St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

July 8



Abrahamite Monks MM (RM)
Died 830-840. The monks of the monastery founded by Saint Abraham of Ephesus at Constantinople were martyred under Emperor Theophilus for defending the veneration of images (Benedictines).


Adrian III, Pope (RM)
Died 885; cultus confirmed 1892. Little is known of Adrian or his pontificate and why he is venerated as a saint, though it is known he worked to mitigate the rigors of a famine in Rome. Of Roman descent, he was elected pope probably on May 17, 884. He opposed the aristocratic faction in Rome led by Formosus, bishop of Porto, had George of the Aventine, a member of the Formosan group and notorious for several murders he committed, tried, condemned, and blinded, and had a widow of one of the opposing nobility whipped naked through the streets of Rome. He died either in early September or on July 8 near Modena while on the way to a diet in Worms, Germany, at the invitation of Emperor Charles the Fat, probably to settle the question of Charles' succession and to seek help against the Saracens. He is buried at Nonantola (Benedictines, Delaney).


Albert (Lambert) of Genoa, OSB Cist. (AC)
Born in Genoa, Italy; died 1239. Saint Albert was a professed lay- brother at the Cistercian abbey of Sestri da Ponente near Genoa, who eventually became a hermit nearby. He still enjoys popularity (Benedictines).


Apollonius of Benevento B (AC)
Died after 326. Bishop Apollonius of Benevento went into hiding during the last persecution under Diocletian (Benedictines).


Aquila and Prisca (Priscilla) (RM)
1st century. Aquila, a Jewish tentmaker, and his wife Prisca were forced to leave Rome when Emperor Claudius forbade Jews to live there. They settled at Corinth, where they entertained their friend Saint Paul in their home (Acts 18:3). He may have converted them to Christianity. The couple accompanied Paul to Ephesus and remained there; Paul stayed with them on his third missionary journey. There is a tradition that, under Nero, they returned to Rome, where their house was also used as a church and then went back to Ephesus. Saint Paul sent them greetings in Rome: "Salute Prisca and Aquila my helpers in Christ, who have for my life laid down their own necks" (Romans 16:3-4). The Roman Martyrology says they were later martyred in Asia Minor, but a tradition has them suffering to death in Rome (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia). In art, the couple is shown with tentmaker's tools or making tents. They might also be shown with shoemaker's tools and each of them holding a sword, or with Saint Paul (Roeder).


Arnold of Julich (AC)
Born in Greece; died after 800. Saint Arnold was attached to the court of Blessed Charlemagne, where he was famous for his charity to the poor. He has left his name to the village of Arnold-Villiers (Arnoldsweiler) near Julich (Benedictines).


Auspicius of Toul B (AC)
Died c. 475. Sidonius Apollinaris reports that this Saint Auspicius was the bishop of Toul. He was buried at Saint Mansuy (Benedictines).


Auspicius of Trèves B (RM)
Died after 130. Although Saint Auspicius is said to have been the successor to Saint Maternus as the fourth bishop of Trèves (Trier, Germany), it is more likely that he should be identified with Saint Auspicius of Toul (Benedictines).


Blessed Benedict d'Alignan, OFM B (PC)
Died 1268. Benedict was a Benedictine abbot when he was selected to become the bishop of Marseilles. He resigned his see and became a Franciscan after making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (Benedictines).


Edgar the Peaceful, King (PC) Died 975. Saint Edgar was wise in his choice of friends and advisors: Saint Dunstan. His reign was distinguished by a strong religious revival in England. Though he enjoyed a local cultus at Glastonbury, he would not now be thought to be a likely candidate for canonization (Benedictines).


Blessed Eugene III, OSB Cist. Pope (RM)
Born at Montemagno, between Lucca and Pisa, Italy; died at Tivoli, July 8, 1153; cultus approved 1872. Pietro Paganelli became a canon at the Pisa cathedral and an official in the ecclesiastical curia of Pisa. After meeting Saint Bernard joined the Cistercians at Clairvaux in 1135, taking the name Bernard. His namesake professed him. He became abbot of Saint Athanasius (then Tre Fontane) in Rome and was unexpectedly elected pope on February 15, 1145, taking the name Eugene.

