Sunday Saint of the Day April 03 Tértio Nonas Aprílis  
Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum.
And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
Пресвятая Богородице спаси нас!
(Santíssima Mãe de Deus, salva-nos!)

Sunday in the Octave of Easter
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It is a great poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you wish -- Mother Teresa


The saints are a “cloud of witnesses over our head”, showing us life of Christian perfection is possible.

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Mary Mother of GOD 15 Promises of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary.


BXVI-PRAYER INTENTIONS/APRIL/...VIS 080401 (90)
April 3 - Apparition of Our Lord to Our Lady and the Apostles in the Upper Room (Jerusalem, 1st century A.D.)
Holy Week: A Liturgical Explanation for the Days of Holy Week
1st v Pancras of Taormina Antiochene by birth Saint Peter consecrated bishop sent to Sicily BM (RM)
127 Sixtus I, Pope survived as pope for about 10 years before being killed by the Roman authorities
Tauroménii, in Sicília, sancti Pancrátii Epíscopi

304 St. Vulpian Syrian Martyr firmly confessed Jesus as Lord before the judge Urbanus Evagrius and Benignus Martyrs at Tomi on the Black Sea MM (RM)
 695 St. Fara Burgundofara (Fara) convent Abbess 37 yrs Many English princess-nuns and nun-saints were trained under her, including Saints Gibitrudis, Sethrida, Ethelburga, Ercongotha, Hildelid, Sisetrudis, Hercantrudis, and others miracles after death:
 800 Saint Attala monk and of a monastery at Taormina abbot , Sicily Benedictine , OSB Abbot (AC) Monk Illyrikos the Wonderworker asceticised on Mount Marsion in the Peloponessus.
 824 St. Nicetas Abbot From Caesarea Bithynia modern Turkey opposed Iconoclast policies of Emperor Leo V the Armenian

1260 Blessed Gandulphus of Binasco Franciscan while Saint Francis was still alive preaching in Sicily hermit OFM
1458 Blessed Alexandrina di Letto nun abbess founder Poor Clare initiated a new Franciscan reform (PC)
1589 St. Bendict the Black Franciscan lay brother superior obscure and humble cook holiness reputation for miracles patron of African-Americans in the United States incorrupt
17th v. Martyred Monastic Fathers of the Davido-Garedzh Lavra 6,000+, accepted martyr's death in Gruzia (Georgia) for confessing the Christian faith

April 3 – Good Friday - Our Lady of the Cross (Italy, 1490) 
 
A Virgin, wood, and death have become the instruments of our victory
 A virgin, wood, and death were the means and instruments of our defeat. The virgin was Eve who had not yet known Adam; the wood was the tree, and death the punishment imposed on the first man.
A virgin, wood, and death, which had been the means and instruments of our defeat, became the means and instruments of our victory. Mary replaced Eve; the wood of the cross replaced the wood of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; the death of Jesus Christ replaced the death of Adam.
You can see that the devil was defeated by the same means with which he had triumphed. As the devil had overthrown Adam with the wood of the tree, Jesus Christ struck the devil with the wood of the cross. The wood of the tree had thrown men into the abyss, the wood of the cross pulled them out. The wood of the cross stripped of his weapons the one who had vanquished man, and showed his defeat to all the earth.

Adam's death passed upon those who came after him; the death of Jesus Christ brought back to life those who were born before him. We have passed from death to immortality. Such are the accomplishments and benefits of the cross.
Saint John Chrysostom  Excerpts from a Sermon for Good Friday of the year 392


April 3 – Our Lady of the Cross (1490)
 
Even if the events in our life look like real failures
 In this passage of Saint John's Gospel (Chap.19), Jesus is dying, and his disciples have deserted him.
Only John stayed on, as well as the women among whom were his mother, his aunt, and Mary Magdalene.
At the foot of the Cross, the Virgin Mary invites us to remain faithful even if the events of our life sometimes look like real failures, like crosses standing upright along our path. In the most difficult times of our personal life, but also in current world events, the severe economic crisis that we are experiencing, and the moral crisis that we see developing in our society, Mary invites us to strengthen our faith in Jesus.
By her fidelity during trials, she invites us to enter in what we call the Paschal Mystery, i.e. the descent of Jesus to the lowest level of human distress, but also in his victory over the powers of evil and death. We are invited to continually live this Paschal Mystery where we find God's life in the midst of our difficulties, throughout our life.
 His Excellency Laurent Dodnin, Auxiliary Bishop of Bordeaux, France
Homily of July 13, 2012 – Mass in honor of the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross

 
Our Lady in Bosnia-Herzegovina (II)
The Church is always cautious and slow to move on such matters, as well it should be, unless of course there is little doubt that an alleged apparition is contrary to the teachings of the Church. Furthermore, the apparitions in Medjugorje are still ongoing, and as such, the Church will put off its final judgment until they have ceased. In other words the current position of the official Church concerning Medjugorje is a sort of "let's wait and see." The only restriction imposed on pilgrimages to Medjugorje is that they cannot be officially organized by Church officials, as that would suggest a seal of approval from the Church prior to a final determination by the Holy See. Private pilgrimages, however, are not forbidden, nor is it forbidden for priests and bishops to accompany such pilgrimages for the spiritual care and direction of fellow pilgrims.
   In the meantime, millions of people make pilgrimages to this remote mountain village, where the messages of Mary continue to give hope and comfort to those who are needy, suffering or searching. A perceived supernatural religious phenomenon has become a reality for millions throughout the world and Medjugorje has also become the site of wonderful conversions to the Catholic faith. Wayne Weible* is one of the millions. Strange it may seem to some, those who believe in this phenomenon see it as the singular most important event of our times.
*See http://www.medjugorjeweible.com/index.htm

If you do not learn to deny yourself, you can make no progress in perfection.
-- St. John of the Cross
 


Mary's Divine Motherhood

  Called in the Gospel "the Mother of Jesus," Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the Mother of my Lord" (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity.
Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos).
Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, quoting the Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
http://www.worldpriest.com/
Seven Priestly Virtues FROM SOLITUDE TO STORYTELLING By Father William McNamara O.C.D. http://www.worldpriest.com/
THE EUCHARIST, A MYSTERY TO BE BELIEVED POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS OF THE HOLY FATHER BENEDICT XVI
O Blessed Trinity
We thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
 the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.
Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints.  Amen
THURSDAY: The Last Supper
The liturgy of Holy Thursday includes: a) Matins, b) Vespers and, following Vespers, the Liturgy of St Basil the Great. In the Cathedral Churches the special service of the Washing of Feet takes place after the Liturgy; while the deacon reads the Gospel, the Bishop washes the feet of twelve priests, reminding us that Christ's love is the foundation of life in the Church and shapes all relations within it. It is also on Holy Thursday that Holy Chrism is consecrated by the primates of autocephalous Churches, and this also means that the new love of Christ is the gift we receive from the Holy Spirit on the day of our entrance into the Church.

Holy Week: A Liturgical Explanation for the Days of Holy Week
1st v Pancras of Taormina Antiochene by birth Saint Peter consecrated bishop sent to Sicily BM (RM)
127 Sixtus I, Pope survived as pope for about 10 years before being killed by the Roman authorities
Tauroménii, in Sicília, sancti Pancrátii Epíscopi
 304 St. Agape and her sisters Chionia and Irene, Christians of Thessalonica, Macedonia convicted possessing texts of the Scriptures
304 St. Vulpian Syrian Martyr firmly confessed Jesus as Lord before the judge Urbanus Evagrius and Benignus Martyrs at Tomi on the Black Sea MM (RM)
307 Holy Martyr Theodosia of Tyre suffered for the faith Elpidiphoros, Dios, Bythonios and Galikos
The Holy Martyrs  suffered for their confession of faith in Jesus Christ sancti Nicétæ Abbátis In monastério Medícii, in Bithynia, deposítio, qui ob cultum sanctárum Imáginum, sub Leóne Arméno, multa passus est, ac tandem, juxta Constantinópolim, Conféssor quiévit in pace.
 695 St. Fara Burgundofara (Fara) convent Abbess 37 yrs Many English princess-nuns and nun-saints were trained under her, including Saints Gibitrudis, Sethrida, Ethelburga, Ercongotha, Hildelid, Sisetrudis, Hercantrudis, and others miracles after death:
 800 Saint Attala monk and of a monastery at Taormina abbot , Sicily Benedictine , OSB Abbot (AC) Monk Illyrikos the Wonderworker asceticised on Mount Marsion in the Peloponessus.
 824 St. Nicetas Abbot From Caesarea Bithynia modern Turkey opposed Iconoclast policies of Emperor Leo V the Armenian
1253 St. Richard of Wyche Ph.D. Priest missionary bishop denounced nepotism, insisted on strict clerical discipline, ever generous to poor and needy Many miracles healing recorded during  lifetime more after death. Richard was deep in the hearts of his people, the sort of saint that anyone can recognize by his simplicity, holiness, and endless charity to the poor
1260 Blessed Gandulphus of Binasco Franciscan while Saint Francis was still alive preaching in Sicily hermit OFM
1271 Blessed John of Penna priest founding several Franciscan houses  visions gift of prophecy
won all hearts by his exemplary life as well as by his kindly and courteous manners; aridity and a painful lingering illness; spiritual consolations  assurance that he accomplished his purgatory on earth his cell was illuminated with a celestial light OFM (AC)
1458 Blessed Alexandrina di Letto nun abbess founder Poor Clare initiated a new Franciscan reform (PC)
1492 The Monk Nektarii of Bezhetsk a monastic of the Trinity-Sergiev monastery
1589 St. Bendict the Black Franciscan lay brother superior obscure and humble cook holiness reputation for miracles patron of African-Americans in the United States incorrupt
17th v. Martyred Monastic Fathers of the Davido-Garedzh Lavra 6,000+, accepted martyr's death in Gruzia (Georgia) for confessing the Christian faith
127 Sixtus I, Pope survived as pope for about 10 years before being killed by the Roman authorities M (RM)
 Romæ natális beáti Xysti Primi, Papæ et Mártyris; qui, tempóribus Hadriáni Imperatóris, summa cum laude rexit Ecclésiam, ac demum, sub Antoníno Pio, ut sibi Christum lucrifáceret, libénter mortem sustínuit temporálem.
      At Rome, the birthday of blessed Pope Sixtus the First, martyr, who ruled the Church with distinction during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, and finally in the reign of Antoninus Pius he gladly accepted temporal death in order to gain Christ for himself. 
(also known as Xystus)
"All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him"


THURSDAY: The Last Supper
The liturgy of Holy Thursday includes: a) Matins, b) Vespers and, following Vespers, the Liturgy of St Basil the Great. In the Cathedral Churches the special service of the Washing of Feet takes place after the Liturgy; while the deacon reads the Gospel, the Bishop washes the feet of twelve priests, reminding us that Christ's love is the foundation of life in the Church and shapes all relations within it. It is also on Holy Thursday that Holy Chrism is consecrated by the primates of autocephalous Churches, and this also means that the new love of Christ is the gift we receive from the Holy Spirit on the day of our entrance into the Church.
Two events shape the liturgy of Great and Holy Thursday: the Last Supper of Christ with His disciples, and the betrayal of Judas. The meaning of both is in love. The Last Supper is the ultimate revelation of God's redeeming love for man, of love as the very essence of salvation. And the betrayal of Judas reveals that sin, death and self-destruction are also due to love, but to deviated and distorted love, love directed at that which does not deserve love. Here is the mystery of this unique day, and its liturgy, where light and darkness, joy and sorrow are so strangely mixed, challenges us with the choice on which depends the eternal destiny of each one of us. "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come... having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end..." (John 13:1). To understand the meaning of the Last Supper we must see it as the very end of the great movement of Divine Love which began with the creation of the world and is now to be consummated in the death and resurrection of Christ.
God is Love (1 John 4:8). And the first gift of Love was life. The meaning, the content of life was communion. To be alive man was to eat and to drink, to partake of the world. The world was thus Divine love made food, made Body of man. And being alive, i.e. partaking of the world, man was to be in communion with God, to have God as the meaning, the content and the end of his life. Communion with the God-given world was indeed communion with God. Man received his food from God and making it his body and his life, he offered the whole world to God, transformed it into life in God and with God. The love of God gave life to man, the love of man for God transformed this life into communion with God. This was paradise. Life in it was, indeed, eucharistic. Through man and his love for God the whole creation was to be sanctified and transformed into one all-embracing sacrament of Divine Presence and man was the priest of this sacrament.
But in sin man lost this eucharistic life. He lost it because he ceased to see the world as a means of Communion with God and his life as eucharist, as adoration and thanksgiving. . . He love himself and the world for their own sake; he made himself the content and the end of his life. He thought that his hunger and thirst, i.e. his dependence of his life on the world - can be satisfied by the world as such, by food as such. But world and food, once they are deprived of their initial sacramental meaning - as means of communion with God, once they are not received for God's sake and filled with hunger and thirst for God, once, in other words, God is no longer, their real "content" can give no life, satisfy no hunger, for they have no life in themselves... And thus by putting his love in them, man deviated his love from the only object of all love, of all hunger, of all desires. And he died. For death is the inescapable "decomposition" of life cut from its only source and content. Man thought to find life in the world and in food, but he found death. His life became communion with death, for instead of transforming the world by faith, love, and adoration into communion with God, he submitted himself entirely to the world, he ceased to be its priest and became its slave. And by his sin the whole world was made a cemetery, where people condemned to death partook of death and "sat in the region and shadow of death" (Matt. 4:16).
But if man betrayed, God remained faithful to man. He did not "turn Himself away forever from His creature whom He had made, neither did He forget the works of His hands, but He visited him in diverse manners, through the tender compassion of His mercy" (Liturgy of St Basil). A new Divine work began, that of redemption and salvation. And it was fulfilled in Christ, the Son of God Who in order to restore man to his pristine beauty and to restore life as communion with God, became Man, took upon Himself our nature, with its thirst and hunger, with its desire for and love of, life. And in Him life was revealed, given, accepted and fulfilled as total and perfect Eucharist, as total and perfect communion with God. He rejected the basic human temptation: to live "by bread alone," He revealed that God and His kingdom are the real food, the real life of man. And this perfect eucharistic Life, filled with God, and, therefore Divine and immortal, He gave to all those who would believe in Him, i,e. find in Him the meaning and the content of their lives. Such is the wonderful meaning of the Last Supper. He offered Himself as the true food of man, because the Life revealed in Him is the true Life. And thus the movement of Divine Love which began in paradise with a Divine "take, eat. .." (for eating is life for man) comes now "unto the end" with the Divine "take, eat, this is My Body..." (for God is life of man). The Last Supper is the restoration of the paradise of bliss, of life as Eucharist and Communion.
But this hour of ultimate love is also that of the ultimate betrayal. Judas leaves the light of the Upper Room and goes into darkness. "And it was night" (John 13:30). Why does he leave? Because he loves, answers the Gospel, and his fateful love is stressed again and again in the hymns of Holy Thursday. It does not matter indeed, that he loves the "silver." Money stands here for all the deviated and distorted love which leads man into betraying God. It is, indeed, love stolen from God and Judas, therefore, is the Thief. When he does not love God and in God, man still loves and desires, for he was created to love and love is his nature, but it is then a dark and self-destroying passion and death is at its end. And each year, as we immerse ourselves into the unfathomable light and depth of Holy Thursday, the same decisive question is addressed to each one of us: do I respond to Christ's love and accept it as my life, do I follow Judas into the darkness of his night?
The liturgy of Holy Thursday includes: a) Matins, b) Vespers and, following Vespers, the Liturgy of St Basil the Great. In the Cathedral Churches the special service of the Washing of Feet takes place after the Liturgy; while the deacon reads the Gospel, the Bishop washes the feet of twelve priests, reminding us that Christ's love is the foundation of life in the Church and shapes all relations within it. It is also on Holy Thursday that Holy Chrism is consecrated by the primates of autocephalous Churches, and this also means that the new love of Christ is the gift we receive from the Holy Spirit on the day of our entrance into the Church.
At Matins the Troparion sets the theme of the day: the opposition between the love of Christ and the "insatiable desire" of Judas.

