A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
St Stephen of Hungary (Szent István király I, Sanctus Stephanus, Štefan Veľký) (c975-1038). Feast Day for the baptised Roman Catholic Grand Prince of the Hungarians who had been given the pagan name Vajk by his father, the baptised Grand Prince Géza, and was annointed King of Hungary in 1000. Stephen forcefully abolished paganism to Christianise his country for political and religious reasons, in 1009 converted the Black Hungarians after their failed rebellion, invited foreign priests to help evangelise his kingdom and decreed marriage for all except clergy and the religious. He set tithes to support the building of churches in one of each ten towns, each with a pastor to help the poor, and established a Church of Hungary independent from the Holy Roman Empire. Stephen died near Budapest on 15 August 1038 and was buried in his new Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Székesfehérvár (Alba Regia) 60 km from Budapest. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches. Stephen is a popular saint in Hungary and neighbouring territories. In Hungary, his Feast Day of 20 August, the date of his canonisation, is a public holiday commemorating State Foundation Day. Feast Day 30 May in Hungary for his Holy Dexter (right hand). Patron saint of Hungary, kings, stone masons, stone cutters. bricklayers and protector against child deaths. Image: catholicnewsagency.com.
NoRuz (Navroz, Mah Fravardin, Roj Hormuzd). Zoroastrian Shenshai-Parsi New Year’s Day in India. By the Twentieth Century, the Parsis of India had become the largest group in the world practising Zoroastrianism and now over 95% of Zoroastrians in the UK are Parsis. Like their Indian counterparts, they celebrate two new years, the Parsi New Year being a regional holiday celebrated on the first day of the Zoroastrian calendar’s first month, Farvardin in the 622 CE Persian solar Hijri calendar. Navroz is derived from the Persian nav (new) and roz (day). The annual festival is on the Spring Equinox but the Parsi community in India follows their Shahenshahi calendar and added an extra month in 1129 CE and so New Year has since fallen earlier in the English calendar year and now occurs in August. A 3,000-year-old Zoroastrian tradition, the Parsi New Year holiday was created by Prophet Zoroaster and celebrated by the followers of Zoroastrianism in Persia (now Iran) who migrated to areas such as Gujarat in India in the Seventh Century owing to Islamic invasion. Although the festival originated in Persia, it is now celebrated with much dedication in many Indian states. The day is also referred to as Jamshedi Navroz after the Persian King Jamshed who created the Parsi calendar. On this day, Parsis clean the house and normally decorate it with flowers and rangoli powder patterns to welcome visitors. Dressed in traditional attire, they visit the Fire Temple after breakfast for Jashan prayer to express gratitude to the Lord, pray for prosperity and seek His forgiveness. Milk, water, fruit, flowers and sandalwood are burned as offerings on the sacred fire. Dishes prepared for the holiday include fish, moong dal (mung beans), pulav (rice), sali boti (mutton curry) and ravo (semolina). There are charitable donations to the poor. Image: pinterest.com.
Prayer We announce and perform our prayers in honour of Ahura Mazda, the Creator, the radiant and the glorious, the greatest and the best, the most beautiful, the most firm, the wisest, the most perfect, and very well known in righteousness. One who is full of wisdom, Who spreads happiness very far, Who has created us and given us sustenance and Who increases the prosperity of all. We announce and perform the precise rites of the year to that lofty master Asha, to the masters of the daylight, and the day, and the months, and the seasons, and the years. آمین Amen!
St Roch (Sant Roc, San Rocco, São Roque, São Roque, Rock, Rollox) (c1348-1377). Feast Day commemorating the death of the noble Catholic Confessor born in Montpellier, Majorca. On the death of his parents in his twentieth year, like Francis of Assisi he distributed all his worldly goods among the poor and set out for Rome as a mendicant pilgrim. Arriving in Italy during an epidemic of plague, he tended the sick in the public hospitals at Acquapendente, Cesena, Rimini, Novara and Rome, effecting many miraculous cures by prayer, the sign of the cross and the touch of his hand. Falling ill in Piacenza, he withdrew to the forest where a dog brought him bread and healed his wounds by licking them. He died on 16 August 1377 in Voghera, Lombardy His popularity, originally in central and northern Italy and at Montpellier, spread through Spain, France, Lebanon, the Low Countries, Brazil and Germany, where he was often interpolated into the roster of the Fourteen Holy Helpers whose veneration spread in the wake of the Black Death. The Sixteenth-Century Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the adjacent church of San Rocco were dedicated to him by a confraternity at Venice, for his body having been surreptitiously translated there in 1485. The Scuola Grande is famous for its 1564 sequence of paintings by Tintoretto. Venerated in Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Aglipayan Church. Numerous brotherhoods have been instituted in St Roch’s honour and the Third Order of Saint Francis claims him as a member, including his feast on its own calendar of saints on 17 August. Feast Day 9 September in Italy with death commemorated 17 August by Third Order of Saint Francis. Patron of Sarmato, Altare e Girifalco, Casamassima, Cisterna di Latina, Palagiano, Dolo, Parma Italy, bachelors, diseased cattle, dogs, falsely-accused people, invalids, Istanbul, surgeons, tile-makers, gravediggers, second-hand dealers, pilgrims, apothecaries, Pateros, Caloocan, Philippines. Invoked against cholera, epidemics, pestilence, knee problems, plague, skin diseases. Image: pinterest.com.