St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Saint Simeon
(Regional Memorial)
February 18



Blessed Agatha Lin VM (AC)
Born at Ma-Tchang, China, in 1817; died at Mao-ken, China, January 28, 1858; beatified on May 2, 1909. Agatha was a Chinese school teacher, who was beheaded for the faith (Benedictines).


Blessed Agnes De VM (AC)
Born in Bai-den, West Tonkin (Vietnam); died at Nam-dinh July 12, 1841; beatified 1909. Agnes was born into a Christian family and died in prison for the faith (Benedictines).


Blessed Andrew Nam-Thung M (AC)
Born c. 1790; died 1855; beatified 1909. Andrew was a native catechist of Cochin-China and mayor of his village. He died on the way to exile at Mi-Tho, eastern Cochin-China (Benedictines).


Angilbert of Centula, OSB, Abbot (AC)
Died 814. Nicknamed "Homer" because of his Latin verses, he was raised at the court of Charlemagne and studied under Alcuin. He married Charlemagne's daughter, Bertha (some scholars believe it was an affair rather than a marriage), but turned to religious life when prayers for a successful resistance to a Danish invasion were answered when a storm scattered the Danish fleet.

Bertha entered a convent and he became a monk, excelled as a minister, and filled several important offices. As a reward Charlemagne gave Angilbert the abbey of Saint Riquier (Centula) and Angilbert became a model abbot. He established a library at Centula and also introduced continuous chanting in the abbey, using his three hundred monks and 100 boys in relays to do so. He was a close friend and confidante of Charlemagne, was his court chaplain and privy councilor, undertook several diplomatic missions for the emperor, and was one of the executors of the emperor's will (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).


Charalampias and Companions MM (AC)
Died 203. Saint Charalampias was a priest who was martyred in Magnesia, Asia Minor, together with two soldiers and three women during the persecution of Septimius Severus (Benedictines).


Colman of Lindisfarne B (AC)
Born in Connaught, Ireland, c. 605; died on Inishbofin, 676 (some chronicles give it as 672, 674, or 675; some parts of Ireland celebrate his feast on August 8.

Saint Colman became a monk at Iona under Saint Columba and c. 661 succeeded Saint Finan as the third abbot-bishop of Lindisfarne, the most important monastery in Northumbria, England, close to the royal castle at Bamburg. At that time the disagreement in Northumbria about the date of Easter, style of tonsure, the role of the bishop, and other Celtic ecclesiastical usages had reached a critical stage, and in 664 a synod met at Whitby Abbey under Saint Hilda to settle the matter.

Saint Colman was the chief defender of the Celtic customs; Saints Wilfrid and Agilbert those of Rome. King Oswy of Northumbria came favoring the Irish view, but accepted Wilfrid's argument in favor of adopting the practice of the rest of the known contemporary Church. Thereupon Colman, refusing to accept the king's ruling in a spiritual matter, resigned his bishopric and retired, first to Iona and then (c. 667) to Inishbofin off the Connaught coast. All his Irish monks and 30 English monks went with him and brought with them some of the relics of Saint Aidan.

But the two elements of the community disagreed among themselves because, as Saint Bede reports, the English complained that all the work of the harvest was left to them. Apparently, each summer the Irish monks went off, leaving the Anglo-Saxons to plant and harvest the fields. So, Colman made a separate foundation for the English monks on the mainland called Mayo of the Saxons. The first abbot of Mayo after Colman was an Englishman, Saint Gerald, who lived until 732. Bede praises the fact that the abbots of Mayo were elected, rather than following the Celtic custom as a "hereditary" monastery.

Saint Bede, who was not in sympathy with the distinctively Celtic practices, gives a glowing account of the church of Lindisfarne under Saint Colman's rule. He emphasizes the example of frugality and simplicity of living set by the bishop and the complete devotion of his clergy to their proper business of imparting the word of God and ministering to their people.

