Today marks the Nativity of the Forerunner of Christ St. John the Baptist. I don’t believe I have done a post dedicated to him yet, and even if I have, a new one seems appropriate. Here is the account of his birth:
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. 58 And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari′ah after his father, 60 but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 And his father Zechari′ah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people,
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath which he swore to our father Abraham, 74 to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 through the tender mercy of our God,
when the day shall dawn upon us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel.
More can be found at his wiki, located here.
We come again to the letter “U”. Our saint for today is Pope Urban I:
Pope Urban I (Latin: Urbanus I) was Bishop of Rome or Pope from 222 to 23 May 230. He was born in Rome and succeeded Pope Callixtus I, who had been martyred. It was previously believed for centuries that Urban I was also martyred. However, recent historical discoveries now lead scholars to believe that he died of natural causes.
Much of Urban’s life is shrouded in mystery, leading to many myths and misconceptions. Despite the lack of sources he is the first Pope whose reign can be definitely dated. Two prominent sources do exist for Urban’s pontificate: Eusebius’ history of the early Church and also an inscription in the Coemeterium Callisti which names the Pope
Urban ascended to the Chair of Saint Peter in the year of the Roman Emperor Elagabalus’ assassination and served during the reign of Alexander Severus. It is believed that Urban’s pontificate was during a peaceful time for Christians in the Empire as Severus did not promote the persecution of Christianity.
Today’s letter is the letter “T.” This gives us our saint, Saint Thorlak:
Saint Thorlak Thorhallsson (Old Norse: Þorlákr Þórhallsson; Icelandic: Þorlákur Þórhallsson; Latin: Thorlacus; 1133 – December 23, 1193), also spelled Thorlac, is the patron saint of Iceland. He was bishop of Skalholt from 1178 until his death. Thorlac’s relics were translated to the cathedral of Skálholt in 1198, not long after his successor as bishop, Páll Jónsson, announced at the Althing that vows could be made to Thorlac. His status as a saint did not receive official recognition from the Catholic Church until January 14, 1984, when John Paul II canonized him and declared him the patron saint of Iceland. His feast day is December 23. He is currently being considered as a potential patron saint of people with autism and autism spectrum disabilities by a grassroots movement called the Mission of Saint Thorlak.
(Gotta love that name, eh?)
More can be found out about him at his wiki, located here.
Our letter for today is S. Given the Paschal season, our saint for today is Saint Salome:
Salome (Hebrew: שלומית, Shelomit), was a follower of Jesus who appears briefly in the canonical gospels and in more detail in apocryphal writings. She is sometimes identified as the wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John, two of the Apostles of Jesus, and sometimes also as the cousin of Mary, mother of Jesus. In Roman Catholic tradition Salome is counted as one of the Three Marys.
More can be found out about her at her wiki, located here.
Tomorrow is Thomas Sunday, so named because of St. Thomas the Apostle. Thus, it seems fitting that he is the saint for today:
Thomas the Apostle (called Didymus which means “the twin” or Mar Thoma in Syriac) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament. He is informally called doubting Thomas because he doubted Jesus’ resurrection when first told (in the Gospel of John account only), followed later by his confession of faith, “My Lord and my God”, on seeing Jesus’ wounded body.
Tradition claims he travelled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, travelling as far as Tamilakam which are the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in present-day India. According to tradition, the Apostle reached Muziris, (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor in the state of Kerala, India) in AD 52 and baptized several people, founding what today are known as Saint Thomas Christians or MarThoma Nazranis. After his death, the reputed relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle were enshrined as far as Mesopotamia in the 3rd century, and later moved to various places. In 1258, some of the relics were brought to Abruzzo in Ortona, Italy, where they have been held in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle. He is often regarded as the Patron Saint of India, and the name Thoma remains quite popular among Saint Thomas Christians of India.
Much, much more can be found at his wiki, located here.
R is the letter for today. Thus, our saint is Saint Rimbert:
Saint Rimbert (or Rembert) (Flanders, 830 – 11 June 888 in Bremen) was archbishop of Bremen-Hamburg from 865 until his death.
A monk in Turholt (Torhout), he shared a missionary trip to Scandinavia with his friend Ansgar, whom he later succeeded as archbishop in Hamburg-Bremen in 865. He also wrote a biography about Ansgar; Vita Ansgari.
Rimbert was unable to successfully complete the mission work to Denmark and Sweden, begun under Ansgar. He obtained market, coinage and toll rights for the city of Bremen in 888 from Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia and thus considerable improved the financial state of the archbishopric. In 884 he personally led a Frisian army against the Vikings and, after the victorious Battle of Norditi was able to drive them permanently out of East Frisia.
Rimbert is revered as a saint particularly in Frisia. His feast day is 4 February. After Ansgar, epithetised the Apostle of the North, Rimbert is revered as the Second Apostle of the North, besides the missionary Sigfrid of Sweden. Lutherans likewise honor Johannes Bugenhagen.
It has been some time since I have tried to cover the letter “Q” in this series. Understandable, given how few canonized saints have names which begin with that letter. Since there are so few, I will instead do something different with the letter- I will feature a Queen who is also recognized as a saint. Our first saint will thus be Queen Jadwiga of Poland:
Jadwiga ([jadˈvʲiɡa]), also known as Hedwig (Hungarian: Hedvig; 1373/4 – 17 July 1399), reigned as the first female monarch of the Kingdom of Poland from 16 October 1384 until her death. She was the youngest daughter of Louis the Great, King of Hungary and Poland, and his wife, Elizabeth of Bosnia. Jadwiga was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, but had more close ancestors among the Polish Piasts. She was canonized in the Roman Catholic Church in 1997.
Jadwiga was crowned “king” in Kraków on 16 October 1384. Her crowning either reflected the Polish lords’ opposition to her intended future husband, William, adopting the royal title without a further Act or only emphasized that she was a queen regnant. With her mother’s consent, Jadwiga’s advisors opened negotiations with Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, who was still a heathen, about his marriage to Jadwiga. Jogaila signed the Union of Krewo, promising to convert to Roman Catholicism and to promote his ‘pagan’ subjects’ conversion. Meanwhile, William of Habsburg hurried to Kraków to demand the consummation of his pre-arranged marriage with Jadwiga, but the Polish lords expelled him in late August 1385. Jogaila, who received the baptismal name Władysław, married Jadwiga on 15 February 1386. Legend says that she had only agreed to marry him after long prayers, seeking divine inspiration.
Władysław-Jogaila was crowned king on 4 March. As her co-ruler, Władysław closely cooperated with his wife. After rebellious lords had imprisoned her mother and sister, she marched into Ruthenia, which had been under Hungarian rule, and persuaded most local inhabitants to become subjects of the Polish Crown without resistance. She acted as mediator between her husband’s quarreling kinsmen, and between Poland and the Teutonic Knights.
Far more can be found out about her at her wiki, located here.