Saints John and Paul
Anthelm(us) of Belley, O. Cart. B (RM)
Born near Chambéry, Savoy, France, 1107; died June 26, 1178. Bishop Anthelm of Belley was a nobleman born in the castle of Chignin. He became a priest early in life, but after visiting the tranquil Carthusian monastery of Portes, decided to become a monk and joined the Carthusians about 1137.
He eventually was elected as the 7th abbot of the Grande Chartreuse in 1139. Anthelm was responsible for guiding the Carthusians to evolve into a religious order separate from the Benedictine. Charter houses had previously been separate and independent, subject only to local bishops. Not only did he revitalize the order, he also restored the physical facilities of the Charterhouse.
He summoned the first general chapter, and Grande Chartreuse became the motherhouse. Anthelm commissioned Blessed John the Spaniard to draw up a constitution for a community of women who wished to live under Carthusian rule.
He resigned his abbacy in 1152 to live as a hermit but was made prior of Portes. During this time (1154-56) he ordered the bounty that had accumulated as a result of the monastery's prosperity to be distributed to those in need.
He returned to Grande Chartreuse, still wishing to live a solitary life, but then he actively entered the conflict over the nomination of Pope Alexander III, whom he supported, against Emperor Frederick Barbarossa's choice, Victor IV. With the Cistercian abbot Geoffrey, Anthelm galvanized support for Pope Alexander III, who then nominated him to the see of Belley in 1163.
There he set out to reform the clergy, a particular concern being that of celibacy, because some priests practiced while being openly married. He also punished evil-doers. So much did Anthelm endear himself to the people that, after his death, the city was renamed Athelmopolis.
When Count Humbert III of Maurienne violated the Church's jurisdiction over the clergy by imprisoning a priest, Anthelm sent a clergyman to handle the matter. After the priest was killed in a scuffle to rearrest him, Anthelm excommunicated the count. The pope invalidated the ban, but Anthelm would not relent and returned to Portes in protest. Relations between the pope and Anthelm remained open, however. He was asked by the pope to go to England to try to bring about a reconciliation between King Henry II and Saint Thomas a Becket, but unfortunately was unable to travel.
Anthelm established a community for women solitaries. To the end of his life, his heart was in his beloved Charterhouse, which he visited on every possible occasion.
The good bishop spent his last years tending to the lepers and the poor. He was distributing food in a famine when he was felled by fever. As Anthelm lay dying, he was visited by Humbert who sought his forgiveness. Miracles are said to have occurred at his tomb, one being that, as he was lowered into the tomb, a lamp lit only for great festivals kindled spontaneously (Benedictines, Delaney, White).
In art, Saint Anthelm, with a miter at his feet, is a Carthusian with a lamp over him lit by a celestial hand. At times Saint Peter may point out to him the place in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or there may be a nobleman under his feet (Roeder).
Babolenus of Fossés, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 677. Babolenus migrated to France, where he became a monk at Luxeuil under Saint Columbanus. Later he was appointed the first abbot of Saint Peter's near Paris, which was renamed Saint-Maur-des-Fossés when the relics of Saint Maurus where brought there from Anjou. He was helped by Saint Fursey in the erection of many churches and hospitals in the diocese of Paris. Together they served the whole diocese under Bishops Audebert and Saint Landry (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Blessed Bartholomew de Vir, OSB Cist. B (PC)
Died 1157. Bishop Bartholomew of Laon (1113-1151) helped Saint Norbert to found the Prémontré. In 1121, he built the Cistercian abbey of Foigny, and entered it in 1151 (Benedictines).
8th century. Corbican was an Irish recluse in the Low Countries who spent part of his day helping and instructing the peasants (Benedictines).
David of Thessalonica, Hermit (RM)
Born in Thessalonica, 5th century. Saint David lived for 70 years as a hermit, but he also served as a spiritual director. His relics were translated to Pavia, Italy, in 1054 (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Hermogius of Tuy, OSB B (AC)
Born in Tuy; died c. 942. Saint Hermogius founded the abbey of Labrugia (Spanish Galicia) in 915. He was captured by the Moors and taken to Cordova. Later he was given he freedom. His nephew, Saint Pelagius, however, was kept as a hostage. Saint Hermogius resigned his see and retired to Ribas del Sil (Benedictines).
Blessed Jane Gerard M (AC)
Died 1794; beatified in 1920. Blessed Jane is one of the Sisters of Charity of Arras, France, who were arrested in 1792, and guillotined at Cambrai (Benedictines).
