St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

February 26



Agricola of Nevers B (AC)
Died c. 594. Saint Agricola was said to have been bishop of Nevers, France, from 570 to his death in 594 (Benedictines).


Alexander of Alexandria B (RM)
Born c. 250; died 326-328. Named bishop of Alexandria in 313 to succeed Saint Achillas, Saint Alexander is famed chiefly for his opposition to the Arian heresy, which claimed the Jesus was not truly God, that the Son was a creature, and that there was a time when the Son did not exist. Alexander is also known for his apostolic doctrine and life, one of the great accomplishments of which was his training of a young deacon name Athanasius, who was later to be celebrated throughout the whole Christian world.

Alexander was gentle with the Arians but he was determined. Many accused him of compromising the position of the Church by the former attitude, many others said he was an impetuous man because of the latter position. He nevertheless must be considered a champion of orthodox Catholic teaching and credited with great pastoral zeal for the kindly, fatherly expostulation he addressed to Arius for a long period before excommunicating him at a meeting of his clergy about 321. The excommunication was confirmed at a local synod in Alexandria. His circular epistle on the Arian heresy has survived and is an important part of the ecclesiastical literature of this period.

As a bishop, Alexander seems to have preferred monks as bishops, appointing by preference those who had lived in hermitages or in the desert since he considered these the proper models of what a bishop ought to be to his flock. Alexander also insisted on charity to the poor in the dioceses under his control--a thing for which he was famous in the diocese of Alexandria.

Alexander is reputed to have drawn up the acts of the first General Council of Nicaea in 325, where Arianism was formally condemned. He died in Alexandria two years after his return from the council, having appointed Athanasius his successor (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Walsh). Click here to see an anonymous Greek icon of Saint Alexander of Alexandria.


Andrew of Florence B (RM)
Died c. 407. Saint Andrew succeeded Saint Zenobius as bishop of Florence (Benedictines).


Dionysius of Augsburg BM (AC)
Died c. 303. Venerated as the first bishop of Augsburg, Germany, Saint Dionysius is said to have been converted to Christ, baptized, and later consecrated bishop by Saint Narcissus. He was martyred under Diocletian. The story, however, is from the acta of Saint Afra, which date only from the 8th century (Benedictines).


Faustinian of Bologna B (RM)
4th century. Saint Faustinian was said to have been the second bishop of Bologna, Italy. He reorganized the diocese which had suffered much during the persecution of Diocletian, and lived to be a firm defender of the faith against Arianism (Benedictines).


Fortunatus, Felix & Comp. MM (RM)
Dates unknown. A group of 29 martyrs about which nothing else is known (Benedictines).


Irene of Gaza
Died at Gaza, Syria, 490. At age 14 and a pagan, Saint Irene gave asylum to Saint Porphyrius, from whom she received baptism and a benediction (Encyclopedia).


Blessed Isabelle of France, Poor Clare (AC)
Died February 23, 1270; beatified 1520. Isabelle was the only sister of Saint Louis and daughter of King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile. She refused offers of marriage from several noble suitors, including the emperor of Germany (I have no idea who they mean), in order to continue her life of virginity consecrated to God. Isabelle ministered to the sick and the poor, and after the death of her mother founded the Franciscan Monastery of the Humility of the Blessed Virgin at Longchamps in Paris. She lived there in austerity but never became a nun and refused to become abbess (Benedictines, Delaney).

In art, Blessed Isabelle is a Poor Clare with a crown, washing the poor (Roeder). She is venerated at Longchamps near Paris (Roeder).


Blessed Leo of Saint-Bertin, OSB Abbot (AC)
Born at Furnes, Flanders; died 1163. Born of a noble Flemish family, Leo was almoner at the court of the count of Flanders when he was 20 but left to become a monk at the monastery at Auchin. He was appointed abbot of Lobbes Abbey and restored the abbey and discipline there. In 1138, Leo was named abbot of the famous Saint-Bertin Monastery, which he ruled for 25 years.

In 1146, Leo accompanied Thierry of Alsace, count of Flanders, to Jerusalem during the Second Crusade, bringing back reputed drops of blood of Christ supposedly collected by Joseph of Arimathea while he was washing the Savior's body. These are still venerated at Bruges, Belgium. In 1152, his monastery was destroyed by fire but with the help of William of Ypres, he rebuilt it. Leo was blind the last two years of his life (Benedictines, Delaney).


Blessed Matilda of Spanheim, OSB V (PC)
(also known as Mechtilde, Mathilde)

Died 1154. Matilda was a German anchorite, first at Mainz under the obedience of her brother, the abbot of Saint Alban's, and then near Spanheim when he became abbot of a new abbey there (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Nestor of Perge BM (RM)
Died 251. Seeking to win Emperor Decius's favor, Governor Epolius of Lycia, Pamphylia, and Phrygia began persecuting Christian in his jurisdiction. Bishop Saint Nestor of Magydos, Pamphylia, who caught the unwanted attention of the governor by his evangelical zeal, was arrested and brought to Perga where he was crucified (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill, Husenbeth). In art, he is depicted as a bishop with a cross, sometimes (1) crucified with ropes, or (2) praising God upon the rack (Roeder).


Papias, Diodorus, Conon & Claudian MM (RM)
Died c. 250. These martyrs were poor shepherds, natives of Pamphylia in Asia Minor, who were tortured and put to death under Decius (Benedictines).


Porphyry of Gaza B (RM)
(also known as Porphyrius)

Born in Thessalonica, Macedonia, in 353; died at Gaza in 420.

Born into a wealthy home, Porphyry at the age of 25 left Thessalonica for Egypt, where he entered the famous desert monastery of Skete. Five years later he went to Palestine to visit its holy places, and settled in a cave near the Jordan River for another five years before. At this time he developed a serious illness and decided to spend his last days in Jerusalem, where he could daily visit the sites of our Lord's Passion. He practiced great austerities and after a period became so ill that he could only with difficulty, leaning on a stick, visit the shrines that he loved.

About this time he met a former friend of his called Mark, who, seeing his weakness and with what difficulty he walked, offered his arm, but Porphryry refused it. He had come to Palestine, he said, to seek pardon for his sins, and it was not right that he should be eased by anyone. "Rather let me undergo labor and inconvenience, that God, beholding it, may have compassion on me."

Thus he lived and suffered, each day receiving the Sacrament and visiting some spot made sacred by our Lord, and happy despite his pain, except for one thing: he still retained his wealth, and the thought of it troubled him. One day, therefore, he commissioned his friend Mark to return to Thessalonica and act on his behalf, giving him instructions to sell his property. Mark set out, and three months later returned with the assets to the value of 4,500 pieces of gold. Porphyry embraced him with joy, and Mark was delighted to find that his friend had fully recovered from his sickness.

When asked how he had been cured, Porphyry replied: "Forty days ago, being in extreme pain, I made a shift to reach Mount Calvary, where, fainting away, I felt such a blinding trance that I thought I saw our Savior on the Cross, and the good thief hanging beside Him. I said: 'Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.' whereupon He ordered the thief to come to my assistance, and he, raising me off the ground on which I lay, bade me go to Christ. I ran to Him, and He, coming off His Cross, said to me: 'Take this wood (meaning the Cross) into your custody.' In obedience I carried it on my shoulders, and then I awoke and have been free from pain ever since."

The dream appears to have come true, for in course of time (about age 40) he was ordained priest and the bishop of Jerusalem committed to him the care of the Cross. But first, having distributed his wealth among the poor of Palestine and become impoverished, he learned to make shoes and earned his living as a cobbler.

In his later life he was sent for by the archbishop of Caesarea and, on appearing before him, found that without his knowledge he had been made a bishop in 396. And, as bishop of Gaza, he returned to Palestine, where he continued his simple lifestyle and remained the guardian of the Cross.

Most people in Gaza were still heathen and openly resented Porphyry's initial success in evangelizing their neighbors; therefore, he was harassed by the pagans of his see. The year of his consecration was also marked by a drought in Gaza. Pagans blamed the Christians for bringing this new man into their midst, and locked the saint out of the city. It is said that this happened when Porphyry and his supporters were processing around the boundaries of the city asking God to send rain. At that moment the rain began to fall, and grateful citizens again opened the gates to let in their bishop.

But other sources say that the conversion or expulsion of nearly every pagan by the time of his death was not so easy. They report that Porphyry applied to Emperor Arcadius, who gave him permission and the imperial troops needed to demolish a temple to Marnas, which had been a cause of great trouble to the Christians in Gaza. Other pagan temples and idols were destroyed as well. Riots resulted, his house was pillaged, and his life was threatened. The people of Gaza were at length brought to Christianity only by Porphyry's patient teaching.

On the site of the razed temple to Marnas, Porphyry built a large church, which was consecrated in 408. By the time of his death, his see was free of paganism. His friend, Mark, who had become his deacon, wrote his biography. Another biography, however, seems to deny that Porphyry appealed to force.

Mark's biography is a valuable document for its picture of the last days of paganism around the eastern Mediterranean; it is also a witness to the reverence given at Jerusalem at the end of the 4th century to what purported to be a large piece of the wood of Christ's Cross (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill, White).


Quodvultdeus of Carthage B (RM)
Died in Naples, Italy, c. 450. Quodvultdeus, bishop of Carthage, was exiled by the Arian Genseric, king of the Vandals, when they captured the city in 439 (Benedictines).


Victor the Hermit (RM)
(also known as Vittre)

Born in Troyes, Champagne, France; 7th century. Born of noble parents, Saint Victor was educated under strict discipline in learning and piety. He was one of those rare creatures that was a saint from his cradle. In his youth, prayer, fasting, and alms- giving were his chief delights. After embracing the priesthood, the love of heavenly contemplation was so alluring that he preferred retirement to the care of souls. This appears to have been God's will for him. He lived in continual communion with God and God glorified him by many miracles, but the greatest appears to be the powerful example of his life.

Victor's feast was celebrated by the Benedictines of Montiramy at whose request Saint Bernard wrote two pious panegyrics about Victor (Ep. 312, vet. ed. seu 398, nov. edit.), including: "Now placed in heaven, he beholds God clearly, revealed to him, swallowed up in joy, but not forgetting us. It is not the land of oblivion in which Victor dwells. Heaven does not harden or straiten hearts but makes them more tender and compassionate; it does not distract minds, nor alienate them from us; it does not diminish, but it increases affection and charity; it augments bowels of pity. The angels, although they behold the face of their Father, visit, run, and continually assist us; and shall they now forget us who were once among us, and who once suffered themselves what they see us at present labor under? No: 'I know the just expect me till you render to me my reward.'

"Victor is not like that cup-bearer of Pharaoh, who could forget his fellow-captive. He has not so put on the stole of glory himself as to lay aside his pity, or the remembrance of our misery" (Sermon, 2).

Saint Victor died at Saturniac, now called Saint-Vittre, in the diocese of Troyes. A church was built over his tomb but in 837 his relics were translated to the neighboring monastery of Montier-Ramoy, or Montirame (Benedictines, Husenbeth).



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.