St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

March 27



Alexander M (RM)
3rd century. Saint Alexander, a soldier, is described in the Roman Martyrology as having suffered as a Christian in Pannonia (Hungary) under Maximian Herculeus. He may be anonymous martyr of Thrace listed on May 13 (Benedictines).


Alkeld V (PC)
(also known as Athilda)

Died c. 800 (?). Two churches--at Middleham, Yorkshire, and Giggleswick, West Riding--are dedicated to Saint Alkeld. Local tradition claims that she was a Saxon princess (and probably a nun). Apparently she was strangled by Danish pirates (or their women), because that is how she is depicted in an ancient painting. She was buried in a church at Middleham. Edward IV's patent survives that enabled his brother Richard (later Richard III) to establish the college of Middleham in honor of Christ, His Mother, and Saint Alkeld (Benedictines, Farmer).


Amator of Guarda (AC)
(also known as Amador)

Date unknown. Several churches in Portugal are dedicated to Saint Amator, a hermit from the diocese of Guarda. He has often been confused with Saint Amator of Rocamadour (Benedictines).


Ananias, Prophet
(also known as Hanani)

Saint Ananias was a prophet in the time of King Asa, who was imprisoned (Encyclopedia)


Augusta of Treviso VM (AC)
5th century. Saint Augusta's conversion to Christianity so enraged her father, the Teuton duke of Friuli, that he killed her with his own hand. She had an early cultus at Serravalle, near Treviso, in northern Italy (Benedictines). Augusta's emblem in art is a sword. She is generally pictured on her funeral pyre holding a sword. Sometimes the image includes her father who is killing her (like Saint Barbara, who is more likely to be the saint portrayed in this way) or with a wheel like Saint Catherine of Alexandria. She is venerated in Serravalle (Treviso) (Roeder).


Gelasius of Armagh B (AC)
(also known as Giolla Iosa, Gioua-Mac-Liag)

Died March 27, 1174. Son of the Irish poet Diarmaid, Saint Gelasius (meaning `servant of Jesus') was the learned abbot of Derry for 16 years. He was consecrated bishop of Armagh c. 1138, when Saint Malachy resigned and served as primate of Ireland until 1174.

During his long episcopacy Gelasius had to deal with the events before and after the Norman invasion, including the alleged Donation of Ireland by Pope Adrian IV to Henry II of England, Henry's arrival in Ireland in 1171, and Pope Alexander III's confirmation of everything granted by Adrian IV.

He reconstructed the Cathedral of Armagh, and, in 1162, consecrated Saint Laurence O'Toole archbishop of Dublin, although the invasion and settlement of Dublin by Norsemen meant that the Christians of that see were looking more to Canterbury than Armagh. That same year, during the Synod of Clane in County Kildare, a uniform liturgy was ensured throughout Ireland by requiring that only Armagh-trained or Armagh-accredited teachers of divinity may teach in any school attached to the Irish Church.

Gelasius was an indefatigable prelate. He made constant visitations throughout Ireland, reorganized old monasteries, and convened synods. He is said to have been the first Irish bishop to whom the pallium was sent; Eugenius III's papal legate, Cardinal Paparo, brought four pallia with him to the Synod of Kells in 1152 for the archbishops of Armagh, Cashel, Dublin, and Tuam. The records of this synod include the firsts mention of tithes in Irish annals, which Cardinal Paparo proposed but none of the participants supported. The matter of tithes and the Peter's Pence was an important consideration in subsequent negotiations between Pope Adrian IV and Henry II of England.

Gelasius convened another synod at Armagh in 1170 in the hope of finding some means to expel the Anglo-Norman, who had invaded the country the previous year, before they became too entrenched. In 1171, Henry II arrived, lavishly entertained the civic and ecclesiastic Irish leaders, and requested the convening of the Synod of Cashel, during which he presented a plan for improving the Church of Ireland. At this time there was no mention of any claim of Canterbury or the Donation; however, the eighth canon of the synod decreed that the Irish Church would celebrate the Divine Office according to the usage of the Church of England (which was still Catholic).

The bishop of Armagh did not attend the Synod of Cashel. At that time he was occupied in a visitation of Connacht and Ulster in an attempt (in concert with the high king) to organize a defense of Ireland. He realized that Henry had duped many of Irish princes by masking his true intentions.

The following year Henry fell under interdict for his murder of Saint Thomas Becket. When news of Henry's penitential, bare-foot walk to the shrine of Saint Thomas and his plans for the `uplift' of the Irish Church reached Rome, Alexander III confirmed the Donation of Ireland made by Adrian IV. Shortly thereafter the Church of Ireland became English: the School of Armagh was closed (c. 1188) and the last native bishop of Armagh until the Reformation died in 1313 (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Encyclopedia, Healy, Husenbeth, Kenney, MacNeill, O'Hanlon, Stokes).


John of Egypt (RM)
(also known as John of Lycopolis)

Born at Asyut (Assiut or Lycopolis), Egypt, c. 304; died near there in 394 or 395; feast is October 17 in the Coptic Church. John was a carpenter (or shoemaker) at Asyut who at 25 became a hermit on a neighboring mountain for the next 40 years. To test his humility and obedience the ancient anchorite who resided there made John perform seemingly ridiculous acts, such as water a dry stick for a whole year, all of which he executed with the utmost fidelity. He seems to have lived with the old hermit for the 12 years until the holy man's death, then spent four years in various monasteries.

When he was about 40, John walled himself into a cell on the top of a rock near Asyut, where he never ate until after sunset, and then very sparingly. Weekdays he spent his time in prayer. On Saturdays and Sundays, he spoke through the little window in his cell to the many men who came to him for instruction and spiritual advice. He allowed a type of hospital to be built near his cell, where some of his disciples took care of his visitors. These men were drawn by his reputation for miracles of healing, gift of prophecy, and ability to read souls.

Saint John's gift for foretelling the future was such that he was given the surname `Prophet of the Thebaid.' When Emperor Theodosius the Elder was attacked by the tyrant Maximus, who had killed Emperor Gratian in 383 and dethroned Valentinian in 387, he consulted John about the proposed war against Maximus. John foretold that Theodosius would be victorious, almost without blood. The emperor, full of confidence, marched into the West, defeated the more numerous armies of Maximus twice in Pannonia; crossed the Alps, took the tyrant in Aquileia. He returned triumphant to Constantinople, and attributed his victories to the prayers of Saint John, who also foretold him the events of his other wars, the incursions of barbarians, and all that was to befall his empire.

In 392, Eugenius, by the assistance of Arbogastes, who had murdered the emperor Valentinian the Younger, usurped the empire of the West. Theodosius instructed Eutropins the Eunuch to try to bring John to Constantinople; if he would not come, Eutropins was to consult with the saint whether it was God's will that he should march against Eugenius, or wait his arrival in the East. John would not leave his cell but predicted the emperor's success, but this time many lives would be lost and Theodosius would die in Italy. Theodosius marched against Eugenius, and lost 10,000 men in the first engagement. He was almost defeated: but renewing the battle on the next day, September 6, 394, he was entirely victorious by the miraculous interposition of heaven, as even the heathen poet Claudian acknowledges. Theodosius died in the West, January 17, 395, leaving his two sons emperors (Arcadius in the East, and Honorius in the West).

Among Saint John's reported miracles was the restoration of sight to the wife of a senator through the vehicle of oil he blessed. It had to be through such a medium with women, for he refused to speak with any woman. One interesting incident is related by Evagrius, Palladius, and Augustine in his treatise of On the Care for the Dead. One of the emperor's officers begged John to allow his wife to speak to him. She had made the difficult and dangerous journey to Lycopolis for that purpose. The holy man answered, that during his stricter enclosure for the last forty years, he had imposed on himself an inviolable rule not to see or converse with women; so he desired to be excused the granting her request. The officer returned to his virtuous, but disappointed, wife, who begged her husband to try again.

Returning to John, the husband said that his wife would die of grief if he refused her request. The saint said to him: "Go to your wife, and tell her that she shall see me tonight, without coming hither or stirring out of her house." When she was asleep that night, the man of God appeared to her in her dream, and said: "Your great faith, woman, obliged me to come to visit you; but I must admonish you to curb the like desires of seeing God's servants on earth. Contemplate only their life, and imitate their actions. As for me, why did you desire to see me? Am I a saint or a prophet like God's true servants? I am a sinful and weak man. It is, therefore, only in virtue of your faith that I have had recourse to our Lord who grants you the cure of the corporal diseases with which you are afflicted. Live always in the fear of God, and never forget his benefits." He added several proper instructions for her conduct, and disappeared.

Upon awakening the woman described to her husband the person she had seen in her dream and he confirmed that it was John. Whereupon he returned the next day to thank him. But when he arrived, the saint would not permit it. The officer received his benediction, and continued his journey to Seyne.

In 394, Palladius, who later became bishop of Helenopolis and one of the authors of John's vita, visited the saint in July. When he arrived, he found that he would have to wait until Saturday to speak with John. He returned that day in the early morning, saw the saint sitting at his window talking with others. Through an interpreter, introductions were made and Palladius was identified as a member of Evagrius's community.

Their conversation was interrupted by the hasty arrival of Alypius, governor of the province, in great haste. John asked Palladius to step aside for the governor with whom the saint engaged in a long discussion while an increasingly impatient Palladius had to wait. The weary man began to complain internally that the saint was showing preference to rank. He was about to leave when John sent his interpreter to stop him saying, "Go, bid that brother not to be impatient: I am going to dismiss the governor, and then will speak to him."

