Mary Mother of GOD 15 Promises of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary
 Wednesday  Saints of this Day November  23 Nono Kaléndas Decémbris  
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!)

Six Canonized on Feast of Christ the King Nov 23 2014


Our Bartholomew Family Prayer List

Acts of the Apostles

Nine First Fridays Devotion to the Sacred Heart From the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

How do I start the Five First Saturdays?

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

Pope Benedict XVI to The Catholic Church In China {whole article here }
The saints “a cloud of witnesses over our head”, showing us life of Christian perfection is possible.

November 23 – Christ the King of the Universe – Our Lady of the Assumption (Italy, 1624) –
Our Lady of the Angels (Cartago, Costa Rica)

 Black Madonna baffles archaeologists
 In 1635, a 5-inch stone statue carved in the Black Madonna-style was found in Cartago, the former capital of Costa Rica, by an Indian slave girl, in the neighborhood of "Puebla de Los Angeles," which is why she was called "Our Lady of the Angels."
Although the statue is referred to as La Negrita, its color is actually greenish-gray. It is made of graphite, jade and volcanic rock, which baffles archaeologists who know how difficult it is, if not impossible, to combine the three stones. And at the time it was found, there was no graphite in Costa Rica, but only in Europe, whereas the other two rocks were not present in Europe!
In other words, the composition of the statue borrows from both continents. This Madonna also has the features of a mestiza. Her gaze looks forward, while her Son, whose little hand rests on her heart, looks at her.
In 1824, the government proclaimed the "Queen of the Angels" patroness of Costa Rica. Her feast day is on August 2, the day that the Franciscans celebrate our Lady of the Angels at the Portiuncula in Assisi, Italy. It is also the day when the statue was found.


We pray for those who have no one to pray for them.
Mary, "Mother of the Church" (III) November 23 - Our Lady of the Assumption (Italy, 1624)

November 23
100? Pope St. Clement I a disciple of Sts Peter/Paul Marble-Workers Patron
The birthday of Pope St. Clement, who held the sovereign pontificate the third after the blessed apostle Peter.  In the persecution of Trajan, he was banished to Chersonesus, where, being thrown into the sea with an anchor tied to his neck, he was crowned with martyrdom.  During the pontificate of Pope Adrian II, his body was translated to Rome by the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius, and buried with honour in the church that had already been built  and named for him.
1263 Alexander Nevsky
1703 St Metrophanes, Bishop of Voronezh, in the world Michael saint, a stone church was built there in honor of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos
1714 Saint Anthony the Hesychast loved Christ from his early childhood many of the clergy and laity flocked to him for spiritual advice or consolation in sorrows
1927 Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro
A third operation mitigated the pain a little, but Fr. Pro's debilitation was now so alarming that his superiors sent him to the Riviera, to a pension for sick priests at Hyeres (...) Before leaving (Mexico), Miguel asked for and received permission to visit Lourdes. Counting the day of his visit as one of the happiest in his life, Miguel wrote, "I was at the feet of my Mother and...I felt very deeply within myself her blessed presence and action...for me, going to Lourdes meant finding my heavenly Mother, speaking to her, praying to her -- and I found her, spoke to her, prayed to her."

November 23 - Our Lady of the Vault (Italy)
Mary in the Temple (III) And Mary was given the task of weaving the purple and scarlet
In the Apocalypse of Baruch, the existence of virgins living in the Temple as weavers of the holy veil is confirmed: "And you virgins who weave byssus and silk, and gold from Ophir, in haste pick it all up and throw it in the fire that it will return it to its Author, and that the flame will take it back to its Creator, from fear that the enemy might seize it." And further: "In the Temple, the Great Priest said, evoking the virgins and the veil: 'Draw lots to see who will weave the gold, asbestos, linen, silk, Tyrian purple, scarlet and genuine purple'."

"And Mary was given the task of weaving the purple and scarlet" echoes the apocryphal book of James's proto-Gospel. The insight of Christian faith can discern in this weaving of purple and scarlet represented on icons of the Annunciation, the flesh of the Son of God that the Virgin would later weave in her womb.
Excerpt of Deuto-canonical Book of Baruch 
  100? Pope St. Clement I a disciple of Sts Peter/Paul Marble-Workers Patron
2nd v. St. Felicitas MARTYR; The earliest list of the Roman feasts of martyrs, known as the "Depositio Martyrum" and dating from the time of Pope Liberius, i.e. about the middle of the fourth century (Ruinart, Acta sincera, Ratisbon, p. 631), mentions seven martyrs whose feast was kept on 10 July. Their remains had been deposited in four different catacombs, viz. in three cemeteries on the Via Salaria and in one on the Via Appia. Two of the martyrs, Felix and Philip, reposed in the catacomb of Priscilla; Martial, Vitalis and Alexander, in the Coemeterium Jordanorum; Silanus (or Silvanus) in the catacomb of Maximus, and Januarius in that of Prætextatus.
        St. Clement of Metz  sent from Rome to evangelize that district of Roman Gaul B (AC)
 325 St Sisinius of Cyzicus present at the Council of Nicaea B (RM)
 343 St. Paternian bishop of Fano, Italy
 360 Holy Martyr Theodore of Antioch 15-year-old  condemned to fierce torments Because he was responsible for the translation of the relics of St Babylas (September 4) from Daphne to Antioch
 392 Amphilochius of Iconium counteract Arianism opposed the Macedonian heretics  presided synod of Sidon condemned the Messalians B (RM)
 394 Saint Amphilochius Bishop of Iconium cousin to St Gregory the Theologian close friend of St Basil the Great their disciple follower and of like mind with them
 594 St. Gregory of Agrigentum an angel of the Lord appeared to the holy youth miraculous healings of the sick
6th v. St. Paulhen Welsh abbot remarkable pupils were Sts. David and Teilo and St. Columba
 615 St. Columbanus of Luxeuil
Abbot benefits of trusting obedience to God and those in authority over us OSB (RM)
670 St. Wilfretrudis Benedictine abbess niece of St. Gertrude
 695 St. Trudo an apostle to the pagans of Hasbaye, his home
 946 St. Rachilidis Benedictine hermitess lived in a walled up cell near the cell of St. Wiborada
1263 Alexander Nevsky
1703 St Metrophanes, Bishop of Voronezh, in the world Michael saint, a stone church was built there in honor of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos
1714 Saint Anthony the Hesychast loved Christ from his early childhood many of the clergy and laity flocked to him for spiritual advice or consolation in sorrows
1927 Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro

Mary, "Mother of the Church" (III) November 23 - Our Lady of the Assumption (Italy, 1624)
Indelibly printed in my memory is the moment when, hearing his words: "Mariam Sanctissimam declaramus Matrem Ecclesiae" - "We declare Mary the Most Holy Mother of the Church", the Fathers spontaneously rose at once and paid homage to the Mother of God, to our Mother, to the Mother of the Church, with a standing ovation.
Pope Benedict XVI December 8, 2005

Blessed Miguel Pro November 23 - OUR LADY OF THE TEUTONIC HOUSE (Jerusalem)
Our Lady of Lourdes Welcomes Her Son Priest
A third operation mitigated the pain a little, but Fr. Pro's debilitation was now so alarming that his superiors sent him to the Riviera, to a pension for sick priests at Hyeres (...)Before leaving (Mexico), Miguel asked for and received permission to visit Lourdes. Counting the day of his visit as one of the happiest in his life, Miguel wrote, "I was at the feet of my Mother and...I felt very deeply within myself her blessed presence and action...for me, going to Lourdes meant finding my heavenly Mother, speaking to her, praying to her -- and I found her, spoke to her, prayed to her."
Taken from Blessed Miguel Pro, 20th-Century Mexican Martyr, by Ann Ball (Tan Books and Publishers, 1996)
In today's general audience, which was held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope turned his attention to the figure of St. Columbanus, a famous Irish monk who lived in the sixth century and "who with good reason may be called a 'European' saint".
  Columbanus was born about the year 543, in the province of Leinster in south-western Ireland. "At the age of around 20 he entered the monastery of Bangor in the north-west of the island, where the abbot was Comgall", said the Holy Father. "Life at Bangor and the example of the abbot influenced Columbanus' view of monasticism" a view which he "formed over time and then spread during the course of his life".
  Benedict XVI recalled how at the age of 50 Columbanus left Ireland "with 12 companions to begin missionary work on the European continent, where the migration of peoples from the north and the east had caused entire Christian regions to lapse back into paganism".
  He explained how this "re-evangelisation" began, "in the first place, through the witness of the missionaries' own lives. ... Many young men asked to be accepted into the monastic community and to live like them, and it soon became necessary to found a second monastery", which was built in Luxeuil. That monastery "became the centre for the expansion of monastic and missionary life of the Irish tradition on mainland Europe". Subsequently, "a third monastery was erected at Fontaine".

  St. Columbanus lived at Luxeuil for some 20 years. There he wrote his "'Regula monachorum' which describes the image of the ideal monk. It is the only ancient Irish monastic rule we possess today". The saint also introduced into mainland Europe "private confession and penance, ... proportioned to the gravity of the sin committed".
  "Intransigent as he was on moral matters, Columbanus came into conflict with the royal house because he severely criticised King Theodoric for his adulterous relationships". As a result, in 610 he and all the Irish monks were expelled from Luxeuil and "condemned to definitive exile".
  They took ship for Ireland but the vessel ran aground nor far from the beach and the monks returned to dry land. Instead of going back to Luxeuil, "they decided to begin a new work of evangelisation", first in Tuggen in Switzerland then in the area around Lake Constance".

  Continuing his account of Columbanus life, Benedict XVI explained how when the saint arrived in Italy, he still had to face "considerable difficulties. Church life was rent by the Arian heresy which was still prevalent among the Lombards, and by a schism which had divided most of the Churches of northern Italy from communion with the Bishop of Rome". In this situation, the Irish saint "wrote a treatise against Arianism and a letter to Pope Boniface IV to convince him to make certain decisive steps towards re-establishing unity".
  In the Italian town of Bobbio, Columbanus "founded a new monastery that would subsequently become a cultural centre comparable with the famous Montecassino. It was in Bobbio that he spent his last days, dying on 23 November 615, the day on which he is commemorated in the Roman rite down to our own time".

  "St. Columbanus' message focuses on a powerful call to conversion and detachment from worldly goods, with a view to the eternal reward. With his ascetic life and his uncompromising attitude to the corruption of the powerful, he evokes the severe figure of John the Baptist. Yet his austerity ... was only a means to open himself freely to the love of God and to respond with his entire being to the gifts received from Him, reconstructing the image of God in himself, and at the same time ploughing the earth and renewing human society".
  "A man of great culture and rich in gifts of grace, both as a tireless builder of monasteries and as an uncompromising penitential preacher", the Pope concluded, Columbanus "spent all his energies to nourish the Christian roots of the nascent Europe. With his spiritual strength, with his faith, with his love of God and neighbour, he became one of the Fathers of Europe, showing us today the way to those roots from which our continent may be reborn".
AG/COLUMBANUS/... VIS 080611 (720)
Commemoration of St. Columbanus, Abbot-Founder of Luxeuil and Bobbio
His somewhat intemperate defense of the Celtic over the Roman liturgical customs and the austerity of his rule, make him a rather forbidding personality; but on the other hand, through the numerous abbeys, founded by himself and by his disciples, especially after they had become Benedictines, he exerted a determining and lasting influence on Western civilization.
His submission to Rome at a time when there was a real fear the center of Christendom might pass into the hands of the Celts,
is one of the most significant events in the history of the Church. He dedicated Ireland to the Universal Church and laid that fear to rest.  late 6th v. early 7th v. The multitude became so great that he could organize that perpetual service, called "Laus perennis" which already existed at Agaunum, on the other side of the Jura and Lake Leman, where, night and day,
the voices of monks, "unwearied as those of angels," arose to celebrate the praises of God in unending song.
Charles de Foucald, founder of the Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus, said: "One must pass through solitude and dwell in it to receive God’s grace. It is there that one empties oneself, that one drives before oneself all that is not God, and that one completely empties this little house of our soul to leave room for God alone. In doing this, do not fear being unfaithful toward creatures. On the contrary, that is the only way for you to serve them effectively" (Raphael Brown, Franciscan Mystic, p. 126).

100? Pope St. Clement I a disciple of Sts Peter/Paul Marble-Workers Patron
Natális sancti Cleméntis Primi, Papæ et Mártyris, qui, tértius post beátum Petrum Apóstolum, Pontificátum ténuit, et, in persecutióne Trajáni, apud Chersonésum relegátus, ibi, alligáta ad ejus collum ánchora, præcipitátus in mare, martyrio coronátur.  Ipsíus autem corpus, Hadriáno Secúndo Summo Pontífice, a sanctis Cyríllo et Methódio frátribus Romam translátum, in Ecclésia quæ ejus nómine ántea fúerat exstrúcta, honorífice recónditum est.
    The birthday of Pope St. Clement, who held the sovereign pontificate the third after the blessed apostle Peter.  In the persecution of Trajan, he was banished to Chersonesus, where, being thrown into the sea with an anchor tied to his neck, he was crowned with martyrdom.  During the pontificate of Pope Adrian II, his body was translated to Rome by the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius, and buried with honour in the church that had already been built  and named for him.
THE third successor of St Peter—as he seems to have been—is believed also to have been a contemporary of SS. Peter and Paul; he “saw the blessed apostles and talked with them; their preaching was still in his ears and their tradition before his eyes”, wrote St Irenaeus during the second part of the
second century. Origen and others identified him with the Clement whom St Paul refers to as a fellow labourer (Phil. iv 3), an identity accepted in the proper of his Mass and Office, but it is doubtful.
 He was certainly not the same as the consul Clement, of the Flavii, put to death in the year 95, but may have been a freed-man of the imperial household, perhaps of Jewish descent. Particulars of his life we have none.

The entirely apocryphal acta of the fourth century state that, having converted a patrician named Theodora and her husband Sisinnius and four hundred and twenty-three others, and an outcry being raised against him among the people, he was banished by Trajan to the Crimea, where he had to work in the quarries. As the nearest drinking water was six miles away Clement miraculously found a nearer spring for the use of the numerous Christian captives, and preached among the people with such success that soon seventy-five churches were required. He was therefore thrown into the sea with an anchor tied round his neck, and angels came and built him a tomb beneath the waves, which once a year was revealed by a miraculous ebbing of the tide.

  “Under this Clement”, says St Irenaeus, “no small sedition took place among the brethren at Corinth, and the church of Rome sent a most sufficient letter to the Corinthians, establishing them in peace and renewing their faith, and announc­ing the tradition it had recently received from the apostles.”

    It is this letter that has made the name of Pope Clement I famous. It was so highly esteemed in the early Church that it took rank next to the canonical books of the Holy Scriptures (or even among them), and was with them read in the churches. A copy of it was found in the fifth-century manuscript copy of the Bible (Codex Alexandrinus) which Cyril Lukaris, Patriarch of Constantinople, sent to King James I, from which Patrick Young, the keeper of the king’s library, published it at Oxford in 1633.

  St Clement begins his letter by explaining that his delay in writing was due to the trials the Church was undergoing at Rome (Domitian’s persecution). He then reminds the Corinthians how edifying their behaviour was when they were all humble-minded, desiring rather to be subject than to govern, to give than to receive, content with the portion God had dispensed to them, listening diligently to His word. At that time they were sincere, without offence, not mindful of injuries, and all sedition and schism was an abomination to them. He laments that they had then forsaken the fear of the Lord and were fallen into pride, jealousy, and strife, and exhorts them to lay aside pride and anger, for Christ is theirs who are humble and not theirs who exalt themselves. The sceptre of the majesty of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, came not in the show of power, but with humility. He bids them look up to the order of the world, and think how it all obeys God’s will and the heavens, earth, ocean, and worlds beyond are governed by His commands. Considering how near God is to us and that none of our thoughts are hid from Him, we ought never to do anything contrary to His will, and should honour them who are set over us. Bishops and deacons had been instituted from a necessity of discipline and to them obedience is due. Disputes must arise and the just must suffer persecution, but a few Corinthians were disgracing their church. “Let every one”, he says, “be subject to another according to the order in which he is placed by the gift of God. Let not the strong man neglect the care of the weak let the weak see that he respect the strong. Let the rich man distribute to the necessity of the poor, and let the poor bless God who gives him one to supply his want. Let the wise man show forth his wisdom not in words but in works…They who are great cannot yet subsist without those that are little, nor the little without the great. In our body, the head without the feet is nothing, neither the feet without the head. And the smallest members of our body are useful and necessary to the whole.”
   Thus the saint teaches that the lowest in the Church may be the greatest before God, if they are more faithful in the discharge of their respective duties. He urges the Corinthians to send his two messengers “back to us again with all speed in peace and joy, that they may the sooner acquaint us with your peace and concord, so much prayed for and desired by us, that we may rejoice in your good order.”
   In the course of this letter occurs a well-known passage, which the great Anglican scholar Dr Lightfoot referred to as a “noble remonstrance”, but “the first step towards papal domination”. “If certain persons”, wrote Pope Clement, “should be disobedient to the words spoken by Him through us, let them understand that they will involve themselves in no trifling transgression and danger; but we shall be guiltless of this sin.”
   The letter is not only important for its beautiful passages, its evidence of Roman prestige and authority at the end of the first century, and its incidental historical allusions: it is “a model of a pastoral letter… a homily on Christian life”.
   There are other writings, now known as the “Pseudo-Clementines”, which were formerly wrongly attributed to this pope. One of them is another letter to the Corinthians and it also is included in the Alexandrine codex of the Bible.

St Clement is venerated as a martyr, but earliest references to him make no mention of this. Nor is the place of his death known. It may well have been in exile, even in the Crimea, but relics which St Cyril brought from thence to Rome towards the end of the ninth century are most unlikely to have been really those of Pope St Clement. They were deposited below the altar of San Clemente on the Coelian. Below this church and the fourth-century basilica on which it was built are the remains of rooms, of the imperial age, which de Rossi believed were those of the actual house of Pope Clement himself; but it is not known who was the Clement who gave his name to this church originally, the titulus dementia. The pope is named in the canon of the Mass and is accounted the first of those early writers who are called the Apostolic Fathers because they came under the direct or very close influence of the apostles of the Lord. He is the titular and patron saint of the Gild, Fraternity and Brotherhood of the Most Glorious and Undivided Trinity, of London, i.e. “Trinity House”.

The various references made to Pope St Clement in early Christian literature have nowhere perhaps been more painstakingly brought together than by J. B. Lightfoot, Anglican Bishop of Durham, in his Apostolic Fathers, pt i, vol. i, pp. 148—200. The more important, notably the De viris illustribus of St Jerome, the Liber Pontificalis, and the entries in sacra­mentaries and calendars are also cited in CMH., pp. 615—616. There is a passio, which exists both in Latin and Greek (the Latin, according to Franchi de’ Cavalieri and Delehaye, being the original), and it is from this that the legend (perpetuated in the lessons of the Roman Breviary) of the tomb beneath the sea with the anchor used to sink the body has been derived. See for the texts F. Diekamp, Patres apostolici, vol. ii (1913), pp. 50—81. The apocryphal literature known as the “Clementines”, existing in two forms, the “Homilies” and the “Recognitions”, did much to give prominence to the name of St Clement, but these of course add absolutely nothing to our knowledge from the point of view of either history or hagiography. The subject of St Clement has been much discussed of late years, most recently and very thoroughly by H. Delehaye in his Etude sur le légendier romain (1936), pp. 96—116. As in the case of St Cecilia, he draws attention to the development of the titulus Clementis into that of sancti Clementis. Consult also P. Franchi de’ Cavalieri, Note agiografiche, vol. v, pp. 3—40; I. Franko, St Klemens in Chersonesus (1906); J. P. Kirsch, Die römischen Titelkirchen (1918). The Greek text of Clement's letter to the Corinthians, with a translation by Kirsopp Lake, is in the Loeb Classical Library, The Apostolic Fathers (1930) and a new translation by J. A. Kleist in vol. i of the American Ancient Christian Writers series, The Epistles of St Clement…and St Ignatius...(l946).   

Little is known of this apostolic father beyond a few facts. He was a disciple of S. Peter, and perhaps of S. Paul. It is thought that the Clement whom St. Paul praises as a faithful fellow- worker, whose name is written in the Book of Life [Philippians 4:3], was Clement, afterwards bishop of Rome. But there is great difficulty in admitting this supposition. It is certain that Clement, the idol of the Petrine party in the Primitive Church, about whom their myths and traditions circled lovingly, was quite removed in feeling from the Pauline party.

