Saturday  Saints of this Day January  20 Tertiodécimo Kaléndas Februárii.   
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!)
Deo grátias.
R.  Thanks be to God.
January is the month of the Holy Name of Jesus since 1902;

January is the month of the Holy Name of Jesus since 1902;

Everyday the Church offers us riches

Pope Francis  PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR  January 2018
Religious Minorities in Asia
That Christians and other religious minorities in Asian countries may be able to practice their faith in full freedom.

Please pray for those who have no one to pray for them.

  The Second Vatican Council left us a very beautiful meditation on Mary Most Holy   
Let me
(Pope Francis) just recall the words referring to the mystery we celebrate today: “The immaculate Virgin preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things” (no. 59).
Then towards the end, there is: “The Mother of Jesus in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven is the image and the beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come.
Likewise, she shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come” (no. 68).   Pope Francis

Your first task is to be dissatisfied with yourself, fight sin, and transform yourself into something better.
Your second task is to put up with the trials and temptations of this world that will be brought on
by the change in your life and to persevere to the very end in the midst of these things
. -- St. Augustine

God Bless Mother Angelica 1923-2016

It Makes No Sense Not To Believe In GOD 
    Every Christian must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel

If we want to grow in the love of Jesus
In every Catholic home, even the poorest, you can find a Rosary.
In moments of joy or sadness, when believers turn to God, they pray the Rosary...
In Lourdes, the Immaculate prayed on her Rosary beads and encouraged Bernadette to recite it with her.
If we want to grow in the love of Jesus, we must meditate the mysteries of the Rosary with Mary,
constantly repeating and whispering the Ave Maria.
Nobody in the world, even among the angels, has loved and loves the Lord Jesus as much as the Mother of God.  --Saint Maximilian Kolbe

What is the Respect Life Program?
NEW materials are produced each year to help Catholics understand, value, and become engaged with supporting the dignity of the human person, and therefore the gift of every person's life. Materials are developed for use in parishes, schools, and faith-based ministries, but are also suitable for individual use. The program begins anew each October
(Respect Life Month) and continues through the following September.

It Makes No Sense Not To Believe In GOD 
Every Christian must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel

Pope Francis  PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR  January 2018
Religious Minorities in Asia
That Christians and other religious minorities in Asian countries may be able to practice their faith in full freedom.

Marian spirituality: all are invited.

      Mother Angelica
God Bless Mother Angelica 1923-2016

      Because of prayers during the campaign 2016 that just ended, 872 babies were spared from abortion
when their mothers chose life at the last possible moment.
They were scheduled to be aborted ... but they are alive today --
and often it was the sight of faithful people praying outside the abortion center that made all the difference in the world.

Since 40 Days for Life started as a coordinated effort in 2007,
we are aware of 12,668 children whose mothers had a change of heart and said "yes" to 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
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'

Pray that when those representing Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups
see volunteers for 40 Days for Life, they see ambassadors of Christ,
and may each volunteer be consciously aware at all times we represent Him.

"Man Needs Eternity -- and Every Other Hope, for Him, Is All Too Brief"

It Makes No Sense Not To Believe In GOD
Every Christian must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel

Jesus brings us many Blessings
Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life.
Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits. -- St. Philip Neri

"Time is not our own and we must give a strict accounting of it."
1606 St. Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo Bishop defender of the native Indians in Peru's rights

My power is made perfect in weakness. -- 2 Corinthians 12:9
Holy Week: A Liturgical Explanation for the Days of Holy Week

Saturday, January 20, 2018
Saturday Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary

2 Samuel 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27 ; 1 After the death of Saul, when David had returned from the slaughter of the Amal'ekites, David remained two days in Ziklag; 2 and on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul's camp, with his clothes rent and earth upon his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and did obeisance. 3 David said to him, "Where do you come from?" And he said to him, "I have escaped from the camp of Israel." 4 And David said to him, "How did it go? Tell me." And he answered, "The people have fled from the battle, and many of the people also have fallen and are dead; and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead." 11 Then David took hold of his clothes, and rent them; and so did all the men who were with him; 12 and they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 19 "Thy glory, O Israel, is slain upon thy high places! How are the mighty fallen! 23 "Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24 "Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you daintily in scarlet, who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel. 25 "How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! "Jonathan lies slain upon thy high places. 26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. 27 "How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!"

Psalms 80:2-3, 5-7  ; 1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth 2 before E'phraim and Benjamin and Manas'seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us! 4 O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry with thy people's prayers? 5 Thou hast fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. 6 Thou dost make us the scorn of our neighbors; and our enemies laugh among themselves.

Mark 3:20-21  ; 20 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, "He is beside himself."

   Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Please pray for those who have no one to pray for them.

Now there is a great difference between believing in Christ, and in believing that Jesus is the Christ.
For that he was the Christ even the devils believed;
but he believes in Christ who both loves Christ, and hopes in Christ.  -- St. Augustine

8 Martyrs Move Closer to Sainthood 8 July, 2016

The Virgin Mary of Nazareth
The First Moment of Christian Tradition Began in Mary's Heart (III)
Today her intercession has proved to be amazingly powerful...
When faith is strong it works wonders ( Mk 16:17 ).
Mary's heart is not a document, it's a source. "She stored up all these things in her heart"
(Lk 2:19 & 51), and that was the Word of God.
Excerpt from "Follow the Lamb" (Suivre l'Agneau)  Father Marie-Dominique Philippe Saint Paul Ed. 2005

The Silence Of St. Joseph In A World Full Of Noise
Nativity of the Lord

477 St. Euthymius monk bishop sixty-six years in the desert 
   Inna, Pinna and Rimma Holy Martyrs disciples of the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called
250 St. Fabian layperson dove descended this stranger was elected Pope able built Church of Rome
250 St Fabian, Pope M (RM)  succeeded Saint
  Antheros as pope and governed as bishop of
  Rome for 14 peaceful years

286 St. Sebastian an officer in imperial bodyguard
  secretly done many acts of love and charity for
  brethren in the Faith.

 303 Bassus, Eusebius, Eutychius and Basilides
Holy Martyrs witnessed Bishop Theopemptus of
 310 St. Neophytus Martyr martyr at 15 in Nicaea
   Schemamonk Euthymius of the Kiev Caves
   St Laurence incorrupt relics lie in the Far Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra.

1465 Saint Euthymius of Syanzhemsk and Vologda igumen Ascension monastery
  477 St. Euthymius monk bishop sixty-six years in the desert
  655 St. Molagga Abbot-founder disciple of St. David of Wales
 665 St. Fechin founding Abbot of Fobhar died of plague devastating Ireland
  946 St. Maurus Benedictine bishop of Cesena   
1107 Blessed Benedict Ricasoli hermit
1194 Blessed Didier 33rd bishop of Thérouanne founder of the Cistercian abbey
1232 Blessed Daniel of Cambron Cistercian abbot 
1468 St. Eustochium Calafato Foundress and Poor Clare  love of Jesus in poverty and penance was outstanding
1670 St. Charles of Sezze 17th-century successor to Brother Juniper
1782 The Holy New Martyr Zachariah Peloponnesos in Greece

Holy Martyrs Inna, Pinna and Rimma disciples of the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called
Slavs from northern Scythia (modern Bulgaria), and they were disciples of the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called.

They preached the Gospel of Christ and they baptized many barbarians who converted to the true Faith. They were seized by the local chieftain, but they would not deny Christ, nor would they offer sacrifice to idols.

It was wintertime, and the rivers were so frozen that not only people, but also horses with carts could travel on the ice. The chieftain had the saints tied to logs on the ice, and gradually lowered them into the freezing water. When the ice reached their necks, they surrendered their blessed souls to the Lord.

303 The Holy Martyrs Bassus, Eusebius, Eutychius and Basilides
witnessed the suffering of Bishop Theopemptus of Nicomedia
courtiers of the emperor Diocletian (284-305).
They witnessed the suffering of Bishop Theopemptus of Nicomedia (January 5) for his faith in Christ, then they came to believe in Christ and received holy Baptism. For this reason they were subjected to tortures and condemned to death in the year 303. St Bassus was buried in the ground to the waist, and his upper body was cut to pieces.

