The Commission of the European Union has demanded that Slovenia remove the halos from its new Euro coin commemorating the 1,150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Moravia. A spokeswoman for the Bank of Slovenia explained their decision to comply with the European Comissions demands:
‘The European Commission and some member states have asked Slovakia to remove some symbols from the draft coin to comply with the principle of religious neutrality. We believe the final coin will be a dignified combination of a symbol of state and a symbol of Christianity,”
The European Commission defended its insistence that Slovenia remove the halos from Cyril and Methodius:
“Under EU rules, when designing the national side of a euro coin, Member States are required to take into account that the coins will circulate throughout the whole eurozone, and in that context, proposed designs are shared in advance with other Member States so that they can provide any comments they deem appropriate.
The Commission acknowledged that some members states objected to the coin, adding that Slovakia submitted a slightly amended design, “which has now been approved by the [EU] Council of Ministers.”
Protect the Pope comment: The European Commission’s demand that Slovenia remove the Christian symbol of sanctity that has been included on coins throughout Europe for thousands of years is yet another attack on our common Christian heritage. In the censored coin St. Cyril and St. Methodius have been reduced to the stature of mundane historical figures, their eternal significance and role as intercessors and exemplars of sanctity removed from the public arena. The secular reformation of Europe continues to impose its intolerant ideology under the guise of ‘religious neutrality’.
Tag Archives: Saints
Today is the Feast Day of the Blessed John Henry Newman (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890), a man who spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. Wikipedia has more on him here.
And a quote (or two… or more…) from him may be appropriate:
- It is often said that second thoughts are best. So they are in matters of judgment but not in matters of conscience.
- Calculation never made a hero.
- Let us act on what we have, since we have not what we wish.
- If we are intended for great ends, we are called to great hazards.
- If we insist on being as sure as is conceivable… we must be content to creep along the ground, and never soar.
Surprising Revelations about the man from Assisi:
“In his final words to his followers, the issue he found most pressing was not poverty, not obedience, but proper reverence for the Eucharist.” Imagine summing up Saint Francis of Assisi by pointing to his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Yet this is not all we learn from Father Thompson, O.P. In the course of putting to rest various myths about his subject, he tells us surprising truths: for instance, Francis expected his followers to work with their hands rather than to impose upon others by their begging. Francis was more incensed by dirty altar linens and chalices than mistreatment of the poor or breaches of the peace. And Francis, far from being a Deep Ecologist, “was emphatically not a vegetarian.”
If he was not the man we thought him to be, or the man of those with agendas, then what was he? A man who with dogged determination tried to put the words of the Gospel into practice; a man so transformed by grace, that when the barbaric thirteenth-century physician approached his diseased eyes with a red-hot brand, thinking to cure them by cauterizing the flesh of his face, Francis, far from flinching, made the sign of the Cross over the iron and said: “My Brother Fire, noble and useful among all the creatures the Most High created, be courtly to me in this hour. For a long time I have loved you and I still love you for the love of that Lord who created you. I pray our Creator who made you, to temper your heat now, so that I may bear it”…
We will either accuse ourselves or excuse ourselves.
- St John Vianney, Curé of Ars,
St Benedict of Nursia is the Saint of the Day.
Girded with a faith, and the performance of good works, let us follow in Christ’s path by the guidance of the Gospel; then we shall deserve to see him “who has called us into his kingdom.” If we wish to attain a dwelling place in his kingdom, we shall not reach it unless we hasten there by our good deeds. Just as there exists an evil fervor, a bitter spirit, which divides us from God and leads us to hell, so there is a good fervor which sets us apart from evil inclinations and leads us toward God and eternal life. No one should follow what he considers to be good for himself, but rather what seems good for another. Let them put Christ before all else; and may he lead us all to everlasting life.
- from the Rule of Saint Benedict
There is a online guide to St Benedict here.
Pope Benedict XVI on a universal and ecumenical feast:
(Vatican Radio) In reflections before the midday Angelus prayer, marking the feast of Saints Peter and Paul this Friday, Pope Benedict XVI highlighted the universal and ecumenical value of the liturgical feast. From the window of his study high above a sun drenched St. Peter’s Square the Pope drew the attention of the thousands of pilgrims and visitors to the statues of the two great Saints, who are also Protectors of Rome. Emer McCarthy reports:
Rome, he said “bears inscriptions in its history of the life and glorious death of the humble fisherman of Galilee and the Apostle to the Gentiles, whom she has rightly chosen as her Protectors. Recalling their luminous witness, we remember the venerable beginnings of the Church that in Rome that believes, prays and proclaims, Christ the Redeemer”.
But he continued “the Saints Peter and Paul not only shine in the sky of Rome, but in the heart of all believers who, enlightened by their teaching and by their example, all over the world walk the path of faith, hope and charity. On this road to salvation the Christian community, supported by the presence of the Spirit of the living God, feels encouraged to continue strong and serene on the path of fidelity to Christ and proclamation of his Gospel to men of all time”.
Taking part in Friday’s celebrations, a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and an Anglican choir from Westminster Abbey, who joined the Sistine Chapel choir in Mass Friday morning during which the Pope bestowed the pallium on 40 new Metropolitan Archbishops from across the universal Church…
And the Westminster Abbey Choir with the Sistine Chapel Choir at St Peter’s:
Sacred mysteries: Christopher Howse goes in search of a saint wrapped in an Arabian tapestry.
I’m just off to pay my respects to St Isidore of Seville. I won’t be taking the train to Seville, though, but to Leon, that slightly down-at-heel capital of an ancient Spanish kingdom.
Most visitors to Leon marvel at the great stained-glass windows of the cathedral, and they are right to do so, although the style of the cathedral is not in the least Spanish, but French through and through.