"When the glorious disciples were illumined by washing at the Supper, Then was the impious Judas darkened with the love of silver And to the unjust judges does he betray Thee, the just Judge. Consider, 0 Lover of money, him who hanged himself because of it. Do not follow the insatiable desire which dared this against the Master, 0 Lord, good to all, glory to Thee."
After the Gospel reading (Luke 12:1-40) we are given the contemplation, the mystical and eternal meaning of the Last Supper in the beautiful canon of St Cosmas. Its last "irmos," (Ninth Ode) invites us to share in the hospitality of the Lord's banquet:
"Come, 0 ye faithful Let us enjoy the hospitality of the Lord and the banquet of immortality In the upper chamber with minds uplifted...."
At Vespers, the stichira on "Lord, I have cried" stress the spiritual anticlimax of Holy Thursday, the betrayal of Judas:

"Judas the slave and Knave, The disciple and traitor, The friend and fiend, Was proved by his deeds, For, as he followed the Master, Within himself he contemplated His betrayal...."
After the Entrance, three lessons from the Old Testament:

1) Exodus 19: 10-19. God's descent from Mount Sinai to His people as the image of God's coming in the Eucharist. 2) Job 38:1-23, 42:1-5, God's conversation with Job and Job's answer: "who will utter to me what I understand not? Things too great and wonderful for me, which I knew not..." - and these "great and wonderful things" are fulfilled in the gift of Christ's Body and Blood. 3) Isaiah 50:4-11. The beginning of the prophecies on the suffering servant of God,
The Epistle reading is from I Corinthians 11:23-32: St Paul's account of the Last Supper and the meaning of communion.
The Gospel reading (the longest of the year is taken from all four Gospels and is the full story of the Last Supper, the betrayal of Judas and Christ's arrest in the garden.
The Cherubic hymn and the hymn of Communion are replaced by the words of the prayer before Communion:

"Of Thy Mystical Supper, 0 Son of God, accept me today as a communicant, For I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, Neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss; But like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, 0 Lord, in Thy Kingdom." 
by The Very Rev. Alexander Schmemann, S.T.D. Professor of Liturgical Theology, St Vladimir's Seminary
Holy Week: A Liturgical Explanation for the Days of Holy Week

3. MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY: THE END These three days, which the Church calls Great and Holy have within the liturgical development of the Holy Week a very definite purpose. They place all its celebrations in the perspective of End ; they remind us of the eschatological meaning of Pascha. So often Holy Week is considered one of the "beautiful traditions" or "customs," a self-evident "part" of our calendar. We take it for granted and enjoy it as a cherished annual event which we have "observed" since childhood, we admire the beauty of its services, the pageantry of its rites and, last but not least, we like the fuss about the paschal table. And then, when all this is done we resume our normal life. But do we understand that when the world rejected its Savior, when "Jesus began to be sorrowful and very heavy... and his soul was exceedingly sorrowful even unto death," when He died on the Cross, "normal life" came to its end and is no longer possible. For there were "normal" men who shouted "Crucify Him [" who spat at Him and nailed Him to the Cross. And they hated and killed Him precisely because He was troubling their normal life. It was indeed a perfectly "normal" world which preferred darkness and death to light and life.... By the death of Jesus the "normal" world, and "normal" life were irrevocably condemned. Or rather they revealed their true and abnormal inability to receive the Light, the terrible power of evil in them. "Now is the Judgment of this world" (John 12:31). The Pascha of Jesus signified its end to "this world" and it has been at its end since then. This end can last for hundreds of centuries this does not alter the nature of time in which we live as the "last time." "The fashion of this world passeth away..." (I Cor. 7:31).

Pascha means passover, passage. The feast of Passover was for the Jews the annual commemoration of their whole history as salvation, and of salvation as passage from the slavery of Egypt into freedom, from exile into the promised land. It was also the anticipation of the ultimate passage - into the Kingdom of God. And Christ was the fulfillment of Pascha. He performed the ultimate passage: from death into life, from this "old world" into the new world into the new time of the Kingdom. And he opened the possibility of this passage to us. Living in "this world" we can already be "not of this world," i.e. be free from slavery to death and sin, partakers of the "world to come." But for this we must also perform our own passage, we must condemn the old Adam in us, we must put on Christ in the baptismal death and have our true life hidden in God with Christ, in the "world to come...."

And thus Easter is not an annual commemoration, solemn and beautiful, of a past event. It is this Event itself shown, given to us, as always efficient, always revealing our world, our time, our life as being at their end, and announcing the Beginning of the new life.... And the function of the three first days of Holy Week is precisely to challenge us with this ultimate meaning of Pascha and to prepare us to the understanding and acceptance of it.

1. This eschatological (which means ultimate, decisive, final) challenge is revealed, first, in the common troparion of these days:
Troparion - Tone 8
Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight, And blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching, And again unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep, Lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom. But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, are You, O our God! Through the Theotokos have mercy on us!

Midnight is the moment when the old day comes to its end and a new day begins. It is thus the symbol of the time in which we live as Christians. For, on the one hand, the Church is still in this world, sharing in its weaknesses and tragedies. Yet, on the other hand, her true being is not of this world, for she is the Bride of Christ and her mission is to announce and to reveal the coming of the Kingdom and of the new day. Her life is a perpetual watching and expectation, a vigil pointed at the dawn of this new day. But we know how strong is still our attachment to the "old day," to the world with its passions and sins. We know how deeply we still belong to "this world." We have seen the light, 'We know Christ, we have heard about the peace and joy of the new life in Him, and yet the world holds us in its slavery. This weakness, this constant betrayal of Christ, this incapacity to give the totality of our love to the only true object of love are wonderfully expressed in the exapostilarion of these three days:

"Thy Bridal Chamber I see adorned, O my Savior And I have no wedding garment that I may enter, O Giver of life, enlighten the vesture of my soul And save me."

2. The same theme develops further in the Gospel readings of these days. First of all, the entire text of the four Gospels (up to John 13: 31) is read at the Hours (1, 3, 6 and 9th). This recapitulation shows that the Cross is the climax of the whole life and ministry of Jesus, the Key to their proper understanding. Everything in the Gospel leads to this ultimate hour of Jesus and everything is to be understood in its light. Then, each service has its special Gospel lesson

On Tuesday: At Matins: Matthew 22: 15-23, 39. Condemnation of Pharisees, i.e. of the blind and hypocritical religion, of those who think they are the leaders of man and the light of the world, but who in fact "shut up the Kingdom of heaven to men."

At the Presanctified Liturgy: Matthew 24: 36-26, 2. The End again and the parables of the End: the ten wise virgins who had enough oil in their lamps and the ten foolish ones who were not admitted to the bridal banquet; the parable of ten talents ". . . Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh." And, finally the Last Judgment.

3.These Gospel lessons are explained and elaborated in the hymnology of these days: the stichiras and the triodia (short canons of three odes each sung at Matins). One warning, one exhortation runs through all of them: the end and the judgment are approaching, let us prepare for them: '"

"Behold, O my soul, the Master has conferred on thee a talent Receive the gift with fear; Lend to him who gave; distribute to the poor And acquire for thyself thy Lord as thy Friend; That when He shall come in glory, Thou mayest stand on His right hand And hear His blessed voice: Enter, my servant, into the joy of thy Lord." (Tuesday Matins)

4. Throughout the whole Lent the two books of the Old Testament read at Vespers were Genesis and Proverbs. With the beginning of Holy Week they are replaced by Exodus and Job. Exodus is the story of Israel's liberation from Egyptian slavery, of their Passover. It prepares us for the understanding of Christ's exodus to His Father, of His fulfillment of the whole history of salvation. Job, the Sufferer, is the Old Testament icon of Christ. This reading announces the great mystery of Christ's sufferings, obedience and sacrifice.

5. The liturgical structure of these three days is still of the Lenten type. It includes, therefore, the prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian with prostrations, the augmented reading of the Psalter, the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts and the Lenten liturgical chant. We are still in the time of repentance for repentance alone makes us partakers of the Pascha of Our Lord, opens to us the doors of the Paschal banquet. And then, on Great and Holy Wednesday, as the last Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is about to be completed, after the Holy Gifts have been removed from the altar, the priest reads for the last time the Prayer of St Ephrem. At this moment, the preparation comes to an end. The Lord summons us now to His Last Supper.
by THE VERY REV. ALEXANDER SCHMEMANN
Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God, "Unfading Blossom" ("Neuvyadaemii Tsvet"):

On this icon the MostHoly Mother of God holds Her Divine Son upon Her right arm, and in Her left hand -- is a bouquet of white lilies.

This bouquet symbolically signifies the unfading flower of virginity and immaculateness of the All-Pure Virgin, to Whom thus also Holy Church turns: "Thou art the Root of virginity and the Unfading Blossom of purity".

 Copies of this icon were glorified at Moscow, Voronezh and other locales of the Russian Church.

1st v Pancras of Taormina Antiochene by birth Saint Peter consecrated bishop sent to Sicily BM (RM)
 Tauroménii, in Sicília, sancti Pancrátii Epíscopi, qui Christi Evangélium, quod a sancto Petro Apóstolo illuc missus prædicáverat, martyrii sánguine consignávit.
  At Taormina in Sicily, Bishop St. Pancras, who sealed with a martyr's blood the Gospel of Christ that the apostle St. Peter had sent him there to preach.
(also known as Pancratius) 1st century; also July 8. Saint Pancras is the subject of a bizarre Greek legend. According to the story, he was an Antiochene by birth, whom Saint Peter consecrated bishop and sent to Taormina (Tauromenium) in Sicily, where he was stoned to death by brigands after a career of preaching and miracle-working. Saint Pancras was immensely popular in Sicily, and his cultus spread early to England and Georgia (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Farmer).

90 ST PANCRAS, Bishop OF TAORMINA, MARTYR
WE have no trustworthy records of the life and death of this St Pancras (Pancratius) who, though less well known than his Roman namesake, is greatly honoured in Sicily.
According to his legendary history he was a native of Antioch and was converted and baptized together with his parents by St Peter, who sent him to evangelize Sicily, consecrating him the first bishop of Taormina. There he preached, destroyed the idols, and, by his eloquence and miracles, converted Boniface, the city prefect, who helped him to build a church. After he had baptized a great number, he was stoned to death by brigands who came down from the mountains and captured him by guile.

A panegyric purporting to give biographical details is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, April, vol. i; but while this information is quite unreliable, there seems to have been an early cultus. This St Pancratius is twice mentioned in the “Hieronymianum”, and even as far off as Georgia we find mention of him as a disciple of St Peter. His proper day seems to have been July 8; see the stone calendar of Nap and the Acta Sanctorum, November, vol. ii, part a, p. 359. The Greek text of the panegyric by Theophanes is in Migne, PG., vol. 132, cc. 989 seq.
127 Sixtus I, Pope survived as pope for about 10 years before being killed by the Roman authorities M (RM)
 Romæ natális beáti Xysti Primi, Papæ et Mártyris; qui, tempóribus Hadriáni Imperatóris, summa cum laude rexit Ecclésiam, ac demum, sub Antoníno Pio, ut sibi Christum lucrifáceret, libénter mortem sustínuit temporálem.
      At Rome, the birthday of blessed Pope Sixtus the First, martyr, who ruled the Church with distinction during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, and finally in the reign of Antoninus Pius he gladly accepted temporal death in order to gain Christ for himself. 
(also known as Xystus)

127 ST SIXTUS, or XYSTUS I, Pope AND martyr

ST XYSTUS I succeeded Pope St Alexander I about the end of the reign of Trajan, and governed the Church for some ten years at a period when the papal dignity was the common prelude to martyrdom. In all the old martyrologies he is honoured as a martyr, but we have no particulars about his life or death. He was by birth a Roman, his father’s house in the ancient Via Lata having occupied, it is supposed, the site now covered by the church of St Mary-in-Broad-Street. The Liber Pontificalis credits him with having laid down as ordinances that none but the clergy should touch the sacred vessels, and that the people should join in when the priest had intoned the Sanctus at Mass. The Sixtus mentioned in the canon of the Mass was probably not this pope but St Sixtus II, whose martyrdom was more widely famous.
See the Liber, Pontificalis (ed. Duchesne), vol. i, pp. 56 and 128, and the Acta Sanctorum, November, vol. ii, pars posterior, pp. 173 and 177.

Born at Rome; After the death of Pope Alexander I, when the emperor Trajan ruled the Roman Empire, it was virtually certain that anyone who succeeded the pope would suffer martyrdom, for this was an age when Christians were savagely persecuted. Sixtus I took the office c. 117 knowing this, and survived as pope for about 10 years before being killed by the Roman authorities.
As well as displaying great bravery, Sixtus I must have been much concerned with the liturgy of the church as the Liber Pontificalis details three ordinances. It anachronistically says that at the Eucharist when the priests came to the words 'Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might; heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest,' Sixtus decreed that all the people in the church should join in as well. (Unfortunately, this cannot be true because the Sanctus was not added to the liturgy until a much later date: it was not included in the Mass of Hippolytus. Therefore, it is unclear how accurate the balance of the entry is.) It relates that he issued a decree that only the clergy should touch the sacred vessels and that bishops called to Rome should not be received back by their diocese unless they present Apostolic papers.

The Roman Martyrology says that Sixtus I was killed by the pagan Romans in the year 127 under Antonius the Pious, but there are no acta (Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

Tauroménii, in Sicília, sancti Pancrátii Epíscopi, qui Christi Evangélium, quod a sancto Petro Apóstolo illuc missus prædicáverat, martyrii sánguine consignávit.
      At Taormina in Sicily, Bishop St. Pancras, who sealed with a martyr's blood the Gospel of Christ that the apostle St. Peter had sent him there to preach.