Her Benefits will Radiate Continuously in the Universe
January 20 - Fourth Apparition at Banneux (Belgium, 1933)

Let us never speak again of your tenderness if there is even only one person who can remember having called upon you in need and been left forsaken. (...) Examples abound supporting these assertions; they are quite well-known and widespread so that we can overlook them for brevity’s sake.
It is important to remember in all certainty that frequent miracles, innumerable benefits, spiritual visions, celestial revelations and sublime consolations of the Holy Mother of God will radiate continuously in the universe, until this worn-out world takes its end, at the dawn of the reign which has no end     
Excerpt from Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church (1090 -1153) Second Sermon in octava Assumpt. B.M.V.; The Glory of the Blessed Virgin

250 St. Fabian layperson dove descended this stranger was elected Pope able built Church of Rome
 Romæ natális sancti Fabiáni, Papæ et Mártyris; qui, Décii témpore, martyrium passus est, atque in cœmetério Callísti sepúltus.
       At Rome, the birthday of St. Fabian, pope, who suffered martyrdom in the time of Decius, and was buried in the cemetery of Callistus.

Pope ST FABIAN succeeded St Antherus in the pontificate about the year 236. Eusebius relates that in an assembly of the people and clergy held to elect the new pope, a dove flew in and settled on the head of St Fabian. This sign, we are told, united the votes of the clergy and people in choosing Fabian, though, as he was a layman and a stranger, they had no thought of him before. He governed the Church fourteen years, brought the body of St Pontian, pope and martyr, from Sardinia, and condemned Privatus, the author of a new heresy, which had given trouble in Africa. St Fabian died a martyr in the persecution of Decius, in 250, as St Cyprian and St Jerome bear witness. The former, writing to his successor, St Cornelius, calls Fabian an incomparable man ; and says that the glory of his death corresponded with the purity and holiness of his life. The slab which closed the loculus of St Fabian in the cemetery of St Callistus still exists. It is broken into four fragments, but clearly bears the words, in Greek characters, “Fabian, bishop, martyr”.

See Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, vol. i, pp. 148—149 St Cyprian, Epistle ix ; H. Leclercq in DAC., vol. v, CC. 1057—1064 Nuovo Bullettino di arch. crist. (1916), pp. 207—221 Wilpert, La cripta dei Papi (1910), p. 18. The body was afterwards transferred to the church of St Sebastian see Grossi-Gondi, S. Fabiano, papa e martire (1916) and Cheramy, Saint-Sebastian hors les murs (1925). 
Eusebius, born just a few years after Fabian's death, tells us how Fabian came to Rome after Pope Anteros died in 236. A layperson, and not a very important one, he may have come for the same reason many still come to Rome today during a papal election: concern for the future of the faith, curiosity about the new pope, a desire to grieve for the pope who had passed. Seeing all the important people gathered to make this momentous decision must have been overwhelming. Which one would be the new pope? Someone known for power? Someone known for eloquence? Someone known for courage?

Suddenly during the discussion, a dove descended from the ceiling. But it didn't settle on "someone known" for anything at all. The dove, according to Eusebius, "settled on [Fabian's] head as clear imitation of the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove upon the Savior." There must have been something of the Holy Spirit working because everyone suddenly proclaimed Fabian as "worthy" to be pope and this stranger was elected.

To us the dove signifies peace, and this dove was prophetic. Starting close to Fabian's election, the suffering and persecuted Church began a time of peace. The emperor, Philip, was friendly to Christians and not only was the persecution stopped but Christians experienced acceptance.  In this era of peace, Fabian was able to build up the structure of the Church of Rome, appointing seven deacons and helping to collect the acts of the martyrs.  But, in a timeless story, the people who had always been in power were not happy to see the newcomers growing and thriving. There were many incidents of pagans attacking Christians and when Philip died so died the time of peace. The new emperor, Decius, ordered all Christians to deny Christ by offering incense to idols or through some other pagan ritual.

In the few years of peace, the Church had grown soft. Many didn't have the courage to stand up to martyrdom. But Fabian, singled out by symbol of peace, stood as a courageous example for everyone in his flock. He died a martyr in 250 and is buried in the Cemetery of Calixtus that he helped rebuild and beautify. A stone slab with his name can still be found there.
In His Footsteps:  Pray for all places where the Church suffers persecution and for all who face death, danger, or isolation for their faith. But pray especially for all who live where the Church is accepted and thrives in peace that this peace will not make their faith flabby and weak.

Prayer: Pope Saint Fabian, it's so easy to believe that peace means a life without conflict or suffering. Help us to see that the only true peace is the peace Christ brings. Never let us as a Church or as individual Christians choose to deny our beliefs simply to avoid an unpleasant situation. Amen

Fabian, Pope M (RM)
Died 250. On January 10, 236, Saint Fabian succeeded Saint Antheros as pope and governed as bishop of Rome for 14 peaceful years until his martyrdom under Decius. He was a layman, who, according to Eusebius, was chosen because a dove flew in through a window during the election and settled on his head. This 'sign' united the votes of the clergy and people for this layman and stranger.

He condemned Bishop Privatus of Lambaesa, Africa, for heresy, brought the body of Saint Pontian, pope and martyr, from Sardinia, and had significant restoration work done on the catacombs. He sought out the relics of Saints Pontian and Hippolytus, who had died in exile, and had them translated to Rome. The Liber Pontificalis credited him with the division of Rome into seven deaconries, which gave the Church of Rome a close-knit structure. Fabian also sent Saint Dionysius (Denis) and other preachers into Gaul.

He was the first victim of the Decian persecutions. Saint Fabian is described by his contemporary, Saint Cyprian, as "an incomparable man, the glory of whose death corresponded with the holiness of his life." He was buried in the catacombs of Saint Callistus; later, some of his relics were taken to the Basilica of Saint Sebastian. The original slab that covered his first tomb, which says clearly in Greek, "Fabian, bishop, martyr," survives. Some of his relics were taken to the Basilica of Saint Sebastian; thereafter the two martyrs were honored with one feast. Fabian's body was rediscovered in 1915 (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth, White).

Several examples of his writing can be found on the New Advent homepage. Click here for Decrees, First Epistle, Second Epistle, and Third Epistle He is shown in art with a dove by his side; or a tiara and a dove; or a sword or club; or kneeling at a block (to be beheaded) (Roeder, White). Sometimes he is shown (1) with Saint Sebastian because he was martyred on his feast day or (2) with a palm and cross (Roeder). An image of Saint Fabian is included in a painting attributed to Diamante (c. 1430- 1498), which is in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome (Coulson).
Pope Saint Fabian is the patron of lead-founders and potters (of whom Saint Sebastian is also patron) (Roeder).
  286 St. Sebastian an officer in the imperial bodyguard and had secretly done many acts of love and charity for his brethren in the Faith.
Item Romæ, ad Catacúmbas, sancti Sebastiáni Mártyris, qui, Diocletiáno Imperatóre, cum habéret principátum primæ cohórtis, jussus est, sub título christianitátis, ligári in médio campo, et sagittári a milítibus, atque ad últimum fústibus cædi, donec defíceret.
      Also at Rome, in the catacombs, the martyr St. Sebastian.  He was commander of the first cohort under Emperor Diocletian, and for professing Christianity he was bound to a tree in the centre of a vast field, shot with arrows by the soldiers, and beaten with clubs until he expired.