   According to Tertullian, Clement succeeded St. Peter immediately in the episcopal government of the Church at Rome. But in the list of bishops given us by Irenaeus and Eusebius he occupies the third place after the apostle, that is, after Linus and Cletus (Anacletus). It is, however, probable that the Church at Rome had at first two successions, one Petrine, the other Pauline, but that they speedily merged into one; and this will account for the confusion in the lists of the first bishops of Rome. Clement probably was Petrine, and Cletus Pauline bishop, the former ruling the converted Jews, the latter the Gentile converts. We know nothing of the events of his pontificate, except that there was a schism at Corinth, which drew forth a letter from him which is preserved. S. Jerome and S. Irenaeus do not say that he died a martyr's death, but Rufinus and Zosimus give him the title of martyr; but this title by no means implies that he had died for the faith; it had anciently more extended signification than at present, and included all who had witnessed a good confession, and suffered in any way for their faith.

This is all that we know of S. Clement. But imagination has spun a web of romance about his person.

The Clementine Recognitions and Homilies are an early romance representing the disputation of St. Peter and Simon Magus; they have a story running through them to hold the long disquisitions together, of which St. Clement is the hero. It is, however, pure romance, with, perhaps, only this basis of truth in it, that Clement is represented as the devoted adherent and disciple of St. Peter. The Clementines are thoroughly anti-Pauline, as are also the Apostolic Constitutions, in which again St. Clement appears prominently.

The legend of the martyrdom of St. Clement relates that, in the reign of Trajan, when Mamertinus was prefect of the city, and Toractianus count of the offices, a sedition arose among the rabble of Rome against the Christians, and especially against Clement, bishop of Rome. Mamertinus interfered to put down the riot, and having arrested Clement, sent him to the emperor, who ordered his banishment to Pontus, where he was condemned to work in the marble quarries. He found many Christians among his fellow-convicts, and comforted and encouraged them. The only spring of drinking water was six miles off, and it was a great hardship to the convicts to have to fetch it all from such a distance. One day Clement saw a lamb scraping at the soil with one of its forefeet. He took it as a sign that water was there; dug, and found a spring.

As Clement succeeded in converting many pagans, he was sent to Aufidianus, the prefect, who ordered him to be drowned in the sea with an old anchor attached to his neck. His body was recovered by his disciple Phoebus. The relics of S. Clement were translated to Constantinople (860) by S. Cyril on his return from his mission to the Chazars, whilst engaged in the Chersonese on his Sclavonic translation of the Gospels. Some of the relics found their way to Rome, and were deposited in the church of San Clemente, where they are still reverently preserved. These consist of bones, some reddened earth, a broken vase containing some red matter, a little bottle similarly filled, and an inscription stating that these are the relics of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Scilita, and also of Flavius Clement.

In art S. Clement of Rome is represented as a Pope with an anchor at his side. [His death is placed at about 100 A.D.]
From The Lives of the Saints by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould, M.A., published in 1914 in Edinburgh.

Clement I, Pope M (RM)    "O God, make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace"    --Saint Clement.
    "The strong must make sure that they care for the weak. The rich must be certain to give enough to supply all the needs of the poor. The poor must thank God for supplying their needs . . . We all need each other: the great need the small, the small need the great. In our body, the head is useless without the feet and the feet without the head. The tiniest limbs of our body are useful and necessary to the whole" --St. Clement.

Details of Saint Clement's life are unknown. He may have been an ex-slave to the family of T. Flavius Clemens, the cousin of Emperor Domitian, and he may have been of Jewish descent. He is said to have been baptized by Saint Peter.

Clement was the third successor of Saint Peter (following Cletus) and governed the Church for about ten years (AD 88-97). Origen and others refer to him as the Clement whom Paul calls a fellow laborer (Phil. 4:3), but this is uncertain. Saint Irenaeus (c. 125-c. 203) says that Clement "had seen and consorted with the blessed apostles."

His acta state that, after converting a patrician named Theodora and her husband Sisinnius and 423 others, the people raised an opposition against him. He was banished by Emperor Trajan to the Crimea where he was made to work in the quarries. The nearest drinking water was six miles away, but Clement found a nearer spring for the use of the Christian captives. It is said that he preached so zealously among the prisoners working in the mines, that soon 75 churches were needed to serve the converts.

Unfortunately, his success drew further unwonted attention causing him to be condemned for his faith.
He was said to have been thrown into the Black Sea with an anchor tied around his neck, and that angels came and built him a tomb beneath the waves, which once a year became visible by a miraculous ebbing of the waves.

It was Clement's Epistle to the fractious Corinthians that made him so famous. "Under this Clement," says St. Irenaeus, "no small sedition took place among the brethren at Corinth, and the church of Rome sent a most sufficient letter to the Corinthians, establishing them in peace and renewing their faith, and announcing the tradition it had recently received from the apostles."

In the letter Clement wrote:    "Through jealousy and envy the greatest and most righteous pillars of the church were persecuted and contended unto death. Look to the heroic apostles: Peter through unrighteous jealousy endured not one or two, but many labors, and having thus borne witness went on to his true place of glory. Paul through jealousy and strife, displayed the prize of endurance: seven times in bonds, driven into exile, stoned, a herald for the faith in east and west...Associated with these great men of holy life is a great multitude of believers, suffering many tortures because of jealousy, some of them women who, though weak in body, completed the race of faith."

Clement's constant references to jealousy are to rebuke the church at Corinth, where hotheads had overthrown the lawful Christian leaders and unbelievers were mocking the Christian faith. Written in AD 95, the letter is even older than some parts of the New Testament. Using Old Testament stories he demonstrates the evil resulting from jealousy. He begs the Christians to show mutual tolerance and love and to respect those set in authority over them. He said that peace must be the aim of all who follow Jesus.

The letter is important not only for its eloquence, historical allusions, and its evidence of Roman prestige and authority at the end of the first century, but also as a model of the pastoral letter and a homily on Christian life. It established the instance of the bishop of Rome intervening authoritatively this early in the life of the Church as the pre-eminent authority in the affairs of another apostolic church to settle a dispute. It also provides evidence for the residence and martyrdom of Peter and Paul at Rome.

The letter was well-received by the Corinthians, who for many years used to have it read out in their religious assemblies. Another letter (really a sermon) and other writings bore Clement's name, but it is now known that they are not his. On the strength of the authentic letter to the Corinthians, Clement is accounted the first of the Apostolic Fathers.

Nothing of his martyrdom or place of death are known. His death may have occurred in exile in the Crimea, but the relics that Saint Cyril brought from there to Rome, after having supposedly miraculously recovered them piece by piece, with the anchor, are unlikely to have been his. These were deposited below the altar of San Clemente on the Coelian.

He is the patron saint of the Guild, Fraternity, and Brotherhood of the Most Glorious and Undivided Trinity of London, i.e., "Trinity House," which was formerly called St. Clement's, and is the authority responsible for lighthouses and lightships. The legend of his watery martyrdom has also led to such marine dedications as St. Clement's Isle in Mount's Bay (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).

In art, Saint Clement can be recognized as a pope with an anchor and fish. Sometimes there is an addition of (1) a millstone; (2) keys; (3) a fountain that sprung forth at his prayers; or (4) with a book. He might be shown lying in a temple in the sea (Roeder).
305 The Holy Martyr Sisinius, Bishop of Cyzicus participated in the First Ecumenical Council.
Cyzici, in Hellespónto, sancti Sisínii Mártyris, qui in persecutióne Diocletiáni Imperatóris, post multa torménta, gládio cæsus est.
    At Cyzicum, in the Hellespont, St. Sisinius, martyr, who after many torments was put to the sword in the persecution of Diocletian.
suffered for Christ during the reign of Diocletian (284-305) under Governor Alexander of Cyzicus. After many terrible torments the martyr was beheaded.
Eméritæ, in Hispánia, sanctæ Lucrétiæ, Vírginis et Mártyris; quæ in eádem persecutióne, sub Daciáno Præside, martyrium consummávit.
    At Merida in Spain, St. Lucretia, virgin and martyr, whose martyrdom was fulfilled in the same persecution, under the governor Dacian.
2nd v. St. Felicitas MARTYR; This woman feared not the sword, but perished with her sons. The earliest list of the Roman feasts of martyrs, known as the "Depositio Martyrum" and dating from the time of Pope Liberius, i.e. about the middle of the fourth century (Ruinart, Acta sincera, Ratisbon, p. 631), mentions seven martyrs whose feast was kept on 10 July. Their remains had been deposited in four different catacombs, viz. in three cemeteries on the Via Salaria and in one on the Via Appia. Two of the martyrs, Felix and Philip, reposed in the catacomb of Priscilla; Martial, Vitalis and Alexander, in the Coemeterium Jordanorum; Silanus (or Silvanus) in the catacomb of Maximus, and Januarius in that of Prætextatus.
Romæ sanctæ Felicitátis Mártyris, septem filiórum Mártyrum matris; quæ, post eos, jubénte Marco Antoníno Imperatóre, decolláta est pro Christo.
    At Rome, St. Felicitas, mother of seven martyred sons.  After them she was beheaded for Christ by order of Emperor Marcus Antoninus (

The earliest list of the Roman feasts of martyrs, known as the "Depositio Martyrum" and dating from the time of Pope Liberius, i.e. about the middle of the fourth century (Ruinart, Acta sincera, Ratisbon, p. 631), mentions seven martyrs whose feast was kept on 10 July. Their remains had been deposited in four different catacombs, viz. in three cemeteries on the Via Salaria and in one on the Via Appia. Two of the martyrs, Felix and Philip, reposed in the catacomb of Priscilla; Martial, Vitalis and Alexander, in the Coemeterium Jordanorum; Silanus (or Silvanus) in the catacomb of Maximus, and Januarius in that of Prætextatus. To the name of Silanus is added the statement that his body was stolen by the Novatians (hunc Silanum martyrem Novatiani furati sunt). In the Acts of these martyrs, that certainly existed in the sixth century, since Gregory the Great refers to them in his "Homiliæ super Evangelia" (Lib. I, hom. iii, in P.L., LXXVI, 1087), it is stated that all seven were sons of Felicitas, a noble Roman lady. According to these Acts Felicitas and her seven sons were imprisoned because of their Christian Faith, at the instigation of pagan priests, during the reign of Emperor Antoninus. Before the prefect Publius they adhered firmly to their religion, and were delivered over to four judges, who condemned them to various modes of death. The division of the martyrs among four judges corresponds to the four places of their burial. St. Felicitas herself was buried in the catacomb of Maximus on the Via Salaria, beside Silanus.

These Acts were regarded as genuine by Ruinart (op. cit., 72-74), and even distinguished modern archæologists have considered them, though not in their present form corresponding entirely to the original, yet in substance based on genuine contemporary records. Recent investigations of Führer, however (see below), have shown this opinion to be hardly tenable. The earliest recension of these Acts, edited by Ruinart, does not antedate the sixth century, and appears to be based not on a Roman, but on a Greek original. Moreover, apart from the present form of the Acts, various details have been called in question. Thus, if Felicitas were really the mother of the seven martyrs honoured on 10 July, it is strange that her name does not appear in the well-known fourth-century Roman calendar. Her feast is first mentioned in the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum", but on a different day (23 Nov.). It is, however, historically certain that she, as well as the seven martyrs called her sons in the Acts suffered for the Christian Faith. From a very early date her feast was solemnly celebrated in the Roman Church on 23 November, for on that day Gregory the Great delivered a homily in the basilica that rose above her tomb. Her body then rested in the catacomb of Maximus; in that cemetery on the Via Salaria all Roman itineraries, or guides to the burial-places of martyrs, locate her burial-place, specifying that her tomb was in a church above this catacomb (De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, I, 176-77), and that the body of her son Silanus was also there. The crypt where Felicitas was laid to rest was later enlarged into a subterranean chapel, and was rediscovered in 1885. A seventh-century fresco is yet visible on the rear wall of this chapel, representing in a group Felicitas and her seven sons, and overhead the figure of Christ bestowing upon them the eternal crown.

Certain historical references to St. Felicitas and her sons antedate the aforesaid Acts, e.g. a fifth-century sermon of St. Peter Chrysologus (Sermo cxxxiv, in P.L., LII, 565) and a metrical epitaph either written by Pope Damasus (d. 384) or composed shortly after his time and suggested by his poem in praise of the martyr:

Discite quid meriti præstet pro rege feriri; Femina non timuit gladium, cum natis obivit, Confessa Christum meruit per sæcula nomen. [Learn how meritorious it is to die for the King (Christ). This woman feared not the sword, but perished with her sons. She confessed Christ and merited an eternal renown.--Ihm, Damasi Epigrammata (Leipzig, 1895), p. 45.] We possess, therefore, confirmation for an ancient Roman tradition, independent of the Acts, to the effect that the Felicitas who reposed in the catacomb of Maximus, and whose feast the Roman Church commemorated 23 Nov., suffered martyrdom with her sons; it does not record, however, any details concerning these sons. It may be recalled that the tomb of St. Silanus, one of the seven martyrs (10 July), adjoined that of St. Felicitas and was likewise honoured; it is quite possible, therefore, that tradition soon identified the sons of St. Felicitas with the seven martyrs, and that this formed the basis for the extant Acts. The tomb of St. Januarius in the catacomb of Prætextatus belongs to the end of the second century, to which period, therefore, the martyrdoms must belong, probably under Marcus Aurelius. If St. Felicitas did not suffer martyrdom on the same occasion we have no means of determining the time of her death. In an ancient Roman edifice near the ruins of the Baths of Titus there stood in early medieval times a chapel in honour of St. Felicitas. A faded painting in this chapel represents her with her sons just as in the above-mentioned fresco in her crypt. Her feast is celebrated 23 Nov.
325 Sisinius of Cyzicus present at the Council of Nicaea B (RM)
Bishop Sisinius of Cyzicus was a confessor of the faith under Diocletian. He was dragged by wild horses, but survived and was present at the Council of Nicaea (Benedictines).

343 St. Paternian bishop of Fano, Italy
A little known bishop of Fano, Italy. It is believed that he was able to escape the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian in the early fourth century by fleeing into the mountains.

360 Holy Martyr Theodore of Antioch 15-year-old  condemned to fierce torments Because he was responsible for the translation of the relics of St Babylas (September 4) from Daphne to Antioch
by the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Because he was responsible for the translation of the relics of St Babylas (September 4) from Daphne to Antioch, he was arrested and tortured. The executioners were dismayed that the saint could rejoice during the torture, and didn't seem to feel any pain. They reported this miracle to the emperor, and he gave orders to release the saint.

St Theodore later said that when they were tormenting him, an angel appeared and relieved his suffering. When the angel left after the torture, the saint began to feel the pain. The holy Martyr Theodore lived to old age and peacefully fell asleep in the Lord.

394 Saint Amphilochius Bishop of Iconium cousin to St Gregory the Theologian close friend of St Basil the Great their disciple follower and of like mind with them
Icónii, in Lycaónia, sancti Amphilóchii Epíscopi, qui, sanctórum Basilíi et Gregórii Nazianzéni in erémo sócius et in Episcopátu colléga, tandem, post multa quæ suscépit pro cathólica fide certámina, sanctitáte et doctrína clarus, quiévit in pace.
    At Iconium in Lycaonia, the holy bishop Amphilochius, who was the companion of St. Basil and St. Gregory Nazianzen in the desert, and their colleague in the episcopate.  After enduring many trials for the Catholic faith, he rested in peace, renowned for holiness and learning.
born in Caesarea in Cappadocia, a city given the world some of the greatest Fathers and teachers of the Orthodox Church. He was a first cousin to St Gregory the Theologian, and a close friend of St Basil the Great. He was their disciple, follower and of like mind with them.

400 St Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium
This saint was an intimate friend of St Gregory Nazianzen (his cousin) and of St Basil, though rather younger than they were, and their letters to him are the principal source of information about his life. He was a native of Cappadocia and in his earlier years was a rhetor at Constantinople, where he seems to have got into money difficulties. He was still young when he withdrew to a life of retirement at a place not far from Nazianzus, where also he took care of his aged father.
  St Gregory supplied his friend with corn in return for vegetables from his garden, and in a letter complains playfully that he gets the worst of the bargain.
In 374, when he was only 35, Amphilochius was appointed bishop of Iconium. He accepted the office very reluctantly, and his old father complained to St Gregory at being deprived of his son’s care; in his reply Gregory disclaims responsibility and says that he too will suffer by the loss of the company of Amphilochius.
St Basil, who probably was ultimately responsible for the episcopal appointment, wrote to compliment the new bishop, exhorting him never to be drawn into connivance at what is evil because it is become fashionable or precedented by the example of others: he must guide others, not be led by them. Immediately after his consecration St Amphilochius paid a visit to St Basil at Caesarea, and preached before the people, who relished his sermons more than those of any stranger they had heard. Amphilochius often consulted St Basil upon difficult points of doctrine and discipline, and it was in response to his friend’s request that Basil wrote his treatise on the Holy Ghost. Amphilochius delivered the panegyric at the funeral of St Basil.

St Amphilochius held  council at Iconium against Macedonian heretics, who denied divinity of the Holy Ghost, and assisted at the general council of Constantinople against the same heretics in 381, when he met St Jerome, to whom he read his own work on the Holy Ghost.
Amphilochius petitioned the Emperor Theodosius I that he forbid Arians to hold their assemblies, which the emperor judged too rigorous and refused to do.

Amphilochius came some time after to the palace and, seeing Arcadius, the emperor’s son (already proclaimed emperor), close by his father, saluted the father but took no notice of the son; and when Theodosius pointed out this omission, he simply greeted the boy and patted his cheek. Theodosius lost his temper, whereupon the bishop said to him, “You cannot bear a slight to your son. How, then, can you suffer those who dishonour the Son of God?” The emperor, struck by his reply, soon made a law whereby he forbade Arian heretics to hold their meetings, whether publicly or in private.
St Amphilochius also zealously opposed the rising heresy of the Messalians, an illuminist and Manichean sect which put the essence of religion in prayer alone; against these he presided over a synod held at Sida in Pamphylia. St Gregory Nazianzen calls St Amphilochius a bishop without reproach, an angel and herald of truth, and his father averred that he healed the sick by his prayers.

St Amphilochius is fairly well known to us from the references in contemporary Christian literature, and there are two short Greek biographies, printed in Migne, PG., vol. xxxix, pp. 13—26, and vol. cxvi, pp. 956—970. The collection of the surviving fragments of his writings in Migne is not complete. Other supplementary matter has been printed by K. Holl, Amphilochius von Ikonium (1904), and by G. Ficker, Amphilochiana (1906). See also Bardenhewer, Altkirchliche Literatur, vol. iii, pp. 220-228; DHG., vol. ii, pp. 1346-1348; and DHG., vol. i, pp. 103—107.

St Amphilochius toiled hard in the field of Christ. He lived in the wilderness as a strict ascetic for about forty years, until the time when the Lord summoned him for hierarchic service. In the year 372 the Bishop of Iconium died. Angels of the Lord thrice appeared in visions to St Amphilochius, summoning him to go to Iconium to be the bishop. The truthfulness of these visions was proven when the angel, appearing to him the third time, sang together with the saint the angelic song: "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth." The heavenly messenger led the saint to the nearest church, where an assembly of angels consecrated Amphilochius bishop.
The saint, on the way back to his cell, encountered seven bishops who were seeking him at the command of God, in order to establish him as archpastor of Iconium. St Amphilochius told them that he was already consecrated by the angels.

   For many years St Amphilochius tended the flock of Iconium entrusted to him by the Lord. The prayer of the righteous one was so intense that he was able to ask the Lord to heal the spiritual and bodily infirmities of his flock. The wise archpastor, gifted as writer and preacher, unceasingly taught piety to his flock. A strict Orthodox theologian, the saint relentlessly confronted the Arian and Eunomian heresies. He participated in the Second Ecumenical Council (381), and he headed the struggle against the heresy of Macedonius. Letters and treatises of St Amphilochius are preserved, which are profoundly dogmatic and apologetic in content. The holy Bishop Amphilochius of Iconium departed peacefully to the Lord in the year 394.

392 Amphilochius of Iconium counteract Arianism opposed the Macedonian heretics Arian heresy  presided synod of Sidon condemned the Messalians B (RM)
Amphilochius was a fellow student of Saint Basil under Libanius. He became a successful lawyer at Constantinople, a hermit, and finally one of the group of Cappadocian bishops, appointed by Saint Basil to the see of Iconium to counteract Arianism in Cappadocia. Amphilochius opposed the Macedonian heretics, against whom he wrote a work on the Holy Spirit that was highly commended by Saint Jerome. He presided at the synod of Sidon, which condemned the Messalians, who asserted that prayer is the only means of salvation (Benedictines).

400 Bishop and companion of Sts. Gregory Nazianzus and Basil
  Born in Cappadocia he studied in Constantinople, now Istanbul. His cousin was St. Gregory of Naziaiutus, and Amphilocus retired to Nazianzus after teaching the care of aged patients. In 374, he was named bishop of Iconium, where he proved a formidable opponent of the Arian heresy. He attended the Council of Constantinople in 381 and advised Emperor Theodosius I to keep Arians from attending. He also fought the heresy of the Messalians. His letters to Sts. Gregory and Basil are still extant.

