Feast of the Tranfiguration
Gezelin, Hermit (AC)
(also known as Ghislain, Gisle, Joscelin)
Date unknown. A holy man whose hermitage was at Sebusrode, near Cologne, Germany (Benedictines).
Hormisdas, Pope (RM)
Born at Frosinone, Campagna di Roma, Italy; died in Rome on August 6, 523.
Saint Hormisdas was a widower and a Roman deacon. Bishop Saint Ennodius of Pavia, who held him in esteem, prophesied that this deacon would one day be pope. Two days after the death of Pope Saint Symmachus in 514 the prediction was fulfilled (July 21). Most his pontificate was concerned with healing the schism that existed since 484 between East and West brought about by the Acacian schism. The schism was the result of Acacius of Constantinople's attempt to placate the Monophysites. The church of Constantinople was reunited with Rome in 519 by means of the confession of faith that bears this pope's name, the Formula of Hormisdas. The formula formally condemned Acacius and unequivocally stated the primacy and infallibility of the Roman see. Patriarch John of Constantinople, as well as 250 Eastern bishops signed the document. This is the landmark document that substantiates Rome's claim to supreme authority.
Nothing is recorded of the less public life of Hormisdas, but his ability to heal the schism indicates that he was an able and sagacious man of peace. That his son, Saint Silverius, became pope (in 536) also says good things about him. Hormisdas severely rebuked some African monks for their bickering. Hormisdas also received back into the Church the last group of Laurentian schismatics. His last days were made happy by the cessation of the Vandal persecution in North Africa (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Walsh).
In art, Hormisdas is portrayed as a young man with a camel. He is the patron of grooms and stable-boys (Roeder).
James the Syrian (RM)
Born in Syria; died after 500. Saint James was a hermit in the area near Amida (Diarbekir) in Mesopotamia (Benedictines).
Justus and Pastor MM (RM)
Died c. 304. One of the emperors' chief persecutors of Christians in the early years of the 4th century was a man named Dacian, who journeyed through Spain in a frenzy of violence and terror. In 304, he reached Alcalá, and proclaimed that all Christians, on pain of death, renounce their faith. Two schoolboys, Justus (age 13) and Pastor (less than 9), heard of this and determined to show that their own Christian faith was as strong as that of any of their elders by publicly reciting their catechism.
Dacian thought it simple to cow schoolboys. He ordered that they both be savagely flogged. But although the sentence was viciously enacted, neither flinched. Instead the two boys shouted words of encouragement to each other, which only whipped their tormentors to further fury.
Dacian was shamed by their bravery. He still wished to have them killed, but the sentence was carried out secretly. They were beheaded outside Alcalá, when no one was about, but some fellow-Christians found their bodies and buried them where they had died.
Today Saints Justus and Pastor are considered among the patron saints of Alcalá and Madrid. Saint Prudentius called them among the most glorious martyrs of Spain. Their alleged bodies were discovered in the 8th century and taken to Huesca. In 1568, they were brought back to Alcalá, where they lie under the high altar of the collegiate church (Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Octavianus of Savona, OSB B (AC)
Born at Quingey, Besançon, France, c. 1060; died c. 1128; cultus confirmed in 1793. Octavianus was the brother of Pope Callistus II. He was educated by the Benedictines and later entered the order himself at Saint Peter's in Ciel d'Oro in Pavia, Italy. In 1129, he was consecrated bishop of Savona (Benedictines).
Schetzelon, Hermit (AC)
(also known as Schetzel, Scocelin, Jocelin, Gislain, Ghislain)
Died 1141. Very little is known with certainty about Schetzelon, a well-known saint in Luxembourg. He was raised in a pious household and believed that he could grow in holiness only by withdrawing from the world. He began his fifteen-year life as a hermit in Grünewald Forest near Trier, Germany, where the locals can still identify the grotto near a fountain named after him.
Escaping distractions is not always easy, even for a hermit. One day snow fell overnight covering Schetzelon entirely--except for his face. A freezing hare found that warm spot and settled comfortably on the hermit's face. Schetzelon later reproached himself for allowing this incident to distract him from his prayers.
He foraged for food when it was available and begged for it at the local farmhouses during winter. The farmers came to know him and left pieces of stale bread for the hermit, knowing that he would have refused anything that was fresh. Out of respect for the life he had chosen, they never tried to speak to him, nor to see him. It is said that he would approach houses at night because he had no clothes except a monk's cincture. Saint Bernard once brought him a tunic and pair of shoes, which Schetzelon tried on to please the monk, but he soon discarded them saying that he did not need them.
When he died, a chapel was built in his honor which drew pilgrims. The water at his spring was blessed each year. In 1150, his body was translated to Munster Abbey to make the pilgrimage more convenient. The abbey was destroyed by Charles V in 1544, and it is believed Schetzelon's relics were moved to the church of Our Lady at the castle of Luxembourg. Schetzelon is sometimes confused with another called Gezelin (Encyclopedia).
Stephen of Cardeña and Companions, OSB MM (RM)
Died 872; cultus approved in 1603. Stephen was abbot of the great monastery of Cardeña near Burgos in Castile, which housed over 200 monks. He and his entire community were slain by the Saracens from southern Spain. Cardinal Baronius composed the proper lessons for their office, but their existence is doubtful. There is no evidence of a cultus before the 13th century. The name of the abbot was not added until even later (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.