The New Evangelization - Africa

























































SAINT GELASIUS I
Pope - AD 496 (November 21)

Died at Rome, 19 Nov., 496. Gelasius, as he himself states in his letter to the Emperor Anastasius (Ep. xii, n. 1), was Romanus natus. The assertion of the "Liber Pontificalis" that he was natione Afer is consequently taken by many to mean that he was of African origin, though Roman born. Others, however, interpreting natione Afer as "African by birth", explain Romanus natus as "born a Roman citizen". Before his election as pope, 1 March, 492, Gelasius had been much employed by his predecessor, Felix II (or III), especially in drawing up ecclesiastical documents, which has led some scholars to confuse the writings of the two pontiffs.

On his election to the papacy, Gelasius at once showed his strength of character and his lofty conception of his position by his firmness in dealing with the adherents of Acacius [Patriarch of Constantinople and precipitator of a temporary schism]. Despite all the efforts of the otherwise orthodox patriarch, Euphemius of Constantinople (q. v.), and the threats and wiles by which the Emperor Anastasius tried to obtain recognition from the Apostolic See, Gelasius, though hard-pressed by difficulties at home, would make no peace that compromised in the slightest degree the rights and honor of the Chair of Peter. The constancy with which he combated the pretensions, lay and ecclesiastical, of the New Rome; the resoluteness with which he refused to allow the civil or temporal pre-eminence of a city to determine its ecclesiastical rank; the unfailing courage with which he defended the rights of the "second " and the "third" sees, Alexandria and Antioch, are some of the most striking features of his pontificate. It has been well said that nowhere at this period can be found stronger arguments for the primacy of Peter's See than in the works and writings of Gelasius. He is never tired of repeating that Rome owes its ecclesiastical princedom not to an oecumenical synod nor to any temporal importance it may have possessed, but to the Divine institution of Christ Himself, Who conferred the primacy over the whole Church upon Peter and his successors. (Cf. especially his letters to Eastern bishops and the decretal on the canonical and apocryphal books.) In his dealing with the emperor he is at one with the great medieval pontiffs. "There are two powers by which chiefly this world is ruled: the sacred authority of the priesthood and the authority of kings. And of these the authority of the priests is so much the weightier, as they must render before the tribunal of God an account even for the kings of men." Gelasius's pontificate was too short to effect the complete submission and reconciliation of the ambitious Church of Byzantium. Not until Hormisdas (514-23) did the contest end in the return of the East to its old allegiance. Troubles abroad were not the only occasions to draw out the energy and strength of Gelasius. The Lupercalia, a superstitious and somewhat licentious vestige of paganism at Rome, was finally abolished by the pope after a long contest. Gelasius's letter to Andromachus, the senator, covers the main lines of the controversy.

A staunch upholder of the old traditions, Gelasius nevertheless knew when to make exceptions or modifications, such as his decree obliging the reception of the Holy Eucharist under both kinds. This was done as the only effective way of detecting the Manichaeans, who, though present in Rome in large numbers, sought to divert attention from their hidden propaganda by feigning Catholicism. As they held wine to be impure and essentially sinful, they would refuse the chalice and thus be recognized. Later, with the change of conditions, the old normal method of receiving Holy Communion under the form of bread alone returned into vogue. To Gelasius we owe the ordinations on the ember days (Ep. xv), as well as the enforcement of the fourfold division of all ecclesiastical revenues, whether income from estates or voluntary donations of the faithful, one portion for the poor, another for the support of the churches and the splendour of Divine service, a third for the bishop, and the fourth for the minor clergy. Though some writers ascribe the origin of this division of church funds to Gelasius, still the pontiff speaks of it (Ep. xiv, n. 27) as dudum rationabiliter decretum, having been for some time in force. Indeed, Pope Simplicius (475, Ep. i, n. 2) imposed the obligation of restitution to the poor and the Church upon a certain bishop who had failed in this duty; consequently it must have been already regarded as at least a custom of the Church. Not content with one enunciation of this charitable obligation, Gelasius frequently inculcates it in his writings to bishops. For a long time the fixing of the Canon of the Scriptures was attributed to Gelasius, but it seems now more probably the work of Damasus (367-85). As Gelasius, however, in a Roman synod (494), published his celebrated catalogue of the authentic writings of the Fathers, together with a list of apocryphal and interpolated works, as well as the proscribed books of the heretics (Ep. xlii), it was but natural to prefix to this catalogue the Canon of the Scriptures as determined by the earlier Pontiff, and thus in the course of time the Canon itself came to be ascribed to Gelasius. In his zeal for the beauty and majesty of Divine service, Gelasius composed many hymns, prefaces, and collects, and arranged a standard Mass-book, though the Missal that has commonly gone by his name, the "Sacramentarium Gelasianum", belongs properly to the next century. How much of it is the work of Gelasius is still a moot question. Though pope but for four years and a half, he exerted a deep influence on the development of church polity, of the liturgy and ecclesiastical discipline. A large number of his decrees have been incorporated into the Canon Law.

In his private life Gelasius was above all conspicuous for his spirit of prayer, penance, and study. He took great delight in the company of monks, and was a true father to the poor, dying empty-handed as a result of his lavish charity. 


