Posted in PATRONAGE - HORSES - and sick horses, JOCKEYS, all HORSE-related workers, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 30 April – Saint Gualfardus of Augsburg (1070-1127)

Saint of the Day – 30 April – Saint Gualfardus of Augsburg (1070-1127) Hermit, Monk, Miracle-worker. Born in 1070 at Augsburg, Germany and died on 30 April 1127 at San Salvatore Priory, Verona, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – harness makers, saddlers. Also known as – Gualfardus of Verona, Gualfardo of … Wolfhard of… (Germanic version of his name). Additional Memorials – 1 May in Verona and 27 October (translation of relics).

The Roman Martyrology states today: “In Verona, Saint Gualfardo, who, a saddler from Germany, after many years spent in solitude, was welcomed in this City by the Monks of San Salvatore.

St Gualfardus by I Brint (1620)

A saddle-maker by trade, Gualfardus, obeying his inner desire for a life entirely dedicated to God, after spending some time in Verona, withdrew into solitude, in a nearby place. known as all’Adige.

Following the example of St Romuald, Founder of the Camaldolese Order of Hermits, at Mount Corona, Gualfardus spent twenty years in hiding in this solitary place, in prayer to God. Then some boatmen, who were sailing on the river discovered him and it wasn’t long before others sought him out, thus forcing him to move to Verona to the Church of St Peter.

After a while, he passed to the Church of the Blessed Trinity outside the city walls and was finally received with great joy as an oblate by the Camaldolese Monks of St Salvatore di Corteregia in Verona. There, Gualfardus remained for ten years until his death.

Gualfardus reached the highest degrees of contemplation and holiness, with incessant prayer, night vigils, fasts, penances; all interwoven with serenity, modesty and prudence, which reflected peace and intimate union with God.

A contemporary Monk, who was the author of his first ‘Vita,’ described the fervour with which Gualfardus conversed with the faithful and with the Camaldolese Monks and the many miracles obtained by Gualfardus both in life and after his death.

He died in the Convent of Verona on 30 April 1127. The Veronese celebrate his feast on 1 May, as protector of saddlers, while the Camaldolese Order and the Roman Martyrology remember him on 30 April, the anniversary of his birth into heaven.

Posted in MARTYRS, PATRONAGE - HORSES - and sick horses, JOCKEYS, all HORSE-related workers, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 16 January – Saint Pope Marcellus I (Died 309)

Saint of the Day – 16 January – Saint Pope Marcellus I (Died 309) Papal Ascension May-June 308. Also known as – Marcel, Marcelo. Patronage – Stablemen.

Nothing of Marcellus’ life before his papacy has survived the centuries. He became Pope at the end of the persecutions of Diocletian in aound 3089. The persecutions had disrupted the Church so much, that there had been a gap of over a year without a Pope.

Once he was elected, he faced several challenges, including reconsituting the clergy, which had been decimated and whose remnant had practiced their vocation only covertly and with the expectation of martyrdom. He worked hard to recover and welcome back all who had denied the faith in order to keep from being murdered.

When a group of the apostatised, known as the Lapsi, refused to do penance, Marcellus refused to allow their return to the Church. Some of these caused such civil disruption that Emperor Maxentius exiled the Pope in order to settle the matter.

Legend says that Marcellus was forced to work as a stable slave as punishment, however we do know that he died of the terrible conditions he suffered in exile and is considered a Martyr because of that.

The account in the Liber Pontificalis continues:
But although he served many days in the stable, he did not cease his service to the Lord with prayers and fastings. Moreover, in the ninth month, all his clergy came by night and removed him by night from the stable. A certain matron and widow whose name was Lucina, who had lived with her husband Marcus for 15 years and had been 19 years a widow, received the blessed man. And she dedicated her house as a Church in the name of the blessed Marcellus and there day and night the Lord Jesus Christ was confessed with hymns and prayers.

This is the Church known in modern times as San Lorenzo in Lucina where a Basilica was subsequently built in the mid-4th century, restored and embellished numerous times throughout the centuries. Traces of the original Roman structure may be seen amidst the foundations even to this day.

The Liber Pontificalis continues:
But Maxentius heard of it and sent and seized the blessed Marcellus a second time and gave orders that in that very Church, boards should be laid down and the animals of the stable should be collected and kept there and the blessed Marcellus should tend them. And he died in the service of the animals, clad only in a hair shirt.

And the blessed Lucina took is body and he was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla on the Via Salaria, 16 January.

And the Bishopric was empty 20 days.

Lucina herself was condemned by proscription.

The remains of the Martyred Pope were later transferred to the Basilica of San Marcello al Corso in Rome. An epitaph of Pope Saint Marcellus, written by Pope Damasus about 80 years after Marcellus’s Martyrdom, was found in the cemetery of Priscilla.


