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A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Mahavir Jayanti. One of the most auspicious Jain festivals, marking the c599 BCE birth of Lord Mahavira (महावीर:, Vardhamana), the founder of Jainism, a contemporary of Guatama Buddha and the 24th and last Tirthankara (spiritual leader) of the Jain faith. Mahavir Jayanti is marked by prayer and fasting, remembering the virtues that Lord Mahavira promoted, including non-violence, respect and love for all living beings. An idol of Lord Mahavira is taken by devotees in a rath yatra chariot procession, temples are decorated with flags and flowers and Jains are encouraged to practise charitable acts, offerings being made to the poor and needy to spread the word of harmony and peace.

Prayer We bow down to those who have reached omniscience in the flesh and teach the road to everlasting life in the liberated state, to those who have attained perfect knowledge and liberated their souls of all karma and to those who have experienced self-realisation of their souls through self-control and self-sacrifice. Hari Om

Saint Guillaume de Paris (St William of Paris, St William of Eskilsø. St William of Æbelholt, William of the Paraclete, Abbed Vilhelm) (1125-1203). Feast Day commemorating death of Parisian missionary who in 1165 was sent unwillingly to Denmark to reform the canonry of St Thomas on the island of Eskilsø. He became Abbot of the monastery there and during 3 decades among the Danes he also reformed many other Augustinian communities and some Cistercian houses. He died in Denmark and numerous miracles were reported at his grave. A new church was built at Æbelholt Abbey and William’s remains were moved there in 1238. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church.

St Berthanc (Berthanc of Kirkwall, Fer-da-Leithe, the Man of Two Countries) (dc840). Feast Day for monk who spent his youth in the celebrated monastery of St Columba on Iona and became Bishop of Kirkwall in the Orkneys. He died in Ireland and was buried at Inishmore in Galway Bay.