John of the Goths B (AC)
Died c. 800. Saint John was bishop of the Goths in southern Russia. He was noted for his defense of the veneration of images against the depravation of the iconoclasts. Invading Khazars drove him from his see into exile, where he died (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
John and Paul MM (RM)
Died 362?. There is debate as to whether or not the stories about the two brothers named John and Paul are true or fiction. If true, there is debate about the date. Their existing Passio is simply an adaptation of the story of SS Juventinus and Maximinus, army officers who were martyred at Antioch under Julian the Apostate in 363. Nevertheless, they are named in the canon of the Mass.
Traditionally, it is said that they served as army officers in the court of Constantia, daughter of Emperor Constantine. One became her steward, the other the master of her household.
The emperor next sent them to serve under his general Gallicanus, who was defending Thrace from the Scythians. The Scythians were such formidable enemies that some of Gallicanus's army surrendered. John and Paul told him that victory would be is if he would become a Christian. He did so, and the Scythians were routed.
The two brothers prospered until shortly after 360 AD, when Emperor Julian began a policy of systematically degrading Christianity and promoting paganism. The two saints declared that they would no longer serve him. Summoned to his court, they simply stayed away and reiterated their dislike of his pagan ways. He gave them ten days to reconsider their attitude, but they remained firm. Julian then sent a captain of his bodyguard, and the two Christian brothers were executed on the Coelian Hill in Rome, in their own home.
About 35 years later a wealthy senator named Pammachius built a church dedicated to their honor on the site of their home. This church, Santi Giovanni e Paolo, has been excavated, and underneath 12th century alterations has been uncovered the original facade. One wall consists of a former pagan house, several stories high. Usually burials were allowed only outside the city walls, but here bodies of martyrs have been discovered--fitting in with the legend that the captain of Julian's bodyguard secretly buried the bodies of John and Paul in their own garden, announcing that they had gone into exile (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Mary Magdalen Fontaine and Companions (AC)
Born in Etrépagny (Eure), France, in 1723; died at Cambrai; beatified in 1920. Blessed Mary Magdalen entered the novitiate of the sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in 1748, and from 1767 was the superior of the house of that institute at Arras. She was guillotined at Cambrai during the French Revolution together with three religious of her community (Benedictines).
Maxentius (Maixent) of Poitou, Abbot (RM)
Born at Agde, France; died c. 515. Maxentius was educated under Saint Severus. Abbot of the monastery in Poitou, which has since been named after him. He is revered for his austerities and for protecting the district from barbarian invaders (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Pelagius (Pelayo) of Oviedo M (RM)
Born in Asturias c. 912; died at Cordova, Spain, 925. Saint Pelayo was a young boy taken hostage by the Moors. He was offered his freedom and other rewards if he would convert to Islam and commit other shameful deeds. These inducements were repeatedly placed before him during the three years that he was kept in prison. On his stubborn refusal, he was put to the torture, which he endured for six hours, finally dying. His relics were transferred to Leon in 967 and to Oviedo in 985. The Benedictine poetess Roswitha of Gandersheim (died 973) wrote a long poem in his honor (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Saint Pelagius is depicted in art as a youth with a sword in his left hand; his right arm dismembered. He might also be shown with red-hot tongs. He is venerated in Cordova, Leon, and Orviedo (Roeder).
Perseveranda of Poitiers V (RM)
(also known as Pecinna, Pezaine)
Died c. 726. Saint Perseveranda is said to have been a Spanish virgin who travelled to Poitiers with her sisters Macrina and Columba. There they founded a convent. While fleeing from the pirate Oliver, Perseveranda died of exhaustion in a town now commemorating her, Sainte-Pezaine in Poitou (Benedictines).
Salvius (Sauvre) and Superius MM (RM)
Died c. 768. Salvius was a regionary bishop in the district of Angoulême, who went to Valenciennes to evangelize Flemish. The cupidity of a baron led to his death, and with a companion he was hastily interred. When the bodies were discovered, the companion, Superius, was found first (Benedictines).
7th century (?). The true identity of this Saint Salvius is unknown. His relics, however, are famous because they were given to Canterbury Cathedral by William the Conqueror when Blessed Lanfranc rebuilt it after the fire of 1069. Some think this is Bishop Saint Salvius of Amiens, who flourished under Theodoric II and died in 625; however, those relics were translated to Montreuil in Picardy. Others have identified him as Saint Salvius of Valenciennes. It is ironic that Lanfranc, who questioned the cultus of many reputably historic Anglo-Saxon saints, should have introduced such uncertain relics into the rich collection at Canterbury (Benedictines).
Vigilius of Trent BM (RM)
Died 405. Saint Vigilius was a Roman patrician who studied at Athens. Later he and his family settled in the Trentino. He was consecrated bishop of Trent and succeeded in practically uprooting paganism from his diocese. He was stoned to death near Lake Garda in the Val di Rendena for overturning a statue of Saturn (Benedictines, Encyclopedia). In art, Saint Vigilius is a bishop holding a shoe (Roeder).
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.