304 St. Vulpian Syrian Martyr firmly confessed Jesus as Lord before the judge Urbanus
 Tyri, in Phœnícia, sancti Vulpiáni Mártyris, qui, in persecutióne Maximiáni Galérii, cum áspide et cane insútus cúleo, in mare demérsus fuit.
      At Tyre, the martyr St. Vulpian, who was sewn up in a sack with a serpent and a dog and drowned in the sea, during the persecution of Maximian Galerius.
he was executed at Tyre, Lebanon, during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian (n 284-305). Custom declares that he was sewn into a leather sack with a snake and a dog and hurled into the sea.

Vulpian of Tyre M (RM) (also known as Ulpian) Saint Vulpian was a Syrian who was martyred in Tyre, Phoenicia. Because he firmly confessed Jesus as Lord before the judge Urbanus, his joints were dislocated on the rack. Thereafter, he was sewn into a leather sack with a dog and a wasp (or serpent), and drowned in the sea, according to Eusebius (De Mart. Palest., ch. 5) (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

307 Theodosia of Tyre suffered in the year 307 The Holy Martyr
Once, during a persecution against Christians, which had already lasted for five years, the seventeen-year-old St Theodosia visited condemned Christian prisoners in the Praetorium in Caesarea, Palestine. It was the day of Holy Pascha, and the martyrs spoke about the Kingdom of God. St Theodosia asked them to remember her before the Lord, when they should come to stand before Him.

Soldiers seized her and led her before the governor Urban after seeing the maiden bow to the prisoners. The governor advised her to offer sacrifice to the idols but she refused, confessing her faith in Christ. Then they subjected the saint to cruel tortures, raking her body with iron claws until her bones were exposed.

The martyr was silent and endured the sufferings with a happy face, and when the governor told her again to offer sacrifice to the idols she answered, "You fool, I have been granted to join the martyrs!" They threw the maiden with a stone about her neck into the sea, but angels rescued her. Then they threw the martyr to the wild beasts to be eaten by them. Seeing that the beasts would not touch her, they cut off her head.

By night St Theodosia appeared to her parents, who had tried to talk their daughter out of her intention to suffer for Christ. She was in bright garb with a crown upon her head and a luminous gold cross in her hand, and she said, "Behold the great glory of which you wanted to deprive me!"

The Holy Martyr Theodosia of Tyre suffered in the year 307. She is also commemorated on May 29 (the transfer of her relics to Constantinople, and later to Venice).
Evagrius and Benignus Martyrs at Tomi on the Black Sea MM (RM).  
 Tomis, in Scythia, natális sanctórum Mártyrum Evágrii et Benígni.
       At Tomis in Scythia, the birthday of the holy martyrs Evagrius and Benignus.
Date unknown. (Benedictines).
304 St. Agape and her sisters Chionia and Irene, Christians of Thessalonica, Macedonia were convicted of possessing texts of the Scriptures
 Thessalonícæ pássio sanctárum Vírginum Agapis et Chióniæ, Diocletiáno Imperatóre, sub quo et sancta Virgo Iréne, eárum soror, póstmodum passúra erat.  Ambæ vero, cum Christum negáre nollent, primum in cárcere macerátæ sunt, póstea in ignem missæ, sed a flammis intáctæ, ibi, oratióne ad Dóminum fusa, ánimas reddidérunt.
       At Thessalonica, the martyrdom of the holy virgins Agape and Chionia, under Emperor Diocletian.  Because they would not deny Christ, they were first detained in prison, then cast into the fire where, untouched by the flames, they gave up their souls to their Creator while praying.  Their sister Irene had been imprisoned with them, but was to die later.

304 SS. AGAPE, CHIONIA and IRENE, VIRGINS AND MARTYRS
IN the year 303, the Emperor Diocletian issued a decree rendering it an offence punishable by death to possess or retain any portion of the sacred Christian writings. Now there were living at that time at Thessalonica in Macedonia three Christian sisters, Agape, Chionia and Irene, the daughters of pagan parents, who owned several volumes of the Holy Scriptures. These books were kept so carefully concealed that they were not discovered until the following year when the house was searched after the sisters had been arrested upon another charge.
One day, when Dulcitius the governor had taken his seat on the tribune, his secretary Artemesius read the charge-sheet, which had been handed in by the public informer. It ran as follows: “The pensioner Cassander to Dulcitius, President of Macedonia, greeting. I send to your Highness six Christian women and one man who have refused to eat meat sacrificed to the gods. Their names are Agape, Chionia, Irene, Cassia, Philippa and Eutychia, and the man is called Agatho.”
The president said to the women, who had been arrested, “Fools, how can you be so mad as to disobey the commands of the emperors?” Then, turning to the man, he asked, “Why will you not eat of the meat offered to the gods, like other subjects?” “Because I am a Christian,” replied Agatho. “Do you adhere to your determination?” “Certainly I do.” Dulcitius next questioned Agape as to her convictions. “I believe in the living God,” was her answer, “and I will not lose all the merit of my past life by one evil action.” “And you, Chionia, what have you to say for yourself?”“ “That I believe in the living God and therefore I cannot obey the emperor’s orders.” Irene replied when asked why she did not comply, “Because I was afraid of offending God.” “What do you say, Cassia?” inquired the judge. “That I desire to save my soul.” “Then will you not partake of the sacred offerings?” “No, indeed, I will not.” Philippa declared that she would rather die than obey, and so did Eutychia, a young woman recently widowed who was about to become a mother. Because of her condition, she was separated from her companions and taken back to prison, while Dulcitius proceeded to press the others further. “Agape”, he inquired, “what have you decided Will you act as we do, who are obedient and dutiful to the emperor?” “It is not right to obey Satan”, she answered, “I am not to be influenced by anything that you can say.” “And you, Chionia “, persisted the president, “what is your ultimate decision?” “My decision remains unchanged.” “Have you not some books or writings relating to the religion of the impious Christians?” he asked. “We have none: the emperor now on the throne has taken them all from us was the reply. To inquiries as to who had converted them to Christianity Chionia would only say, “Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Then Dulcitius gave sentence: “I condemn Agape and Chionia to be burnt alive for having out of malice and obstinacy acted in contravention of the divine edicts of our lords the Emperors and Caesars, and for continuing to profess the rash and false religion of the Christians, which all pious persons abhor. As for the other four”, he added, “let them be kept in close captivity during my pleasure.”
After the martyrdom of her elder sisters, Irene was again brought before the president, who said to her, “Your folly is patent enough now, for you retained in your possession all those books, parchments, and writings relating to the doctrine of the impious Christians which you were forced to acknowledge when they were produced before you, although you had previously denied that you had any Yet even now, notwithstanding your crimes, you may find pardon if you will worship the gods. . . . Are you prepared to do so?” “No”, replied Irene, “for those who do so are in danger of hell fire.” “Who persuaded you to hide those books and papers for so long?” “Almighty God, who has commanded us to love Him unto death. For that reason we prefer to be burnt alive rather than give up the Holy Scriptures and betray Him.” “Who knew that you had those writings hidden away?” “Nobody”, replied Irene, “except Almighty God; for we concealed them even from our servants lest they should inform against us.” “Where did you hide yourselves last year when the emperors’ edict was first published?” “Where it pleased God: in the mountains.” “With whom did you live?” persisted the judge. “We were in the open air—sometimes on one mountain, sometimes on another.” “Who supplied you with food?” “ God, who gives food to all flesh.” “Was your father privy to it?“ “ No, he had not the least idea of it.” “Which of your neighbours was in the secret?” “Inquire in the neighbourhood and make your search.” “After you returned from the mountains did you read those books to anyone?” “They were hidden in the house, but we dared not produce them: we were in great trouble because we could no longer read them day and night as we had been accustomed to do.”
Irene’s sentence was a more cruel one than that of her sisters. Dulcitius declared that she like them had incurred the death penalty for having concealed the books, but that her sufferings should be more lingering. He therefore ordered that she should be stripped and exposed in a house of ill fame which was kept closely guarded. As, however, she appeared to be miraculously protected from molestation, the governor afterwards caused her to be put to death. The acts say that she suffered at the stake, being compelled to throw herself into the flames. But this is improbable, and some later versions speak of her being shot in the throat with an arrow.
As we read of these noble women who preferred to die rather than yield up their copies of the Sacred Scriptures, and as we consider the loving care lavished by the monks of a later generation upon copying and illuminating the gospels, we may with advantage question ourselves as to the value which we attach to God’s written word. Irene and her sisters were distressed when they could not read the sacred books at all hours. Many of us in these latter ages do not even read them every day although we have every inducement and encouragement to do so. The very facilities which we have for obtaining cheap and well-printed Bibles seem to render us less appreciative and less studious of the word of God—in spite of the exhortations of our pastors. There is a salutary lesson for all in the story of Agape, Chionia and Irene.

The Greek text of the acta of these martyrs was discovered and edited in 1902 by Ho Franchi de’ Cavalieri in part ix of Studi e Testi. It is admitted on all hands that the document was compiled from genuine and official records, but the Latin translation reproduced by Ruinart in his Acta Martyrum Sincera is not altogether satisfactory. An English version of the Greek may be found in A. J. Mason, Historic Martyrs of the Primitive Church (1905), pp. 341—346. The names of Chionia and Agape occur in the old Syriac Martyrologium, or “Breviarium”, of the beginning of the fifth century, entered under April 2. Irene’s name was perhaps omitted because she suffered later and separately. Nothing is recorded of the fate of the other four. See the Acta Sanctorum, November, vol. ii, pars posterior (1932). pp. 169—170; and also Delehaye, Les Passions des Martyrs   pp. 141—143.

Despite a decree issued in 303 by Emperor Diocletian naming such possessions a crime punishable by death. When they further refused to sacrifice to pagan gods, the governor, Dulcitius, had Agape and Chionia burned alive. When Irene still refused to recant, Dulcitius ordered her sent to a house of prostitution. There she was unmolested after being exposed naked and chained, she was put to death either by burning or by an arrow through her throat.

Agape, Chionia (Chione) & Irene VV MM (RM)  Died at Thessalonica, Macedonia, April 3, 304. The martyrdom of these three sisters is related in a document that is a somewhat more amplified version of genuine records.  In 303, Emperor Diocletian issued a decree making it an offense punishable by death to possess any portion of sacred Christian writings. Irene and her sisters, Agape and Chionia, daughters of pagan parents living in Salonika, owned several volumes of Holy Scriptures, which they hid. This made the girls very unhappy because they could not read them at all hours as was their wont.

The sisters were arrested on another charge--that of refusing to eat food that had been offered to the gods--and taken before the governor, Dulcetius (Dulcitius). He asked each in turn why they had refused and if they would still refuse. Agape answered: "I believe in the living God, and will not by an evil action lose all the merit of my past life." Some of the transcript follows:

Dulcetius: "Why didn't you obey the most pious command of our emperors and Caesars?"
Irene: "For fear of offending God." Dulcetius: "But what say you, Casia?" Casia: "I desire to save my soul."
Dulcetius: "Will not you partake of the sacred offerings?" Casia: "By no means." Dulcetius: "But you, Philippa, what do you say?" Philippa: "I say the same thing." Dulcetius: "What is that?"
Philippa: "That I had rather die than eat of your sacrifices."
Dulcetius: "And you, Eutychia, what do you say?" Eutychia: "I say the same thing: that I had rather die than do what you command." Dulcetius: "Are you married?" Eutychia: "My husband has been dead almost seven months."
Dulcetius: "By whom are you with child?"
Eutychia: "By him whom God gave me for my husband." Dulcetius: "I advise you, Eutychia, to leave this folly, and resume a reasonable way of thinking; what do you say? will you obey the imperial edict?" Eutychia: "No: for I am a Christian, and serve the Almighty God."
Dulcetius: "Eutychia being big with child, let her be kept in prison. Agape, what is your resolution? will you do as we do, who are obedient and dutiful to the emperors?" Agape: "It is not proper to obey Satan; my soul is not to be overcome by these discourses." Dulcetius: "And you, Chionia, what is your final answer?" Chionia: "Nothing can change me." Dulcetius: "Have you not some books, papers, or other writings, relating to the religion of the impious Christians?" Chionia: "We have none: the emperors now reigning have taken them all from us."
Dulcetius: "Who drew you into this persuasion?" Chionia: "Almighty God."
Dulcetius: "Who induced you to embrace this folly?" Chionia: "Almighty God, and his only Son our Lord Jesus Christ."

Dulcetius: "You are all bound to obey our most puissant emperors and Caesars. But because you have so long obstinately despised their just commands, and so many edicts, admonitions, and threats, and have had the boldness and rashness to despise our orders, retaining the impious name of Christians; and since to this very time you have not obeyed the stationers and officers who solicited you to renounce Jesus Christ in writing, you shall receive the punishment you deserve.
"I condemn Agape and Chionia to be burnt alive. for having out of malice and obstinacy acted in contradiction to the divine edicts of our lords the emperors and Caesars, and who at present profess the rash and false religion of Christians, which all pious persons abhor. As for the other four, let them be confined in close prison during my pleasure."

Thus, Chionia and Agape were condemned to be burned alive, but, because of her youth, Irene was to be imprisoned. After the execution of her older sisters, their house had been searched and the forbidden volumes discovered. Irene was examined again:

Dulcetius: "Your madness is plain, since you have kept to this day so many books, parchments, codicils, and papers of the scriptures of the impious Christians. You were forced to acknowledge them when they were produced before you, though you had before denied you had any. You will not take warning from the punishment of your sisters, neither have you the fear of death before your eyes your punishment therefore is unavoidable. In the mean time I do not refuse even now to make some condescension in your behalf. Notwithstanding your crime, you may find pardon and be freed from punishment, if you will yet worship the gods. What say you then? Will you obey the orders of the emperors? Are you ready to sacrifice to the gods, and eat of the victims?"
Irene: "By no means: for those that renounce Jesus Christ, the Son of God, are threatened with eternal fire."
Dulcetius: "Who persuaded you to conceal those books and papers so long?"
Irene: "Almighty God, who has commanded us to love Him even unto death; on which account we dare not betray Him, but rather choose to be burnt alive, or suffer any thing whatsoever than discover such writings."
Dulcetius: "Who knew that those writings were in the house?"
Irene: "Nobody but the Almighty, from Whom nothing is hid: for we concealed them even from our own domestics, lest they should accuse us."
During the questioning Irene told him that when the emperor's decree against Christians was published, she and others fled to the mountains without her father's knowledge. She avoided implicating those who had helped them, and declared that nobody but themselves know they had the books:
Dulcetius: "Where did you hide yourselves last year, when the pious edict of our emperors was first published?"
Irene: "Where it pleased God, in the mountains." Dulcetius: "With whom did you live?
Irene: "We were in the open air, sometimes on one mountain, sometimes on another."
Dulcetius: "Who supplied you with bread?" Irene: "God, Who gives food to all flesh."
Dulcetius: "Was your father privy to it? Irene: "No; he had not the least knowledge of it."
Dulcetius: "Which of your neighbors knew it?" Irene: "Inquire in the neighborhood, and make your search."
Dulcetius: "After you returned from the mountains, as you say, did you read those books to anybody?"
Irene: "They were hid at our own house, and we dared not produce them; and we were in great trouble, because we could not read them night and day, as we had been accustomed to do."