Clement of Metz s sent from Rome to evangelize that district of Roman Gaul B (AC)
Clement, first bishop of Metz, was sent from Rome to evangelize that district of Roman Gaul (Benedictines).

594 St. Gregory of Agrigentum an angel of the Lord appeared to the holy youth miraculous healings of the sick
Agrigénti deposítio sancti Gregórii Epíscopi.
    At Girgenti, the death of St. Gregory, bishop.

According to an unreliable life purporting to be written soon after his death by Leontius, a monk of St Sabas at Rome, this Gregory was born near Girgenti (Agrigentum) in Sicily, and brought up under the eye of St Potamion, bishop of that place. He went on a pilgrimage to Palestine, where he spent four years studying in different monasteries and was ordained deacon at Jerusalem. He then went to Antioch and Constantinople, where, says Nicephorus Callistus, he was looked upon as one of the most holy and wisest men of the age. Ultimately he came to Rome, and was appointed to the see of Girgenti; but almost immediately his zeal for discipline gave offence and he was the victim of a scurvy plot. A woman of bad character was secretly introduced into his house, duly “discovered”, and the bishop denounced. He was summoned to Rome, where he soon cleared himself and was sent back to his see.

St Gregory is usually identified with the Gregorius Agrigentinus to whom allusions are made in letters written by Pope St Gregory the Great, but the chronology of the life of St Gregory of Girgenti has been the subject of considerable discussion. He is now best remembered as the author of a commentary in Greek on the book of Ecclesiastes. He is named in the Roman Martyrology and his feast is kept in Greek churches of the Byzantine rite, to which he belonged.

A long Greek life by one Leontius is printed in Migne, PG., vol. xcviii, cc. 549—716, and there is another in PG., vol. cxvi, cc. 190-269. See further DCB., vol. ii, pp. 776—777; Bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchilchen Literatur, vol. v, pp. 105—107; and L. T. White in the American Historical Review, vol. xlii (1936), pp. 1-21. 

Gregory was born in the sixth century AD near the town of Agrigentum, in Sicily. He was ordained a deacon while on Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and was later consecrated bishop of Agrigentum in Rome, serving during the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great, who addressed several letters to him.  He is regarded as one of the Early Church Fathers.

Saint Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum, was born on the island of Sicily, in the village of Pretorium, not far from the city of Agrigentum, of the pious parents Chariton and Theodota. The infant Gregory was baptized by the bishop of Agrigentum, Pataimonus. At ten years of age the studious boy mastered writing and was able to read, and to sing church hymns. At twelve years of age St Gregory was given to the clergy, and he was put under the spiritual guidance of the archdeacon Donatus. St Gregory spent the next ten years in the Agrigentum church. Then, however, an angel of the Lord appeared to the holy youth, who had a fervent desire to visit Jerusalem, and said that God had blessed his intention.

  At Jerusalem St Gregory was presented to Patriarch Macarius (563-574), who retained the pious youth for service in his own cathedral church, ordaining him deacon. The soul of St Gregory thirsted for monastic labors, and the Patriarch gave his blessing, allowing him go to a monastery on the Mount of Olives. After a year St Gregory departed this monastery for a desert Elder, who for four years taught him spiritual wisdom, humility and the principles of monastic life. The ascetic, foreseeing in St Gregory a future great luminary of the Church, gave him a blessing to forsake the solitary life.
  Having left the Elder, St Gregory dwelt for a certain time at Jerusalem, and then went to Constantinople, where he was received with love by the brethren of the monastery of the holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus. The ascetic efforts of St Gregory were noticed by Patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople (552-565), at whose insistence the saint participated in the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553).
At the completion of the Council St Gregory set off for Rome, to venerate the graves of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
During this time the bishop of Agrigentum died. The elder clergy and illustrious citizens of Agrigentum journeyed to Rome with a request for the Pope to determine a successor for their late hierarch from among a list of candidates they were presenting. The Pope, however, declined their proposal through divine inspiration, and instead summoned St Gregory to serve them as bishop.

For a few years St Gregory peacefully guided the flock entrusted to him by God. He was a defender of the down-trodden, a wise preacher, and miraculous healer. As archbishop, St Gregory led the life of an ascetic monk, fervently observing monastic vows. The flock loved their hierarch and trusted in him. But there were also malicious people who had resolved to slander him.

While St Gregory was in church, these vicious people secretly led a bribed harlot into his chambers, and then in front of the crowd which accompanied the bishop to the doors of his house after services, they led her out and accused St Gregory of the deadly sin of fornication. They placed the holy bishop under guard. The people attempted to defend their bishop, but were unsuccessful. At the trial the harlot gave false testimony against St Gregory. Just as she pronounced the words of slander, she went into a fit of frenzied rage. The judges accused the saint of sorcery. St Gregory was sent for judgment to the Roman bishop together with a report about his "crimes."

The Pope, after reading the charges, did not want to see the accused, and gave orders to remand him to prison. The saint endured his humiliation humbly, dwelling in constant prayer. His prayerful effort and wonderworking gifts quickly became known through the city and the surrounding region. Pious Romans began to gather at the prison, whom the imprisoned saint taught about the righteous life, and he implored the Lord to heal the sick.

After two years, a clairvoyant Elder named Mark, who had known St Gregory since youth, came to the Pope. The Elder did not believe the charges and he persuaded the Pope to convene a Council to decide Gregory's case. At the invitation of the Pope, many clergy from the city of Agrigentum came to the Council, together with all those making accusations against the saint, including the harlot. From Constantinople three bishops and the imperial dignitary Marcian came to Rome. Along the way Marcian had fallen grievously ill. On the advice of many people who had received healing through the prayers of St Gregory, servants carried the dying man to the prison where the wonderworking saint languished. Through the prayers of St Gregory the Lord granted healing to Marcian.

At the Council the slanderers attempted to renew their accusations, and as their chief proof they presented the deranged harlot to the judge, declaring that Gregory had bewitched her. But the saint prayed over her and cast out the devil. The woman came to her senses and told the Council the whole truth. The slanderers were brought to shame and judged. Marcian even wanted to execute them, but St Gregory implored forgiveness for them.
St Gregory returned in honor to his own cathedral, and surrounded by the love of his flock,
he guided the Church until his own peaceful demise.

594 Saint Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum an angel of the Lord appeared to the holy youth the saint participated in the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553) miracle healer of the sick
born on the island of Sicily, in the village of Pretorium, not far from the city of Agrigentum, of the pious parents Chariton and Theodota. The infant Gregory was baptized by the bishop of Agrigentum, Pataimonus. At ten years of age the studious boy mastered writing and was able to read, and to sing church hymns. At twelve years of age St Gregory was given to the clergy, and he was put under the spiritual guidance of the archdeacon Donatus. St Gregory spent the next ten years in the Agrigentum church. Then, however, an angel of the Lord appeared to the holy youth, who had a fervent desire to visit Jerusalem, and said that God had blessed his intention.

At Jerusalem St Gregory was presented to Patriarch Macarius (563-574), who retained the pious youth for service in his own cathedral church, ordaining him deacon. The soul of St Gregory thirsted for monastic labors, and the Patriarch gave his blessing, allowing him go to a monastery on the Mount of Olives. After a year St Gregory departed this monastery for a desert Elder, who for four years taught him spiritual wisdom, humility and the principles of monastic life. The ascetic, foreseeing in St Gregory a future great luminary of the Church, gave him a blessing to forsake the solitary life.

Having left the Elder, St Gregory dwelt for a certain time at Jerusalem, and then went to Constantinople, where he was received with love by the brethren of the monastery of the holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus. The ascetic efforts of St Gregory were noticed by Patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople (552-565), at whose insistence the saint participated in the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). At the completion of the Council St Gregory set off for Rome, to venerate the graves of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

During this time the bishop of Agrigentum died. The elder clergy and illustrious citizens of Agrigentum journeyed to Rome with a request for the Pope to determine a successor for their late hierarch from among a list of candidates they were presenting. The Pope, however, declined their proposal through divine inspiration, and instead summoned St Gregory to serve them as bishop.

He died around the 594, and is regarded as one of the Early Church Fathers.
6th v. St. Paulhen Welsh abbot remarkable pupils were Sts.David and Teilo
 also known as Paulinus, Polin, and Pewlin. A student of St.Illtyd, Paulhen probably founded the monastery of Whitland. Among his most remarkable pupils were Sts.David and Teilo.
615 St. Columbanus of Luxeuil benefits of trusting obedience to God and those who are placed in authority over us OSB Abbot (RM) St. Columba

615 St Columban, Abbot of Luxeuil and Bobbio
The date of the birth of the greatest of the Irish missionary-monks on the continent of Europe must have been very near the year, which saw the death of St Benedict, that patriarch of Western monks whose rule all monasteries of St Columban eventually adopted.
   Columban was born in west Leinster and had a good education, which was interrupted when he was a young man by a sharp struggle with the insurgent flesh. Certain lascivae puellae, as his biographer Jonas calls them, made advances to him, and Columban was grievously tempted to yield. In his distress he asked the advice of a religious woman who had lived solitary from the world for years, and she told him to flee the temptation even to the extent of leaving the land of his birth: “You think you can freely avoid women. Do you remember Eve coaxing and Adam yielding? Samson made weak by Dalila? David lured from his former righteousness by the beauty of Bathsheba? The wise Solomon deceived by love of women? Go away, turn from the river into which so many have fallen.”
   Columban heard her words as more than just sensible counsel to a youth distracted by an ordinary trial of adolescence; it was to him a call to renounce the world, definitely to choose the cloistered rather than secular life. He left his mother, grievously against her will, and fled to Sinell, a monk who lived on Cluain Inis, an
island in Lough Erne, and from thence in time he went on to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor, opposite Carrickfergus on Belfast Lough. How long he lived here is not known; Jonas speaks of many years , and he was probably about forty-five when he obtained St Comgall’s permission to leave the monastery and adventure in foreign lands. With twelve companions Columban passed over into Gaul, where barbarian invasions, civil strife and clerical slackness had reduced religion to a low ebb.

The Irish monks at once set about preaching to the people by showing an example of charity, penance and devotion, and their reputation reached the king of Burgundy, Guntramnus, who c. 590 offered St Columban ground for building at Annegray in the mountains of the Vosges, which became his first monastery.

His biographer relates several incidents reminiscent of others in the life of St Francis of Assisi, which took place here. This house soon became too small to contain the numbers that desired to live under the discipline of the saint. He therefore built a second monastery called Luxeuil, not far from the former, and a third, which on account of its springs was called Fontes, now Fontaine. These, with Bobbio later, were the foundations of Columban himself. His followers established numerous monasteries in France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, centres of religion and industry in Europe throughout the dark ages.

    St Columban lays down for the foundation of his rule the love of God and of our neighbour, as a general precept upon which the superstructure of all the rest is raised. He appointed that monks shall eat only the simplest food, which is to be proportioned in amount to their labour. He will have them eat every day that they may be able to perform all duties; and he prescribes the time to be spent in prayer, reading and manual labour. St Columban says that he received these rules from his fathers, that is, the monks of Ireland. He mentions the obligation of every one’s praying privately in his own cell, and adds that the essential parts are prayer of the heart and the continual application of the mind to God. After the rule follows a penitential, containing prescriptions of penances to be imposed upon monks for every fault, however light. It is in the harshness of its discipline, characteristic of much Celtic Christianity, the imposition of fasts on bread and water, and beatings, for the smallest transgressions, and the great length of the Divine Office (there was a maximum of seventy-five psalms a day in winter), that the Rule of St Columban most obviously differs from that of St Benedict. In austerity the Celtic monks rivalled those of the East.

After the Columban monks had pursued their strenuous life in peace for twelve years a hostility manifested itself among the Frankish bishops, and St Columban was summoned before a synod to give an account of his Celtic usages (computation of Easter, etc.). He refused to go, “lest he might contend in words”, but addressed a letter to the assembly in which he, “a poor stranger in these parts for the cause of Christ”, asks humbly to be left in peace, but also more than hints that there are more important matters than the date of Easter which they ought to attend to.

As bishops pressed, him he appealed to the Holy See, and addressed letters to two popes in which he protests the orthodoxy of himself and his monks, explains the Irish customs, and asks that they be confirmed.* {* In the first letter, to Pope St Gregory the Great, Columban, referring to the directions of Pope St Leo I quoted by his opponents, makes a famous pun “Is not a live dog [i.e. Gregory] better than a dead lion [Leo] ?”}

He writes freely and respectfully apologizes for seeming to argue with the Supreme Pontiff, and says, “Forgive, I beseech you, 0 blessed Pope, my boldness in writing so pre­sumptuously. I beg that you will, once at least in your holy prayers to our common Lord, pray for me, a most unworthy sinner.”
  But soon Columban was involved in worse trouble. King Theodoric II of Burgundy had respect for St Columban and the abbot reproved him for keeping concubines instead of marrying a queen. His grandmother, Queen Brunhilda, who had been regent, fearing lest a queen should ruin her power, was much provoked against Columban. Her resentment was increased by his refusing to bless at her request the king’s four natural children, saying, “They shall not inherit the kingdom; they are a bad breed!” St Columban also denied her entrance into his monastery, as he did to all women and even to lay men, and this, being contrary to Frankish custom, Brunhilda made a pretext for stirring up Theodoric against Columban. The upshot was that he was in 610 ordered deported to Ireland, with all his Irish brethren but none others: there may probably be seen the hidden influence of Frankish court bishops behind all this.

     At Nantes he wrote a famous letter to the monks left at Luxeuil, of which Montalembert says it contains “some of the finest and grandest words which the Christian genius has ever produced”, and then em­barked.  But the ship at once met bad weather and ran aground, and the next we hear of Columban is that he made his way through Paris and Meaux to the court of Theodebert II of Austrasia at Metz, by whom he was well received. Under his protection he went with some of his disciples to preach to the infidels near the lake of Zurich, but the zeal of the missionaries was not well received and they went on to the neighbourhood of Lake Constance, to a fruitful pleasant valley amidst the mountains (now Bregenz), where they found an abandoned oratory dedicated in honour of St Aurelia, near which they built themselves cells. 

 But here too the vigorous methods of some of the missionaries (especially of St Gall) provoked people against them, and danger arose as well from another quarter. Austrasia and Burgundy were at war, and Theodebert, being defeated, was delivered up by his own men and sent by his brother Theoderic to their grandmother Brunhilda.

St Columban, seeing his enemy was master of the country where he lived and that he could no longer remain there with safety, went across the Alps (he was about seventy by now) and came to Milan, where he met with a kind reception from the Arian Agilulf, King of the Lombards, and his wife Theodelinda. He at once began to oppose Arians, against whom he wrote a treatise, and became involved in the affair of the Three Chapters (writings which were con­demned by the fifth general council at Constantinople as favouring Nestorianism).

Bishops of Istria and some of Lombardy defended these writings with such warmth as to break off communion with the pope, and the king and queen induced St Columban to write very outspokenly to Pope St Boniface IV in defence of them, urging him to take steps that orthodoxy might prevail. The subject at issue was one upon which St Columban was badly informed indeed; on the other hand, he makes clear his burning desire for unity in the faith and his own intense devotion to the Holy See and belief that “the pillar of the Church is always at Rome”. “All we Irish”, he says, “living in the furthest parts of the earth are followers of St Peter and St Paul and of the disciples who wrote the sacred canon under the Holy Ghost. We accept nothing outside this evangelical, and apostolic teaching…I confess that I am grieved by the bad repute of the chair of St Peter in this Country...We are, as I have said, bound to the chair of St Peter. For, though Rome is great and known afar, she is great and honoured with us only because of this chair.”

  Realizing that he has spoken very boldly, not hesitating to refer to Pope Vigilius as a “cause of scandal”, he writes in the same letter: “If in this or any other letter…you find any expressions as of excessive zeal, put them down to my indiscretion, not to self-sufficiency…Look after the peace of the Church…use the calls and the familiar voice of the true shepherd, and stand between your sheep and the wolves”; and he refers to the pope as “pastor of pastors”, “leader of the leaders”, and “the only hope, mighty through the honour of Peter the Apostle”.

 Agilulf gave to Columban a ruined church and some land at Ebovium (Bobbio), in a valley of the Apennines between Genoa and Piacenza, and here he began the establishment of the abbey of St Peter. In spite of his age he himself was active in the work of building, but for the rest Columban now wanted only retirement to prepare for death. When he had visited King Clotaire II of Neustria on his way back from Nantes he had prophesied the fall of Theoderic within three years. This had been verified:  Theoderic was dead, old Brunhilda brutally murdered, and Clotaire was master of Austrasia and Burgundy as well. He remembered the prophecy of St Columban, and invited him to come back to France. He would not go, but asked the king to look kindly on the monks of Luxeuil. Soon after, on November 23 in 615, St Columban died.

Alban Butler, writing in the middle of the eighteenth century, could say that “Luxeuil is still in a flourishing condition”, as a monastery of the Benedictine congregation of Saint-Vanne.  But within fifty years the French Revolution brought to an end its long, chequered and glorious history. Bobbio, whose library was one of the greatest of the middle ages, declined from the fifteenth century, and was finally suppressed by the French in 1803; the library had begun to be dispersed nearly three hundred years before. But the feast of St Columban is still observed in the small diocese of Bobbio, he is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on November 21, on which day the Benedictines commemorate him, and his feast is kept throughout Ireland on the 23rd, while numerous traces of his former wide cultus exist in northern Italy.

A life, written very soon after the saint’s death by Jonas, who was a monk of Bobbio, supplies the greater part of the information we possess concerning Columban. It has been critically edited by B. Krusch in MGHI., Scriptores Merov., vol. iv, pp. 1-156. A good deal has been written about St Columban of late years, much of which will be found indicated in the excellent notice devoted to the saint by Dom Gougaud in Les Saints irlandais hors d’Irlande (1936), pp. 51-62, or in his Christianity in Celtic Lands (1932). See also E. Martin, St Columban (1905); G. Metlake, The Life and Writings of St Columban (1914) H. Concannon, Life of St Columban (1915); J. J. Laux, Der hl. Kolumban (1919) ; J. F. Kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland, vol. I (1929), pp. 186—191; M. Stokes, Six Months in the Appenines… (1892); J. M. Clauss, Die Heiligen des Elsasses (1935) A. M. Tommasini, Irish Saints in Italy (1937) L. Gougaud, “Le culte de St Colomban” in the Revue Mabillon, vol. xxv (1935), pp. 169—178; and M. M. Dubois, St Colomban (1950). The pertinent section of Montalembert’s Monks of the West was reprinted separately in America in 1928. The letters of Columban should be read in the text provided by the MGH., Epistolae, vol. iii, pp. 154-190. The Penitential ascribed to him is of doubtful authenticity, but his Rule for monks seems authentic and has been widely discussed. The text is in Migne, PL., vol. lxxx, cc. 209 seq., or better in the Zeitschrift. Kirchengeschichte for 1895 and 1897; and a translation of the Penitential in McNeill and Gaymer, Medieval Handbooks of Penance (1938). He has also been credited with a commentary on the psalms, but this is certainly not his:  see Dom Morin in the Revue Bénédictine, vol. xxxviii (1926), pp. 164—177. It is curious that no notice of St Columban appears in the Félire of Oengus, despite a mention in the Hieronymianum. The very difficult chronology of this saint’s life has been investigated anew by Fr P. Grosjean in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxiv (1946), pp. 200-215. 

Born in West Leinster, Ireland, 530-543; died November 23, 615; feast day formerly November 21.
The life of St. Columbanus teaches the benefits of trusting obedience to God and those who are placed in authority over us. Whenever events turned seemingly bad, they led Columbanus to a new adventure, to doing even greater work for the Kingdom of God. When God closes one door, He always opens another--even closer to His inner sanctum--if we obediently follow where He leads us.

There are few extant manuscripts about the life of Columbanus, but the Abbot Jonas wrote his biography about 30 years after the saint's death. While the current view of Columbanus is one of a stern man who hurled anathemas and often flew into a rage (for example, felling a 50-year-old tree with a single blow), his biographer shows a gentle, devout, rigorous, yet soft-spoken man. If Columbanus blazed with the strength of God, he also shone with the love of Christ.

The good abbot Jonas tells us that St. Columbanus was born of a noble Leinster family and received a classical education at Clonard, the great mother-school of Ireland, which Saint Finnian had founded with a rare Gaelic blending of sanctity and scholarship.

Jonas reports that Columbanus was handsome of appearance with a fair complexion, and soon crossed swords with the devil in the form of lascivae puellae, wanton girls. Somewhere about this time the king of Cualann sent his daughter to St. Finnian at Clonard to read her Psalter in Latin. It would hardly be unreasonable to say that Clonard housed some girl students under conditions akin to modern universities.

