A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
San Gennaro (St Januarius I of Benevento) (dc305). Catholic Church Feast Day for rich patrician Neapolitan Bishop of Benevento who, at the young age of 15, became the local priest of his parish in Benevento, which at the time was relatively pagan. When Januarius was 20, he became Bishop of Naples and befriended Juliana of Nicomedia and St Sossius whom he met during his priestly studies. During the eighteen-month persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian, he hid his fellow Christians and prevented them from being caught. Unfortunately, whilst visiting Sossius in jail, he too was arrested and he and his colleagues were condemned to be thrown to wild bears in the Flavian Amphitheatre at Pozzuoli, but the sentence was changed due to fear of public disturbances and they were instead martyred by beheading at the Solfatara crater near Pozzuoli 15 miles west of Naples and Januarius’ blood was taken to Naples. The ghosts of Januarius and St Martin appeared to St Paulinus of Nola three days before the latter’s death in 431. In the Sixth Century, Januarius’ remains were translated to the Neapolitan extra moenia catacombes outside the city walls, in the Ninth Century to Benevento, the skull remaining in Naples, and in the Twelfth Century the 40 km to the safer Territorial Abbey of Montevergine. They were rediscovered there in 1480 and translated back to Naples in 1497, for head and body to lie in the 1506 Succorpo richly-decorated crypt beneath the Cathedral. Venerated in Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches. Major shrines Naples Cathedral and the Church of the Most Precious Blood, Little Italy, Manhattan, New York City. In Naples, the faithful gather three times a year in the Cathedral to witness the liquefaction of what is claimed to be a sample of over 30 ml of Januarius’ blood, kept in a sealed glass ampoule. This occurs on 19 September, 16 December for Januarius’ patronage of Naples and the first Sunday in May for the reunification of his relics. In the USA, the Feast of San Gennaro is also a highlight of the year for New York’s Little Italy, with the saint’s polychrome statue carried in the centre of a street fair stretching for blocks. Feast Day 21 April Eastern Christianity. The city of Naples has more than fifty official patron saints, although its principal patron is Saint Januarius. Also patron of Tilbury, blood banks, Mt Vesuvius, volcanic eruptions. Image: flagsonline.it.
Prayer St Januarius, we pray you to pray for us, sure that we will be answered and saved from all the evils that oppress us from all directions. Save us from unbelief, and you will see that the faith, by which you have generously sacrificed your life, always, always produces fertile fruits of saints made among us. Amen
St Theodore of Canterbury (Theodore of Tarsus, Θεόδωρος Ταρσού) (602-690). Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Episcopal Church (USA) and Church of England Feast Day commemorating the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury who grew up in Tarsus in Cilicia, a Greek-speaking diocese of the Byzantine Empire, but fled to Constantinople after the Persian Empire conquered Tarsus and other cities. After studying in Constantinople, he relocated to Rome at some time before 660 and lived with a community of Eastern monks, probably at the monastery of St. Anastasius. The 664 Synod of Whitby confirmed that the Anglo-Saxon Church would follow Rome and in 667, when Theodore was 66, the see of Canterbury fell vacant and Theodore was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome on 26 March 668, being sent to England to arrive in 669. Theodore conducted a survey of the English Church, appointed various bishops to sees that had lain vacant for some time, and then called the 673 Synod of Hertford to institute reforms concerning the proper calculation of Easter, episcopal authority, itinerant monks, the regular convening of subsequent synods, marriage and prohibitions of consanguinity, and other matters. He also proposed dividing the large diocese of Northumbria into smaller sections, a policy that brought him into conflict with Wilfrid, who had become Bishop of York in 664 and whom Theodore deposed and expelled in 678, dividing his dioceses in the aftermath, the conflict with Wilfrid continuing until 687. Theodore and Hadrian, the African priest who had travelled with him from Rome to be appointed Abbot of the monastery of St Peter and St Paul in Canterbury (later becoming St Augustine’s Abbey), established a school in Canterbury to provide instruction in both Greek and Latin, resulting in a golden age of Anglo-Saxon scholarship. Theodore also taught sacred music, introduced various texts and knowledge of Eastern saints, and may have been responsible for the introduction of the Litany of the Saints, a major liturgical innovation, to the West. Pupils from the school at Canterbury were sent out as Benedictine Abbots in southern England, disseminating the curriculum of Theodore. Theodore called other synods, in 680 at Hatfield, confirming English orthodoxy in the Monothelite controversy, and c684 at Twyford, Northumbria. Theodore died on 19 September 690 and was buried at the church known today as St Augustine’s Abbey, which was then St Peter’s church in Canterbury. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Anglican Communion. Canterbury also recognises a Feast of his ordination on 26 March. Image: oca.org.
Bl Thomas Akafuji (d1622). Feast Day for Japanese martyr, a nobleman and devoted Christian. Thomas served as catechist to Blessed Leonard Kimura until his arrest by government authorities. Condemned for being a Christian, he was burned alive at Nagasaki. All Christians are called to be saints, persons in heaven who lived heroically virtuous lives, offered their life for others, or were martyred for the faith, and who are worthy of imitation. A petitioner starts the three steps to sainthood, which are overseen by postulators: a candidate may become “Venerable,” then “Blessed” and then “Saint.” Venerable is the title given to a deceased person recognised formally by the Pope as having lived an heroically virtuous life or offered their life. Beatification, the second stage in the process of proclaiming a person a saint, occurs after a diocese or eparchy and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints have conducted a rigorous investigation into the person’s life and writings by means of a positio (comprehensive summary of all documentation assembled by a relator) to determine whether he or she demonstrated an heroic level of virtue, offered their life or suffered martyrdom, although the Pope may waive these requirements. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints is a department of the Roman Curia established in 1588 as the Congregation of Rites and reorganised and renamed in 1969 and again in 1983. Some of the responsibilities of the Congregation include making recommendations to the Pope on beatifications and canonisations, and the authentication and preservation of sacred relics. Blessed is the title bestowed on a person who has been beatified and accorded limited liturgical veneration. A miracle attributed to the person’s intercession must be proved but a miracle is not required prior to a martyr’s beatification, although one is required before canonisation, the formal process by which the Church declares a person to be a saint and worthy of universal veneration. A miracle is something that has occurred by the grace of God through the intercession of a Venerable or Blessed and which is scientifically inexplicable. Image: nobility.org.