Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle
Anatolius of Constantinople B (AC)
Died 458. Saint Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople from 449 to 458, is greatly venerated by the Byzantine Church. Zealous, austere, and charitable, his claim to sanctity has been supported by the Bollandists. Anatolius upheld the doctrinal authority of Pope Saint Leo (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Anatolius of Alexandria B (RM)
Born in Alexandria, Egypt; died c. 283. Anatolius, one of the greatest scholars of his age, headed the Aristotelian school at Alexandria. Fragments of the 10 volumes on mathematics that he wrote have come down to us, and he was also a master of geometry, physics, rhetoric, dialectic, astronomy, and philosophy. Hypercritical Saint Jerome commends his work, which should be considered high praise indeed.
Constantly seeking to improve his knowledge and understanding, he turned his inquiring mind to every subject that came to hand, and not least to the mysteries of God, without whom his studies and life would have been meaningless. He viewed learning as a spiritual as well as an intellectual discipline, for it taught honesty and respect for the truth, gave the student a sense of the infinite magnitude of God's work, and filled the soul with humility.
Despite his reputation as the leading scholar of a town famed for its scholarship, Anatolius was never conceited or arrogant. If he sometimes considered ignorance, particularly among Christians, as almost a sin, he nevertheless showed a sincere friendship for poor and uneducated people. Instead of snubbing them, he humbly set himself to learn from them, for there was always something new to be learned, some truth about man or nature.
As a scholar, and more importantly as a Christian, he knew that no piece of God's handiwork should be passed by with indifference. Though his reason and intellect were the principal instruments he used in his search for truth, he also understood their limitations when confronted with the wider mystery of God.
His intelligence and his willingness to serve his fellow man led him to accept several important posts in the administration of his city, which at the time was part of the Roman Empire. It was thanks to him that in 263 a large number of its inhabitants was saved from starvation. A few years earlier Emilian had seized power in Alexandria and had himself proclaimed emperor, but a Roman army under Theodosius was quickly dispatched against him. Theodosius laid siege to the town, which was not expected to be able to hold out for long.
Making use of his friendship with Eusebius, a deacon who later became bishop of Laodicea, and who had accompanied the Roman army, Anatolius obtained permission for all the women, children, old men and sick people to leave Alexandria. This proved to be a tactical victory as well as an act of mercy. The besieged forces, relieved of the burden of feeding useless mouths and of caring for those who could not bear arms, were able to prolong their resistance.
Perhaps because he had dangerously compromised himself in this affair, Anatolius then left Alexandria and went to Caesarea in Palestine, where his fame had already preceded him. Theoctenes, the bishop of Caesarea, esteemed him so highly that he consecrated him as his successor and at once passed on to him a large part of his responsibilities.
In 268, they were both summoned to the Council of Antioch, but as they were passing through Laodicea they were politely but firmly stopped by the clergy and people. Eusebius, their bishop, had just died and they saw Anatolius's sudden arrival as a gift from God. Anatolius had no choice but to accept, and it was as bishop of Laedicea that he died (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
In art, Saint Anatolius is portrayed as a bishop with globes and mathematical books (Roeder).
Bernardino Realino, SJ (RM)
Born at Carpi (near Modena), Italy, in 1530; died at Lecce, Italy, 1616; beatified by Leo XIII; canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII.
Bernardino led a lively early life, but after practicing law for some years, he entered the Society of Jesus at age 34. He was admitted at Naples by Father Alphonso Salmeron, one of the first companions of Saint Ignatius. He worked for 10 years in Naples, doing pastoral work, preaching, catechizing, and helping the poor, the sick, and prison inmates.
His holiness and fiery speaking caused him to be recognized as a saint in his lifetime and a spontaneous cultus sprang up, which helped to provide evidence for some of the remarkable occurrences that were testified to under oath in the process of his beatification.
After pastoring a flock, he went to the college at Lecce to teach and eventually was appointed rector of the college, where he remained for the rest of his life. Six years before his death, he fell and suffered two wounds that would not heal. During his last illness, blood from a leg wound was collected in vials on account of the great veneration in which Bernardino was held.
This blood behaved in various extraordinary ways. In some vessels it retained its liquidity over a century; in others it even foamed and seemed to increase in volume; in one, an observer said it "boiled" and frothed on the anniversary of his death and when brought near a reliquary containing his tongue.