BLESSED ISIDORE BAKANJA
Martyr - AD 1909

One of "the least brothers" of Jesus, was born in northeast Zaire (then, Belgian Congo) sometime between 1885 and 1890. His baptismal record is the first document about him, as he was attracted to Christ when he was about 18 years of age, working for white colonizers as an assistant mason. He never forgot the lessons taught him by the Trappist missionaries from Westmalle Abbey in Belgium: a follower of Jesus should be characterized by prayer and witness. He should be recognized by the rosary and scapular (Mary's habit, as it was rendered in Isidore's native tongue).Mild, honest, respectful by nature, Isidore worked conscientiously and prayed faithfully, as many non-Christian witnesses attested. Often with rosary in hand, he looked for opportunities to share his new-found faith with others, to the extent that many thought of him as a catechist. He definitively left his native village because there were no fellow followers of Christ there. In a larger settlement, he found employment with the agent of a Belgian company that controlled the rubber plantations in the region. He was hired as a domestic boy. Many of the agents were avowed atheists, who hated the missionaries because of the latter's defence of the natives' rights and their denouncing of injustices perpetrated against them. "Mon pere" was a pejorative name given to priests and to all that had to do with religion. Isidore soon experienced the hatred of the agents for Catholicism. He asked for leave to return home; permission was refused. He was told to stop teaching his fellow workers how to pray: "You'll have the whole village praying and no one will want to work", one agent shouted at him. Isidore was told to discard his scapular. When he did not, he was twice flogged. The second time, the agent flew into one of his rages. He jumped at Isidore, tore the scapular from around his neck and threw him to the ground. He had two servant boys hold Isidore by his hands and feet and a third domestic flogged him. The whip was made of elephant hide with nails protruding at the end. The writhing Isidore asked for mercy. "My God, I'm dying", he muttered. But the colonizer kept kicking Isidore in the neck and head, and ordered his domestic to scourge him harder still. After 100, those assisting lost count of the number of blows. Isidore's back was one open wound; some of his bones were exposed. After scourging he was thrown, legs chained, into a hut for processing rubber. He could not even move to relieve himself. Since an inspector was due, Isidore was banished to another village. But because he could not walk, he fell by the wayside and hid in the forest. He dragged himself before the inspector, who was horrified at the sight of this modern Job. The inspector himself left a written account of his impression: "I saw a man come from the forest with his back torn apart by deep, festering, malodorous wounds, covered with filth, assaulted by flies. He leaned on two sticks in order to get near me -he wasn't walking; he was dragging himself". The agent appeared on the scene and tried to kill "that animal of mon pere", but the inspector even physically prevented him. He took Isidore to his own settlement, hoping to help him heal. But Isidore felt death in his bones. He told someone who had pity on him: "if you see my mother, or if you go to the judge, or if you meet the priest, tell them that I am dying because I am a Christian". Two missionaries spent several days with him. He devoutly received the last sacraments. He told them the reason for his beating: "The white man did not like Christians.... He did not want me to wear the scapular.... He yelled at me when I said my prayers". The missionaries urged Isidore to forgive the agent; he assured them that he had already done so and that he nursed no hatred for him. This "animal of mon pere", this convert of two-and-a-half years proved that he knew what it meant to follow Jesus - even to the point of being flogged like him, even to the point of carrying the cross, even to the point of dying. The missionaries urged Isidore to pray for the agent. "Certainly I shall pray for him. When I am in heaven, I shall pray for him very much". His agony - more painful than the actual flogging - lasted six months. He died on either 8 or 15 august 1909, rosary in hand and the scapular of Our Lady of Mt Carmel around his neck.
[Isidore Bakanja was beatified 24 April 1994.]


SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER
Patriarch - AD 616 (January 23)

Patriarch of Alexandria (606-16), b. at Amathus in Cyprus about 550; d. there, 616. He was the son of one Epiphanius, governor of Cyprus, and was of noble descent; in early life he was married and had children, but they and his wife soon died, whereupon he entered the religious life.

On the death of the Patriarch Theodorus, the Alexandrians besought Emperor Phocas to appoint John his successor, which was accordingly done. In his youth John had had a vision of a beautiful maiden with a garland of olives on her head, who said that she was Compassion, the eldest daughter of the Great King. This had evidently made a deep impression on John's mind, and, now that he had the opportunity of exercising benevolence on a large scale, he soon became widely known all over the East for his munificent liberality towards the poor. One of the first steps he took was to make a list of several thousand needy persons, whom he took under his especial care. He always referred to the poor as his "lords and masters", because of their mighty influence at the Court of the Most High. He assisted people of every class who were in need. A shipwrecked merchant was thus helped three times, on the first two occasions apparently without doing him much good; the third time however, John fitted him out with a ship and a cargo of wheat, and by favourable winds he was taken as far as Britain, where, as there was a shortage of wheat, he obtained his own price. Another person, who was not really in need, applied for alms and was detected by the officers of the palace; but John merely said "Give unto him; he may be Our Lord in disguise." He visited the hospitals three times every week, and he freed a great many slaves. He was a reformer who attacked simony, and fought heresy by means of improvements in religious education. He also reorganized the system of weights and measures for the sake of the poor, and put a stop to corruption among the officials. He increased the number of churches in Alexandria from seven to seventy.

John is said to have devoted the entire revenues of his see to the alleviation of those in need. A rich man presented him with a magnificent bed covering; he accepted it for one night, but then sold it, and disposed of the money in alms. The rich man "bought in" the article, and again presented it to John, with the same result. This was repeated several times; but John drily remarked: "We will see who tires first." It was not John. Another instance of his piety was that he caused his own grave to be dug, but only partly so, and appointed a servant to come before him on all state occasions and say "My Lord, your tomb is unfinished; pray give orders for its completion, for you know not the hour when death may seize you." When the Persians sacked Jerusalem in 614, John sent large supplies of food, wine, and money to the fleeing Christians. But eventually the Persians occupied Alexandria, and John himself in his old age was forced to flee to his native country, where he died.

His body was brought to Constantinople, thence to Ofen by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary; thence in 1530 to Toll near Presburg, and finally in 1632 to Presburg cathedral. He was the original patron saint of the Hospitallers, and was commemorated by the Greeks on 12 Nov. His life, written by Leontius of Neapolis, in Cyprus, was translated into Latin by Anastasius the Librarian in the ninth century and was referred to at the Seventh General Council.


SAINT MARK
Evangelist & Martyr – c. AD 74 (April 25)

It is assumed in this article that the individual referred to in Acts as John Mark (xii, 12, 25; xv, 37), John (xiii, 5, 13), Mark (xv, 39), is identical with the Mark mentioned by St. Paul (Col., iv, 10; II Tim., iv, 11; Philem., 24) and by St. Peter (I Peter, v, 13). Their identity is not questioned by any ancient writer of note, while it is strongly suggested, on the one hand by the fact that Mark of the Pauline Epistles was the cousin (ho anepsios) of Barnabas (Col., iv, 10), to whom Mark of Acts seems to have been bound by some special tie (Acts, xv, 37, 39); on the other by the probability that the Mark, whom St. Peter calls his son (I Peter, v, 13), is no other than the son of Mary, the Apostle's old friend in Jerusalem (Acts, xxi, 12). To the Jewish name John was added the Roman pronomen Marcus, and by the latter he was commonly known to the readers of Acts (xv, 37, ton kaloumenon Markon) and of the Epistles. Mark's mother was a prominent member of the infant Church at Jerusalem; it was to her house that Peter turned on his release from prison; the house was approached by a porch (pulon), there was a slave girl (paidiske), probably the portress, to open the door, and the house was a meeting-place for the brethren, "many" of whom were praying there the night St. Peter arrived from prison (Acts, xii, 12-13).

