Saint Agapitus, Martyr
Agapitus of Palestrina M (RM)
Died c. 274. Agapitus was a 15-year-old boy who was cruelly martyred at Praeneste (now called Palestrina), 24 miles from Rome, during the reign of Aurelian. His name is recorded in the sacramentaries of Saints Gelasius and Gregory the Great, and ancient calendars. He is now the patron of Palestrina, where Pope Saint Felix III dedicated a church to his memory in the 5th century (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
Blessed Aimo Taparelli, OP (AC)
Born in Savigliano, Piedmont, Italy, c. 1395; died 1495; cultus confirmed in 1856. Aimo was one of the few inquisitors in the Piedmont who lived to die in peace at about 100 years of age. One of his first tasks on assuming the office was to give honorable burial to two of his predecessors, who had been martyred. Why is it that we only seem to think of the cruelties of the Inquisition, but rarely of the wrongs of the opposing forces? Could it be that we assume that representatives of the holy Catholic Church will always act like angels?
In any case, Aimo, scion of the counts of Lagnasco, became a Dominican in his hometown at an early age. He was a good student and made such rapid strides in his studies that he was asked to teach at the University of Turin. Much of his life was spent preaching and teaching.
He served for a time as confessor at the court of Blessed Amadeus of Savoy, but did not like that life. So, he was offered the even less attractive position of inquisitor-general of Lombardy and Liguria when he was 71 years old. He replaced Blessed Bartholomew Cerverio, who had just been martyred.
It had taken all the strength of the young and vigorous, 46-year- old Bartholomew to hold such a position; therefore, Aimo went to the Piedmont with considerable misgivings. Nevertheless, he seems to have been a great success in the difficult office. He converted many of his listeners by the sincerity and sweetness of his preaching. His example was a beacon of hope to the Catholics of the area, who had sometimes been embarrassed by the affluence of Church authorities and the obvious poverty of the heretics.
One of Aimo's first acts was to arrange for the relics of Blessed Anthony of Pavoni to be brought home to Savigliano and interred in the Dominican church there (Benedictines, Dorcy).
Alipius (Alypius) of Tagaste B (RM)
Born at Tagaste, North Africa; died c. 430; feast day formerly August 15. Saint Alipius was a lifelong close friend of Saint Augustine, who detailed some of their conversations in his Confessions. Alipius studied under Augustine at Carthage and became a Manichaean with him until his father forbade his association with Augustine. So they separated for a time: Alipius went to Rome to study law. There he was later joined by Augustine and they travelled together to Milan, Italy, when Augustine went there to teach. They were baptized together in Milan on the same day--at the Easter Vigil in 387. Together they were at Cassiciacum and returned to Africa in 388, where they spent three years at Tagaste in prayer and penance as religious before each was ordained at Hippo and each later called to an episcopal chair. Alipius was consecrated bishop of Tagaste about 393, after having made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was Augustine's chief assistant in all his public work (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
Daig (Dagaeus, Daganus) Maccairill (of Iniskin) B (AC)
Died c. 560. Son of Cayrill, Daig was a disciple of Saint Finian. As Irish bishop of Iniskin (Inis Cain Dega) he founded and governed a monastery. The Book of Leinster makes him "one of the Three Master Craftsmen of Ireland." I'm unsure whether this should be taken literally that he was an artisan (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Evan (Inan) of Ayrshire, Hermit (AC)
9th century. Scottish hermit who lived in Ayrshire, where several churches are dedicated to him (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Firminus of Metz B (RM)
Died 496. It is uncertain whether Firminus was a Greek or Italian by origin, but he did govern the see of Metz for eight years (Benedictines).
Florus (Floridus) and Laurus MM (RM)
2nd century. According to Greek tradition, Floridus, Laurus, Proculus, and Maximus were martyred for putting a pagan temple to Christian use. Floridus and Laurus were stone-masons and, reputedly, twin brothers. Proculus and Maximus were their employers. As they were building a temple in Illyria, they were converted to Christianity and thereafter destroyed pagan images and altered the building for Christian worship. In punishment for the conversion of the temple, Emperor Licinius had the four drowned in a well. It is uncertain whether this is a baseless legend, or if it is a duplicate of the story of the Four Crowned Martyrs. Hippolyte Delehaye thoroughly debunked the theory that claimed Florus, Laurus, and certain other saints were venerated in a vestige of the worship of the Dioscuri, i.e., the sons of Zeus (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Helena, Widow (RM)
Born Drepanum, Bithynia, c. 250 (range 248-255); died in Nicomedia, c. 330.
Saint Helena knew the heights of exultation and the depths of humiliation, yet she remained ever constant. The daughter of an lowly innkeeper, she married the Roman general Constantius Chlorus and bore him a son, Constantine, about 274, in Naissus (Nish), Serbia. Some of the older stories claimed that she was the daughter of an English prince; however, this legend was disproved long ago.