St Isidore, a learned founder of the civilisation that we are just about clinging on to, lived 100 years before our own St Bede, dying in 636. He is buried in the church in Leon dedicated to his name, but the way he got there was accidental in the extreme, or so it seemed.
King Ferdinand I of Leon (who died in the year before the Battle of Hastings) was doing pretty well, once he stopped waging war against the King of Navarre, in exerting pressure on the Arab half of the peninsula, which since the collapse of the Caliphate of Cordoba, 30 years earlier, had been divided into a patchwork of kingdoms, or taifas as modern historians like to call them. In 1063 he despatched two bishops to Seville to collect the relics of St Justa.
St Justa is now the name of the main railway station in Seville, but she meant more to Spanish Christians of the Middle Ages. With her sister Rufina she was identified with the so-called Mozarabic liturgy – the Latin Mass and services used by Christians under Arabic rule. The two martyrs of the third century, so their legend said, died for refusing to give money towards a feast in honour of the goddess Venus.
This story might appeal to Christians living under a form of Muslim rule that was often abrasive. Indeed a more recent martyr, St Pelagius (San Pelayo in Spanish) had been put to death as a prisoner of Abd al-Rahman in 925, for refusing his advances. To him, with St John the Baptist, the royal church in Leon was dedicated.
So King Ferdinand wanted the relics of St Justa to be honoured in his own church, not left to the vicissitudes of Muslim rule. The fact that, about this time, al-Mu’tadid Ibn Abbad, the king of Seville, had thought it wise to make tribute to Ferdinand, may have eased negotiations. The anonymous contemporary chronicler of these events, a monk from Santo Domingo de Silos, gave the Arab ruler’s name as Benahabet, a Latinisation of Ibn Abbad. When Ferdinand’s envoys, Bishop Alvito of Leon and Bishop Ordoño of Astorga, arrived in Seville, Benahabet told them he was awfully sorry but he couldn’t find the remains of St Justa anywhere.
Bishop Alvito, not to be discouraged, set about praying, and while at prayer fell asleep, and in a dream St Isidore himself appeared, banging on the floor with his staff where, he said, his body was buried. Sure enough, at the spot indicated they found a coffin, from the remains of a man in which came a most sweet smell. No sooner was the coffin opened, says the chronicler, than Bishop Alvito was struck down by sickness and died within a week.
Undeterred, his brother bishop brought back to Leon the body of St Isidore, wrapped in a piece of tapestry given by al-Mu’tadid. The church of St John and St Pelagius was renamed St Isidore’s and his body is still revered there. Ferdinand and his successors were buried in the arched narthex, which 100 years later was decorated with the most accomplished murals – shepherds, sheepdogs, goats and angels, the work of the months and the killing of swine.
The relics of St Isidore were later given an ornate sarcophagus, and the 11th-century casket in which they had been laid in 1063 was put on display in the treasury. It is lined with a beautiful silk textile, with stylised birds and animals embroidered within squares (as pictured here). This, say some archaeologists, could be the tapestry that al-Mu’tadid gave. And why not?
Today is St Patrick’s Day, after the 5th century Christian bishop and missionary who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
Here is an ancient prayer for the day:
O God, by whose providence the blessed Patrick was chosen to be the apostle of the Irish; that thus the people of Hibernia, who had gone astray in darkness and in the errors of the Gentiles, might be made children of the Most High by the laver of regeneration: Grant, we beseech thee, that by his intercession, we may hasten without delay to the paths of justice. Through Christ our Lord - Amen.
- From the Breviary of Armagh.
Well, you know what they say… Everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s Day.
Have you ever felt this way?
When I am before the Blessed Sacrament I feel such a lively faith that I can’t describe it. Christ in the Eucharist is almost tangible to me. When it is time for me to leave, I have to tear myself away from His sacred presence.
- St Anthony Claret
Via Discovery News:
Forget roses, chocolate boxes, and candlelight dinners. On Valentine’s Day, this is rather boring stuff – at least according to ancient Roman standards.
Imagine half naked men running through the streets, whipping young women with bloodied thongs made from freshly cut goat skins. Although it might sound like some sort of perverted sado-masochist practice, this is what the Romans did until 496 A.D.
Indeed, mid-February was Lupercalia (Wolf Festival) time. Celebrated on February 15 at the foot of the Palatine Hill beside the cave where according to tradition the she-wolf had suckled Romulus and Remus, the festival was essentially a purification and fertility rite.
Directed by the Luperci, or “brothers of the wolf,” the festival began with the sacrifice of two male goats and a dog, their blood smeared on the faces of Luperci initiates and then wiped off with wool dipped in milk.
As thongs were cut from the sacrificed goats, the initiates would run around in the streets flagellating women to promote fertility.
Finally, in 496 Pope Gelasius I banned the wild feast and declared Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day.
But who was St. Valentine? Mystery surrounds the identity of the patron saint of lovers.
Indeed, such was the confusion that the Vatican dropped St. Valentine’s Day from the Catholic Church calendar of saints in the 1960s.
There were at least three men by the name Valentine in the A.D. 200s and all died of a horrible death.
One was a priest in the Roman Empire who helped persecuted Christians during the reign of Claudius II. As he was imprisoned, he restored the sight of a blind girl, who fell in love with him. He was beheaded on Feb. 14.
Another was the pious bishop of Terni, also torturted and beheaded during Claudius II’s reign.
A third Valentine would have secretly married couples, ignoring Claudius II’s ban of marriage. When the priest of love was eventually arrested, legend has it that he fell deeply in love with his jailer’s daughter.
Before his death by beating and decapitation, he signed a farewell note to her: “From your Valentine”…
Continue reading here.