Dulcetius: "Your sisters have already suffered the punishments to which they were condemned. As for you, Irene, though you were condemned to death before your flight for having hid these writings, I will not have you die so suddenly, but I order that you be exposed naked in a brothel, and be allowed one loaf a day, to be sent you from the palace; and that the guards do not suffer you to stir out of it one moment, under pain of death to them."

Irene was sent to a soldiers' brothel, where she was stripped and chained. There she was miraculously protected from molestation. So, after again refusing a last chance to conform, she was sentenced to death. She died either by being forced to throw herself into flames or, more likely, by being shot in the throat with an arrow. The books, including the Sacred Scripture, were publicly burned.

The one expanded version of the story relates that Irene was taken to a rising ground, where she mounted a large, lighted pile. While signing psalms and celebrating the glory of the Lord, she threw herself on the pile and was consumed.

Three other women (Casia, Philippa, Eutychia) and a man (Agatho) were tried with these martyrs. Eutychia was remanded because she was pregnant. It is not recorded what happened to the others. Agape and Chionia died on April 3; Irene on April 5, which is her actual feast day (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, White).
In art, this trio is represented generally as three maidens carrying pitchers, though they may be shown being burned at the stake (Roeder). They are venerated in Salonika (Roeder).
The Holy Martyrs Elpidiphoros, Dios, Bythonios and Galikos suffered for their confession of faith in Jesus Christ.  
They cut off the head of Saint Elpidiphoros with a sword. Saint Dios they stoned. Saint Bythonios was drowned in the sea, and the Martyr Galikos was sent for devouring by wild beasts.

The Holy Martyrs Elpidephorus, Dius, Bithonius, and Galycus suffered for their faith in Jesus Christ. They cut off the head of St Elpidephorus with a sword.
307 Holy Martyr Theodosia of Tyre suffered for the faith
Once, during a persecution against Christians, which had already lasted for five years, the seventeen-year-old St Theodosia visited condemned Christian prisoners in the Praetorium in Caesarea, Palestine. It was the day of Holy Pascha, and the martyrs spoke about the Kingdom of God. St Theodosia asked them to remember her before the Lord, when they should come to stand before Him.

Soldiers seized her and led her before the governor Urban after seeing the maiden bow to the prisoners. The governor advised her to offer sacrifice to the idols but she refused, confessing her faith in Christ. Then they subjected the saint to cruel tortures, raking her body with iron claws until her bones were exposed.

The martyr was silent and endured the sufferings with a happy face, and when the governor told her again to offer sacrifice to the idols she answered, "You fool, I have been granted to join the martyrs!" They threw the maiden with a stone about her neck into the sea, but angels rescued her. Then they threw the martyr to the wild beasts to be eaten by them. Seeing that the beasts would not touch her, they cut off her head.

By night St Theodosia appeared to her parents, who had tried to talk their daughter out of her intention to suffer for Christ. She was in bright garb with a crown upon her head and a luminous gold cross in her hand, and she said, "Behold the great glory of which you wanted to deprive me!"

The Holy Martyr Theodosia of Tyre suffered in the year 307. She is also commemorated on May 29 (the transfer of her relics to Constantinople, and later to Venice).
695 St. Fara Burgundofara (Fara) convent Abbess 37 yrs Many English princess-nuns and nun-saints were trained under her, including Saints Gibitrudis, Sethrida, Ethelburga, Ercongotha, Hildelid, Sisetrudis, Hercantrudis, and others miracles after death:
 Eboríaci, in território Meldénsi, sanctæ Burgundofáræ, étiam Faræ nómine appellátæ, Abbatíssæ et Vírginis.
      At Faremoutiers, in the district of Meaux, St. Burgundofara, also known as St. Fara, abbess and virgin.
restoration of sight to Dame Charlotte le Bret

657 ST BURGUNDOFARA, or FARE, VIRGIN
AMONGST the courtiers of King Theodebert II one of the foremost was Count Agneric, three of whose children were destined to be honoured by the Church. They were St Cagnoald of Laon, St Faro of Meaux, and a daughter called Burgundofara (“Fare” in France) who as a child had received a blessing from St Columban when he was a guest at Agneric’s house. The girl was resolved to lead the religious life, but she had to face opposition and even persecution from her father, who wished to bestow her in marriage. The struggle caused her health to give way and she suffered from a prolonged malady which was cured by St Eustace. Even then the count did not at once surrender; but eventually Burgundofara had her way, and her father became so reconciled to her vocation that he built for her a convent which he richly endowed. Of this house, young as she was, she became abbess—in accordance with the custom of the time—and throughout the thirty-seven years of her rule she proved herself a capable and saintly superior. The convent, which in its early days kept the Rule of St Columban, was known by the name of Evoriacum, but after the death of St Burgundofara it was renamed in her honour and developed into the celebrated Benedictine abbey of Faremoutiers.

There are early materials for the life of this saint, particularly an account of the wonderful works wrought at Faremoutiers, written by Abbot Jonas of Bobbio. It is printed by Mabillon in the Acta Sanctorum O.S.B., and has been more recently edited by B. Krusch in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. iv. St Fare is also mentioned by Bede, Hist. Eccles., iii, ch. 8. Prob­ably this reference by the great English writer, coupled with some confusion between Eboracum (York) and Evoriacum, led to the extraordinary blunder in earlier editions of the Roman Martyrology which stated that St Burgundofara died in England. An admirable modern account is that of H. M. Delsart, Sainte Fare, sa vie et son culte (1911).
Daughter of Count Agneric, courtier of King Theodebert II. She refused her father's demands that she marry, and became Abbess of a convent she convinced him to build, and ruled for thirty-seven years. Named Evoriacum, the convent was renamed for her after her death, and in time became the famous Benedictine Abbey of Faremoutiers. She is also known as Fare.

Burgundofara, OSB Abbess V (RM) (also known as Fare, Fara) Born near Meaux; died at Faremoutiers in Brie, France, on April 3, c. 655-657. Sister of Saint Cagnoald, Saint Faro, and Saint Agnetrudis, Fare had been blessed by Saint Columbanus in her infancy during his stay with the family on his way into exile from Luxeuil. Some chroniclers say she was 10 or 15 at the time Columbanus consecrated her to God in a particular manner.
She developed a religious vocation early in spite of the fierce opposition of her father, Count Agneric, one of the principal courtiers of King Theodebert II. He arranged an honorable match for his daughter, which so upset her that she became mortally ill. Still Agneric demanded that she marry.

When Saint Eustace was returning to the court with her brother Cagnoald from his embassy to Columbanus, he stayed in the home of Agneric. Fare disclosed to him her vocation. Eustace told her father that Fare was deathly ill because he opposed her pious inclinations. The saintly man prostrated himself for a time in prayer, rose, and made the sign of the cross upon Fare's eyes. Immediately her health was restored.

Eustace asked her mother, Leodegonda, to prepare Fare to receive the veil when he returned to court. As soon as the saint left, Agneric again began to harass his daughter. She sought sanctuary in the church when he threatened to kill her if she did not comply with this wishes. Eustace returned and reconciled father and daughter. He then arranged for Fare to be professed before Bishop Gondoald of Meaux in 614.

A year or two later, Fare convinced her father to build her a double monastery, originally named Brige (Brie, which is Celtic for "bridge") or Evoriacum, now called Faremoutiers (Fare's monastery). The chronicler Jonas, a monk in that abbey, wrote about many of the holy people he knew there, including Saint Cagnoald and Saint Walbert.

Although Fare was still very young, she was appointed its first abbess and governed the monastery under the Rule of Saint Columbanus for 37 years. The rule was severe. The use of wine and milk was forbidden (at least during penitential seasons). The inhabitants confessed three times each day to encourage a habitual watchfulness for the attainment of purity of heart. Masses were said daily in the monastery for 30 days for the soul of those religious who died.

Fare was apparently an excellent directress of souls. Many English princess-nuns and nun-saints were trained under her, including Saints Gibitrudis, Sethrida, Ethelburga, Ercongotha, Hildelid, Sisetrudis, Hercantrudis, and others. Once when her younger brother, Saint Faro, was visiting, he was so moved by her heavenly discourses that he resigned the great offices which he held at court, persuaded his fiancé to become a nun, and took the clerical tonsure. After he succeeded Gondoald as bishop, Faro supported his sister against attempts to mitigate the severity of the Rule.

A reference is made to Fare by Bede led long afterwards to the mistaken idea that she died in England; however, she died at Faremoutiers after a painful, lingering illness. Her will bequeathed some of her lands to her siblings, but the rest to the monastery, includng her lands at Champeaux on which a monastery was later erected.

Fare's relics were enshrined in 695 and many miracles were attributed to her intercession. Among them is the restoration of sight to Dame Charlotte le Bret, daughter to the first president and treasurer-general of finance in the district of Paris. At the age of seven (1602), her left eye was put out. She became a nun at Faremoutiers in 1609 and lost the sight in her remaining eye in 1617 due to an irreversible eye disease. Because she suffered terrible pain in her eyes and the adjacent nerves, remedies were applied to destroy all feeling in the area. In 1622, she kissed one of the exposed bones of Saint Fare and touched it to both eyes. She had feeling again. Upon repeating the action, her sight was restored--instantly and perfectly. Physicians and witnesses testified in writing to her state before and after this miracle, which was certified as such be Bishop John de Vieupont of Meaux on December 9, 1622.

The affidavit of the abbess, Frances de la Chastre, and the community also mentioned two other miraculous cures of palsy and rheumatism. Other miracles wrought at the intercession of Saint Fare are recorded by Carcat and du Plessis (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

Saint Burgundofara is depicted in art as an abbess with an ear of corn. Sometimes she may be shown in the scene where Saint Columbanus blesses a child (Roeder). She is honored especially in France and Sicily (Husenbeth).

Saint_Illyricus

800 Saint Attala monk and of a monastery at Taormina abbot , Sicily Benedictine , OSB Abbot (AC)
(also known as Attalus) The Saint Attala was monk and abbot of a monastery at Taormina, Sicily (Benedictines).
The Monk Illyrikos the Wonderworker asceticised on Mount Marsion in the Peloponessus
 His date of life and deeds are unknown.

Saint Illyricus the Wonderworker devoted himself to ascetic struggles on Mount Marsion in the Peloponessos.
The dates of his birth and death are unknown.

The Holy Martyrs Elpidephorus, Dius, Bithonius, and Galycus suffered for their faith in Jesus Christ
. They cut off the head of St Elpidephorus with a sword.

824 St. Nicetas Abbot From Caesarea Bithynia modern Turkey opposed the Iconoclast policies of Emperor Leo V the Armenian
 In monastério Medícii, in Bithynia, deposítio sancti Nicétæ Abbátis, qui ob cultum sanctárum Imáginum, sub Leóne Arméno, multa passus est, ac tandem, juxta Constantinópolim, Conféssor quiévit in pace.
 In the monastery of Medicion in Bithynia, Abbot St. Nicetas, who suffered a great deal for the veneration of sacred images in the time of Leo the Armenian, and then died in peace as a confessor near Constantinople.

<Nikitas_Confessor_and_Joseph_Hymnographer.jpg

824 ST NICETAS, ABBOT
THE parents of St Nicetas were residents of Caesarea in Bithynia, but his mother died when he was a week old, and his father, a very few years later, retired into a monastery. The boy, brought up from infancy in monastic austerity, responded eagerly to the teaching he received, and entered the monastery of Medikion on Mount Olympus in Asia Minor. It had been founded not long before by an eminent abbot named Nicephorus, who was subsequently honoured as a saint. In 790 Nicetas was ordained priest by St Tarasius and rose to be coadjutor to Nicephorus and then his successor.
From the peaceful life of prayer which he led with his monks Nicetas was summoned to Constantinople, together with other important heads of monasteries, by the iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Armenian, who demanded their adherence to the usurper whom he had thrust into the seat of the banished patriarch St Nicephorus. Upon their refusal Nicetas was sent to a fortress in Anatolia, where he was confined in an uncovered enclosure, and had to lie on the earth exposed to the snow and rain. Brought back to Constantinople, he allowed himself to be over-persuaded by his brother abbots and to be imposed upon by imperial guile: they all received communion from the so-called patriarch and were allowed to return to their monasteries.
Nicetas, however, promptly recognized his mistake. He embarked, it is true, on a vessel bound for the island of Proconnesus, but his conscience drove him back to Constantinople, and there publicly to retract his adherence to the usurper and to protest that he would never abandon the tradition of the fathers in the cultus of sacred images. He was in 813 banished to an island, where he languished for six years in a dark dungeon. His only food was a little mouldy bread tossed through the grating, and his drink stagnant water. In this martyrdom he lingered until Michael the Stammerer, upon his accession to the throne, released Nicetas with many other prisoners, and the holy man returned to the neighbourhood of Constantinople. There he shut himself up in a hermitage where he lived until he went to his reward.

See the Acta Sanctorum, April, vol. i, where a Greek biography of St Nicetas is printed and translated. It was apparently written shortly after his death by a disciple of his named Theosterictus. The substance of three letters from Theodore Studites addressed to St Nicetas was published by Mai in his Nova Patrum Bibliotheca, vol. viii, letters 176, 195, 196. See also C. Van de Vorst in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxxi, pp. 149—155, and vol. xxxii, pp. 44-45.

       In the monastery of Medicion in Bithynia, Abbot St. Nicetas, who suffered a great deal for the veneration of sacred images in the time of Leo the Armenian, and then died in peace as a confessor near Constantinople.

he was raised in a monastery after his mother died and his father entered the religious life. Eventually becoming a monk in the monastery of Medikion, at the base of Mount Olympus in Bithynia, he received ordination in 790 and was elected abbot. When he and other abbots opposed the Iconoclast policies of Emperor Leo V the Armenian and the appointment of Theodotus as patriarch to replace the deposed St. Nicephorus, Nicetas was exiled to Anatolia where he suffered torments from his captors. Brought to Constantinople, he finally recognized Theodotus as patriarch and was restored to his monastery. However, within a short time he recanted his acceptance, and in 813 was exiled to the island of Glyceria. Upon Leo’s death in 820, Nicetas was returned and lived as a hermit near Constantinople until his death.

Nicetas of Medikion, Abbot (RM) Born in Caesarea, Bithynia; died at Constantinople on April 3, 824.

