Christians. Being a man of a naturally cruel disposition he subjected those brought before him to the most exquisite torments his ingenuity could devise. Thyrsus had his eyelids pierced, and rings put through them, and molten lead was poured down his back. His arms and legs were broken. He died in prison. Leucius was hung up, and torn with iron hooks, and then decapitated; Callinicus and several others suffered in this [Pg 417] persecution by various deaths.


(beginning of 4th cent.)

[Roman Martyrology, but in others on Jan. 19th, 22th, 23rd, or 29th.]

Of this saint little is known, except that he associated with him S. Vincent, to speak for him, he having an impediment in his speech. When Dacian persecuted the Church, S. Valerius was taken to Valentia and there imprisoned. When brought forth and interrogated, his nervousness prevented him from articulating a word, therefore Vincent, the deacon, spoke for him. Vincent was ordered to execution, but Valerius was banished.


(end of 4th cent.)

[This Palladius is not to be confounded with the author of the Historia Lausiaca. He is mentioned by Theodoret, who relates of him all that is known.]

Palladius was a friend of Simeon the Ancient; they often met to encourage one another in the practice of self-denial and prayer. One incident in the life of this hermit has been alone transmitted to us. Not far from his cell was a frequented market. A merchant who had been at it was waylaid, robbed and murdered by a man who, after having done the deed, cast the body by the door of the hermit's cell. Next day a crowd assembled, instigated by the murderer, and with threatening looks and words, they broke open the hermit's door, and drew him forth, charging him with the murder. Then Palladius raised his hands and eyes to heaven and prayed. And when his prayer was concluded, he turned to the corpse and said, "Young man, designate [Pg 418] the murderer!" Thereupon the dead man partly rose, raised his hand and pointed at him who had killed him; and when he was apprehended, articles belonging to the deceased were discovered upon him.


(a.d. 444.)

[Roman Martyrology. The Greeks celebrate the memory of S. Cyril on June 9th, and commemorate him together with S. Athanasius on June 18th. Authorities: Socrates, Sozomen, Marius Mercator, the Acts of the council of Ephesus, and his own letters and treatises &c.]

This great champion of the faith has been attacked by modern writers as passionate and intolerant; it is true that he was guilty of several errors in administrating his patriarchate, and that his impetuosity gave the impulse which led to serious violation of justice. But we must remember that no man, not the greatest of saints, is without imperfection of character, and that the greatest of saints are they who, having serious natural defects, have mastered them by their faith and self-control. S. Cyril began his patriarchate under disadvantageous circumstances. He was the nephew of Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, Chrysostom's worst enemy, a man devoid of principle, wholly given up to pride of station; on October 15th, 412, he closed his episcopate of twenty-seven years; a melancholy instance of great powers rendered baneful to the Church by a worldly spirit and a violent temper. He was succeeded by his nephew Cyril. The evil of his uncle's example hung about him for some time, obscuring the nobleness which was to shine out afterwards. He desired above all things the ascendancy of the Church; as to the means of obtaining [Pg 419] which, he had fewer scruples than became a minister of Him who rebuked the attack on Malchus. He closed the Novatian church, took away its sacred ornaments, and deprived its Bishop of his property. The Jews of Alexandria—a powerful body during many centuries—had procured the disgrace and punishment of Hierax, an admirer of Cyril's sermons. Cyril, naturally indignant, menaced the chief of their community; the Jews' revenge was to raise a cry at midnight, "The Church of S. Alexander is on fire!" and to massacre those Christians who rushed out to save their church. Cyril appears to have made up his mind that the Christians must right them, without expecting justice from the præfect Orestes, and he organized at daybreak a force which attacked the synagogues, expelled the Jews from Alexandria, and treated their property as rightful spoil. Orestes, exasperated at this hasty and lawless vengeance, would not listen to the explanations which Cyril offered; and the archbishop, after vainly holding out the Gospels to enforce his attempts at a reconciliation, gave up all hopes of peace. Five hundred monks of Nitria, inflamed by a furious partisanship, entered the city and reviled the præfect as a pagan. "I am a Christian," he exclaimed; "Atticus of Constantinople baptized me." A monk named Ammonius disproved his own Christianity by throwing a stone at the præfect, which inflicted a ghastly wound. He was seized, and expired under tortures; but Cyril so miserably forgot himself as to call this ruffian an "admirable" martyr, a proceeding of which he was afterwards heartily ashamed. Then followed a darker tragedy. Hypatia, a learned lady, and teacher of philosophy, and a heathen, who had great influence in the city in opposing Christianity, was supposed to have embittered Orestes against Cyril; and some fiery zealots, headed by a reader of the church, named Peter, dragged [Pg 420] her from her house and tore her to pieces, limb from limb. Cyril was no party to this hideous deed,[128] but it was the work of men whose passions he had originally called out. Had there been no onslaught on the synagogues, there would have been no murder of Hypatia. The people of Alexandria were singularly fiery and given to civil contensions. Gibbon says of them, "The most trifling occasion, a transient scarcity of flesh or lentils, the neglect of an accustomed salutation, a mistake of precedency in the public baths, or even a religious dispute, were at any time sufficient to kindle a sedition among that vast multitude, whose resentments were furious and implacable."[129] A ferocious civil war which lasted twelve years, and raged within the city, till a considerable portion had been reduced to ruins in the reign of Valerian, had originated in a dispute between a soldier and a townsman about a pair of shoes.