According to the “acts”, assigned without any adequate reason to the authorship of St Ambrose, St Sebastian was born at Narbonne in Gaul, though his parents had come from Milan, and he was brought up in that city. He was a fervent servant of Christ, and though his natural inclinations were averse from a military life, yet to be better able to assist the confessors and martyrs in their sufferings without arousing suspicion, he went to Rome and entered the army under the Emperor Carinus about the year 283. It happened that the martyrs, Marcus and Marcellian, under sentence of death, appeared in danger of faltering in their resolution owing to the tears of their friends; Sebastian, seeing this, intervened, and made them a long exhortation to constancy, which he delivered with an ardour that strongly affected his hearers. Zoë, the wife of Nicostratus, who had for six years lost the use of speech, fell at his feet, and when the saint made the sign of the cross on her mouth, she spoke again distinctly. Thus Zoë, with her husband, Nicostratus, who was master of the rolls (primiscrinius), the parents of Marcus and Marcellian, the gaoler Claudius, and sixteen other prisoners were converted and Nicostratus, who had charge of the prisoners, took them to his own house, where Polycarp, a priest, instructed and baptized them. Chromatius, governor of Rome, being informed of this, and that Tranquillinus, the father of Marcus and Marcellian, had been cured of the gout by receiving baptism, desired to follow their example, since he himself was grievously afflicted with the same malady. Accordingly, having sent for Sebastian, he was cured by him, and baptized with his son Tiburtius. He then released the converted prisoners, made his slaves free, and resigned his prefectship.

Not long after Carinus was defeated and slain in Illyricum by Diocletian, who the year following made Maximian his colleague in the empire. The persecution was still carried on by the magistrates in the same manner as under Carinus, without any new edicts. Diocletian, admiring the courage and character of St Sebastian, was anxious to keep him near his person; and being ignorant of his religious beliefs he created him captain of a company of the praetorian guards, which was a considerable dignity. When Diocletian went into the East, Maximian, who remained in the West, honoured Sebastian with the same distinction and respect. Chromatius retired into the country in Campania, taking many new converts along with him. Then followed a contest of zeal between St Sebastian and the priest Polycarp as to which of them should accompany this troop to complete their instruction, and which should remain at the post of danger in the city to encourage and assist the martyrs. Pope Caius, who was appealed to, judged that Sebastian should stay in Rome. In the year 286, the persecution growing fiercer, the pope and others concealed themselves in the imperial palace, as the place of greatest safety, in the apartments of one Castulus, a Christian officer of the court. Zoë was first apprehended, when praying at St Peter’s tomb on the feast of the apostles. She was stifled with smoke, being hung by the heels over a fire. Tranquillinus, ashamed to show less courage than a woman, went to pray at the tomb of St Paul, and there was seized and stoned to death. Nicostratus, Claudius, Castorius and Victorinus were taken, and after being thrice tortured, were thrown into the sea. Tiburtius, betrayed by a false brother, was beheaded. Castulus, accused by the same wretch, was twice stretched upon the rack, and afterwards buried alive. Marcus and Marcellian were nailed by the feet to a post, and having remained in that torment twenty-four hours were shot to death with arrows.
St Sebastian, having sent so many martyrs to Heaven before him, was himself impeached before Diocletian; who, after bitterly reproaching him with his ingratitude, delivered him over to certain archers of Mauritania, to be shot to death. His body was pierced through with arrows, and he was left for dead. Irene, the widow of St Castulus, going to bury him, found him still alive and took him to her lodgings, where he recovered from his wounds, but refused to take to flight. On the contrary, he deliberately took up his station one day on a staircase where the emperor was to pass, and there accosting him, he denounced the abominable 
cruelties perpetrated against the Christians. This freedom of language, coming from a person whom he supposed to be dead, for a moment kept the emperor speechless; but recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for him to be seized and beaten to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A lady called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, had his body secretly buried in the place called ad catacumbas, where now stands the basilica of St Sebastian.

The story recounted above is now generally admitted by scholars to be no more than a pious fable, written perhaps before the end of the fifth century. All that we can safely assert regarding St Sebastian is that he was a Roman martyr, that he had some connection with Milan and was venerated there even in the time of St Ambrose, and that he was buried on the Appian Way, probably quite close to the present basilica of St Sebastian, in the cemetery ad catacumbas. Although in late medieval and renaissance art St Sebastian is always represented as pierced with arrows, or at least as holding an arrow, this attribute does not appear until com­paratively late. A mosaic dating from about 680 in San Pietro in Vincoli shows him as a bearded man carrying a martyr’s crown in his hand, and in an ancient glass window in Strasbourg Cathedral he appears as a knight with sword and shield, but without arrows. St Sebastian was specially invoked as a patron against the plague, and certain writers of distinction (e.g. Male and Perdrizet) urge that the idea of protection against contagious disease was suggested, in close accord with a well-known incident in the first book of the Iliad, by Sebastian’s undaunted bearing in face of the clouds of arrows shot at him; but Father Delehaye is prob­ably right in urging that some accidental cessation of the plague on an occasion when St Sebastian had been invoked would have been sufficient to start the tradi­tion. That St Sebastian was the chosen patron of archers, and of soldiers in general, no doubt followed naturally from the legend.

For the passio of St Sebastian see the Acta Sanctorum, January 20. See also H. Delehaye in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (sixth edn.), and in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxviii (1909), p. 489; and K. Löffler in the Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. xiii; cf. also Chéramy, Saint­Sébastien hors les murs (1925), and the Civilta Cattolica, January and February 1918.

Born in Narbonne, Gaul (France); died in Rome, 288-300; feast day in the East is December 18.
No matter what our occupation in life, God can use us for His purpose if we will simply pray for the eyes to see the opportunities before us. Sebastian, a Roman soldier, had such a faith. He had joined the army in 283 in order to help his fellow Christians by rescuing them from persecution and/or giving them comfort. He entered the lists against the powers of evil, knowing that not all the battles are visible to human eyes.

Those who faltered, like Marcus and Marcellian, he encouraged; those pagans who had fiercely objected to the death of relatives and children, like their mother Zoë (a deaf mute whom he cured with the Sign of the Cross on her lips) and her husband Nicostratus (who was in charge of prisoners and cured of gout by Sebastian), he converted; for those who were martyred, he helped to make arrangements for burial and veneration of their bodies.

So successful was he as a soldier that he gained favor with the emperor Diocletian, who made him captain of the Praetorian Guard. He retained that position under Emperor Maximian when Diocletian left him in charge at Rome. Thus by his high rank and office he helped to relieve many who were imprisoned for Christ, though by so doing he placed himself in great peril.

Among the thrilling incidents of early Christian history is that of his bold deliverance of two brothers who had been condemned. He went openly to the house of he magistrate, where they were detained along with 16 heathen prisoners, and before them all spoke of the love of Christ to such effect that those who heard him, including the magistrate and the jailer, were converted. In the place where he spoke the only window was a hole in the roof, and as he stood directly under it the light shone down upon his rich tribune's armor, leaving the rest of the room in darkness. Who could be sure that among so many there might not be one there who would betray him?

Afterwards, Claudius, the jailer, came with anxiety to the magistrate and reported: "The prefect is much disturbed at my having allowed the prisoners to be in your house; and therefore he requires you to appear before him and explain the reason." Upon this, the magistrate went at once to the prefect and so impressed him with his account of what had happened, that he, too, was baptized, and after him 68 others, as a direct result of Sebastian's intervention.

One version of the legend says that Tiburtius, the son of the prefect of Rome, and Chromatius, the prefect himself were converted because Sebastian cured him, too, of the painful gout with which he was afflicted. Thereafter, the prefect set many godly prisoners free, freed his slaves, and resigned as prefect. He retired to his estate in Campania, and took many of Sebastian's converts with him to this place of relative safety.

Such activities could not long remain secret. Soon many of Sebastian's converts were tortured and killed. First Nicostratus's wife Zoë was discovered to be a Christian. Hung by her heels over a fire, she died of smoke inhalation. Nicostratus and the converted prefect were captured, tortured, and killed.

Finally, Sebastian was denounced to the emperor, who reproached him with ingratitude and accused him of conspiracy. Sebastian protested in vain that though he was a Christian he had never neglected his military duties. "I pray daily," he said, "for thy safety and the prosperity of the State." But Diocletian, who had returned, refused to listen, and ordered him to be shot to death with arrows.