Saint of the Day – 1 December – “Good St Eligius” – St Eligius of Noyon (c 588-660)

Saint of the Day – 1 December – “Good St Eligius”- St Eligius of Noyon (c 588-660) Bishop, Goldsmith, Royal Courtier and adviser to the King, peace-maker, servant of the poor and of slaves. He founded Monasteries and donated his own property for the founding of the first female Monastery in the area. Born in c 588 at at Catelat, near Limoges, France and died on 1 December 660 at Noyon, France of high fever, Also known as – Alar, Elaere, Elar, Elard, Eler, Eloi, Eloy, Eloye, Iler, Loie, Loije, Loy, Additional Memorials – 24 June (translation of relics, and blessing of horses), 8 November as one of the Saints of the Diocese of Evry. Patronages – carpenters, cartwrights, clock/watch makers, coin collectors, craftsmen of all kinds, cutlers, gilders, goldsmiths, harness makers, horses especially sick horses, jewelers; jockeys; knife makers; labourers, locksmiths, metalworkers in general, miners, minters, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, saddlers, tool makers, Veterinarians, against boils, against epidemics, against equine diseases, against poverty, against ulcers, agricultural workers, basket makers, Eloois-Vijve, Belgium, Sint-Eloois-Winkel, Belgium,
Schinveld, Netherlands.

The Roman Martyrology states: “In Noyon in Neustria, now in France, Saint Eligius, Bishop, who, goldsmith and adviser to King Dagobert, after having contributed to the foundation of many Monasteries and built Sepulchral buildings of outstanding art and beauty in honour of the Saints, was raised to the See of Noyon and Tournai, where he zealously evangelised.”

The Legend of Saint Eligius and Saint Godeberta, by Petrus Christus.

Eligius was born around 588, originally from Chaptelat in Limousin. He belonged to a wealthy rural family who worked their own land, unlike many landowners who left the cultivation to slaves. He left the care of the family farm to one of his brothers and entered trade as a Goldsmith apprentice in a shop in which the Royal Coin was hammered, according to ancient Roman methods. He saved some of the income from his family and gave it in charity to the poor and to slaves. He was as clever in enamel as in gold chiselling. These professional qualities went hand-in-hand with a scrupulous honesty. When they asked him to make a golden throne for King Clothair II (613-629), he made a second with the extra gold he did not want to hold for himself.

This gesture, extraordinary at the time, earned him the trust of the King, who asked him to reside in Paris as the Royal Goldsmith, a Royal Court Officer and Court Counselor. Named coinmaster in Marseilles, he would redeem many of the slaves sold at the Port. When Dagobert became King in 629, he was summoned to Paris where he directed the shops of the Frankish kingdom in which coin was minted, which were in Paris on the Quai des Orfèvres at the present-day Rue de la Monnaie. Among others, he had the task of embellishing the tombs of Saint Genevieve and Saint Denis.

He made Reliquaries for Saint Germain, Saint Severinus, Saint Martin and Saint Columba and numerous Liturgical objects for the new Abbey of Saint Denis. Thanks to his honesty, his frankness and his capacity for peaceable judgement, he came so far into the King’s trust, that the latter called him to himself, and entrusted him with a peace mission to the Breton king, King Judicael.

St Eligius Consecrated Bishop of Novon

Great was the piety and prayer life of this layman, who often attended monastic offices. In 632 he founded the Solignac Monastery south of Limoges. While Eligius still lived, the Monastery had grown to count more than 150 Monks under the two rules of St Benedict and St Colomba: – the Monastery was under the protection of the King and not under the authority of the Bishop. The religious fervour and the ardour of the Monks, made it one of the most illustrious Monasteries of the time. One year after the foundation of Solignac, Eligius founded, in his Ile de la Cité home, the first Monastic house for women religious in Paris, whose direction he entrusted to Saint Aurea.

A year after the death of King Dagobert, whom he had seen in the last moments of his life, Eligius left the Court together with Saint Audenus, who had served as adviser and Chancellor under Dagobert . Like Audenus, Eligius also entered formation and was Ordained Priest. On the same day, 13 May 641, they received the Episcopate: Saint Audenus to the See of Rouen; Eligius to that of Noyon and Tournai. Eligius put all his zeal into apostolic mission.

He died in 660, on the eve of his departure for Cahors. Holy Queen Bathilde travelled to greet him but she arrived too late.

There is a wonderful legend of St Eligius – the devil appeared to him dressed as a woman and he, Eligius, quickly grabbed him by the nose with his pincers. This colourful legend is depicted in two French Cathedrals (Angers and Le Mans) and in the Milan Cathedral, with the stained glass window by Niccolò da Varallo, a gift from the Milanese Goldsmiths in the fifteenth century. Ungfortunately, I cannot find any of these artworks.