Cyril had inherited all his uncle's violent prejudice against S. John Chrysostom. Pope Innocent had not been able to procure the vindication of his memory at Constantinople. But soon after his death, Atticus his successor, a good man, but weak and timid, and a declared enemy to Chrysostom, who had resisted the Pope's exhortation, yielded to the popular feeling, and to the advice of the Emperor Theodosius, who thought that "for peace and unity there would be no harm in writing a dead man's name on a diptych," i.e., on the table of names of the departed prayed for at the Mass. Atticus excused himself for this compliance in a letter to Cyril, in which he observed that, in these Eucharistic commemorations, laymen as well as bishops were included. The nephew of Theophilus was not likely to be thus appeased; and he extracted from the messengers of [Pg 421] Atticus the confession that Chrysostom was now commemorated as a Bishop. In his view, Chrysostom was simply a man who had forfeited the episcopate; and he called upon Atticus to "expunge from the sacerdotal catalogue the name of one who was no minister," distinctly intimating that unless he resolved to uphold the authority of the Council of the Oak,[130] he would forfeit the communion of the patriarchate of Alexandria.

But as time passed, Cyril thought better of this, and regretted his violence and prejudice. Isidore of Pelusium, a pious abbot, wrote to him, "Put an end to these dissensions, lest you incur the judgment of God," and urged him not to make a perpetual schism in the Church by refusing to commemorate Chrysostom. He placed the name of Chrysostom on his diptychs, and immediately was received into communion with Rome from which he had been estranged by his adherence to the prejudices of his uncle.

Atticus, patriarch of Constantinople, was succeeded in 426, by Sisinius, who died on Christmas Eve, 427. Nestorius, a Syrian bred in Antioch, of high reputation and great powers as a speaker, ascetic and studious in his habits, was consecrated to the see on April 10th, 428. His first sermon indicated a feverish polemical zeal. "Give me," he exclaimed, addressing the Emperor, "give me the earth clear of heretics, and I will give you heaven in return! Help me to overthrow the heretics, and I will help you to overthrow the Persians." He began his episcopate by attacking an Arian meeting-house; the Arians set fire to it in their despair; the flames caught other buildings, and the new patriarch received the ominous name of "the Incendiary." The early violence of Cyril ought neither to be extenuated nor exaggerated; but there was somewhat less of provocation [Pg 422] for the persecuting zeal of Nestorius. Shortly before Christmas, 428, a priest named Anastasius, whom the new archbishop had brought from Antioch, was preaching in S. Sophia. In the sermon he said, "Let no one call Mary the Mother of God; for she was a human creature, of whom God could not be born." Nestorius was present and approved; and on Christmas Day he himself began a short course of sermons, in which he called the title heathenish, and spoke of Mary's Son as a mere man, the instrument employed, and the vesture worn by God. Eusebius, a lawyer in the city, stood up in full church, and proclaimed that the Eternal Word Himself was born after the flesh. Nestorius denounced this doctrine; "It was not the Word that was born," said he; "It was only the man Jesus."

Soon after, on a festival in honour of the Virgin, probably the Annunciation, a certain Bishop Proclus preached in the great church before Nestorius. After speaking of S. Mary in glowing language, as the bush burning and unconsumed, the cloud that bore the cherub-throne, Gideon's fleece filled with heavenly dew, he passed to the practical bearings of the Catholic doctrine. "If the Word had not dwelt in the womb, Flesh had never sat down on the holy throne. It was necessary, either that the doom of death should be executed on all, for all have sinned, or that such a price should be paid in exchange as could fully claim the release. Man could not save, for he was under the pressure of the debt of sin. An angel could not redeem humanity, for he had lacked such a ransom as was needed. One only course remained, that the sinless God should die for sinners. It was God who out of His compassion became Man. We do not proclaim a man deified, but we confess a God Incarnate. The Self-same was in the Father's bosom, and in the Virgin's womb; in a mother's arms, and on the wings of the wind. He was adored by angels, while He sat at meat with publicans. [Pg 423] The servant buffeted Him, and creation shuddered. He was laid in the tomb, and he spread out the heavens as a curtain. O the mystery! I see the miracles, and I proclaim the Godhead; I see the sufferings and I declare the Manhood." Nestorius rose from his throne and rebuked the preacher. He said that to speak of God as virgin-born was erroneous, and in after sermons he argued that God who "held the circle of the earth" could not be wrapt in grave-clothes; that the Sustainer of all things could not rise from the dead. Christ, he said, was a sinless man, the image of the Godhead through His goodness; and that as a child was of the same nature as its mother, therefore that Christ could not be divine as Mary was not divine. He allowed to Christ a divinity, but not the divinity, placing Him rather as chiefest of saints than as God. It was Arianism under another form.

His sermons caused a great excitement at home as well as abroad. Men saw that the question was no strife of words; laymen who felt that Catholic truth was their inheritance, no less than that of the clergy, shrank from the communion of a bishop who made void the Incarnation. Clergy began to preach against him, "They are croaking frogs," said Nestorius, and he obtained an imperial order to silence them. A priest began to celebrate in private, an abbot and a monk told Nestorius to his face that he was in error, and were savagely beaten and imprisoned for so doing. A monk who dared to denounce him as a heretic was scourged and exiled. Among his supporters a bishop named Dorotheus was the chief. When he preached his heresy, the congregation uttering a cry of indignation, rushed out of church, but Nestorius proceeded with the service, and administered Communion to the preacher.