By a strange providence, however, although his body was riddled with arrows and the archers thought he was dead, he recovered in the field where they had left him and was rescued by a friend, the widow of Saint Castulus named Saint Irene, who took him to her apartment near by in the imperial palace--and nursed him to recovery. The widow Irene then urged him to escape, but, casting aside discretion, he placed himself deliberately in the path of the emperor and called boldly for the relief of the Christians, who, he declared, were among the most loyal of his subjects.

The emperor, thinking he was dead, was startled as if he had seen a ghost. "You will have no peace," cried Sebastian, "until you cease from shedding innocent blood." The emperor angrily sentenced him to be cudgelled to death and his body to be thrown into the sewer, from which it was afterwards removed by a Christian woman called Lucina, who buried it in her own garden along the Appian Way.

In 367, Pope Saint Damasus built a basilica of San Sebastiano over his tomb, which was one of the seven stationary churches of Rome. Sebastian's cultus dates from the 4th century; his name is found in the Depositio Martyrum, dated 354. That Sebastian was a martyr buried in a cemetery on the Appian Way is fact; all else is pious fiction dating no earlier than the 5th century. Some wrongly attribute these acta to Saint Ambrose.

Several writers testify that the relics of Saint Sebastian were given to Hilduin, abbot of Saint-Denys, by Pope Eugenius II and deposited in Saint Medard's at Soissons on December 9, 826, together with some of the relics of Saint Gregory the Great. These shrines were plundered by the Hugenots in 1564, and the sacred bones thrown into a ditch in which there was water. They were later found and re-enshrined in 1578, though the bones were then intermixed. Sebastian's head was given to Saint Willibrord by Pope Sergius and is now kept at Echternach, Luxembourg. Other portions of his relics are widely dispersed.

It should be noted that Saint Ambrose says that Sebastian was born in Milan, Italy, where he was venerated as early as the 4th century (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Butler, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Gill, Husenbeth, White).
Arrows, representing pestilence as well as the instrument of his martyrdom, are Saint Sebastian's emblem in art (Tabor). Generally he is portrayed as a young, nude man tied to a tree and shot through by bowmen. At times he may be shown (1) nude, pierced by or holding arrows; (2) richly dressed with bow and arrows; (3) as a young warrior with an arrow; (4) with sword and arrow; or (5) as the arrows are being removed by Saint Irene in the habit of a Benedictine nun. He should not be confused with the king Saint Edmund of England, who is always bearded and crowned (Roeder). There is a notable image of him in the Uffizi Gallery of Florence painted by Sodoma (Tabor).

The earliest representations of Sebastian, as in mosaics in Ravenna and at the church of Saint Peter in Chains in Rome (late 7th century) or in the frescoes of Saint Saba's church (Rome; early 8th century), depict him as an elderly, bearded man holding a crown. Some later images also show Sebastian in this manner. The more popular image as a young man appeared in the late Middle Ages (Farmer).

 St. Sebastian (257?-288?)  
Nothing is historically certain about St. Sebastian except that he was a Roman martyr, was venerated in Milan even in the time of St. Ambrose and was buried on the Appian Way, probably near the present Basilica of St. Sebastian. Devotion to him spread rapidly, and he is mentioned in several martyrologies as early as a.d. 350.

The legend of St. Sebastian is important in art, and there is a vast iconography. Scholars now agree that a pious fable has Sebastian entering the Roman army because only there could he assist the martyrs without arousing suspicion. Finally he was found out, hauled before Emperor Diocletian and delivered to Mauritanian archers to be shot to death. His body was pierced with arrows, and he was left for dead. But he was found still alive by those who came to bury him. He recovered, but refused to flee. One day he took up a position near where the emperor was to pass. He accosted the emperor, denouncing him for his cruelty to Christians. This time the sentence of death was carried out. Sebastian was beaten to death with clubs.

Comment:    The fact that many of the early saints made such a tremendous impression on the Church—awakening widespread devotion and great praise from the greatest writers of the Church—is proof of the heroism of their lives. As has been said, legends may not be literally true. Yet they may express the very substance of the faith and courage evident in the lives of these heroes and heroines of Christ.
310 St. Neophytus Martyr put to death at 15 in Nicaea
 Nicǽæ, in Bithynia, sancti Neóphyti Mártyris, qui, quintumdécimum annum ætátis agens, flagris cæsus, in fornácem immíssus, feris objéctus, et, cum illæsus permanéret et Christi fidem constánter profiterétur, gládio tandem occísus est.
      At Nicea in Bithynia, St. Neophytus, martyr, who in the fifteenth year of his age, was scourged, cast into a furnace, and exposed to wild beasts.  As he remained uninjured, and constantly confessed the faith of Christ, he was at last killed with the sword.

Neophytus of Nicaea M (RM)
Died 310. Saint Neophytus was a youth, less than 15 years old, who was martyred at Nicaea under Galerius {293-311} (Benedictines).
477 St. Euthymius monk bishop sixty-six years in the desert
 In Palæstína natális sancti Euthymii Abbátis, qui zelo cathólicæ discíplinæ et virtúte miraculórum, témpore Marciáni Imperatóris, in Ecclésia flóruit.
       In Palestine, in the time of Emperor Marcian, the birthday of St. Euthymius, abbot, who flourished in the Church, full of zeal for Catholic discipline, and gifted with miracles.
A church was built at Meletine in honor of the holy Martyr Polyeuctus. Many miracles were worked through the intercession of St Polyeuctus. In this very church the parents of St Euthymius the Great (January 20) prayed fervently for a son. The birth of this great luminary of Orthodoxy in the year 376 occurred through the help of the holy Martyr Polyeuctus.
THE birth of this saint was the fruit of the prayers of his parents through the intercession of the martyr Polyeuctus. His father was a wealthy citizen of Melitene in Armenia, and Euthymius was educated in sacred learning under the care of the bishop of that city, who ordained him priest and made him his deputy in the supervision of the monasteries. The saint often visited that of St Polyeuctus, and spent whole nights in prayer on a neighbouring mountain, as he also did continuously from the octave of the Epiphany till towards the end of Lent. The love of solitude daily growing stronger, he secretly left his own country at twenty-nine years of age; and, after offering up his prayers at the holy places in Jerusalem, chose a cell six miles from that city, near the laura of Pharan. *{* A laura consisted of cells at a little distance from one another.} He made baskets, and earned enough by selling them to provide a living for himself and alms for the poor. After five years he retired with one Theoctistus ten miles farther towards Jericho, where they both lived in a cave. In this place he began to receive disciples about the year 411. He entrusted the care of his community to Theoctistus, and himself retired to a remote hermitage, only meeting on Saturdays and Sundays those who desired spiritual advice. He taught his monks never to eat so much as to satisfy their hunger, but strictly forbade among them any singularity in fasts or any other uncommon observances, as savouring of vanity and self-will. Following his example, they all withdrew into the wilderness from after Epiphany till Palm Sunday, when they met again in their monastery to celebrate the offices of Holy Week. He enjoined constant silence and plenty of manual labour, so that they not only earned their own living, but also a surplus which they devoted as first-fruits to God in the relief of the poor.
By making the sign of the cross and a short prayer, St Euthymius cured a young Arab, one half of whose body had been paralysed. His father, who had vainly invoked the much-boasted arts of physic and magic among the Persians to procure some relief for his son, at the sight of this miracle asked to be baptized. So many Arabs followed his example that Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, consecrated Euthymius bishop to provide for the spiritual needs of these converts, and in that capacity he assisted at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Juvenal built St Euthymius a laura on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho in the year 420. Euthymius could never be prevailed upon to depart from his rule of strict solitude, but governed his monks by vicars, to whom he gave directions on Sundays. His humility and charity won the hearts of all who spoke to him. He seemed to surpass the great Arsenius in the gift of perpetual tears, and Cyril of Scythopolis relates many miracles that he wrought, usually by the sign of the cross. In the time of a great drought he exhorted the people to penance to avert this scourge of heaven. Great numbers came in procession to his cell, carrying crosses, singing Kyrie eleison, and begging him to offer up his prayers to God for them. He said to them, “I am a sinner; how can I presume to appear before God, who is angry at our sins? Let us prostrate ourselves all together before Him, and He will hear us.” They obeyed; and the saint going into his chapel prayed lying on the ground. The sky grew dark on a sudden, rain fell in abundance, and the year proved remarkably fruitful.
When the heretical Empress Eudoxia, widow of Theodosius II, frightened by the afflictions of her family, consulted St Simeon Stylites he referred her to St Euthymius. As Euthymius would allow no woman to enter his laura she built a lodge some distance away, and asked him to come and see her there. His advice to her was to forsake the Eutychians and to receive the Council of Chalcedon. She followed his counsel as the command of God, returned to orthodox communion, and many followed her example. In 459 Eudoxia desired St Euthymius to meet her at her lodge, designing to settle on his laura sufficient revenues for its maintenance. He sent her word to spare herself the trouble, and to prepare for death. She admired his disinterestedness, returned to Jerusalem, and died shortly after. One of the latest disciples of Euthymius was the young St Sabas, whom he tenderly loved. In the year 473, on January 13, Martyrius and Elias, to both of whom St Euthymius had foretold that they would be patriarchs of Jerusalem, came with several others to visit him and accompany him to his Lenten retreat. But he said he would stay with them all that week, and leave on the Saturday following, giving them to understand that his death was near at hand. Three days after he gave orders that a general vigil should be observed on the eve of St Antony’s festival, on which occasion he delivered an address to his spiritual children, exhorting them to humility and charity. He appointed Elias his successor, and foretold to Domitian, a beloved disciple, that he would follow him out of this world on the seventh day, which happened exactly as he had prophesied. Euthymius died on Saturday, January 20, being ninety-five years old, of which he had spent sixty-eight in the desert. Cyril relates that he appeared several times after his death, and speaks of the miracles that were wrought by his intercession, declaring that he himself had been an eyewitness of many. St Euthymius is named in the preparation of the Byzantine Mass.