Forced to flee the city when he refused to recognize the sovereignty of the Roman Senate and Arnold of Brescia, heading the opposition to his election, seized temporal power, he was secretly consecrated at Farfa Abbey on February 18. Eugene moved to Viterbo and then returned to Rome under a truce, which the rebels immediately broke, pillaging churches and turning Saint Peter's into an armory.

At the invitation of King Louis VII, he went to France in 1147 and proclaimed the Second Crusade, which ended in failure, despite the efforts of Saint Bernard, who preached it, when the armies of King Louis VII and Emperor Conrad II of Germany were defeated.

Eugene held synods at Paris and Trier in 1147 and the following year at Rheims, where he condemned Gilbert de la Porree, and at Cremona, where he excommunicated Arnold and threatened to use force against the Roman rebels. Terms were arranged and Eugene returned to Rome in 1149 but was again forced to leave the following year.

He took up residence at Tivoli, concluded the Treaty of Constance in 1153 with Emperor Frederick I, guaranteeing the rights of the Church. Eugene labored throughout a tumultuous pontificate to reunite the Eastern churches to Rome, to reform clerical conduct and discipline, removed unworthy clergymen (among them the archbishops of Mainz and York), fought the recurrence of Manichaeism, was known for his courage and simplicity, and lived according to the spiritual counsels of Saint Bernard, who wrote De consideratione for his guidance.

Saint Antoninus fittingly called him "one of the greatest and one of the most afflicted of popes" (Benedictines, Delaney).


Grimbald of Winchester, OSB Abbot (AC)
Born at Thérouanne (Pas-de-Calais), France, c. 825; died 903. Grimbald became a Benedictine monk about 840, was ordained priest in 870, and was abbot of Saint-Bertin. He entertained King Alfred on his way to Rome in 885. As a well-known scholar, he went to Rheims in 886.

Upon the advice of Archbishop Eldred of Canterbury and through Fulk of Rheims, Alfred invited Grimbald to England in 887. Grimbald accepted the offer. He lived in Winchester in a small "monastery" and served as a court-scholar, assisting Alfred with his translations of Latin works into Old English, including Saint Gregory's Pastoral Care (Liber regulae pastoralis). Eventually, Grimbald was appointed the first professor of divinity at Oxford (some say that he actually founded the university).

Upon the death of Eldred in 889, Alfred tried to persuade Grimbald to become archbishop of Canterbury, but he refused and became instead dean of the secular canons of New Minster at Winchester, the town-church where prominent citizens had burial rights. Alfred's son, King Edward, reburied his father and mother (Queen Alswithe) in this new church, which probably absorbed the small community that Grimbald had previously governed. (Later, King Henry I removed New Minster to Hyde, now called Saint Grimbald's monastery.)

Grimbald restored learning in England. He may have brought to England the 9th-century manuscript of Prudentius, now at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, as well as the famous Utrecht Psalter.

During his last illness, the extremely feeble Saint Grimbald rose out of bed and prostrated himself on the ground to receive the holy viaticum. Thereafter, he asked to be left alone with God for three days. On the fourth day the community was called into his chamber, and amidst their prayers the saint calmly breathed forth his happy soul in his 83rd year.

His body was reposed in New Minster and honored amongst its most precious relics together with those of Saint Judocus. It was taken up by Saint Alphege, and exposed in a silver shrine. Other translations occurred in 938, c. 1050, and 1110, when the whole establishment was moved to Hyde. Grimbald's vita was written by Goscelin, monk of Saint-Bertin's. While his cultus centered on Winchester, it was extended by Malmesbury to other Benedictine abbeys and to York and Hereford (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).


Kilian, Colman, and Totnan MM (RM)
(also known as Chillien or Chilianus, Colman, and Tadhg)

Died c. 689. Kilian, an Irish monk from Mullagh, County Cavan, was consecrated bishop and set out to evangelize Germany with eleven companions. They arrived at Aschaffenburg on the Rhein and then sailed up to the River Main and Würzburg. With the able, zealous assistance of Colman, a priest, and Totnan, a deacon, he was successful in his missionary endeavors, especially after he converted the local lord, Duke Gosbert (Gospert) of Würzburg.

