Bishop Saint Josaphat M
Astrik of Pannonhalma, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Anastasius, Astericus, Ascrick, Astricus)
Born in Bohemia; died c. 1030-1040. Radla, probably a Croat or a Czech from Bohemia, took the name Anastasius when became a monk of SS Boniface and Alexius at Rome. He accompanied Saint Adalbert to the Bohemian mission. He became the first abbot of Brevnov, but had to flee to Hungary.
There he engaged in missionary work among the Magyars, was in the service of the wife of Duke Geza in 997, and was named first abbot of Saint Martin's in Pannonhalma, the first monastery in Hungary, which was founded by the duke.
When Saint Stephen succeeded his father Geza as duke, Anastasius set up a hierarchy, renewed his evangelization efforts among the Magyars, to which he devoted the rest of his life, and was appointed the first archbishop of the Hungarian Church with his see probably at Kalocsa.
Anastasius was the king's ambassador, sent to negotiate the recognition of the new Hungarian kingdom by the Pope Sylvester II. This trip probably was responsible for Stephen receiving papal recognition as King of the Hungarians and his crowning by Emperor Otto III in 1001 with a crown sent by the Pope to him through Anastasius. He worked closely with Stephen the rest of his life and died two years after him (Benedictines, Delaney).
Aurelius and Publius BM (RM)
2nd century. Aurelius and Publius were bishops who wrote against the Montanists or Cata-Phrygians. They were martyred, probably in Asia, though others place the site in North Africa (Benedictines).
Benedict, John, Matthew, Isaac, & Christinus, OSB MM (RM)
Died 1005; canonized by Pope Julius II. Italian Benedictines who followed Saint Adalbert of Prague in the mission among the Slavs, and were massacred by robbers at their monastery near Gnesen (Benedictines).
Benedict of Benevento & Companions MM (RM)
This may be the Benedict of the group of martyrs above.
Cadwallador, King (AC)
Born c. 659; died c. 689. A chieftain in Wales of ancient British race, not to be confused with the Anglo-Saxon Saint Ceadwalla, who is also known as Cadwallader. Both are on the Roman calendar. Even Delaney has confused the two (Benedictines).
Blessed Christopher of Portugal M (PC)
Died c. 1500. Christopher, a Portuguese knight of the Order of Christ (under the Cistercian Rule), was beheaded for the faith by the Islamic prince of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) (Benedictines).
Cumian the Fada, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Cummian, Cummin)
Born in Ireland, c. 590; died c. 665. Son of King Fiachna of West Munster, Ireland, Cumian became a monk and was placed in charge of the abbey school at Clonfert. Later he was the abbot-founder of Kilcummin Monastery. He was noted for his learning and ably defended the Roman liturgical practices against the abbot of Iona, who was a stalwart defender of the Celtic practices. Cumian's defense is still available, the Paschal Epistle, and he also wrote a hymn, some of which is still extant. The surname Fada or Fota means "the tall" (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
Cunibert of Trèves B (RM)
Died c. 633. Cunibert, a Frankish courtier, was successively archdeacon of Trèves (Trier) and archbishop of Cologne. He filled the office of chief minister during the minority of King Sigebert of Austrasia. He was an untiring builder of churches and monasteries (Benedictines, Encyclopedia). Saint Cunibert is always shown with a dove on his head or at his ear. Sometimes he holds Cologne Cathedral (Roeder).
Emilian Cucullatus, Abbot (RM)
(also known as Aemilian, Emilianus or Millan of Cucullatus or La Cogolla or de la Gogolla)
Died 574. A shepherd at La Rioja, Navarre, Spain, he became a hermit when 20. After a brief stay at home, he spent the next 40 years in extreme solitude as a hermit in the mountains around Burgos when at the insistence of the bishop of Tarazona, he was ordained.
He became a parish priest at Berceo but because of his excessive charity was forced to leave and with several disciples resumed his eremitical life. He died at the age of 100. Tradition says the mountain hermitage he occupied near Burgos became the site of the Benedictine monastery of La Cogolla. He is a minor patron of Spain, where he is known as San Millan de la Cogolla--the cowled Saint Emilian (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
Saint Millan is represented as a monk on horseback fighting the Moors, and sometimes as a Benedictine on horseback holding a banner and sword. Abbot of La Cogolla, Tarazona. Minor patron saint of Spain (Roeder).