Almost all our knowledge of Euthymius is derived from his life by Cyril of Scythopolis, a Latin version of which is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, January 20, and a critical Greek text in E. Schwartz, Kyrillos von Skythopolis (1939). See also DCB., vol. ii, pp. 398-400 and R. Génier, Vie de S. Euthyme le Grand (1909).  

Euthymius was born of wealthy parents at Militene, Armenia. He studied under the bishop there and was ordained. He was appointed supervisor of the monasteries in the diocese but when twenty-nine, he became a monk at the Pharan laura near Jerusalem. About 411, he left to live with a companion in a cave near Jericho, attracted numerous disciples, left his companion, Theoctistus, as superior, and moved to a more remote spot. He still attracted many and converted so many, including a great many Arabs, that Patriarch Juvenal of Jerusalem consecrated him bishop to minister to them. Juvenal built him a laura on the rode from Jerusalem to Jericho, which Euthymius ruled by vicars.

He attracted enormous crowds among them, Eudoxia, the widow of Emperor Theodosius II, who followed his advice to give up her allegiance to the Eutychians and return to orthodoxy in 459.
He died on January 20 after sixty-six years in the desert.

Euthymius the Great, Abbot (RM)
Born at Melitene, Armenia, c. 378; died in Palestine on January 20, 473. Saint Euthymius was the fruit of the fervent prayers of his wealthy parents through the intercession of a local martyr, Saint Polyeuctus. Euthymius studied under the bishop of Melitene, who ordained and appointed him supervisor of monastic settlements of the diocese. In that capacity, Euthymius often visited Saint Polyeuctus's monastery, where he would spend whole nights in prayer on a nearby mountain. From the octave of Epiphany to the end of Lent, Euthymius was continuously in prayer.

When he was about 30, his love of solitude had grown so strong that he secretly migrated to Palestine. After offering his prayers at the holy places in Jerusalem, he settled in a cell six miles distant near at the Pharan laura. He earned money for his bread and some alms for the poor by weaving baskets.

About 411, he moved 10 miles closer to Jericho, where he and a companion, named Theoctistus, lived as hermits in a cave. When a number of other hermits gravitated to him, he left them with his companion Theoctistus as superior, settled in the desolate country between Jerusalem and Jericho, and began his solitary life. He would meet with his spiritual children only on Saturdays and Sundays, and would abide for only a short time in one place, then move to another, usually in caves. Thus, he became their spiritual director without giving up his own solitary mode of life.

Saint Euthymius was one of the most revered of the early Palestinian monks. He attracted enormous crowds by his preaching, and combatted Nestorianism and Eutychianism alike. He gained influence among the Arabs by his healing of the paralytic son of an important sheikh, simply with a short prayer and the Sign of the Cross. The sheikh, who had vainly employed Persian magic arts seeking some relief for his son, immediately requested baptism.

So many Arabs followed suit that Patriarch Juvenal of Jerusalem consecrated Euthymius bishop to minister to them. In 420, Juvenal built him a laura on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho, which Euthymius ruled through vicars to whom he gave directions on Sundays. Cyril of Scythopolis relates that this was only one of many miraculous cures wrought by Euthymius, usually with the Sign of the Cross. It was in his capacity as bishop that Euthymius attended the Council of Ephesus in 431.

His humility and charity won the hearts of all who spoke to him. He seems to have surpassed even the great Saint Arsenius in the gift of perpetual tears. Empress Eudoxia, widow of Theodosius II, sought the advice of Saint Simeon Stylites regarding the frightening afflictions of her family. He referred her to Euthymius. Because Euthymius would allow no woman to enter his laura, she built a lodging and asked him to come to her there. She followed his counsel as the command of God, gave up her allegiance to the Eutychians, returned to orthodoxy in 459, and received the Council of Chalcedon.

On January 13, 473, Martyrius and Elias, both of whom Euthymius foretold would be patriarchs of Jerusalem, came with several others to visit him and accompany him to his Lenten retreat. But he said he would stay with them all that week, and leave on the next Saturday, giving them to understand that his death was near at hand. He appointed Elias as his successor, and foretold to Domitian, a beloved disciple, that he would follow him out of this world on the seventh day, which happened just as he prophesied. At the time of his death, Euthymius had spent 66-68 years in the desert. He is still highly revered throughout the East (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Walsh).

Saint Euthymius the Great came from the city of Melitene in Armenia, near the River Euphrates. His parents, Paul and Dionysia, were pious Christians of noble birth. After many years of marriage they remained childless, and in their sorrow they entreated God to give them offspring. Finally, they had a vision and heard a voice saying, "Be of good cheer! God will grant you a son, who will bring joy to the churches." The child was named Euthymius ("good cheer").

St Euthymius' father died soon after this, and his mother, fulfilling her vow to dedicate her son to God, gave him to her brother, the priest Eudoxius, to be educated. He presented the chid to Bishop Eutroius of Melitene, who accepted him with love. Seeing his good conduct, the bishop soon made him a Reader.

St Euthymius later became a monk and was ordained to the holy priesthood. At the same time, he was entrusted with the supervision of all the city monasteries. St Euthymius often visited the monastery of St Polyeuctus, and during Great Lent he withdrew into the wilderness. His responsibility for the monasteries weighed heavily upon the ascetic, and conflicted with his desire for stillness, so he secretly left the city and headed to Jerusalem. After venerating the holy shrines, he visited the Fathers in the desert.

Since there was a solitary cell in the Tharan lavra, he settled into it, earning his living by weaving baskets. Nearby, his neighbor St Theoctistus (September 3) also lived in asceticism. They shared the same zeal for God and for spiritual struggles, and each strove to attain what the other desired. They had such love for one another that they seemed to share one soul and one will.  Every year, after the Feast of Theophany, they withdrew into the desert of Coutila (not far from Jericho). One day, they entered a steep and terrifying gorge with a stream running through it. They saw a cave upon a cliff, and settled there. The Lord, however, soon revealed their solitary place for the benefit of many people. Shepherds driving their flocks came upon the cave and saw the monks. They went back to the village and told people about the ascetics living there.

