Nov 22 – Cecilia of Rome

illumination-cecilia-of-rome

Cecilia of Rome
22 November c. 280
Martyr

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From Catholic Online

In the fourth century a Greek religious romance on the Loves of Cecilia and Valerian was written in glorification of virginal life with the purpose of taking the place of then-popular sensual romances.

Consequently, until better evidence is produced, we must conclude that St. Cecilia was not known or venerated in Rome until about the time when Pope Gelasius (496) introduced her name into his Sacramentary.

It is said that there was a church dedicated to St. Cecilia in Rome in the fifth century, in which Pope Symmachus held a council in 500.

The story of St. Cecilia is not without beauty or merit. She is said to have been quite close to God and prayed often:

In the city of Rome there was a virgin named Cecilia, who came from an extremely rich family and was given in marriage to a youth named Valerian. She wore sackcloth next to her skin, fasted, and invoked the saints, angels, and virgins, beseeching them to guard her virginity

During her wedding ceremony she was said to have sung in her heart to God and before the consummation of her nuptials, she told her husband she had taken a vow of virginity and had an angel protecting her. Valerian asked to see the angel as proof, and Cecilia told him he would have eyes to see once he traveled to the third milestone on the Via Appia (Appian Way) and was baptized by Pope Urbanus.

Following his baptism, Valerian returned to his wife and found an angel at her side. The angel then crowned Cecilia with a chaplet of rose and lily and when Valerian’s brother, Tibertius, heard of the angel and his brother’s baptism, he also was baptized and together the brothers dedicated their lives to burying the saints who were murdered each day by the prefect of the city, Turcius Almachius.

Both brothers were eventually arrested and brought before the prefect where they were executed after they refused to offer a sacrifice to the gods.

As her husband and brother-in-law buried the dead, St. Cecilia spent her time preaching and in her lifetime was able to convert over four hundred people, most of whom were baptized by Pope Urban.

Cecilia was later arrested and condemned to be suffocated in the baths. She was shut in for one night and one day, as fires were heaped up and stoked to a terrifying heat – but Cecilia did not even sweat.

When Almachius heard this, he sent an executioner to cut off her head in the baths.

The executioner struck her three times but was unable to decapitate her so he left her bleeding and she lived for three days. Crowds came to her and collected her blood while she preached to them or prayed. On the third day she died and was buried by Pope Urban and his deacons.

St. Cecilia is regarded as the patroness of music, because she heard heavenly music in her heart when she was married, and is represented in art with an organ or organ-pipes in her hand.

Officials exhumed her body in 1599 and found her to be incorrupt, the first of all incurrupt saints. She was draped in a silk veil and wore a gold embroidered dress. Officials only looked through the veil in an act of holy reverence and made no further examinations. They also reported a “mysterious and delightful flower-like odor which proceeded from the coffin.”

St. Cecilia’s remains were transferred to Cecilia’s titular church in Trastevere and placed under the high altar.

In 1599 Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati, nephew of Pope Gregory XIV, rebuilt the church of St. Cecilia.

Nov 21 – Byrd, Merbecke, Tallis

Byrd, Merbecke, Tallis

William Byrd, John Merbecke, & Thomas Tallis
Musicians + Christ Followers
21 Nov 1623, 1585, 1585

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Nov 10 – Leo the Great

Nov 10 - Leo the Great

Leo the Great
Bishop of Rome + Doctor of the Church
10 November 461

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Nov 8 – James Theodore Holly

Nov 8 - James Theodore Holly

James Theodore Holly
Bishop of Haiti & Dominican Republic
8 November 1911

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Sep 19 – Theodore of Tarsus

Illumination - Theodore of Tarsus

Theodore of Tarsus
Archbishop of Canterbury
19 September 690

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From the Satucket Lectionary

When the pagan Anglo-Saxons invaded England, they drove the native Celtic inhabitants north into Scotland and west into Ireland, Wales, and Cornwall. The Anglo-Saxons were subsequently converted to Christianity by Celtic missionaries from the north and west, and Roman and Gallic missionaries from the south and east. As a result, they ended up with two different “flavors” of Christianity. The difference was expressed mainly in the form of a disagreement about the proper method for calculating the date of Easter, a disagreement which we may suspect was a stand-in for other disagreements a little more difficult to articulate. In 663, a council was called to settle the dispute, the Synod of Whitby. It decided in favor of the Roman or continental way of doing things.

Soon after, the Archbishop of Canterbury died, and the English elected a successor, Wighard, and sent him to Rome to be consecrated by the Pope. Wighard died in Rome before he could be consecrated, and the Pope (Vitalian) took it upon himself to choose a man to fill the vacancy. He consecrated Theodore of Tarsus (the native city of the Apostle Paul), a learned monk (not a priest) from the East then living in Rome, 65 years old. This surprising choice turned out to be a very good one. Theodore was (as Bede put it in his Ecclesiastical History) “the first archbishop whom all the English obeyed.” Having made a tour of his charge, Theodore filled the vacant bishoprics and in 672 presided over the first council of the entire English Church, at Hertford. He established definite territorial boundaries for the various dioceses, and founded new dioceses where needed. He found the Church of England an unorganized missionary body, and left it a fully ordered province of the universal Church. The body of canon law drawn up under his supervision, and his structure of dioceses and parishes, survived the turmoil of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and are substantially intact today.

He founded a school at Canterbury that trained Christians from both the Celtic and the Roman traditions, and did much to unite the two groups. The school was headed by Adrian, an abbot born in Africa but later resident in Italy, who had been the Pope’s first choice for Archbishop, but who had refused and recommended Theodore instead. Adrian was learned in the Scriptures, a good administrator, and fluent in Latin and Greek. The school taught Bible, theology and sacred studies, Latin and Greek (Bede alleges that some of the students knew these languages as well as they knew English), poetry, astronomy, and calendar calculation (of some importance for political reasons, as stated above). Adrian died 9 January 710. Theodore died 19 September 690, being 88 years old.

by James Kiefer

Jul 31 – Ignatius of Loyola

Illumination - Ignatius Loyola

Ignatius of Loyola
Priest + Preacher + Educator + Mystic + Monastic + Founder of the Jesuit Order
31 July 1556

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