When, on the occasion of the famine of A.D. 45-46, Barnabas and Saul had completed their ministration in Jerusalem, they took Mark with them on their return to Antioch (Acts, xii, 25). Not long after, when they started on St. Paul's first Apostolic journey, they had Mark with them as some sort of assistant (hupereten, Acts, xiii, 5); but the vagueness and variety of meaning of the Greek term makes it uncertain in what precise capacity he acted. Neither selected by the Holy Spirit, nor delegated by the Church of Antioch, as were Barnabas and Saul (Acts, xiii, 2-4), he was probably taken by the Apostles as one who could be of general help. The context of Acts, xiii, 5, suggests that he helped even in preaching the Word. When Paul and Barnabas resolved to push on from Perga into central Asia Minor, Mark, departed from them, if indeed he had not already done so at Paphos, and returned to Jerusalem (Acts, xiii, 13). What his reasons were for turning back, we cannot say with certainty; Acts, xv, 38, seems to suggest that he feared the toil. At any rate, the incident was not forgotten by St. Paul, who refused on account of it to take Mark with him on the second Apostolic journey. This refusal led to the separation of Paul and Barnabas, and the latter, taking Mark with him, sailed to Cyprus (Acts, xv, 37-40). At this point (A.D. 49-50) we lose sight of Mark in Acts, and we meet him no more in the New Testament, till he appears some ten years afterwards as the fellow-worker of St. Paul, and in the company of St. Peter, at Rome.

St. Paul, writing to the Colossians during his first Roman imprisonment (A.D. 59-61), says: "Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, saluteth you, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, touching whom you have received commandments; if he come unto you, receive him" (Col., iv, 10). At the time this was written, Mark was evidently in Rome, but had some intention of visiting Asia Minor. About the same time St. Paul sends greetings to Philemon from Mark, whom he names among his fellow-workers (sunergoi, Philem., 24). The Evangelist's intention of visiting Asia Minor was probably carried out, for St. Paul, writing shortly before his death to Timothy at Ephesus, bids him pick up Mark and bring him with him to Rome, adding "for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (II Tim., iv, 11). If Mark came to Rome at this time, he was probably there when St. Paul was martyred. Turning to I Peter, v, 13, we read: "The Church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you, and (so doth) Mark my son" (Markos, o huios aou). This letter was addressed to various Churches of Asia Minor (I Peter, i, 1), and we may conclude that Mark was known to them. Hence, though he had refused to penetrate into Asia Minor with Paul and Barnabas, St. Paul makes it probable, and St. Peter certain, that he went afterwards, and the fact that St. Peter sends Mark's greeting to a number of Churches implies that he must have been widely known there. In calling Mark his "son", Peter may possibly imply that he had baptized him, though in that case teknon might be expected rather than huios (cf. I Cor., iv, 17; I Tim., i, 2, 18; II Tim., i, 2; ii, 1; Tit., i, 4; Philem., 10). The term need not be taken to imply more than affectionate regard for a younger man, who had long ago sat at Peter's feet in Jerusalem, and whose mother had been the Apostle's friend (Acts, xii, 12). As to the Babylon from which Peter writers, and in which Mark is present with him, there can be no reasonable doubt that it is Rome. The view of St. Jerome: "St. Peter also mentions this Mark in his First Epistle, while referring figuratively to Rome under the title of Babylon" (De vir. Illustr., viii), is supported by all the early Father who refer to the subject. It may be said to have been questioned for the first time by Erasmus, whom a number of Protestant writers then followed, that they might the more readily deny the Roman connection of St. Peter. Thus, we find Mark in Rome with St. Peter at a time when he was widely known to the Churches of Asia Minor. If we suppose him, as we may, to have gone to Asia Minor after the date of the Epistle to the Colossians, remained there for some time, and returned to Rome before I Peter was written, the Petrine and Pauline references to the Evangelist are quite intelligible and consistent.

When we turn to tradition, Papias (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", III, xxxix) asserts not later than A.D. 130, on the authority of an "elder", that Mark had been the interpreter (hermeneutes) of Peter, and wrote down accurately, though not in order, the teaching of Peter... A widespread, if somewhat late, tradition represents St. Mark as the founder of the Church of Alexandria. Though strangely enough Clement and Origen make no reference to the saint's connection with their city, it is attested by Eusebius (op. cit., II, xvi, xxiv), by St. Jerome ("De Vir. Illust.", viii), by the Apostolic Constitutions (VII, xlvi), by Epiphanius ("H&aeligr;.", li, 6) and by many later authorities. The "Martyrologium Romanum" (25 April) records: "At Alexandria the anniversary of Blessed Mark the Evangelist . . . at Alexandria of St. Anianus Bishop, the disciple of Blessed Mark and his successor in the episcopate, who fell asleep in the Lord." The date at which Mark came to Alexandria is uncertain. The Chronicle of Eusebius assigns it to the first years of Claudius (A.D. 41-4), and later on states that St. Mark's first successor, Anianus, succeeded to the See of Alexandria in the eighth year of Nero (61-2). This would make Mark Bishop of Alexandria for a period of about twenty years. This is not impossible, if we might suppose in accordance with some early evidence that St. Peter came to Rome in A.D. 42, Mark perhaps accompanying him. But Acts raise considerable difficulties. On the assumption that the founder of the Church of Alexandria was identical with the companion of Paul and Barnabas, we find him at Jerusalem and Antioch about A.D. 46 (Acts xii, 25), in Salamis about 47 (Acts, xiii, 5), at Antioch again about 49 or 50 (Acts, xv, 37-9), and when he quitted Antioch, on the separation of Paul and Barnabas, it was not to Alexandria but to Cyprus that he turned (Acts, xv, 39). There is nothing indeed to prove absolutely that all this is inconsistent with his being Bishop of Alexandria at the time, but seeing that the chronology of the Apostolic age is admittedly uncertain, and that we have no earlier authority than Eusebius for the date of the foundation of the Alexandrian Church, we may perhaps conclude with more probability that it was founded somewhat later. There is abundance of time between A.D. 50 and 60, a period during which the New Testament is silent in regard to St. Mark, for his activity in Egypt.