People seeking spiritual benefit began to visit the hermits and brought them food. Gradually, a monastic community grew up around them. Several monks came from the Tharan monastery, among them Marinus and Luke. St Euthymius entrusted the supervision of the growing monastery to his friend Theoctistus.  St Euthymius exhorted the brethren to guard their thoughts. "Whoever desires to lead the monastic life should not follow his own will. He should be obedient and humble, and be mindful of the hour of death. He should fear the judgment and eternal fire, and seek the heavenly Kingdom."  The saint taught young monks to fix their thoughts on God while engaging in physical labor. "If laymen work in order to feed themselves and their families, and to give alms and offer sacrifice to God, then are not we as monks obliged to work to sustain ourselves and to avoid idleness? We should not depend on strangers."

The saint demanded that the monks keep silence in church during services and at meals. When he saw young monks fasting more than others, he told them to cut off their own will, and to follow the appointed rule and times for fasting. He urged them not to attract attention to their fasting, but to eat in moderation.  In these years St Euthymius converted and baptized many Arabs, among whom was the Saracen leaders Aspebet and his son Terebon, whom St Euthymius healed of sickness. Aspebet received the name Peter in Baptism and afterwards he was a bishop among the Arabs.  Word of the miracles performed by St Euthymius spread quickly. People came from everywhere to be healed of their ailments, and he cured them. Unable to bear human fame and glory, the monk secretly left the monastery, taking only his closest disciple Dometian with him. He withdrew into the Rouba desert and settled on Mt. Marda, near the Dead Sea.

In his quest for solitude, the saint explored the wilderness of Ziph and settled in the cave where David once hid from King Saul. St Euthymius founded a monastery beside David's cave, and built a church. During this time St Euthymius converted many monks from the Manichean heresy, he also healed the sick and cast out devils.  Visitors disturbed the tranquillity of the wilderness. Since he loved silence, the saint decided to return to the monastery of St Theoctistus. Along the way they found a quiet level place on a hill, and he remained there. This would become the site of St Euthymius' lavra, and a little cave served as his cell, and then as his grave.

St Theoctistus went with his brethren to St Euthymius and requested him to return to the monastery, but the monk did not agree to this. However, he did promise to attend Sunday services at the monastery.  St Euthymius did not wish to have anyone nearby, nor to organize a cenobium or a lavra. The Lord commanded him in a vision not to drive away those who came to him for the salvation of their souls. After some time brethren again gathered around him, and he organized a lavra, on the pattern of the Tharan Lavra. In the year 429, when St Euthymius was fifty-two years old, Patriarch Juvenal of Jerusalem consecrated the lavra church and supplied it with presbyters and deacons.

The lavra was poor at first, but the saint believed that God would provide for His servants. Once, about 400 Armenians on their way to the Jordan came to the lavra. Seeing this, St Euthymius called the steward and ordered him to feed the pilgrims. The steward said that there was not enough food in the monastery. St Euthymius, however, insisted. Going to the storeroom where the bread was kept, the steward found a large quantity of bread, and the wine casks and oil jars were also filled. The pilgrims ate their fill, and for three months afterwards the door of the storeroom could not be shut because of the abundace of bread.
 The food remained undiminished, just like the widow of Zarephath's barrel of meal and cruse of oil (1/3 Kings 17:8-16).

Once, the monk Auxentius refused to carry out his assigned obedience. Despite the fact that St Euthymius summoned him and urged him to comply, he remained obstinate. The saint then shouted loudly, "You will be rewarded for your insubordination." A demon seized Auxentius and threw him to the ground. The brethren asked Abba Euthymius to help him, and then the saint healed the unfortunate one, who came to himself, asked forgiveness and promised to correct himself. "Obedience," said St Euthymius, "is a great virtue.
 The Lord loves obedience more than sacrifice, but disobedience leads to death."

Two of the brethren became overwhelmed by the austere life in the monastery of St Euthymius, and they resolved to flee. St Euthymius saw in a vision that they would be ensnared by the devil. He summoned them and admonished them to abandon their destructive intention. He said, "We must never admit evil thoughts that fill us with sorrow and hatred for the place in which we live, and suggest that we go somewhere else. If someone tries to do something good in the place where he lives but fails to complete it, he should not think that he will accomplish it elsewhere. It is not the place that produces success, but faith and a firm will. A tree which is often transplanted does not bear fruit."  In the year 431, the Third Ecumenical Council was convened in Ephesus to combat the Nestorian heresy. St Euthymius rejoiced over the affirmation of Orthodoxy, but was grieved about Archbishop John of Antioch who defended Nestorius.  In the year 451 the Fourth Ecumenical Council met in Chalcedon to condemn the heresy of Dioscorus who, in contrast to Nestorius, asserted that in the Lord Jesus Christ there is only one nature, the divine (thus the heresy was called Monophysite). He taught that in the Incarnation, Christ's human nature swallowed up by the divine nature.

St Euthymius accepted the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon and he acknowledged it as Orthodox. News of this spread quickly among the monks and hermits. Many of them, who had previously believed wrongly, accepted the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon because of the example of St Euthymius.

Because of his ascetic life and firm confession of the Orthodox Faith, St Euthymius is called "the Great." Wearied by contact with the world, the holy abba went for a time into the inner desert. After his return to the lavra some of the brethren saw that when he celebrated the Divine Liturgy, fire descended from Heaven and encircled the saint. St Euthymius himself revealed to several of the monks that often he saw an angel celebrating the Holy Liturgy with him. The saint had the gift of clairvoyance, and he could discern a person's thoughts and spiritual state from his outward appearance. When the monks received the Holy Mysteries, the saint knew who approached worthily, and who received unworthily.

When St Euthymius was 82 years old, the young Sava (the future St Sava the Sanctified, December 5), came to his lavra. The Elder received him with love and sent him to the monastery of St Theoctistus. He foretold that St Sava would outshine all his other disciples in virtue.
When the saint was ninety years of age, his companion and fellow monk Theoctistus became grievously ill. St Euthymius went to visit his friend and remained at the monastery for several days. He took leave of him and was present at his end. After burying his body in a grave, he returned to the lavra.
God revealed to St Euthymius the time of his death. On the eve of the Feast of St Anthony the Great (January 17) St Euthymius gave the blessing to serve the all-night Vigil. When the service ended, he took the priests aside and told them that he would never serve another Vigil with them, because the Lord was calling him from this earthly life.  All were filled with great sadness, but the saint asked the brethren to meet him in church in the morning. He began to instruct them, "If you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15). Love is the highest virtue, and the bond of perfectness (Col. 3:14). Every virtue is made secure by love and humility. The Lord humbled Himself because of His Love for us and became man. Therefore, we ought to praise Him unceasingly, especially since we monks have escaped worldly distractions and concerns."

"Look to yourselves, and preserve your souls and bodies in purity. Do not fail to attend the church services, and keep the traditions and rules of our community. If one of the brethren struggles with unclean thoughts, correct, console, and instruct him, so that he does not fall into the devil's snares. Never refuse hospitality to visitors. Offer a bed to every stranger. Give whatever you can to help the poor in their misfortune."

Afterwards, having given instructions for the guidance of the brethren, the saint promised always to remain in spirit with them and with those who followed them in his monastery.St Euthymius then dismissed everyone but his disciple Dometian. He remained in the altar for three days, then died on January 20, 473 at the age of ninety-seven.

A multitude of monks from all the monasteries and from the desert came to the lavra for the holy abba's burial, among whom was St Gerasimus. The Patriarch Anastasius also came with his clergy, as well as the Nitrian monks Martyrius and Elias, who later became Patriarchs of Jerusalem, as St Euthymius had foretold.