Jonas writes of this time:  Whilst he was turning these things over within him he came to the cell of a religious woman dedicated to God. After having greeted her with lowly voice, he made as bold as he could to seek her counsel with the forwardness of youth.
    When she saw him in the budding strength of youth, she said: "I, going forward with all my strength, began the battle. For 12 years I have had no home. Since I sought this place of exile--Christ being my leader--I have never followed the world; having set my hand to the plough I have never looked back. Had I not been of the weaker sex I would have crossed the seas and sought an even more hidden place of pilgrimage.
    "You are aflame with the fires of youth, yet you dwell in the land of your birth. You lend your ear willy nilly to weak voices, your own weakness bending you. Yet you think you can freely avoid women. Do you remember Eve coaxing, Adam yielding, Samson weakened by Delilah, David lured from his old righteousness by Bethsheba's beauty, Solomon the Wise deceived by the love of women?
    "Go," she said, "go, child, and turn aside from the ruin into which so many have fallen. Leave the path that leads to the gates of hell." Frightened by these words and--beyond what you would believe of an invincible youth--terror-stricken, he returns thanks to his chastener, and bidding farewell to his companions he sets out. His mother beseeches him not to leave her. . . . Casting herself on the ground she refuses him leave to go. But he crossing the threshold and his mother, implores her not to be broken with grief, saying that she shall see him no more in this life, but that whither soever lies the path of holiness, there will he go.

Columbanus did as he later wrote in his On Mortification regarding seeking and obeying counsel: "Nothing is sweeter than calm of conscience, nothing safer than purity of soul, which yet no one can bestow on himself because it is properly the gift of another."

  For a time Columbanus withdrew from the battle living with another holy man, Sinnel, on Cluain Inis, one of the hundred islands of Lough Erne. The counsel of the holy woman did not mean that he should decline battle with his enemy, but that he should decline to do so on the enemy's own battle field. Like his Master, he accepted battle on the field chosen for him by the Spirit of God.
During his time on the island he became so well-versed in Sacred Scripture that he wrote a commentary on the Psalms.
On a nearby island Saint Comgall was preparing for his life's work by living as an anchorite. He and Columbanus may have met while living as hermits, for once Comgall began the monastery at Bangor on the southern shores of Belfast Lough, we soon find Columbanus in a wattle-hut there--one of the first monks of Bangor.

After many years at Bangor the Holy Spirit prompted Columbanus to become a missionary. Still mistrustful of interpreting the movement of the Spirit within him, Columbanus sought Comgall's permission and was refused until Comgall recognized in Columbanus's obedience the mark of a divine call.

Around 580-585 (about age 45), emulating Jesus and the Apostles, he left Ireland with a band of twelve monks and worked in Wales, where he collected more monks to go with them. Saint Gall, who evangelized the Swiss and founded a famous monastery, was one of his disciples who accompanied him. (One source says that they preached in England.)

Upon arriving in Gaul, the Irish monks preached to the people both in words and deeds of charity, penance, and devotion. Their reputation so impressed the Burgundian King Guntramnus (Gontran; a grandson of Clovis) that, about 590, he offered Columbanus ground for their first place of exile at Annegray in the mountains of the Vosges. It provided Columbanus the two things he desired most: quiet contemplation of God and work among souls. The dark mountain forests with their darker caves gave him constant isolation from the world which God's love was teaching him to fly. The simple, untaught pagans of these forests needed his teaching of the faith.

For some time the monks dwelt in a ruined castle-hamlet at Annegray in Haute-Saone, content to bivouac among the ruins. Columbanus had soon collected such a vast number of disciples that a new home had to be sought some miles distant at Luxeuil. There, built from the stones of a ruined Roman bath and temple, stands a monastery that has made Luxeuil famous not only in France but throughout the Church. Columbanus governed Luxeuil for 25 happy years.

Abbot Jonas records here that Columbanus and the community prayed for the wife of a man and she was instantly cured, though she had been ill for over a year. But he incidentally tells us how this man had brought a wagon of bread and vegetables most opportunely because the monastery was so poor that they could give a sick brother only roots and bark.

The insular manuscripts were made within a culturally complex milieu. Bede presents the Britain of his day, c. 731, as being divided into four major cultural groups: the Saxons and Angles, then organized under two kings, the Picts, the Scots, and the Britons. The Britons were Christian but had no interest in converting the Saxons and Angles. The configuration of regions and kingdoms tended to be in perpetual flux. The second half of the sixth and first half of the seventh centuries saw much missionary activity in Britain, and it is at this time that the church began to emerge as a political force in Britain. Bede and Adamnan discuss this time period, and by looking at the long distance travel noted in their work one can gain a sense of what foreign aesthetic influences might have been available. The choice of destination, activities while there and purchases made, intimate the traveler's motivation and how they viewed these foreign lands.

The maps to the left show these long distance travels. The occasional stops noted by Bede suggest that the favored route between Britain and Rome was by sea from Britain to Gaul, by river for the most part, to Arles/Marseille, and by sea to Rome. Whether the preferred river route was through Tours or Paris/Meaux is unclear from Bede's writings. If people traveled by sea between Arles/Marseille and Rome, then most travelers would not have had much exposure to the majority of what we call Italy.

The Celtic missionaries, St. Columba and St. Columbanus, left their native Ireland to establish monasteries on distant shores. Columba found three in Ireland and then left for Britain; Columbanus found four on the continent. Both first approached the ruler and received permission to establish the residence. While the desire was to convert people to Christianity their focus was more monastic, reflecting Ireland's cenobite tradition.
St. Columbanus founded Luxeuil and Fontaine since so many joined his community.
Columba used his monastery, Iona, as a base from which traveled and preached.

Thirty-four years after St. Columba came to Britain Pope Gregory sent Augustine to convert the Saxons and Angles. He was spurred to do so by the sight of a young slave from Deiri. Gregory perceived a great opportunity to harvest souls. While much of the travel noted in Bede is simply organizational - Augustine sent Laurentius and Peter to tell Gregory of their success, Pope Gregory sent Mellitus, Justus, Paulinus and others to help - some of the travel had other purposes as well.

Rome and France were the principal destinations, as found in Bede's writings. Rome was a destination for worship - for adoring the relics and seeing the monuments. Much of its allure was its sanctity - it was the city of St. Peter and St. Paul. Rome was a place to purchase relics and other religious items. Columba brought back relics; Benedict Biscop made several trips for the purchase of religious items. Willibrord went to Rome, both to receive the Pope's blessings and to bring back relics. The relics possessed beneficial features and expressed a spiritual connection to Rome.

Rome appears to be less noted as a place for ongoing, religious study. While there, Wilfrid studied several months, studying the Gospels with Boniface, the archdeacon. However, Wilfrid stayed with Bishop Dalfin three years in Lyons, where he took the tonsure. Prior to his trip to Rome he had studied at Lindisfarne. Benedict Biscop went to Rome five times. Presumably he was instructed in religion while there. However, he spent two at Lerins where he took the tonsure. In 689 Caedwalla, King of West Saxons travel to Rome to be baptized, and it is only in 709, with Coinred and Offa, both of royal blood, that Bede notes anyone taking the tonsure in Rome.

Wilfrid twice went to Rome to appeal charges made against him, which he did successfully. In seeking redress from the Pope, Wilfrid underscored the rights of the Catholic Church. The new churches in Britain were erastian - king dominated. Seeking redress in Rome philosophically challenged this erastian structure.

Wilfrid also championed of the Roman method of Easter calculation. King Oswy addressed the Easter question at the 664 Synod at Whitby. Oswy listened to the Roman and Celtic arguments and decided that the Roman calculation method was more accurate. Although the question was decided by a king, the controversy may be seen as a bid to foster a more unified, powerful church. The Easter question arose at the 603 conference of Bishops, "Augustine's Ac," and St. Columbanus was challenged on this point by the local bishops when he was in Gaul. Columbanus wrote to Pope Gregory supporting the Celtic calculation methods. Two of his letters did not arrive and apparently the third went unanswered for the Pope died. It is possible that Columbanus later switched to the roman method.

At the time the question of tonsure was conflated with the Easter question. In addition to adopting the Roman Easter calculation methods the Celtic monks were to adopt the tonsure of Peter, not the Simoniac tonsure. Interestingly, before leaving for Britain Hadrian changed his style of tonsure from that of Paul to Peter. One has to wonder to what extent the urge for standardization stemmed from the practicalities of missionary work or political motives.

France was the more frequent destination. Sometimes the services of French Bishops and Archbishops were required, particularly when Augustine's mission was young, and again, shortly after the 664 Synod of Whitby when the propriety of earlier ordinations were questioned. Practically it was a source for workmen familiar with the Roman style. In the early seventh century it was a place for Celtic missionary activity. In the late seventh and early eighth centuries Frisland was a popular missionary destination.

Knowledge of, and travel to, the Eastern Mediterranean was limited but nonetheless existent and esteemed. Pope Gregory spent three years in Constantinople as Legate. Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, was born in Tarsus in Asia Minor and Hadrian, Abbot of Nisbis by Naples and later St. Peters at Canterbury, was born in Africa. This foreigness probably helped Theodore negotiate the post-Synod of Whitby environment. Some, such as Bishop Arculf went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Arculf went to Jerusalem, Damascus, Constantinople, Alexandria and islands, and his observations were recorded by Adamnan, Abbot of Iona, c. 704. This book, De locis sanctis, included illustrations of the buildings. Adamnan gave it to King Alfrid. St. Columba had planned to visit both Rome and Jerusalem, but made it only to Tours.

The influence of Rome and the idea of Rome takes various forms. With the construction of Wearmouth the influence concerns choice of material, workmen, and presumably style. With the old and new testament images for Jarrow the influence seems less aesthetic and more about pedagogical possibilities. Bede's description illustrates the relationship of the images to each other but makes no remark as to their style. A relevant, related question is, to what extent were the objects purchased in Rome Roman?
  Sources: Adamnan, ed. William Reeves, Life of Saint Columba, Founder of Hy. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1874.
- . Introduction: Seth Seyfried
Barraclough, Geoffrey, edt., The Times atlas of world history. Maplewood, NJ: Hammond Inc., 1978.
Bede, trans. J. Stevens, J.A.Giles; J. Stevenson, ed. Dom David Knowles, Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1954. BR746 .B6 B42 Aso:
Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company, 1908.

Walking through the woods one day carrying the Holy Scriptures, Columbanus debated with himself whether he would prefer to fall in with wild beasts or wicked men. He blessed himself many times as he pondered the question, going deeper and deeper into the forest. His question was answered by the appearance of twelve wolves coming toward him. Standing motionless as they surrounded him, he prayed, "God, look to my help: Lord, make haste to help me." They came nearer and nuzzled his clothes as he stood unshaken. Then they turned and went wandering again in the woods.

When he thought his question answered, he continued on his way. He had not gone far when he heard the voices of Swabian robbers who haunted the countryside. Again, his constancy was tested but they left him untouched.  Another time, diving further into the forest he saw to his ascetic delight a dark cave that he made his own by instantly taming the fierce bear to whom it belonged. (Another story says he killed the bear with his bare hands--a feat indeed!)

Yet Bishop Chamnoald, once Columbanus's disciple, says we should not marvel that bird and beast should obey the command of a man of God. Chamnoald tells that Columbanus would call to the wild creatures when he went into the woods to fast or pray, and that they would come to him at once. He would stroke them with his hand and caress them: and the wild things and the birds would leap and frisk about him for sheer joy as pups jump on their masters. The bishop said that he himself had seen this, and that even the squirrels would answer his call, climb into the hands and shoulder of Columbanus and run in and out of the folds of his cowl.

Throughout his life his chief concern was to discern the Will of God and do it. When the love he always enkindled by his gifts of soul and even of body was obvious even to himself, he fled to his bear cave to be alone with God. He seems afraid of attracting the love of others and distracting them from the love of God.

Once when he was praying in his cave, he received a divine revelation that many of his beloved monks were ill. At once he hastened home to Luxeuil. He bade the sick brethren rise and thrash the corn on the thrashing-floor. The obedient brethren, according to Jonas, were instantly cured; the disobedient stayed ill for the better part of a year and came near dying.

One day before dinner, the cellarer was drawing beer from the hogshead, when he was summoned elsewhere by Columbanus. In the hurry of the moment he forgot to put the cork in the tap. It is needless to say that on his return to the cellar the cellarer found not a drop spilled! Jonas writes of it, "O how great was the merit of him who commanded; and how great the obedience of him who did as he was bid."

The growth of Luxeuil led to the creation of a second monastery at Fountains (Fontaines). Soon his followers spread all over Europe, building monasteries in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.

With this growth in numbers and influence came the inevitable opposition. Columbanus aroused hostility, especially from the Frankish bishops, by the Celtic usages he installed in his monasteries and for refusing to acknowledge the bishops' jurisdiction over them. He defended his practices in letters to the Holy See and refused to attend a Gallican synod at Chalons in 603 when summoned to explain his Celtic usages.

His outspoken protest against the disorders of the Frankish court led in 610 to King Theoderic exiling Columbanus and all his monks who were not of French blood. The quarrel recorded by Abbot Jonas is verified by history. The young king of Burgundy, Theoderic (Thierry) II, had given shelter to his grandmother Queen Brunhilda when she was driven out of her homeland by the Austrasian nobles. Brunhilda was resentful that Columbanus denied her entrance into his monastery, contrary to the Frankish custom, although Columbanus banned all women and even lay men.

Thierry and Columbanus argued over sexual morality and, of course, the saint found no support from the local episcopacy, who were dependent upon the crown. Pope Saint Gregory's letters to Queen 0903 Brunhilda and her grandson on the need of ending simony, especially from the episcopate, lead us to believe that the bishops of Burgundy and Austrasia were not the men to correct Merovingian morals. If things came to a breaking point between Luxeuil and Theoderic these prelates might be expected to find their consciences coincided with the king's.

Unmarried Theoderic was already the father of four children, whom Brunhilda in the midst of her court asked Columbanus to bless. The saint replied, "Bless them! Bless the fruit of adultery, the children of shame, the testimony of all the debaucheries of their father! In the name of the Lord who chastises sinners, I curse them!"

Now this was probably a little harsh, but could these barbarian peoples understand any other? The only argument that could convince these beasts of prey, these German invaders who 150 years earlier had installed themselves in the ruins of the Roman Empire, was fear. Fear of hell, fear of eternal torment, fear of the God of vengeance--there was no other way of holding in check the violence that was ready to break loose.

But a break with such a man as the widely revered Columbanus has to be done diplomatically. A favorable opening seemed to be in the question of the keeping of Easter. It was and still is a question so obscure that some writers have accused the British and Irish Churches of being "Quartodecimans," by keeping Easter as the Jews keep their Pasch (probably as they had originally been taught by Rome), on a day determined by the full moon, even if that day were not a Sunday.

A synod of Merovingian bishops was summoned by King Theoderic on the advice of Pope Gregory to reform several matters, but not the celebration of Easter. The synod's chief concern was to indict Luxeuil for its Easter observance, so Columbanus appealed in writing to the pope as did Saint Patrick before him. He also wrote eloquently and politely to the synod, but to no avail. He and his brethren were exiled. Apparently, his letter to St. Gregory never reached its destination. (It seems that the mail in those days was as unreliable as now, or that a courtier intercepted it.)

That Columbanus bore no malice is evident when he had a vision of battle and Theoderic's violent death. He awoke in grief and was counselled to pray for the victor against Theoderic. But the old saint replied, "Your counsel is foolish and unholy. Nor is it the will of God, Who bade us pray for our enemies."

The monks were escorted by the military down the Loire through Orleans and Tours to the port of Nantes, where he wrote a famous letter to the Frankish monks left at Luxeuil. There they were put on a ship bound for Ireland. The ship, however, was driven up upon rocks where it was stranded. Thus, they never made it back to Ireland. Instead, they made their way through Paris and Meaux to the court of Theodebert II of Neustria (Austrasia), where they were offered refuge at Metz. From Metz the monks began to preach the Gospel among the pagan Alemanni around Bregenz on Lake Constanz amidst the ruins of the Roman town, where they stayed for three years and two of the monks were slain by hostile natives. In their wanderings, these Irish monks founded over 100 monasteries in France and Switzerland.

It is said that his preaching converted many, including Saint Ouen, who founded Jouarre, and Saint Fare, the daughter of a noble family who founded Faremoutiers. His influence was extensive.

Theoderic, after conquering the area of Bregenz and becoming king of Austrasia, again drove Columbanus, 70 or 80 years old, into exile with only one companion. But Columbanus found his reward of peace at the end of his life.

The province of Lombardy, which he entered when he had crossed the Alps, was ruled by Agilulph, an Arian. His wife was the wise, noble, saintly Theodelinda to whom St. Gregory dedicated his Dialogues. The fame of Columbanus seems to have already reached the court. King Agilulph, who a few years before was besieging Rome and creating a desert of the Campagna, welcomed the exiled saint almost as a national asset.

Within the Apennines between Milan and Genoa, at a spot now famous under the name of Bobbio, there was a ruined basilica dedicated to St. Peter. If, as is not unlikely, the ruins were the handiwork of these ruthless Arian Lombards, there was a quality of penance and restitution in Agilulph the Arian's gift of it to Columbanus.

One incident throws light on the undaunted worker. To restore the basilica the little group of monks cut and dragged timber from the neighboring wood. Sometimes the great trees were felled where no timber-wain could go. The monks were forced to carry the great beams on their shoulders. Yet God seemed so manifestly to help these men to help themselves that heavy logs which, on the word of Jonas, 30 or 40 men could barely have carried over level ground, were carried over rocks on the shoulders of ancient Columbanus and two or three monks. With a touch of poetry Jonas adds that the abbot and his monks carried their load "with such unfaltering feet as if moving in play and with joy."

This abbey flourished for 12 centuries until Napoleon closed it in 1802. Its library was divided among various libraries in Europe. Pope Pius XI stated that the collection from Bobbio accounted for much of the prestige enjoyed among scholars by the Ambrosian Library in Milan.

Queen Theodelinda's prayer and plan for the conversion of her Arian husband and the Lombards received sudden reinforcement by the illustrious exile from Luxeuil. The anger of one queen, Brunhilda, was the opportunity for a greater good--God works all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Although 10 years had elapsed since Agilulph had begun a friendship with Pope St. Gregory the Great, which might soon have born fruit in the king's conversion, St. Gregory's death had withdrawn the main clerical influence over the king's Arian mind. With the coming of Columbanus, Theodelinda saw the possibility of Gregory's influence being renewed.

But in Lombardy Columbanus met for the first time the subtle atmosphere of the two great Eastern heresies: the king and most of his subjects were Arians. The rest of his people, even the clergy, were Nestorians enmeshed in the famous controversy of the Three Chapters. Columbanus could find his peace-nurtured believing mind only bewildered by these Oriental disputations and phrase-weavings- -historians wrong both him and the original sources of his history when they see descending the slopes of the Alps only a dogmatic sleuth-hound yearning for controversial blood. Faced with such heresies, Columbanus wrote a treatise and became involved in opposing the Three Chapters, which were condemned by the fifth general council of Constantinople. The bishops of Istria and some of Lombardy defended these writings with such warmth as to break off communion with Rome.

But Queen Theodelinda saw that this undaunted lover of truth and peace was God-sent to bring peace to her king and people through the truth. Though his life was now measured only by months, he could not stint himself when Theodelinda requested help in bringing Arian and Nestorian Lombardy to faith guaranteed by the see of Rome.

At Agilulph's request St. Columbanus wrote a letter to the reigning Pope Boniface IV regarding the need to summon a synod to bring dogmatic peace. In it he says:

    "...the schism of the people is a grief to [Agilulph] on account of the queen and her son and perhaps for his own sake too; seeing that he is believed to have said that if he knew the truth he would believe...The king asks you, the queen asks you, all ask you, that all things may become one as soon as possible, so that as there is peace in the fatherland there may be peace in the faith and the whole flock of Christ may henceforth be one. Rex regum! tu Petrum, te tota sequetur ecclesia (O king of kings, follow thou Peter, and the whole Church will follow thee)."

Columbanus wrote a defense of Rome and of the orthodox faith to an anonymous person, who was probably an Arian bishop of northern Italy: "Thereupon I made such reply as I could . . . for I believe that the Pillar of the Church is always unmoved in Rome."

Abbot Jonas assures us that, no doubt by the wish of King Agilulph and Queen Theodelinda, he took up his abode near Milan, that "by the weapon of the Scriptures" he might rend and destroy the deceits of the heretics, that is, of the Arian heresy, against whom he wrote a scholarly book.

He continued to preach to large crowds who were deeply moved at the sight of his long white hair and beard, and of his face which though deeply lined with age and fatigue still shone with the zeal for Christ and was able to move souls.

His loyalty to Rome was so great that he sent this book to the pope for approval or condemnation. It is the same Columbanus who appealed to Pope Gregory for a ruling on the Easter question: "This [book] I have sent to you that you may read it and correct it where it is contrary to the truth; for I dare not count myself to be beyond correction."