In the preface to his Gospel in manuscripts of the Vulgate, Mark is represented as having been a Jewish priest: "Mark the Evangelist, who exercised the priestly office in Israel, a Levite by race". Early authorities, however, are silent upon the point, and it is perhaps only an inference from his relation to Barnabas the Levite (Acts, iv, 36). Papias (in Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", III, xxxix) says, on the authority of "the elder", that Mark neither heard the Lord nor followed Him (oute gar ekouse tou kurion oute parekoluthesen auto), and the same statement is made in the Dialogue of Adamantius (fourth century, Leipzig, 1901, p. 8), by Eusebius ("Demonst. Evang.", III, v), by St. Jerome ("In Matth."), by St. Augustine ("De Consens. Evang."), and is suggested by the Muratorian Fragment. Later tradition, however, makes Mark one of the seventy-two disciples, and St. Epiphanius ("Hær", li, 6) says he was one of those who withdrew from Christ (John, vi, 67). The later tradition can have no weight against the earlier evidence, but the statement that Mark neither heard the Lord nor followed Him need not be pressed too strictly, nor force us to believe that he never saw Christ. Many indeed are of opinion that the young man who fled naked from Gethsemane (Mark, xiv, 51) was Mark himself. Early in the third century Hippolytus ("Philosophumena", VII, xxx) refers to Mark as ho kolobodaktulos, i.e. "stump-fingered" or "mutilated in the finger(s)", and later authorities allude to the same defect. Various explanations of the epithet have been suggested: that Mark, after he embraced Christianity, cut off his thumb to unfit himself for the Jewish priesthood; that his fingers were naturally stumpy; that some defect in his toes is alluded to; that the epithet is to be regarded as metaphorical, and means "deserted" (cf. Acts, xiii, 13).

The date of Mark's death is uncertain. St. Jerome ("De Vir. Illustr.", viii) assigns it to the eighth year of Nero (62-63) (Mortuus est octavo Neronis anno et sepultus Alexandriæ), but this is probably only an inference from the statement of Eusebius ("Hist. eccl.", II, xxiv), that in that year Anianus succeeded St. Mark in the See of Alexandria. Certainly, if St. Mark was alive when II Timothy was written (II Tim., iv, 11), he cannot have died in 61-62. Nor does Eusebius say he did; the historian may merely mean that St. Mark then resigned his see, and left Alexandria to join Peter and Paul at Rome. As to the manner of his death, the "Acts" of Mark give the saint the glory of martyrdom, and say that he died while being dragged through the streets of Alexandria; so too the Paschal Chronicle. But we have no evidence earlier than the fourth century that the saint was martyred. This earlier silence, however, is not at all decisive against the truth of the later traditions. For the saint's alleged connection with Aquileia, see "Acta SS.", XI, pp. 346-7, and for the removal of his body from Alexandria to Venice and his cultus there, ibid., pp. 352-8. In Christian literature and art St. Mark is symbolically represented by a lion. The Latin and Greek Churches celebrate his feast on 25 April, but the Greek Church keeps also the feast of John Mark on 27 September.


SAINT MARY OF EGYPT
Hermitess - AD 421 (April 2)

Born probably about 344; died about 421. At the early age of twelve Mary left her home and came to Alexandria, where for upwards of seventeen years she led a life of public prostitution. At the end of that time, on the occasion of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, she embarked for Palestine, not however with the intention of making the pilgrimage, but in the hope that life on board ship would afford her new and abundant opportunities of gratifying an insatiable lust. Arrived in Jerusalem she persisted in her shameless life, and on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross joined the crowds towards the church where the sacred relic was venerated, hoping to meet in the gathering some new victims whom she might allure into sin. And now came the turning-point in her career. When she reached the church door, she suddenly felt herself repelled by some secret force, and having vainly attempted three or four times to enter, she retired to a corner of the churchyard, and was struck with remorse for her wicked life, which she recognized as the cause of her exclusion from the church. Bursting into bitter tears and beating her breast, she began to bewail her sins. Just then her eyes fell upon a statue of the Blessed Virgin above the spot where she was standing, and in deep faith and humility of heart she besought Our Lady for help, and permission to enter the church and venerate the sacred wood on which Jesus had suffered, promising that if her request were granted, she would then renounce forever the world and its ways, and forthwith depart whithersoever Our Lady might lead her. Encouraged by prayer and counting on the mercy of the Mother of God, she once more approached the door of the church, and this time succeeded in entering without the slightest difficulty. Having adored the Holy Cross and kissed the pavement of the church, she returned to Our Lady's statue, and while praying there for guidance as to her future course, she seemed to hear a voice from afar telling her that if she crossed the Jordan, she would find rest. That same evening Mary reached the Jordan and received Holy Communion in a church dedicated to the Baptist, and the day following crossed the river and wandered eastward into the desert that stretches towards Arabia.

Here she had lived absolutely alone for forty-seven years, subsisting apparently on herbs, when a priest and monk, named Zosimus, who after the custom of his brethren had come out from his monastery to spend Lent in the desert, met her and learned from her own lips the strange and romantic story of her life. As soon as they met, she called Zosimus by his name and recognized him as a priest. After they had conversed and prayed together, she begged Zosimus to promise to meet her at the Jordan on Holy Thursday evening of the following year and bring with him the Blessed Sacrament. When the appointed evening arrived, Zosimus, we are told, put into a small chalice a portion of the undefiled Body and the precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (P. L. LXXIII, 686; "Mittens in modico calice intemerati corporis portionem et pretioso sanguinis D.N.J.C." But the reference to both species is less clear in Acta SS., IX, 82: "Accipiens parvum poculum intemerati corporis ac venerandi sanguinis Christi Dei nostri"), and came to the spot that had been indicated. After some time Mary appeared on the eastern bank of the river, and having made the sign of the cross, walked upon the waters to the western side. Having received Holy Communion, she raised her hands towards heaven, and cried aloud in the words of Simeon: "Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace, because my eyes have seen thy salvation". She then charged Zosimus to come in the course of a year to the spot where he had first met her in the desert, adding that he would find her then in what condition God might ordain. He came, but only to find the poor saint's corpse, and written beside it on the ground a request that he should bury her, and a statement that she had died a year before, on the very night on which he had given her Holy Communion, far away by the Jordan's banks. Aided, we are told, by a lion, he prepared her grave and buried her, and having commended himself and the Church to her prayers, he returned to his monastery, where now for the first time he recounted the wondrous story of her life.

The saint's life was written not very long after her death by one who states that he learned the details from the monks of the monastery to which Zosimus had belonged. Many authorities mention St. Sophronius, who became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 635, as the author; but as the Bollandists give good reasons for believing that the Life was written before 500, we may conclude that it is from some other hand. The date of the saint is somewhat uncertain. The Bollandists place her death on 1 April, 421, while many other authorities put it a century later. The Greek Church celebrates her feast on 1 April, while the Roman Martyrology assigns it to 2 April, and the Roman Calendar to 3 April. The Greek date is more likely to be correct; the others may be due to the fact that on those days portions of her relics reached the West. Relics of the saint are venerated at Rome, Naples, Cremona, Antwerp, and some other places.