Dometian remained by the grave of his Elder for six days.
On the seventh day, he saw the holy abba in glory, beckoning to his disciple."Come, my child, the Lord Jesus Christ wants you to be with me."
After telling the brethren about the vision, Dometian went to church and joyfully surrendered his soul to God. He was buried beside St Euthymius. The relics of St Euthymius remained at his monastery in Palestine, and the Russian pilgrim igumen Daniel saw them in the twelfth century.
655 St. Molagga Abbot-founder disciple of St. David of Wales
Irish by birth, Molagga went to Wales and founded Fermoy Monastery. He is also called Laicin.
Molagga of Fermoy, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Laicin, Molacca)
Died c. 664. The Irish Molagga was raised in Wales under Saint David (Dewi). He founded a monastery at Fulachmhin (Fermoy), and is much venerated in northern Cork nearby. He is also associated with Balbriggan in Dublin (Benedictines, Montague).

665 St. Fechin founding Abbot of Fobhar died of plague devastating Ireland.  
Fechin was probably born at Luighne (Leyney), Ireland. He was trained by St. Nathy, was founding Abbot of Fobhar, or Fore, in Westmeath, and died of the plague that devastated Ireland in the year 665.

No very authentic information seems to be available regarding St Fechin, though we possess a Latin life of him, a hymn and a number of miscellaneous notices. He is said to have been born at Luighne (Leyney), in Connaught, and to have been trained by St Nathy. There are a good many extravagant miracles attributed to him, but two definite facts stand out: first, that he founded and ruled a community of monks, probably at Fobhar or Fore, in Westmeath; secondly, that he perished in the terrible plague which swept over Ireland in 665. So far as our late and unsatisfactory materials allow us to draw any inference, St Fechin never quitted his native shores, but, as such a name as Ecclefechan (“ecclesia sancti Fechani” is the form it assumes in old charters) would alone suffice to prove, the saint was certainly honoured outside his own country. At Arbroath we hear of an annual fair being held on January 20, which was called St Vigean’s market, sometimes corrupted into St Virgin’s market.

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 20; US., vol. i, p. 356 ; and KSS., pp. 456—458. The most correct text of his life is, however, that of Plummer, printed in his VSH., vol. ii, pp. 76—86. See also some Irish materials in Revue Celtique, vol. xii, pp. 318—353. 

Fechin of Fobhar (Fore), Abbot (AC) (also known as Vigean, Virgin)
Born at Bile Fechin (Connaught), Ireland; died c. 665. Fechin, the abbot-founder of several Irish monasteries, was trained by Saint Nathy at Achonry, County Sligo. After a life of sanctity, he died during the great pestilence which felled four Irish kings and nearly two-thirds of the populace.  Fechin's name is particularly connected with that of Fobhar (Fore or Foure) in Westmeath, which was his first monastic foundation, and an important one for its manuscripts. Here he eventually governed over 300 monks. The monastery became famous because of the water mill that he is reputed to have miraculously created out of a rock with his own hands. Even in the 12th century, this mill was much revered, as were the churches dedicated to him. Out of respect for the saint, women were never allowed into the mill.

The monastery he founded in Cong is renowned because of the Cross of Cong, one of the great treasures of Ireland, which had been hidden in an old oaken chest in the village, now resides in the National Museum in Dublin. Both the church and monastery at Cong were sumptuously rebuilt in the 12th century for the Augustinians by Turlough O'Connor, who gave them the bejewelled processional cross he had made to enshrine a particle of the True Cross. Cong Abbey also sered as the refuge for the last high king of Ireland, Roderick O'Connor.

His other foundations include those at Ballysadare (his birthplace?), Imaid Island, Omey and Ard Oilean, from which came the oldest manuscript about his life. All of these are now in ruins. His memory, however, is also perpetuated at Ecclefechan and Saint Vigean's (the name under which he is invoked in the Dunkeld Litany), near Arbroath in Scotland, where a fair was held on his feast day. The Bollandists in Belgium have preserved an ancient saint in honor of Saint Fechin (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, D'Arcy, Farmer, Husenbeth, Kenney, Montague, Moran, Muirhead, Neeson, Stokes).
St Laurence incorrupt relics lie in the Far Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra.
Disdaining the vain glory of this world, St Laurence lived in a cave and conquered the passions through prayer and fasting.
His incorrupt relics lie in the Far Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra.

The Schemamonk Euthymius of the Kiev Caves

imposed upon himself a vow of silence, opening his mouth only for church services and for prayer. The silent schemamonk ate only herbs. He was buried in the Far Caves of St Theodosius at the Kiev Caves monastery.
His memory is also celebrated on August 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

946 St. Maurus Benedictine bishop of Cesena
 Cæsénæ sancti Mauri Epíscopi, virtútibus et miráculis clari.
       At Cesena, St. Maur, bishop, renowned for virtues and miracles.
St. Maurus A native of Rome and nephew of Pope John IX, he was ordained then became a Benedictine at Classe in Ravenna, its abbot in 926 and bishop of Cesena, Italy in 934.

Maurus of Cesena, OSB B (RM)
Died 946. Roman Saint Maurus, nephew of Pope John IX, was ordained a priest, then joined the monks of Classe at Ravenna in 926, where he became abbot. In 934, he was consecrated bishop of Cesena. He built a cell on the hill overlooking the city, where he would spend part of his time in prayer. After his death, the cell grew into the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria del Monte (Benedictines).

1107 Blessed Benedict Ricasoli hermit  OSB Vall., Hermit (AC).  
Born at Coltiboni, diocese of Fiesole, Italy; died 1107; cultus confirmed in 1907. Blessed Benedict entered the monastery founded by his parents for the monks of Vallumbrosa on a mountain near his birthplace. Later he became a hermit in a cell nearby (Benedictines).

THE Benedictine congregation of Vallombrosa, which developed out of the hermitage established before 1038 in that famous valley by St John Gualbert, numbered in the days of its prime more than fifty communities, and eventually spread into France and the Tirol. The most characteristic feature of the new organization was an attempt to combine the life of the hermit with that of the monk. Bd Benedict Ricasoli was the son of parents who had known St John Gualbert in person, and had made over to him and his disciples a property at Coltiboni. Here Benedict was received at an early age by Abbot Azzo, but aspiring after greater perfection and solitude than seemed possible in community life, he took up his quarters in a hut on the mountain side at some little distance from the abbey. From time to time he returned to keep some festival of the Church with his brethren, and on one of these rare visits, remaining from Christmas until the Epiphany, he showed special earnestness in exhorting the monks to fervour and to perseverance in their arduous vocation. Their life, he told them, ought to be nothing else but a continual preparation for death, and he insistently repeated the warning, “Be ye ready, for the Son of man cometh at the hour ye think not.” Returning to his hermitage he himself soon afterwards (apparently on January 20, 1107) was summoned to his reward.
Rumour in later times enlarged upon the marvellous occurrences that attended his departure from this world. It was affirmed that his death was made known by the monastery bell ringing of its own accord; that a path was miraculously cleared through the snow and ice to enable the brethren to come and see; that he was found by them dead, but still kneeling in the act of prayer, with hands joined and eyes raised to Heaven; and that when he was buried within the monastic enclosure a light rested over the spot, and a white lily grew spontaneously out of the ground. The cult paid to him on account of his repute for holiness was confirmed in 1907. His remains are said still to repose in the sanctuary of Galloro, near Riccia.
See decree of the Congregation of Rites in Analecta Ecclesiastica, 1907, p. 247; and the Acta Sanctorum for January 20. 
1194 Blessed Didier 33rd bishop of Thérouanne founder of the Cistercian abbey B (PC)
(also known as Desiderius)
Died 1194. Desiderius was the 33rd bishop of Thérouanne and founder of the Cistercian abbey of Blandecques (Blandyke; a word with special significance for those who have attended Jesuit schools in England) near Saint-Omer. At the end of his life he resigned and prepared for death in a Cistercian monastery. He is usually styled a saint and is claimed by the Cistercians as one of their own (Attwater2, Benedictines).
1194 BD DESIDERIUS, OR DIDIER, Bishop of Thérouanne
Although there seems to be no very satisfactory evidence of cultus, Didier, who is said to have been the thirty-third bishop of Thérouanne, is commonly described as Blessed in hagiographical collections like those of De Ram and Guérin, and his name appears in some Cistercian and other calendars. He has an interest for many English Catholics, because he helped to found near Saint-Omer the Cistercian monastery of Blandecques, or “Blandyke”, which name has been perpetuated in English Jesuit schools as that of their monthly holiday, for in the old Saint-Omer’s days the boys went to Blandyke once a month to spend the day in country air. A statue of our Lady preserved there was believed to work miracles, and as late as the eighteenth century medals were struck of our Lady of Blandyke. Bd Didier became bishop in I 169, and is said to have been remarkable for his charity and his spirit of prayer. He resigned his see three years before his death, which seems to have taken place on January 20 (or September 2), 1194 at the Cistercian abbey of Cambron, where he had been professed a monk.

Reussens the Biographie nationale (beige), vol. v: Gallia christiana nova, vol. ii; and DHG., vol ix, c. 117, and xi, 585.

1232 Blessed Daniel of Cambron Cistercian abbot , OSB Cist., Abbot (PC).
Died 1232. Third abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Cambron in Hainault (Benedictines).
1465 Saint Euthymius of Syanzhemsk and Vologda igumen Ascension monastery
born in Vologda, and received monastic tonsure at the Savior-Stone monastery at Lake Kuben. For some time he lived in a solitary cell on the River Kuben, and then gave up the place to St Alexander of Kushta (June 9) and moved to Syanzhem, where he founded the Ascension monastery and became its igumen.

St Euthymius died around the year 1465, after appointing St Chariton (September 28) as his successor. The story of the appearance of his relics was recorded in the sixteenth century by Bishop Ioasaph of Vologda, a noted hagiographer of his time.

1468 St. Eustochium Calafato Foundress and Poor Clare  love of Jesus in poverty and penance was outstanding
She was born circa 1435, the daughter of Countess Matilda Carafata, at Messina, Sicily. Betrothed, Eustochium lost her fiance before they could wed. When her father died in 1446, she became a Poor Clare at Bascio convent and devoted herself to penance and charitable activities. Her mother and sister were at Monte Vergine Convent, and Eustochium went there for the stricter observances. She became abbess in 1462. She was canonized in 1988. In some lists her name is Eustachia or Smaragda.

Eustochium Calafato, OFM (AC)
(also known as Eustochia of Messina)
Born in Annunziata (near Messina), Sicily, on Good Friday, 1434; died 1468; cultus confirmed in 1782; canonized by John Paul II in 1988; feast day formerly February 1 and/or February 16. There are two contemporary lives written about Esutochium Calafato.

Though Smeralda (Emerald) was the daughter of Countess Matilda (Macalda) Romano Colonna of Calafato and her husband Bernard, a wealthy merchant, she was raised in a pious household. Her mother was known for her great holiness of life and provided an excellent model for her young daughter.

In 1446, Smeralda gave up the privileged life to become Eustochium, a Poor Clare at Santa Maria di Basicò after she experienced a vision of Christ crucified. At first the sisters refused to accept her, because they were afraid of angering her brothers who had threatened to burn down the convent if their sister were admitted. Eventually, Smerald convinced both the nuns and her brothers. Disillusioned by the convent's laxity, in 1457, she was given permission to found a Franciscan community of stricter observance nearby. In 1463, the community was transferred to Monte delle Vergini (Maidens' Hill) and included some of her close relatives. The following year she was elected abbess.

Eustochium's love of Jesus in poverty and penance was outstanding. She wrote a treatise on the Passion, which, unfortunately, is now lost. Though she never visited the Holy Land, Eustochium had a devotion to the holy places that is reminiscent of Saint Bridget of Sweden. Eustochium suffered many internal and external trials that hastened her death at age 35. The saint was buried in Montevergine. When her incorrupt body was exhumed, it was described in great detail by the archbishop of Messina in 1690 (Attwater2, Benedictines, Farmer).

In art, Saint Eustochium is portrayed with a cross in her hand or kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament (Farmer).

1670 St. Charles of Sezze 17th-century successor to Brother Juniper
Charles thought that God was calling him to be a missionary in India, but he never got there. God had something better for this 17th-century successor to Brother Juniper.  Born in Sezze, southeast of Rome, Charles was inspired by the lives of Salvator Horta and Paschal Baylon to become a Franciscan; he did that in 1635. Charles tells us in his autobiography, "Our Lord put in my heart a determination to become a lay brother with a great desire to be poor and to beg alms for his love."

Charles served as cook, porter, sacristan, gardener and beggar at various friaries in Italy. In some ways, he was "an accident waiting to happen." He once started a huge fire in the kitchen when the oil in which he was frying onions burst into flames.

One story shows how thoroughly Charles adopted the spirit of St. Francis. The superior ordered Charles — then porter — to give food only to traveling friars who came to the door. Charles obeyed this direction; simultaneously the alms to the friars decreased. Charles convinced the superior the two facts were related. When the friars resumed giving goods to all who asked at the door, alms to the friars increased also.

At the direction of his confessor Charles wrote his autobiography, The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God. He also wrote several other spiritual books. He made good use of his various spiritual directors throughout the years; they helped him discern which of Charles’ ideas or ambitions were from God. Charles himself was sought out for spiritual advice. The dying Pope Clement IX called Charles to his bedside for a blessing.

Charles had a firm sense of God’s providence. Father Severino Gori has said, "By word and example he recalled in all the need of pursuing only that which is eternal" (Leonard Perotti, St. Charles of Sezze: An Autobiography, page 215).

He died at San Francesco a Ripa in Rome and was buried there. Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1959.

Comment: The drama in the lives of the saints is mostly interior. Charles’ life was spectacular only in his cooperation with God’s grace. He was captivated by God’s majesty and great mercy to all of us.
Quote: Father Gori says that the autobiography of Charles "stands as a very strong refutation of the opinion, quite common among religious people, that saints are born saints, that they are privileged right from their first appearance on this earth. This is not so. Saints become saints in the usual way, due to the generous fidelity of their correspondence to divine grace. They had to fight just as we do, and more so, against their passions, the world and the devil" (St. Charles of Sezze: An Autobiography, page viii).
1782 The Holy New Martyr Zachariah Peloponnesos in Greece
He renounced Christ to become a Moslem, then went to ancient Patras and worked there as a furrier. He had a book, THE SALVATION OF SINNERS, which he often read. The book moved him to repentence, and he wept bitterly for the great evil he had done.

St Zachariah met a certain Elder and told him of his sin. After praying and fasting for twenty days, he returned to the Elder and confessed all the sins he had committed during his life. When he asked the Elder's blessing to seek martyrdom, the holy man tried to discourage him. He warned that he might not be killed swiftly, but only after much torture. He also pointed out the danger that Zachariah would betray Christ a second time under the torments he would endure. The saint, aflame with zeal for martyrdom, said he was prepared to suffer myriad punishments for the sake of Christ.

The Elder read the prayers of absolution and chrismated the saint (as is done when apostates from the Faith are received back into the Church), then administered the Holy Mysteries to him. Then he blessed Zachariah to go back to the Moslems and declare his faith in Christ. On his way, the saint asked forgiveness from each Christian he met.

The holy martyr went to the judge's house and said that he had been deceived when he accepted their religion, but now he had come to his senses and returned to Christ. St Zachariah was thrown into prison, where he was beaten three times a day.

Finally, the saint died by being stretched out on a rack. Christians asked for his body so they might bury it, but the Moslems refused. They said, "He is neither one of you, nor one of us, for he denied both religions. Therefore, he is unworthy of burial." His body was dragged through the streets and thrown into a dry well, landing on its knees in an upright position. Christians saw a radiant light over the well the next night, and hastened to venerate the saint. The Turks filled the well with dirt and debris to prevent such gatherings in the future.

By shedding his blood, the holy New Martyr Zachariah washed away the sin of his denial of Christ and received an unfading crown of glory in the year 1782.

Mary's Divine Motherhood
   Pope Francis  PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR  January 2018
Religious Minorities in Asia
That Christians and other religious minorities in Asian countries may be able to practice their faith in full freedom.

Marian spirituality: all are invited.