The father of Saint Nicetas entered a monastery a few years after his mother died when he was just a week old, and he was raised in the monastery. He became a monk at Medikion Monastery at the foot of Mount Olympus, Bithynia, was ordained in 790 by Saint Tarasius, and in time became abbot.
When Nicetas and a group of other abbots refused the demand of the iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Armenian that they recognize the intruded Theodotus as patriarch of Constantinople, who Leo had appointed to replace the exiled Patriarch Nicephorus, Nicetas was exiled to Anatolia (Turkey), where he was subjected to ill treatment.

The Monk Nikita (Nicetas) the Confessor, hegumen of the Mydicia monastery, was born in Bithynian Caesarea (northwest Asia Minor) of a pious family. His mother died 8 days after his birth, and his father -- named Philaret, was tonsured into monasticism. The infant remained in the care of his grandmother, who raised him in a true Christian spirit. From his youthful years Saint Nikita attended in church and was an obedient of the hermit Stephanos. With his blessing Saint Nikita set off to the Mydicia monastery, where the hegumen then was Saint Nicephoros (Comm. 13 March).

After seven years of virtuous life at the monastery, famed for its strict ustav (monastic rule), the Monk Nikita was ordained presbyter. And the Monk Nicephoros, knowing the holy life of the young monk, entrusted to him the guidance of the monastery when he himself became grievously ill.

Not wanting power, the Monk Nikita began to concern himself about the enlightening and welfare of the monastery. He guided the brethren by his own personal example of strict monastic life. Soon the fame of the lofty life of its inhabitants of the monastery attracted there many, seeking after salvation. And after several years the number of monks had increased to 100 men.

When the Monk Nicephoros expired to the Lord in his extreme old age, the brethren unanimously chose the Monk Nikita as hegumen.

The Lord vouchsafed Saint Nikita the gift of wonderworking. Through his prayer a deaf-mute lad was restored the gift of speech; two demon-possessed women received healing; he restored reason to one who had lost his mind, and many others of the sick were healed of their infirmities.

During these years under the emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820), the Iconoclast heresy resumed and the oppression over holy icons intensified. Orthodox bishops were deposed and banished. At Constantinople in 815 a council of heretics was convened, at which they dethroned the holy Patriarch Nicephoros (806-815, + 828), and in his place they chose the heretical layman Theodotos. In place of exiled and imprisoned Orthodox bishops they likewise installed heretics. The emperor summoned before him all the heads of the monasteries and tried to draw them over to the Iconoclast heresy. Among those summoned was also the Monk Nikita, who stood firmly for the Orthodox confession. On his example all the hegumens remained faithful to the veneration of holy icons. For this they threw him in prison. The Monk Nikita bravely underwent all the tribulations and encouraged firmness of spirit in the other prisoners.

Then the emperor and the false-patriarch Theodotos to trick with cunning those that persisted. They explained to them, that the emperor would give them all their freedom and permit the veneration to the icons on one condition: if they would take Communion from the pseudo-patriarch Theodotos. For a long time the monk had doubts, whether he should enter into church communion with an heretic, but others of the prisoners besought him to partake together with them. Acceding to their entreaties, the Monk Nikita went into the church, where for the deception of the confessors icons were set out, and he accepted Communion. But when he returned to his monastery and saw, that the persecution against icons was continuing, he then repented of his deed, returned to Constantinople and began fearlessly to denounce the Iconoclast heresy. All threats from the emperor were ignored by him. The Monk Nikita was again locked up in prison, where he spent six years, until the death of the emperor Leo the Armenian. And there, enduring hunger and travail, the Monk Nikita by the power of his prayers worked miracles: through his prayer the Phrygian ruler released two captives without ransom; three men for whom the Monk Nikita prayed, who had suffered shipwreck, were thrown up on shore by the waves. In the year 824 under the new emperor Michael (820-829), the Monk Nikita expired to the Lord. The body of the monk was buried at the monastery with reverence. Afterwards, his relics became a source of healing for those coming to venerate the holy confessor.

Saint Nicetas the Confessor was born in Bithynian Caesarea (northwest Asia Minor) of a pious family. His mother died eight days after his birth, and his father Philaretos became a monk. The child remained in the care of his grandmother, who raised him in a true Christian spirit. From his youth St Nicetas attended church and was a disciple of the hermit Stephanos. With his blessing, St Nicetas set off to the Mydicia monastery, where St Nicephorus (March 13) was the igumen. 
After seven years of virtuous life at the monastery, famed for its strict monastic rule, St Nicetas was ordained presbyter. St Nicephorus, knowing the holy life of the young monk, entrusted to him the guidance of the monastery when he himself became ill.  Not wanting power, St Nicetas devoted himself to the enlightenment and welfare of the monastery. He guided the brethren by his own example. Soon the fame of the lofty life of its inhabitants of the monastery attracted many seeking salvation. After several years, the number of monks had increased to one hundred.
When St Nicephorus departed to the Lord in his old age, the brethren unanimously chose St Nicetas as igumen.

The Lord granted St Nicetas the gift of wonderworking. Through his prayer a deaf-mute child received the gift of speech; two demon-possessed women were healed; he restored reason to one who had lost his mind, and many of the sick were healed of their infirmities.

During these years under the emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820), the Iconoclast heresy resurfaced and oppression increased. Orthodox bishops were deposed and banished. At Constantinople a council of heretics was convened in 815, at which they deposed the holy Patriarch Nicephorus (806-815), and in his place they chose the heretical layman Theodotus. They also installed heretics in place of exiled and imprisoned Orthodox bishops.  The emperor summoned all the heads of the monasteries and tried to bring them over to the Iconoclast heresy. Among those summoned was St Nicetas, who stood firmly for the Orthodox confession. Following his example, all the igumens remained faithful to the veneration of holy icons.
Therefore, they threw him into prison. St Nicetas bravely underwent all the tribulations and encouraged firmness of spirit in the other prisoners.

Then the emperor and the false patriarch Theodotus attempted to trick those who remained faithful to Orthodox teaching. They promised that the emperor would give them their freedom and permit the veneration of the icons on one condition: that they take Communion from the pseudo-patriarch Theodotus.

For a long time the saint had doubts about entering into communion with a heretic, but other prisoners begged him to go along with them. Acceding to their entreaties, St Nicetas went into the church, where icons were put out to deceive the confessors, and he accepted Communion. But when he returned to his monastery and saw that the persecution against icons was continuing, he then repented of his deed, returned to Constantinople and fearlessly denounced the Iconoclast heresy. He ignored all the emperor's threats.

St Nicetas was again locked up in prison for six years until the death of the emperor Leo the Armenian. Enduring hunger and travail, St Nicetas worked miracles by the power of his prayers: through his prayer the Phrygian ruler released two captives without ransom; three shipwrecked men for whom St Nicetas prayed, were thrown up on shore by the waves.

St Nicetas reposed in the Lord in 824. The saint's body was buried at the monastery with reverence. Later, his relics became a source of healing for those coming to venerate the holy confessor.
1253 St. Richard of Wyche Ph.D. Priest a missionary bishop denounced nepotism, insisted on strict clerical discipline, and was ever generous to the poor and the needy Many miracles of healing were recorded during his lifetime, and many more after his death. Richard was deep in the hearts of his people, the sort of saint that anyone can recognize by his simplicity, holiness, and endless charity to the poor
In Anglia sancti Richárdii, Epíscopi Cicestrénsis, sanctitáte et miraculórum glória conspícui.
In England, St. Richard, bishop of Chichester, celebrated for his sanctity and glorious miracles.


1253 ST RICHARD OF WYCHE, Bishop of Chichester
RICHARD DE WYCHE, or Richard of Burford, as he is sometimes called, was born 1197 at Wyche, the present Droitwich, then as now famous for its brine-springs. His father was a landed proprietor or small squire, but both he and his wife died when their children were very young, leaving the estate in the charge of a negligent guardian who allowed it to go to rack and ruin. Richard, the younger son, although addicted to study from childhood, was of a much more virile temperament than his brother, and, as soon as he realized the state of affairs he literally put his hand to the plough and worked like a common labourer until by sheer industry and good management he had retrieved the family fortunes. In a fit of gratitude, the elder, Robert, made over to him the title deeds, but when Richard discovered that a wealthy bride was being found for him and also that Robert was repenting of his generosity, he resigned to him both the land and the lady, departing almost penniless to take up a new life in the University of Oxford. Poverty was no drawback, social or educational, in a medieval seat of learning, and Richard was wont in after days to characterize those years at Oxford as the happiest of his life. Little did he reck that he was sometimes hungry, that being unable to afford a fire he had to run about in winter to keep warm, or that he and the companions who shared his room had but one college gown which they took it in turns to wear at lectures. They were athirst for learning, and they had great masters at Oxford in those days. Grosseteste was lecturing in the Franciscan house of studies, and the Dominicans, who arrived in the city in 1221, at once gathered round them a host of brilliant men. We are not told how it happened that, in the short interval between Richard’s arrival and Edmund Rich’s departure for Salisbury, the unknown freshman came into contact with the great university chancellor, but there seems no reason to doubt that the acquaintance was then begun which ripened to a life-long friendship.
From Oxford Richard went to Paris, but returned to his alma mater to take his M.A. degree, and then, some years later, proceeded to Bologna to study canon law in what was regarded as the chief law school of Europe. He made a stay in that city for seven years, receiving the degree of doctor and winning general esteem, but when one of his tutors offered to make him his heir and to give him his daughter in marriage, Richard, who felt himself called to a celibate life, made a courteous excuse and returned to Oxford. There his career had been watched with interest. Almost immediately he was appointed chancellor of the university, and soon afterwards both St Edmund Rich, now archbishop of Canterbury, and Grosseteste, who had become bishop of Lincoln, invited him to become their chancellor. He accepted Edmund’s offer and henceforth became his close companion and right-hand man, relieving him as much as he could of his heavy burdens. In the words of the Dominican Ralph Bocking, afterwards St Richard’s confessor and biographer, “Each leaned upon the other—the saint upon the saint: the master upon the disciple, the disciple upon the master: the father on the son, and the son on the father.”
St Edmund needed all his chancellor’s help and sympathy in face of his well-nigh overwhelming difficulties, the greatest of which arose from Henry III’s reprehensible and obstinate practice of either keeping benefices vacant that he might enjoy their revenues or else filling them with unworthy favourites of his own. When, after many ineffectual struggles, the archbishop, sick and despairing, retired to the Cistercian monastery of Pontigny, St Richard accompanied him and nursed him until his death. Unwilling to remain on without his master, the ex-chancellor then left Pontigny for the Dominican house of studies in Orleans, where he continued reading and lecturing for two years, and it was in the friars’ church that he was ordained priest in 1243. Although he certainly contemplated eventually joining the Order of Preachers, he returned to England, for some reason unknown, to work as a parish priest at Deal, the prebendal stall of which had probably been conferred upon him by St Edmund, as it was in the gift of the archbishop. A man of his outstanding merits and qualifications could not long remain in obscurity, and he was shortly afterwards recalled to his former chancellorship by the new archbishop of Canterbury, Boniface of Savoy.
In 1244 Ralph Neville, bishop of Chichester, died, and Henry III, by putting pressure on the canons, obtained the election of Robert Passelewe, a worthless man who, according to Matthew Paris, “had obtained the king’s favour in a wonderful degree by an unjust inquisition by which he added some thousands of marks to the royal treasury.” The archbishop refused to confirm the election and called a chapter of his suffragans who declared the previous election invalid, and chose Richard, the primate’s nominee, to fill the vacant see. Upon hearing the news, King Henry was violently enraged: he kept in his own hands all the temporalities and forbade the admission of St Richard to any barony or secular possession attached to his see. In vain did the bishop elect himself approach the monarch on two separate occasions: he could obtain neither the confirmation of his election nor the restoration of the revenues to which he was entitled. At last both he and the king carried the case to Pope Innocent IV, who was presiding over the Council of Lyons, and he decided in favour of St Richard, whom he consecrated himself on March 5, 1245. Landing once more in England the new bishop was met by the news that the king, far from giving up the temporalities, had forbidden anyone to lend St Richard money or even to give him houseroom. At Chichester he found the palace gates closed against him: those who would gladly have helped him feared the sovereign’s anger, and it seemed as though he would have to wander about his diocese a homeless outcast. However, a good priest, Simon of Tarring, opened his house to him, and Richard, as Bocking informs us, “took shelter under this hospitable roof, sharing the meals of a stranger, warming his feet at another man’s hearth”.
From this modest centre St Richard worked for two years like a missionary bishop, visiting fisherfolk and downsmen, travelling about mainly on foot, and succeeding under great difficulties in holding synods—as we learn from the Constitutions of St Richard, a body of statutes drawn up at this period and dealing with the various abuses which had come to his notice.
Only when the pope threatened to excommunicate him would Henry acknowledge the bishop and yield up the temporalities, but even then much of the money which should have been restored to him remained unpaid until after his death. Still, St Richard’s position was now totally changed: he was enthroned and could henceforth dispense some of that general hospitality combined with liberal almsgiving which was expected of a medieval prelate. His own austerity remained unaltered, and, while his guests feasted, he kept to his simple fare from which flesh meat was rigorously excluded. When he saw poultry or young animals being conveyed to his kitchen he would say, half sadly and half humorously, “Poor little innocent creatures, if you were reasoning beings and could speak, how you would curse us! For we are the cause of your death, and what have you done to deserve it?” His dress was as plain as he could make it: lamb’s wool took the place of the usual fur, and next to his skin he wore a hair shirt and a sort of iron cuirass.
In the course of his eight years’ episcopate he won the affection of his people to a remarkable extent, but though fatherly and tender he could be very stern when he discovered avarice, heresy or immorality amongst his clergy. Not even the intercession of the archbishop and of the king could induce him to mitigate the punishment of a priest who had sinned against chastity. His objection to nepotism was so strong that he never would give preferment to any of his relations, always instancing the example given by the Pastor of pastors, who gave the keys, not to His cousin St John, but to St Peter, who was no relation. His charity was boundless. When his steward complained that his alms exceeded his income he bade him sell his gold and silver dishes, adding, “There is my horse too; he is in good condition and should fetch a good price. Sell him also, and bring me the money for the poor.” Of himself and of his own powers he had the lowest opinion, and it has been noticed that of the numerous miracles with which he has been credited the majority were performed at the request or at the suggestion of other people.
To the strenuous duties of his office, the pope added that of preaching a new crusade against the Saracens, and it was upon reaching Dover after conducting a strenuous campaign along the coast that St Richard was seized with a fever which he knew would prove fatal. He died at the house for poor priests and pilgrims called the Maison-Dieu, surrounded on his death-bed by Ralph Bocking, Simon of Tarring, and other devoted friends. He was then in his fifty-fifth year, and he was canonized only nine years later. No vestige of his relics or of his tomb at Chichester has survived. St Richard’s feast is kept in the dioceses of Westminster, Birmingham and Southwark.