Evodius of Le Puy B (AC)
Died after 560. Bishop of Le Puy, France (Benedictines).
Blessed Gabriel Ferretti, OFM (AC)
Born in Ancona, Italy, 1385; died 1456; cultus confirmed in 1753. Gabriel was the scion of the counts Ferretti. He became a Friar Minor at Ancona, and eventually provincial of Piceno in the Marches (Benedictines). Blessed Gabriel is represented as a Franciscan with a book on the ground before him, and a pool containing ducks. The Virgin and Child in glory appear in the heavens. Venerated at Ancona and the Marches (Roeder).
Imerius of Immertal, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Himerius, Imier)
Died c. 610. A monk-hermit and a missionary in the district of the Swiss Jura, now called after him Immertal, Val-Saint-Imier (Benedictines, Encyclopedia). In art Imerius is depicted as an old hermit among twigs or branches. Venerated at Immertal, Switzerland (Roeder).
Blessed John Cini "della Pace," OFM Tert. (AC)
Born in Pisa, Italy; died 1433; cultus approved in 1856. Surnamed 'the Soldier' or 'Stipendario,' or from his domicile, 'de Porta pacis,' 'della pace.' John Cini was bred to arms. In 1396 he became a Franciscan tertiary and founded several charitable organizations and a confraternity of flagellants (Benedictines).
Josaphat of Poland BM (RM)
(also known as Joseph Polotsk)
Born at Vladimir, Volhynia, Poland, 1584; died at Vitebsk, 1623; canonized 1867; feast day formerly on November 14.
John Kunsevich was born at a time when the attempts of some Christians to bring about a reunion between Rome and the Russian Orthodox Christians were causing deep dissension. Poland had annexed the Ruthenian countries--Byelorussia and the Ukraine-- during the 14th century. In 1595, with the approval of Clement VIII and the Polish government, a synod at Brest-Litovsk, Lithuania, agreed on the unification of the schismatic Greek bishops with the Latin bishops, and on their joint union with Rome.
But the decisions of leaders in isolation from those affected means little. The union failed to take root in the hearts of the 10 million Ruthenians and, instead of union between two churches, a third arose--the Ruthenian Catholic Church that affiliated itself with Rome but kept the oriental rites.
Of these three churches it was the Ruthenian Catholic Church that, being the most recent and therefore also the most revolutionary, aroused the greatest anger on the part of those who, either from principle or calculating interest, were conservatives. The familiar cries arose of indignation, the same cries we hear even today from those who are bound by routine. And, of course, there was the normal squabble for power over appointments.
Only the blood of a martyr can overcome such differences by converting even the hardest of hearts. And so Ruthenia, which was just one example of the eternal problem of minorities, was awaiting its martyr. A rare sort of man was needed, one who was sufficiently dedicated to God not to swear allegiance to anyone else, and sufficiently involved in events to be able to change their course. Such a man was Josaphat, who was baptized John.
Josaphat's father was a Catholic burger of a good family. He sent young John to the local school and then apprenticed him to a merchant at Vilna. John wasn't terrible successful because his interests were in the church. Instead of pursuing the trade, he learned church Slavonic, the language of the Byzantine liturgy, so that he could assist more ably at divine worship and recite some of the lengthy Byzantine office each day. He refused a partnership in the business and marriage to his master's daughter.
At this time he became acquainted with Peter Arcudius, rector of the Basilian college and Vilna, and two Jesuits, Valentine Fabricius and Gregory Gruzevsky, who encouraged his liturgical studies. John soon realized that the quarrel between the three churches was more in need of good men than good arguments. Though inexperienced in life, John's heart was devoted to God. His main idea was to reconcile the best of both parties; the rest would follow naturally.
