Saturday, 9 January 2016

9th January - Adrian of Canterbury

Adrian, (635 - 710), was a Benedictine monk when quite young. Abbot of Hiridanum (Bay of Naples), twice offered the Archbishopric of Canterbury, he declined, citing unworthiness. When Theodore of Tarsus was sent instead, Adrian went as his assistant with special support to aid the monastic movement in the region. Detained in France due to suspicions of espionage for the emperor. Arrived in England in 669. Abbot of St Peter's, a monastery founded by Augustine of Canterbury.

Adrian and Theodore were highly successful missionaries in largely pagan England. In addition, Adrian was a great teacher of languages, mathematics, poetry, astronomy, and Bible study. Under his leadership, the School of Canterbury became the centre of English learning. Worked to unify the customs of the English with the Church.

Friday, 8 January 2016

8th January - Abo of Tblisi

Abo was born in Baghdad and grew up as a Muslim. He was perfumer to Nerses, the prince of Kartli. As a young adult, Abo became convinced of the truth of Christianity, but was afraid to convert openly as Georgia was under Muslim rule and conversion was a capital offense. For political reasons, his prince had to seek shelter in Khazaria north of the Caspian Sea, an area free of Muslim control; Abo and 300 other members of the court accompanied him, and Abo was baptized there. The prince and his party returned to Tblisi in 782, and for a few years Abo lived quietly as a "closet" Christian. However, in 786 he was exposed as a Christian, and tried for being an apostate from Islam. He confessed his faith at trial, was imprisoned, and beheaded in 786 at Tblisi, Georgia

Thursday, 7 January 2016

7th January - Lucian of Antioch

Following the death of his wealthy parents, Lucian gave away his possessions, and studied rhetoric, philosophy, and Scripture at Edessa. He lived as a hermit briefly in his youth and was later ordained in Antioch. He was head of a school of theology in Antioch; one of his students was Arius, founder of Arianism. He may have been excommunicated himself at one point, but later came back to full communion with the Church.

He was arrested in Nicomedia during the persecutions of Diocletian, and spent nine years in prison. Dragged before the emperor as an example, he struggled to his feet and gave a great defence of the faith. He thrown back in the cells, given no food or water for days, then hauled before the tribunal and interrogated; he answered all questions with "I am a Christian." He was tortured, starved, and run through with a sword in 312 at Nicomedia

6th January - Epiphany

Epiphany, or the 12th day of Christmas, falls on January 6 and marks the official end to the festive season. The ancient Christian feast day is significant as a celebration of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, as well as a more general celebration of his birth. The six Sundays which follow Epiphany are known as the time of manifestation. The Twelfth Night (Epiphany) also marks a visit to the Christ-child by the Wise Men. The word 'Epiphany' comes from Greek and means to show, referring to Jesus being revealed to the world. 

The wise men, traditionally known as Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar - followed the star of Bethlehem to meet the baby and offered gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gifts were symbolic of the importance of Jesus' birth, the gold representing his royal standing; frankincense his divine birth; and myrrh his mortality. During the medieval period, Christmas was celebrated for the 12 days from Christmas Eve until the Epiphany. Even up until the 19th century, January 6 was as big a celebration as Christmas Day.

According to the Daily Telegraph ....
Facts about the Feast of the Epiphany

  • The three Kings (Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar) represented Europe, Arabia and Africa respectively.
  • Hundreds of years ago, roast lamb was traditionally served at Epiphany in honour of Christ and the three Kings' visit.
  • Whoever finds the small statue of a baby Jesus hidden inside their slice of the Rosca de reyes throws a party on Candlemas in February.
  • In some European countries, children leave their shoes out the night before to be filled with gifts, while others leave straw for the three Kings' horses.
  • According to Greek Orthodox Church's traditions, a priest will bless the waters by throwing a cross into it as worshippers try to retrieve it.
  • In Bulgaria too, Eastern Orthodox priests throw a cross in the sea and the men dive in - competing to get to it first.
  • In Venice a traditional regatta that started as a joke in the late 70s has been incorporated in the celebrations of Epiphany Day.
  • In Prague, there is a traditional Three Kings swim to commemorate Epiphany Day at the Vltava River.
  • In New York, El Museo del Barrio has celebrated and promoted the Three Kings' Day tradition with an annual parade for more than three decades. Thousands take part in the procession featuring camels, colourful puppets and floats.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

5th January - John Nepomucene Neumann

John (1811 - 1860), had four sisters and a brother. He studied astronomy and botany in addition to theological topics and studied theology in Prague.

When the time came for John's ordination, his bishop was sick; the ordination was never re-scheduled as Bohemia had an over-abundance of priests. John decided to go to America to ask for ordination, and to work with emigres. He walked most of the way to France, then took ship for America.

John arrived in America and moved to a town with a log church. There he built himself a small log cabin, rarely lit a fire, slept little, often lived on bread and water, and walked miles to visit farm after remote farm. John's parishioners were from many lands and tongues, but John knew twelve languages, and worked with them all. He became a Bishop and built fifty churches and began building a cathedral. He opened almost one hundred schools. 

Monday, 4 January 2016

4th January - Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth (1774-1821), was born into a wealthy and influential family and was raised in the New York high society of the late 18th century. Her mother died when Elizabeth was three years old, her baby sister a year later. In 1794 at age 19 she married the wealthy businessman and became the mother of five children.

About ten years into the marriage, her husband's business failed and soon after he died, leaving Elizabeth a widow with five small children. Elizabeth needed to support her family, and to ensure the education of her children she opened a school in Boston. From the beginning she ran it along the lines of a religious community. She also established a Catholic girl‘s school in Baltimore and she founded the Sisters of Charity in 1809, the first native American religious community for women.

She is patron against in-law problems, against the death of children, against the death of parents. She has the Apostleship of the Sea (two of her sons worked on the sea) and is patron of opposition of Church authorities and people ridiculed for their piety. 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

3rd January - Epiphany Sunday (2016)

Today is celebrated as the Epiphany (Lit Manifestation, striking appearance or Theophany). It's also known as Three Kings' Day or the Day of Lights. It's a feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ and for many, featuring the visit of the Magi to the Christ-child. 

The traditional date for the feast is January 6 but since 1970, the celebration is held on the Sunday after January 1. The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was in AD 361. St Epiphanius says that January 6 is "Christ's Birthday; that is, His Epiphany". He also asserts that the Miracle at Cana occurred on the same calendar day.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

2nd January - Gregory

Gregory, (330-390), son of St Gregory of Nazianzen and St Nonna. Brother of St Caesar Nazianzen and St Gorgonius. He spent his youth "wandering, search of learning". He was a friend of and fellow student with St Basil the Great. 

Gregory became a monk at Basil‘s desert monastery. He was a reluctant priest; he believed that he was unworthy and that the responsibility would test his faith. 

He became Bishop of Constantinople in 381. He hated the city, despised the violence and feared being drawn into politics and corruption. He was slandered, insulted, beaten up, and a rival bishop tried to take over his diocese. 

Gregory retired to live the rest of his days as a hermit. 

He is patron for harvests and of poets.

Friday, 1 January 2016

1st January - Feast of the Holy Name

The feast of the Holy Name of Jesus has been celebrated since the end of the fifteenth century. The celebration has been held on different dates, usually in January, because 1 January, eight days after Christmas, commemorates the naming of the child Jesus; as recounted in the Gospel read on that day, "at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb."