Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy Feast! - for the Saints of December

Celebrating some of the saints from the South’s Christian inheritance of various lands:


5th – St Crispina, a noble lady tortured and beheaded for her faith in Christ.  Some of her trial before the Roman authorities is recorded here:

6th – St Dionysia and those martyred with her, they were tortured and executed by the Arian Vandals in Africa in extremely cruel ways

7th – Martyrs of Carthage under the Vandals

10th – Sts Menas, Hermogenes, and Eugraphus, martyrs of Alexandria; the first two were soldiers in the Roman army, the third a scribe; miracles attended them in their tortures and afterwards

14th – Sts Appolonius, Philemon, Arianus, and Theoctychus of Alexandria, all martyrs

15th – St Valerian, Bishop of Abbenza in North Africa who, aged over eighty, was left to die of exposure for refusing to give up the sacred vessels. He died under the Arian Genseric King of the Vandals.

16th – Martyrs of North-West Africa, a great number of women martyred under Hunneric, Arian King of the Vandals.

19th – St Nemesion of Alexandria, and those martyred with him; they were tortured cruelly before their deaths.

29th – St Theodore, abbot of the great monastery of Tabenna in the deserts of Egypt and successor of St Pachomius the Great; also commemorated on 27 April.  A wonderworker and prophet as well.


13th – St Herman, the Patron Saint of North America
A video documentary about St Herman is available to watch here:


29th – The 14,000 Holy Innocents slaughtered by Herod.
The hymns to them are quite beautiful:


23rd – Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete, they and many others suffered extraordinarily under the Roman persecution but praised God all the while.


12th – St Spyridon the Wonderworker, while many in the South might associate islands around Greece with mythological tales, there is another reason to learn a little something about their Christian history:  saints like St Spyridon.  He was an humble shepherd and family man who became a bishop.  He was always generous with the poor, a great theologian, and a great miracle-worker.  His icon always shows him wearing a peasant’s hat with his bishop’s vestments in honor of his deep, God-pleasing humility.


3rd – St Birinus of Dorchester, he is the Apostle of Wessex, the English kingdom that forms the heart of the Christian culture the Southern settlers brought with them to Virginia, etc.

9th – St Ethelgiva, the daughter of St-King Alfred the Great, she became first Abbess of Shaftesbury and was adorned with many spiritual gifts.

13th – St Edburgh, born a princess in the House of Wessex, she became the third abbess of Minster-in-Thanet.  Skilled in calligraphy, friend of St Boniface, and a wonderworker.

14th – St Hibald, abbot and wonderworker of Bardney, his holy relics were rediscovered in the 19th century and continue to be venerated today.

14th – All Saints of Lincolnshire

21st – St Beornwald, a priest venerated in Bampton.

25th – St Alburgh, sister of St-King Egbert of Wessex in England and wife of Wulstan of Wiltshire, she founded a convent in Wilton near Salisbury, where she became a nun in her widowhood.


3rd – St Sola, an Englishman who helped St Boniface in Germany, then lived as a hermit, glorifying God and sanctifying the German land by his secret prayers and virtues.

8th – St Gunthild, a nun from Wimborne in England who went to Germany, where she became abbess of a convent in Thuringia.

12th – St Agatha, a nun at Wimborne in Dorset in England and a disciple of St Lioba, she went to Germany to help St Boniface in his missionary work.

18th – St Winebald, born in England, he joined St Boniface in Germany to preach and to establish churches and the monastic life.  God has blessed many through his holy relics.


1st – St Agericus (Aguy, Airy), successor of St Desiderius in Verdun in France He was greatly admired by his contemporaries, Sts Gregory of Tours and Venantius Fortunatus. He was buried in his own home which was turned into a church. The monastery of Saint-Airy later grew up around it.

5th – St Siran, a nobleman who became archdeacon of Tours and a monastic founder.

6th – St Gertrude the Elder, a widow who founded and was the first Abbess of Hamaye (Hamay, Hamage) near Douai in the north of France.

7th – St Burgandofara, nobly born, she shunned marriage and founded and was abbess of the very influential monastery of Faremoutiers.

8th – St Romaricus, a courtier turned monk, and then a monastic founder and abbot.

11th – Sts Fuscian, Victoricus, and Gentian; the first two were missionaries, the third their host in Amiens; all three died as martyrs.

12th – St Valery, a shepherd who became a zealous preacher in Picardy.

12th – St Corentin, the first bishop of Quimper in Brittany.

13th – St Jodoc/Josse, royally born in Brittany, he renounced the crown in order to live a life of seclusion in the forest.

14th – Sts Nicasius, Eutropia, and those martyred with them, St Nicasius was bishop of Rheims when a horde of Germanic barbarians invaded.  He, his sister Eutropia, and others from his flock were martyred by them.

16th – St Ado, a nobleman from a very distinguished family who gave up all of it to become a remarkable archbishop of Vienne.

