medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (31. January) is the feast day of:

Cyrus and John (d. c. 303)  Two physicians, a Greek and an Arabian.
The two were Christians and converted a lot of their patients to
Christianity.  The two encouraged a woman and her three daughters to
remain constant in their faith while they were being tortured---so
both C and J were seized and tortured, too; then all six were

Marcella (d. 410)  Marcella was a Roman matron, widowed after only 9
months of marriage.  She refused to re-marry and formed a group of
noble religious women.  She was tortured by Goths when they looted
Rome in 410, to get her to reveal where she had hidden her money
(which she had long ago given to the poor).  She survived the
experience, but died shortly afterwards of her injuries.

Aidan of Ferns (d. 626) Aidan (or Maedoc) was a native of Connaught
who became a monk in Wales and then returned to Ireland to build the
monastery of Ferns (Co. Wexford).  All the rest is legend.  A. is
shown in art with a stag; he is supposed to have saved a stag from
the hounds once by turning it invisible.

Adamnan of Coldingham (d. c. 680)  Adamnan was an Irishman who became
a monk at Coldingham (off the southeast coast of Scotland).  He was
famous for the gift of prophecy.  His cult won papal confirmation in

Ulphia (d. c. 750)  Ulphia was a recluse near Amiens.  She attracted
disciples, whom she organized into a community at Amiens and then
returned herself to the reclusive life.

Eusebius (d. 884)  A martyr to his own self-righteous indignation,
Eusebius was an Irish monk at St. Gall (Switzerland).  He became a
hermit and had his life ended for him while he was chewing out a
group of peasants for the godlessness of their lives---one of them
got him with a scythe.

Nicetas of Novgorod (d. 1107)  Nicetas was a native of Kiev who
became a monk, then a hermit, then a monk (!), then became bishop of
Novgorod in 1095.  He was a famous miracle worker.

A modern saint: John Bosco (d. 1888)  The son of poor Piedmontese
parents, John Bosco became a priest and soon started a ministry to
neglected boys that lasted the rest of his life.  JB and his mother
opened a refuge for poor boys and he encouraged other priests to do
the same.  The work expanded and in time JB founded the Society of
St. Francis de Sales (Salesians).  By the time of Bosco's death there
were 64 Salesian foundations and about 800 Salesian priests.  Bosco
also founded an order to care for neglected girls and a third order
to support orders #1 and 2.  JB was canonized in 1934.

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