St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

March 31



Acacius Agathangelos B (AC)
(also known as Achatius)

Died c. 251.

"We venerate our God because He made us; we did not make Him. He as our Master loves us, for He is also our Father. Of His goodness He has rescued us from everlasting death." --Saint Acacius.

Saint Acacius, bishop of Antioch, Phrygia, led a devout life and was much revered for his charity and zeal by his flock who nicknamed him 'Agathangelus,' which means 'good angel,' and 'Thaumaturgus,' or the 'wonder-worker.' During the persecution of Christians under the Emperor Decius, not a single Christian in his diocese is said to have denied his faith.

Around 251, Decius's representative in Antioch, Martian, summoned the bishop for cross-examination. Acacius appeared and began by insisting that his flock was entirely faithful to the emperor. Martian responded that the saint should prove this by making sacrifice to the emperor as a god. This the bishop adamantly refused to do.

The following transcript is from the public record of this interrogation:

Martian: "As you have the happiness to live under the Roman laws, you are bound to love and honor our princes, who are our protectors."

Acacius: "Of all the subjects of the empire, none love and honor the emperor more than the Christians. We pray without intermission for his person, and that it may please God to grant him long life, prosperity, success, and all benedictions; that he may be endowed by Him with the spirit of justice and wisdom to govern his people; that his reign be auspicious, and prosperous, blessed with joy, peace, and plenty, throughout all the provinces that obey him."

Martian: "All this I commend; but that the emperor may be the better convinced of your submission and fidelity, come now and offer him a sacrifice with me."

Acacius: "I have already told you that I pray to the great and true God for the emperor; but he ought not to require a sacrifice from us, nor is there any due to him or to any man whatsoever."

Martian: "Tell us what God you adore, that we may also pay Him our offerings and homages."

Acacius: "I wish from my heart you did know Him."

Instead of instantly sentencing Acacius to death, Martian continued to question him. They discussed the nature of angels. They spoke about the myths of the Greeks and the Romans. They philosophized together about the nature of God:

Martian: "Tell me His Name."

Acacius: "He is called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

Martian: "Are these the names of gods?"

Acacius: "By no means, but of men to whom the true God spoke; He is the only God, and He alone is to be adored, feared, and loved."

Martian: "What is this God?"

Acacius: "He is the most high Adonai, who is seated above the cherubim and seraphim."

Martian: "What is a seraph?"

Acacius: "A ministering spirit of the most high God, and one of the principal lords of the heavenly court."

Martian: "What chimeras are these? Lay aside these whims of invisible beings, and adore such gods as you can see."

Acacius: "Tell me who are those gods to whom you would have me sacrifice?"

Martian: "Apollo, the savior of men, who preserves us from pestilence and famine, who enlightens, preserves, and governs the universe."

Acacius: "Do you mean that wretch that could not preserve his own life: who, being in love with a young woman (Daphne), ran about distracted in pursuit of her, not knowing that he was never to possess the object of his desires? It is therefore evident that he could not foresee things to come, since he was in the dark as to his own fate, and as clear that he could be no god, who was thus cheated by a creature. All know likewise that he had a base passion for Hyacinth, a beautiful boy, and was so awkward as to break the head of that minion, the fond object of his criminal passion, with a quail.

"Is not he also that god who, with Neptune, turned mason, hired himself to a king (Laamedon of Troy), and built the walls of a city? Would you oblige me to sacrifice to such a divinity, or to Esculapius, thunderstruck by Jupiter? or to Venus, whose life was infamous, and to a hundred such monsters, to whom you offer sacrifice? No, though my life itself depended on it, ought I to pay divine honors to those whom I should blush to imitate, and of whom I can entertain no other sentiments than those of contempt and execration? You adore gods, the imitators of whom you yourselves would punish."

Martian: "It is usual for you Christians to raise several calumnies against our gods; for which reason I command you to come now with me to a banquet in honor of Jupiter and Juno, and acknowledge and perform what is due to their majesty."

Acacius: "How can I sacrifice to a man whose sepulcher is unquestionably in Crete? What! Is he risen again?"

Martian: "You must either sacrifice or die."

Acacius: "Finis is the custom of the Dalmatian robbers; when they have taken a passenger in a narrow way, they leave him no other choice but to surrender his money or his life. But, for my part, I declare to you that I fear nothing that you can do to me. The laws punish adulterers, thieves, and murderers. Were I guilty of any of those things, I should be the first man to condemn myself. But if my whole crime be the adoring of the true God, and I am on this account to be put to death, it is no longer a law but an injustice."

Martian: "I have no order to judge but to counsel you to obey. If you refuse, I know how to force you to a compliance."

Acacius: "I have a law which I will obey: this commands me not to renounce my God. If you think yourself bound to execute the orders of a man who in a little while must leave the world, and his body become the food of worms, much more strictly am I bound to obey the omnipotent God, Who is infinite and eternal, and Who hath declared, `Whoever shall deny Me before men, him will I deny before My Father.'"

Martian: "You now mention the error of your sect which I have long desired to be informed of: you say then that God hath a son?"

Acacius: "Doubtless He hath one."

Martian: "Who is this son of God?"

Acacius: "The Word of truth and grace."

Martian: "Is that His name?"

Acacius: "You did not ask me His name, but what He is."

Martian: "What then is His name?"

Acacius: "Jesus Christ."

Martian asked by what woman God had this son, he replied, that the divine generation of the Word is of a different nature from human generation, and proved it from the language the royal prophet uses of in Psalm 44.

Martian: "Is God then corporeal?"

Acacius: "He is known only to Himself. We cannot describe Him; He is invisible to us in this mortal state, but we are sufficiently acquainted with His perfections to confess and adore Him."

Martian: "If God hath no body, how can He have a heart or mind?"

Acacius: "Wisdom hath no dependence or connection with an organized body. What does having a body have to do with understanding?"

He then pressed him to sacrifice as did some of the heretical Montanists.

Acacius: "It is not me these people obey, but God. Let them hear me when I advise them to what is right; or let them despise me, if I offer them the contrary and endeavor to pervert them."

Martian then asked the saint to provide him with the names of other Christians. The bishop would give him only two names: his own, Acacius, and his nickname, Agathangelus.

Martian: "Give me all their names."

Acacius: "They are written in heaven, in God's invisible registers."

Martian: "Where are the magicians, your companions, and the teachers of this cunningly devised error [the priests?]?"

Acacius: "No one in the world abhors magic more than we Christians."

Martian: "Magic is the new religion which you introduce."

Acacius: "We destroy those gods whom you fear, though you made them yourselves. We, on the contrary, fear not him whom we have made with our hands, but Him who created us, and Who is the Lord and Master of all nature; Who loved us as our good Father, and redeemed us from death and hell as the careful and affectionate shepherd of our souls."

Martian: "Give the names I require, if you would avoid the torture."

Acacius: "I am before the tribunal, and do you ask me my name, and, not satisfied with that, you must also know those of the other ministers? Do you hope to conquer many; you, whom I alone am able thus to confound? If you desire to know our names, mine is Acacius. If you would know more, they call me Agathangelus, and my two companions are Piso, bishop of the Trojans, and Menander, a priest. Do now what you please."

Martian: "You shall remain in prison till the emperor is acquainted with what has passed on this subject, and sends his orders concerning you."

The emperor's representative was so impressed by Acacius that he sent a transcript of the whole interview to Decius himself. Decius smiled when he read it, promoted Martian to a higher post, and pardoned Bishop Acacius.

The acta of Acacius seem to be genuine. He is held in great veneration in the East (Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).


Blessed Aldo of Hasnon, OSB (AC)
Died end of 8th century. Aldo, count of Ostrevant, became a monk at Hasnon Abbey in Belgium, which had been founded by his brother John. Aldo was chosen as its second abbot (Benedictines).


Amos, Prophet (RM)
8th century BC. One of the minor prophets of the Old Testament, Amos wrote only nine brief chapters, far less than a man who writes adventure stories; far less than a journalist who scribbles each day, far less than a columnist who writes each week, far less than many of us do on this list. Some say he wrote the nine chapters in a brief hour: "Return to the land of Judah, and there eat your bread and prophesy!"

He was just a shepherd of Tekoah (Koa) near Bethlehem, a trimmer of

This is an amazing thing: that an unlettered man, 800 years before Christ, should write down (or better, have written down for him) certain sayings that the world has never been able to lose or destroy. The Roman Martyrology says that he was "transfixed with an iron bar through the temples." He was buried in his native place (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Balbina of Rome V (RM)
Died c. 130. The laus in the Roman Martyrology says: "At Rome, the birthday of Saint Balbina the Virgin, daughter of blessed Quirinus the martyr; she was baptized by Pope Alexander, and chose Christ as her Spouse in her virginity; after completing the course of this world she was buried on the Appian Way near her father." Later, her relics were enshrined in the church dedicated to her on the Aventine. Modern writers question the veracity of the laus (Attwater2, Benedictines). In art, Saint Balbina is portrayed with a chain in her hand or fetters near her. At times she may be shown kissing the chains of captives. She is invoked against scrofula (Roeder).


Benjamin the Deacon M (RM)
Died on March 31, c. 421. Yezdigerd (Isdegerdes), the king of Persia, put an end to the cruel persecution of Christians under his father Sapor (Shapur) II, and there followed 12 years of peace. Bishop Abdas then burned down the Pyraeum, or Temple of Fire, the chief object of worship of the Persians. The king threatened to destroy all Christian churches unless Abdas rebuilt it. The bishop refused, and the king put him to death and initiated a general persecution of Christians, which continued for forty years and intensified under his son Varanes. An account of the terrible cruelties was given by a contemporary, Theodoret (Ecclesiastical History).

Benjamin, a Persian deacon, was beaten and imprisoned for a year for preaching Christianity during the persecution. He was released at the request of the Emperor of Constantinople, who promised he would stop preaching to Varanes' courtiers. As soon as he was released, Benjamin again began proclaiming the Gospel, was arrested and tortured after he said that he would not be silent if again released.

At his trial, he asked the king what he would think of a subject who would renounce his allegiance and join in a war against him. The king ordered reeds thrust under his nails and into the most tender parts of his body and then withdrawn. After this was repeated several times, a knotted stake was inserted into his bowels to rend and tear him. He expired in terrible agony (Attwater2, Barr, Benedictines, Davies, Delaney, White).

He is depicted as a deacon with reeds thrust under his nails; sometimes impaled by knotted stake (Roeder).


Blessed Bonaventure Tornielli, OSM (AC)
(also known as Bonaventure of Forli)

Born at Forli in 1411; died 1491; cultus confirmed in 1911. Bonaventure became a Servite in 1448. At the order of Pope Sixtus IV, he preached continually throughout the papal states and southern Italy. He also served for several years at the vicar- general of the order, while continuing the work for which he was commissioned (Attwater2, Benedictines). Bonaventure is depicted in art as a Servite with a scourge and book. He may also be shown with a discipline and scroll with A penitenza. He is venerated at Forli (Roeder).


Daniel of Murano, OSB Cam. Hermit (AC)
Died 1411. Saint Daniel was a German merchant who became acquainted with the Camaldolese monks of Murano while travelling through Venice, Italy. He lived a hermit's life under their direction, but in his own house, and was wont to spend long periods with them. He was killed by robbers in his cell (Benedictines).


Blessed Guy of Vicogne, O Praem. (AC)
Died 1147. Guy founded the Premonstratensian abbey of Vicogne in the diocese of Arras, where he retired and was superior of the community (Benedictines).


Guy of Pomposa, OSB Abbot M (AC)
(also known as Guido, Guion, Wido, Witen, Wit)

Born near Ravenna, Italy; died 1046. San Guido's parents were proud of their son. He was extremely careful with his appearance and dress in order to please them, until the day he realized that it was a form of vanity. On the feast of Saint Apollinaris, the first bishop of Ravenna, Guy went into town, stripped off his finery, and traded them for the rags of the poor. His horrified parents then watched as he left on a pilgrimage to Rome thus dressed.

In Rome, he was tonsured and placed himself under the direction of a hermit, named Martin, who lived on an island in the Po River. After three years, Martin sent him to the monastery of Pomposa (near Ferrara), which was under Martin's direction together with that of Ferrara, to learn the monastic life in a large community. Thus, Guy began monastic life and became a Benedictine monk at the abbey of Saint Severus.

Later Guy was nominated by Martin and was confirmed by vote of the community as abbot of Ravenna, then of Pomposa near Ferrara. He loved sacred learning and, at his request, Saint Peter Damian delivered lectures on the Scriptures to his monks for two years. Saint Peter Damian later dedicated his book, De perfectione monachorum, to the holy abbot. During his forty years as abbot, Guy's reputation drew so many others to religious life, including his own father and brother, that the community doubled in size and another monastery had to be built to accommodate them all. Eventually, he delegated the administrative aspects of his office in order to concentrate on the spiritual, especially the direction of souls.

Three times annually he made a retreat in a hermitage three-miles from Ferrara, where he lived in silence, abstinence, fasting, and prayer. His devotions and austerities were heightened during Lent. Although he treated his own body severely, he was extraordinarily tender with his monks, who became devoted to him.

Towards the end of his life, Guy was fiercely, though unjustly, persecuted by Archbishop Heribert of Ravenna and retired again into solitude. His peace was broken, however, by an summons to Piacenza from Emperor Henry III, who had come to Italy and wished to consult the holy man whose reputation had reached the king's ears. Guy took leave of his brothers, saying that he would not see them again. He became ill at Borgo San Donnino (near Parma) and died within days. After his death, Parma and Pomposa vied for custody of his relics. The emperor settled the dispute by taking his remains to the Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Speyer, Germany, which was renamed Saint Guido-Stift. He is the patron of Speyer (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth, Walsh).


Blessed Jane of Toulouse, OC Tert. (AC)
Born in Toulouse, France; died 1286; cultus confirmed in 1895. Saint Jane (Jeanne) was a Carmelite tertiary who was introduced to the order by Saint Simon Stock. She is venerated as the foundress of the Carmelite third order. She spent her time and substance on training young boy-candidates for the Carmelite Friars (Benedictines).


Machabeo of Armagh, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Gilda-Marchaibeo)

Born in Ireland, 1104; died 1174. Saint Machabeo was abbot of the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul in Armagh from 1134 until his death 40 years later (Benedictines).


Blessed Mary Mamala, Poor Clare Widow (AC)
Died 1453. A member of the Spanish family of the dukes of Medina- Sidonia, Saint Mary married Henry de Guzmán, and in her widowhood joined the Poor Clares of Seville (Benedictines).


Theodolus, Anesius, Felix, Cornelia & Comp. MM (RM)
Date unknown. Martyrs in Proconsular Africa (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.