Blessed Alcuin also praised the monks of the Mayo of the Saxons for leaving their homeland in voluntary exile, where they shone by their learning among a "very barbarous nation" (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Montague).


Constance, Attica & Artemia VV MM (RM)
Died 354. Constance was engaged to be married to Saint Gallican, the brother of Attica and Artemia (Encyclopedia).


Flavian of Constantinople BM (RM)
Died in Hypepe, Lydia, 449. Appointed patriarch of Constantinople to succeed Saint Proclus in 447, Flavian incurred the enmity of Chrysaphius, chancellor of Emperor Theodosius III, by withholding the customary bribe on his accession to the see and that of the emperor himself by refusing to make his sister, Pulcheria, a deaconess. It was not long before Flavian crowned these political nightmares by denouncing the heresy of Eutyches, abbot of a nearby monastery and a favorite of the imperial court (he was godfather to Chrysaphius). Flavian maintained that Jesus was fully human against those like Eutyches who taught that he had only a divine nature. The condemnation was repeated by Eusebius of Dorylaeum at a synod called by Flavian in 448, and Eutyches was deposed and excommunicated. In this Flavian was supported by Pope Leo the Great who sent Flavian a letter, which we now call the 'Tome of Leo,' asserting that in Jesus Christ 'there was born true God in the entire and perfect nature of true man.'

Chrysaphius persuaded Theodosius to convene a council at Ephesus (the 'Robber Synod') in 449. Dioscorus of Alexandria presided, and in meetings characterized by violence and intimidation, the emperor's soldiers refused to allow Leo's letter to be read. Eusebius and Flavian were deposed and Dioscorus was declared patriarch. The order was enforced by the soldiers who required each bishop present to sign the deposition order. Flavian was so badly beaten that he died three days later in prison.

The acts of this 'robber synod' were reversed when Theodosius died in 450 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451 reinstated Eusebius, deposed and exiled Dioscoros, and proclaimed Flavian a saint and a martyr. Upon his accession to the throne in 451, Emperor Marcian had Chrysaphius executed (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia)


Helladius of Toledo B (RM)
Died 632. Helladius, a native of Toledo, Spain, and a minister of the court of the Visigoth kings, loved to pay frequent visits to the abbey of Agali (Agallia) near Toledo on the banks of the Tagus River. One day he joined the community and eventually in 605 was made its abbot. In 615, he was promoted to archbishop of Toledo (Benedictines).


Blessed John Peter & Martin MM (AC)
(also known as Jean-Pierre Néel)

Died 1862; beatified in 1909. A French missionary priest who was martyred because he baptized too many Chinese. He was arrested, tied by his hair to a horse's tail, dragged, then beheaded at Kuy- tsheu. Three of his converts were beheaded at the same time as he was. Martin (1815-1862) was one of Jean-Pierre's native catechists and his host, who was among those beheaded (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Blessed John Pibush M (AC)
Born at Thirsk, Yorkshire, England; died 1601; beatified in 1929. John was educated at Rheims and ordained in 1587. He was sent to the English mission where he spent his time mostly in prison until he was finally executed at Southwark, solely for his priesthood (Benedictines).


Leo and Paregorius MM (AC)
Died c. 260. Saint Leo witnessed the martyrdom of Saint Paregorius at Patara, Lycia, and found his heart divided between joy for his friend's glorious victory, and sorrow to see himself deprived of the happiness of sharing in it. In the absence of the proconsul of Asia, the governor of Lycia demonstrated his piety to the gods by publishing an order obliging all citizens to offer sacrifice to Serapis. Leo, sad to see both the pagans and some Christians going to adore the idol, went to the tomb of Saint Paregorius and passed the temple of Serapis en route.

The heathens that saw him knew that his was a Christian because of his modesty. From his youth, Leo had practiced austerity and the devotions of an ascetic life. Returning home he fell asleep and dreamed that God was calling him to martyrdom, too.

