Blessed Paolo Manna

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Fifth of six children. Educated at Avellino and Naples in Italy. Studied philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. Seminarian at the Theology Seminary of the Institute for Foreign Missions at Milan, Italy. Ordained on 19 May 1894 at Milan.

Missionary to Toungoo, Eastern Burma (modern Myanmar), setting sail on 27 September 1895. Worked in Burma until 1907 when his failing health forced his return to Italy. From there he spent the rest of his life encouraging clerical and lay missionaries through his writing, his work, his preaching. Director of Le Missioni Cattoliche in 1909. Started the publication of Propaganda Missionaria, a popular broadsheet newspaper, in 1914. Founded the Missionary Union of the Clergy in 1916, created with the idea of spreading missionary zeal throughout the faithful. Founded Italia Missionaria for young people in 1919. Founded Sacred Heart Seminary at Ducenta, Caserta, Italy in an effort to foster missionary vocations in southern Italy.

Superior General of the Institute of Foreign Missions of Milan in 1924 which in 1926 was joined by Pope Pius XI to the Missionary Seminary of Rome to create the Pontifical Institute for the Foreign Missions (P.I.M.E.). Worked from 1934 to 1936 for help found the Misssionary Sisters of the Immaculate, an offshoot of the P.I.M.I. Headed the International Secretariat for the Missionary Union of the Clergy from 1937 to 1941. Superior of the Italian Southern Province of P.I.M.E. in 1943. Publisher of the family missionary magazine Venga il tuo regno in 1943. Wrote in support of missionaries, developed techniques which have become standard today, and though he was tied to a desk in southern Italy, he worked as a missionary throughout his life.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

Canonized

  • if you have information relevant to this Cause, contact
       Seminario S. Cuore
       P.za Paolo Manna, 69
       81038 Trentola Ducenta (CE), ITALY
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Readings

All the Church for all the World! - Blessed Paolo

We missionaries often wonder why the work of the conversion of the non-Christian world goes so slowly. We usually give various reasons to explain this painful fact, and in truth the problem may be considered from many angles, some of which do not concern our responsibility. But for the part that does concern us, and it is the main part, the problem has a very clear solution. To save the world, God in his infinite wisdom wanted to have co-workers. God does his part well: do the people called to help him do their part equally well? Let us work in such a way that the whole Church, all Christian people, led by their bishops and clergy, truly feel the apostolic duty that is incumbent upon them to promote the propagation of the faith with every means. Let us work in such a way that that missionaries, the most direct instruments for the conversion of souls, are saints, and non-Christians will not be slow to be converted. The missionary problem has been, and still is almost ignored by the Christian people. Those who were interested in the past were always a minority, and it is extremely painful to see today too, although some progress has been made, how the enormous question is far from being understood and faced fully by clergy and people. It is extremely painful, because Catholic peoples would have more than enough energies to promote the work of evangelization more worthily if priests taught, organised and above all inflamed them with a greater spirit of faith and zeal… Missionaries, also from the human viewpoint, have been excellent people…but neither brilliance nor prudence, nor courage have made them great in our eyes and the eyes of God. They have been great, they have saved many souls, they have founded Churches, mainly because they were holy men, that is, spiritual men. This is the secret, the soul of their zeal, their perseverance and their success; this is the solemn teaching they have handed down to us and which I love to remind you of, so that our missionaries of today and those of tomorrow may always build upon it the first and essential reason for their own sanctification and the sanctification of the souls that are, and will be entrusted to them. You, missionaries in active service in the field, are particularly concerned with your part of cooperation. Therefore I say to you: be holy missionaries by following the footsteps of those great missionaries who went before you and, for the part that concerns you, your apostolic duty will have been done to the full. The souls the Lord in his merciful designs has entrusted to each one of you that you may lead them to salvation, will be saved and at the end of your days you will be able to say with the Divine Redeemer: “(Father) I kept those you had given me true to you name. I have watched over them and not one is lost” (John 17:12).” - Blessed Paolo

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Paolo Manna“. Saints.SQPN.com. 12 September 2014. Web. 16 September 2014. <>

Catholic Encyclopedia – Feasts of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

[Our Lady of Sorrows]Article

There are two such days:

Friday before Palm Sunday, major double;

third Sunday in September double of the second class.

The object of these feasts is the spiritual martyrdom of the Mother of God and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son.

(1) The seven founders of the Servite Order, in 1239, five years after they established themselves on Monte Senario, took up the sorrows of Mary, standing under the Cross, as the principal devotion of their order. The corresponding feast, however, did not originate with them; its celebration was enacted by a provincial synod of Cologne (1413) to expiate the crimes of the iconoclast Hussites; it was to be kept on the Friday after the third Sunday after Easter under the title: “Commemoratio augustix et doloris B. Marix V.”. Its object was exclusively the sorrow of Mary during the Crucifixion and Death of Christ. Before the sixteenth century this feast was limited to the dioceses of North Germany, Scandinavia, and Scotland. Being termed “Compassio” or “Transfixio”, “Commendatio, Lamentatio B.M.V.”, it was kept at a great variety of dates, mostly during Eastertide or shortly after Pentacost, or on some fixed day of a month (18 July, Merseburg; 19 July, Halberstadt, Lxbeck, Meissen; 20 July, Naumberg; cf. Grotefend, “Zeitrechnung”, II, 2, 166). Dreves and Blume (Analecta hymnica) have published a large number of rhythmical offices, sequences and hymns for the feast of the Compassion, which show that from the end of the fifteenth century in several dioceses the scope of this feast was widened to commemorate either five dolours, from the imprisonment to the burial of Christ, or seven dolours, extending over the entire life of Mary (cf. XXIV, 122-53; VIII, 51 sq.; X, 79 sq., etc.). Towards the end of the end of the sixteenth century the feast spread over part of the south of Europe; in 1506 it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation under the title “Spasmi B.M.V.”, Monday after Passion Sunday; in 1600 to the Servite nuns of Valencia, “B.M.V. sub pede Crucis”, Friday before Palm Sunday. After 1600 it became popular in France and was termed “Dominx N. de Pietate”, Friday before Palm Sunday. To this latter date the feast was assigned for the whole German Empire (1674). By a Decree of 22 April 1727, Benedict XIII extended it to the entire Latin Church, under the title “Septem dolorum B.M.V.”, although the Office and Mass retain the original character of the feast, the Compassion of Mary at the foot of the Cross. At both Mass and Office the “Stabat Mater” of Giacopone da Todi (1306) is sung.