He witnesses that the Irish Church acknowledges the authority of the Roman Pontiff, not because of Rome but because of St. Peter:    All we Irish dwelling on the edge of the world are disciples of Saints Peter and Paul and of the disciples who, under the Holy Spirit, wrote the Sacred Canon. We accept nothing outside this evangelical and apostolic teaching. There was no heretic, no Jew, no schismatic, but the Catholic Faith, as first delivered to us by you, the successor of the apostles, is kept unshaken. . . . We, indeed, are, as I have said, chained to the Chair of St. Peter; for although Rome is great and known afar, it is great and honored with us only by this Chair."

In writing this last witness of an Irish saint, Columbanus was refuting beforehand the argument current since the 16th century, that the See of Rome set up by St. Peter obtained its supremacy not because of Peter but because of Rome. Two Churches, Persia and Ireland, by their witness to the Chair of Peter, are the refutation of this argument; because Persia in the East and Ireland in the West were unconquered by Rome.
Thus it was that God converted both Agilulph and his people through Columbanus. For centuries Bobbio was the citadel of scientific defense which owed its existence to the man who united culture and sanctity in one mind and heart. When ruin overtook it centuries later, the gathered treasures of its library enriched the libraries that still enrich the scholarship of the world.

Columbanus's prophecy about the death of Theodoric, the rise of Clotaire, and the brutal murder of Brunhilda lead Clotaire to invite Columbanus back to France. He would not go back asked the king to look kindly on the monks of Luxeuil.

The Church also has St. Columbanus to thank for two contributions of great worth--his Rule and his Penitential.

His rule is not original but merely embodies the stern asceticism of his fellow-countrymen and especially his fellow monks at Bangor. In the end it was found that the less exacting Rule of Saint Benedict was more acceptable to the would-be monks of the West. While the sterner rule everywhere yielded to the milder, every movement towards a reform of the Rule of St. Benedict has been a movement towards the ideal of St. Columbanus.

Even greater than his Rule is his penitential, containing the prescriptions of penances to be imposed upon the monks for every fault, however light. Of the penitential Oscar Watkins writes:
"The fact of outstanding importance with respect to the Penitential of Columbanus is that while it corresponds to no existing practice to be found anywhere in force from former times on the continent of Europe, it reproduces all the main features of the peculiar system which has been seen at work in the Celtic churches . . . As in the British and Irish systems, the penance and the reconciliation are alike private" (p. 615).  "It is not a little remarkable that by the end of the seventh century the Rule of St. Columbanus, for whatsoever reason, practically disappears, and the Rule of St. Benedict becomes supreme. But his Penitential system not only survived in the monasteries which were now being founded, but was destined in time, after the later English influence, to become the general penitential system of Western Europe" (Watkins, p. 124).
Few customs are so characteristic of the Latin Church, which is officially distinguished from the Eastern Church, as the very frequent and humble practice of confession.

It is to the credit of sinful human nature that this Sacrament, which our Redeemer made not so much an obligation as a privilege, should yet be frequented almost as an obligation. Perhaps we are close to the motive of this humble practice in thinking of its connection, by way of cleansing, with the great Banquet of the Body and Blood. One of the chief glories of the fellow-countrymen of Columbanus will be that to him more than to any other individual in the Church this lowly practice seems due.

Columbanus's last literary testament is a letter to Pope Boniface IV, which would lead the reader to believe that he was an unwearied warrior for the faith, rather than bowed with ailment and age. He also wrote a charming poem in Adonic verse to his young friend Fedolius, which showed him to be less like Tertullian and more like Gregory Nazianzen or Prudentius.

The only certain date in his life is that of his dies natalis, though we don't know how he died. We do know that the exile finally made it home to his Father and was welcomed there. His body was laid to rest in the heart of the Apennines, where it remains.

His somewhat intemperate defense of the Celtic over the Roman liturgical customs and the austerity of his rule, make him a rather forbidding personality; but on the other hand, through the numerous abbeys, founded by himself and by his disciples, especially after they had become Benedictines, he exerted a determining and lasting influence on Western civilization. His submission to Rome at a time when there was a real fear that the center of Christendom might pass into the hands of the Celts, is one of the most significant events in the history of the Church.
He dedicated Ireland to the Universal Church and laid that fear to rest.

In 1916, the American Bishop Edward J. Galvin, born on the feast of Columbanus in 1882, founded the Columban Missionary Society and, in 1922, the Missionary Sisters of Saint Columban. Thus, the heritage of this evangelizer continues in yet another land and time (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, MacManus, MacNabb, Metlake, Montague, Waddell, Walsh, Watkins).

St. Columbanus is represented as a Benedictine with a missioner's cross and a bear near him. Sometimes he carries an abbatial staff, a missioner's cross, and wears a sun on his chest; or he is shown in a bear's den with a fountain springing up at his prayers (Roeder).

Columban was a native of Leinster, and seems to have been of a respectable family. Of the precise date of his birth we are not informed. According to some accounts it was about 559, but according to others it was several years earlier. He received a good classical education, and resolved early to embrace an ascetic life. But the good looks and winning ways of the Irish girls were a snare to him. He tried to forget their bright eyes by toiling (desudavit) at grammar, rhetoric, and geometry, but found that at least syntax and the problems of Euclid were a less attractive study than pretty faces, and that the dry rules of rhetoric failed altogether before the winsome prattle of light- hearted maidens. He consulted an old woman who lived as a recluse. She warned him that if he wished to maintain his purpose of self-conquest he must fly to a region where girls are less beautiful and seductive than Ireland. "Save thyself, young man, and fly!" His resolution was formed; he decided on going away.

His mother attempted to deter him, prostrating herself on the threshold of the door; he stepped over her, left the province of Leinster, and placed himself under the tuition of the venerable Sinell, son of Oenach, abbot of Cluaininis in Lough Erne. Sinell made Columban compose a commentary on the Psalms whilst under his tuition. After awhile, Columban went to Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland (not the one in Wales), where he remained under the abbot Congall. But this first apprenticeship in the holy war was not enough. The adventurous temper of his race, the passion for pilgrimage and preaching, drew him beyond the seas. He heard incessantly the voice which had spoken to Abraham echoing in his ears, "Go out of thine own country, and from thy father's house, into a land that I shall show thee." The abbot in vain attempted to retain him. Columban, then thirty, left Bangor with twelve other monks, crossed Great Britain, and reached Gaul. He found the Catholic faith in existence there, but Christian virtue and ecclesiastical discipline ignored or outraged -- thanks to the fury of the wars and the negligence of the bishops. He devoted himself during several years to traversing the country, preaching the Gospel, and especially giving an example to all of the humility and charity which he taught. His little community accompanied him. If one of the members lapsed into vice, all the rest simultaneously, burning with charity, fell on him, and beat him back into the paths of virtue. Not a harsh word was uttered by one of them; they had all things in common.

Arriving, in the course of his apostolic wanderings, in Burgundy, he was received there by King Gontram, of all the grandsons of Clovis the one whose life appears to have been least blamable, and who had most sympathy with the monks. His eloquence delighted the king and his lords. Fearing that he would leave them, Gontram offered him the ancient Roman castle of Annegray, now in the commune of Faucogney (Haute Saone). He lived there the simplest life with his companions, on the bark of trees, the wild herbs, the bilberries in the firwoods, and whatever the neighbors would give, out of charity. Often he separated himself from his companions to plunge alone into the forest. There, in his long and close communion with bare and savage nature, every living creature obeyed his voice. The birds came to receive his caresses, and the squirrels descended from the tree-tops to hide themselves in the folds of his cowl. He expelled a bear from the cavern which became his cell; he took from another bear a dead stag, whose skin he used for shoes for the brethren. One day, while he wandered in the depths of the wood, bearing a volume of Holy Scripture on his shoulder, and meditating whether the ferocity of beasts was not better than the rage of men, he saw a dozen wolves surround him. He remained motionless, repeating the words, "Deus in adjutorium." The wolves smelt his garments, and passed on their way without molesting him. He pursued his [way], and a few steps further on heard the voices of a band of Swabian robbers who wasted the country. He did not see them; but he thanked God for having preserved him from the maw of the wolf and the less merciful hand of man.
At this time in history, this part of Europe has experienced war between rival kingdoms. Coupled with the negligence of local bishops, this has led to a breakdown in the practice of religion. Be that as it may, Columbanus and his brethren are well received by King Gunthran of Burgundy and Austrasia, who begs the Irish party to remain in his kingdom.

Co lumbanus agrees to stay, but insists on a remote location. He finds a suitable site in the mountainous region of the Vosges, in an old Roman settlement called Annegray. There, the monks attempt to survive on a diet of herbs, roots and the bark of trees. Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of Saulcy monastery, a day's journey away. Abbot Carantoc instructs his cellarer, Marculf, to bring supplies to the new arrivals in the region.

Annegray attracts vocations in such number that it is necessary to open a second monastery. Columbanus travels eight miles west to Luxeuil, and with the permission of the young King Childebert II, begins his second foundation. It is destined for fame and success, and to outgrow Annegray. Indeed, it grows at such a rate, that a third monastery is opened at Fontaine, three miles north of Luxeuil. Luxeuil is the motherhouse of the three monasteries.

The Rule, which Columbanus devises for his three monasteries, is based on the asceticism he learned at Bangor. Obedience is the cornerstone of the system, and there is great emphasis laid on the confession of faults.

In spite of the success of the monasteries, Columbanus is not a favourite with the local Church hierarchy. His strict adherence to monastic discipline makes those who have committed simony and adultery feel uncomfortable. As well as that, his unauthorised foundations and independence of action ignore the bishops' prerogative.

Following the death of King Childebert II in 595, the political situation changes. Theuderich, the new king of Burgundy, has four children by his concubines. When his mother, Brunhilde, parades them before Columbanus on one of his visits to the royal household, the Irishman refuses to bless them, saying: "These will never hold the royal sceptre because they were begotten in sin." It is the beginning of a downturn in relations.

At the end of some years the increasing number of his disciples obliged him to seek another residence, and by the help of Agnoald, a minister of the Frank king, whose wife was a Burgundian of high family, he obtained from Gontram the site of another strong castle, named Luxeuil, where there had been Roman baths, magnificently ornamented. On the ruins of this seat of luxury the monks founded their ascetic colonists, these eschewing water, planted themselves in the ancient baths.

Luxeuil was situated on the confines of Austrasia and Burgundy, at the foot of the Vosges. Disciples collected abundantly round the Irish colonizer. He could soon count several hundreds of them in the three monasteries which he had built in succession, and which he himself governed. The noble Franks and Burgundians, overawed by the sight of these great creations of work and prayer, brought their sons to him, lavished gifts upon him, and often came to ask him to cut their long hair, the sign of nobility and freedom, and admit them into the ranks of his army. Labor and prayer attained here, under the strong arm of Columban, to proportions up to that time unheard of. The multitude became so great that he could organize that perpetual service, called "Laus perennis" which already existed at Agaunum, on the other side of the Jura and Lake Leman, where, night and day, the voices of monks, "unwearied as those of angels," arose to celebrate the praises of God in unending song.

Rich and poor were equally bound to agricultural labor. The toil of the hands was the sovereign receipt for spiritual languor and bodily sickness. When he issued on one occasion from his cave in the depths of the forest, and came to Luxeuil, he found a large number of monks in bed with influenza colds. He made them get up and go to the barn and thrash out wheat. The violent exercise opened their pores and expelled the fever. A monk named Theudegisl cut his thumb whilst reaping, and wanted to knock off work. Columban removed the blood with a little saliva, convinced himself that the wound was not serious, and made the man finish the work.

An article of his rule ordained that the monk should go to rest so fatigued that he would be ready to fall asleep on his way to bed, and should rise before he had slept off his weariness. It was at the cost of this excessive and perpetual labor that the wilderness which had spread over the ruins of Roman civilization was restored to cultivation and life.

Twenty years passed thus, during which the reputation of Columban increased and extended afar. But his influence was not undisputed. He displeased one portion of the Gallo-Frank clergy by the intemperate zeal with which he attempted, in his epistles, to remind the bishops of their duties, ostensibly by his obstinate adherence to Celtic peculiarities of tonsure and costume, and of the observance of Easter.

At a period when the most trifling ecclesiastical peculiarities were ranked as heresies of magnitude, such a divergence from established custom could not fail to serve as the opportunity for his enemies, and to weaken and embarrass his success. The details of his struggle with the bishops of Gaul remain unknown; but the resolution he displayed may be understood by some passages of his letters to the council which met to examine his conduct with respect to the observance of Easter. This was the council, apparently, held at Sens in 601, attended by Betharius, bishop of Chartres. The council as summoned in consequence of letters written by Pope Gregory the Great to Brunehild, to Virgilius of Arles, and others, to urge the extirpation of simony. S. Columban was invited to it to explain his conduct, and abandon his eccentricities. He did not attend, but he wrote to the council a letter, in which he requested the bishops not only to consider the question of Easter, but also the canonical observances which they themselves were guilty of neglecting. "I am not the author of this difference; I have come into these parts a poor stranger, for the cause of the Savior Christ; I ask of your holinesses but a single favor, that you will permit me to live in silence in the depths of these forests, near the bones of seventeen brethren whom I have already seen die. I will pray of you with those who remain with me, as I have done these twelve years...If God guides you to expel me from the desert which I have sought, I will say with Jonah, 'Take me up and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm.' But before you throw me overboard, it is your duty to follow the example of sailors, and try first to reach the land; perhaps it may not be an excess of presumption if I suggest that many men follow the broad way, and that it is better to encourage those who follow the narrow way that leads to life than to throw stumbling blocks in their path."

Whatever was the result of this letter, or the decision of the council, S. Columban persevered in his paschal computation, and still annoyed the Gallican clergy by so doing. For the purpose of being protected from their attacks he had recourse to the then Pope, whether Sabinian or Boniface the third or fourth is uncertain, and sent him copies of his letters to Pope Gregory on the subject of Easter. He requested him to be allowed to follow the tradition of his forefathers, and said that he had no wish to disturb others in the observance of their customs.

A much more severe persecution awaited him, excited against him by the wicked queen-dowager Brunehild, the widow of Sigebert of Austrasia, and mother of Childebert, who became king of Burgundy and died in 596. Childebert left two sons, Theodebert, king of Austrasia, and Theodoric or Thierry, king of Burgundy, who succeeded him under the tutelage of their grandmother. Brunehild lived with Theodebert, until, at the request of the nobles of Austrasia, he banished her. Then she fled to Thierry, by whom she was kindly received. Gregory of Tours has praised the beauty, good manners, prudence, and affability of Brunehild, and Gregory the Great congratulated the Franks on having so good a queen. But Brunehild, in her thirst for rule, endeavored to divert her grandsons from political interests by leading them into the pursuit of sensual pleasures. From fear of having a rival in power and honor near the throne of Thierry, she opposed with all her might every attempt to replace the concubines she had given him by a legitimate queen, and when, finally, he determined on espousing a Visigothic princess, Brunehild, though herself the daughter of a Visigothic king, succeeded in disgusting her grandson with his bride, and made him repudiate her at the end of a year.

S. Desiderius, bishop of Vienne, who had advised the king to marry, was murdered by the ruffians whom Brunehild had laid in wait for him.

However, the young Thierry had religious instincts. He was rejoiced to possess in his kingdom so holy a man as Columban. He went often to visit him. Irish zeal took advantage of this to reprove him for his disorderly life, and to seek a lawful spouse, that the king might have a successor on his throne from an honorable queen, and not from a concubine. The young king promised amendment, but Brunehild easily turned him away from these good intentions. Columban having gone to visit her at Bourcheresse, she presented him the four sons of Thierry by his concubines. "What would these children with me?" he asked. "They are the sons of the king," answered the queen, "strengthen them with thy blessing." "No!" answered the abbot, "they shall not reign, for they are of bad origin." From that moment Brunehild swore war to the death against him. She despatched messengers with orders not to allow the monks to quit their monastery, and an injunction that others were not to give them hospitality, or offer them gifts. Columban went to Epoisses to see the king and appeal against this command. Thierry promised to remove the ban, and Columban returned to Luxeuil.

Theodoric continued his disorderly life, and Columban wrote him a severe letter, threatening to separate himself from communion with the king unless he set a better moral example. This highly incensed Thierry and Brunehild, and the bishops who were angry at the paschal usages of the saint fanned their wrath. Thierry went to Luxeuil, and reproached Columban for refusing to allow the queen-dowager to cross the threshold of the monastery. The abbot replied that he must defend the rule of his monastery. He threatened the king with divine vengeance if he interfered with him, and Thierry, as superstitious as he was licentious, was frightened and withdrew. Shortly after, Columban was taken to Besancon, and was required to remain there til he learned the king's pleasure. Columban, finding means of escape, returned to Luxeuil. Brunehild and Thierry, apprized of his return, sent soldiers to remove him. And this, his final departure, took place in the twentieth year from his arrival in the Vosges, A.D. 610. The king gave orders that the saint and the Irish monks who were banished with him should be sent back to their own land.

They were conducted across France to Nantes, where they were placed on board a vessel destined for Ireland. At the mouth of the river the ship encountered the bore, which carried it over the banks and left it astrand. The superstitious sailors attributed this misfortune to the presence of the monks in their vessel, and refused to put to sea with them as passengers. Columban and his disciples were therefore left behind, and they returned to Nantes, whence the abbot addressed a letter to his monks at Luxeuil, bidding them obey Attalus, the abbot appointed in his place, and should difficulties arise on account of the paschal question, to leave their monastery and come to him rather than accept the Roman computation. Columban then took refuge with Clothair II, son of Chilperic, king of Soissons and Neustria. This son of Fredegund, faithful to his mother's hatred for Brunehild and her family, gave a cordial reception to the victim of his enemy, and at his request provided him with an escort to Theodebert, king of Austrasia, through whose states he desired to pass on his way to Italy. On his road the Frank chiefs brought their children to receive his benediction. Theodebert, now at war with his brother Thierry, received Columban with great cordiality, and endeavored to persuade him to settle under his protection. But the saint would not be detained. He had spent sixty years of labor in the vain attempt to reform kings and nations who called themselves Christians, and now he resolved on turning to a new field of labor -- mission-work among the heathen. He accordingly embarked on the Rhine below Mainz, and ascending the Rhine and Lammat to the Lake of Zurich, remained for a while at Tuggen.

A strange tale is told of a huge vat of beer, offered to the God Woden, which burst at the mere breath of Columban. S. Gall, his companion, set the temples at Tuggen on fire, and threw the idols into the lake. The monks were compelled to fly; and Columban left the pagans of that district with a most unapostolic malediciton, devoting their whole race to temporal misery and eternal perdition. They retreated to Arbon, on the Lake of Constance; there they heard of a ruined Roman city at the head of the lake, named Brigantium (Bregentz). At Bregentz Columban found a ruined church dedicated to S. Aurelia, which he rebuilt. But the chief objects of worship in the re-paganized land were three statues of gilded brass. S. Gall broke the idols and threw them into the water....The apostles found the Suevi and Allemanns worshippers of Woden, and stubborn in their opposition to the Gospel.

During his sojourn at Bregentz, Columban went to see King Theodebert, who was still at war with his brother the king of Burgundy. Knowing by his visit to Thierry that the power of the latter was sufficient to overwhelm the Austrasian kingdom, he counselled Theodebert to abandon the unequal contest and take refuge in the cloister. His advice provoked an outburst of laughter. "Such a hating is unheard of," said the courtiers, "that Frank king should become a monk of his own free will." "Well," said the saint, "if he will not be a monk voluntarily, he will be made one by force." So saying he returned to Bregentz. The battle of Tolbiac ruined the hopes of Theodebert, who was forced to assume the monastic habit, and was shortly after put to death.

The whole of Austrasia had fallen by the defeat and death of Theodebert into the hands of Brunehild and Thierry, and the banks of the Upper Rhine, where their victim had found a refuge, had passed under their sway. It was no longer safe for Columban to remain there, and accompanied by a single disciple, Attalus, he crossed the Alps and sought refuge with Agilulf, king of the Lombards.

He arrived at Milan in 612, after having spent but one year at Bregentz. While at Milan, Columban wrote against the Arian heresy with which the Lombards were infected. The schism of the Three Chapters was still distracting the North of Italy, although the chapters had been condemned by the Council of Constantinople in 553. The bishops of Istria and Africa refused to acknowledge this condemnation, because they thought it threw discredit on the Council of Chalcedon. The Lombards sided with the Istrian prelates, and were therefore involved in their schism. Gregory the Great wisely let the matter drop -- it was a tempest about trifle; but Boniface IV, was not disposed to allow the question to sleep and expire. He stirred it up again, and Agilulf and his queen, Theodelinda, engaged Columban to write to the Pope in defense of the Three Chapters. Evidently little acquainted in his own person with the point at issue, Columban rushed into the controversy with his usual impetuosity. Whilst appealing in a series of extravagant and obscure apostrophes, to the indulgence of the Pope for "a foolish Scot," charged to write on account of a Lombard, a king of the Gentiles, he acquaints the Pontiff with the imputations brought against him and the chair of S. Peter, as fautors of heresy, and urges him to prove his orthodoxy by excommunicating his detractors. Pope Vigilius, he says, prevaricated; he was the cause of the whole scandal.