The next time he visited Paregorius's tomb he walked boldly through the market place and passed the temple of Fortune, which he saw illumined by lanterns. He pitied their blindness and, moved with zeal for the living God, broke many of the lanterns and trampled on the tapers, saying, "Let your gods revenge the injury if they are able to do it." The priest of the temple cried out, "Unless this impiety be punished, the goddess Fortune will withdraw her protection from the city."

An account of the affair soon reached the governor's ears. He ordered the saint brought before him, and said: "Wicked wretch, your sacrilegious action surely bespeaks that you are either ignorant of the immortal gods, or downright mad, in flying in the face of our most divine emperors, whom we justly regard as secondary deities and saviors."

The martyr replied, "You are under a great mistake, in supposing a plurality of gods; there is but one, who is the God of heaven and earth, and who does not stand in need of being worshipped after that gross manner that men worship idols. The most acceptable sacrifice we can offer him is that of a contrite and humble heart."

Offered the choice of sacrificing or dying, Leo chose the narrow way rather than the broad, commodious path offered by the governor. "When I called it narrow," said the martyr, "this was only because it is not entered without difficulty, and that its beginnings are often attended with afflictions and persecutions for justice' sake. But being once entered, it is not difficult to keep in it by the practice of virtue, which helps to widen it and render it easy to those that persevere in it, which has been done by many."

After continued debate, the saint was mercilessly scourged. The governor relented because of Leo's venerable age and told him he would only have to acknowledge the gods and not sacrifice, but still Leo refused. He was then dragged by his feet to his place of execution. After his death his executioners threw his body over a precipice into a deep pit, but it received only a few bruises. The Christians recovered Leo's body and found it of a lively color, and entire, and his face appeared comely and smiling, and they buried it in the most honorable manner they could (Benedictines, Husenbeth).


Lucius, Silvanus, and Companions (RM)
Dates unknown. Lucius, Silvanus, Tutilus, Classicus, Secundinus, Fructuosus, and Maximus were African martyrs whose names were inserted in the Roman Martyrology by Baronius on the authority of a reliable manuscript (Benedictines).


Maximus, Claudius, Praepedigna,
Alexander & Cutia MM (RM)

Died 295. Praepedigna was the wife of Claudius; Alexander and Cutia, their children. They were said to have been martyred in Ostie (Ostia) under Diocletian but their legend seems to be no more than a pious fiction (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Simeon of Jerusalem BM (RM)
(also known as Simon of Jerusalem)

Died c. 107. Not all of Jesus's relatives understood His teaching or recognized His divinity. One who did was Simeon, his first cousin. Tradition says that Simeon was the son of Cleophas (Alpheus, brother to Saint Joseph) and Mary (sister-in-law of the Blessed Virgin).

Some think that Simeon was the bridegroom for which Jesus changed the water into wine at Cana.

Some Christians believe that this Simeon was the same person as Jesus's disciple who was nicknamed 'the Zealot' because he belonged to a party of strongly nationalistic Jews. If Simeon and Simon are one, he was also brother to Saint James the Lesser and Saint Jude, apostles, and of Joseph. If they are identical, Simeon was among the band of followers, who, after His Resurrection, devoted themselves to prayer in Jerusalem until the descent of the Holy Spirit to bless and inspire them all.

Saint Epiphanius relates in Panarion seu adversus LXXX haereses (78, c. 14) that when the Jews massacred Saint James the Lesser in 62 AD, Simeon reproached them for their atrocious cruelty. Simeon was unanimously chosen successor to his brother as patriarch of Jerusalem. He was the natural choice because he had probably assisted his brother in the government of that church.

Tradition says that, like Lot in Sodom, Simeon was supernaturally warned of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 66, and withdrew with many fellow-Christians to the small city of Pella, where they remained until it was safe for them to return to Jerusalem after its destruction in AD 70.