(2) The second feast was granted to the Servites, 9 June and 15 September, 1668, double with an octave for the third Sunday in September. Its object of the seven dolours of Mary (according to the responsories of Matins: the sorrow

at the prophecy of Simeon;
at the flight into Egypt;
having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem;
meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary;
standing at the foot of the Cross;
Jesus being taken from the Cross;
at the burial of Christ.

This feast was extended to Spain (1735); to Tuscany (double of the second class with an octave, 1807). After his return from his exile in France Pius VII extended the feast to the Latin Church (18 September, 1814), major double); it was raised to the rank of a double of the second class, 13 May, 1908. The Servites celebrate it as a double of the first class with an octave and a vigil. Also in the Passionate Order, at Florence and Granada (N.S. de las Angustias), its rank is double of the first class with an octave. The hymns which are now used in the Office of this feast were probably composed by the Servite Callisto Palumbella (eighteenth century). On the devotion, cf. Kellner, “Heortology”, p. 271. The old title of the “Compassio” is preserved by the Diocese of Hildesheim in a simple feast, Saturday after the octave of Corpus Christi. A feast, “B.M.V. de pietate”, with a beautiful medieval office, is kept in honour of the sorrowful mother at Goa in India and Braga in Portugal, on the third Sunday of October; in the ecclesiastical province of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, last Sunday of May, etc. (cf. the corresponding calendars). A special form of devotion is practised in Spanish-speaking countries under the term of “N.S. de la Soledad”, to commemorate the solitude of Mary on Holy Saturday. Its origin goes back to Queen Juana, lamenting the early death of her husband Philip I, King of Spain (1506).

To the oriental churches these feasts are unknown; the Catholic Ruthenians keep a feast of the sorrowful Mother on Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.

MLA Citation

  • Frederick Holweck. “Feasts of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Saints.SQPN.com. 11 September 2014. Web. 16 September 2014. <>

Catholic Encyclopedia – Saint Nicomedes

Article

Martyr of unknown era, whose feast is observed 15 September. The Roman Martyrologium and the historical Martyrologies of Bede and his imitators place the feast on this date. The Gregorian Sacramentary contains under the same date the orations for his Mass. The name does not appear in the three oldest and most important manuscripts of the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum”, but was inserted in later recensions. The saint is without doubt a martyr of the Roman Church. He was buried in a catacomb on the Via Nomentana near the gate of that name. Three seventh century Itineraries make explicit reference to his grave, and Pope Adrian I restored the church built over it. A titular church of Rome, mentioned in the fifth century, was dedicated to him (titulus S. Nicomedis). Nothing is known of the circumstances of his death. The legend of the martyrdom of Saints Nereus and Achilleus introduces him as a presbyter and places his death at the end of the first century. Other recensions of the martyrdom of Saint Nicomedes ascribe the sentence of death to the Emperor Maximinianus (beginning of the fourth century).

MLA Citation

  • Johann Peter Kirsch. “Saint Nicomedes”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Saints.SQPN.com. 11 September 2014. Web. 16 September 2014. <>

Saint Stratone of Noviodunum

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Martyr.

Died

  • Noviodunum, Lower Moesia (near modern Isaccea, Romania

Canonized

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Stratone of Noviodunum“. Saints.SQPN.com. 11 September 2014. Web. 16 September 2014. <>

Catholic Encyclopedia – Aelia Flaccilla

Article

(Plakilla) Empress, wife of Theodosius the Great, died c. A.D. 385 or 386. Like Theodosius himself, his first wife, Ælia Flaccilla, was of Spanish descent. She may have been the daughter of Claudius Antonius, Prefect of Gaul, who was consul in 382. Her marriage with Theodosius probably took place in the year 376, when his father, the comes Theodosius, fell into disfavour and he himself withdrew to Cauca in Gallæcia, for her eldest son, afterwards Emperor Arcadius, was born towards the end of the following year. In the succeeding years she presented two more children to her husband Honorius (384), who later became emperor, and Pulcheria, who died in early childhood, shortly before her mother. Gregory of Nyssa states expressly that she had three children; consequently the Gratian mentioned by Saint Ambrose, together with Pulcheria, was probably not her son. Flaccilla was, like her husband, a zealous supporter of the Nicene Creed and prevented the conference between the emperor and the Arian Eunomius. On the throne she was a shining example of Christian virtue and ardent charity. Saint Ambrose describes her as “a soul true to God”. In his panegyric Saint Gregory of Nyssa bestowed the highest praise on her virtuous life and pictured her as the helpmate of the emperor in all good works, an ornament of the empire, a leader of justice, an image of beneficence. He praises her as filled with zeal for the Faith, as a pillar of the Church, as a mother of the indigent. Theodoret in particular exalts her charity and benevolence (Church History V.19, ed. Valesius, III, 192 sq.). He tells us how she personally tended cripples, and quotes a saying of hers: “To distribute money belongs to the imperial dignity, but I offer up for the imperial dignity itself personal service to the Giver.” Her humility also attracts a special meed of praise from the church historian. Flaccilla was buried in Constantinople, Saint Gregory of Nyssa delivering her funeral oration. She is venerated in the Greek Church as a saint, and her feast is kept on 14 September. The Bollandists (Acta SS., Sept., IV, 142) are of the opinion that she is not regarded as a saint but only as venerable, but her name stands in the Greek Menæa and Synaxaria followed by words of eulogy, as is the case with the other saints (cf. e.g. Synaxarium eccl. Constantinopolitanæ, ed. Delehaye, Brussels, 1902, col. 46, under 14 Sept.).

