A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Rainha Santa Isabel (St Elizabeth of Portugal TOSF, Isabel, Elisabet, Peacemaker) (1271-1336). Medieval optional memorial commemorating the death of the Roman Catholic Aragonese Queen consort of Portugal. Her marriage to King Denis of Portugal was arranged when she was 10 and she married at 17. Her husband was known as the Rei Lavrador (Farmer King), as he planted a large pine forest to prevent soil degradation. Elizabeth had shown an early enthusiasm for her faith, saying the full Divine Office daily, fasting and doing other penance, as well as attending twice-daily choral Masses. She sought peace between herself and her unfaithful husband and was devoted to the poor and sick, earning reproach from many around her, but eventually her prayers and patience succeeded in turning her husband from his sinful life. Elizabeth took an active interest in Portuguese politics and was a decisive conciliator during the negotiations concerning the Treaty of Alcañices that fixed the border with Castile. In 1314, Elizabeth founded the convent of Poor Clare nuns, now known as the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, in Coimbra. After Denis’ death in 1325, Elizabeth retired to her monastery, joined the Third Order of St Francis, and devoted the rest of her life in obscurity to the poor and sick, orphans and the homeless. She was known for being modest in her dress and humble in conversation and for providing lodging for pilgrims, distributing small gifts, paying the dowries of poor girls and educating the children of poor nobles. She was a benefactor of hospitals in Coimbra, Santarém and Leiria, the Trinity Convent in Lisbon, chapels in Leiria and Óbidos and the cloister in Alcobaça. Despite her age and weakness, in 1336 she acted as a peacemaker with Castile in Estremoz and stopped the fighting, but took to her bed with a fever and died on 4 July in the castle of Estremoz. Although Denis’ tomb was located in Odivelas, Elizabeth was buried in the Convent of Santa Clara-a-Velha in Coimbra. After flooding in the Seventeenth Century, the Poor Clares translated her mortal remains to the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova in Coimbra. Venerated in Catholic Church. Her feast was inserted in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on 4 July but in 1694 it was moved to 8 July, so it would not conflict with the celebration of the Octave of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. After this was abolished in 1955, the 1969 revision of the Calendar classified the celebration as an optional memorial and restored it to 4 July. Her feast is also kept on the Franciscan Calendar of Saints. Since the establishment in 1819 of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de La Laguna in the Canary Islands, Saint Elizabeth is the co-patron of the diocese and of its cathedral. In the USA, her memorial has been transferred to 5 July since 4 July is Independence Day. Image: acidigital.com.
Prayer Blessed Elizabeth, you sought peace between warring nations and devoted your life to the poor and sick, orphans and the homeless irrespective of their stations in life, whilst earning reproach from many around you but eventually your prayers and patience were answered. Please pray for us that we too may one day glorify the Blessed Trinity in heaven. Obtain for us your lively faith, that we may consider all persons, things and events in the light of Almighty God. Amen
Jashn-e Tirgan (Tir Jashan, تیرگان). Zoroastrian Persian ancient annual midsummer festival celebrated on Yek-shanbeh (Sunday) 13 Tir 1400 , the second day of the week in the Persian, Iran and Afghan Solar Hijri calendar, the Sabbath being on the Saturday of the Gregorian Calendar. Some three months after the 20 March Spring Nowruz, Tirgan is associated with the dog-star Sirius, the coming of the rains and the fertility they bring. The celebration is dedicated to Tishtrya (Tir), an archangel who appeared in the sky to generate thunder and lightning for much-needed rain. On this day, it is customary to visit the Fire Temple to give thanks to Ahura Mazda, and to participate in a jashan thanksgiving ceremony. The celebration is observed by Iran, Tajikistan, the USA, Canada and the EU by splashing water, dancing, reciting poetry and serving traditional foods such as spinach soup and sholezard (saffron rice pudding). The custom of tying rainbow-coloured bands on wrists, that are worn for ten days and then thrown into a stream, is a way for children to celebrate. Image: gi-media.co.uk.
Ágios Andréas Krítis (St Andrew of Crete, Άγιος Ανδρέας Κρήτης, Andreas of Jerusalem) (c650-740). Feast Day commemorating the death of the pious Christian Damascene Archbishop of Crete. A Venerable Father, theologian, homilist and hymnographer, he was mute until he was 7 but after communing the Holy Mysteries of Christ he found the gift of speech and began earnestly studying the Holy Scriptures and the discipline of theology. At 14, Andrew went to Jerusalem and there accepted the monastic tonsure at the monastery of Saint Savva the Sanctified. He led a strict and chaste life, was meek and abstinent and showed amazing virtue and reasoning of mind. Andrew was the head of an orphanage and a home for elderly men and became numbered among the Jerusalem clergy. He was a representative of the Holy City at the 680-81 Third Council of Constantinople, counted as the Sixth Ecumenical Council by the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and some Western Churches, which condemned monoenergism and monothelitism as heretical and defined Jesus Christ as having two energies and two wills (divine and human). In the Council, Andrew argued against heretical teachings and was appointed Archdeacon at the church of Agía Sofía (Αγία Σοφία, Hagia Sophia). He was proclaimed c690 as the Bishop of Gortineia, Crete, where he was a true luminary of the Church, a great hierarch, theologian, teacher and hymnographer and c700 he became Archbishop of Gortyna, Crete. Saint Andrew wrote many liturgical hymns and was the originator of a new liturgical form, the canon. He gained renown with his praise of the All-Pure Virgin Mary, his Canon for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, three odes for the Compline of Palm Sunday and many other church hymns. Andrew died on the island of Mytilene whilst returning to Crete from Constantinople. His relics were translated to Constantinople and in 1350 the pious Russian pilgrim Stephen Novgorodets saw them at the Constantinople monastery of Saint Andrew of Crete. Venerated in Orthodox, Catholic Churches, Eastern Catholicism. Image: carholicnewsagency.com.