SAINT MONICA
Widow - AD 387 (August 27)

Widow; born of Christian parents at Tagaste, North Africa, in 333; died at Ostia, near Rome, in 387.

We are told but little of her childhood. She was married early in life to Patritius who held an official position in Tagaste. He was a pagan, though like so many at that period, his religion was no more than a name; his temper was violent and he appears to have been of dissolute habits. Consequently Monica's married life was far from being a happy one, more especially as Patritius's mother seems to have been of a like disposition with himself. There was of course a gulf between husband and wife; her almsdeeds and her habits of prayer annoyed him, but it is said that he always held her in a sort of reverence. Monica was not the only matron of Tagaste whose married life was unhappy, but, by her sweetness and patience, she was able to exercise a veritable apostolate amongst the wives and mothers of her native town; they knew that she suffered as they did, and her words and example had a proportionate effect.

Three children were born of this marriage, Augustine the eldest, Navigius the second, and a daughter, Perpetua. Monica had been unable to secure baptism for her children, and her grief was great when Augustine fell ill; in her distress she besought Patritius to allow him to be baptized; he agreed, but on the boy's recovery withdrew his consent. All Monica's anxiety now centred in Augustine; he was wayward and, as he himself tells us, lazy. He was sent to Madaura to school and Monica seems to have literally wrestled with God for the soul of her son. A great consolation was vouchsafed her — in compensation perhaps for all that she was to experience through Augustine — Patritius became a Christian. Meanwhile, Augustine had been sent to Carthage, to prosecute his studies, and here he fell into grievous sin. Patritius died very shortly after his reception into the Church and Monica resolved not to marry again. At Carthage Augustine had become a Manichean and when on his return home he ventilated certain heretical propositions she drove him away from her table, but a strange vision which she had urged her to recall him. It was at this time that she went to see a certain holy bishop, whose name is not given, but who consoled her with the now famous words, "the child of those tears shall never perish." There is no more pathetic story in the annals of the Saints than that of Monica pursuing her wayward son to Rome, wither he had gone by stealth; when she arrived he had already gone to Milan, but she followed him. Here she found St. Ambrose and through him she ultimately had the joy of seeing Augustine yield, after seventeen years of resistance. Mother and son spent six months of true peace at Cassiacum, after which time Augustine was baptized in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan. Africa claimed them however, and they set out on their journey, stopping at Cività Vecchia and at Ostia. Here death overtook Monica and the finest pages of his "Confessions" were penned as the result of the emotion Augustine then experienced.

St. Monica was buried at Ostia, and at first seems to have been almost forgotten, though her body was removed during the sixth century to a hidden crypt in the church of St. Aureus. About the thirteenth century, however, the cult of St. Monica began to spread and a feast in her honour was kept on 4 May. In 1430 Martin V ordered the relics to be brought to Rome. Many miracles occurred on the way, and the cultus of St. Monica was definitely established. Later the Archbishop of Rouen, Cardinal d'Estouteville, built a church at Rome in honour of St. Augustine and deposited the relics of St. Monica in a chapel to the left of the high altar. The Office of St. Monica however does not seem to have found a place in the Roman Breviary before the sixteenth century.


ST. MOSES THE BLACK
Abbot - 407 (August 28)

Moses the Black, sometimes called the Ethiopian, was a slave of a government official in Egypt who dismissed him for theft and suspected murder. He became the leader of a gang of bandits who roamed the Nile Valley spreading terror and violence. He was a large, imposing figure. On one occasion, a barking dog prevented Moses from carrying out a robbery, so he swore vengeance on the owner. Weapons in his mouth, Moses swam the river toward the owner's hut. The owner, again alerted, hid, and the frustrated Moses took some of his sheep to slaughter. Attempting to hide from local authorities, he took shelter with some monks in a colony in the desert of Scete, near Alexandria. The dedication of their lives, as well as their peace and contentment, influenced Moses deeply. He soon gave up his old way of life and joined the monastic community at Scete.

He had a rather difficult time adjusting to regular monastic discipline. His flair for adventure remained with him. Attacked by a group of robbers in his desert cell, Moses fought back, overpowered the intruders, and dragged them to the chapel where the other monks were at prayer. He told the brothers that he didn't think it Christian to hurt the robbers and asked what he should do with them. The overwhelmed robbers repented, were converted, and themselves joined the community.

Moses was zealous in all he did, but became discouraged when he concluded he was not perfect enough. Early one morning, St. Isidore, abbot of the community, took Brother Moses to the roof and together they watched the first rays of dawn come over the horizon. Isidore told Moses, "Only slowly do the rays of the sun drive away the night and usher in a new day, and thus, only slowly does one become a perfect contemplative."

Moses proved to be effective as a prophetic spiritual leader. The abbot ordered the brothers to fast during a particular week. Some brothers came to Moses, and he prepared a meal for them. Neighboring monks reported to the abbot that Moses was breaking the fast. When they came to confront Moses, they changed their minds, saying "You did not keep a human commandment, but it was so that you might keep the divine commandment of hospitality." Some see in this account one of the earliest allusions to the Paschal fast, which developed at this time.

When a brother committed a fault and Moses was invited to a meeting to discuss an appropriate penance, Moses refused to attend. When he was again called to the meeting, Moses took a leaking jug filled with water and carried it on his shoulder. Another version of the story has him carrying a basket filled with sand. When he arrived at the meeting place, the others asked why he was carrying the jug. He replied, "My sins run out behind me and I do not see them, but today I am coming to judge the errors of another." On hearing this, the assembled brothers forgave the erring monk.

Moses became the spiritual leader of a colony of hermits in the desert. At some time, he had been ordained priest. At about age 75, about the year 407, word came that a group of renegades planned to attack the colony. The brothers wanted to defend themselves, but Moses forbade it. He told them to retreat, rather than take up weapons. He and seven others remained behind and greeted the invaders with open arms, but all eight were martyred by the bandits. A modern interpretation honors St. Moses the Black as an apostle of non-violence.

The lives of St. Moses the Black and St. Norbert, contain some interesting parallels. Both lived rather dissolute lives in their younger years. Both had conversion experiences in which they heard and heeded the call of God. Both were leaders in their respective religious communities. Both are known as men of peace, having spent much of their ministry calling people to reconciliation and forgiveness by word and example.