MLA Citation

  • Johann Peter Kirsch. “Aelia Flaccilla”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Saints.SQPN.com. 11 September 2014. Web. 16 September 2014. <>

Catholic Encyclopedia – Saint Notburga

Article

Patroness of servants and peasants, born c.1265 at Rattenberg on the Inn; died c.16 September 1313. She was cook in the family of Count Henry of Rothenburg, and used to give food to the poor. But Ottilia, her mistress, ordered her to feed the swine with whatever food was left. She, therefore, saved some of her own food, especially on Fridays, and brought it to the poor. One day, according to legend, her master met her, and commanded her to show him what she was carrying. She obeyed, but instead of the food he saw only shavings, and the wine he found to be vinegar. Hereupon Ottilia dismissed her, but soon fell dangerously ill, and Notburga remained to nurse her and prepared her for death.

Notburga then entered the service of a peasant in the town of Eben, on condition that she be permitted to go to church evenings before Sundays and festivals. One evening her master urged her to continue working in the field. Throwing her sickle into the air she said: “Let my sickle be judge between me and you,” and the sickle remained suspended in the air. Meantime Count Henry of Rothenburg was visited with great reverses which he ascribed to the dismissal of Notburga. He engaged her again and thenceforth all went well in his household. Shortly before her death she told her master to place her corpse on a wagon drawn by two oxen, and to bury her wherever the oxen would stand still. The oxen drew the wagon to the chapel of Saint Rupert near Eben, where she was buried. Her ancient cult was ratified on 27 March 1862, and her feast is celebrated on 14 September. She is generally represented with an ear of corn, or flowers and a sickle in her hand; sometimes with a sickle suspended in the air.

MLA Citation

  • Michael Ott. “Saint Notburga”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Saints.SQPN.com. 10 September 2014. Web. 16 September 2014. <>

Catholic Encyclopedia – Saint John Chrysostom

Article

(Chrysostomos, “golden-mouthed” so called on account of his eloquence). Doctor of the Church, born at Antioch, c.347; died at Commana in Pontus, 14 September, 407.

John — whose surname “Chrysostom” occurs for the first time in the “Constitution” of Pope Vigilius in the year 553 — is generally considered the most prominent doctor of the Greek Church and the greatest preacher ever heard in a Christian pulpit. His natural gifts, as well as exterior circumstances, helped him to become what he was.

Boyhood

At the time of Chrysostom’s birth, Antioch was the second city of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. During the whole of the fourth century religious struggles had troubled the empire and had found their echo at Antioch. Pagans, Manichaeans, Gnostics, Arians, Apollinarians, Jews, made their proselytes at Antioch, and the Catholics were themselves separated by the schism between the bishops Meletius and Paulinus. Thus Chrysostom’s youth fell in troubled times. His father, Secundus, was an officer of high rank in the Syrian army. On his death soon after the birth of John, Anthusa, his wife, only twenty years of age, took the sole charge of her two children, John and an elder sister. Fortunately she was a woman of intelligence and character. She not only instructed her son in piety, but also sent him to the best schools of Antioch, though with regard to morals and religion many objections could be urged against them. Beside the lectures of Andragatius, a philosopher not otherwise known, Chrysostom followed also those of Libanius, at once the most famous orator of that period and the most tenacious adherent of the declining paganism of Rome. As we may see from the later writings of Chrysostom, he attained then considerable Greek scholarship and classical culture, which he by no means disowned in his later days. His alleged hostility to classical learning is in reality but a misunderstanding of certain passages in which he defends the philosophia of Christianity against the myths of the heathen gods, of which the chief defenders in his time were the representatives and teachers of the sophia ellenike.

Chrysostom as lector and monk

It was a very decisive turning-point in the life of Chrysostom when he met one day (about 367) the bishop Meletius. The earnest, mild, and winning character of this man captivated Chrysostom in such a measure that he soon began to withdraw from classical and profane studies and to devote himself to an ascetic and religious life. He studied Holy Scripture and frequented the sermons of Meletius. About three years later he received Holy Baptism and was ordained lector. But the young cleric, seized by the desire of a more perfect life, soon afterwards entered one of the ascetic societies near Antioch, which was under the spiritual direction of Carterius and especially of the famous Diodorus, later Bishop of Tarsus (see Palladius, “Dialogus”, v; Sozomenus, Church History VIII.2). Prayer, manual labour and the study of Holy Scripture were his chief occupations, and we may safely suppose that his first literary works date from this time, for nearly all his earlier writings deal with ascetic and monastic subjects [cf. below Chrysostom writings: (1) "Opuscuia"]. Four years later, Chrysostom resolved to live as an anchorite in one of the caves near Antioch. He remained there two years, but then as his health was quite ruined by indiscreet watchings and fastings in frost and cold, he prudently returned to Antioch to regain his health, and resumed his office as lector in the church.

