Saint/s of the Day – 8 August – The Fourteen Holy Helpers.

Saint/s of the Day – 8 August – The Fourteen Holy Helpers.
A group of Saints invoked with special confidence because they have proven themselves efficacious helpers in adversity and difficulties, are known and venerated under the name Fourteen Holy Helpers.

The Notable Martyrs Saints within the Group are:
Acacius, Barbara, Blaise, Christopher, Cyriacus, Catherine of Alexandria, Denis, Erasmus of Formia, Eustace, George, Giles, Margaret of Antioch, Pantaleon and Vitus.

Devotion to these fourteen ,as a group, spread in response to the Black Plague which devastated Europe from 1346 to 1349. Among its symptoms were the tongue turning black, a parched throat, violent headache, fever, and boils on the abdomen. It attacked without warning, robbed its victims of reason and killed within a few hour. Many died without the last Sacraments.

Brigands roamed the streets, people suspected of contagion were attacked, animals died, people starved, whole villages vanished into the grave, social order and family ties broke down and the disease appeared incurable. The pious turned to Heaven, begging the intervention of the Saints, praying to be spared or cured. This group devotion began in Germany–the Diocese of Wurzburg having been renowned for its observance.

Pope Nicholas V attached Indulgences to devotion of the Fourteen Holy Helpers in the 16th century.

Saint Christopher and Saint Giles are nvoked against the plague itself.
Saint Denis is prayed to for relief from headache, Saint Blaise for ills of the throat,
Saint Elmo for abdominal maladies,
Saint Barbara for fever and Saint Vitus against epilepsy.
Saint Pantaleon is the Patron of physicians,
Saint Cyriacus invoked against temptation on the deathbed and Saints Christopher, Barbara and Catherine, for protection against a sudden and unprovided death.
Saint Giles is prayed to for a good Confession and Saint Eustace as healer of family troubles.
Domestic animals were also attacked by the plague and so, Saints George, Elmo, Pantaleon and Vitus are invoked for the protection of these animals.
Saint Margaret of Antioch is the Patron of safe childbirth.

The legends of the Fourteen Holy Helpers are replete with the most glorious examples of heroic firmness and invincible courage in the profession of the Faith, which ought to incite us to imitate their fidelity in the performance of the Christian and social duties. If they, with the aid of God’s grace, achieved such victories, why should not we, by the same aid, be able to accomplish the very little which is desired of us? God rewarded His victorious champions with eternal bliss – the same crown is prepared for us, if we but render ourselves worthy of it. God placed the seal of miracles on the intrepid confession of His Servants and a mind imbued with the spirit of faith, sees nothing extraordinary therein because our Divine Saviour, Himself said, “Amen, amen I say to you, he that believes in Me, the works that I do, he also shall do and greater than these shall he do” (John 14:12). In all the miraculous events wrought in and by the Saints, there appears only the victorious omnipotent Power of Jesus Christ and the living faith, in which His Servants operated in virtue of this power.

The histories of the Saints are called Legends.
This word is derived from the Latin,and signifies something that is to be read, a passage the reading of which is prescribed.
Therefore, the Legends of the Saints are the lives of the holy Martyrs and Confessors of the Faith.
Some of them occur in the Roman Breviary which the Catholic Clergy is obliged to read everyday.

(The corruption of this word has occurred in modern times, giving it a meaning of either “unprovable story or celebrity.”)

A little more about the 14 Holy Helpers and a prayer to them by St Alphonsus Liguori here:


Saint of the Day – 27 July – St Pantaleon (Died c 305) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 27 July – St Pantaleon (Died c 305) – Martyr, Lay Physician, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.   He was Martyred in c 305.   Patronages – against consumption or tuberculosis, bachelors, doctors, physicians, midwives, torture victims.   A phial of his blood is preserved at Constantinople and is reported to become liquid and bubble on his feast day.   Some of his relics are enshrined at the church of Saint Denis in Paris, France and others at Lyons, France.

St Pantaleon

According to ltradition he was the son of a rich pagan, Eustorgius of Nicomedia and had been instructed in Christianity by his Christian mother, Eubula.   He became estranged from Christianity for a while as a young man.
He studied medicine and became physician to the Emperor Maximinianus.

He returned to the faith when he encountered a zealous priest, Hermolaus who by prudent exhortation awakened Pantaleon’s conscience to a sense of his guilt, and brought him back into the faith of the Church.   Henceforth he devoted himself ardently to the advancement of the spiritual and temporal welfare of his fellow citizens.  First of all he sought to convert his father, who was still a heathen and had the consolation to see him die a Christian.   As a physician, he was intent on healing his patients both by physical and by spiritual means.   Christians he confirmed in the practice and confession of the Faith” and the heathens he sought to convert.   Many suffering from incurable diseases were restored to health by his prayer and the invocation of the holy name of Jesus.   His presence was everywhere fraught with blessings and consolation.   Upon the death of his father he came into possession of a large fortune, which he divied amongst the poor and the sick.   Envious colleagues denounced him to the emperor during the Diocletian persecution.   The emperor wished to save him and sought to persuade him to apostasy.   Pantaleon, however, openly confessed his faith and as proof that Christ is the true God, he healed a paralytic.   Notwithstanding this, he was condemned to death by the emperor, who regarded the miracle as an exhibition of magic.


Pantaleon’s flesh was first burned with torches; upon this Christ appeared to all in the form of Hermolaus to strengthen and heal Pantaleon.   The torches were extinguished.   Then a bath of liquid lead was prepared, Christ in the same form stepped into the cauldron with him, the fire went out and the lead became cold.   He was then thrown into the sea but the stone with which he was loaded floated.   He was thrown to the wild beasts but these fawned upon him and could not be forced away until he had blessed them.   He was bound on the wheel but the ropes snapped and the wheel broke.   An attempt was made to behead him but the sword bent and the executioners were converted.   Pantaleon implored Heaven to forgive them, for which reason he also received the name of Panteleemon (the all-compassionate).   It was not until he himself desired it that it was possible to behead him, nailed to a tree.    The priest Hermolaus and the brothers Hermippos and Hermocrates suffered death with him, in the year c 305.