SAINTS PERPETUA, FELICITAS, AND COMPANIONS
Martyrs - AD 203 (March 7)

The record of the Passion of St. Perpetua, St. Felicitas, and their Companions is one of the great treasures of martyr literature, an authentic document preserved for us in the actual words of the martyrs and their friends. It was in the great African city of Carthage, in the year 203, during the persecutions ordered by the Emperor Severus,[1] that five catechumens[2] were arrested for their faith. The group consisted of a slave Revocatus, his fellow slave Felicitas, who was expecting the birth of a child, two free men, Saturninus and Secundulus, and a matron of twenty-two, Vivia Perpetua, wife of a man in good position and mother of a small infant. Perpetua's father was a pagan, her mother and two brothers Christians, one of the brothers being a catechumen. These five prisoners were soon joined by one Saturus, who seems to have been their instructor in the faith and who now chose to share their punishment. At first they were all kept under strong guard in a private house. Perpetua wrote a vivid account of what happened. 

"While I was still with my companions, and my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and so weaken my faith, 'Father,' said I, 'do you see this vessel-water pot or whatever it may be? . . . Can it be called by any other name than what it is?' ' No,' he replied. 'So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I ama Christian.' Then my father, provoked by the word 'Christian,' threw himself on me as if he would pluck out my eyes, but he only shook me, and in fact was vanquished.... Then I thanked God for the relief of being, for a few days, parted from my father . . . and during those few days we were baptized. The Holy Spirit bade me after the holy rite to pray for nothing but bodily endurance. 

"A few days later we were lodged in the prison, and I was much frightened, because I had never known such darkness. What a day of horror! Terrible heat, owing to the crowds! Rough treatment by the soldiers! To crown all I was tormented with anxiety for my baby. But Tertius and Pomponius, those blessed deacons who ministered to us, paid for us to be moved for a few hours to a better part of the prison and we obtained some relief. All went out of the prison and we were left to ourselves. My baby was brought and I nursed him, for already he was faint for want of food. I spoke anxiously to my mother on his behalf and encouraged my brother and commended my son to their care. For I was concerned when I saw their concern for me. For many days I suffered such anxieties, but I obtained leave for my child to remain in the prison with me, and when relieved of my trouble and distress for him, I quickly recovered my health. My prison suddenly became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else. 

"My brother then said to me: 'Lady sister, you are now greatly honored, so greatly that you may well pray for a vision to show you whether suffering or release is in store for you.' And I, knowing myself to have speech of the Lord for whose sake I was suffering, promised him confidently, 'Tomorrow I will bring you word.' And I prayed and this was shown me. I saw a golden ladder of wonderful length reaching up to heaven, but so narrow that only one at a time could ascend; and to the sides of the ladder were fastened all kinds of iron weapons. There were swords, lances, hooks, daggers, so that if anyone climbed up carelessly or without looking upwards, he was mangled and his flesh caught on the weapons. And at the foot of the ladder was a huge dragon which lay in wait for those going up and sought to frighten them from the ascent. The first to go up was Saturus, who of his own accord had given himself up for our sakes, because our faith was of his building and he was not with us when we were arrested. He reached the top of the ladder and, turning, said to me: 'Perpetua, I wait for you, but take care that the dragon does not bite you.' And I said: 'In the name of Jesus Christ, he will not hurt me.' And the dragon put out his head gently, as if afraid of me, just at the foot of the ladder; and as though I were treading on the first step, I trod on his head. And I went up and saw a vast garden, and sitting in the midst a tall man with white hair in the dress of a shepherd, milking sheep; and round about were many thousands clad in white. He raised his head and looked at me and said: 'Thou art well come, my child.' And he called me and gave me some curds of the milk he was milking, and I received them in my joined hands and ate, and all that were round about said 'Amen.' At the sound of the word I awoke, still tasting something sweet. I at once told my brother and we understood that we must suffer, and henceforth began to have no hope in this world. 

"After a few days there was a report that we were to be examined. My father arrived from the city, worn with anxiety, and came up the hill hoping still to weaken my resolution. 'Daughter,' he said, 'pity my white hairs! Pity your father, if I deserve you should call me father, if I have brought you up to this your prime of life, if I have loved you more than your brothers! Make me not a reproach to mankind! Look on your mother and your mother's sister, look on your son who cannot live after you are gone. Forget your pride; do not make us all wretched! None of us will ever speak freely again if calamity strikes you.' So spoke my father in his love for me, kissing my hands and casting himself at my feet, and with tears calling me by the title not of 'daughter' but of 'lady.' And I grieved for my father's sake, because he alone of all my kindred would not have joy at my martyrdom. And I tried to comfort him, saying, 'What takes place on that platform will be as God shall choose, for assuredly we are not in our own power but in the power of God.' But he departed full of grief. 

"The following day, while we were at our dinner, we were suddenly summoned to be examined and went to the forum. The news of the trial spread fast and brought a huge crowd together in the forum. We were placed on a sort of platform before the judge, who was Hilarion, procurator of the province, since the proconsul had lately died. The others were questioned before me and confessed their faith. But when it came to my turn, my father appeared with my child, and drawing me down the steps besought me, 'Have pity on the child.' The judge Hilarion joined with my father and said: 'Spare your father's white hairs. Spare the tender years of your child. Offer sacrifice for the prosperity of the emperors.' I replied, 'No." Are you a Christian?' asked Hilarion, and I answered, 'Yes, I am.' My father then attempted to drag me down from the platform, at which Hilarion commanded that he should be beaten off, and he was struck with a rod. I felt this as much as if I myself had been struck, so deeply did I grieve to see my father treated thus in his old age. The judge then passed sentence on us all and condemned us to the wild beasts, and in great joy we returned to our prison. Then, as my baby was accustomed to the breast, I sent Pomponius the deacon to ask him of my father, who, however, refused to send him. And God so ordered it that the child no longer needed to nurse, nor did my milk incommode me.

" Secundulus seems to have died in prison before the examination. Before pronouncing sentence, Hilarion had Saturus, Saturninus, and Revocatus scourged and Perpetua and Felicitas beaten on the face. They were then kept for the gladiatorial shows which were to be given for the soldiers on the festival of Geta, the young prince whom his father Severus had made Caesar four years previously. 

While in prison both Perpetua and Saturus had visions which they described in writing in great detail. 

The remainder of the story was added by another hand, apparently that of an eyewitness. Felicitas had feared that she might not be allowed to suffer with the rest because pregnant women were not sent into the arena. However, she gave birth in the prison to a daughter whom one of their fellow Christians at once adopted. Pudens, their jailer, was by this time a convert, and did all he could for them. The day before the games they were given the usual last meal, which was called "the free banquet." The martyrs strove to make it an Agape or Love Feast,[3] and to those who crowded around them they spoke of the judgments of God and of their own joy in their sufferings. Such calm courage and confidence astonished the pagans and brought about many conversions. 