Chrysostom as deacon and priest at Antioch

As the sources of the life of Chrysostom give an incomplete chronology, we can but approximately determine the dates for this Antiochene period. Very probably in the beginning of 381 Meletius made him deacon, just before his own departure to Constantinople, where he died as president of the Second Ecumenical Council. The successor of Meletius was Flavian (concerning whose succession see F. Cavallera, “Le Schime d’Antioche”, Paris, 1905). Ties of sympathy and friendship connected Chrysostom with his new bishop. As deacon he had to assist at the liturgical functions, to look after the sick and poor, and was probably charged also in some degree with teaching catechumens. At the same time he continued his literary work, and we may suppose that he composed his most famous book, “On the Priesthood”, towards the end of this period (c. 386, see Socrates, Church History VI.3), or at latest in the beginning of his priesthood (c. 387, as Nairn with good reasons puts it, in his edition of “De Sacerd.”, xii-xv). There may be some doubt if it was occasioned by a real historical fact, viz., that Chrysostom and his friend Basil were requested to accept bishoprics (c. 372). All the earliest Greek biographers seem not to have taken it in that sense. In the year 386 Chrysostom was ordained priest by Flavian, and from that dates his real importance in ecclesiastical history. His chief task during the next twelve years was that of preaching, which he had to exercise either instead of or with Bishop Flavian. But no doubt the larger part of the popular religious instruction and education devolved upon him. The earliest notable occasion which showed his power of speaking and his great authority was the Lent of 387, when he delivered his sermons “On the Statues” (P.G., XLVIII, 15, xxx.). The people of Antioch, excited by the levy of new taxes, had thrown down the statues of Emperor Theodosius. In the panic and fear of punishment which followed, Chrysostom delivered a series of twenty or twenty-one (the nineteenth is probably not authentic) sermons, full of vigour, consolatory, exhortative, tranquilizing, until Flavian, the bishop, brought back from Constantinople the emperor’s pardon. But the usual preaching of Chrysostom consisted in consecutive explanations of Holy Scripture. To that custom, unhappily no longer in use, we owe his famous and magnificent commentaries, which offer us such an inexhaustible treasure of dogmatic, moral, and historical knowledge of the transition from the fourth to the fifth century. These years, 386-98, were the period of the greatest theological productivity of Chrysostom, a period which alone would have assured him for ever a place among the first Doctors of the Church. A sign of this may be seen in the fact that in the year 392 Saint Jerome already accorded to the preacher of Antioch a place among his Viri illustres (“De Viris ill.”, 129, in P.L., XXIII, 754), referring expressly to the great and successful activity of Chrysostom as a theological writer. From this same fact we may infer that during this time his fame had spread far beyond the limits of Antioch, and that he was well known in the Byzantine Empire, especially in the capital.

Saint Chrysostom as bishop of Constantinople

In the ordinary course of things Chrysostom might have become the successor of Flavian at Antioch. But on 27 September 397, Nectarius, Bishop of Constantinople, died. There was a general rivalry in the capital, openly or in secret, for the vacant see. After some months it was known, to the great disappointment of the competitors, that Emperor Areadius, at the suggestion of his minister Eutropius, had sent to the Prefect of Antioch to call John Chrysostom out of the town without the knowledge of the people, and to send him straight to Constantinople. In this sudden way Chrysostom was hurried to the capital, and ordained Bishop of Constantinople on 26 February, 398, in the presence of a great assembly of bishops, by Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who had been obliged to renounce the idea of securing the appointment of Isidore, his own candidate. The change for Chrysostom was as great as it was unexpected. His new position was not an easy one, placed as he was in the midst of an upstart metropolis, half Western, half Oriental, in the neighbourhood of a court in which luxury and intrigue always played the most prominent parts, and at the head of the clergy composed of most heterogeneous elements, and even (if not canonically, at least practically) at the head of the whole Byzantine episcopate. The first act of the new bishop was to bring about a reconciliation between Flavian and Rome. Constantinople itself soon began to feel the impulse of a new ecclesiastical life.

The necessity for reform was undeniable. Chrysostom began “sweeping the stairs from the top” (Palladius, op. cit., v). He called his oeconomus, and ordered him to reduce the expenses of the episcopal household; he put an end to the frequent banquets, and lived little less strictly than he had formerly lived as a priest and monk. With regard to the clergy, Chrysostom had at first to forbid them to keep in their houses syneisactoe, i.e. women housekeepers who had vowed virginity. He also proceeded against others who, by avarice or luxury, had given scandal. He had even to exclude from the ranks of the clergy two deacons, the one for murder and the other for adultery. Of the monks, too, who were very numerous even at that time at Constantinople, some had preferred to roam about aimlessly and without discipline. Chrysostom confined them to their monasteries. Finally he took care of the ecclesiastical widows. Some of them were living in a worldly manner: he obliged them either to marry again, or to observe the rules of decorum demanded by their state. After the clergy, Chrysostom turned his attention to his flock. As he had done at Antioch, so at Constantinople and with more reason, he frequently preached against the unreasonable extravagances of the rich, and especially against the ridiculous finery in the matter of dress affected by women whose age should have put them beyond such vanities. Some of them, the widows Marsa, Castricia, Eugraphia, known for such preposterous tastes, belonged to the court circle. It seems that the upper classes of Constantinople had not previously been accustomed to such language. Doubtless some felt the rebuke to be intended for themselves, and the offence given was the greater in proportion as the rebuke was the more deserved. On the other hand, the people showed themselves delighted with the sermons of their new bishop, and frequently applauded him in the church (Socrates, Church History VI). They never forgot his care for the poor and miserable, and that in his first year he had built a great hospital with the money he had saved in his household. But Chrysostom had also very intimate friends among the rich and noble classes. The most famous of these was Olympias, widow and deaconess, a relation of Emperor Theodosius, while in the Court itself there was Brison, first usher of Eudoxia, who assisted Chrysostom in instructing his choirs, and always maintained a true friendship for him. The empress herself was at first most friendly towards the new bishop. She followed the religious processions, attended his sermons, and presented silver candlesticks for the use of the churches (Socrates, op. cit., VI, 8; Sozomenus, op. cit., VIII, 8).

