Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

31 July #1

Expand Messages
  • ambrois@xtra.co.nz
    Celtic and Old English Saints 31 July =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= * St. Germain of Auxerre * St. Neot of Cornwall * St. Joseph of
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 30, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      Celtic and Old English Saints 31 July

      * St. Germain of Auxerre
      * St. Neot of Cornwall
      * St. Joseph of Arimathea

      St. Germanus (Germain), Bishop of Auxerre

      Bishop of Auxerre, born at Auxerre c. 380; died at Ravenna, 31 July,
      448. He was the son of Rusticus and Germanilla, and his family was one
      of the noblest in Gaul in the latter portion of the fourth century. He
      received the very best education provided by the distinguished schools
      of Arles and Lyons, and then went to Rome, where he studied eloquence
      and civil law. He practised there before the tribunal of the prefect for
      some years with great success. His high birth and brilliant talents
      brought him into contact with the court, and he married Eustachia, a
      lady highly esteemed in imperial circles.

      The emperor sent him back to Gaul, appointing him one of the six dukes,
      entrusted with the government of the Gallic provinces. He resided at
      Auxerre and gave himself up to all the enjoyments that naturally fell to
      his lot. At length he incurred the displeasure of the bishop, St.
      Amator. It appears that Germain was accustomed to hang the trophies of
      the chase on a certain tree, which in earlier times had been the scene
      of pagan worship. Amator remonstrated with him in vain. One day when the
      duke was absent, the bishop had the tree cut down and the trophies
      burnt. Fearing the anger of the duke, who wished to kill him, he fled
      and appealed to the prefect Julius for permission to confer the tonsure
      on Germain. This being granted, Amator, who felt that his own life was
      drawing to a close, returned. When the duke came to the church, Amator
      caused the doors to be barred and gave him the tonsure against his will,
      telling him to live as one destined to be his successor, and forthwith
      made him a deacon.

      A wonderful change was instantly wrought in Germain, and he accepted
      everything that had happened as the Divine will. He gave himself up to
      prayer, study, and works of charity, and, when in a short time Amator
      died, Germain was unanimously chosen to fill the vacant see, being
      consecrated 7 July, 418. His splendid education now served him in good
      stead in the government of the diocese, which he administered with great
      sagacity. He distributed his goods among the poor, and practised great
      austerities. He built a large monastery dedicated to Sts. Cosmas and
      Damian on the banks of the Yonne, whither he was wont to retire in his
      spare moments.

      In 429 the bishops of Britain sent an appeal to the continent for help
      against the Pelagian heretics who were corrupting the faith of the
      island. St. Prosper, who was in Rome in 431, tells us in his Chronicle
      that Pope Celestine commissioned the Church in Gaul to send help, and
      Germain and Lupus of Troyes were deputed to cross over to Britain. On
      his way Germain stopped at Nanterre, where he met a young child,
      Genevieve, destined to become the patroness of Paris. One of the early
      lives of St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, tells us that he formed one of
      St. Germain's suite on this occasion. Tradition tells us that the main
      discussion with the representatives of Pelagianism took place at St.
      Alban's, and resulted in the complete discomfiture of the heretics.
      Germain remained in Britain for some time preaching, and established
      several schools for the training of the clergy.

      On his return he went to Arles to visit the prefect, and obtained the
      remission of certain taxes that were oppressing the people of Auxerre.
      He constructed a church in honour of St. Alban about this time in his
      episcopal city.

      In 447 he was invited to revisit Britain, and went with Severus, bishop
      of Tr?ves. It would seem that he did much for the Church there, if one
      can judge from the traditions handed down in Wales. On one occasion he
      is said to have aided the Britons to gain a great victory (called from
      the battle-cry, Alleluia! the Alleluia victory) over a marauding body of
      Saxons and Picts.