In 1634, Bernardino's tomb was opened by an ecclesiastical authority. A good deal of tissue was left, and it was separated from the bones and put into two glass containers, which were reburied with the skeleton in the coffin.
In 1711, the contents of the coffin were examined by the bishop of Lecce, in the presence of witnesses, to verify the relics. One of the glass vessels was broken, but in the other the tissues were in an apparently unaltered state but floating in a dark red liquid. The liquid was said by doctors to be blood,and they attested that its preservation and sweet smell were miraculous.
Two years later a commission of three bishops, appointed by the Congregation of Sacred Rites to examine the blood, found it to be liquid, crimson, and foaming. Don Gaetano Solazzo, who had charge of a vial (probably the vial of 1616) in the Cathedral of Lecce in 1804, left a statement saying it was liquid and had twice foamed and bubbled.
Nuns saw it do the same, and a Jesuit father stated in a sworn deposition that he'd witnessed it do the same twice in 1852. These circumstances are notable because they are such a well- authenticated example of such phenomena. In 1895, a biographer could find no relic of blood still in a liquid state (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, White).
Bladus of the Isle of Man B (AC)
Date unknown. According to tradition, Saint Bladus was one of the early bishops of the Isle of Man (Benedictines).
Byblig of Wales (AC)
(also known as Biblig, Peblig, Piblig, Publicius)
5th century (?). Although Saint Byblig was obviously a holy man connected with Carnarvon and honored with a cultus in Wales, nothing is known about his life (Benedictines).
Cillene of Iona, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 752. The Irish Saint Cillene migrated to Iona, where he was elected abbot in 726 (Benedictines).
Dathus (Datus) of Ravenna B (RM)
Died 190. Bishop Dathus was elected to the see of Ravenna because of a miraculous appearance of a dove hovering over his head. He governed his diocese during the reign of Emperor Commodus (Benedictines).
Eulogius and Companions MM (RM)
Died 364-370. This was a group of Catholics martyred at Constantinople under the Arian Emperor Valens (Benedictines).
Germanus of the Isle of Man B (AC)
Died c. 474. Tradition tells us that Saint Germanus was a nephew of Saint Patrick. He was a missionary monk in Ireland, Wales, and Brittany, who eventually became the bishop of the Isle of Man. His memory is preserved there in place names, such as Jarman and Gremain (Benedictines).
Gunthiern of Brittany (AC)
Died c. 500. Gunthiern, a Welsh prince, left his homeland in his youth to become a hermit in Brittany (Armorica). On the Isle of Groie near the mouth of the Blavet, he was given land for a monastery by the local lord, Grallon, who was impressed by Gunthiern's holiness. The abbey is known as Kemperle, which indicates its location between the Isol and Wile Rivers.
Once a swarm of insects threatened to devour the crops. Count Guerech I of Vannes, dreading a famine, sent three dignitaries to request the saint's intercession to turn away the scourge. Gunthiern blessed some water and told them to sprinkle it over the fields. When they followed Gunthiern's instructions the insects were destroyed.
During the Norman invasions, Gunthiern's body was concealed in the isle of Groie. When it was discovered in the eleventh century, it was translated to the monastery of Kemperle, which now belongs to the Benedictine Order. Saint Gunthiern is patron of this abbey as well as of many other churches and chapels in Brittany (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Guthagon, Hermit (AC)
8th century. Like so many other Irish saints, Guthagon is said to have been born of royal blood. Forsaking the world, he crossed over into Belgium, where he became a recluse at Oostkerk near Bruges in Flanders. His sanctity was confirmed by numerous miracles worked by God following the saints death. Guthagon's shrine and chapel are venerated. On July 3, 1059, Bishop Gerard of Tournai translated Guthagon's relics; and, on October 1, 1444, Bishop Nicholas of Tournai is said to have visited them (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Heliodorus of Altinum B (RM)
Born in Dalmatia; died c. 390. Heliodorus was an intimate friend of Saint Jerome from early in life. He followed Jerome to Palestine, supported him financially, and helped in the preparation of the Vulgate. Later he settled in Aquileia and became bishop of Altinum, a small town near Venice. He proved to be an outstanding bishop and a brave opponent of Arianism (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Hyacinth of Cappadocia M (RM)
Died c. 120. Saint Hyacinth, chamberlain to Emperor Trajan at Caesarea in Cappadocia, was imprisoned for his faith. He died of starvation because his captors would allow him only meat that had been offered to idols, which he could not eat in good conscience (Benedictines).