In 293, Constantius was proclaimed caesar under Emperor Maximian, one of the persecutors of Christians. For obvious political reasons, renounced Helena and married Maximian's stepdaughter, Theodora. While her husband ruled the empire for 14 years, Helena bided her time. When Maximian died at York, England, in 306, Constantine's troops proclaimed him caesar although he did not win clear title immediately. Finally defeating his enemies at the Milvian Bridge on October 12, 312, Constantine entered Rome and seized the title. He then conferred the title "augusta" on his mother, ordered that she be honored as the mother of a sovereign, had coins struck bearing her image, and changed the name of the town where she was born to Helenopolis.
In 313, Constantine and his co-Emperor Licinius, issued the Edict of Milan, which declared Christianity a religion to be tolerated and released all religious prisoners.
According to the church historian Eusebius, Helena was baptized a Christian at the age of 63. In 324, the year that Constantine finally defeated Licinius to become the sole ruler of both East and West and moved his capital to Constantinople, Helena made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Emperor Hadrian had built a Temple to Venus over Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre. Helena ordered its removal, and there she supervised the building of a new church at her son's expense.
It is uncertain whether Helena took an active part in the discovery of the three crosses in a rock cistern to the east of Calvary on May 3. The story of her finding the True Cross was the subject of Cynewulf's most celebrated poem, the 9th-century Elene.
In 395, 65 years after Helena had died, Saint Ambrose of Milan preached in a sermon that Helena had actually found the Holy Cross on which Jesus had hung. She worshipped, said Ambrose, "not the wood, but the King who hung on that wood. She burned with an ardent desire of touching the guarantee of immortality." Helena's discovery of the True Cross is also testified by Rufinus and Sulpicius Severus in the 4th century. Part of this cross was kept at Jerusalem; some sent to Rome; and fragments distributed to a large number of churches. This indicated that Helena understood that it was the property of the whole Church.
But Helena is not a saint simply because she found the Cross of Christ. She built churches. She loved the poor, and went about dressed humbly and modestly. Helena spent her last years in Palestine. Eusebius wrote that she "continually worshipped in church in the sight of all, humbly dressed among the women praying there. In addition, she beautified the churches with ornaments and decorations, not forgetting the chapels of the least significant towns and villages." She built basilicas on the Mount of Olives (the Eleona) and in Bethlehem, travelled throughout Palestine, and was known for her kindness to soldiers, the poor, and prisoners.
When she died her body was solemnly taken back to Rome. The Atlantic island of Saint Helena's was given its name because Spanish sailors found it on her feast day (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Walsh, White).
In art, Saint Helena is dress in royal or imperial regalia and holds a large cross [Cima da Conegliano and Giambattista Conegliano]. She may also be portrayed (1) as the location of the True Cross is revealed to her in a dream [Paolo Caliari Veronese]; (2) as she organizes and superintends the search for the True Cross [Piero della Francesca]; (3) crowned, giving a letter to a messenger; (4) as a medieval lady with a small cross and book; (5) with a cross and nails; or (6) with her son Constantine [icon, Byzantine mosaic at Hagia Sophia, Greek mosaic, Russian mosaic] (Roeder). Helena is the patroness of dyers, nailsmiths, and needle- makers. She is invoked against fire and thunder (Roeder).
Hermas (Hermes), Serapion, and Polyaenus MM (RM)
Date unknown. It appears that the biographer of these three individual Roman martyrs has combined them into one story--perhaps to heighten the impact of the barbarity. An angry mob dragged each of them by their feet over rough ground until the died (Benedictines).
John and Crispus MM (RM)
Died c. 303. The names of these Roman priests were taken from the unreliable acta of Saints Simplicius, Faustinus, and Beatrix. The Roman Martyrology reports that they were martyred under Diocletian for having recovered and buried the bodies of other martyrs (Benedictines).
Leo and Juliana MM (RM)
Date unknown. This is another duo whose juxtaposition is nonsensical. Saint Leo was martyred at Myra in Lycia; Juliana at Strobylum. She may be identical to Saint Juliana of Ptolemais (Benedictines).
Blessed Leonard of Cava, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died 1255; cultus confirmed in 1928. Leonard was the 11th abbot of La Cava Abbey in southern Italy and governed for about 20 years (Benedictines).
Blessed Milo of Fontenelle, OSB Hermit (PC)
Died c. 730. When Milo's noble Frankish parents separated to enter religious life, Milo joined his father at Fontenelle. Later he became a hermit (Benedictines).
Blessed Raynald of Ravenna B (AC)
Born in Milan, Italy; died in Ravenna, Italy, in 1321; cultus confirmed in 1852. Raynald Concorrezzo was became a canon of Lodi following his ordination. In 1296, he was consecrated bishop of Vicenza. After holding various offices in the papal states, he was made archbishop of Ravenna in 1303. Raynald was a friend and defender of the Knights Templars (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.