On the day of their martyrdom they set forth from the prison. Behind the men walked the young noblewoman Perpetua, "abashing the gaze of all with the high spirit in her eyes," and beside her the slave Felicitas. At the gates of the amphitheater the attendants tried to force the men to put on the robes of the priests of Saturn and the women the dress symbolic of the goddess Ceres, but they all resisted and the officer allowed them to enter the arena clad as they were. Perpetua was singing, while Revocatus, Saturninus, and Saturus were calling out warnings to the bystanders and even to Hilarion himself, as they walked beneath his balcony, of the coming vengeance of God. The mob cried out that they should be scourged for their boldness. Accordingly, as the martyrs passed in front of the venatores, or hunters, each received a lash. 

To each one God granted the form of martyrdom he desired. Saturus had hoped to be exposed to several sorts of beasts, that his sufferings might be intensified. He and Revocatus were first attacked half-heartedly by a leopard. Saturus was next exposed to a wild boar which turned on his keeper instead. He was then tied up on the bridge in front of a bear, but the animal refused to stir out of his den, and Saturus was reserved for one more encounter. The delay gave him an opportunity to turn and speak to the converted jailer Pudens: "You see that what I desired and foretold has come to pass. Not a beast has touched me! So believe steadfastly in Christ. And see now, I go forth yonder and with one bite from a leopard all will be over." As he had foretold, a leopard was now let out, sprang upon him, and in a moment he was fatally wounded. Seeing the flow of blood, the cruel mob cried out, "He is well baptized now!" Dying, Saturus said to Pudens, "Farewell; remember my faith and me, and let these things not daunt but strengthen you." He then asked for a ring from Pudens' finger, and dipping it in his own blood, returned it to the jailer as a keepsake. Then he expired. 

Perpetua and Felicitas were exposed to a mad heifer. Perpetua was tossed first and fell on her back, but raised herself and gathered her torn tunic modestly about her; then, after fastening up her hair, lest she look as if she were in mourning, she rose and went to help Felicitas, who had been badly hurt by the animal. Side by side they stood, expecting another assault, but the sated audience cried out that it was enough. They were therefore led to the gate Sanevivaria, where victims who had not been killed in the arena were dispatched by gladiators. Here Perpetua seemed to arouse herself from an ecstasy and could not believe that she had already been exposed to a mad heifer until she saw the marks of her injuries. She then called out to her brother and to the catechumen: "Stand fast in the faith, and love one another. Do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you." By this time the fickle populace was clamoring for the women to come back into the open. This they did willingly, and after giving each other the kiss of peace, they were killed by the gladiators. Perpetua had to guide the sword of the nervous executioner to her throat. The story of these martyrs has been given in detail for it is typical of so many others. No saints were more universally honored in all the early Church calendars and martyrologies. Their names appear not only in the Philocalian Calendar[4] of Rome, but also in the Syriac Calendar. The names of Felicitas and Perpetua occur in the prayer "Nobis quoque peccatoribus" in the Canon of the Mass. In the fourth century their Acts were publicly read in the churches of Africa and were so highly esteemed that Augustine, bishop of Hippo, found it necessary to protest against their being placed on a level with the Scriptures.

1. Severus was a Roman general whose bold military exploits led him to be proclaimed emperor by the army after the death of the licentious Commodus, son of Marcus Aurelius.

2. A catechumen is the term for a person under instruction preparatory to being received into the Church but as yet not baptized.

3. Agape is the Greek word for brotherly love. It was used to denote one type of early Christian assembly, which included the eating of food together, as well as prayer, singing of psalms, and often the celebration of the Eucharist.

4. The Philocalian Calendar, compiled by one Philocalus in the year 354, was the earliest known list of the feasts of martyrs observed by the Roman Church; the Syriac Calendar was drawn up at Antioch towards the end of the fourth century.


SAINT VICTOR I
Pope - AD 198

(189-198 or 199), date of birth unknown. The "Liber Pontificalis" makes him a native of Africa and gives his father the name of Felix. This authority, taking the "Liberian Catalogue" as its basis, gives the years 186-197 as the period of Victor's episcopate. The Armenian text of the "Chronicle" of Eusebius (Leipzig, 1911, p. 223) places the beginning of Victor's pontificate in the seventh year of the reign of the Emperor Commodus (180-87) and gives it a duration of twelve years; in his "Church History" (V, xxxii, ed. Schwarts, Leipzig, 1902, p. 486) Eusebius transfers the beginning of the pontificate to the tenth year of the reign of Commodus and makes it last ten years. During the closing years of the reign of Commodus (180-192) and the early years of Septimius Severus (from 193) the Roman Church enjoyed in general great external peace. The favourable opinion of the Christians held by Commodus is ascribed to the influence of a woman named Marcia. According to the testimony of Hippolytus ("Philosophumena", IX, 12) she had been brought up by the presbyter Hyacinthus, was very favourably inclined towards the Christians, perhaps even a Christian herself (Hippolytus, loc. cit., calls her philotheos God-loving). One day she summoned Pope Victor to the imperial palace and asked for a list of the Roman Christians who had been condemned to forced labour in the mines of Sardinia, so that she might obtain their freedom. The pope handed her the list and Marcia, having received from the emperor the required pardon, sent the presbyter Hyacinthus to Sardinia with an order of release for the Christian confessors. Callistus, afterwards pope, who had been among those deported, did not return to Rome, but remained at Antium, where he received a monthly pension from the Roman Christians. Irenaeus ("Adv. Haerses", IV, xxx, 1) points out that Christians were employed at this period as officials of the imperial Court. Among these officials was the imperial freedman Prosenes, whose gravestone and epitaph have been preserved (De Rossi, "Inscriptiones christ. urbis Romae", I, 9, no. 5). Septimius Severus, also, during the early years of his reign, regarded the Christians kindly, so that the influence of Christian officials continued. The emperor retained in his palace a Christian named Proculus who had once cured him. He protected Christian men and women of rank against the excesses of the heathen rabble, and his son Caracalla had a Christian wet nurse (Tertullian, "Ad Scapulam", IV). Christianity made great advances in the capital and also found adherents among the families who were distinguished for wealth and noble descent (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", V, xxi).