Unfortunately, the feelings of amity did not last. At first Eutropius, the former slave, now minister and consul, abused his influence. He deprived some wealthy persons of their property, and prosecuted others whom he suspected of being adversaries of rivals. More than once Chrysostom went himself to the minister (see “Oratio ad Eutropium” in P.G., Chrys. Op., III, 392) to remonstrate with him, and to warn him of the results of his own acts, but without success. Then the above-named ladies, who immediately surrounded the empress, probably did not hide their resentment against the strict bishop. Finally, the empress herself committed an injustice in depriving a widow of her vineyard (Marcus Diac., “Vita Porphyrii”, V, no. 37, in P.G., LXV, 1229). Chrysostom interceded for the latter. But Eudoxia showed herself offended. Henceforth there was a certain coolness between the imperial Court and the episcopal palace, which, growing little by little, led to a catastrophe. It is impossible to ascertain exactly at what period this alienation first began; very probably it dated from the beginning of the year 401. But before this state of things became known to the public there happened events of the highest political importance, and Chrysostom, without seeking it, was implicated in them. These were the fall of Eutropius and the revolt of Gainas.

In January, 399, Eutropius, for a reason not exactly known, fell into disgrace. Knowing the feelings of the people and of his personal enemies, he fled to the church. As he had himself attempted to abolish the immunity of the ecclesiastical asylums not long before, the people seemed little disposed to spare him. But Chrysostom interfered, delivering his famous sermon on Eutropius, and the fallen minister was saved for the moment. As, however, he tried to escape during the night, he was seized, exiled, and some time later put to death. Immediately another more exciting and more dangerous event followed. Gainas, one of the imperial generals, had been sent out to subdue Tribigild, who had revolted. In the summer of 399 Gainas united openly with Tribigild, and, to restore peace, Arcadius had to submit to the most humiliating conditions. Gainas was named commander-in-chief of the imperial army, and even had Aurelian and Saturninus, two men of the highest rank at Constantinople, delivered over to him. It seems that Chrysostom accepted a mission to Gainas, and that, owing to his intervention, Aurelian and Saturninus were spared by Gainas, and even set at liberty. Soon afterwards, Gainas, who was an Arian Goth, demanded one of the Catholic churches at Constantinople for himself and his soldiers. Again Chrysostom made so energetic an opposition that Gainas yielded. Meanwhile the people of Constantinople had become excited, and in one night several thousand Goths were slain. Gainas however escaped, was defeated, and slain by the Huns. Such was the end within a few years of three consuls of the Byzantine Empire. There is no doubt that Chrysostom’s authority had been greatly strengthened by the magnanimity and firmness of character he had shown during all these troubles. It may have been this that augmented the jealousy of those who now governed the empire — a clique of courtiers, with the empress at their head. These were now joined by new allies issuing from the ecclesiastical ranks and including some provincial bishops — Severian of Gabala, Antiochus of Ptolemais, and, for some time, Acacius of Beroea — who preferred the attractions of the capital to residence in their own cities (Socrates, op. cit., VI, 11; Sozomenus, op. cit., VIII, 10). The most intriguing among them was Severian, who flattered himself that he was the rival of Chrysostom in eloquence. But so far nothing had transpired in public. A great change occurred during the absence of Chrysostom for several months from Constantinople. This absence was necessitated by an ecclesiastical affair in Asia Minor, in which he was involved. Following the express invitation of several bishops, Chrysostom, in the first months of 401, had come to Ephesus, where he appointed a new archbishop, and with the consent of the assembled bishops deposed six bishops for simony. After having passed the same sentence on Bishop Gerontius of Nicomedia, he returned to Constantinople.

Meanwhile disagreeable things had happened there. Bishop Severian, to whom Chrysostom seems to have entrusted the performance of some ecclesiastical functions, had entered into open enmity with Serapion, the archdeacon and oeconomus of the cathedral and the episcopal palace. Whatever the real reason may have been, Chrysostom, found the case so serious that he invited Severian to return to his own see. It was solely owing to the personal interference of Eudoxia, whose confidence Serapion possessed, that he was allowed to come back from Chalcedon, whither he had retired. The reconciliation which followed was, at least on the part of Severian, not a sincere one, and the public scandal had excited much ill-feeling. The effects soon became visible. When in the spring of 402, Bishop Porphyrius of Gaza (see Marcus Diac., “Vita Porphyrii”, V, ed. Nuth, Bonn, 1897, pp. 11-19) went to the Court at Constantinople to obtain a favour for his diocese, Chrysostom answered that he could do nothing for him, since he was himself in disgrace with the empress. Nevertheless, the party of malcontents were not really dangerous, unless they could find some prominent and unscrupulous leader. Such a person presented himself sooner than might have been expected. It was the well-known Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria. He appeared under rather curious circumstances, which in no way foreshadowed the final result. Theophilus, toward the end of the year 402, was summoned by the emperor to Constantinople to apologize before a synod, over which Chrysostom should preside, for several charges, which were brought against him by certain Egyptian monks, especially by the so-called four “tall brothers”. The patriarch, their former friend, had suddenly turned against them, and had them persecuted as Origenists (Palladius, “Dialogus”, xvi; Socrates, op. cit., VI, 7; Sozomenus, op. cit., VIII, 12).

