Adrian of Canterbury, OSB, Abbot (AC)
Born in Africa; died at Canterbury, England, January 9, 710.
Saint Adrian became abbot at Nerida near Naples, Italy. Upon the death of Saint Deusdedit, the archbishop of Canterbury (England), Pope Saint Vitalian chose Adrian to replace the bishop because of his great learning and piety. Adrian seemed to be the perfect leader for a nation new in its Christianity. Yet Adrian demurred saying that he was not fitted for such a great dignity. He said that he would find someone else more suited for the task.
The first substitute was too ill to become archbishop. Again the pope urged the post on Adrian. Again Adrian begged permission to find someone else. At that time a Greek monk from Tarsus named Theodore was in Rome. Adrian nominated Theodore to the pope. Theodore was willing to become archbishop of Canterbury, but only if Adrian agreed to come to England and help him. Adrian readily consented to this compromise. It was agreed that Adrian would accompany Theodore to England as his assistant and adviser. On March 26, 668, Theodore was consecrated archbishop of Canterbury and two months later the two set sail for England.
They were a perfect team. Theodore appointed Adrian abbot of SS Peter and Paul abbey, afterward called Saint Augustine's, at Canterbury, where he taught Greek and Latin for 39 years. Here Adrian's learning and virtues were best employed. In addition to these languages, Adrian taught poetry, astronomy and math, as well as Scripture and virtue.
Into the minds of his students, Adrian "poured the waters of wholesome knowledge day by day," according to the Venerable Bede. The school became famous for its teaching and trained such stellars as Saints Aldhelm and Oftfor. Bede records that Saint Adrian was 'very learned in the Holy Scriptures, very experienced in administering the church and the monastery, and a great Greek and Latin scholar.' He also is said to have commented that some of Adrian's students spoke Latin and Greek equally as well as their native languages.
The abbot also helped the archbishop in his pastoral undertakings. There can be no doubt that the flourishing of the English Church in Theodore's time owed much to Adrian.
Adrian was known for miracles that helped students in trouble with their masters, and miracles were associated with his tomb in Saint Augustine's Church (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill, Walsh, White).
Berhtwald, OSB, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Beorhtweald, Berctuald, Bertwald, Brithwald, Brihtwald)
Died 731. Saint Berhtwald was an Anglo-Saxon, probably educated at Canterbury, who became a monk and later abbot of Reculver in Kent. He was elected archbishop of Canterbury in 692 upon the death of Saint Theodore and was consecrated at Lyons by its Archbishop Godwin. Saint Bede describes him as learned in Scripture and ecclesiastical and monastic sciences, although far inferior to his predecessor in the see.
During his 37-year reign in that see, he was in correspondence with Saints Boniface, Aldhelm, and Wilfrid. In 703, Berhtwald presided over the synod of Austerfield (West Yorkshire), which decreed that Wilfrid should resign his see of York, accept virtual deposition and confinement, and give up his monasteries (Peterborough, Brixworth, Evesham, and Wing). Despite Wilfrid's appeal to the pope for reinstatement, Berhtwald remained adamant until a compromise was reached in 705 at the Synod of the River Nidd, during which it was agreed that Saint John of Beverley would continue as bishop of York, while Wilfrid would govern Hexham and resume control of his monasteries.
Berhtwald's cultus was never very widespread. His feast was only ever celebrated at Saint Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury, where he was buried (Benedictines, Farmer).
Epictetus, Jucundus, Secundus, Vitalis, Felix & Comp. MM (RM)
Died c. 250. A group of twelve African martyrs probably of the Decian persecution (Benedictines).
Honorius of Buzancais M (RM)
Born at Buzancais, Berry, France; died in Parthenay, Poitou, France, in 1250; canonized in 1444.
Saint Honorius may not be the most important saint honored today; in fact, he's not celebrated liturgically. Nevertheless, I think that his life has a lesson for us.
The legends about Honorius tell us that he was likable and roguish, somewhat of a tease, never devout, never ascetic, never a mystic, never given to any particular austerities. He was very much like the stereotypical Frenchman--with a bit of the pagan and a bit of the Christian in him. He danced with girls at the local parties, did not hesitate to drink with other men, ate and slept suitably. He was, in short, full of life and in due course he married and succeeded as an dealer in cattle and sheep.