      On his return to Gaul, he proceeded to Armorica (Brittany) to intercede
      for the Armoricans who had been in rebellion. Their punishment was
      deferred at his entreaty, till he should have laid their case before the
      emperor. He set out for Italy, and reached Milan on 17 June, 448. Then
      he journeyed to Ravenna, where he interviewed the empress-mother, Galla
      Placidia, on their behalf. The empress and the bishop of the city, St.
      Peter Chrysologus, gave him a royal welcome, and the pardon he sought
      was granted. While there he died on 31 July, 450.

      His body, as he requested when dying, was brought back to Auxerre and
      interred in the Oratory of St. Maurice, which he had built. Later the
      oratory was replaced by a large church, which became a celebrated
      Benedictine abbey known as St. Germain's. This tribute to the memory of
      the saint was the gift of Queen Clotilda, wife of Clovis. Some centuries
      later, Charles the Bald had the shrine opened, and the body was found
      intact. It was embalmed and wrapped in precious cloths, and placed in a
      more prominent position in the church. There it was preserved till 1567,
      when Auxerre was taken by the Huguenots, who desecrated the shrine and
      cast out the relics. It has been said that the relics were afterwards
      picked up and placed in the Abbey of St. Marion on the banks of the
      Yonne, but the authenticity of the relics in this church has never been
      canonically recognized.

      St. Germain was honoured in Cornwall and at St. Alban's in England's
      pre-reformation days, and has always been the patron of Auxerre.

      [ http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06472b.htm ]

      An except from the Life of Saint Germain, written by Heric of Auxerre:

      "Since the glory of the father shines in the training of the children,
      of the many sons in Christ whom St. Germain is believed to have had as
      disciples in religion, let it suffice to make mention here, very
      briefly, of one most famous, Patrick, the special Apostle of the Irish
      nation, as the record of his work proves. Subject to that most holy
      discipleship for 18 years, he drank in no little knowledge in Holy
      Scripture from the stream of so great a well-spring. Germain sent him,
      accompanied by Segetius, his priest, to Celestine, Pope of Rome,
      approved of by whose judgement, supported by whose authority, and
      strengthened by whose blessing, he went on his way to Ireland."

      In art, Saint Germanus is a bishop with an ass at his feet. Sometimes
      the image may contain huntsmen and wild game around him, or Germanus
      leading a dragon with seven heads (Roeder).

      St. Neot of Cornwall, Hermit
      Died c. 877-880. According to tradition, Saint Neot was a monk of
      Glastonbury and a priest, who became a hermit in Cornwall at the place
      now called after him. His relics were subsequently taken to Saint Neot's
      in Huntingdonshire (Benedictines).

      In art, Saint Neot is an old monk with a pilgrim's staff and hat. He may
      be sitting with his feet in a pool as a hind runs to him for
      protection (Roeder). Neot is venerated at Glastonbury, Malvern, and
      Saint Neot's (Cornwall) (Roeder).

      St. Joseph of Arimathea
      [Feastday in Western Calendars is 17 and 27 March]
      1st century. We read about Joseph of Arimathea, the "noble counsellor,"
      in all four Gospels (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:43-46; Luke 23:50-56; and
      John 19:38-42). As with many of the Biblical figures, numerous legends
      accrued around his name in later years.

      Saint Joseph was a wealthy member of the temple council and a secret
      follower of Jesus because he was afraid of persecution from Jewish
      officials. He attended the Crucifixion, and legend has it that he caught
      Jesus's blood as he hung upon the cross. What is said to be the Sacro
      Catino in which Joseph caught the blood of Christ at the Crucifixion is
      at San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy. Joseph persuaded Pontius Pilate to let him
      have Jesus's body, wrapped it in linen and herbs, and laid it in a tomb
      carved in a rock in the side of a hill, a tomb that he had prepared for

      Later tradition has embellished this account to add that Joseph was a
      distant relative of Jesus, who derived his wealth from tin mines in
      Cornwall, which he visited from time to time. One version tells the
      story of the teenaged Jesus accompanying Joseph on one such visit. This
      is the background of the poem "Jerusalem," by William Blake (1757-1827):

      And did those feet in ancient time
      Walk upon England's mountains green?
      And was the holy Lamb of God
      On England's pleasant pastures seen?
      And did the countenance divine
      Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
      And was Jerusalem builded here
      Among those dark satanic mills?