Columbanus decides to head for Italy, a suggestion that fails to meet with the favour of his mostly Germanic brethren. Even Gall is reluctant to follow his fellow expatriate into this next remove. Forbidding Gall to say Mass while he himself is still alive, Columanus travels towards the Alps with a reduced party of monks.
St. Columbanus in Italy
Thus he comes to the court of King Agiluf and Queen Theudelina in Lombardy, an area of Italy settled by German tribes in Columbanus' own lifetime.
He spends much of 613 in Milan, displaying all his customary drive as he throws himself into the Arian controversy surrounding the divinity of Christ. The Christians of Lombardy, including the king and queen, are all Arians, and not loyal to the doctrine of Rome.

Fortunately, this doctrinal difference doesn't sour relations between monk and king, and Columbanus is offered a site seventy miles south, where the Bobbio stream flows into the Trebbia on its way to the Po. Columbanus gladly accepts, and before the winter of 614 sets in, a new Irish monastery called Bobbio takes shape in the foothills of the Apennines.

It is to be the last of Columbanus' foundations and his final resting place. In his last days on earth, his thoughts turn to Gall, the last of the gang from Bangor. Nearing death, Columbanus orders that his staff be sent to Gall as a token of forgiveness. In the early hours of Sunday 23 November, 615, Columbanus breathes his last.
Gall duly receives the staff, treasuring it till his own death in 630 on the shore of Lake Constance.

Rome he acknowledges as the head of all churches, saving only the prerogatives of Jerusalem. He warms the Pope not by his perversity to lose his high privileges and dignity. For power was his only so long as exercised aright -- the keys were only his to lock and unlock justly.

He tells Boniface that the Irish were orthodox believers, constantly adhering to the faith and apostolic tradition, which they had received from their forefathers, and that they never had among them heretics, Jews, or schismatics. "I confess that I lament over the bad reputation of the chair of S. Peter in this country. I speak to you not as a stranger, but as a disciple, as a friend, as a servant. I speak freely to our masters, to the pilots of the vessel of the Church, and I say to them, Watch! and despise not the humble advice of the stranger....Pardon me if swimming among the rocks, I have said words offensive to pious ears. The native liberty of my race has given me this boldness. With us it is not the person, it is the right, which prevails. The love of evangelical peace makes me say everything. We are bound to the chair of S. Peter; for, however great and glorious Rome may be, it is this chair which makes her great and glorious among us."

Agilulf bestowed on Columban the land of Bobbio, among the Apennines, between Genoa and Milan. Columban founded there a monastery. Despite his age, he shared in the builder's labor, and bent his old shoulders under beams of firwood, which he transported from the mountain slopes on which they were felled to the spot where his abbey rose. Bobbio was his last stage. Thierry died, Clothair II, who tortured to death the aged queen, and executed her two eldest grandsons, took his throne. Clothair, on becoming sole king of Austrasia, Burgundy, and Neustria, sent Eustace, abbot of Luxeuil, to Bobbio, to recall Columban to France. But the old abbot refused the call; he answered it in a letter full of advice.

He was now very aged. On the opposite bank of the Trebbia to his abbey of Bobbio, he had found a cavern in a rock. This he transformed into a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. There he passed the remainder of his days in prayer, visiting his monastery only on Sundays and festivals, and there he died on November 21, 615, when over seventy-two years old. He was buried at Bobbio, and many miracles it is asserted, were performed at his tomb.

From The Lives of the Saints by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould, M.A., published in 1914 in Edinburgh.

Columbanus [Saint Columbaus] Also known as Columba; Columban; Columbanus of Bobbio; Columbanus of Luxieul Memorial 23 November; formerly 21 November; 24 November (Benedictines and Ireland)
Profile    Well-born, handsome and educated, Columbanus was torn between a desire for God and easy access to the pleasures of the world. Acting on advice of a holy anchoress, he decided to withdraw from the world; his family opposed the choice, his mother going so far as to block the door. Monk at Lough Erne. He studied Scripture extensively, and wrote a commentary on the Psalms. Monk at Bangor under abbot Saint Comgall.

    In middle age, Columbanus felt a call to missionary life. With twelve companions (Saint Attala, Columbanus the Younger, Cummain, Domgal, Eogain, Eunan, Saint Gall, Gurgano, Libran, Lua, Sigisbert and Waldoleno) he travelled to Scotland, England, and then to France in 585. The area, though nominally Christian, had fallen far from the faith, but were ready for missionaries, and they had some success. They were warmly greeted at the court of Gontram, and king of Burgundy invited the band to stay. They chose the half-ruined Roman fortress of Annegray in the Vosges Mountains for their new home with Columbanus as their abbot.

    The simple lives and obvious holiness of the group drew disciples to join them, and the sick to be healed by their prayers. Columbanus, to find solitude for prayer, often lived for long periods in a cave seven miles from the monastery, using a messenger to stay in touch with his brothers. When the number of new monks over-crowded the old fortress, King Gontram gave them the old castle of Luxeuil to found a new house in 590. Soon after, a third house was founded at Fontaines. Columbanus served as master of them all, and wrote a Rule for them; it incorporated many Celtic practices, was approved by the Council of Macon in 627, but was superseded by the Benedictine.
    Problems arose early in the 7th century. Many Frankish bishops objected to a foreign missionary with so much influence, to the Celtic practices he brought, especially those related to Easter, and his independence from them. In 602 he was summoned to appear before them for judgment; instead of appearing, he sent a letter advising them to hold more synods, and to concern themselves with more important things than which rite he used to celebrate Easter. The dispute over Easter continued to years, with Columbanus appealing to multiple popes for help, but was only settled with Columbanus abandoned the Celtic calender when he moved to Italy.
    In addition to his problems with the bishops, Columbanus spoke out against vice and corruption in the royal household and court, which was in the midst of a series of complex power grabs. Brunehault stirred up the bishops and nobilty against the abbot; Thierry ordered him to conform to the local ways, and shut up. Columbanus refused, and was briefly imprisoned at Besançon, but he escaped and returned to Luxeuil. Thierry and Brunehault sent an armed force to force him and his foreign monks back to Ireland. As soon as his ship set sail, a storm drove them back to shore; the captain took it as a sign, and set the monks free.
    They made their way to King Clothaire at Soissons, Neustria and then the court of King Theodebert of Austrasia in 611. He travelled to Metz, then Mainz, Suevi, Alamanni, and finally Lake Zurich. Their evangelization work there was unsuccessful, and the group passed on to Arbon, then Bregenz, and then Lake Constance. Saint Gall, who knew the local language best, took the lead in this region; many were converted to the faith, and the group founded a new monastery as their home and base. However, a year later political upheaval caused Columbanus to cross the Alps into Italy, arriving in Milan in 612. The Christian royal family treated him well, and he preached and wrote against Arianism and Nestorianism. In gratitude, the Lombard king gave him a tract of land call Bobbio between Milan and Genoa. There he rebuilt a half-ruined church of Saint Peter, and around it he founded an abbey that was to be the source for evangelization throughout northern Italy for centuries to come.
    Columbanus always enjoyed being in the forests and caves, and as he walked through the woods birds and squirrels would ride on his shoulders. Toward the end of his life came word that his old enemies were dead, and his brothers wanted him to come back north, but he declined. Knowing that his time was almost done, he retired to a cave for solitude, and died as he had predicted. His influence continued for centuries as those he converted handed on the faith, the brothers he taught evanglized untold numbers more, and his brother monks founded over one hundred monasteries to protect learning and spread the faith.
    Miracles ascribed to Columbanus include  * to obtain food for a sick brother monk, he cured the wife of the donor  * once when he was surrounded by wolves, he simply walked through them * at one point he needed a cave for his solitary prayers; a bear lived there; when Columbanus asked, the bear left   * when he needed water in order to live in the cave, a spring appeared nearby  * when the Luxeuil monastery granary ran empty, he prayed over it and it refilled  * he multiplied bread and beer for his community * he cured several sick monks, who then got straight out of bed to reap the monastery's harvest * gave sight to a blind man at Orleans * he destroyed a vat of beer being prepared for a pagan festival by breathing on it * when the monastery needed help in the fields, he tamed a bear, and yoked it to a plough
Born    543 at West Leinster, Ireland
Died    21 November 615 in a cave at Bobbio, Italy of natural causes; interred at the abbey church of Bobbio; miracles reported at his tomb; relics re-interred in a new altar there in 1482; altar and shrine were refurbished and the relics re-interred in the early 20th century
Canonized    Pre-Congregation
Patronage    against floods; motorcyclists
Representation    bearded monk in the midst of wolves holding a book and Irish satchel; bearded monk taming a bear; bearded monk with sunbeams over his head; Benedictine monk holding an abbot's staff, a missioner's cross, and wearing the sun on his chest; Benedictine monk with a missioner's cross with a bear nearby; monk in a bear's den with a fountain springing while he prays

Commemoration of St. Columbanus, Abbot-Founder of Luxeuil and Bobbio

November 23
was born into a noble family in West Leinster, Ireland, circa 543. (Though also referred to as Columba, he is not the same person as the celebrated father of Iona, whose feast day falls in June.) The few details that remain of his early life mark him as first class material for the hard life of the sixth century monasteries. Prior to his birth, his mother dreamed of a brilliant sun which would arise from her breast and illuminate the whole world. Columbanus came of age just as the first great monastic foundations were being established in Ireland. He received a classical education at Clonard, the great mother-school founded by St. Finian, where he discovered the three-fold division of prayer, manual labor and study of the scriptures that mark the boundaries of a monk's existence. He learned habits of sanctity and scholarship that would stay with him for the rest of his life.

Columbanus was by all accounts quite handsome in his appearance. He felt besieged by the sexual temptations so frequently offered by his countrywomen. He struggled against his own strong sexual urges as well. Driven by torment, he sought the counsel of a holy female hermit, who admonished him with accounts of biblical figures whose lives were undone by "wanton women." She advised him that his only hope for survival in holiness was to flee from the temptations of the world. Columbanus decided to act on this advice despite intense opposition from his mother, who begged him not to leave her. She tried to block him with her body, weeping and lying across the threshold of his door in an attempt to detain him. Conquering his natural feelings, he stepped over her prostrate form and left his home forever. He implored her not to be broken with grief, saying she should see him no more in this life, and that wherever the way of salvation led him, there he would go.

His first master was Sinell, Abbot of Cluaninis in Lough Erne. Sinell had also been trained at Clonard by St. Finian. Life at Cluaninis was spartan and the food poor - a battle to subject the body to the will - and obedience to the abbot was strict. During this period Columbanus composed a commentary on the Psalms. Soon after he felt called to the celebrated monastery of Bangor on the coast of Down, to live under the abbot St. Comgall. At that time Bangor was known as the monastery with the most ascetic practices in the country. Columbanus eagerly embraced the asceticism of Bangor, and for many years led a life conspicuous for fervor, regularity, and learning.

At about the age of forty he seemed to hear incessantly the voice of God bidding him preach the Gospel in foreign lands. At first Comgall declined to let him go, being loath to part with one who had become so great a help and comfort to him; but at length he realized he had no right to consider only his own convenience, and he gave his consent. Columbanus then set sail with twelve companions. Their names have come down to us as follows: St. Attala, Columbanus the Younger, Cummain, Domgal, Eogain, Eunan, St. Gall, Gurgano, Libran, Lua, Sigisbert and Waldoleno. The little band passed over to Britain, landing probably on the Scottish coast. They remained but a short time in England; sometime around the year 585 they crossed over to France, where they began their apostolic mission at once. Columbanus, by his holiness, zeal, and learning, was eminently fitted for the work that lay before him. Wherever he went the people were struck by his modesty, patience, and humility.

  Columbanus and his followers made their way to the court of Gontram, King of Burgundy. Gontram gave him a gracious reception, and offered him the half-ruined Roman fortress of Annegray in the solitudes of the Vosges Mountains. Here Columbanus and his monks led the simplest of lives, their food oftentimes consisting of nothing but forest herbs, berries, and the bark of young trees. The fame of his sanctity drew crowds to his monastery. Many, both nobles and rustics, asked to be admitted into the community. Sick persons came to be cured through their prayers.
After a few years the ever-increasing number of his disciples oblige him to build another monastery. Columbanus accordingly obtained from King Gontram the Gallo-Roman castle named Luxeuil, eight miles distant from Annegray. It was in a wild district, thickly covered with pine forests and brushwood. This foundation of the celebrated Abbey of Luxueil took place in 590. But even these two monasteries did not suffice for the numbers who came to follow him, and a third had to be erected at Fontaines. The superiors of these houses always remained subordinate to Columbanus, but the saint so loved his solitude that he would often withdraw to a cave several miles distant, with only a single companion who acted as messenger between himself and his brethren.

It was in the wilderness that his typically Celtic love of nature is shown. Bishop Chamnoald, once Columbanus's disciple, tells that Columbanus would call out to the creatures when he went into the woods to fast or pray, and that they would come to him at once. He would stroke them with his hand and caress them: and the wild things and the birds would leap and frisk about him for sheer joy as pups jump on their masters. Even the squirrels would answer his call, climbing into the hands and onto the shoulders of Columbanus and running in and out of the folds of his cowl. Chamnoald said that he himself had seen this, and that we should not marvel that bird and beast should obey the command of a man of God. Animals are involved in several of his principal miracles including: escape from hurt when surrounded by wolves, and obedience of a bear which evacuated a cave at his bidding. Other miracles attributed to him include producing a spring of water near his cave; giving sight to a blind man at Orleans; and a miraculous multiplication of bread and beer for his community.

Columbanus stayed in France as Abbot of Luxeuil for more than twenty years. But there were frequent disputes with French bishops who did not share his fervent monastic spirituality. His ever-increasing influence allowed him to maintain primary control over his monasteries instead of acknowledging the authority of the local bishops, who did not enjoy having their power compromised. His devotion to Gaelic ways placed Columbanus at the center of the oft-recurring controversy over observing the Celtic date for Easter. Columbanus was erratic in his obedience, sometimes deferring to the Pope with great respect and other times refusing to appear when summoned before official disciplinary gatherings. Eventually King Theoderic drove Columbanus into exile for refusing to bless the King's illegitimate children.

When Columbanus crossed the Alps into the province of Lombardy, King Agilulph welcomed the exiled saint almost as a national asset, despite the fact that he immediately became involved in a doctrinal dispute with Arian factions who denied the divine nature of Christ. Columbanus found his reward of peace at the end of his life when King Agilulph of Lombardy gave him a tract of land called Bobbio, between Milan and Genoa, near the River Trebbia. At Bobbio the saint repaired the half-ruined church of St. Peter, and erected his celebrated abbey, which for centuries was a stronghold of orthodoxy in Northern Italy. He continued to preach to large crowds who were deeply moved at the sight of his long white hair and beard. His face though deeply lined with age and fatigue still shone with the zeal for Christ and was still able to move souls. He prepared for death by retiring to his cave on the mountain-side overlooking the Trebbia, where, according to a tradition, he had dedicated a perpetual oratory to Our Lady. Attala, one of his companions on his original apostolic trip to France, succeeded him as Abbot of that monastery. Much of what we know about Columbanus comes from a biography by an Italian monk named Jonas, written only a few years after his death while many of his contemporaries were still alive. Jonas was able to interview Attala and other close companions of the saint.

By nature Columbanus was eager, passionate, and dauntless; these qualities were both the source of his power and the cause of his mistakes. The fascination of this complicated saintly personality drew numerous communities around him. Bobbio in Italy became a citadel of faith and learning, while Luxeuil in France became the nursery of saints and apostles. From the walls of Luxeuil went forth men who carried his rule, together with the Gospel, into France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. There are said to have been sixty-three such disciples, who are accredited with founding over one hundred different monasteries. Columbanus was famous for the austerity of his Rule of Life, which incorporated many of the abstemious customs of Bangor and other Celtic holy communities. He also wrote an exhaustive list of penances to be imposed upon his fellow monks for every fault, however light. After his death most of his followers abandoned the severity of his Rule in favor of the Rule of St. Benedict, but his Penitential survived, and eventually became the model for the general penitential system of Western Europe.

Columbanus's body has been preserved in the abbey church at Bobbio, and many miracles are said to have been wrought there through his intercession. In the late 15th century the relics were placed in a new shrine and laid beneath the altar of the crypt, where they are still venerated. The sacristy at Bobbio possesses a portion of the skull of the saint, his knife, wooden cup, bell, and an ancient water vessel. St. Columbanus' Day is listed in many martyrologies as 21 November, but his feast is kept by the Benedictines and throughout Ireland on 24 November. Many dates in the saint's life are uncertain, but quite a few sources say he died in the year 615 on November 23.

670 St. Wilfretrudis Benedictine abbess niece of St. Gertrude
 she became abbess of the convent of Nivelles, Brabant, Belgium.
Wilfetrudis of Nivelle, OSB Abbess (AC)
Wilfetrudis was the second abbess of the Benedictine convent of Nivelles in Brabant, which had been founded by her aunt Saint Gertrude of Nivelles (Benedictines).
695 St. Trudo an apostle to the pagans of Hasbaye, his home
In óppido Hasbániæ, in Bélgio, sancti Trudónis, Presbyteri et Confessóris, cujus nómine póstmodum insignítum fuit tum monastérium illic ab eódem Sancto in suis prædiis eréctum, tum ipsum óppidum in eo loco paulátim exstrúctum.
    In the town of Hasbein in Belgium, St. Trudo, priest and confessor.  Both the monastery which he had erected on his land, and the town which soon afterwards arose, were later named for him.
Benedictine abbot, also called Trond or Tron. He was a Frank who entered the Benedictines and was ordained by St. Clodulphus of Metz. Trudo founded an abbey circa 660 which was later called St. Trond. It was located near Louvain on an estate which had belonged to his own family. He is called an apostle to the pagans of Hasbaye, his home region.

690 St Trudo, of Trond
The province of Brabant was by no means free of paganism by the seventh century, and on account of his missionary zeal this saint is venerated as the apostle of that part of it called Hasbaye. His parents were Franks, and he gave himself to the service of the Church. St Remaclus sent Trudo to the cathedral school of Metz, where St Clodulf eventually ordained him. He then returned to his native district, where he preached among the heathen and built a church on his own estate, with a monastery attached which gave its name to the present Saint-Trond, between Louvain and Tongres. He also founded a nunnery near Bruges.

A life, compiled by the deacon Donatus less than a century after the death of the saint, may be accepted as fairly reliable. It was printed by Mabillon, and more critically by Levison in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. vi. Another life, by Theoderic, is of little value, See also Van der Essen, Etude critique sur les saints Mérovingiens (1907), pp. 91—96. The early Wissenburg text of the Hieronymianum mentions St Trudo. See Fr M, Coens in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxxii (1954), pp. 90—94, 98—100.  

Trudo, OSB Abbot (RM) (also known as Trond, Trudon, Tron, Truyen, Trudjen). A Benedictine under Saint Remaclus, Trudo was ordained a priest by Saint Clodulphus of Metz, and eventually founded and governed an abbey on his paternal estate (c. 660), afterwards called after him Saint-Trond situated between Louvain/Tongres (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

946 St. Rachilidis Benedictine hermitess lived in a walled up cell near the cell of St. Wiborada.
She lived in a walled up cell near the monastery of St. Gall, Switzerland, near the cell of St. Wiborada.
1263 Alexander Nevsky
Born at Pereaslavl, 1219; died at Vladimir, canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1547.

Grandprince Alexander of Novgorod, Vladimir and Kiev, saved Russia by his policy of conciliation towards the invading Tartars and firm resistance to enemies on the west.
His name of Nevsky came from his victory in 1240 over the Swedes on the River Neva; he defeated the Teutonic Knights at Lake Peipus in 1242, and drove out the Lithuanians soon after.

But he was no mere ambitious conqueror: "God is not on the side of force," he said, "but of truth and justice."
He had several times to make long journeys to the Tartar overlords to intercede for his people, and earned much obloquy thereby from those who disapproved of his policy. He bore the unjust accusations patiently, and the religious integrity of his life, together with his great services to his people, caused him to be venerated as a saint: "Go glorified his righteous servant," it is said, "because he labored greatly for the land of Russia and for the true Christian religion."

In 1938, Alexander Nevsky was made the subject of a film by Eisentein, with music by Prokofiev (Attwater).

The Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky was born on May 30, 1220 in the city of Pereslavl-Zalessk. His father Yaroslav II, Theodore in Baptism (+1246), "a gentle, kindly and genial prince", was the younger son of Vsevolod III Large Nest (+ 1212), brother of the Holy Prince Yuri Vsevolodovich (February 4). St Alexander's mother, Theodosia Igorevna, a Ryazan princess, was Yaroslav's third wife. Their older son was the Holy Prince Theodore (June 5), who departed to the Lord at age fifteen. St Alexander was their second son.

