Interim Saints - April 3rd
PANCRAS, bishop of Taormina, martyr (1st cent)
In all probability the main outline of the story of S. Pancras is true,
but we must certainly receive the details with caution. He is said to
have been sent by S. Peter into Sicily to preach the Gospel, and this
he did with considerable success . . . S. Pancras sealed his testimony
by his blood, for he was stoned to death.
AGAPE, CHIONIA, and IRENE, virgin martyrs (about A.D. 290)
Agape, Chionia and Irene were three sisters, virgins, young, beauticul
and God-fearing, who lived near Aquileia in the reign of Diocletian . .
. But Diocletian had the virgins apprehended, and brought before him,
and he bade them renounce their madness and adore idols . . .
Needless to say, they would not.
ULPIAN, martyr (A.D. 304)
Ulpian or Vulpian was a youth of Tyre, who as cast into the sea in a
leathern sack together with a dog and an asp, which were sown up in it
URBICIUS, bishop of Clermont (about A.D. 312)
S. Urbicius was a Senator, and was elected to be bishop of Clermont,
whereupon he separated from his wife and bade her live in a convent.
But after a while the woman yearned to be back with her husband, and
she came to him saying, "Why dost thou shut the door against me? Why
dost thou not receive me, thine own wife? Listen to the words of S.
Paul, 'Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a
time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and then come
together again.' I am thine own wife, and now I return to thee."
. . . Now a daughter was born to him after his reunion with his wife,
who entered into the religious estate, and all three lie buried
together, says S. Gregory, in the crypt of Cantobenum.
NICETAS, abbot and confessor (A.D. 824)
This saint was one of the many sufferers in the Iconoclastic
persecution carried on by Leo the Armenian, after the tranquillity
enjoyed during the reigns of the Empress Irene, Nicephorus, and Michael
JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER, confessor (A.D. 883)
A Sicilian by birth, Joseph of the Studium left his native country on
its occupation by the Mahometans in 830, and went to thessalonica,
where he embraced the monastic life . . . He is by far the most
prolific of hymn-writers.
Here is a specimen of Joseph's hymnography, translated by the
indefatigable J.M. Neale:
Stars of the morning, so gloriously bright,
Filled with celestial resplendence and light,
These that, where night never followeth day,
Raise the Trisagion ever and ay:
These are thy counsellors, these dost thou own,
Lord God of Sabaoth, nearest thy throne;
These are thy ministers, these dost thou send,
Help of the helpless ones! man to defend.
These keep the guard amid Salem's dear bowers;
Thrones, Principalities, Virtues and Powers;
Where, with the Living Ones, mystical Four,
Cherubim, Seraphim, bow and adore.
'Who like the Lord?' thunders Michael the Chief;
Raphael, 'the Cure of God,' comforteth grief;
And, as at Nazareth, prophet of peace,
Gabriel, 'the Light of God,' bringeth release.
Then, when the earth was first poised in mid space,
then, when the planets first sped on their race,
Then, when were ended the six days' employ,
Then all the Sons of God shouted for joy.
Still let them succour us; still let them fight,
Lord of angelic hosts, battling for right;
Till, where their anthems they ceaselessly pour,
We with the Angels may bow and adore.
RICHARD, bishop of Chichester (A.D. 1253)
S. Richard was the second son of Richard Backedine and Alice, his wife,
of Wyke, in the diocese of Worcester . . . After that, S. Richard went
to Oxford, and thence to continue his studies in Paris, and there he
lodged in the same room with two other poor scholars, and fed on bread
and porridge (potagium); and so poor were they that the three had only
one respectable coat between them, and could only go alternately to the
lectures in the coat, whilst the others sat at home without. thence he
returned to Oxford, that he might take his degree in his own land . . .
>From Oxford S. Richard went to the then celebrated university of
Bologna, where he remained seven years, and became so proficient in
canon law that the professor would have married him to his only
daughter . . .
To St Richard is ascribed the famous prayer (with what authenticity I
know not, others on the list will surely know):
"Thanks be to thee, O Lord Jesu Christ, for all the cruel pains thou
hast borne for me; for all the many blessings thou has won for me. O
holy Jesu, most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee
more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly.
BENEDICT THE BLACK, confessor (A.D. 1589)
S. Benedict the Blackamore was born in Sicily, about the year 1525, of
slave parents of negro race. His father's name was Christopher
Manasseri, and his mother's was Diana Lercan. They were both
Christians. They lived together in continence, as they could not
endure the prospect of children being born to them who would continue
in the same miserable slavery as themselves. However, their master
having promised to give freedom to their firstborn, heaven bestowed on
them a son, whom they called Benedict . . . At the age of twenty-one,
feeling a divine call, he sold his oxen, and entered the order of the
hermits of S. Francis . . . In 1578, he was appointed superior of the
convent of Santa Maria. As soon as his turn of tenure was expired, he
was made instructor of novices, and then again, cook. In February,
1589, S. Benedict fell ill, and lingered on till April 3rd, when he
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