However, Theophilus was not easily frightened. He had always agents and friends at Constantinople, and knew the state of things and the feelings at the court. He now resolved to take advantage of them. He wrote at once to Saint Epiphanius at Cyprus, requesting him to go to Constantinople and prevail upon Chrysostom at to condemn the Origenists. Epiphanius went. But when he found that Theophilus was merely using him for his own purposes, he left the capital, dying on his return in 403. At this time Chrysostom delivered a sermon against the vain luxury of women. It was reported to the empress as though she had been personally alluded to. In this way the ground was prepared. Theophilus at last appeared at Constantinople in June, 403, not alone, as he had been commanded, but with twenty-nine of his suffragan bishops, and, as Palladius (ch. viii) tells us, with a good deal of money and all sorts of gifts. He took his lodgings in one of the imperial palaces, and held conferences with all the adversaries of Chrysostom. Then he retired with his suffragans and seven other bishops to a villa near Constantinople, called epi dryn (see Ubaldi, “La Synodo ad Quercum”, Turin, 1902). A long list of the most ridiculous accusations was drawn up against Chrysostom (see Photius, “Bibliotheca”, 59, in P.G., CIII, 105-113), who, surrounded by forty-two archbishops and bishops assembled to judge Theophilus in accordance with the orders of the emperor, was now summoned to present himself and apologize. Chrysostom naturally refused to recognize the legality of a synod in which his open enemies were judges. After the third summons Chrysostom, with the consent of the emperor, was declared to be deposed. In order to avoid useless bloodshed, he surrendered himself on the third day to the soldiers who awaited him. But the threats of the excited people, and a sudden accident in the imperial palace, frightened the empress (Palladius, “Dialogus”, ix). She feared some punishment from heaven for Chrysostom’s exile, and immediately ordered his recall. After some hesitation Chrysostom re-entered the capital amid the great rejoicings of the people. Theophilus and his party saved themselves by flying from Constantinople. Chrysostom’s return was in itself a defeat for Eudoxia. When her alarms had gone, her rancour revived. Two months afterwards a silver statue of the empress was unveiled in the square just before the cathedral. The public celebrations which attended this incident, and lasted several days, became so boisterous that the offices in the church were disturbed. Chrysostom complained of this to the prefect of the city, who reported to Eudoxia that the bishop had complained against her statue. This was enough to excite the empress beyond all bounds. She summoned Theophilus and the other bishops to come back and to depose Chrysostom again. The prudent patriarch, however, did not wish to run the same risk a second time. He only wrote to Constantinople that Chrysostom should be condemned for having re-entered his see in opposition to an article of the Synod of Antioch held in the year 341 (an Arian synod). The other bishops had neither the authority nor the courage to give a formal judgment. All they could do was to urge the emperor to sign a new decree of exile. A double attempt on Chrysostom’s life failed. On Easter Eve, 404, when all the catechumens were to receive baptism, the adversaries of the bishop, with imperial soldiers, invaded the baptistery and dispersed the whole congregation. At last Arcadius signed the decree, and on 24 June, 404, the soldiers conducted Chrysostom a second time into exile.

Exile and death

They had scarcely left Constantinople when a huge conflagration destroyed the cathedral, the senate-house, and other buildings. The followers of the exiled bishop were accused of the crime and prosecuted. In haste Arsacius, an old man, was appointed successor of Chrysostom, but was soon succeeded by the cunning Atticus. Whoever refused to enter into communion with them was punished by confiscation of property and exile. Chrysostom himself was conducted to Cucusus, a secluded and rugged place on the east frontier of Armenia, continually exposed to the invasions of the Isaurians. In the following year he had even to fly for some time to the castle of Arabissus to protect himself from these barbarians. Meanwhile he always maintained a correspondence with his friends and never gave up the hope of return. When the circumstances of his deposition were known in the West, the pope and the Italian bishops declared themselves in his favour. Emperor Honorius and Pope Innocent I endeavoured to summon a new synod, but their legates were imprisoned and then sent home. The pope broke off all communion with the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch (where an enemy of Chrysostom had succeeded Flavian), and Constantinople, until (after the death of Chrysostom) they consented to admit his name into the diptychs of the Church. Finally all hopes for the exiled bishop had vanished. Apparently he was living too long for his adversaries. In the summer, 407, the order was given to carry him to Pithyus, a place at the extreme boundary of the empire, near the Caucasus. One of the two soldiers who had to lead him caused him all possible sufferings. He was forced to make long marches, was exposed to the rays of the sun, to the rains and the cold of the nights. His body, already weakened by several severe illnesses, finally broke down. On 14 September the party were at Comanan in Pontus. In the morning Chrysostom had asked to rest there on the account of his state of health. In vain; he was forced to continue his march. Very soon he felt so weak that they had to return to Comana. Some hours later Chrysostom died. His last words were: Doxa to theo panton eneken (Glory be to God for all things) (Palladius, xi, 38). He was buried at Comana. On 27 January, 438, his body was translated to Constantinople with great pomp, and entombed in the church of the Apostles where Eudoxia had been buried in the year 404 (see Socrates, VII, 45; Constantine Prophyrogen., “Cæremoniale Aul Byz.”, II, 92, in P.G., CXII, 1204 B).