Epiphanius and Eusebius assure us, that the church flourished at Pella, and that multitudes of Jews were converted by the great number of prodigies and miracles wrought in it. Nevertheless, already during this early period the Church saw the rise of heresy in the form of the Nazareans, who thought Jesus to be the greatest of prophets but only a man, and the Ebonites and Docetists, which seems to be gnostic sects. The Nazareans joined all the ceremonies of the old law with the new, and observed both the Jewish Sabbath and the Lord's Day (Sunday). Ebion added other errors to these, which Cerenthus had also espoused, and taught many superstitions, permitted divorces, and allowed of the most infamous abominations. The authority of Simeon kept the heretics in some awe during his life, which was the longest upon earth of any of our Lord s disciples. But, as Eusebius says, he was no sooner dead than a deluge of execrable heresies broke out of hell upon the Church, which durst not openly appear during his life.

Simeon's life was never free of danger. He escaped the death ordered by Emperors Vespasian and Domitian when they decreed that all of Jewish origin were to be executed, but finally, during the persecutions of Atticus under the Emperor Trajan in 107, Simeon was caught, tortured, and crucified like his Lord. Reputedly, he was well over 100 (120 by most accounts) years old at the time of his death. Atticus and the executioners expressed admiration of Simeon's fortitude and strength in martyrdom. Tradition places the site of his martyrdom in far-flung Persia, Egypt, or the British Isles (Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

In art, Saint Simeon is portrayed as an ancient bishop being crucified (easily confused with Saint Nestor) (Roeder).


Theotonius of Coimbra, OSA, Abbot (AC)
Born in Spain; died 1166; cultus approved by Benedict XIV. Theotonius, nephew of Bishop Cresconius of Coimbra, Portugal, was educated in Coimbra and became an archpriest of Viseu. He proved himself to be an outstanding preacher as well as a man of holiness and austerity. He resigned that office to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On his return, he continued to work at Viseu. While the queen and her husband, Henry, Count of Portugal, repeatedly urged him to accept a bishopric, he was contemplating retiring further from the world. Theotonius had a tremendous love of the poor and the souls in purgatory, for whom he sang solemn Mass every Friday. This would be followed by a procession to the cemetery in which to whole city joined and in the course of which large sums of money were given in alms for him to distribute among the poor.

But he was no wimp. He was outspoken in rebuking vice, and the greatest in the land feared and respected him. When the widowed queen and Count Ferdinand (whose alliance with her was causing scandal) were present at one of his sermons, Saint Theotonius uttered stern words so obviously directed at them that they were both filled with confusion and retreated hastily. Another time, he was vested to begin the celebration of the Mass of the Blessed Virgin, when he received a message from the queen, who was at the church, asking him to shorten the time he usually took. He sent back word that he was offering Mass in honor of a sovereign who was greater than any royal personage on earth, and that the queen was free to leave or stay.

After a second pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he found that his former preceptor, Tellus, was founding a new Augustinian monastery at Coimbra, and Theotonius decided to join them. He became its 12th prior. Theotonius was highly esteemed by King Alphonsus of Portugal and his Queen Matilda, who lavished gifts on the monastery of the Holy Cross. He was fearless in rebuking vice and exact in the performance of divine service. He was remarkable for his insistence on the exact and reverent recitation of the daily offices; he would never allow them to be garbled or hurried. The king attributed victory over his enemies and recovery from illness to the prayers of Saint Theotonius, and in his gratitude granted the saint's request that he should liberate all his Mozarabic Christian captives. When Alphonsus heard of Theotonius's death, he exclaimed, "His soul will have gone up to heaven before his body is lowered into the tomb." This saint is still highly venerated in Portugal (Benedictines, Walsh).


Blessed William Harrington M (AC)
Born at Mount Saint John, Felixkirk, Yorkshire, England; died at Tyburn, 1594; beatified in 1929. William was educated and ordained in 1592 at Rheims. He was only 27 when he was hanged, drawn, and quartered for his priesthood (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.