Ireneaus (Ireneo) and Mustiola MM (RM)
Died 273. Ireneaus, a deacon, and Mustiola, a noble lady, were martyred at Chiusi in Tuscany under Aurelian for having ministered to other martyrs and burying their bodies (Benedictines). In art, Saint Ireneaus is depicted as a deacon holding a palm and either with Mustiola alone or also with Saint Secundus. Patron of Chiusi (Roeder). (Not to be confused with the better known Irenaeus of Lyons, Doctor.)
Blessed Joseph Peter Vyen, OP Tert. M (AC)
Born in East Tonkin (Vietnam), in 1773; died there in 1838; beatified in 1910. Joseph Vyen was a native catechist, who died in prison for the faith (Benedictines).
Julius, Aaron, and Companions MM (RM)
Date unknown; feast day formerly July 1. Julius and Aaron were Roman-Britons who are said to have been put to death at Caerleon- upon-Usk in Monmouthshire, perhaps in the middle of the 3rd century. Nothing else is recorded about them. The date c. 304, during the persecution of Diocletian, commonly given to these martyrs is only a conjecture (though a very old one). It is now believed that Diocletian's decree against Christians was not enforced in Britain (Benedictines, Attwater).
Leo II, Pope (RM)
Born in Sicily; died June 28, 683. Leo was elected pope to succeed Pope Saint Agatho on January 10, 681, though he was not consecrated until August 17, 682. He was an eloquent preacher, who was interested in music and was known for his concern for the poor. He confirmed the acts of the sixth general council of Constantinople, 680-681, which condemned Monothelitism and censured Pope Honorius I for not formally condemning that heresy (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).
Maelmuire (Marianus) O'Gorman (AC)
Died after 1167. Saint Maelmuire was abbot of Knock (Louth). He composed an Irish menology in Irish verse (Benedictines).
Mark, Mucian, an Unnamed Boy, & Paul MM (RM)
Date unknown. The entry in the Roman Martyrology reads as follows: "The holy martyrs Mark and Mucian who were slain with the sword for Christ's sake. When a little boy called upon them with a loud voice that they should not sacrifice to idols, he was ordered to be whipped, and as he then confessed Christ more loudly, he was slain, too, together with one Paul who was exhorting the martyrs" (Benedictines).
Blessed Philip Minh M (AC)
Born at Caimong, West Cochin-China, in 1815; died at Cong-ho in 1853; beatified in 1900. Philip joined the Society for Foreign Missions and was ordained a priest of Mac-Bac in East Cochin-China. He wa beheaded for the faith (Benedictines).
Rumold(us), OSB BM (RM)
(also known as Rombauld, Rumbold, Rombaut)
Died c. 775; feast day formerly June 24. Rumold, an Anglo-Saxon monk, became a regionary bishop and worked under Saint Willibrord in Holland and Brabant. He was martyred near Malines, where he is now the titular of the cathedral and his relics rest in an elaborate golden shrine over the high altar. His feast is still a major event. The Roman martyrology and later legends say that he was of Irish descent and bishop of Dublin (Benedictines, Montague). In art, Saint Rumbold is a bishop with a missioner's cross, a bearded man with a hoe lying under his feet. He may also be shown murdered near a coffer of money (Roeder).
Thomas Didymus, Apostle (RM)
1st century; declared apostle of India by Pope Paul VI in 1972; feast day formerly on December 21.
Thomas was probably born in Galilee to a humble family, but there is no indication that he was a fisherman. He was a Jew, but there is no account of how he became an apostle to Christ. His name is Syriac and means "the twin"; he was also called Didymus, which is the Greek equivalent. In France he is referred to as Jumeau, which also means "twin."
Thomas is remembered for his doubt that Christ had actually risen from the dead, and he said to the apostles, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nailmarks, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe" (Luke 20:25).
Eight days later, Christ appeared to him and said, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and bring your hand and put it into my side. And be not faithless, but believing." Thomas fell at His feet, saying, "My Lord and my God!" and Jesus replied, "Because you have seen me, Thomas, you believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believe" (Luke 20:27-29). This incident gave rise to the expression "a doubting Thomas."
Lest we condemn poor Thomas for his lack of belief, consider that he was a man who relentlessly sought the Truth. Like an inquisitive child, he constantly asked questions. Earlier, when Jesus told his disciples, "I go to prepare a place for you. And I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be. And you know the way where I'm going."
At this Thomas, puzzled, but bold enough to ask his Lord to explain, said, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"
Jesus replied, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. Henceforth, you know him and have seen him" (John 14:3-7).
When the worried disciples wanted to keep Jesus from going to raise Lazarus from the dead because "the Jews want to stone you and you leave yourself open to them!" Thomas responded, "Let us go also, that we may die with him!" (John 11:16).
Accounts of Thomas's missionary activities are unreliable, but the most widely accepted account holds that he preached in India. The Acta Thomae say that when the apostles divided up the world for their missionary labors, India fell to Thomas. He said he was not healthy enough and that a Hebrew could not teach Indians; even a vision of Christ could not change his mind.
Christ then appeared to the merchant Abban and sold Thomas to him as a slave for his master, a king who ruled over part of India. When Thomas discovered this he said, "As you will, Lord, so be it."
At the court in India, Thomas, having admitted that he was a carpenter and builder, was ordered to build a palace. While the king was absent, however, Thomas did no building, and he used the 20 pieces of silver given to him by the king for charitable purposes.
When the king returned, he imprisoned him, intending to flay him alive. At that point, the king's brother died, and when the brother was shown the place in heaven that Thomas's good works had prepared for the king, he was allowed to return to earth and offer to buy the spot from the king for himself. The king refused, released Thomas, and was converted by him.
There exists a population of Christians along the Malabar Coast who were supposedly originally converted by Thomas, and their tradition holds that he built seven churches, was martyred by spearing on the "Big Hill" near Madras, and was buried in Mylapore. One account holds that Thomas was killed for successfully persuading a woman, Mygdonia, to cease marriage relations with her husband, Charisius.
It is certainly possible that Thomas reached India as a missionary. Indian Christians, especially in Kerala, often call themselves 'Christians of Saint Thomas,' and an ancient 6th-century cross that speaks of him in an inscription lies in the church of Mylapore. In 1522, the Portuguese found the alleged tomb, and some relics now lie in the Cathedral of Saint Thomas at Mylapore.
The larger part of his relics appear to have been in Edessa in the 4th century, and the Acta Thomae say that they were taken from India to Mesopotamia. They were translated to several places and were finally taken to Ortona in the Abruzzi, where they are still honored. According to Eusebius, Thomas evangelized Parthia.
The theme of the long, 3rd or 4th century Acta Thomae is the missionary efforts of Saint Thomas. This is one of the most readable and intrinsically interesting of early Christian apocryphal writings; but it is no more than a popular romance, written in the interest of false gnostic teachings (e.g., the virtual necessity of celibacy for Christians).
Nevertheless, the doubting Thomas managed to quiet the doubts of many others during his missionary journeys. He answered the questions of others with the childlike, loving heart trained by Christ. The Indians celebrate Thomas's dies natale on July 1 (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Brown, Delaney, Encyclopedia (December), White).
There are several other apocryphal works concerning or attributed to Saint Thomas:
- The Gospel of Thomas
- Consummation of Thomas the Apostle
In art, Saint Thomas is generally a young or middle-aged man with a carpenter's rule. He may also be shown (1) with a lance or, occasionally a sword or dagger; (2) touching Christ's wounded side; (3) catching the girdle dropped by the Virgin at her Assumption; or (4) casting out the devil from an Indian king's daughter (Roeder). White says that Thomas is portrayed as an elderly man, holding a lance or pierced by one; or kneeling before Jesus; or with a T- square (White).
Saint Thomas is venerated as the Apostle of India. He is the patron of architects, builders, carpenters, masons, geometricians, theologians (Roeder), other building craftsmen, blind people (due to his occasional spiritual blindness), India and Pakistan (White).
Tryphon and Companions MM (RM)
Date unknown. A group of 13 martyrs who suffered at Alexandria, Egypt (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.