A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

San Venanzio (St Venantius of Camerino, Pfärrenbach Wandmalerei Venantius, St Wigand) (dc251). Feast Day celebrating death of 15-year-old who was imprisoned in Camerino during a persecution of Christians and escaped to Raiano before being re-arrested. He was scourged, burned with flaming torches and hung upside-down over a fire. He had his teeth knocked out and his jaw broken and was thrown to the lions and then over a high cliff. After these tortures, Venantius was martyred by decapitation at Camerino with 10 other Christians, including the Bishop of Camerino, the local priest and Venantius’ tutor. Venantius was buried outside the city walls of Camerino, where a Basilica was built in the 5th Century and then rebuilt several times over succeeding centuries. A church was also dedicated to him in Raiano. The cult of Venantius spread and his image appeared on coins and in litanies. Springs near his Basilica were visited by lepers and people with peptic ulcers, to cure their afflictions. Venantius subsequently replaced St Ansovinus as Camerino’s patron saint. In 1259, during the destruction and sacking of Camerino by the Sicilians, the relics of Venantius were translated to the safety of the Naples Castel dell’Ovo. They were restored to Camerino in 1269 by order of the Pope, an opponent of the Sicilians. In the 17th Century, the Pope was a former bishop of Camerino and further contributed to the spread of Venantius’ cult, elevating his Feast Day to the level of a double rite and composing hymns for Venantius’ office. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches. Major shrines Camerino and Raiano. Patron of Camerino and Raiano, Italy. Image: amazon.com.

St John I, Pope (Late 5th Century-526). Optional Memorial for martyr caught between 2 masters and crushed in a secular vice. The early Popes were Roman citizens who retained their baptismal names when elected to the See of Peter. These names perfectly reflect a flourishing Roman culture rather than the new Christian subculture. It was not until 254 that Pope Stephen bore a name from the New Testament, and until 336 Pope Mark that of an Evangelist. The memory of Sts John the Evangelist and John the Baptist was not honoured until Pope John I and then in 1533 by John II as Bishop of Rome, whose birth name Mercurius honoured the Roman God Mercury and was so overtly pagan that he chose the name of his martyred predecessor. Thus was initiated the venerable tradition of a Pope adopting a new name upon his election retroactively turning, in this case, Pope John into Pope John I. With the government of the Roman Empire in Constantinople during the 376-476 fall of the Western Roman Empire, John I in Rome was Pope in a declining far-western outpost. From the North, Arian Ostrogoths (Eastern Goths) poured into Rome, with the heresy that Christ was a god, but not the God. Thus, Pope John I was caught between the Emperor in remote Constantinople and Ostrogoths ordered by the Emperor to surrender their churches to the Catholics. Pope John I failed to have this order rescinded and was imprisoned in Ravenna, where he died unable to simultaneously satisfy 2 powerful secular masters. John I’s mortal remains were returned to Rome and interred in the Constantinian Basilica of St Peter, where they were not found during the 16th-17th-Century rebuilding. Image: catholicnewsagency.com.

Prayer Pope Saint John I, your fidelity to your vocation as Pope led to your death. You were faithful in the face of threats from civil power but did not bend to its will. May all Popes look to your example for inspiration in leading the Church. Amen

St Feredarius (dc863). Feast Day for Irish Celtic Christian monk who was Abbot of Iona. During his abbacy, the relics of St Columba were moved to Ireland for fear of Danish raids.The Abbot of Iona was the leader of the monastic community there and of scores of monasteries in both Scotland and Ireland, including Durrow, Kells and, until the Synod of Whitby, Lindisfarne. It was one of the most prestigious clerical positions in Early-Medieval Europe, acknowledged by the Kings and Bishops of the Picts, Franks and Anglo-Saxons. As the successors (Comarbas) to St Columba (Colmcille), the early Ionan Abbots also had the status of Comarba de Colum Cille. Iona’s position declined over time, with Abbots being based at Derry, Raphoe, Kells and Dunkeld, the Abbots of Dunkeld ruling much of central Scotland in the 11th-13th Centuries. In 1203, the Benedictine order established a new monastery and an Augustinian Nunnery on the Iona site founded by St Columba. In 1938, Iona Abbey was rebuilt as a popular site for Christian pilgrimage and the Iona Community was founded. Image: tripadvisor.co.uk.