Two lives of St Richard are printed in the Acta Sanctorum, April, vol. i, that by Ralph Bocking, and another which is found in Capgrave’s Nova Legenda Angliae. This last seems to be a copy of an early biography written before the canonization. There is an excellent account of St Richard in J. H. Newman’s “Lives of the English Saints”, the authorship of which has been assigned sometimes to Father Dalgairns, sometimes to R. Ornsby. The fullest modern biography is that of M. R. Capes, Richard of Wyche (1913). Further useful bibliographical references are given in DNB and in the Dictionary of English Church History.

Richard of Wyche, also known as Richard of Chichester, was born at Wyche (Droitwich), Worcestershire, England. He was orphaned when he was quite young. He retrieved the fortunes of the mismanaged estate he inherited when he took it over, and then turned it over to his brother Robert. Richard refused marriage and went to Oxford, where he studied under Grosseteste and met and began a lifelong friendship with Saint Edmund Rich.


Richard von Chichester Katholische Kirche: 3. April und 16. Juni  Anglikanische Kirche: 16. Juni
Richard wurde 1197 oder 1198 bei Worchester in England geboren. Er studierte in Oxford, Paris und Bologna Rechtswissenschaften und Geisteswissenschaften. 1236 wurde er Kanzler der Universität Oxford und Kanzler des Erzischofs Edmund von Abingdon. Nach dem Tod seines Bischofs studierte Richard Theologie und wurde nach seiner Priesterweihe 1244 Bischof von Chichester. Er wirkte vor allem als Kreuzzusprediger. Richard starb am 3.4.1253 in Dover.

Richard pursued his studies at Paris, received his M.A. from Oxford, and then continued his studies at Bologna, where he received his doctorate in Canon Law.
After seven years at Bologna, he returned to Oxford, was appointed chancellor of the university in 1235, and then became chancellor to Edmund Rich, now archbishop of Canterbury, whom he accompanied to the Cistercian monastery at Pontigny when the archbishop retired there. After Rich died at Pontigny, Richard taught at the Dominican House of Studies at Orleans and was ordained there in 1243.

After a time as a parish priest at Deal, he became chancellor of Boniface of Savoy, the new archbishop of Canterbury, and when King Henry III named Ralph Neville bishop of Chichester in 1244, Boniface declared his selection invalid and named Richard to the See. Eventually, the matter was brought to Rome and in 1245, Pope Innocent IV declared in Richard's favor and consecrated him. When he returned to England, he was still opposed by Henry and was refused admittance to the bishop's palace; eventually Henry gave in when threatened with excommunication by the Pope. The remaining eight years of Richard's life were spend in ministering to his flock.

He denounced nepotism, insisted on strict clerical discipline, and was ever generous to the poor and the needy. He died at a house for poor priests in Dover, England, while preaching a crusade, and was canonized in 1262.

Richard Backedine B (RM) (also known as Richard of Wyche, of Droitwich, of Chichester, of Burford)
Born at Droitwich (formerly called Wyche), Worchestershire, England, in 1197; died at Dover, England, 1253; canonized 1262.

"Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ For all the benefits Thou hast given me, For all the pains and insults Which Thou has borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, May I know Thee more clearly, Love Thee more dearly, Follow Thee more nearly, Day by day. Amen."
--Saint Richard of Chichester.

Richard's surname was Backedine, but he is better known as Richard Wyche or 'of Wich.' He was born into a family who held property and were counted among the minor nobility. Even as a toddler Richard haunted holy Mass. At five, standing on a chair, he was already preaching sermons: "Be good; if you are good, God will love you; if you are not good, God will not love you." A little simplistic but what do you expect of a five-year old? His knowledge of Latin amazed the pastor and the fervor of his prayers confounded his mother. His parents decided that the fruits of the earth would go to the eldest son, but those of heaven would go to the youngest--he would belong to the Church.

Richard's parents died while he was still small, and the heavily mortgaged family estate was left to his elder brother, who had no gift for management. The brother allowed the land to fall into ruin. When Richard was old enough, he served his brother out of kindness as a laborer to help rebuild the estate. He actually tilled the land for a time, and directed the replanting of the ruined gardens.

In time his management paid off, and the property was restored to its former value. His brother wanted to give it to Richard, but Richard only wanted to spend time with his books. Abandoning the estates and the possibility of a marriage to a wealthy bride, Richard went off to the newly opened Oxford University to finish his studies. At Oxford he became acquainted with the Dominicans who had arrived in 1221, Franciscans such as Grosseteste, and Saint Edmund Rich, who was then chancellor of the university and became one of Richard's lifelong friends.

Later, he went to Paris as a student of theology, and was so poor that he shared a room with two others. They lived on bread and porridge, and having only one good coat between them, they could only go one at a time to lectures, wearing it in turn, while the others remained at home. After taking his degree in Paris and finishing his master's degree at Oxford, he studied Roman and canon law at Bologna for seven years. There he received his doctorate and the esteem of many.

When one of his tutors offered to make Richard his heir and give him his daughter in marriage, Richard, who felt called to a celibate life, made a courteous excuse and returned to Oxford at age 38. In 1235, he was appointed chancellor of the university and then of the diocese of Oxford by Saint Edmund, who had become archbishop of Canterbury.

Richard remained in close contact with Saint Edmund during the long years of Edmund's conflict with the English king and, in fact, followed him into exile in France and nursed him until Edmund's death in 1240 at the Cistercian monastery of Pontigny. After Edmund died, he taught at the Dominican house of studies in Orléans for two years, where he was ordained a priest in 1242 and lived in the Dominican community until his return to England in 1243. At which time he served briefly as a parish priest at Charing and at Deal.

Those were the days when Henry III created great difficulties for the Church by encroaching on her liberties, seizing her revenues, and appointing to ecclesiastical vacancies his own relatives and followers. Crowned at the age of nine, when the barons had made an impetuous attack on his power, the Church had come to the aid of the frail child because God establishes all authority. Henry had acknowledged this service until he reached manhood. Then the king forgot his debt to the Church. He surrounded himself with favorites from the Continent: Bretons, Provençals, Savoyards, and natives of Poitou to "protect himself from the felony of his own subjects."

In 1244, Ralph Neville, bishop of Chichester died. Thus it came about that the king nominated a courtier, Robert Passelewe, to the bishopric of Chichester and pressured the canons to elect him. However, the new archbishop, Blessed Boniface of Savoy, refused to confirm appointment and called a chapter of his suffragans, who declared the election invalid. Instead they chose Richard Backedine, who had been chancellor to archbishops Edmund Rich and Boniface of Savoy and who was the primate's nominee, to fill the vacant see.

This roused the anger of the king, who retaliated by confiscating the cathedral revenues. It was a case in which retreat would be pure cowardice, so Richard accepted the unwelcome office and set about doing his best with it. At first he was almost starved out of office because the king, who already had the church revenues, forbade anyone to give Richard food or shelter. No bishop dared to consecrate him and, after a year of mendicant existence, he went to receive episcopal consecration from Pope Innocent IV, who was presiding over the Council of Lyons, on March 5, 1245.

But Richard, receiving the powerful support of the pope, though deprived of the use both of the cathedral and the bishop's palace, took up his residence at Chichester, and on a borrowed horse travelled through his diocese. He was given shelter in a country rectory by Father Simon of Tarring, and from this modest center Bishop Richard worked for two years like a missionary bishop, visiting fisherfolk and peasants, and cultivating figs in his spare time.

He called many synods during his travels, and drew up what are known as the Constitutions of Saint Richard, statutes that address the various abuses that he noticed in his travels. The sacraments were to be administered without payment, Mass celebrated with dignity, and the clergy to remain celibate, practice residence, and wear clerical garb. The laity were obliged to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days and to memorize the Hail Mary, Our Father, and Creed. With great charity and humility he carried on his work until the king reluctantly yielded to a peremptory order of the pope to restore the revenues of the bishopric.

With his temporalities restored, Richard had the means to become a great alms-giver. "It will never do," he said, "to eat out of gold and silver plates and bowls, while Christ is suffering in the person of His poor," and he ate and drank always out of common crockery. His early poverty and recent experiences made him eschew riches. Whenever he heard of any fire or damage to his property, Saint Richard would say to his stewards, "Do not grieve. This is a lesson to us. God is teaching us that we do not give enough away to the poor. Let us increase our almsgiving."

Nor would he allow any quarrels over money or privilege to stand in the way of fellowship and charity. When an enemy came to see him, he received him in the friendliest manner and invited him to his table, but in matters of scandal and corruption he was stern and unyielding. "Never," he said of one of his priests who was immoral, "shall a ribald exercise any cure of souls in my diocese of Chichester."

And always he rose early, long before his clergy were awake, passing through their dormitory to say his morning office by himself. He encouraged the Dominicans and Franciscans in his diocese, who aided him in reforming it.

His final task was a commission from the pope to undertake a preaching mission for the Crusade throughout the kingdom. He saw this as a call to a new life, which would also reopen the Holy Land to pilgrims, not as a political expedition. He began preaching the Crusade in his own church at Chichester and proceeded as far as Dover, where, after he had dedicated a church to his friend Saint Edmund and sung matins, he was taken ill, and died at the Maison- Dieu, a house of poor priests and pilgrims, in his 56th year. Among his last words, as he turned his face, lit up with peace, to an old friend, were: "I was glad when they said to me, We will go into the house of the Lord."

If Richard was a thorn in the side of an avaricious king, he was a saint to his flock, whose affection he won during his eight-year episcopate. Many miracles of healing were recorded during his lifetime, and many more after his death. Richard was deep in the hearts of his people, the sort of saint that anyone can recognize by his simplicity, holiness, and endless charity to the poor.

Richard built a magnificent tomb for his friend, Saint Edmund, and was himself buried there after his death. In 1276, his body was translated to a separate tomb that erected for him behind the high altar of Chichester cathedral, which became one of the most popular pilgrimage places in England. It was utterly destroyed in 1538 by the Reformers, and his body was buried secretly.

Legend says that Richard Backedine was a third order Dominican, though there is no positive proof. One tradition says that he was actually on his way to join the Dominican house in Orléans, when the letters came appointing him bishop. In the early days of the Order of Preachers, the name of Saint Richard was inserted as a saint to be commemorated among their feasts, a fact that offers strong evidence that Richard himself was a member of the order. His biography was written by one of his clergy, Ralph Bocking (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Capes, Delaney, Dorcy, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Gill, Walsh).

In art, Saint Richard is portrayed as a bishop blessing his people with a chalice by him, because he once dropped the chalice during a Mass, which remained unspilt. He may be shown (1) with the chalice at his feet; (2) kneeling with the chalice before him; (3) ploughing his brother's fields; or (4) blessing (Roeder). Unexpectedly, he is the patron of the coachmen's guild in Milan, Italy, presumably because he drove carts on his family farm (Farmer). His feast is observed in the dioceses of Southwark, Westminster, and Birmingham (Attwater2).
1260 Blessed Gandulphus of Binasco Franciscan  his discourses and miracles made a profound impression while Saint Francis was still alive preaching in Sicily hermit OFM
(also known as Gandulf) Born in Binasco (near Milan), Lombardy, Italy; Gandulphus became a member of the Franciscan Order while Saint Francis was still alive and spent his life praying and preaching in Sicily. Later in life, he left the friary at Palermo to become a hermit. He is highly venerated in Sicily (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
1260 BD GANDULF OF BINASCO his discourses and miracles made a profound impression
THE Sicilians have a great veneration for this Gandulf, a Franciscan who, though born at Binasco near Milan, lived and died upon their island. He was one of those who entered the order while the Seraphic Father was still alive, and the life he led was one of great self-abnegation. Alarm at hearing himself commended induced him to embrace the solitary life, lest he should be tempted to vainglory. With one companion, Brother Pascal, he left the friary at Palermo and set out for the wild district in which he had determined to settle. Afterwards from time to time he would emerge from his retreat to evangelize the people of the neighbouring districts, upon whom his discourses and miracles made a profound impression. Once while he was preaching at Polizzi, the sparrows chattered so loudly that the congregation could not hear the sermon. Bd Gandulf appealed to the birds to be quiet, and we are told that they kept silence until the conclusion of the service. On that occasion the holy man told the people that he was addressing them for the last time; and in fact, immediately upon his return to the hospital of St Nicholas where he was staying he was seized with fever, and died on Holy Saturday as he had foretold, in 1260.
Afterwards, when his body was enshrined, the watchers declared that during the night there had flown into the church a number of swallows who had parted into groups and had sung, in alternating choirs, a Te Deum of their own.

Some account of this beato will be found in the Acta Sanctorum, September, vol. v. See also Léon, Auréole Séraphique  (Eng. trans.), vol. iii, pp. 201—205, and Mazara, Leggendario Francescano (1679), vol. ii, pp. 472—476.
1271 Blessed John of Penna priest founding several Franciscan houses  visions gift of prophecy won all hearts by his exemplary life as well as by his kindly and courteous manners; aridity and a painful lingering illness; spiritual consolations  assurance that he accomplished his purgatory on earth his cell was illuminated with a celestial light OFM (AC)
Born at Penna San Giovanni (near Fermo), Ancona, Italy, c. 1193; died at Recanati, Italy, April 3, 1271; cultus approved 1806 by Pope Pius VII. Blessed John joined the Franciscans at Recanati about 1213, was ordained a priest, and was sent to France, where he worked for about 25 years in Provence, founding several Franciscan houses. About 1242, he returned to Italy, where he spent his last 30 years mainly in retirement, although he did serve as guardian several times. He experienced visions and had the gift of prophecy, but was also afflicted with extended periods of spiritual aridity. His life is described in chapter 45 of The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney).

1271 BD JOHN OF PENNA won all hearts by his exemplary life as well as by his kindly and courteous manners; aridity and a painful lingering illness; spiritual consolations  assurance that he accomplished his purgatory on earth his cell was illuminated with a celestial light

PENNA in the March of Ancona was the birthplace of this holy Minorite. Im­pressed by the teaching of one of the early followers of St Francis of Assisi, he sought admission into his order and received the habit in the convent of Recanati. From Italy he was afterwards sent to Provence. In France, where he laboured for twenty-five years, he founded several houses of the order, and won all hearts by his exemplary life as well as by his kindly and courteous manners. Recalled to Italy he gave himself up, as far as he could, to prayer and retirement. The good friar’s later years were tried by aridity and by a lingering illness which was of a very painful kind, but which he bore with perfect resignation. Ultimately he was rewarded by spiritual consolations and by the assurance that he had accomplished his purgatory on earth. As the hour of death drew near, his cell was illuminated with a celestial light, and he passed to glory with uplifted hands and with words of thanksgiving upon his lips. His cultus was approved by Pope Pius VII.
The story of Bd John of Penna fills a long chapter (45) in the Fioretti. See also Léon, Auréole Séraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. iii, pp. 276—278, and Mazara, Leggendario Francescano (1679), vol. i, pp. 474—476.
1458 Blessed Alexandrina di Letto nun abbess founder Poor Clare initiated a new Franciscan reform (PC)
Born at Sulmona, Italy in 1385; At age 15, Alexandrina joined the Poor Clares. After 23 years as a nun she founded a convent of her order at Foligno of which she became its first abbess. Here she initiated a new Franciscan reform, which was blessed and encouraged by Pope Martin V (Benedictines).

1492 The Monk Nektarii of Bezhetsk a monastic of the Trinity-Sergiev monastery
In the mid XV Century he settled in a dense forest in the upper part of the Bezhetsk region, where he built himself a cell. The deeds and the spiritual wisdom of the monk attracted to him many, that wanted to live under his guidance. In a short while the monks built a church in honour of the Vvedenie-Entry into the Temple of the Most Holy Mother of God, and they enclosed it about with a fence. The new monastery was one of the poorest, and which in the expression of the chronicler, was built "with tears, fasting and vigil".
By common accord of all the brethren of the monastery, its founder the Monk Nektarii was chosen as hegumen. The Monk Nektarii died 3 April 1492.
Martyred Monastic Fathers of the Davido-Garedzh Lavra 6,000+, accepted martyr's death in Gruzia (Georgia) for confessing the Christian faith
The Martyred Monastic Fathers of the Davido-Garedzh Lavra, numbering more than 6,000, accepted a martyr's death in Gruzia (Georgia) for confessing the Christian faith
 at the beginning of the XVII Century, during the time of shah Abbas I.
The saints were buried in the temple of the Davido-Garedzh monastery by the emperor Archil II (Comm. 21 June).

1589 St. Bendict the Black Franciscan lay brother superior obscure and humble cook holiness reputation for miracles patron of African-Americans in the United States incorrupt
 Panórmi sancti Benedícti a sancto Philadélpho, ob córporis nigrédinem cognoménto Nigri, ex Ordine Minórum, Confessóris; qui, signis et virtútibus clarus, in Dómino quiévit, et a Pio Séptimo, Pontífice Máximo, in Sanctórum númerum relátus est.


St. Benedict of San Philadelphio (Or BENEDICT THE MOOR)
Born at San Philadelphio or San Fradello, a village of the Diocese of Messina in Sicily, in 1526; d. 4 April, 1589. The parents of St. Benedict were slaves from Ethiopia who were, nevertheless, pious Christians. On account of their faithfulness their master freed Benedict, the first-born child. From his earliest years Benedict was very religious and while still very young he joined a newly formed association of hermits. When Pope Pius IV dissolved the association, Benedict, called from his origin Æthiops or Niger, entered the Reformed Recollects of the Franciscan Order. Owing to his virtues he was made superior of the monastery of Santa Maria de Jesus at Palermo three years after his entrance, although he was only a lay brother. He reformed the monastery and ruled it with great success until his death. He was pronounced Blessed in 1743 and was canonized in 1807. His feast is celebrated 3 April.

1589 ST BENEDICT THE BLACK His face when he was in chapel often shone with an unearthly light, and food seemed to multiply miraculously under his hands; reputation for sanctity and miracles;
BENEDICT was born in a village near Messina in Sicily. His parents were good Christians, but African slaves of a rich landowner whose name (Manasseri) they bore, according to the prevalent custom. Christopher’s master had made him foreman over his other servants and had promised that his eldest son, Benedict, should be free. The baby grew up such a sweet-tempered, devout child that when he was only ten years old he was called “The Holy Black” (Ii moro santo), a nickname which clung to him all his life. One day, when he was about twenty-one, he was grossly insulted by some neighbours, who taunted him with his colour and the status of his parents. There happened to be passing at the time a young man called Lanzi, who had retired from the world with a few companions to live the life of a hermit in imitation of St Francis of Assisi. He was greatly impressed by the gentleness of Benedict’s replies and, addressing the mockers, he said, “You make fun of this poor black man now; but I can tell you that ere long you will hear great things of him”. Soon afterwards, at Lanzi’s invitation, Benedict sold his few possessions and went to join the solitaries.
Several times in the ensuing years the hermits were obliged to shift their quarters, and at last they settled on Montepellegrino near Palermo, already hallowed by having sheltered St Rosalia. Here Lanai died, and the community chose Benedict as their superior, very much against his will. But when he was about thirty-eight, Pope Pius IV decreed that the hermits must either disperse or join some order. Benedict chose to join the Friars Minor of the Observance, and found a welcome as a lay-brother in the convent of St Mary near Palermo. At first he was employed as cook, a post which suited his retiring nature and which gave him opportunities for little deeds of kindness, but his extraordinary goodness could not long escape notice. His face when he was in chapel often shone with an unearthly light, and food seemed to multiply miraculously under his hands.
In 1578, when the Friars Minor of the Observance held their chapter at Palermo, it was decided to convert the house of St Mary into a convent of the reform. This necessitated the appointment of a very wise guardian, and the choice of the chapter fell upon Benedict, a lay-brother who could neither read nor write. He himself was greatly perturbed at the appointment, but was obliged under obedience to accept. The choice was abundantly justified. Benedict proved to be an ideal superior, for his judgement was sound and his admonitions were so tactfully and wisely given that while never resented they were always taken to heart. His reputation for sanctity and miracles quickly spread over Sicily, and when he went to attend the provincial chapter at Girgenti clergy and people turned out to meet him, men and women struggling to kiss his hand or to obtain a fragment of his habit as a relic.
Relieved of the office of guardian, St Benedict was made vicar of the convent and novice-master. To this post also he proved himself fully equal. An infused sacred science enabled him to expound the Holy Scriptures to the edification of priests and novices alike, and his intuitive grasp of deep theological truths often astonished learned inquirers. It was known that he could read men’s thoughts, and this power, coupled with great sympathy, made him a successful director of novices. Nevertheless he was glad when he was released and allowed to return to the kitchen, although his position was scarcely that of the obscure cook of earlier years. Now, all day long, he was beset by visitors of all conditions—the poor demanding alms, the sick seeking to be healed, and distinguished persons requesting his advice or his prayers. Though he never refused to see those who asked for him, he shrank from marks of respect, and when travelling would cover his face with his hood and if possible choose the night that he might not be recognized. Throughout his life he continued the austerities of his hermit days. In the matter of food, however, he was wont to say that the best form of mortification was not to deprive oneself of it, but to desist after eating a little, adding that it was right to partake of food given in alms, as a token of gratitude and to give pleasure to the donors.
Benedict “The Holy Black” died in 1589 at the age of sixty-three after a short illness. He was chosen as patron by the Negroes of North America and as protector by the town of Palermo, having been canonized in 1807.
See the life (Vita di San Benedetto di San Fradello) by F Giovanni da Capistrano, published in 1808; that by Father B. Nicolosi (1907); and Léon, Auréole Séraphique (Eng. trans.), ii, pp. 14—31.

      At Palermo, St. Benedict of St. Philadelphus, called the Black because of the darkness of his body, a confessor of the Order of Friars Minor.  After becoming outstanding for signs and virtues, he went to rest in the Lord, and was enrolled among the saints by Pope Pius VII.

There is a saint called Benedict the Black or Benedict the Moor ('the Moor' is a misnomer originating from the Italian il moro -- the black).

He was born a slave near Messina, Italy. He was freed by his master and became a solitary, eventually settling with other hermits at Montepellegrino. He was made superior of the community, but when he was about thirty-eight, Pope Pius IV disbanded communities of solitaries and he became a Franciscan lay brother and the cook at St. Mary's convent near Palermo.
    He was appointed, against his will, superior of the convent when it opted for the reform, though he could neither read nor write. After serving as superior, he became novice master but asked to be relieved of this post and return to his former position of cook. His holiness, reputation for miracles, and his fame as a confessor brought hordes of visitors to see the obscure and humble cook.

Benedict the Black, OFM (RM) (also known as Benedict the Moor) Born near Messina, Italy, in 1526; died at Palermo, Italy, April 4, 1589; beatified in 1743; canonized in 1807. Benedict was the son of freed negro slaves of Sicily. He was about 21 when he was publicly insulted on account of his race, and his patient and dignified demeanor on that occasion was observed by the leader of a group of Franciscan hermits.

Benedict was invited to join the group at Montepellegrino. When their superior died, he was made superior of the community. When he was about 38 (1564), Pope Pius IV disbanded communities of hermits and they were absorbed into the Friars Minor of Observance. Thus, Benedict became a Franciscan lay brother and the cook at Saint Mary's monastery near Palermo.

 In 1578, Benedict was appointed superior (guardian) of the convent when it opted for the reform, though he was an illiterate laybrother. With understandable reluctance he accepted the office, and, rule with many evidences of direct supernatural aid, successfully carried through the adoption of a stricter interpretation of the Franciscan.

After serving as superior, he became novice master but asked to be relieved of this post and returned to his former position as cook. Benedict's reputation for holiness, working miracles, and as a sympathetic and understanding religious counsellor brought hordes of visitors to see the obscure and humble cook. Saint Benedict is the patron of African-Americans in the United States. The surname 'the Moor' is a misnomer originating from the Italian il moro (the black) (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill). 
Died 1589 of natural causes; body reported incorrupt when exhumed several years later
Beatified 15 May 1743 by Pope Benedict XIV Canonized 24 May 1807 by Pope Pius VIII

April 3, 2010 St. Benedict the African  (1526-1589) 
Benedict held important posts in the Franciscan Order and gracefully adjusted to other work when his terms of office were up.

His parents were slaves brought from Africa to Messina, Sicily. Freed at 18, Benedict did farm work for a wage and soon saved enough to buy a pair of oxen. He was very proud of those animals. In time he joined a group of hermits around Palermo and was eventually recognized as their leader. Because these hermits followed the Rule of St. Francis, Pope Pius IV ordered them to join the First Order.

Benedict was eventually novice master and then guardian of the friars in Palermo— positions rarely held in those days by a brother. In fact, Benedict was forced to accept his election as guardian. And when his term ended he happily returned to his work in the friary kitchen.

Benedict corrected the friars with humility and charity. Once he corrected a novice and assigned him a penance only to learn that the novice was not the guilty party. Bened ict immediately knelt down before the novice and asked his pardon.

In later life Benedict was not possessive of the few things he used. He never referred to them as "mine" but always called them "ours." His gifts for prayer and the guidance of souls earned him throughout Sicily a reputation for holiness. Following the example of St. Francis, Benedict kept seven 40-day fasts throughout the year; he also slept only a few hours each night.

After Benedict’s death, King Philip III of Spain paid for a special tomb for this holy friar. Canonized in 1807, he is honored as a patron saint by African-Americans.

Comment:  Among Franciscans a position of leadership is limited in time. When the time expires, former leaders sometimes have trouble adjusting to their new position. The Church needs men and women ready to put their best energies into leadership— but men and women who are gracefully willing to go on to other work when their time of leadership is over.

Quote:  "I did not come to be served but to serve (see Matthew 20:28), says the Lord. Those who are placed over others should glory in such an office only as much as they would were they assigned the task of washing the feet of the brothers. And the more they are upset about their office being taken from them than they would be over the loss of the office of [washing] feet, so much the more do they store up treasures to the peril of their souls (see John 12:6)" (Francis of Assisi, Admonition IV).


 Sunday Saint of the Day April 03 Tértio Nonas Aprílis  
On Death and Life
"Man Needs Eternity -- and Every Other Hope, for Him, Is All Too Brief"
Пресвятая Богородице спаси нас!
   (Santíssima Mãe de Deus, salva-nos!)
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 40 Days for Life  We are the defenders of true freedom.
  May our witness unveil the deception of the "pro-choice" slogan.
40 days for Life Campaign saves lives Shawn Carney Campaign Director www.40daysforlife.com
Please help save the unborn they are the future for the world

It is a great poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you wish -- Mother Teresa
 Saving babies, healing moms and dads, 'The Gospel of Life'
May our witness unveil the deception of the "pro-choice" slogan.

Sunday in the Octave of Easter ; Divine Mercy Sunday

Jesus brings us many Blessings
 
The more we pray, the more we wish to pray. Like a fish which at first swims on the surface of the water, and afterwards plunges down,
and is always going deeper; the soul plunges, dives, and loses itself in the sweetness of conversing with God.
-- St. John Vianney

  Month by Month of Saintly Dedications


The Rosary html Mary Mother of GOD -- Her Rosary Here
Mary Mother of GOD Mary's Divine Motherhood: FEASTS OF OUR LADY
     of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary

May 9 – Our Lady of the Wood (Italy, 1607) 
Months of Dedication
January is the month of the Holy Name of Jesus since 1902;
March is the month of Saint Joseph since 1855;
May, the month of Mary, is the oldest and most well-known Marian month, officially since 1724;
June is the month of the Sacred Heart since 1873;
July is the month of the Precious Blood since 1850;
August is the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary;
September is the month of Our Lady of Sorrows since 1857;
October is the month of the Rosary since 1868;
November is the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory since 1888;
December is the month of the Immaculate Conception.

In all, five months of the year are dedicated to Mary.
The idea of dedicating months came from Rome and promotion of the month of Mary owes much to the Jesuits.  arras.catholique.fr


Pray that the witness of 40 Days for Life bears abundant fruit, and that we begin again each day to storm the gates of hell until God welcomes us into the gates of heaven.

If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways:
either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid.
Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten;
he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth.-- St. Thomas Aquinas


We begin our day by seeing Christ in the consecrated bread, and throughout the day we continue to see Him in the torn bodies of our poor. We pray, that is, through our work, performing it with Jesus, for Jesus and upon Jesus.
The poor are our prayer. They carry God in them. Prayer means praying everything, praying the work.
We meet the Lord who hungers and thirsts, in the poor.....and the poor could be you or I or any person kind enough to show us his or her love and to come to our place.
Because we cannot see Christ, we cannot express our love to Him in person.
But our neighbor we can see, and we can do for him or her what we would love to do for Jesus if He were visible.
-- Mother Teresa
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee.  I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not love Thee.  O most Holy trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly.
 I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the Tabernacles of the world,  in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended,
and by the infite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I beg the conversion of poor sinners,  Amen Fatima Prayer, Angel of Peace
Mary's Divine Motherhood
Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI { 2013 } Catholic Church In China { article here}
1648 to1930 St. Augustine Zhao Rong and 120 Companions Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria -- 600s.
        Depending on China's relations with outside world,
Christianity for centuries was free to grow or forced to operate secretly.

How do I start the Five First Saturdays? 
Called in the Gospel “the Mother of Jesus,” Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the Mother of my Lord” (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly Mother of God (Theotokos). 
Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, quoting the Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
“The Blessed Virgin was eternally predestined, in conjunction with the incarnation of the divine Word, to be the Mother of God. By decree of divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving mother of the divine Redeemer, an associate of unique nobility, and the Lord's humble handmaid. She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ.”
The voice of the Father is heard, the Son enters the water, and the Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove.
   THE spirit and example of the world imperceptibly instil the error into the minds of many that there is a kind of middle way of going to Heaven; and so, because the world does not live up to the gospel, they bring the gospel down to the level of the world. It is not by this example that we are to measure the Christian rule, but words and life of Christ. All His followers are commanded to labour to become perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect, and to bear His image in our hearts that we may be His children. We are obliged by the gospel to die to ourselves by fighting self-love in our hearts, by the mastery of our passions, by taking on the spirit of our Lord.
   These are the conditions under which Christ makes His promises and numbers us among His children, as is manifest from His words which the apostles have left us in their inspired writings. Here is no distinction made or foreseen between the apostles or clergy or religious and secular persons. The former, indeed, take upon themselves certain stricter obligations, as a means of accomplishing these ends more perfectly; but the law of holiness and of disengagement of the heart from the world is geeral and binds all the followers of Christ.