The careful circulation of the archbishop's sermons brought them into the hands of the Egyptian monks. Cyril strove to [Pg 424] undo their effect by a letter addressed to the monks, about the end of April, 429. They would have done better, he said, by abstaining from the controversy; but it was necessary as things stood, to impress on them the positive truth. Since Christ was Emmanuel, since He who was in the form of God assumed the form of a servant, since the Son of Man was adorable, since the Lord of glory was crucified, it was impossible to divide the persons, and separate the manhood from the Godhead. To sum up all in one simple formula; "If our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how can His Mother, the holy Virgin, be not Mother of God?" He guarded himself from misrepresentation by clearly confessing that it was from Mary that Christ derived His human nature, but that it was not from her that He derived His divine nature. He was God, from her He received His humanity, but to her He was not indebted for His Godhead.

About Midsummer he wrote his first letter to Nestorius, urging him not to produce scandal and a schism by asserting that God dwelt in Christ instead of proclaiming the Catholic doctrine that Christ was God. In February, 430, S. Cyril wrote his second letter to Nestorius—the great Epistle which received in subsequent councils a formal sanction from the Church. He set forth his faith in the clearest terms, insisting on a real, not a merely moral union of God and Man in Christ. Nestorius replied, showing a strange confusion of mind in the matter, which contrasts painfully with the bright, crisp, and lucid style of Cyril. He was ready to allow that Christ was an association of God with the man, Jesus; but he would not admit that God and man made one Christ.

Now it was that Cyril shone as a bright star in the firmament of the Church, proved a pillar in the house of God, sustaining the truth. For this God had raised him up, to maintain in the face of heresy, the Unity of the Person in our Blessed Lord. What S. Athanasius had done for the Church when assailed by Arianism, Cyril was called to perform when she was beaten by Nestorianism. "I care not for distress, or insult, or bitterest revilings," said he in a letter to his clergy, "Only let the faith be kept safe."


[Pg 425]

Early in August a council met at Rome. Pope Celestine quoted a stanza from the Christmas hymn of S. Ambrose:—

"Redeemer of Earth's tribes forlorn. Come, show Thyself the Virgin-born; Let every age the marvel greet— No common birth for God were meet."

"Thus," he added, "Our brother Cyril's meaning, when he calls Mary, the mother of God, entirely agrees with Talis decet partus Deum." He cited S. Hilary and S. Damasus as teaching the same doctrine of One Christ; and the council pronounced Nestorius guilty of heresy. On August 11th, he wrote to Cyril, accepting his doctrinal statements, and giving him an important commission. "Join the authority of our see to your own, and freely occupying our place, execute this sentence with strictness and rigour; so that, unless in ten days time from this monition, he condemns in writing his unholy doctrine, and assures us that he holds that faith concerning the birth of Christ our God, which is held by the Roman Church, and by your Holiness' Church, and by all who belong to our religion, your Holiness may provide for his Church, and let him know that he must needs be cut off from our body."

On the 19th of November, the emperor Theodosius, at the request of Nestorius and his opponents, summoned a general council to meet at Ephesus at the ensuing Pentecost. Besides the circular letter, Cyril received a private one, angry in tone, from the emperor, asking, "Why have you despised us, and raised all this agitation, as if a rash impetuosity were more befitting than accurate inquiry, or [Pg 426] audacity and versatility more pleasing to us than good taste and simple dealing." In a council held at Alexandria, Nestorius was declared heretical, and was excommunicated.

On Sunday, December 7th, four bishops entered the cathedral of Constantinople, during the time of service, and presented to Nestorius the letters of Celestine and Cyril excommunicating him.

About four or five days before Whit-sunday, which in 431, fell on June 7th, Cyril reached Ephesus, accompanied by fifty bishops, and found that Nestorius had arrived with sixteen before him. The Roman legates, Arcadius and Projectus, bishops, with Philip, a priest, were on their way. Pope Celestine had already expressed to Cyril his opinion, that if Nestorius were minded to repent, he should by all means be received, notwithstanding the sentence already pronounced by Rome and Alexandria. The bishops of the patriarchate of Antioch had not yet arrived. The church of Africa devastated by the Vandals could send no prelate; but Capreolus of Carthage wrote, entreating the bishops to maintain the ancient doctrine.

Hostilities were, in one sense, commenced between the parties before the opening of the council. Memnon, bishop of Ephesus, excluded the Nestorians from the churches, so that they had no place wherein to celebrate Pentecost, or to say matins and vespers.

Acacius, bishop of Melitene, endeavoured to convert Nestorius. A bishop of the Nestorian party said to him, "The Son who suffered is one, God the Word is another." Acacius withdrew in horror; but another saying that fell from Nestorius impressed itself yet more indelibly upon every Catholic heart. On June 19th, some prelates were arguing with him on the divinity of Jesus. "For my part," said he, several times over, "I cannot say that a child of two or three months old was God." Thus he declared his [Pg 427] disbelief in the foundation doctrine of Christianity.

On Sunday, June 21st, a fortnight had elapsed from the time fixed for the meeting of the council. The Bishops were weary of waiting; illness and even death, had appeared among them; and John, patriarch of Antioch had not arrived. The majority therefore sent a message to Nestorius, telling him that the council should begin, next day. On Monday, June 22nd, when 198 Bishops assembled in S. Mary's Church, he personally remonstrated against the council being opened till the Bishops of the patriarchate of Antioch had arrived. It was in vain; Cyril and the majority absolutely refused to delay. On the episcopal throne, in the centre of the assembly, were laid the Gospels; the Bishops sat on each side; Cyril, as highest in rank, and as holding the proxy of Cœlestine, until the arrival of the Roman legates, presided in the assembly. It would have been better if some other bishop had discharged this office; but it appears that Cyril's part in the proceedings was mainly that of a producer of evidence, and that he called on the council to judge between himself and Nestorius. A second citation was then directed to Nestorius; but soldiers with clubs denied the deputies access to his presence, and he sent out word that he would attend when all the bishops had reached the city.

A third message was then dispatched to him; care being taken to treat him simply as an accused bishop, not as a condemned heretic. Again the rude sentinels thrust back the deputies. "If you stand here all night, you will get no satisfaction; Nestorius has ordered that no one from your council shall enter." They returned to S. Mary's. "Nestorius," said the Bishop of Jerusalem, "shows a bad conscience. Let us now proceed to compare all recent statements with the creed of Nicæa."

When the great confession had been read, then the second [Pg 428] letter of Cyril to Nestorius, and extracts from the sermons of the accused, the fathers proceeded to depose and excommunicate Nestorius, in the name of "our Lord Jesus Christ whom he has blasphemed." The sentence was signed by all the bishops; the first signature being, "I, Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, subscribed to the judgment of the council." It was now late in the summer evening. The bishops, on issuing from the church, were welcomed with loud applause by the people, who had thronged the streets all day. Torches and perfumes were burnt before them, as they proceeded to their several abodes; and thus ended the memorable first session of the council of Ephesus. It is interesting to think that while the bishops were going home that night, after a day of intense excitement, Paulinus of Nola was calmly giving up his soul. His last words, breathed forth in a low chant at the hour of vespers, were those of Psalm cxxxi. 17, (cxxxii.) Paravi lucernam Christo meo. "I have prepared a lamp for my Christ."

On Saturday, June 27th, John of Antioch arrived with fifteen Bishops. The council sent deputies to his lodging: he consented to see them, but permitted Count Irenæus, a friend of Nestorius, to beat them cruelly. Dusty and travel-stained as he was, John proceeded to assemble a conclave of the partisans of Nestorius, numbering forty-three Bishops, and deposed Cyril of Alexandria, and Memnon of Ephesus.

Theodosius, the emperor, prejudiced in favour of Nestorius, and thinking, perhaps not without reason, that the prelates of Antioch should have been awaited before the opening of the council, wrote on June 29th, in severe terms, ordering that no bishop should leave Ephesus until the doctrinal question had been fairly scrutinized, and declaring the proceedings null.

And now the Roman legates arrived, and the second [Pg 429] session was held in Memnon's house, July 10th. Celestine's letter to the council, dated May 8, expressed full confidence that the council would join with the legates in executing what Rome had already decided was good. The bishops answered by applause, "One Cœlestine, one Cyril, one faith of the council, one faith of the world!"

Next day, in the third session, the council wrote to the emperor that the whole Church was against Nestorius; and in a fourth session John, patriarch of Antioch, who supported the heretic, was deposed and excommunicated. The emperor then sent his high-treasurer, Count John, to compose the differences in a summary manner. On his arrival he at once arrested Cyril, Memnon, and Nestorius, and soldiers were stationed at the doors of their bed-rooms, to keep them close prisoners.

The bishops of the council, in a letter to the clergy of Constantinople, described the distress which they were enduring. "We are killed with the heat, the air is unhealthy, there is a funeral nearly every day, the servants are all gone home sick; but if they make us die here, we will not alter what Christ has through us ordained." Many of the bishops were very ill; some had been obliged to sell all that they had, in order to pay their expenses. Cyril wrote also, but there was a difficulty in getting these letters carried to their destination. The Nestorians of Constantinople beset the ships and the roads, and would allow no ordinary messenger to enter the city. It was determined to give them into the care of a beggar, who might carry them in the hollow of a cane on which he leant. This ingenious device succeeded. The clergy of Constantinople received the sentence of deposition pronounced on their patriarch, and the letters of Cyril and the council. The clergy openly addressed the emperor on behalf of Cyril. There was a great stir among the monks, who were for the most part [Pg 430] determined enemies of Nestorianism. The aged abbot Dalmatius had not left his monastery for nearly fifty years. The emperor had vainly striven to make him take a part in the processional services during earthquakes. But now he felt, as he expressed it, that in a cause which so truly belonged to God he could not be inactive. He issued forth, at the head of a solemn train of monks and abbots, chanting in two choirs, which moved towards the palace; the abbots were at once admitted to the presence of Theodosius, and he having read the letter of the council, said, "If these things are so, let the Bishops come hither." "They are prevented," said Dalmatius. "No they are not," said the emperor. "They are under arrest," persisted the abbot. The conference ended to the satisfaction of the abbots; they came forth, and directed the multitude without to proceed to a large church at the extremity of the city. Again the procession swept onwards; monks, bearing wax tapers, led the psalmody, without which in those days no great religious movement was conceivable; and the inspiring, "O praise God in His holiness," was thundered forth as they approached their destination. The church was thronged with eager listeners; Dalmatius caused the letter of the council to be read, and then described the interview with Theodosius. Dalmatius might well write to the council, "I have not neglected your wishes." His interposition was a great event; he had proved too many for the Nestorians. By his simple devotion and impressive firmness, the old recluse had given force and unity to a great mass of public feeling, and broken the spell by which a party had bound the emperor.

It is unnecessary to follow the tangled threads of party strife much further. Theodosius confirmed the decree of the council, and on Sunday, Oct. 25th, 431, a new patriarch was consecrated to fill the room of Nestorius. John of Antioch [Pg 431] had been led astray by party feeling, and in faith he had not been really heretical; his mind like that of other supporters of Nestorius was bewildered, and fearing lest Cyril should fall in the opposite error, that of Apollinaris, which lost one nature in the other, making of Christ but one nature, he had adopted the side of Nestorius. Now he was reconciled to Cyril, who gladly met him halfway, and by mutual explanation blew away the dust of strife, and found that their faith was identical. John sent Paul, Bishop of Emesa, to Alexandria with this confession, "We confess our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, to be perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and a body; before the ages begotten of the Father according to His Godhead, but for us and for our salvation, in the latter days, born of the Virgin Mary according to His Manhood; of one essence with the Father as to Godhead, of one essence with us as to Manhood. For there took place an union of two natures; wherefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this notion of the union without confusion, we confess Holy Mary to be Mother of God, because God the Word was incarnate and made man, and from His very conception united to Himself the temple taken from her."

This formulary Cyril gladly accepted as orthodox, and then, and not till then, Paul of Emesa was permitted to attend the church service, and invited to preach, as a Catholic Bishop, on Christmas Day. The scene that ensued was a very striking one. He began with the angelic hymn, proceeded to Isaiah vii. 14, and then pronounced the momentous words, "Thus Mary, Mother of God, brings forth Emmanuel!" The church rang with joyful cries; "Lo, this is the faith! 'Tis God's gift, orthodox Cyril! This is what we wanted to hear!" Paul resumed, and presently enforced both sides of the great verity. "A combination of two perfect natures, I mean Godhead and [Pg 432] Manhood, constitutes for us the one Son, the one Christ, the one Lord." Again the people shouted applause; "Welcome, orthodox Bishop, the worthy to the worthy!"

S. Cyril died in June, 444, after a pontificate of thirty-two years, during the last fifteen of which he may be said to have as truly lived for the truth of the unity of the two natures in Christ, as his mightiest predecessor, S. Athanasius, had lived for the truth of the Divinity of Christ. Doubtless, the fiery spirit, which Cyril could not always restrain, impelled him, during this great controversy, into some steps which show that he was not an Athanasius. But modern critics of his character have said more than enough on this point, and too little on points of a different kind. Historical justice can never demand that we should take the hardest possible view of his conduct at the opening of the council of Ephesus, and ignore the noble unselfishness, the patience in explaining over and over again his own statements, the readiness in welcoming substantial agreement on the part of others, in a word, the "power, and love, and command" which made him a true minister of peace in the reunion of 433. We need not dwell on other instances in which he showed a remarkable forbearance, as when he bore without irritation the schooling of S. Isidore; on his care for the due probation of aspirants to the priesthood, his depth and acuteness as a dogmatic theologian, his faith and thankfulness when treated as a deposed prisoner. The way not to understand him is to substitute a haughty and heartless dogmatist for the ardent, anxious, often the deeply suffering man, who, against an opponent strong in sophistry, in court influence, and in church power, persevered in defending the simple truth of the Scriptural and Nicene mystery, that "the one Lord Jesus Christ was very God of very God, who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate, and was made Man."[131]


[Pg 433]


(6th cent.)

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menæa, but by the Gallo-Belgic Martyrology on Jan. 29th. Authority: a life written apparently not long after the death of S. James. There are so many saints, and even hermit saints of this name, that some confusion would have arisen but for the remarkable peculiarity of the life of this man.]

The story of this hermit is a painful and very sad one; it is that of a great fall and bitter repentance. As a warning to all those who are living lives near to God, to be not high-minded but fear, the Church has placed it in her sacred Kalendar, but not only as a lesson to such, but also as an encouragement to the poor wretch who has fallen, to look up, not to despair, for great as may be his sin, greater is the mercy of God.

Near the city of Porphyrio in Samaria lived a hermit in a cave. He was not old, but in the bloom of manhood. Some wicked men, desirous of disgracing the anchorite, suborned a harlot to bewitch him. She therefore went to his cave one evening, and knocked at the door. He opened the door, and, seeing a woman, slammed it in her face. But she continued knocking and imploring to be admitted. Night fell, and the howl of the wolf and the snarl of the hyæna sounded dolefully without; then the hermit, fearing lest the woman should become prey to wild beasts, opened the door, and asked her who she was. She replied that she was a religious woman on her road from one convent to another, who sought shelter for the night. Then he admitted her to the outer chamber of his cave, where burnt his fire, and there he bade her rest, whilst he retired into the inner chamber, and closed the door. But, during the night, he heard her moaning and sobbing, then he looked through the little window in the door, and saw her [Pg 434] rolling on the ground, as if in great pain. He asked what ailed her, and she answered that she had cramp of the heart, and implored him to relieve her, by signing her bosom and heart with holy oil. Then she tore open her garment, and exposed her breast; and he, entering, took oil and anointed her bosom; but fearing temptation, he prayed to God with great devotion, and at the same time placed his left hand in the fire, whilst with his right he continued doing as she demanded, till suddenly, she was aware that his left hand was so burned that the fingers were completely charred through. Then, horror-struck, and filled with compunction, she threw herself at his feet, and sobbing confessed her evil design. So he bade her go and sin no more, and the woman was converted from her evil life, and she went and lived the rest of her days in the exercise of penitence.

Now, after this, James was of good confidence that he had completely mastered the lust of the flesh, and he was less on his guard against the wiles of Satan than before. And people saw his maimed hand, and they praised his great continence, so his heart was lifted up within him, and he was filled with spiritual pride. After many years, when he was over sixty, there came to his cell a father bringing his daughter, a very beautiful girl, who was possessed with an evil spirit, and he besought the pious hermit to cast forth the demon. And when he had prayed, the evil spirit went out of her, but left her almost inanimate. Then the father, thinking her too much exhausted to be at once removed, or fearing another access of her disorder, left her in the cell of the God-fearing recluse. And when she was there some days, and he saw her beauty, he was overcome with a violent passion of love, and he lost all control over himself, and forgot God, and deceived the unfortunate girl, and in madness he savagely murdered her, and threw the body into [Pg 435] a river.

And now, as the sun set on that day of passion and crime, and the dark night settled down on the wilderness, the horror of remorse came upon him, and he writhed in his cave in an agony of shame and despair, lying with his face on the ground. Then, at last, haggard and hopeless, he rushed forth, resolving to confess his crime and then to return into the world, as one unworthy to aspire to a close walk with God. And when he had come to the nearest monastery, he called the monks together, and casting himself at their feet, sobbed forth his story of shame. The good brothers raised him, and mingled their tears with his, and prayed God to have mercy on the poor sinner, and to pluck him as a brand from the burning. After that, finding no rest, he went forth, and lighted, as evening fell, on an old hermit sitting in his cave, who offered him a lodging, and spread for him such food as he had to offer. But James would eat nothing. Then the hermit said, "Dear Christian brother, give me some good advice, how I may escape evil thoughts." And when James heard that, he uttered a piercing cry, staggered to his feet and fell on the ground, burying his face in his hands. He told all his sin to the hermit, and said that now he was about to return into the world, being unworthy to wear the habit of a monk, and live a life demanding such holiness. "When I was young, then I controlled my passions, now that I am old, my passions have conquered me. I cannot raise my eyes," he said; "I despair of salvation. I cannot name the Saving Name; fire will fall from heaven to consume me, I am lost!"

Then the good old hermit cast his arms round his neck and kissed him, and said, "Brother, despair not of God's forbearance, but believe that there is a place for repentance. A broken and a contrite heart God will not despise. Great is God's mercy, ever following us, therefore despair not, [Pg 436] brother!"

He ceased not from speaking, till the black cloud of despair was rolled away, and the fallen monk had the courage to hope. Then he led him on his way for many miles, earnestly dissuading him from going into the world; and so they parted, with many tears.

So James sought out a doleful cave which had been used as an old sepulchre, and he hid himself there, and spent in it ten years, bewailing his crime, only opening the door twice in the week, to collect a few olives on which to sustain life, and esteeming himself viler than the dust. And when ten years were accomplished, he felt that God was about to call him, therefore he went to the nearest city, and to the Bishop there, and besought him, when he was dead, to bury him in the old sepulchre in which he had undergone his penance, and in the soil he had moistened with his many tears. After that he returned to his cave, and there died, at the age of seventy-five.


(a.d. 804.)

[S. Paulinus died on Jan. 11th, but his festival is observed on Jan. 28th. Authorities: various histories of his time, and the writings of himself and Alcuin.]

S. Paulinus, born about 726, was one of the most illustrious of the patriarchs who sat in the throne of Aquileia, which he ascended, about the year 776. He assisted at the council of Aix-la-Chapelle in 782, of Ratisbon in 792, and of Frankfort in 794; and he held one himself, at Friuli, in 791 or 796. He combated a form of Nestorianism propagated by Felix, Bishop of Urgel, and Elipandus, Bishop of Toledo, with such success that their heresy made no headway in the West. In 802, S. Paulinus assembled a council at Altino. He died on the 11th Jan., 804.


[Pg 437]


(a.d. 814.)

[Inserted in many French, German, and Belgian Martyrologies. He was canonized by the Anti-pope Paschal III. The life of this emperor, written by his secretary Eginhart, together with the numerous historical accounts of his transactions, supply abundant material for his life.]

The public life of the Emperor Charlemagne belongs to the domain of secular history, rather than to hagiology. We shall confine ourselves, in this notice, to those acts which have obtained for him a place in the Kalendar of the Church.

Charlemagne, son of King Pepin, was born in 742, and was crowned king of France in 768. In the early years of his reign he was guilty of grave moral faults, which he deeply deplored in his after life. He comes before us as a man penetrated with a strong sense of religious responsibility, and of faith in the divine mission of the Church. In the midst of his wars, the spread of the true faith, and the advancement of learning, were never absent from his mind. He was zealous in reforming the monasteries, and for the sake of uniformity, he introduced into them the rule of S. Benedict. For the discipline of the clergy, he procured the convention of many synods, in which were drawn up his famous Capitulars. He meditated assiduously on the Scriptures, assisted at the divine office, even that of midnight, if possible; had good books read to him at table, and took but one meal a day. He died at the age of seventy-two, at Aix-la-Chapelle, in 814, and was there buried. His tomb was opened in 1165. The body was found, not reclining in his coffin, as is the usual fashion of the dead, but seated on his throne as one alive, clothed in the imperial robes, bearing the sceptre in his hand, and on his knees a copy of the Gospels. On his fleshless brow [Pg 438] was the crown, the imperial mantle covered his shoulders, the sword Joyeuse was by his side, and the pilgrim's pouch, which he had borne always while living, was still fastened to his girdle. His skull and throne and hunting horn are preserved in the sacristy at Aix.

Baptism of Vanquished Saxons Baptism of Vanquished Saxons by command of Charlemagne.
From a Miniature of the 15th Century in the Burgundy Library at Brussels.


[128] "That Cyril had any share in this atrocity," says Canon Robertson, i. 401, "appears to be an unsupported calumny."

[129] Decline and Fall, Ed. Bohn, i. p. 348.

[130] See p. 406.

[131] Chiefly from Bright's Church History.

[Pg 439]

January 29.

S. Valerius, B. of Trèves, end of 1st. cent.
S. Constantius, B.M. at Perugia, between a.d. 161-8.
SS. Sabinian, M., and Sabina, V., at Troyes, in France, circ. a.d. 275.
SS. Papias and Maurus, MM., at Rome, circ. a.d. 303.
S. Gildas the Wise, Ab. in Brittany, 6th cent.
S. Sulpicius Severus, B. of Bourges, a.d. 591.
S. Baculus, B. of Sorrento, circ. a.d. 679.
S. Peter Thomasius, Latin Patr. of Constantinople, a.d. 1366.
S. Francis of Sales, B. of Geneva, a.d. 1622.


(end of 1st cent.)

[There are many Saints of this name. This S. Valerius appears in very many of the most ancient Martyrologies. His Acts, together with those of SS. Eucher and Maternus, his companions, was written by a certain Goldscher, of uncertain date, but ancient; for it is quoted by Heriger, Ab. Lobie, who died 1007. Goldscher says that he collected the accounts he found of Valerius and his companions from various ancient chronicles.]


ucher, Valerius, and Maternus, according to legend wholly unreliable, were three disciples of S. Peter, and were sent by him to preach the Gospel in Gaul. The first was consecrated by him bishop, the second, deacon, and Maternus, sub-deacon. S. Eucher fixed his see at Treves, then an important city. After his death Valerius was elevated to the episcopate, and preached the word of God with so much zeal, that many were added to the Church. On his death, he was succeeded by S. Maternus.


(about a.d. 275.)

[Commemorated in some churches on Jan. 25th, in others on Jan. 29th, June 8th, Aug. 29th, Sept. 5th; sometimes together, and sometimes severally. Authorities: two ancient lives of S. Sabinian, and one of S. Sabina, published by Bollandus.]

SS. Sabinian and Sabina were brother and sister, natives [Pg 440] of Samos. Sabinian's soul having been touched by Christian teaching, he left his native island, and coming to Gaul reached Troyes, where he fell in with Christians, and he was there baptized in the river Seine. It is said that his staff, which he had driven into the bank, as he went down into the water, on his return put forth leaves and flowered.

In the reign of Aurelian he was brought before the emperor, then at Vienne in Gaul, and was cruelly tormented, by being seated on a heated bench of iron, and a red-hot helmet was placed on his head. He was afterwards executed with the sword. His sister Sabina, who had followed him, arrived at Troyes after his martyrdom. She was there baptized, spent a holy life, and died a virgin.


(6th cent.)

[There are said to have been several British saints of this name. But that commemorated on this day is the famous author, whose writings are extant. It is probable that Gildas, having been born in Scotland, bred in Wales, and a monastic founder in Brittany, has been divided into three, and some of the incidents have attached themselves to S. Gildas the Scotchman, others to S. Gildas the Welshman, and others again to him of Brittany. Yet these are all easily reducible into a consecutive history, and belong, in fact, to one man. His life was written by Caradoc of Llancarvan, about 1150; another life is by an anonymous monk of Rhys.]

S. Gildas, surnamed the Wise, was born in North-Britain near the Clyde, in the kingdom of which Dumbarton was the capital. His father was of princely birth; his eldest son, Howel, was a great warrior, who, succeeding his father in the principality, was slain by King Arthur. Mailoc, another son, was brought up to the religious life. Two other brothers, and their sister, Peteona, in like manner left the world, and choosing a retired place in the furthest extremity [Pg 441] of that country, built themselves separate oratories, where, by watching, fasting, and fervent prayer, they continually strove to reach their heavenly country. As to Gildas, we learn from his own writings, that he was born in the year of the famous victory, gained (as some say, by Ambrose; or, as others say, by Arthur,) over the Saxons at Mount Badon, near Bath, about a.d. 520. He was, when a child, committed by his parents to the care of S. Iltut, who brought him up in his monastery of Llan-Iltut in Glamorganshire, instructing him in the divine Scriptures, and in the liberal arts. These divine meditations wonderfully increased his faith and love of heavenly things, and influenced in such a manner the whole conduct of his life, that from his very youth he attained to great perfection and was favoured with the gift of miracles. From S. Iltut's school, where he had for companions S. Samson and S. Paul of Leon, both of whom were afterwards illustrious prelates, he went over into Ireland, for his further improvement in virtue and learning, among the disciples of S. Patrick. There he frequented the most celebrated masters of divine and human learning; and like the industrious bee, gathered honey from every flower—the honey of virtue and of knowledge. In the meantime, he failed not to chastise his body and bring it into subjection, lest, with all his learning and preaching to others, he himself might become a cast-away. Therefore he fasted much, and often watched whole nights, employing that silent time in prayer.