17th – St Brioch of Brittany, a wonderworker and monastic founder.  As has happened quite often in Christendom, towns sprung up around some of the monasteries he founded.

17th – St Judicael, King of Brittany, much loved by his people. After a victorious reign he abdicated and spent the last twenty years of his life in the monastery of Gäel near Vannes.

18th – St Gatian, a zealous missionary in the French lands and first bishop of Tours; he preached for 50 years under constant threat of death from the heathens.

23rd – St Dagobert II, the King of Austrasia in the east of France, he was exiled to a monastery in 656, recalled in 675 and martyred by the tyrant Ebroin.

29th – Se Evroul, a courtier to French kings who then left to become a hermit in the wilderness; his holiness was discovered by others who joined him there, after which time he founded 15 other monasteries.


1st – St Eligius of Noyons, a counselor to kings, lover of the poor, and talented metalsmith, he later became a bishop and enlightener of many.
Short version
Long version

13th – St Autbert, a wonderful bishop and great saint of Cambrai-Arras and surrounding lands.

17th – St Begga, a holy wife, widow, and foundress of the great convent of Andenne.


16th – St Alice (Adelaide), a holy queen and empress who governed wisely through many trials and did much to spread the Gospel as well.

24th – Sts Adela and Irmina, two holy daughters of St-King Dagobert II who became nuns and founded monasteries.

9th – St Budoc, born in Brittany, he became Abbot of Youghal in Ireland. Returning to Brittany, he succeeded Sts Samson and Maglorius as Bishop of Dol. Several places in Devon and Cornwall in England are named after him.


7th – St Ambrose of Milan, born in France, later bishop of Milan in Italy.  He is one of the greatest Saints of the West.


5th – St Justinian, a nobleman born in Brittany, he later lived as a hermit on an island off southern Wales where he was murdered.


17th – St Sturm (Sturmi), as a child he was entrusted to St Boniface and brought up in the monastery of Fritzlar in Germany. Ordained, he was sent to enlighten the Saxons. He went to find a suitable site for a monastery in central Germany and chose Fulda. Sturm then went to Montecassino and on his return became Abbot of Fulda. Dearly loved by his monks, Sturm is considered as second only to Boniface as Apostle of Germany.


13th – St Otilia, by tradition St Ottilia was born blind and for this reason rejected by her family. She was adopted by a convent where she miraculously recovered her sight. Eventually she founded convents at Hohenburg (now Odilienberg) in Alsace in France and at Niedermünster in Germany.


12th – St Columba, named one of the 12 Apostles of Ireland.
Others commemorated with him, Sts Colman and Cormac:

12th – St Finian of Clonard, one of the greatest saints of Ireland, he founded many monasteries and churches.  He is called the ‘Teacher of the Saints of Ireland’.

18th – St Samthann, abbess of one of the major monasteries of Ireland, Clonbroney; a wonderworker full of wisdom and mercy.

26th – St Jarlath of Tuam, founder of a famed monastery and school at Cluainfois that wonderfully influenced many.


7th – St Diuma, an Irishman who helped enlighten Mercia in England.

14th – Sts Fingar and Phiala, brother and sister from Ireland, they were martyred by heathens in Cornwall.


18th – St Flannan of Killaloe, a monk, abbot, missionary, and bishop.  He labored in Ireland and in Scotland (mainly in the Hebrides where one of the island chains now bears his name, the Flannan Isles) and was a blessing to men and to all the creation (the blessing of his holy presence resulted in bountiful harvests).

22nd – St Ernan of Hinba, an uncle of St Columba of Iona who made him head of a monastery on the island of Hinba, where St Columba often went for rest.

22nd – St Ernan of Donegal, a nephew of St Columba of Iona and head of the monastery named Druim-Tomma.  He is venerated in parts of Scotland as well.

23rd – St Mazota, the leader of a group of nineteen holy virgins who went from Ireland to Scotland and founded a monastery at Abernethy on the Tay.

28th – Sts Romulus and Conindrus, two of the first people to preach Orthodoxy on the Isle of Man, they were contemporaries of St Patrick.

28th – St Maughold, a former brigand in Ireland, he was converted by St Patrick and sent to the Isle of Man, where his episcopate was very fruitful.


20th – St Ursicinus, born in Ireland, he was a disciple of St Columbanus. He founded the monastery of St Ursanne from which the town in Switzerland takes its name.


26th – St Tathai, a good and holy father of the Welsh, a wonderworker and a monastic founder.


19th – St Boniface the Merciful, Bishop of Ferentino (Florence), a wonderful example of a cheerful, sacrificial giver.


14th – St Venantius Fortunatus, born near Treviso in the north of Italy, aged thirty he settled in Poiters in France and was ordained. He became known to Queen St Radegunde who befriended him. He was a writer and poet: the hymns Vexilla Regis and Pange Lingua Gloriosa were composed by him. He became Bishop of Poitiers at the end of the sixth century.


27th – St Stephen the Archdeacon and First-Crowned Martyr.
One of the hymns written for him is especially poignant:
Yesterday the Master appeared in the flesh among us, / today His servant departs from the flesh. / Yesterday the King was born, / and today His servant is stoned to death; / for His sake, the divine Protomartyr Stephen is perfected through martyrdom.

Old Rome:

1st – St Ansanus, born in Rome he became Orthodox when he was twelve years old, but his own father denounced him to the authorities. The boy contrived to escape and converted so many pagans, first in Bagnorea and then in Siena, that he was called 'the Baptiser'. Finally he was arrested and beheaded.

2nd – St Bibiana, a much-suffering martyr whose whole family also suffered torture and death for Christ’s sake.

6th – St Asella, 'a flower of the Lord', this virgin became a nun in Rome at the age of ten and then lived for many years until she became abbess, 'the mother of many virgins'.

13th – St Lucy of Syracuse, one of the most celebrated virgin-martyrs of the West.

18th – St Sebastian, a noble and beautiful ornament of the Church, a great and holy martyr at Rome.  Commemorated with him are several other martyrs.

19th – St Boniface, a slave of a rich young Roman maiden named Aglaida; both lived dissolute lives together.  He repented and was martyred; she likewise later repented, and honored the relics of St Boniface after his martyrdom, through which were wrought many miracles.

20th – St Ignatius of Antioch, the God-bearer, a disciple of the Apostle John; he is an excellent example of an holy bishop/pastor, martyred in Rome by being thrown to the lions.  His epistles to several churches on his way to his martyrdom still exist and make for edifying reading.
For an account of his life and martyrdom and for hymns to the Saint:
To read his letters:

22nd – St Anastasia, the Deliverer from Potions, a noble Roman lady who endured horrific tortures and martyrdom for her own faith and for caring for Christians who were in prison.

23rd – St Servulus, a poor, crippled man who gave away some of his own alms to other poor folks, and never ceased to use his painful condition as a means to unite more closely with God.

23rd – Sts Migdonius and Mardonius, high officials at the imperial court in Rome. When persecution broke out under Diocletian in 303, they refused to renounce their Faith. Migdonius was burnt at the stake and Mardonius drowned in a well.

23rd – St Victoria, a noble Roman lady who was martyred for refusing to marry a heathen suitor.

24th – St Eugenia, the nun-martyr, daughter of the Prefect of Egypt, she chose to suffer for the sake of Christ.  Many of her family and servants died as martyrs, too.

24th – Sts Thrasilla and Emiliana, aunts of St Gregory the Great, the bishop of Rome who helped evangelize England.  They lived a monastic life in their father’s house and advanced greatly in holiness.

26th – St Marinus, the son of a senator in Rome, he was martyred by beheading under Numerian.

27th – St Fabiola, a patrician in Rome who married and divorced. She married again, causing scandal. After the death of her second husband, she repented and devoted her wealth to the care of the sick in a hospital which she established. She also founded a hostel for pilgrims in Rome and was greatly venerated.

Old Rome/Africa/Jerusalem:

31st – St Melania the Younger, an incredibly uplifting story of a young woman of the Roman nobility who wanted to devote all her life to God.  Here is just one part of her story, which takes place just after the deaths of her two children:

‘The saints then left the city of Rome, and began a new life completely dedicated to the service of God. Apinianus at this time was twenty-four years of age, and Melania twenty. They began to visit the sick, to take in wanderers, and to help the indigent. They visited those who were exiled, and mine-convicts, and the destitute, there in debtor’s prison. After selling their estates in Italy and Spain, they generously helped monasteries, hospitals, widows and orphans in Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt, Phoenicia, and Palestine.’

The rest of her life is recounted here:

Old Rome/Constantinople-New Rome

31st – St Zoticus the Martyr, the keeper of orphans and lepers


7th – St Buithe, an evangelizer of the Picts.

19th – St Manire, an apostle to the north of Scotland.


9th – St Leocadia of Toledo, a virgin martyred in Spain and highly venerated there.

10th – St Eulalia of Merida, a tender young maiden but a bold confessor and martyr for Christ; her torturers did not show any restraint despite her young age; one of the greatest saints of all of Spain.
To read the 4th-century Spanish writer Prudentius’s poem in honor of St Eulalia, visit this page:

17th – St Daniel, a nobleman and then a monk, martyred by the Muslims in Spain.


31st – St Columba, born in Spain, she left her country to avoid being denounced as a Christian. She went to France with other Spanish Christians, but all of them were martyred near Meaux under Aurelian. Her shrine was in Sens, but it was destroyed by the Protestant Huguenots.


3rd – St Lucius, a king of the Welsh, who asked for missionaries to be sent to enlighten his people with the Holy Gospel.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

A New Monastery in Ireland

A group of nuns is trying to reestablish monastic life near the celebrated monastery of St Ciaran of Clonmacnoise in Ireland.  If you would like to learn more about their monastery, or if you would like to help them in their undertaking with a donation, please visit these web pages:

About the monastery:

About St Ciaran:

Many thanks!


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!