So, his life didn't exhibit heroic virtue. What about his death? It seems that Honorius returned from a voyage to learn that he had been robbed by two of his servants and remonstrated with them. He was foolishly murdered by these two envious and avaricious servants, who later accused themselves of the crime. What then can be astonishing about the life of Saint Honorius? How is he a saint? It seems that immediately after his death, so many miracles were worked by his relics that his cultus was approved by Pope Eugenius in 1444 (about 200 years later). Obviously, God saw something that we missed (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Julian, Basilissa, Antony, Anastasius & Comp. MM (RM)
Died c. 304. Basilissa was the wife of Julian. Together they turned their house into a hospital. For this reason they are often confused with Julian the Hospitaller. They were martyred in Antioch (uncertain which one) under Diocletian together with a priest named Anthony, a neophyte Anastasius, a child named Celsus and his mother Marcionilla and her seven brothers. Basilissa may have been martyred elsewhere. The existence of Julian and Basilissa is questioned by some hagiographers (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Marcellinus of Ancona B (RM)
Born in Ancona, Italy; died c. 566. Marcellinus was consecrated as bishop of Ancona about 550. He is mentioned by Saint Gregory the Great (Benedictines).
Marciana VM (RM)
Died c. 303. A maiden of Mauritania, Marciana was accused of having shattered a statue of the goddess Diana and thrown to the wild beasts in the amphitheater, where she was gored to death by a bull. The Mozarabic office has a special hymn in her honor (Benedictines). In art Saint Marciana is represented as a maiden gored by a bull. Sometimes there is a leopard and bull near her. She is invoked to cure wounds (Roeder).
Maurontius, OSB, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Maurontus, Mauruntius)
Died c. 700; feast day was May 5. Maurontius was the abbot-founder of Saint-Florent-le-Vieil in Anjou, France (Benedictines).
Paschasia of Dijon VM (RM)
Died c. 178. The virgin martyr Paschasia is venerated at Dijon, France. Her cultus was already described as ancient by Saint Gregory of Tours (died 596). Later legends connect her with Saint Benignus of Dijon (Benedictines).
Peter of Sebastea B (RM)
Born in Caesarea, Cappadocia, c. 340; died in Sebastea c. 391. Saint Peter was the youngest of the ten children of Saint Basil the Elder and Saint Emmelia, brother of Saints Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, and Macrina the Younger. He was raised and educated by Macrina after their father died when he was an infant. Peter entered a monastery in Armenia on the Iris River, founded by his mother and father and headed by Basil, and in 362 became abbot. Peter helped alleviate the distress of the famine that afflicted Pontus and Cappadocia, was ordained in 370, and was name bishop of Sebastea in 380. Peter labored to eliminate Arianism in his see and attended the General Council of Constantinople in 381 (Benedictines, Delaney).
Philip Berruyer B (AC)
Died 1260. A nephew of Saint William of Bourges and, like his uncle, archbishop of that see (Benedictines).
Philip of Moscow BM
(also known as Theodore Kolyshov)
Born in Moscow, Russia, 1507; died 1569; canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1636.
Theodore Kolyshov, a wealthy nobleman, probably saw active military service in his youth. At age 30, he entered the monastery of Solovetsk in the White Sea, and was given the name Philip. He was made abbot in 1547, and distinguished himself not only as a religious superior but also as an agricultural engineer, devising a new system of drainage and irrigation for the monastic lands.
In 1565, Abbot Philip was elected metropolitan of Moscow and primate of the Russian church, an office which he foresaw might lead to martyrdom, because the reigning tsar was Ivan IV, called "the Terrible" or "the Feared." Two years had hardly passed when Ivan perpetrated a massacre of political suspects and innocent persons. Philip remonstrated with him privately, but only increased his rage.
A few months later, when the tsar came to the cathedral at Moscow for the Eucharistic liturgy, Philip openly rebuked him: "At this altar we are offering a pure and bloodless sacrifice for men's salvation. Outside this holy temple the blood of innocent Christians is being shed. God rejects him who does not love his neighbor. I have to tell you this though I die for it." The massacre went on, and Philip kept up his protest.
Eventually Ivan obtained his deposition from office on absurd charges of sorcery and corrupt living. Saint Philip was dragged in chains from one place of confinement to another, lastly to the Otrosh monastery near Tver. Here, two days before Christmas in 1569, he was choked to death with a cushion by an emissary of the tsar (Attwater).
Vitalis, Revocatus, and Fortunatus MM (RM)
Date unknown. Vitalis, a bishop, and his deacons Revocatus and Fortunatus were martyred in Smyrna (Benedictines).
Waningus of Fécamp, OSB, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Vaneng)
Born in Rouen, France; died c. 686. Clotair III's former courtier, Saint Waningus, became a monk and assisted his friend Saint Wandrille in the foundation of Fontenelle Abbey, and soon after he himself founded another-- Fécamp--that was no less celebrated (Benedictines).
About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on www.saintpatrickdc.org with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.