His childhood was spent at Pereslavl-Zalessk, where his father was prince. The princely tonsure of the lad Alexander (a ceremony of initiation to be soldier) was done in the Savior Transfiguration Cathedral of Pereslavl by St Simon, Bishop of Suzdal (May 10), one of the compilers of the Kiev Caves Paterikon (Lives of the Fathers). From this Elder-hierarch, St Alexander received his first blessing for military service in the name of God, to defend the Russian Church and the Russian Land.

In 1227 Prince Yaroslav, at the request of the people of Novgorod, was sent by his brother Yuri, the Great Prince of Vladimir, to rule as prince in Novgorod the Great. He took with him his sons, Sts Theodore and Alexander. Dissatisfied with the Vladimir princes, the people of Novgorod soon invited St Michael of Chernigov (September 20), and in February 1229 Yaroslav with his sons departed to Pereslavl. The matter ended peacefully: in 1230 Yaroslav with his sons returned to Novgorod, and St Michael's daughter Theodosia was betrothed to St Theodore, the elder brother of St Alexander. After the death of the bridegroom in 1233 the young princess went to a monastery and became famous in monastic exploits as the nun St Euphrosyne of Suzdal (September 25).

From his early years St Alexander went along on his father's campaigns. In 1235 he participated in a battle at the River Emajogi (in present-day Estonia), where the forces of Yaroslav totally routed the Germans. In the following year Yaroslav went to Kiev, "settling" his son, St Alexander, to rule independently as prince at Novgorod. In 1239 St Alexander entered into marriage, taking as wife the daughter of the Polotsian prince Briacheslav. Some histories relate that the day the princess was baptized was the Name Day of her saintly spouse, and she was named Alexandra. His father, Yaroslav, blessed them at betrothal with the holy wonderworking icon of the Theodore Mother of God (the father was named Theodore in Baptism). Afterwards, St Alexander constantly prayed before this icon. Later, it was taken from the Gorodetsk Monastery, where he died, by his brother Basil of Kostroma (+1276), and transferred to Kostroma.

A very troublesome time had begun in Russian history: from the East came the Mongol Horde destroying everything in their path; from the West came the forces of the Teutonic Knights, which blasphemously and with the blessing of the Roman Pope, called itself "Cross-bearers" by wearing the Cross of the Lord. In this terrible hour the Providence of God raised up for the salvation of Russia holy Prince Alexander, a great warrior, man of prayer, ascetic and upholder of the Land of Russia. "Without the command of God there would not have been his prince."

Abetted by the invasion of Batu, by the ruin of Russian cities, by the dismay and grief of the nation, by the destruction of its finest sons and leaders, a horde of crusaders made incursions into the borders of Russia. First were the Swedes. "A king of Roman faith from the midnight land," Sweden, in 1240 gathered a great armed force and sent them to the Neva on many ships under the command of his son-in-law, Yarl (Prince) Birger. The haughty Swede sent his messengers to Novgorod to say to St Alexander: "Fight me if you have the courage, for I am already here and I am taking your land captive."

St Alexander, then not yet twenty years old, prayed a long time in the church of St Sophia, the Wisdom of God. He recited the Psalm of David, saying: "Judge, O Lord, those who injure me, fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and rise up to help me" (Ps. 34/35). Archbishop Spyridon blessed the holy prince and his army for the battle. Leaving the church, St Alexander exhorted his troops with words of faith: "The power of God is not in numbers, but in truth." With a smaller force, trusting in the Holy Trinity, the prince hastened towards the enemy to await help from his father, not knowing whether the enemy would attack, nor when.

But there was a miraculous omen: at dawn on July 15 the warrior Pelgui, in Baptism Philip, saw a boat, and on it were the Holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb, in royal purple attire. Boris said: "Brother Gleb, let us help our kinsman Alexander." When Pelgui reported the vision to the prince, St Alexander commanded that no one should speak about the miracle. Emboldened by this, he urged the army to fight valiantly against the Swedes.

"There was a great slaughter of the Latins, and a countless multitude was killed, and their leader was left with a mark upon his face from a sharp spear." An angel of God invisibly helped the Orthodox army: when morning came, on the opposite bank of the River Izhora, where the army of St Alexander was unable to proceed, was a multitude of the slain enemy. Because of this victory at the River Neva on July 15, 1240, the nation called the saint Alexander Nevsky.

The Teutonic Knights remained a dangerous enemy. In a lightning-quick campaign in 1241 St Alexander recaptured the ancient Russian fortress of Kopore, expelling the knights. But in 1242, the Germans succeeded capturing Pskov. The enemy boasted of "subjecting all the Slavic nation." St Alexander, setting forth in a winter campaign, liberated Pskov, that ancient home of the Holy Trinity, and in spring of the year 1242 fought a decisive battle against the Teutonic Order. On the ice of Lake Chud both armies clashed on April 5, 1242. Raising his hands towards the heavens, St Alexander prayed: "Judge me, O God, and judge my strife with a boastful nation and grant help to me, O God, as to Moses of old against Amalek, and to my great-grandfather Yaroslav the Wise against accursed Svyatopolk."

By his prayer, by the help of God, and by military might the Crusaders were completely destroyed. There was a terrible slaughter, and there was such a crashing of striking spears and swords that it seemed as though the frozen lake were in motion and not solid ice, since it was covered with blood. When they turned to flee, the enemy was pursued and slashed by Alexander's army "as if they sped through the air, and there was nowhere for the enemy to flee." Later, they led a multitude of captives behind the holy prince, marching in disgrace.

Contemporaries clearly understood the universal historical significance of the Great Battle of the Ice, and the name of St Alexander was celebrated throughout Holy Russia, "through all the lands, from the Egyptian Sea to Mount Ararat, from both sides of the Varangian Sea to Great Rome."

The western boundaries of the Russian land were safely secured, and it was time to guard Russia from the East. In 1242 St Alexander Nevsky and his father Yaroslav journeyed to the Horde. Metropolitan Cyril blessed them for this new service of many hardships: it was necessary to turn the Tatars from enemies and plunderers into honorable allies, and this required "the meekness of an angel and the wisdom of a snake."

The Lord crowned the holy mission of the defenders of the Russian land with success, but this required years of hardship and sacrifice. Prince Yaroslav passed from this life. Having made an alliance with Khan Batu, he was required, however, to travel to faraway Mongolia, to the capital of all the nomadic empire. The situation of Batu himself being precarious, he sought the support of the Russian princes, wishing to break with his own Golden Horde from faraway Mongolia. And there in turn, they trusted neither Batu nor the Russians.

Prince Yaroslav was poisoned. He died in agony, surviving the Holy Martyr Michael of Chernigov, whose relative he nearly became, by only ten days. Since his father bequeathed him an alliance with the Golden Horde, it was necessary for St Alexander Nevsky to hold fast to it in order to avert a new devastation of Russia. Sartak, the son of Batu, had accepted Christianity, and was in charge of Russian affairs with the Horde. He became his friend, and like a brother to him. Vowing his support, St Alexander allowed Batu to launch a campaign against Mongolia, to become the chief power in all the Great Steppes, and to raise up the Tatar Christian leader, Khan Munke (most of his Tatar Christians were Nestorians) on the throne in Mongolia.

Not all the Russian princes possessed the wisdom of St Alexander Nevsky. Many hoped for European help in the struggle against the Mongol Yoke. St Michael of Chernigov, Prince Daniel of Galich, and Andrew, St Alexander's brother, conducted negotiations with the Roman Pope. But St Alexander well knew the fate of Constantinople, seized and devastated by Crusaders in the year 1204. His own personal experience taught him not to trust the West. The alliance of Daniel of Galich with the Pope, giving him nothing in return, was a betrayal of Orthodoxy, a unia with Rome. St Alexander did not want this to happen to his Church.

When ambassadors of the Roman Pope appeared in 1248 to seduce him also, he wrote in answer that the Russians were faithful to the Church of Christ and to the belief of the Seven Ecumenical Councils: "These we know very well, but we do not accept your teaching." Catholicism was unsuitable for the Russian Church, and a unia signified a rejection of Orthodoxy, a rejection of the source of spiritual life, a rejection of the historical future foreordained by God, and the dooming of itself to spiritual death.

In the year 1252 many Russian cities rose up against the Tatar Yoke, supporting Andrew Yaroslavich. The situation was very risky. Again there arose a threat to the very existence of Russia. St Alexander had to journey to the Horde once more, in order to prevent a punitive Tatar incursion on the Russian lands. Defeated, Andrew fled to the Swedes seeking the help of those very robbers whom his great brother had crushed with the help of God at the Neva.

St Alexander became the ruling Great Prince of All Rus: Vladimir, Kiev and Novgorod. A great responsibility before God and history lay upon his shoulders. In 1253, he repelled a new German incursion against Pskov; in 1254 he made a treaty with Norway concerning peacetime borders; in 1256 he went on a campaign to the Finnish land. The chronicler called it "the dark campaign," because the Russian army went along through the polar night, "going to impassable places, unable to see neither day nor night". Into the darkness of paganism St Alexander brought the light of Gospel preaching and Orthodox culture. All the coastal region was enlightened and opened up by the Russians.

In 1256 Khan Batu died, and soon his son Sartak was poisoned, the one who was like a brother to Alexander Nevsky. The holy prince journeyed a third time to Sarai in order to confirm peaceful relations of Rus and the Horde with the new Khan, Berke. Although the successor to Batu had accepted Islam, he needed the alliance with Orthodox Rus. In 1261, by the diligent efforts of St Alexander and Metropolitan Cyril, a diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church was established at Sarai, the capital of the Golden Horde.

There followed an epoch of great Christianization of the pagan East, and St Alexander Nevsky prophetically speculated about the historical vocation of Rus. The holy prince used every possibility to uplift his native land and the ease its allotted cross. In 1262 by his decree in many of the cities the Tatar collectors of tribute and the conscription of soldiers were stopped. They waited for a Tatar reprisal. But the great intercessor of the nation again journeyed to the Horde and he wisely directed the event into quite another channel. Having been dismissed for the uprising of the Russians, Khan Berke ceased to send tribute to Mongolia and proclaimed the Golden Horde an independent entity, making it a veritable shield for Russia from the East. In this great uniting of the Russian and Tatar lands and peoples the future multi-national Russian State was matured and strengthened. Later, within the bounds of the Russian Church, was encompassed nearly the entire legacy of Ghenghis Khan to the coasts of the Pacific Ocean.

This diplomatic journey of St Alexander Nevsky to Sarai was his fourth and last. The future of Rus was rescued, his duty before God was fulfilled. But his power was wholly devoted, and his life put to the service of the Russian Church. On the return journey from the Horde St Alexander fell deathly ill. Unable to reach Vladimir, in a monastery at Gorodets the prince-ascetic gave up his spirit to the Lord on November 14, 1263, completing his difficult earthly path by receiving the monastic schema with the name of Alexis.

Metropoltan Cyril, the spiritual Father and companion of the holy prince, said in the funeral eulogy: "Know, my child, that already the sun has set for the land of Suzdal. There will be no greater prince in the Russian land." They took his holy body to Vladimir, the journey lasted nine days, and the body remained undecayed.

On November 23, before his burial at the Nativity Monastery in Vladimir, there was manifest by God "a wondrous miracle and worthy of memory." When the body of St Alexander was placed in the crypt, the steward Sebastian and Metropolitan Cyril wanted to take his hand, in order to put in it the spiritual gramota (document of absolution). The holy prince, as though alive, reached out his hand and took the document from the hand of the Metropolitan. "Because of their terror, and they were barely able to stumble from his tomb. Who would not be astonished at this, since he was dead and the body was brought from far away in the winter time."

Thus did God glorify the saintly Soldier-Prince Alexander Nevsky. The universal Church glorification of St Alexander Nevsky took place under Metropolitan Macarius at the Moscow Cathedral in 1547. The Canon to the saint was compiled at that time by the monk Michael of Vladimir.
1714 Saint Anthony the Hesychast loved Christ from his early childhood many of the clergy and laity flocked to him for spiritual advice or consolation in sorrows
 was born in the sub-Carpathian Mountains of Vilcea county in Romania, and he loved Christ from his early childhood. He knew many ascetics who lived as hesychasts, and they had a profound effect upon his life. He received the monastic tonsure at the Iezerul Skete, where he lived for several years as a young man.

In 1690, after he had gained experience in the ascetical life, the igumen blessed him to live as a solitary on Mt Iezerul. There he lived in a small cave, glorifying God and struggling against demons. Only real hesychasts know what great temptations and trials face those who wish to live as solitaries.

St Anthony labored for three years digging a chapel out of the cliffside with his own hands. He would work during the day, and keep vigil by night. When the chapel was finished, it was consecrated by Bishop Hilarion of Rimnicu Vilcea. St Anthony prayed there unceasingly, reading the daily services and making hundreds of prostrations. A hieromonk from the Skete would come from time to time to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Feast Days and during the fasts.

St Anthony's holy life became known throughout the region, and many of the clergy and laity flocked to him for spiritual advice or consolation in sorrows. He received them with love, gave them the help they needed, and sent them home in peace. Through his influence, a genuine spiritual revival took place in sub-Carpathian Oltenia.

St Anthony fell asleep in the Lord in 1714 after twenty-five years of spiritual struggles. His disciples mourned him, and buried him beside his small chapel. The faithful still go there to light candles and to pray, seeking his blessing and assistance.
St Anthony the Hesychast was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.
1703 St Metrophanes, Bishop of Voronezh, in the world Michael saint, a stone church was built there in honor of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos
born November 8, 1623. Since the saint's book of commemorations begins with persons of priestly rank, it is assumed that he was born into a priestly family. We know from St Metrophanes' will that he "was born of pious parents and was raised by them in the incorrupt piety of the Eastern Church, in the Orthodox Faith."

Until he was forty, the saint lived in the world. He was married, had a son John, and served as a parish priest. The place of Father Michael's pastoral activity was the village of Sidorovo, situated at the River Molokhta, a tributary of the Teza flowing to the Klyazma, not far from the city of Shui (now Vladimir district).

After his wife died, Father Michael received monastic tonsure with the name Metrophanes in the Zolotnikovskaya Dormition Monastery in 1663. In the Synodikon of the monastery the entry for St Metrophanes begins with the words: "Origin of the black clergy Metrophanes of Sidorovo." After three years of monastic life the hieromonk Metrophanes was chosen igumen of the St Cosmas of Yakrom (February 18) monastery. He guided the monastery for ten years, showing himself zealous as its head. By his efforts a church was built here in honor of the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands (August 16).

Patriarch Joachim (1674-1690), learning about the deep piety of St Metrophanes, raised him in 1675 to the rank of archimandrite of the Makariev-Unzha monastery. Under the supervision of the saint, a stone church was built there in honor of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, together with a trapeza and bell-tower.

At the Moscow Council of 1681-1682 among the number of measures taken for the struggle against the old ritualist schism, and with the goal of improving Christian enlightenment among the Orthodox populace, it was resolved to increase the number of dioceses, and to open up new cathedrals at Voronezh, Tambov, Kholmogor and Great Ustiug. St Metrophanes was summoned to the capital and on April 2, 1682 was consecrated Bishop of Voronezh by Patriarch Joachim and sixteen archpastors.

The beginning of St Metrophanes' tenure as bishop coincided with a dispute over the imperial succession, and a Church schism. Upon his arrival at Voronezh the saint first of all sent an encyclical to the pastors of his diocese, in which he urged his pastors to moral improvement. "Venerable priests of God Most High," he wrote, "leaders of the flock of Christ! You ought to possess clear eyes of the mind, illumined by the light of reason, in order to lead others on the correct path. In the words of the Lord, you must be the light yourselves: 'you are the light of the world' (Mt. 5:14). When Christ the Savior entrusted His flock to the Apostle Peter, He said to him three times: 'feed my sheep.' This is because pastors care for their flock in three ways: by the words of teaching, by prayer and the power of the Holy Mysteries, and by their way of life. You must also act by all three methods: teach the people, set an example of a righteous life, and pray for them. Strengthen them by the Holy Mysteries; above all enlighten the unbelievers by holy Baptism, and try to lead sinners to repentance. Take care of the sick, so that they do not depart from this life without receiving Holy Communion and Holy Unction."

St Metrophanes began his archpastoral activity with the building of a new cathedral church in honor of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, replacing an old wooden temple. In 1692 the cathedral with chapels in honor of St Michael and St Nicholas was consecrated. In the twenty years that St Metrophanes was bishop, the number of churches increased from 182 to 239, and two monasteries were founded: the Korotoyaksk Ascension and the Bitiugsk Trinity monasteries. And in the existing monasteries, he concerned himself with eradicating the unseemly behavior and disorder, emphasizing a strict life according to the monastic rule.

The first Bishop of Voronezh eagerly concerned himself with the needs of his flock. He consoled both the poor and the wealthy, was a defender of widows and orphans, and an advocate of the wronged. His home served as a hostel for strangers and a hospice for the sick. The saint prayed not only for the living, but also for dead Christians, and particularly for soldiers fallen for the Fatherland, inscribing their names in the cathedral's memorial list. Remembering them at Proskomedia [priest's preparation of the gifts before Liturgy], St Metrophanes said: "If this is a righteous soul, then there is a greater portion of worthiness. If he is a sinner, however, then there is a connection with God's mercy."

There was a great friendship between St Metrophanes and St Pitirim, Bishop of Tambov (July 28). They not only kept up a correspondence, but also met for spiritual talks. The founding of the Tregulyaev monastery of St John the Forerunner was connected with the friendship of the bishops. On September 15, 1688 St Metrophanes visited St Pitirim. Three of them (the priest Basil was with them) took a stroll together to the Tambov archpastor's place of solitary prayer, and there they chose the place for the future monastery.

St Metrophanes, an intensely patriotic man, by his own moral authority, kind-heartedness and prayers, contributed to the reforms of Peter I, the necessity and purpose of which he well understood. With the building of a fleet at Voronezh for a campaign against Azov, St Metrophanes urged the nation to fully support Peter I. This was particularly important, since many regarded the construction of a fleet as useless. The saint did not limit himself only to advice to the Tsar, but rendered also material support to the state treasury, which needed money for the construction of the fleet, and he provided all the means, aware that they would go for the benefit of the nation.

The saint's patriotic feelings were combined in his soul with unflinching faith and strict Orthodox conviction, on account of which he did not fear incurring the Tsar's wrath. The saint refused to go to court to see Peter I, since there were statues of pagan gods there, and although disgrace threatened the saint for disobeying the imperial will, he remained uncompromising. Peter gave orders to remove the statues and from that time was filled with greater respect for the bishop.

St Metrophanes died in 1703 in extreme old age, taking the schema with the name Macarius before his death. The funeral took place on December 4, conducted according to the saint's monastic, not priestly rank. This became the established practice for the burial of a bishop. Tsar Peter I himself carried the coffin from the cathedral to the tomb. Taking leave, he said: "I no longer have a holy Elder such as he. Memory eternal to him."

One of the remarkable memorials of the life and activity of St Metrophanes is his Spiritual Testament. In it he says: "By divine destiny I have arrived at old age and now I have exhausted my natural strength. Therefore I declare this my final writing ... When my sinful soul is released from its union with the flesh, I entrust it to God Who created it, that it might find favor as the work of His hands. My sinful bones I grant to the mother of all (the earth), in expectation of the resurrection of the dead." Further on, addressing pastors and the flocks, the saint says: "The simple sinner give answer to God for his soul alone, but priests can come to torment for many, in neglecting the sheep, from which they gather milk and wool... For everyone the rule of wise men is: do work, preserve a balance, and you will be rich. Drink temperately, eat little, and you will be healthy. Do good, shun evil, and you will be saved."

The commemoration of St Metrophanes was established in 1832. On August 7, we celebrate the translation of his holy relics.

Holy Hierarch, Bishop of Voronezh Metrophanes, in the world Michael, was born on November 8, 1623. In the Holy Hierarch’s diptych of commemorations, the list of names begins with people in the priestly rank; this provides grounds to conclude that he was born into a family with a priestly heritage. From Holy Hierarch Metrophanes’ Spiritual Will and Testament, we know that he “was born to pious parents and was raised by them in the unblemished piety of the Eastern Church, in the Orthodox Faith.” Until he was forty years of age, the Holy Hierarch lived in the world: he was married, had a son named John, and served as a parish priest. Priest Michael served in the village of Sidorovskoe, near the town of Shui, which is now in the Province of Vladimir.

In 1633, after the death of his spouse, Priest Michael accepted tonsure, taking the name Metrophanes, in the Zolotinkov Hermitage. After three years of monastic live, Hieromonk Metrophanes was chosen to be Abbot of the Monastery of St. Cosmas in Yakhromsk.  In directing that monastery for 10 years, he showed himself to be a dedicated rector. Through his efforts, a church dedicated to the Icon Not-made-by-hands of the All-merciful Savior was erected there.

Patriarch Joachim (1674-1690) learned of Holy Hierarch Metrophanes’ great piety, and in 1675 elevated him to the dignity of Archimandrite of the St. Makary-Unzhensk Monastery. There, through the Saint’s efforts, a church and bell tower, dedicated to the Annunciation, were erected.  On April 2, 1682, Patriarch Joachim and 16 bishops consecrated St. Metrophanes to be Bishop of Voronezh.

The beginning of Holy Hierarch Metrophanes’ Episcopal service coincided with Russia’s time of troubles and church schism. The first thing the Holy Hierarch did after his arrival in Voronezh was to send the pastors of his diocese an encyclical in which he appealed for his flock to undertake moral correction. The Hierarch wrote, “Reverend priests of the Most-high God!  Leaders of Christ’s flock! To guide others along the right path you must have bright, intelligent eyes, enlightened by the light of discernment.  As the Lord said, you must be light itself: you are the light of the world  (Matthew 5: 14)... in entrusting the flock to His Apostle, Christ the Savior said “feed [the flock]” to him thrice, as if to emphasize that there are three types of feeding the flock: through words of instruction, through prayer with the help of the Holy Mysteries, and through the example of one’s life. Employ all three means: give people an example of good life, teach the people, and pray for them, strengthening them by the Holy Mysteries; in particular you should enlighten those lacking faith, through Holy Baptism, and you should bring those who have sinned to repentance.  Be attentive to the sick, so that they not depart from this life without communing of the Holy Gifts and Holy Unction.”

Holy Hierarch St. Metrophanes began his archpastoral activities by replacing an old wooden church with a new cathedral church dedicated to the Annunciation to the Most-holy Theotokos.  In  1692, the cathedral, with side chapels to the Archangel Michael and Holy Hierarch St. Nicholas, was consecrated.  During St. Metrophanes’ 20 years of Episcopal service, the number of churches in his diocese grew from 182 to 239, and 2 monasteries were established. In the existing monasteries, he strove to root out dissention and disorder and to institute a strict way of life in accordance with the monastic rule.

The Holy Hierarch of Voronezh zealously looked after the needs of the flock. He comforted rich and poor alike, was a helper to widows and orphans and an intercessor for those who had been wronged. His house was a refuge for strangers and a hospital for the sick.  He prayed for deceased Christians as well as for the living; he listed in his commemoration book, and prayed especially for, soldiers who had fallen for the Homeland. Commemorating them at the Proskomedia, St. Metrophanes would say, “If a soul be righteous, may it be made worthy of a greater reward; if it be sinful, may it be a partaker of God’s mercy.”

Holy Hierarch St. Metrophanes’ great friendship with Holy Hierarch St. Pitirim, Bishop of Tambov (commemorated July 28), is well known. They not only corresponded, but also met to discuss spiritual matters.

An ardent patriot, Holy Hierarch St. Metrophanes understood quite well what Peter I had set as his goals and what he critically needed; and with his moral authority, charity, and prayers, collaborated in that needed transformation.  St. Metrophanes urged the people to assist Peter I in every way possible in construction of a fleet in Voronezh for the Azov Campaign. That was especially important, for many considered the building of a fleet a pointless exercise. The Holy Hierarch not only officered advice to the Tsar, but also rendered material support to the government treasury, which was in need of money to build the fleet; he gave up all of his resources, recognizing that they were going for the good of the Homeland.

Because the patriotic feelings in the Holy Hierarch’s soul were joined with an unshakable faith and strictness of Orthodox convictions, he was not afraid of angering the Tsar. Thus, the Saint refused to go to see Peter I in his palace, on the grounds that in it there stood statues of pagan gods; although disobeying the Tsar’s orders brought him the threat of disfavor and disgrace, he remained resolute. Peter ordered the statues to be removed, and from that point held the Holy Hierarch in even greater esteem.

St. Metrophanes reposed at a very advanced age, in 1703.  Before his death, he was tonsured into the great Schema, with the name Makary.   His funeral was held on December 4.  Tsar Peter I himself carried the coffin from the cathedral to the crypt. In saying goodbye, the Tsar said, “I am now bereft of such a holy elder.  May his memory be eternal.” One of the remarkable memorials of the life and work of St. Metrophanes is his Spiritual Will.  In it he said, “By God’s will, I have reached old age and now my natural strength is exhausted. Accordingly, I have decided to write this, my final writing… When my sinful soul is loosed from its bond to the body, I entrust it to the benevolence of the Most-wise God, its creator, that he might receive it kindly, as the work of His hands; my sinful bones I bequeath to the mother of all, and look forward from there to the resurrection of the dead.”  Further on, addressing his pastors and flock, the Holy Hierarch said, “A simple man will answer to God only for his own soul, but a priest will be tortured on account of many, as one who did not care for the sheep from which he collected milk and wool…. Here is a rule given by wise men, for all people: be industrious and measured [maintain a sense of proportion], and you will be rich.  Show temperance in drinking, eat little, and you will be healthy.  Do good and avoid evil, and you will be saved.”
   1927 Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro  b.1891.
¡Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King) were the last words Father Pro uttered before he was executed for being a Catholic priest and serving his flock.  Born into a prosperous, devout family in Guadalupe de Zacatecas, he entered the Jesuits in 1911 but three years later fled to Granada, Spain, because of religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925.  He immediately returned to Mexico, where he served a Church forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics.

He and his brother Roberto were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Mexico’s president. Roberto was spared but Miguel was sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. His funeral became a public demonstration of faith. He was beatified in 1988.

Comment:   In 1927 when Father Miguel Pro was executed, no one could have predicted that 52 years later the bishop of Rome would visit Mexico, be welcomed by its president and celebrate open-air Masses before thousands of people. Pope John Paul II made additional trips to Mexico in 1990, 1993 and 1999. Those who outlawed the Catholic Church in Mexico did not count on the deeply rooted faith of its people and the willingness of many of them, like Miguel Pro, to die as martyrs.
Quote:   During his homily at the beatification Mass, Pope John Paul II said that Father Pro “is a new glory for the beloved Mexican nation, as well as for the Society of Jesus. His life of sacrificing and intrepid apostolate was always inspired by a tireless evangelizing effort. Neither suffering nor serious illness, neither the exhausting ministerial activity, frequently carried out in difficult and dangerous circumstances, could stifle the radiating and contagious joy which he brought to his life for Christ and which nothing could take away (see John 16:22). Indeed, the deepest root of self-sacrificing surrender for the lowly was his passionate love for Jesus Christ and his ardent desire to be conformed to him, even unto death.”

Born on January 13, 1891 in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez was the eldest son of Miguel Pro and Josefa Juarez.

Miguelito, as his doting family called him, was, from an early age, intensely spiritual and equally intense in hi mischievousness, frequently exasperating his family with his humor and practical jokes. As a child, he had a daring precociouness that sometimes went too far, tossing him into near-death accidents and illnesses. On regaining consciousness after one of these episodes, young Miguel opened his eyes and blurted out to his frantic parents, "I want some cocol" (a colloquial term for his favorite sweet bread). "Cocol" became his nickname, which he would later adopt as a code name during this clandestine ministry.

Miguel was particularly close to his older sister and after she entered a cloistered convent, he came to recognize his own vocation to the priesthood. Although he was popular with the senoritas and had prospects of a lucrative career managing his father's thriving business concerns, Miguel renounced everything for Christ his King and entered the Jesuit novitiate in El Llano, Michoacan in 1911.

He studied in Mexico until 1914, when a tidal wave of anti-Catholicism crashed down upon Mexico, forcing the novitiate to disband and flee to the United States, where Miguel and his brother seminarians treked through Texas and New Mexico before arriving at the Jesuit house in Los Gatos, California.

In 1915, Miguel was sent to a seminary in Spain, where he remained until 1924, when he went to Belgium for his ordination to the priesthood in 1925. Miguel suffered from a severe stomach problem and after three operations, when his health did not improve, his superiors, in 1926, allowed him to return to Mexico in spite of the grave religious persecution in that country.

The churches were closed and priests went into hiding. Miguel spent the rest of his life in a secret ministry to the sturdy Mexican Catholics. In addition to fulfilling their spiritual needs, he also carried out the works of mercy by assisting the poor in Mexico City with their temporal needs. He adopted many interesting disguises in carrying out his secret mininstry. He would come in the middle of the night dressed as a beggar to baptize infants, bless marriages and celebrate Mass. He would appear in jail dressed as a police officer to bring Holy Viaticum to condemned Catholics. When going to fashionable neighboorhoods to procure for the poor, he would show up at the doorstep dressed as a fashionable businessmam with a fresh flower on his lapel. His many exploits could rival those of the most daring spies. In all that he did, however, Fr. Pro remained obedient to his superiors and was filled with the joy of serving Christ, his King.

Falsely accused in the bombing attempt on a former Mexican president, Miguel became a wanted man. Betrayed to the police, he was sentenced to death without the benefit of any legal process.
On the day of his execution, Fr. Pro forgave his executtioners, prayed, bravely refused the blindfold and died proclaiming, "Viva Cristo Rey", "Long live Christ the King!"
Information courtesy of ProVision and Brother Gerald Mueller.
St. Columba    Catholic Encyclopedia

Abbot of Iona, b. at Garten, County Donegal, Ireland, 7 December, 521; d. 9 June, 597. He belonged to the Clan O'Donnell, and was of royal descent. His father's name was Fedhlimdh and that of his mother Eithne. On his father's side he was great-great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish king of the fourth century. His baptismal name was Colum, which signifies a dove, hence the latinized form Columba. It assumes another form in Colum-cille, the suffix meaning "of the Churches". He was baptized at Tulach-Dubhglaise, now Temple-Douglas, by a priest named Cruithnechan, who afterwards became his tutor or foster-father. When sufficiently advanced in letters he entered the monastic school of Moville under St. Finnian who had studied at St. Ninian's "Magnum Monasterium" on the shores of Galloway. Columba at Moville monastic life and received the diaconate. In the same place his sanctity first manifested itself by miracles. By his prayers, tradition says, he converted water into wine for the Holy Sacrifice (Adam., II, i). Having completed his training at Moville, he travelled southwards into Leinster, where he became a pupil of an aged bard named Gemman. On leaving him, Columba entered the monastery of Clonard, governed at that time by Finnian, a remarkable, like his namesake of Moville, for sanctity and learning. Here he imbibed the traditions of the Welsh Church, for Finnian had been trained in the schools of St. David. Here also he became one those twelve Clonard disciples known in subsequent history as the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. About this same time he was promoted to the priesthood by bishop Etchen of Clonfad. The story that St. Finnian wished Columba to be consecrated bishop, but through a mistake only priest's orders were conferred, is regarded by competent authorities as the invention of a later age (Reeves, Adam., 226).

Another preceptor of Columba was St. Mobhi, whose monastery at Glasnevin was frequented by such famous men as St. Canice, St. Comgall, and St. Ciaran. A pestilence which devastated Ireland in 544 caused the dispersion of Mobhi's disciples, and Columba returned to Ulster, the land of his kindred. The following years were marked by the foundation of several important monasteries, Derry, Durrow, and Kells. Derry and Durrow were always specially dear to Columba. While at Derry it is said that he planned a pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem, but did not proceed farther than Tours. Thence he brought a copy of those gospels that had lain on the bosom of St. Martin for the space of 100 years. This relic was deposited in Derry (Skene, Celtic Scotland, II, 483). Columba left Ireland and passed over into Scotland in 563. The motives for this migration have been frequently discussed. Bede simply says: "Venit de Hibernia . . . praedicaturus verbum Dei" (H. E., III, iv); Adarnnan: "pro Christo perigrinari volens enavigavit" (Praef., II). Later writers state that his departure was due to the fact that he had induced the clan Neill to rise and engage in battle against King Diarmait at Cooldrevny in 561. The reasons alleged for this action of Columba are: (1) The king's violation of the right of sanctuary belonging to Columba's person as a monk on the occasion of the murder of Prince Curnan, the saint's kinsman; (2) Diarmait's adverse judgment concerning the copy Columba had secretly made of St. Finnian's psalter. Columba is said to have supported by his prayers the men of the North who were fighting while Finnian did the same for Diarmait's men. The latter were defeated with a loss of three thousand. Columba's conscience smote him, and he had recourse to his confessor, St. Molaise, who imposed this severe penance: to leave Ireland and preach the Gospel so as to gain as many souls to Christ as lives lost at Cooldrevny, and never more to look upon his native land. Some writers hold that these are legends invented by the bards and romancers of a later age, because there is no mention of them by the earliest authorities (O'Hanlon, Lives of the Ir. Saints, VI, 353). Cardinal Moran accepts no other motive than that assigned by Adamnan, "a desire to carry the Gospel to a pagan nation and to win souls to God". (Lives ot Irish Saints in Great Britain, 67). Archbishop Healy, on the contrary, considers that the saint did incite to battle, and exclaims: "O felix culpa . . . which produced so much good both for Erin and Alba (Schools and Scholars, 311).

Columba was in his forty-fourth year when he departed from Ireland. He and his twelve companions crossed the sea in a currach of wickerwork covered with hides. They landed at Iona on the eve of Pentecost, 12 May, 563. The island, according to Irish authorities, was granted to the monastic colonists by King Conall of Dalriada, Columba's kinsman. Bede attributes the gift to the Picts (Fowler, p. lxv). It was a convenient situation, being midway between his countrymen along the western coast and the Picts of Caledonia. He and his brethren proceeded at once to erect their humble dwellings, consisting of a church, refectory, and cells, constructed of wattles and rough planks. After spending some years among the Scots of Dalriada, Columba began the great work of his life, the conversion of the Northern Picts. Together with St. Comgall and St. Canice (Kenneth) he visited King Brude in his royal residence near Inverness. Admittance was refused to the missionaries, and the gates were closed and bolted, but before the sign of the cross the bolts flew back, the doors stood open, and the monks entered the castle. Awe-struck by so evident a miracle, the king listened to Columba with reverence; and was baptized. The people soon followed the example set them, and thus was inaugurated a movement that extended itself to the whole of Caledonia. Opposition was not wanting, and it came chiefly from the Druids, who officially represented the paganism of the nation.

The thirty-two remaining years of Columba's life were mainly spent in preaching the Christian Faith to the inhabitants of the glens and wooded straths of Northern Scotland. His steps can be followed not only through the Great Glen, but eastwards also, into Aberdeenshire. The "Book of Deer" (p. 91) tells us how he and Drostan came, as God had shown them to Aberdour in Buchan, and how Bede, a Pict, who was high steward of Buchan, gave them the town in freedom forever. The preaching of the saint was confirmed by many miracles, and he provided for the instruction of his converts by the erection of numerous churches and monasteries. One of his journeys brought him to Glasgow, where he met St. Mungo, the apostle of Strathclyde. He frequently visited Ireland; in 570 he attended the synod of Drumceatt, in company with the Scottish King Aidan, whom shortly before he had inaugurated successor of Conall of Dalriada. When not engaged in missionary journeys, he always resided at Iona. Numerous strangers sought him there, and they received help for soul and body. From Iona he governed those numerous communities in Ireland and Caledonia, which regarded him as their father and founder. This accounts for the unique position occupied by the successors of Columba, who governed the entire province of the Northern Picts although they had received priest's orders only. It was considered unbecoming that any successor in the office of Abbot of Iona should possess a dignity higher than of the founder. The bishops were regarded as being of a superior order, but subject nevertheless to the jurisdiction of the abbot. At Lindisfarne the monks reverted to the ordinary law and were subject to a bishop (Bede, H.E., xxvii).

Columba is said never to have spent an hour without study, prayer, or similar occupations. When at home he was frequently engaged in transcribing. On the eve of his death he was engaged in the work of transcription. It is stated that he wrote 300 books with his own hand, two of which, "The Book of Durrow" and the psalter called "The Cathach", have been preserved to the present time. The psalter enclosed in a shrine, was originally carried into battle by the O' Donnells as a pledge of victory. Several of his compositions in Latin and Irish have come down to us, the best known being the poem "Altus Prosator", published in the "Liber Hymnorum", and also in another form by the late Marquess of Bute. There is not sufficient evidence to prove that the rule attributed to him was really his work.

In the spring of 597 he knew that his end was approaching. On Saturday, 8 June, he ascended the hill overlooking his monastery and blessed for the last time the home so dear to him. That afternoon he was present at Vespers, and later, when the bell summoned the community to the midnight service, he forestalled the others and entered the church without assistance. But he sank before the altar, and in that place breathed forth his soul to God, surrounded by his disciples. This happened a little after midnight between the 8th and 9th of June, 597. He was in the seventy-seventh year of his age. The monks buried him within the monastic enclosure. After the lapse of a century or more his bones were disinterred and placed within a suitable shrine. But as Northmen and Danes more than once invaded the island, the relics of St. Columba were carried for purposes of safety into Ireland and deposited in the church of Downpatrick. Since the twelfth century history is silent regarding them. His books and garments were held in veneration at Iona, they were exposed and carried in procession, and were the means of working miracles (Adam., II, xlv). His feast is kept in Scotland and Ireland on the 9th of June. In the Scottish Province of st Andrews and Edinburgh there is a Mass and Office proper to the festival, which ranks as a double of the second class with an octave. He is patron of two Scottish dioceses Argyle and the Isles and Dunkeld. According to tradition St. Columba was tall and of dignified mien. Adamnan says: "He was angelic in appearance, graceful in speech, holy in work" (Praef., II). His voice was strong, sweet, and sonorous capable at times of being heard at a great distance. He inherited the ardent temperament and strong passions of his race. It has been sometimes said that he was of an angry and vindictive spirit not only because of his supposed part in the battle of Cooldrevny but also because of irritant related by Adamnan (II, xxiii sq. ) But the deeds that roused his indignation were wrongs done to others, and the retribution that overtook the perpetrators was rather predicted than actually invoked. Whatever faults were inherent in his nature he overcame and he stands before the world conspicuous for humility and charity not only towards has brethren, but towards strangers also. He was generous and warm-hearted, tender and kind even to dumb creatures. He was ever ready to sympathize with the joys and sorrows of others. His fasts and vigils were carried to a great extent. The stone pillow on which he slept is said to be still preserved in Iona. His chastity of body and purity of mind are extolled by all his biographers. Notwithstanding his wonderful austerities, Adamnan assures us he was beloved by all, "for a holy joyousness that ever beamed from his countenance revealed the gladness with which the Holy Spirit filled his soul". (Praef., II.)

He was not only a great missionary saint who won a whole kingdom to Christ, but he was a statesman, a scholar, a poet, and the founder of numerous churches and monasteries. His name is dear to Scotsmen and Irishmen alike. And because of his great and noble work even non-Catholics hold his memory in veneration. For the purposes of controversy it has been maintained some that St. Columba ignored papal supremacy, because he entered upon his mission without the pope's authorization. Adamnan is silent on the subject; but his work is neither exhaustive as to Columba's life, nor does it pretend to catalogue the implicit and explicit belief of his patron. Indeed, in those days a mandate from the pope was not deemed essential for the work which St. Columba undertook. This may be gathered from the words of St. Gregory the Great, relative to the neglect of the British clergy towards the pagan Saxons (Haddan and Stubbs, III, 10). Columba was a son of the Irish Church, which taught from the days of St. Patrick that matters of greater moment should be referred to the Holy See for settlement. St. Columbanus, Columba's fellow-country-man and fellow-churchman, asked for papal judgment (judicium) on the Easter question; so did the bishops and abbots of Ireland. There is not the slightest evidence to prove that St. Columba differed on this point from his fellow-countryrnen. Moreover, the Stowe Missal, which, according to the best authority, represents the Mass of the Celtic Church during the early part of the seventh century, contains in its Canon prayers for the pope more emphatic than even those of the Roman Liturgy. To the further objection as to the supposed absence of the cultus of Our Lady, it may be pointed out that the same Stowe Missal contains before its Canon the invocation "Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis", which epitomizes all Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin. As to the Easter difficulty Bede thus sums up the reasons for the discrepancy: "He [Columba] left successors distinguished for great charity, Divine love, and strict attention to the rules of discipline following indeed uncertain cycles in the computation of the great festival of Easter, because, far away as they were out of the world, no one had supplied them with the synodal decrees relating to the Paschal observance" (H.E., III, iv). As far as can be ascertained no proper symbolical representation of St. Columba exists. The few attempts that have been made are for the most part mistaken. A suitable pictorial representation would exhibit him, clothed in the habit and cowl usually worn by the Basilian or Benedictine monks, with Celtic tonsure and crosier. His identity could be best determined by showing him standing near the shell-strewn shore, with currach hard by, and the Celtic cross and ruins of lona in the background.                      

 Wednesday  Saints of this Day November  23 Nono Kaléndas Decémbris  

November is the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory since 1888;
Pope Francis  PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR  November 2016
Universal: Countries Receiving Refugees

That the countries which take in a great number of displaced persons and refugees may find support for their efforts which show solidarity.

Evangelization: Collaboration of Priests and Laity
That within parishes, priests and lay people may collaborate in service to the community without giving in to the temptation of discouragement.

God Bless Mother Angelica 1923-2016

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!)

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'

"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
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.

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.

Join Mary of Nazareth Project help us build the International Marian Center of Nazareth
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: