Anastasius, Felix, and Digna, OSB MM (RM)
Died 853. Anastasius was a deacon of the church of Saint Acisclus in Cordova, Spain, who became a monk at the double monastery of Tábanos nearby. Felix, born into a Berber family at Alcalá (Complutum), was professed at Asturias but migrated to the same monastery as Anastasius. Digna was a nun of the same community. The three were the first martyrs of Cordova, beheaded by order of the caliph (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Castora Gabrielli, OFM Tert. Widow (PC)
Died 1391. Castora, a Franciscan tertiary and the wife and widow of Santuccio Sanfonerio, a lawyer at Sant'Angelo in Vado, Umbria, Italy, sanctified herself through the daily practice of the domestic virtues (Benedictines).
Cearan (Ciaran) the Devout, Abbot (AC)
Died 870. Cearan was an Irish abbot of Bellach-Duin (Castle- Keerant), County Meath (Benedictines).
Dogmael of Wales (AC)
(also known as Docmael, Dogfael, Dogmeel, Dogwel, Toel)
Early 6th century. A Welsh monk of the house of Cunedda, Dogmael founded several cells in Pembrokeshire, Brittany, and Anglesey. Under the name Toel, he is titular saint of a church in Tréquier in Brittany, and is probably identical to Dogmeel who has a considerable cultus in Brittany, where he is invoked to help children to learn to walk (Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).
Elgar of Bardsey, Hermit (AC)
Born in Devonshire, England; died c. 1100. After some years of captivity in Ireland, Elgar settled as a hermit in the isle of Bardsey off the coast of Carnarvon (Benedictines).
Elisha (Eliseus), Prophet (RM)
8th century BC. Saint Elisha received the mantle of prophecy from Elijah and continued the work of prophecy. His feast is observed liturgically in the Carmelite Order, and also generally in the East (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Etherius of Vienne B (RM)
Died c. 675. Bishop of Vienne, France (Benedictines).
Gerold of Fontenelle, OSB B (AC)
Died 806. Gerold was a courtier of Charlemagne who became a monk at Fontenelle. In 787, he was consecrated bishop of Evreux. At a later time, he resigned and returned to Fontenelle, where he died (Benedictines).
Blessed Hartwig of Salzburg B (AC)
Died 1023. Hartwig was the 21st archbishop of Salzburg (991-1023) (Benedictines).
Joseph the Hymnographer B (AC)
(also known as Joseph of the Studium)
Died c. 845-883. The monk Saint Joseph of the Studium was a prolific hymn-writer. Born of Christian parents in Sicily, he was obliged to flee with other Christians during an invasion by the Saracens, and reaching Thessalonica became a monk. Afterwards he migrated to Constantinople, where he joined the famous monastery of the Studium. Here he found himself a member of a distinguished Christian fellowship, led by Theodore Studites, its abbot, who was one of the outstanding Christians of his day; but when persecution reached the city, Theodore was scourged and imprisoned, and Joseph took ship for Rome.
There followed a period of misfortune and adventure in small sailing ships. A sea voyage in those days was fraught with peril, for methods of navigation were extremely primitive, time and distance were calculated by the position of the sun and stars, and travellers were not only exposed to hazards of wind and weather, but were at the mercy of pirates who waylaid them as they made their slow and cautious progress round the coasts.
As his ship passed through the islands of the Ionian Sea, it was captured by pirates, and all on board were taken to Crete as prisoners and there became slaves. For many years Joseph lived in servitude, but even as a slave he pursued his active ministry and converted many in Crete to the Christian faith.
Finally, regaining his liberty, he resumed his journey to Rome, where he was received with great kindness, and afterwards returned to Constantinople. The rest of his life was lived in retreat and was mainly devoted to the writing of hymns, so that he became known as Joseph the Hymnographer. Among them was one which vividly describes his experiences at sea:
Safe home, safe home in port!
Rent cordage, shattered deck,
Torn sails, provisions short,
And only not a wreck.
When we sing those words we can remember that they came from the heart of a man who had known storm and shipwreck, and that they reflect his own bitter suffering.
In another of his hymns, "O happy band of pilgrims," we also catch echoes of his stormy pilgrimage: of the trials and sorrows which he had known as a slave and an exile, and pointing to the greater agony of "the Cross that Jesus carried."
Even in those last years, however, Joseph was not to be left in peace. There came a day when once again he was called upon the suffer for Christ, this time to die as a martyr. But, before the end, he shared in a great missionary enterprise, for during his time in Constantinople he was among those who inspired the first missionaries to Russia.
I'm not absolutely sure that Joseph the Hymnographer is identical to Joseph of the Studium who is also celebrated on this day. The dates are approximately the same. Joseph the Hymnographer was the bishop of Salonika and the brother of Theodore Studites. Both are cited as great liturgical poets (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).
Lotharius of Séez, OSB B (AC)
Died c. 756. Saint Lotharius founded a monastery in the Argentan forest that was later called Saint-Loyer-des-Champs. He was consecrated bishop of Séez, which he governed for 32 years (Benedictines).
Marcian of Syracuse BM (RM)
Died c. 255. Sicilian legend says that Saint Peter sent Marcian to Syracuse as the "first bishop of the West." Of course, there were bishops in the West prior to the middle of the third century. It is more likely that Marcian was sent to Sicily by a pope of the 3rd century. He is said to have been thrown from a tower by the Jews (Benedictines).
Mark of Lucera B (AC)
Died c. 328. Saint Mark, a bishop, is locally venerated in southern Italy (Benedictines).
Methodius I of Constantinople B (RM)
Born in Syracuse, Sicily; died in Constantinople on June 14, 847.
Although he was born in a time when many in the Eastern Church were iconoclasts, Methodius courageously defended the attempt of Christian artists to inspire the faithful by means of beautiful icons. The saint was educated in Syracuse. Then he went to Constantinople intending to be a courtier of the emperor, but a holy monk so much impressed him that he decided to retire from the world. He built a monastery on the Greek island of Chios (Khios), intending to stay there for the rest of his life. But the patriarch of Constantinople, Saint Nicephorus, wanted Methodius by his side. Both men boldly stood up against the destroyers of icons, but Nicephorus was deposed and sent into exile by Emperor Leo the Armenian.
Methodius, too, was forced to flee. He was sent to Rome where to report to Pope Saint Paschal I on the destruction of sacred images. In 821, when Michael the Stammerer was enthroned, Methodius returned to Constantinople with a letter from the Pope Paschal demanding the reinstatement of Nicephorus. Instead the emperor condemned Methodius as a seditionist and ordered that he be scourged and exiled.
For seven years he was kept in a tomb or mausoleum with three thieves. One died and his corpse was left to rot in the dungeon alongside the three living prisoners. When Methodius was released, we are told that he looked like a skeleton, but his spirit was unbroken. He resumed his opposition to iconoclasm under Emperor Theophilus, and was called before the emperor. Blamed for his past activities and for the letter that he supposedly incited the pope to write, he replied boldly, "If an image is so worthless in your eyes, how is it that when you condemn the images of Christ you do not condemn the veneration paid to representations of yourself? Far from doing so, you are continually causing them to be multiplied."
There was a respite for a time when Theophilus died in 842 and his widow Theodora took control of the empire as regent for her small son, Michael III. Happily, she supported those who defended icons and repealed all decrees against images. Within 30 days exiled clergy were recalled and images restored to the churches amid rejoicing. In 843, Methodius became patriarch of Constantinople, replacing the iconoclast John the Grammarian.
He had five more years to live. Speedily he summoned a synod in Constantinople that endorsed the decrees of the Second Council of Nicaea declaring icons lawful in the church. An annual 'feast of Orthodoxy,' still observed in the Byzantine Church on the first Sunday of Lent, was instituted to mark this victory for reason and devotion. The patriarch also translated the relics of his predecessor, Nicephorus, to Constantinople. Unfortunately, this period of reconciliation was marred by a quarrel with some of his most ardent supporters--the monks of Saint Theodore Studites--over some of the abbot's writings. The saint died of dropsy. His immediate successor, Saint Ignatius, instituted an annual celebration of Methodius's feast.
Saint Methodius was said to have been a prolific writer, especially of hymns, though few of his writings still exist. Notable among his extant works is a life of Saint Theophanes. He also authored penitential canons, sermons, and an encomium of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite, which some think incorporates the work of Hilduin that he may have seen during his time in Rome (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth, Walsh).
In art, Saint Methodius is a Greek patriarch holding two candlesticks, one three-branched, one two-branched, or holding a picture of the Last Judgement (Roeder).
Nennus of Arran, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Nenus, Nehemias)
7th century. Nennus, born into the O'Birn family, succeeded Saint Enda as abbot of the monasteries of the Arran and Bute isles in 654 (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Psalmodius of Limoges, Hermit (AC)
(also known as Psalmet, Sauman, Saumay)
Died c. 690; second feast on August 6. Psalmodius, of Irish or Scottish descent, became a disciple of Saint Brendan. About 630, he took Brendan's advice and migrated to France where he lived as a hermit in the forest of Grie near Limoges. In France, he placed himself under the direction of Bishop Saint Leontius of Saintes, who helped him progress still further in Christian virtue. His relics are kept in a silver shrine in the collegiate church of Saint Agapotus in Languedoc (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Quintian B (RM)
Date unknown. Quintian was bishop of an unidentified diocese in France. The Roman Martyrology ascribes him to Rodez (Benedictines).
Blessed Richard of Saint Vannes, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died 1046. Richard was nicknamed "Gratia Dei," because it was a frequent phrase on his lips. He was dean of Rheims cathedral before he became a Benedictine monk at Saint Vannes in Verdun. Richard was a friend of Saint Odilo of Cluny and emperor Saint Henry, who is said to have asked Richard to confer the monastic habit on him (Benedictines).
Valerius and Rufinus MM (RM)
Died c. 287. Roman missionaries who were martyred at Soissons while evangelizing Gaul according to the Benedictine of Ramsgate, while Husenbeth relates a somewhat different story: Valerius and Rufinus were overseers of the imperial taxes in the territory of Soissons. As Christians, they fasted regularly and liberally gave alms--proof of their piety. After Emperor Maximian Herculius defeated the Bagaude near Paris, he left Rictius Varus behind as praefectus-praetorii in Gaul and ordered him to extirpate all Christians. Once Rictius Varus had cleansed the region near Rheims, he went to Soissons, and ordered Rufinus and Valerius to be brought before him. They had hidden themselves in a wood at word of the persecution. Unfortunately, they discovered, tortured, and beheaded on the high road leading to Soissons (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, 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.