Palladius, astonished that his thoughts should be known to him, waited patiently. When Alypius had left, John called Palladius, and asked: "Why were you angry, unjustly imputing guilt to me in your mind? To you I can speak at any other time, and you have many fathers and brethren to comfort and direct you in the paths of salvation. But this governor, being involved in the hurry of temporal affairs, and having come to receive some wholesome advice during the short time his affairs will allow him time to breathe in, how could I give you the preference?"

He then told Palladius what passed in his heart: his secret temptations to quit his solitude. He told Palladius that it was the devil who tempted him with images of his father's loneliness at his absence, and that he might induce his brother and sister to embrace a solitary life. The holy man told him to ignore such suggestions, because his siblings had already renounced the world, and his father would live seven more years. He foretold him that he should meet with great persecutions and sufferings, and should be a bishop, but with many afflictions: all which came to pass, though at that time extremely improbable. The text of Palladius's account of their meeting still exists.

That same year John was visited by Saint Petronius with six other monks. The hermit asked if any of them was in holy orders and they answered, "no." In fact, Petronius was a deacon but had not disclosed this to his fellow travellers out of a false sense of humility because he was the youngest in the company. When John pointed to Petronius and said, "This man is a deacon," Petronius denied it. John took the younger man's hand and kissed it, while saying: "My son, take care never to deny the grace you have received from God, lest humility betray you into a lie. We must never lie, under any presence of good whatever, because no untruth can be from God."

When one of the company begged for a cure, Saint John answered replied that such diseases are beneficial to the soul. Nevertheless, he blessed some oil and gave it to the monk, who vomited and was from that moment perfectly cured.

When they next visited him, John bore a joyful countenance-- evidence of the joy of his soul. They talked about their journey from Jerusalem, then he provided the monks with a long discourse about banishing pride and vanity from their hearts in order to attain all other virtues. He provided examples of many monks, who, by secretly harboring vanity, fell also into scandalous irregularities, including one who, after living a most holy and austere life, fell into fornication because of his vanity and then, through despair, into all manner of disorders. He told of another who left his solitude to seek fame, but through a sermon he preached in a monastery along the way, was mercifully converted and became an eminent penitent.

After entertaining Saint Petronius and his fellows for three days, Saint John gave them his blessing. As they were preparing to leave, he said, "Go in peace, my children. Today Alexandria receives news of Prince Theodosius's victory over the tyrant Eugenius, but this excellent emperor will soon end his life by a natural death."

A few days later, the monks learned that Saint John had died. He had foreseen his own death and refused to see anyone during the last three days. Instead, Saint John spent his time in prayer and expired on his knees. Saint John's reputation for holiness is said to have been second only to that of Saint Antony. He was much admired by his contemporaries SS. Jerome, Augustine, and John Cassian, who attributes the extraordinary gifts John received from God to the saint's humility and ready obedience (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Gill, Husenbeth).


Matthew of Beauvais M (AC)
Born in Beauvais; died c. 1098. Saint Matthew joined the First Crusade took under bishop Roger of Beauvais. He was taken prisoner by the Saracens and beheaded for refusing to renounce the faith (Benedictines).


Philetus, Lydia & Comps. MM (RM)
Died c. 121. Philetus, Lydia, Macedo, Theoprepius (Theoprepides), Amphilochius, and Chronidas were martyred at Illyria under Hadrian. The Roman Martyrology says Philetus was a senator; Lydia, his wife; Macedo and Theoprepius, their sons; Amphilochius, a captain; and Cronidas, a notary. Their Acta are unreliable (Benedictines).


Romulus of Nīmes, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died c. 730. About 720, while abbot of Saint Baudilius near Nīmes, France, Saint Romulus and his community were forced to flee before the invading Saracens and settled in a ruined monastery at Saissy-les-Bois in the Nivernais (Benedictines).


Suairlech of Fore B (AC)
Died c. 750. First bishop of Fore, Westmeath, Ireland, from c. 735 until his death (Benedictines).


Blessed William Tempier B (AC)
Died 1197. In 1184, William was promoted to episcopal chair of Poitiers after having been a canon regular at Saint-Hilaire-de-la- Celle. He was persecuted for his determined insistence upon maintenance of discipline and championing of ecclesiastical liberty. Many miracles occurred at his tomb, which became a pilgrimage site (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Zanitas, Lazarus, Marotas, & Comp. M (RM)
Died 344. A group of nine Persian martyrs who suffered under Shapur II. The others included Narses, Elias, Abibos, Sembeeth, Mares, and Sabas (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.