After Gildas was ordained priest, he preached the Gospel in the northern parts of Britain; where a great part of the inhabitants were heathen, and those calling themselves Christians were infected with the Pelagian heresy. God blessed his labours there with such success, that great numbers of heathen and heretics were by his means converted to Christ; and many miracles were wrought through him in [Pg 442] the cure of the sick, in confirmation of his doctrine. The reputation of his success having reached Ireland, the king, Ainmeric, invited him over. Gildas accepted the call, and there, by his preaching and miracles, he mightily advanced the kingdom of God. He built churches and monasteries, established Christian discipline, regulated the liturgy, taught for some time in the famous school of Armagh, and was, in a word, another S. Patrick to that nation, by which he has been ever since gratefully honoured among their most illustrious Saints.

After these things, leaving Ireland and Britain, he sailed over into Armorica or Brittany, and there founded the monastery of Rhys. But as he was desirous of solitude and undisturbed contemplation, he made himself an oratory, at some distance from that monastery, under a rock upon the bank of the river Blavet, where he devoted his solitary hours to prayer.[132] The exact date of his death is uncertain.


(a.d. 591.)

[There is great confusion caused by there having been so many archbishops of this name. There was a Sulpicius the Pious, Archbishop of Bourges about 644; commemorated on Jan. 17th. There was also Sulpicius Severus, the disciple of S. Martin, whose life Butler gives on this day, and who is the famous historian, but there seems to be no authority for numbering him with the Saints. Butler also says that there were four Sulpicii, Archbishops of Bourges, but this seems to be a mistake, for Bollandus gives only two, Sulpicius the Pious and Sulpicius Severus.]

Little of the acts of this Saint is known, and he is here mentioned solely to enable the reader to distinguish the Saint of this name from the historian, and also from his successor Sulpicius the Pious.


[132] He is said to have glazed the east window of his oratory with a pane of an hitherto unheard of size.

[Pg 443]


(a.d. 1622.)

[Roman Martyrology. Beatified, a.d. 1661, canonized, a.d. 1665. Jan. 29th, is the day of the translation of his body to Annecy; he died on Holy Innocents' Day. Authorities: authentic lives by his nephew, Charles Augustus de Sales, also by F. Goulu, general of the Feuillans, also by Henry de Maupas du Tour, Bishop of Puys, and afterward of Evreux; also by Madame de Bussi-Rabutin, nun of the Visitation; also anecdotes of him collected by his friend Camus, Bishop of Belley; and finally, his own writings.[133]]

S. Francis of Sales was the eldest son of one of the principal nobles of Savoy,—John, Lord of Sales, of Boisy, of Balleyson, and of Ville-Roget, usually styled by the second of these titles. His mother Frances, daughter of the Lord of La Thuille and of Vallieres, came of no less noble stock. He had many brothers and sisters, of whom Louis, Lord of La Thuille, was the father of Charles Augustus, the pious biographer of the Saint. Francis was born, Aug. 21st, 1567.

He was sent in early childhood to the college of Annecy, where he was trained in all the accomplishments which in those days were considered essential to the rank of a young noble. He was five years at the college of Annecy. At the age of eleven, he entreated permission of his father to take the tonsure, having at that early age decided to adopt the ecclesiastical life. M. de Boisy by no means desired this, for his ambition was, that his eldest son should succeed him as the head of the family, and distinguish himself in political life; but, with that sort of management which men of great experience often prefer to violent measures, he permitted him to do as he pleased. The old lord knew that the tonsure did not bind his son finally to become an ecclesiastic; and he depended on the changes to which a young man's mind is subject, to dissipate this predilection.

[Pg 444]

In 1580, he was sent to pursue his studies in the University of Paris. At Paris one of the most critical events of his life took place, a terrible temptation to despair, which came on suddenly, and lasted for a considerable time, but from which he was released in a wonderful manner. He was about the age of seventeen, when the idea took possession of his mind, that he was not in a state of grace, and that the face of God was turned away from him. In his agony of mental distress he prayed, "Lord if I may not see Thee hereafter, yet, oh grant, that I may never blaspheme Thee!" He seems, if it were possible, to have suffered the very anguish of hell, without the loss of the love of God. During the six weeks this shadow lay upon him, he could hardly eat or sleep, he wasted to a skeleton and his friends became greatly alarmed for his health. At length, this great cross disappeared as suddenly as it came. He one day entered the church of S. Etienne des Grés and knelt down before an image of the Blessed Virgin. His eye was caught by a tablet on the wall, on which was inscribed the famous prayer of S. Bernard, called the Memorare. He repeated it with great emotion; and implored that, through the intercession of Mary, it mig