The writings of Saint Chrysostom

Chrysostom has deserved a place in ecclesiastical history, not simply as Bishop of Constantinople, but chiefly as a Doctor of the Church. Of none of the other Greek Fathers do we possess so many writings. We may divide them into three portions, the “opuscula”, the “homilies”, and the “letters”. (1) The chief “opuscula” all date from the earlier days of his literary activity. The following deal with monastical subjects: “Comparatio Regis cum Monacho” (“Opera”, I, 387-93, in P.G., XLVII-LXIII), “Adhortatio ad Theodorum (Mopsuestensem?) lapsum” (ibid., 277-319), “Adversus oppugnatores vitae monasticae” (ibid., 319-87). Those dealing with ascetical subjects in general are the treatise “De Compunctione” in two books (ibid., 393-423), “Adhortatio ad Stagirium” in three books (ibid., 433-94), “Adversus Subintroductas” (ibid., 495-532), “De Virginitate” (ibid., 533-93), “De Sacerdotio” (ibid., 623-93). (2) Among the “homilies” we have to distinguish commentaries on books of Holy Scripture, groups of homilies (sermons) on special subjects, and a great number of single homilies. (a) The chief “commentaries” on the Old Testament are the sixty-seven homilies “On Genesis” (with eight sermons on Genesis, which are probably a first recension) (IV, 21 sqq., and ibid., 607 sqq.); fifty-nine homilies “On the Psalms” (4-12, 41, 43-49, 108-117, 119-150) (V, 39-498), concerning which see Chrys. Baur, “Der ursprangliche Umfang des Kommentars des hl. Joh. Chrysostomus zu den Psalmen” in Chrysostomika, fase. i (Rome, 1908), 235-42, a commentary on the first chapters of “Isaias” (VI, 11 sqq.). The fragments on Job (XIII, 503-65) are spurious (see Haidacher, “Chrysostomus Fragmente” in Chrysostomika, I, 217 sq.); the authenticity of the fragments on the Proverbs (XIII, 659-740), on Jeremias and Daniel (VI, 193-246), and the Synopsis of the Old and the New Testament (ibid., 313 sqq.), is doubtful. The chief commentaries on the New Testament are first the ninety homilies on “St. Matthew” (about the year 390; VII), eighty-eight homilies on “St. John” (c. 389; VIII, 23 sqq. — probably from a later edition), fifty-five homilies on “the Acts” (as preserved by stenographers, IX, 13 sqq.), and homilies “On all Epistles of Saint Paul” (IX, 391 sqq.). The best and most important commentaries are those on the Psalms, on Saint Matthew, and on the Epistle to the Romans (written c. 391). The thirty-four homilies on the Epistle to the Galatians also very probably comes to us from the hand of a second editor. (b) Among the “homilies forming connected groups”, we may especially mention the five homilies “On Anna” (IV, 631-76), three “On David” (ibid., 675-708), six “On Ozias” (VI, 97-142), eight “Against the Jews” (II, 843-942), twelve “De Incomprehensibili Dei Naturæ” (ibid., 701-812), and the seven famous homilies “On Saint Paul” (III, 473-514). (c) A great number of “single homilies” deal with moral subjects, with certain feasts or saints. (3) The “Letters” of Chrysostom (about 238 in number: III, 547 sqq.) were all written during his exile. Of special value for their contents and intimate nature are the seventeen letters to the deaconess Olympias. Among the numerous “Apocrypha” we may mention the liturgy attributed to Chrysostom, who perhaps modified, but did not compose the ancient text. The most famous apocryphon is the “Letter to Cæsarius” (III, 755-760). It contains a passage on the holy Eucharist which seems to favour the theory of “impanatio”, and the disputes about it have continued for more than two centuries. The most important spurious work in Latin is the “Opus imperfectum”, written by an Arian in the first half of the fifth century (see Th. Paas, “Das Opus imperfectum in Matthæum”, Tübingen, 1907).

Chrysostom’s theological importance

Chrysostom as orator

The success of Chrysostom’s preaching is chiefly due to his great natural facility of speech, which was extraordinary even to Greeks, to the abundance of his thoughts as well as the popular way of presenting and illustrating them, and, last but not least, the whole-hearted earnestness and conviction with which he delivered the message which he felt had been given to him. Speculative explanation did not attract his mind, nor would they have suited the tastes of his hearers. He ordinarily preferred moral subjects, and very seldom in his sermons followed a regular plan, nor did he care to avoid digressions when any opportunity suggested them. In this way, he is by no means a model for our modern thematic preaching, which, however we may regret it, has to such a great extent supplanted the old homiletic method. But the frequent outbursts of applause among his congregation may have told Chrysostom that he was on the right path.

Chrysostom as an exegete

As an exegete Chrysostom is of the highest importance, for he is the chief and almost the only successful representative of the exegetical principles of the School of Antioch. Diodorus of Tarsus had initiated him into the grammatico-historical method of that school, which was in strong opposition to the eccentric, allegorical, and mystical interpretation of Origen and the Alexandrian School. But Chrysostom rightly avoided pushing his principles to that extreme to which, later on, his friend Theodore of Mopsuestia, the teacher of Nestorius, carried them. He did not even exclude all allegorical or mystical explanations, but confined them to the cases in which the inspired author himself suggests this meaning.

Chrysostom as dogmatic theologian

As has already been said, Chrysostom’s was not a speculative mind, nor was he involved in his lifetime in great dogmatic controversies. Nevertheless it would be a mistake to underrate the great theological treasures hidden in his writings. From the very first he was considered by the Greeks and Latins as a most important witness to the Faith. Even at the Council of Ephesus (431) both parties, Saint Cyril and the Antiochians, already invoked him on behalf of their opinions, and at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, when a passage of Chrysostom had been read in favour of the veneration of images, Bishop Peter of Nicomedia cried out: “If John Chrysostom speaks in the way of the images, who would dare to speak against them?” which shows clearly the progress his authority had made up to that date.

Strangely enough, in the Latin Church, Chrysostom was still earlier invoked as an authority on matters of faith. The first writer who quoted him was Pelagius, when he wrote his lost book “De Naturæ” against Saint Augustine (c. 415). The Bishop of Hippo himself very soon afterwards (421) claimed Chrysostom for the Catholic teaching in his controversy with Julian of Eclanum, who had opposed to him a passage of Chrysostom (from the “Hom. ad Neophytos”, preserved only in Latin) as being against original sin. Again, at the time of the Reformation there arose long and acrid discussions as to whether Chrysostom was a Protestant or a Catholic, and these polemics have never wholly ceased. It is true that Chrysostom has some strange passages on our Blessed Lady (see Newman, “Certain difficulties felt by Anglicans in Catholic Teachings”, London, 1876, pp. 130 sqq.), that he seems to ignore private confession to a priest, that there is no clear and any direct passage in favour of the primacy of the pope. But it must be remembered that all the respective passages contain nothing positive against the actual Catholic doctrine. On the other side Chrysostom explicitly acknowledges as a rule of faith tradition (XI, 488), as laid down by the authoritative teaching of the Church (I, 813). This Church, he says, is but one, by the unity of her doctrine (V, 244; XI, 554); she is spread over the whole world, she is the one Bride of Christ. As to Christology, Chrysostom holds clearly that Christ is God and man in one person, but he never enters into deeper examination of the manner of this union. Of great importance is his doctrine regarding the Eucharist. There cannot be the slightest doubt that he teaches the Real Presence, and his expressions on the change wrought by the words of the priest are equivalent to the doctrine of transubstantiation.