Internal dissensions during this era affected the Church at Rome. The dispute over the celebration of Easter . . .  grew more acute. The Christians at Rome, who had come from the province of Asia, were accustomed to observe Easter on the 14th day of Nisan, whatever day of the week that date might happen to fall on, just as they had done at home. This difference inevitably led to trouble when it appeared in the Christian community of Rome. Pope Victor decided, therefore, to bring about unity in the observance of the Easter festival and to persuade the Quartodecimans to join in the general practice of the Church. He wrote, therefore, to Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus and induced the latter to call together the bishops of the province of Asia in order to discuss the matter with them. This was done; but in the letter sent by Polycrates to Pope Victor he declared that he firmly held to the Quartoceciman custom observed by so many celebrated and holy bishops of that region. Victor called a meeting of Italian bishops at Rome, which is the earliest Roman synod known. He also wrote to the leading bishops of the various districts, urging them to call together the bishops of their sections of the country and to take counsel with them on the question of the Easter festival. Letters came from all sides: from the synod in Palestine, at which Theophilus of Caesarea and Narcissus of Jerusalem presided; from the synod of Pontus over which Palmas as the oldest presided; from the communities in Gaul whose bishop of Irenaeus of Lyons; from the bishops of the Kingdom of Osrhoene; also from individual bishops, as Bakchylus of Corinth. These letters all unanimously reported that Easter was observed on Sunday.. Victor, who acted throughout the entire matter as the head of Catholic Christendom, now called upon the bishops of the province of Asia to abandon their custom and to accept the universally prevailing practice of always celebrating Easter on Sunday. In case they would not do this he declared they would be excluded from the fellowship of the Church.

This severe procedure did not please all the bishops. Irenaeus of Lyons and others wrote to Pope Victor; they blamed his severity, urged him to maintain peace and unity with the bishops of Asia, and to entertain affectionate feelings toward them. Irenaeus reminded him that his predecessors had indeed always maintained the Sunday observance of Easter, as was right, but had not broken off friendly relations and communion with bishops because they followed another custom (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", V, xxiii-xxv.) We have no information concerning the further course of the matter under Victor I so far as it regards the bishops of Asia. All that is known is that in the course of the third century the Roman practice in the observance of Easter became gradually universal. In Rome itself, where Pope Victor naturally enforced the observance of Easter on Sunday by all Christians in the capital, an Oriental named Blastus, with a few followers, opposed the pope and brought about a schism, which, however, did not grow in importance (Eusebius, loc. cit., B, xx). Pope Victor also had difficulties with a Roman priest named Florinus, who probably came from Asia Minor. As an official of the imperial court, Florinus had become acquainted in Asia Minor with St. Polycarp, and later was a presbyter of the Roman Church. He fell into the Gnostic heresy and defended the false learning of Valentine. St. Irenaeus wrote two treatises against him: "On the Monarchy [of God] and that God is not the Author of Evil", and "On the Ogdoad". Irenaeus also called Victor's attention to the dangerous writings of Florinus, who was probably degraded from his priestly functions by the pope and expelled from the Church (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", V, xv, 20).

During the pontificate of Victor a rich Christian, Theodotus the Leather-seller, came from Constantinople to Rome and taught false doctrines concerning Christ, Whom he declared to be merely a man endowed by the Holy Ghost, at baptism, with supernatural power. The pope condemned this heresy and excluded Theodotus from the Church. The latter, however, would not submit, but, together with his adherents, formed a schismatic party, which maintained itself for a time at Rome. Victor may also have come into contact with the Montanists. Tertullian reports ("Ad Praceam", 1) that a Roman bishop, whose name he does not give, had declared his acceptance of the prophecies of Montanus, but had been persuaded by Praxeas to withdraw. Duchesne ("Histoire ancienne de l'église", I, 278) and others think Tertullian means Pope Eleutherius, but many investigators consider it more probable that he meant Pope Victor, because the latter had had much to do with the inhabitants of Asia Minor, and because, between 190 and 200, Praceas had gone from Rome to Carthage, where he was opposed by Tertullian. The question cannot be decided positively


SAINT ZENO
Bishop & Confessor - AD 371 (April 12)

Entered in the Roman Martyrology on 12 April as a Bishop of Verona martyred under Gallienus. Probably, however, he was a confessor who governed the Church of Verona from 362-380. At Verona a basilica, San Zenone, is dedicated to his honour, and some thirty churches and chapels bear his name. In the basilica his statue, bearing the episcopal insignia, is prominent in the choir; coins with his likeness and an inscription were in use. On 21 May and 6 Dec. the translation of his body and his consecration were formerly commemorated. In "De viris illust." Of St. Jerome and Gennadius, Zeno is not mentioned, but St. Ambrose (Ep. v) speaks of him as an episcopus sanctae memoriae, and St. Gregory (Dial., III, 19) relates a miracle wrought at the Church of St. Zeno at Verona. Mabillon ("Vetera analecta", Paris, 1675) published an anonymous poem, "De landibus Veronae", taken from the writing of Ratherius, Bishop of Verona (d. 974), found in the abbey at Lobbes in Belgium (P.L., XI, 154, 225), which gives a list of the bishops of Verona and makes Zeno eighth. In the Monastery di Classe at Ravenna was found an eighth-century chasuble (casula diptycha) with the names and pictures of thirty-five bishops of Verona on its front and back; among them was that of Zeno. This list was accepted by Gams in his "Series episcoporum" (Bigelmair, p. 27). Zeno had not been known as a writer before 1508, when two Dominicans, Albertus Castellanus and Jacobus de Leuco, edited at Venice 105 tractatus or sermons found in the episcopal library of Verona fifty years earlier. In 1739 the brothers Ballerini published "S. Zenonis episcopi Veronae sermones", with an elaborate prolegomena. From these it appears that Zeno was a native of Africa, eighth Bishop of Verona (362-80), an able speaker, and an untiring champion of Christianity against the heathens and of orthodoxy against the Arians. Much controversy arose as to the time at which St. Zeno lives, whether two bishops of Verona of this name were to be admitted or but one, and on the authorship of the sermons. Various opinions were held by Sixtus of Siena, Baronius, Ughelli, Dupin, Tillemont, Fabricius, and others. Of the 105 sermons 12 have been rejected as belonging to other authors. Of the rest 16 are larger sermons, the others merely sketches or perhaps fragments. They contain valuable material on Catholic doctrine, practice, and liturgy; they treat of God, creation, the Blessed Virgin, Holy Scriptures, the Church, the sacraments, etc., and warn against the vices of the day.


Sources include the Catholic Encyclopedia, Butler's Lives of the Saints, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Church and L'Osservatore Romano.

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