Somewhat anachronistically, about 686, he went to Rome and received permission from Pope Conon to evangelize Franconia (Baden and Bavaria) and East Thuringia. Upon his return his mission ran into a roadblock, Duke Gosbert had married Geilana, his brother's widow. Like most Irish missionaries, the trio spoke out fearlessly against any breach of faith or morals. In this case Kilian openly rebuked the duke for his irregular marriage to his brother's widow. According to legend, while Gosbert was away on a military expedition, Geilana had the three missionaries beheaded when she found that Gosbert was going to leave her because their marriage was forbidden by the Church.

A strong cultus was immediately established in Germany and spread as far as Vienna, Austria, and Ireland. Even today, the Kilianfest is one of the better known festivals of the German peoples, including German-Americans. Kilian's Bible is exposed on the high altar of Würzburg cathedral on his feast and an annual mystery play of his life is produced. Kilian's relics were translated in 752 by Saint Burchard. The strength of the cultus of the three martyrs drew the attention of Pope Saint Zachary, who permitted public veneration of the martyrs in 752. From the time of Blessed Charlemagne, it was common for emperors to make a pilgrimage to their shrine at Würzburg, which Saint Boniface established as a bishopric in honor of Saint Kilian. Kilian's name is also found with that of Saint Boniface in the calendar of Godescale (c. 782).

Kilian, Colman, and Totnan are also unusual in that the Irish themselves have shown veneration for the expatriates, rather than showing their usual disinterest. Many illustrious Irishmen have visited Würzburg over the centuries to honor the saints. In 1134, one of the 12 Irish monasteries governed by that in Regensburg was established in Würzburg. In 1650, Father Stephen White, SJ, a famous Irish historian, chose the city as the center for his studies of Irish antiquities in Germany (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Montague).

In art, Saint Kilian is a bishop holding a sword (often large) and standing between two priests. Sometimes all three are shown assassinated at the command of the duchess or the Kilian is shown between Colman and Totnan buried in a stable as a blind priest is cured at their grave (Roeder). Kilian's image appears on seals and coins of the region. Some old hymns in Latin and German survive that honor him (Farmer). They are venerated at Aschaffenburg, Würzburg, Münnerstadt, and as the patrons of whitewashers. They are invoked against gout and rheumatism (Roeder).


Landrada of Munsterbilsen, OSB V (AC)
Died c. 690. Saint Landrada founded and was the first abbess of Münsterbilsen Abbey in Luxembourg (Benedictines).


Blessed Mancius Araki M (AC)
Died July 8, 1626; beatified in 1869. Mancius, brother of Blessed Matthew Araki, was a Japanese layman, who was imprisoned at Omura for sheltering missionaries. He died of consumption in prison, then his body was burned at Nagasaki on July 12 (Benedictines).


Morwenna of Cornwall V (AC)
5th century. This is another of the confusing list of saints with the names of Modwenna and Moninne. She has given her name to several places in Cornwall (Benedictines).


Blessed Peter the Hermit (PC)
Died at Huy, Flanders, 1115. Peter was a soldier of European birth who became a hermit for a time in Palestine. Then he returned to Europe. He was a great orator who preached the first crusade throughout Italy, France, and parts of Germany. He accompanied the expedition as a soldier and was present at the capture of Jerusalem. On his return to Flanders, he founded Neumoutiers monastery at Huy, Flanders. He has never officially been beatified (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Procopius of Scythopolis M (RM)
Born in Jerusalem; died at Sycthopolis (Bethshan), July 7, 303. Saint Procopius was one of the first victims of Emperor Diocletian's persecution of the Christians in Palestine. The church historian Eusebius was bishop of Caesarea, where Procopius suffered, at the time of the martyrdom. Eusebius left this simple account of Procopius's martyrdom:

"The first of the martyrs of Palestine was Procopius, a man filled with divine grace, who form his childhood had devoted himself to chastity and the practice of all virtues. He had mortified his flesh until his body seemed to be like that of one who was dead, but his soul drew such strength from the word of God that the body itself was refreshed by it. He lived on bread and water, and ate only every second or third day, and sometimes prolonged his fast for a whole week.

"Meditation on the divine work so filled his being that he remained absorbed in it day and night without fatigue. Filled with gentleness and goodness, holding himself to be the least of men, he edified all who heard him by his discourses. The word of God was his only study, and of other matters he had but little knowledge.

"He was born at Jerusalem, but had gone to live in Scythopolis, where he held three ecclesiastical offices. He was reader and interpreter in the Syriac language, and cured those possessed of evil spirits.

"Sent with his companions from Scythopolis to Caesarea [Maritima], he had barely passed through the city gates when he was brought before the governor; and even before being put in chains and taken to the prison he was urged by the judge Flavian to sacrifice to the gods. But in a loud voice Procopius said that there are not several gods, but One only, the creator and author of all things.

"Finding nothing to say in answer, the judge tried to persuade him at least to sacrifice to the emperors, but the martyr of God scorned his pleas. 'Listen,' he said, 'to this verse from Homer: It is not good to have several masters; let there be only one ruler and one king.'

"At these words, as though he had spoken threats against the emperors, the judge ordered him to be executed. His head was cut off, and he passed happily to eternal life by the shortest road. This was the first martyrdom that took place at Caesarea."

This simple, reliable account was not enough to satisfy the legend makers. In later stories Procopius is made a soldier, then an ascetic, then a Persian, and then a prince of Alexandria--sometimes he was said to be all four of these at once. In each case, his conversion was made to bear a remarkable resemblance to that of Saint Paul.

When he was imprisoned in these legends, he is supposed to have converted his guards. When brought before the judges, he was said to have astounded them with a string of quotations from Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Homer, and Socrates. When subjected to the most horrible and fantastic tortures, he emerged unscathed. And when approached by his would-be executioners, he is said to have paralyzed them on the spot. At some point in the story, he is reputed to have slain no fewer than 6,000 barbarian invaders simply by confronting them with a wonder-working cross.

In the most popular of these legends, Procopius was originally named Neanias. He was born at Jerusalem, then made duke of Alexandria by Diocletian, who sent him to proceed against the Christians there. On the way from Antioch Neanias experiences a vision similar to that of Saint Paul on the road to Damascus, as a consequence of which he declares himself a Christian.

He is taken in chains to Caesarea, where the governor Oulcion has him tortured and imprisoned. He is then baptized in a vision by Christ himself, and given the name Procopius. Oulcion dies suddenly, and is succeeded by Flavian, with whom Procopius has long arguments, interspersed with bouts of unbelievable torture. At last Flavian pronounces sentence, and Procopius is executed. The narrative is decorated with marvels throughout the tale: the miraculous cross mentioned above; his mother, Theodosia, and 12 other noble ladies suddenly converted and martyred; etc.

Notice that of Eusebius's historical particulars only the names of some persons and places survives in the legends. Even the hero himself is no longer a humble cleric but a young heathen officer. The legends are sheer invention, and such was the confusion engendered by them that some compilers of calendars produced three martyrs named Procopius--the cleric, the officer, and the unexplained Saint Procopius of Persia.

That the martyr described by Eusebius was publicly venerated is proven by the existence of shrines in his honor at Caesarea and Scythopolis from at least the 5th and 6th centuries. Thank God that we have a contemporary account of what actually happened! (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delehaye, Encyclopedia).


Raymund of Toulouse (AC)
Died 1118. After his wife's death, Saint Raymund, who had been a chanter at Saint-Sernin's in Toulouse, received a canonry there. He was known for his generosity to the poor and for his personal austerity (Benedictines).


Sunniva of Bergen & Comp. (AC)
(also known as Sunnifa or Synnöve of Norway)

10th century; some show this feast on July 3. Several authorities refer to Saint Sunniva as an Irish nun who was shipwrecked in Norway and set up a convent with her companions. There is no information about her in Ireland, but according to legend (which is similar to that of Saint Ursula), she was a princess, nun, or both, who fled from Ireland with her brother Alban and several other maidens. Some say they were seeking a haven where they could live consecrated lives in exile for Christ. She was shipwrecked off the west coast of Norway and finally reached Selje Island. There they engaged in a devout, communal life, dwelling in caves and subsisting on fish.

The story has two endings. One says that they were killed by people from the mainland. The other relates that the neighboring Jarl Haakon heard about their landing and went to investigate. The community members fled to the caves. Masses of rock crashed down and blocked all the entrances, eventually killing the saints. When the caves were excavated much later, Sunniva's incorrupt body was discovered.

In 995, Olaf Tryggyason built a chapel in her honor. In 1170, their alleged relics were enshrined in Bergen; Selje's church was given to the Benedictines who dedicated it to Saint Alban (her brother?). Five churches or ruins of churches still survive on the island (Benedictines, Farmer, Montague).


Urith of Chittlehampton V (AC)
(also known as Erth, Heiritha)

Born at East Stowford, Devonshire, England; date unknown. Few sources mention Saint Urith, foundress of the church at Chittlehampton. She was a consecrated virgin who was killed by haymakers at the instigation of a jealous, possibly pagan, stepmother. A stream sprang out of the ground where she fell, much as in the legends of Saints Sidwell and Cyniburg. She may have been persecuted by the Saxons. The vita found at her shrine records the miracles wrought by her and is the basis for the rhyming Latin poem about her in Trinity College, Cambridge (Manuscript 0.9.38). The offerings at her shrine were sufficient to build the tower of Chittlehampton, reputed to have been the finest in Devon. So great was her reputation for miracles that the offerings provided to the vicar three times the income from tithes and glebe. The removal of her statue from the church in 1539-1540 led to a diminution of her cultus. The pulpit built about 1500 survives with a figure of Saint Urith holding the palm of martyrdom and the foundation of the stone church. There is a 16th-century stained-glass window of her at Nettlecombe in Somerset (Farmer).


Withburga of Dereham, OSB V (AC)
(also known as Withburge, Witburh)

Died March 17, c. 743; other feasts are celebrated on April 18 at Cambridge and on March 17; today's feast commemorates her translation. She was the youngest daughter of King Anna of the East Angles. Like her holy sisters, she devoted herself to the divine service, and led an austere life in solitude for several years at Holkham, near the sea-coast in Norfolk, where a church dedicated to her was afterwards built. After the death of her father she changed her abode to East Dereham, now a market-town in Norfolk, but then an obscure place of retirement.

Withburga assembled there some devout maidens, and laid the foundation of a church and convent, but did not live to finish the buildings. Her body was interred in the churchyard at East Dereham and 50 years later was found incorrupt and translated into the church. In 974, with soldiers and under the cover of night but with the blessing of King Edgar and Saint Ethelwold, Abbot Brithnoth of Ely removed it to Ely. They moved the body to wagons, drove 20 miles to Brandun River, and continued their journey by boat--much to the dismay of the men of Dereham who had pursued them by land and could only watch helplessly as their treasure drifted away. At Ely Brithnoth deposited Withburga's relics near the bodies of her two sisters.

In 1102, Withburga's relics were moved into a new part of the church. In 1106, the remains of four saints were translated into the new church and laid near the high altar. The bodies of Saints Sexburga and Ermenilda were reduced to dust, except the bones. That of Saint Etheldreda was entire, and that of Saint Withburga was not only sound but also fresh, and the limbs flexible. This is related by Thomas, monk of Ely, in his history of Ely, which he wrote the following year.

He also tells us that in the place where Saint Withburga was first buried, in the churchyard at Dereham, a spring of clear water gushed forth when her body was first exhumed: it is to this day called Saint Withburga's well. The church at Holkham is dedicated to her honor (Benedictines, Farmer, Walsh).

In art, Saint Withburga is portrayed as an abbess with two hinds at her feet because William of Malmesbury described her as being provided milk in her solitude by a doe. She may be holding a church inscribed Ecclia de Estderham. She is venerated at Barham, Burlingham, and Dereham in Norfolk (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.