      Bring me my bow of burning gold!
      Bring me my arrows of desire!
      Bring me my spear!
      O clouds, unfold!
      Bring me my chariot of fire!
      I will not cease from mental fight,
      Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
      Till we have built Jerusalem
      In England's green and pleasant land.

      This version continues to say that, after the Crucifixion, Saint Joseph
      returned to Cornwall, bringing with him the chalice of the Last Supper,
      known as the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail was hidden and played an
      important part in the folk history of England in the great national epic
      about King Arthur and his knights who unsuccessfully seek to find it.

      Upon reaching Glastonbury, he planted his staff, which took root and
      blossomed into a thorn tree. This is the Holy Thorn, which flowers at
      mod-winter at Christmas and again in May. King Charles I baited his
      wife's Roman Catholic chaplain by
      observing that, although Pope Gregory had proclaimed a reform of the
      calendar, the Glastonbury Thorn ignored the Pope's decree and continued
      to blossom on Christmas Day according to the Old Calendar. One of
      Cromwell's soldiers cut down the Thorn because it was a relic of
      superstition. We are told that he was blinded by one of the thorns as it
      fell. A tree allegedly grown from a cutting of the original Thorn
      survives today in Glastonbury (and trees propagated from it stand on the
      grounds of the Cathedral in Washington, DC, and presumably elsewhere)
      and leaves from it are sold in all the tourist shops in Glastonbury.

      It was not until about the middle of the 13th century that the legend
      appears saying Joseph accompanied Saint Philip to Gaul to preach and was
      sent by him to England as the leader of 12 missionaries. It is said that
      the company, inspired by Gabriel the archangel, built a church made of
      wattles in honour of the Virgin Mary on an island called Yniswitrin,
      given to them by the king of England. The church eventually evolved into
      Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset. Supposedly Joseph died there, was buried
      on the island, and miraculous cures worked at his grave.

      Is there any merit to the legends of Saint Joseph? Perhaps. Tin, an
      essential ingredient of bronze, was highly valued in ancient times, and
      Phoenician ships imported tin from Cornwall. It is not unreasonable to
      believe that some first-century, Jewish Christians might have been
      investors in the Cornwall tin trade. Christianity gained a foothold in
      Britain very early, perhaps, in part, because of the commerce in tin. If
      so, then the early British Christians would have a tradition that they
      had been evangelized by a wealthy Jewish Christian. Having forgotten his
      name, they might have consulted the Scriptures and found that Joseph and
      Saint Barnabas fit the description. Because much of the life of Barnabas
      was already described by the Acts of the Apostles making him an unlikely
      candidate, only Joseph was left. Thus, Christians seeking an immediate
      connection with their Lord, grasped on to Joseph as their evangelizer
      (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopaedia, Robinson,

      In art, Saint Joseph is portrayed as a very old man, carrying a pot of
      ointment or a flowering staff or a pair of altar cruets (containing the
      blood and sweat of Jesus) (White). He may be shown taking the crown of
      thorns from the dead Christ. At other times he is shown with the shroud
      and crown of thorns, a thorn tree by him, or a box of spices (Roeder).
      He is venerated at Glastonbury and patron of grave-diggers and
      undertakers (Roeder, White).

      To see William Blake's Joseph of Arimathea among the Rocks of Albion,
      click http://metalab.unc.edu/wm/paint/auth/blake/arimathea.jpg

      Icons of St. Joseph of Arimathea

      Troparion tone 2
      Noble Joseph took Thine immaculate Body down from the tree,/ wrapped it
      in a clean shroud and spices,/ and having embalmed It, laid It in a new
      sepulchre./ But on the third day Thou didst rise, O Lord, granting the
      world great mercy.

      Lives kindly supplied by:
      For All the Saints:

      An Alphabetical Index of the Saints of the West

      These Lives are archived at:
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.