In 1604 John persuaded his friend Joseph Benjamin Rutsky (a convert from Calvinism who had been induced by Pope Clement VIII to join the Byzantine rite against his personal wishes) to enter with him the Order of Saint Basil at Holy Trinity monastery in Vilna. At this time John took the name Josaphat. In 1609 he was ordained a priest and soon had a reputation as a compelling preacher and a leading advocate for the union of the Ukrainian Church with Rome. Together the two young monks devised schemes for promoting union and reforming Ruthenian monastic observance.
Josaphat lived simply and engaged in such extreme mortifications that he was chastised by even the most austere monks. The abbot held separatist views, so Josaphat's studies were cut short and he was sent to found new houses in Poland at Byten and Zyrowice.
His friend Joseph Rutsky became abbot of Holy Trinity, and when Rutsky was named metropolitan of Kiev in 1614, Josaphat returned to Holy Trinity as abbot of the monastery. Josaphat accompanied Rutsky to his new cathedral and visited the monastery of The Caves at Kiev. The monks threatened to throw Josaphat, a reformer, into the river, because they were content under their relaxed rule. He was unable to reform them, but his character generated their goodwill.
In 1617 he was elected first bishop of Vitebsk, Russia, with the right of succession to Polotsk (in modern Lithuania or Byelorussia), and a few months later became archbishop at age 39 when Archbishop Brolnitsky (who favored the dissident Greeks) died.
He found the diocese in deplorable condition--there was widespread opposition to Rome, married clergy, lax discipline, churches in a rundown state. The more religious people were inclined to schism through fear of arbitrary Roman interference with their worship and customs. To put into effect his reforms, Josaphat sent for some of his brethren from Vilna to help him, called synods, wrote a catechism, set down rules for his clergy, fought the interference of laymen in ecclesiastical affairs, and preached and tended his flock as personally as he could. By 1620 the reforms had some effect. Josaphat's virtues and reasonableness gained him much support.
The dispute between East and West, however, was breaking his see asunder; there was much bitterness and violence on both sides. The laity was confused. The secular rulers were causing havoc in church affairs. Around 1620 Metetius Smotritsky was appointed archbishop of Polotsk by a group of dissident bishops and began to sow the seeds of dissension, claiming that Josaphat was really a Latin priest, declaring that his people would be forced to become Latins, too, and that Roman Catholicism was not the traditional Christianity of the Ruthenian people.
Returning from Warsaw, Poland, Josaphat found that some of his support was becoming shaky; the monk Silvester had persuaded Vitebsk, Mogilev, and Orcha to the side of Metetius. The nobility and many of the people, especially those of the episcopal city who knew Josaphat well, adhered strongly to the union. But Josaphat could do little with these three cities.
Riots broke out and people chose sides, when the king of Poland proclaimed that Josaphat was the legitimate archbishop of Polotsk. Josaphat was falsely accused of fomenting trouble and using force against the dissidents by the chancellor of Lithuania, Leon Sapieha, a Roman Catholic, thus stirring up further dissent. Leon was afraid of the potential for political unrest due to these disturbances, and lent to willing an ear to the heated charges of the dissidents outside of Poland. In 1622, Sapieha wrote that Josaphat had caused the violence in the maintenance of the union and put the kingdom in peril from the Zaporozhsky Cossacks by stirring up discord among the people. The accusations were made in general terms and demonstrated to be false by contemporary testimony from both sides. Josaphat was, however, guilty of invoking civil power to recover the church at Mogilev from the dissidents.
Thus, Josaphat met opposition and misunderstanding on both sides. He was not given the support he should have received from the Latin bishops of Poland because of his insistence on maintaining Byzantine rites and customs, and accused by the Orthodox of being Roman. He stoically held firm and determined to appear personally in Vitebsk, the hotbed of opposition, in 1623 to meet it head on despite threats of violence against him.
He declined a proffered military escort and strived instead to bring order knowing that some of his opponents hated him enough to kill him if they could do so. He once addressed an angry mob with the words, "I, your shepherd, am happy to die for you." On Nov. 12, 1623, this is precisely what happened.
A priest named Elias, who had harassed Josaphat several times previously, was locked up by one of Josaphat's deacons when Elias again abused the archbishop. A mob assembled demanding Elias's release, and though Josaphat released Elias with a warning, they broke into his home and beat Josaphat's attendants.
Saint Josaphat went outside to beg them not to harm his servants and was murdered by the mob crying 'Kill the papist!' He was beaten over the head with a halberd and shot to death by the mob, and his body thrown into the Dvina River at Vitebsk, Russia. Jesus had said that this is how those who offended little children should be punished. Josaphat had only offended little spirits. He wanted to make his contemporaries see a world in which there were no longer Ruthenians, Poles, Russians, Greeks, Latins, Schismatics, or Uniates but only Christians, children of the same Father, belonging to the same faith.
Saint Josaphat was the first of the Oriental Catholics to be formally canonized in Rome (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Walsh, White).
In art Saint Josaphat is depicted as a Polish bishop with an axe (Roeder), or with a chalice, crown, or as a winged deacon (White).
Lebuin of Deventer, OSB (AC)
(also known as Lebwin, Leafwine, Liafwine, Livinius)
Died c. 773. An English Benedictine monk of Ripon, who crossed over to the Netherlands and partook of the missionary work inaugurated by Saint Boniface. He worked with Saint Marchelm under Saint Gregory of Utrecht and established the first church of Deventer. From there he preached to the Saxons and Frisians (Attwater, Benedictines). Sometimes he is shown with Saint Marchelm (Roeder). He is the patron of Daventer (Husenbeth).
Livinus of Alost BM (RM)
(also known as Lebwin)
Died c. 650. An Irishman by birth, he was ordained a priest by Saint Augustine of Canterbury, and sailed to Flanders, where for some years he preached the gospel with great success. At some time during this period he is said to have been consecrated bishop in Ireland. He was martyred with several companions near Alost, Brabant, Belgium. His relics are enshrined and venerated at Ghent. He is perhaps to be identified with as Saint Lebuinus (Benedictines, Montague). Saint Lebwin is shown as a bishop holding his tongue with a pair of tongs (because it was plucked out). Venerated at Alost (Roeder).
Machar of Iona B (AC)
(also known as Macharius or Mochumma of Iona or Aberdeen)
6th century. An Irishman by birth, he was baptized by Saint Colman and became a disciple of Saint Columba at Iona. Afterwards he was sent with 12 disciples to convert the Picts, and fixed his episcopal residence at Old Aberdeen, of which he is said to have been the first bishop. The water from his well was at one time used for baptisms in Aberdeen cathedral (Benedictines, Montague).
Namphasius, OSB (AC)
(also known as Namphisius, Namphosius, Nauphary, Namphrase)
Died c. 800. A friend of Charlemagne, and one of those who fought against the Saracens in southern France. He afterwards became a monk-recluse near Marcillac (Lot) (Benedictines).
Nilus the Elder, Abbot (RM)
(also known as Nilus the Wise)
Died c. 430. Here we have another example of a problematic saint-- or rather two saints with the same name who lived about the same time and place. In the course of history, their stories became intertwined, so that now it is difficult to untangle them. Both of their stories, however, are interesting.
Attwater says that today's Nilus (the Wise of Ancyra) became a disciple of Saint John Chrysostom when a student at Constantinople. On returning to his native Ancyra (now Ankara, Turkey) he founded a monastery nearby, where he wrote the works for which he is remembered. They were intended for his monks, and are mostly moral and ascetical treatises; a series of his passages on prayer is printed in English in Early Fathers from the Philokalia (1954), but it is a work of which the authorship is questioned. Nilus also conducted a large correspondence (including two letters addressed to Emperor Arcadius rebuking the emperor for exiling Saint John Chrysostom from Constantinople) and many of his letters are extant.
Delaney records the story of the other Nilus (the Elder) and claims today as his feast also. He says that Nilus was an imperial official, perhaps a prefect, at Constantinople, where he became a disciple of Saint John Chrysostom. Though married with two children, Nilus became a monk on Mount Sinai, taking his son Theodulus, after Nilus and his wife mutually agreed to leave the secular world.
During a raid on the monastery by Arabs, Theodulus was kidnapped and Nilus went after him, finally tracing him to Eleusa (near Beersheba), where he had been given shelter by the local bishop, who ordained both of them. Nilus is reputed to have written theological and ascetical treatises and numerous letters but many authorities believe that Nilus the author was a monk called "the Wise" at Ankara, Turkey (then Ancyra, Galatia) (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney). Even in the latest version of the Benedictine work, the two are confused.
Paternus of Saint-Pierre-le-Vif, OSB M (RM)
Born in Brittany; died c. 729. Paternus was a monk first at Cessier, in the diocese of Avranches, and then at Saint-Pierre-de- Vif, diocese of Sens. He was murdered by malefactors whom he had admonished to reform their lives (Benedictines).
Renatus of Angers B (AC)
(also known as René d'Anjou)
Died c. 422. "O everlasting fire that never fails, O eternal love that never fades, give me your warmth," wrote Saint René d'Anjou, prisoner in chains at Dijon, captive and yet Duke of Anjou, Bar, and Lorraine, Count of Provence, King of Sicily and Naples; whose shield was black with silver tears as a sign of mortification for vain pleasures; who also said, "Better to be happy than to be a king;" the shepherd prince who handled both pen and palette; whose heart was always "in love with love."
But the René whom we celebrate today is not the one who watched Van Eyck at work, nor that other René, one of the fairest flowers of the garden of France, René Cadou, the celt whose eyes were as blue as forget-me-nots. Instead we must go to La Possonniere, a small village under a slate-colored sky.
There in the early days of Christianity, a son was born to the sterile Bononia, thanks to the fervent prayers of Saint Maurille. But when the child was born its breath was as weak as the flame of a dying candle.
Weeping, Bononia begged Maurille to give strength and life to her little child and accord him the grace of baptism. But Maurille was celebrating the divine Mass and could not leave until the sacred tragedy had been brought to an end.
When he came to the bedside of the mother, her fair-haired child was cold with death. Stricken with grief for having deprived the Lord of a soul, Maurille beat his breast and went to hide in the depths of the forest where he lived as an anchorite expiating his sin with fasting and prayer.
Seven years later, having come to the end of the term fixed by Providence, Maurille heard a voice telling him to return to his bishopric. Deaf to the acclamations of the crowds, advancing like a sleepwalker, he went to press his forehead on the tombstone which covered the virginal body.
When tender, ardent prayers he begged the Mother of God, who has pity on grief, and the Son to give life and color to the lily-like face of the dead child. Soon, a miracle! The child rose up out of the infinite silence, his body formed in the shape of Adam, suffused with faith, charity, and hope.
Maurille sprinkled the baptismal waters upon his innocent forehead and gave him the name of Renatus (born again), signifying his double birth.
Thereafter René wrote upon the Book of Hours of his soul the suffering face of Christ on the Cross. He was a most zealous priest, his heart as white as snow, a friend to those afflicted with running sores, to beggars, and to cripples.
Full of virtue and loaded with honors, he succeeded Saint Maurille. But one day, laying on the altar his amethyst ring that glittered like a cluster of stars, he covered himself with the hermit's sackcloth and retired to a cave near Sorrento, where the blue waves lap murmurously; and there, in that distant century, the fifth of our Christian era, he heard the first measures of the eternal symphony which the elect reveal to the children on earth who are most humbly devoted to God.
It is likely that there has been a confusion between two different saints: one of whom was bishop of Angers, France, and the second of Sorrento, Italy (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Rufus of Avignon B (RM)
Died c. 200. Venerated as the first bishop of Avignon. He certainly existed, but the biographies we have of him are without historical value (Benedictines).
Sinell of Cleenish (AC)
6th century. The only listing for Sinell is in Montague, which leads me to believe there must be a variant spelling of his name, perhaps on another feast day. His omission in other lists would be odd because he is considered one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, i.e., one of those outstanding students of Saint Finian of Clonard who evangelized Ireland. Sinell established and governed a strict monastery on Cleenish Island in Lake Erne, County Fermanagh, where Saint Columbanus of Luxeuil was trained (Montague).
Ymar of Reculver, OSB M (AC)
Died c. 830. A monk of Reculver in Kent, martyred by the Danes (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.