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THE EUCHARIST, A MYSTERY TO BE BELIEVED POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS OF THE HOLY FATHER BENEDICT XVI
There are over 10,000 named saints beati  from history
 and Roman Martyology Orthodox sources

Miracles by Century 100   200   300   400   500   600   700    800   900   1000    1100   1200   1300   1400  1500  1600  1700  1800   1900  Miracles_BLay Saints
Morning Prayer and Hymn    Meditation of the Day    Prayer for Priests    Our Bartholomew Family Prayer List  Here
We are called upon with the whole Church militant on earth to join in praising and thanking God for the grace and glory he has bestowed on his saints. At the same time we earnestly implore Him to exert His almighty power and mercy in raising us from our miseries and sins, healing the disorders of our souls and leading us by the path of repentance to the company of His saints, to which He has called us.
   They were once what we are now, travellers on earth they had the same weaknesses, which we have. We have difficulties to encounter so had the saints, and many of them far greater than we can meet with; obstacles from kings and whole nations, sometimes from the prisons, racks and swords of persecutors. Yet they surmounted these difficulties, which they made the very means of their virtue and victories. It was by the strength they received from above, not by their own, that they triumphed. But the blood of Christ was shed for us as it was for them and the grace of our Redeemer is not wanting to us; if we fail, the failure is in ourselves.
   THE saints and just, from the beginning of time and throughout the world, who have been made perfect, everlasting monuments of God’s infinite power and clemency, praise His goodness without ceasing; casting their crowns before His throne they give to Him all the glory of their triumphs: “His gifts alone in us He crowns.”
“The saints must be honored as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God, as John the theologian and evangelist says: ‘But as many as received him, he gave them the power to be made the sons of God....’ Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering, and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory” Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

Called in the Gospel the Mother of Jesus, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as the Mother of my Lord (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son,  the second person of the Holy Trinity.
Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly Mother of God (Theotokos).
Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, quoting the Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
Nine First Fridays Devotion to the Sacred Heart ... From the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
On Friday during Holy Communion, He said these words to me, His unworthy slave, if I mistake not:
I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that its all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on nine first Fridays of consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they will not die under my displeasure or without receiving their sacraments, my divine Heart making itself their assured refuge at the last moment.
Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour and to pray lying prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness.
He endured when abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony, and to receive holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. In the first great revelation, He made known to her His ardent desire to be loved by men and His design of manifesting His Heart with all Its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation.
He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart; He called her the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart, and the heiress of all Its treasures. The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings. In her last illness she refused all alleviation, repeating frequently: What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God, and died pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus.
With regard to this promise it may be remarked: (1) that our Lord required Communion to be received on a particular day chosen by Him; (2) that the nine Fridays must be consecutive; (3) that they must be made in honor of His Sacred Heart, which means that those who make the nine Fridays must practice the devotion and must have a great love for our Lord; (4) that our Lord does not say that those who make the nine Fridays will be dispensed from any of their obligations or from exercising the vigilance necessary to lead a good life and overcome temptation; rather He implicitly promises abundant graces to those who make the nine Fridays to help them to carry out these obligations and persevere to the end; (5) that perseverance in receiving Holy Communion for nine consecutive First Firdays helps the faithful to acquire the habit of frequent Communion, which our Lord eagerly desires; and (6) that the practice of the nine Fridays is very pleasing to our Lord He promises such great reward, and all Catholics should endeavor to make nine Fridays.
How do I start the Five First Saturdays? by Fr. Tom O'Mahony.
On July 13,1917, Our Lady appeared for the third time to the three children of Fatima an showed them the vision of hell and made the now - famous thirteen prophecies. In this vision Our Lady said that 'GOD WISHES TO ESTABLISH IN THE WORLD DEVOTION to Her Immaculate Heart and that She would come TO ASK FOR THE COMMUNION OF REPARATION ON THE FIRST SATURDAYS...'  Eight years later, on December 10, 1925, Our Lady did indeed come back. She appeared (with the Child Jesus) to Lucia in the convent of the Dorothean Sisters in Pontevedra.
The Child Jesus spoke first:
'HAVE COMPASSION ON THE HEART OF YOUR MOST HOLY MOTHER WHICH IS COVERED WITH THORNS WITH WHICH UNGRATEFUL MEN PIERCE IT AT EVERY MOMENT, WHILE THERE IS NO ONE TO REMOVE THEM WITH AN ACT OF REPARATION.'

THE GREAT PROMISE
Our Lady then said: 'MY DAUGHTER LOOK AT MY HEART SURROUNDED WITH THORNS WITH WHICH UNGRATEFUL MEN PIERCE IT AT EVERY MOMENT BY THEIR BLASPHEMIES AND INGRATITUDE. YOU, AT LEAST, TRY TO CONSOLE ME, AND SAY THAT I PROMISE TO ASSIST AT THE HOUR OF DEATH WITH ALL THE GRACES NECESSARY FOR SALVATION, ALL THOSE WHO, ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF FIVE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS GO TO CONFESSION AND RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION, RECITE FIVE DECADES OF THE ROSARY AND KEEP ME COMPANY FOR A QUARTER OF AN HOUR WHILE MEDITATING ON MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY, WITH THE INTENTION OF MAKING REPARATION TO ME.'

The Five Reasons
Lucia once asked this question of Our Lord and received as an answer: 'MY DAUGHTER, THE MOTIVE IS SIMPLE, THERE ARE FIVE KINDS OF OFFENCES AND BLASPHEMIES UTTERED AGAINST THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY: (1) BLASPHEMIES AGAINST THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: (2) BLASPHEMIES AGAINST HER VIRGINITY: (3) BLASPHEMIES AGAINST HER DIVINE MATERNITY: (4) BLASPHEMIES OF THOSE WHO OPENLY SEEK TO FOSTER IN THE HEARTS OF CHILDREN INDIFFERENCE OR EVEN HATRED FOR THIS IMMACULATE MOTHER: (5) THE OFFENCES OF THOSE WHO DIRECTLY OUTRAGE HER IN HOLY IMAGES.'
From the above, it is easy to see that each of the Five Saturdays can correspond to a specific offence. By offering the graces received during each First Saturday as reparation for the offence being prayed for, the participant can hope to help remove the thorns from Our Lady's Heart.
What Do I Have To Do?
The devotion of First Saturdays, as requested by Our Lady of Fatima, carries with it the assurance of salvation. However, to derive profit from such a great promise of Our Lady, the devotion must be properly understood and duly performed.
The requirements as stipulated by Our Lady are as follows:
(1) CONFESSION, (2) COMMUNION, (3) FIVE DECADES OF THE ROSARY, (4) MEDITATION ON ONE OR MORE OF THE ROSARY MYSTERIES FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES, (5) TO DO ALL THESE THINGS IN THE SPIRIT OF REPARATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY, and (6) TO OBSERVE ALL THESE PRACTICES ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF FIVE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS.
(1) CONFESSION: A reparative confession means that the confession should not only be good (valid and licit), but also be offered in the spirit of reparation, in this case, to Mary's Immaculate Heart. This confession may be made on the First Saturday itself or some days before or after the First Saturday within the preceding octave would suffice.
(2) COMMUNION: The communion of reparation must be sacramental duly received with the intention of making reparation. This offering, like the confession, is an interior act and so no external action to express the intention is needed.
(3) THE ROSARY: The Rosary mentioned here was indicated by the Portuguese word 'terco' which is commonly employed to denote a Rosary of five decades, since it forms a fourth of the full Rosary of 20 decades. This too must recited in a spirit of reparation.
(4) MEDITATION FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES: Here the meditation on one mystery or more is to be made without simultaneous recitation of the Rosary decade. As indicated, the meditation may be either on one mystery alone for 15 minutes, or on all 20 mysteries, spending about one minute on each mystery, or again, on two or more mysteries during the period. This can also be made before each decade spending three minutes or more in considering the mystery of the particular decade. This meditation has likewise to be made in the spirit of reparation to the Immaculate Heart.
(5) THE SPIRIT OF REPARATION: All these acts, as said above, have to be done with the intention of offering reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the offences committed against Her. Everyone who offends Her commits, so to speak, a two-fold offence, for these sins also offend her Divine Son, Christ, and so endanger our salvation. They give bad example to others and weaken the strength of society to withstand immoral onslaughts. Such devotions therefore make us consider not only the enormity of the offence against God, but also the effect of sins on human society as well as the need for undoing these social effects even when the offender repents and is converted. Further, this reparation emphasises our responsibility towards sinners who, themselves, will not pray and make reparation for their sins.
(6) FIVE CONSECUTIVE FIRST SATURDAYS: The idea of the Five First Saturdays is obviously to make us persevere in the devotional acts for these Saturdays and overcome initial difficulties. Once this is done, Our Lady knows that the person would become devoted to Her immaculate Heart and persist in practising such devotion on all First Saturdays, working thereby for personal self-reform and for the salvation of others.

Unless Russia is converted, the movement against God and for sin will continue to spread, promoting wars and persecutions, and making the attainment for peace and justice impossible for this world. One means of obtaining Russia's conversion is to practise the Fatima Message. The stakes are so great that to encourage Catholics to practise the devotion of the First Saturdays, Our Lady has assured us that She will obtain salvation for all those who observe the first Saturdays for five consecutive months in accordance with Her conditions.
At the supreme moment the departing person will be either in the state of grace or not. In either case Our Lady will be by his side. If in the state of grace, She will console and help him to resist whatever temptations the devil might put before him in his last attempt to take the person with him to hell. If not in the state of grace, Our Lady will help the person to repent in a manner agreeable to God and so benefit by the fruits of redemption and be saved.

God loves variety. He doesn't mass-produce his saints. Every saint is unique, for each is the result of a new idea.  As the liturgy says: Non est inventus similis illis--there are no two exactly alike. It is we with our lack of imagination, who paint the same haloes on all the saints. Dear Lord, grant us a spirit that is not bound by our own ideas and preferences.  Grant that we may be able to appreciate in others what we lack in ourselves. O Lord, grant that we may understand that every saint must be a unique praise of Your glory. Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives.  Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts.   God calls each one of us to be a saint in order to get into heavenonly saints are allowed into heaven. The more "extravagant" graces are bestowed NOT for the benefit of the recipients so much as FOR the benefit of others.
There are over 10,000 named saints beati  from history
 and Roman Martyology Orthodox sources

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 Benedict XVI (2005 - 2013) Francis (2013

Where there is no honor for the elderly, there is no future for young people.
During his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis made this strong statement while continuing his catechesis on the family, with this and next week focusing on the elderly.  Confining this week’s address to their problematic current condition, the Holy Father said the elderly are ignored and that a society that does this is perverse.
While noting that life has been lengthened thanks to advances in medicine, he lamented that while the number of older people has multiplied, "our societies are not organized enough to make room for them, with proper respect and concrete consideration for their fragility and their dignity.”

“As long as we are young, we are led to ignore old age, as if it were a disease to be taken away. Then when we become older, especially if we are poor, sick and alone, we experience the shortcomings of a society planned on efficiency, which consequently ignores the elderly.”


He went on to quote his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, who, when visiting a nursing home in November 2012, “used clear and prophetic words: ‘The quality of a society, I would say of a civilization, is judged also on how the elderly are treated and the place reserved for them in the common life.’"  Without a space for them, Francis highlighted, society dies.

Cultures, he decried, see the elderly as a burden who do not produce and should be discarded.
“You do not say it openly, but you do it!” he exclaimed. "Out of our fear of weakness and vulnerability, we do not tolerate and abandon the elderly," he said. “It’s sickening to see the elderly discarded. It is ugly. It’s a sin. Abandoning the elderly is a mortal sin.”
“Children who do not visit their elderly and ill parents have mortally sinned. Understand?”

The Pope expressed his dismay at children who go months without seeing a parent, or how elderly are confined to little tables in their kitchens alone, without anyone caring for them.  He noted that he observed this reality during his ministry in Buenos Aires.  Unwilling to accept limits, society, he noted, doesn’t allow elderly to participate and gives into the mentality that only the young can be useful and enjoy life.
The whole society must realize, the Pope said, the elderly contain the wisdom of the people.
The tradition of the Church, Pope Francis reaffirmed, has always supported a culture of closeness to the elderly, involving affectionately and supportively accompanying them in this final part of life.  The Church cannot, and does not want to, Francis underscored, comply with a mentality of impatience, and even less of indifference and contempt towards old age.
Sooner or later, we will all be old, he said. If we do not treat the elderly well, he stressed we will not be treated well either.
“We must awaken the collective sense of gratitude, of appreciation, of hospitality, which make them feel the elderly living part of his community.”

Concluding his address, Pope Francis noted how old age will come to all one day and reminded the faithful how much they have received from their elders. He also challenged them to not take a step back and abandon them to their fate.


The Church without Mary is an orphanage
 
Pope Francis:
Cross Not Optional, Says Benedict XVI
Reflects on Peter's "Immature" Faith CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 31, 2008 (Zenit.org).-
Taking up one's cross isn't an option, it's a mission all Christians are called to, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this today before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.
Referring to the Gospel reading for today's Mass, the Holy Father reflected on the faith of Peter, which is shown to be "still immature and too much influenced by the 'mentality of this world.'”  He explained that when Christ spoke openly about how he was to "suffer much, be killed and rise again, Peter protests, saying: 'God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.'"
"It is evident that the Master and the disciple follow two opposed ways of thinking," continued the Pontiff. "Peter, according to a human logic, is convinced that God would never allow his Son to end his mission dying on the cross.  "Jesus, on the contrary, knows that the Father, in his great love for men, sent him to give his life for them, and if this means the passion and the cross, it is right that such should happen."
Christ also knew that "the resurrection would be the last word," Benedict XVI added.
Serious illness
The Pope continued, "If to save us the Son of God had to suffer and die crucified, it certainly was not because of a cruel design of the heavenly Father.  "The cause of it is the gravity of the sickness of which he must cure us: an evil so serious and deadly that it will require all of his blood. 
"In fact, it is with his death and resurrection that Jesus defeated sin and death, reestablishing the lordship of God."
Popes Html link here: 
 “Where there is no honor for the elderly, there is no future for young people.” Pope Francis:
It Is a Mortal Sin When Children Don't Visit Their Elderly Parents.