MLA Citation

  • Chrysostom Baur. “Saint John Chrysostom”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Saints.SQPN.com. 10 September 2014. Web. 16 September 2014. <>

Martyrs of Alexandria

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A group of Christians martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little more than their names

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  • “Martyrs of Alexandria“. Saints.SQPN.com. 10 September 2014. Web. 16 September 2014. <>

Catholic Encyclopedia – Saint Pulcheria

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Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire, eldest daughter of the Emperor Arcadius, born 19 January 399; died in 453. After the death of Arcadius (408), her younger brother, Theodosius II, then only seven, became emperor under the guardianship of Anthimus. Pulcheria had matured early and had great administrative ability; she soon exerted salutary influence over the young and not very capable emperor. On 4 July 414, she was proclaimed Augusta (empress) by the Senate, and made regent for her brother. She made a vow of virginity and persuaded her sisters to do the same, the imperial palace thus becoming almost a monastery. At the same time she fulfilled all her duties as a ruler for about ten years jointly with her brother. After the marriage, brought about by Pulcheria, of Theodosius II with Eudoxia, the new empress sought to weaken Pulcheria’s influence over the emperor, and, with the aid of some courtiers, succeeded for a time. Nevertheless, Pulcheria had always a powerful position at Court, which she used in behalf of ecclesiastical orthodoxy, as shown by her opposition to the doctrines of Nestorius and Eutyches. Eudoxia supported Nestorius. Saint Cyril of Alexandria sent Pulcheria his work, “De fide ad Pulcheriam”, and wrote her on behalf of the true Church doctrine, to which she held unwaveringly (letter of Cyril in Mansi). He also wrote to Eudoxia. Theodosius allowed himself to be influenced by Nestorius to the prejudice of Cyril, whom he blamed for appealing to the two empresses. Pulcheria, however, was not deterred from her determination to work against Nestorius and to persuade the emperor to espouse Cyril’s party which favoured the definition of the Council of Ephesus. In the further course of the negotiations over the Council of Ephesus, the Patriarch of Alexandria sought to gain Pulcheria’s zeal and influence for the union and sent her presents as he did to other influential persons at the Court. There is no doubt that the final acknowledgement by the emperor of the condemnation of Nestorius was largely due to Pulcheria. The Nestorians, consequently, spread gross calumnies about her (Suidas, s.v. Pulcheria). Court intrigues obliged her (446) to leave the imperial palace and retire to a suburb of Constantinople, where she led a monastic life. When the Empress Eudoxia went to Jerusalem, Pulcheria returned (about 449) to Court. At the emperor’s death (28 July 450) she was proclaimed empress, and then married the able general, Marcian, but with the condition that her vow of virginity should be respected. At her order Marcian was proclaimed Augustus.

Meantime, at Constantinople, Eutyches had announced his heresy of the unity of the natures in Christ, and the Patriarch Flavian had expressed his opposition, as did also Pope Leo I. Once more Pulcheria took up the cause of the Church. On 13 June 449, the pope had written both to Pulcheria and to Theodosius, requesting them to end the new heresy. Nine other letters followed. Theodosius II confirmed the decisions of the Robber Synod of Ephesus (449) and the pope, who had rejected them, sought to bring the emperor back to orthodox opinions. On 13 October 449, he wrote again to the emperor and also to Pulcheria, begging the latter for aid. The Roman Archdeacon Hilarius also wrote with the same object, and at Leo’s entreaty Valentinian III of the Western Empire, with Eudoxia and Galla Placidia, wrote to Theodosius and Pulcheria. Another letter to Pulcheria was sent by Leo on 16 July, 450 (Epist. lxx). After the death of Theodosius, conditions were at once changed. Marcian and Pulcheria wrote to Leo (Epist. lxxvii). She informed him that the Patriarch Anatolius had expressed his approbation and had signed the papal letter to Flavian concerning the two natures in Christ. She requested the pope to let it be known whether he would attend personally the council that had been summoned. The empress was influential in the Council of Chalcedon (451) and with the emperor attended the sixth session (25 Oct., 451). Leo in his letter of 13 April, 451 (Epist. lxxix), wrote Pulcheria that both the Nestorian and Eutychian heresies had been overcome largely by her efforts. He thanked her for the benefits she had bestowed on the Church, for her support of the papal legates, for the recall of the banished Catholic bishops, and for the honourable burial of the body of the Patriarch Flavius. Pulcheria showed no less zeal in promoting other interests of the Church. She built three churches in Constantinople in honour of Mary the Mother of God; one, erected after the condemnation of the Nestorian heresy, was exceedingly beautiful. In other places also she built churches, hospitals, houses for pilgrims, and gave rich gifts to various churches. She had the bones of Saint John Chrysostom, who had died in exile, brought back to Constantinople and buried in the church of the Apostles on 27 January 438; this led to the reconciliation with the Church of the schismatic party of the Johannines. Pulcheria had the relics of the forty martyrs of Sebaste, which were found near Constantinople, transferred to a church. She is venerated as a saint in the Greek and other Oriental Churches as well as in the Latin Church. Her feast is given under 10 Sept. in the Roman Martyrology and in the Greek Menaia; in the other Oriental calendars it is under 7 Aug.

MLA Citation

  • Johann Peter Kirsch. “Saint Pulcheria”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Saints.SQPN.com. 10 September 2014. Web. 16 September 2014. <>

Saint Essuperanzio of Zurich

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Servant of Saint Regula and Saint Felix of Zurch. During the persecutions of Maximian Herculeaus the two fled to Switzerland. They were found there near Zurich. Martyr.

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MLA Citation

  • “Saint Essuperanzio of Zurich“. Saints.SQPN.com. 9 September 2014. Web. 16 September 2014. <>