In Paris, a Church was dedicated to him in the quarter of the blacksmiths, locksmiths and cabinet-makers. The Church of Saint Eligius was rebuilt in 1967. A church destroyed in 1793 was dedicated to him in the Rue des Orfèvres near the Hôtel de la Monnaie (the mint). In Notre Dame Cathedral, in the Chapel of Saint Ann, once home to the jewellers’ and goldsmiths’ confraternity, the jewellers and goldsmiths of Paris have placed his Statue and restored his Altar.

These are the Representations of this our little-known but o so holy and worthy Saint:
• anvil
• Bishop with a Crosier in his right hand, on the open palm of his left a miniature Church of chased gold
• Bishop with a hammer, anvil and horseshoe
• Bishop with a horse
• Courtier
• Goldsmith
• hammer
• horseshoe
• man grasping a devil’s nose with pincers
• man holding a Chalice and Goldsmith’s hammer
• man holding a horse’s leg, which he detached from the horse in order to shoe it more easily
• man shoeing a horse
• man with hammer and crown near a smithy
• man with hammer, anvil and Saint Anthony
• pincers
• man with Saint Godebertha of Noyon
• man giving a ring to Saint Godebertha
• man working as a Goldsmith.

St Eligius at the feet of the Virgin and Child by Gerard Seghers

Saint of the Day – 23 April – St George (died c 303) Martyr, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

Saint of the Day – 23 April – St George (died c 303) also known as St George of Lydda,  Jirí, Jordi, Zorzo,  Victory Bringer – Martyr and Soldier.   St George was born c 256-285 in Palestine and was tortured and beheaded to death in c 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia, Roman Empire.   Patronages – • against herpes • against leprosy • against plague • against skin diseases • against skin rashes • against syphilis • agricultural workers • Aragon • archers • armourers • Boy Scouts • butchers • Canada • Cappadocia • Catalonia • cavalry • chivalry • Crusaders • England • equestrians • Ethiopia • farmers • field hands • field workers • Georgia • Germany • Greece • halberdiers • horsemen • horses  • knights • lepers • Lithuania • Malta • Montenegro • Order of the Garter • Palestine • Palestinian Christians • Portugal • riders • Romanian Army • saddle makers • saddlers • Serbia • sheep • shepherds • soldiers • Teutonic Knights • 2 Dioceses • 181 Cities.   He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.


St George was a Roman soldier of Greek origin and officer in the Guard of Roman emperor Diocletian, who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith.   As a Christian Martyr, he later became one of the most venerated saints in Christianity and was especially venerated by the Crusaders.   George’s parents were Christians of Greek background, his father Gerontius was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother Polychronia was a Christian and a Greek native from Lydda in the Roman province of Syria Palaestina.

St George is commemorated and remembered as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and one of the most prominent military Saints, he is immortalised in the myth of Saint George and the Dragon.  Due to his chivalrous behaviour (protecting women, fighting evil, dependence on faith and might of arms, largesse to the poor), devotion to Saint George became popular in the Europe after the 10th century.   In the 15th century his feast day was as popular and important as Christmas.   Many of his areas of patronage have to do with life as a knight on horseback.   The celebrated Knights of the Garter are actually Knights of the Order of Saint George.   The shrine built for his relics at Lydda, Palestine was a popular point of pilgrimage for centuries.

Simon Vouet - ST GEORGE

There is little information on the early life of Saint George.   Herbert Thurston in The Catholic Encyclopedia states that based upon an ancient cultus, narratives of the early pilgrims and the early dedications of churches to Saint George, going back to the fourth century, “there seems, therefore, no ground for doubting the historical existence of St. George”.    According to Donald Attwater, “No historical particulars of his life have survived, … The widespread veneration for St George as a soldier saint from early times had its centre in Palestine at Diospolis, now Lydda.   St George was apparently martyred there, at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century; that is all that can be reasonably surmised about him.”

On 24 February 303, Diocletian, who hated Christians, announced that every Christian the army passed would be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods.   George refused to abide by the order and told Diocletian, who was angry but greatly valued his friendship with George’s father.   When George announced his beliefs before his peers, Diocletian was unable to keep the news to himself.   In an effort to save George, Diocletian attempted to convert him to believe in the Roman gods, offered him land, money and slaves in exchange for offering a sacrifice to the Roman gods and made several other offers that George refused.

Finally, after exhausting all other options, Diocletian ordered George’s execution.   In preparation for his death, George gave his money to the poor and was sent for several torture sessions.   He was lacerated on a wheel of swords and required resuscitation three times but still George did not turn from God.

Saint George dragged through the city behind horses – 15th century – Bernardo Martorell

George was decapitated before Nicomedia’s outer wall.   His body was sent to Lydda for burial and other Christians went to honour George as a martyr.

Saint George and the Dragon

There are several stories about George fighting dragons but in the Western version, a dragon or crocodile made its nest at a spring that provided water to Silene, believed to be modern-day Lcyrene in Libya.   The people were unable to collect water and so attempted to remove the dragon from its nest on several occasions.   It would temporarily leave its nest when they offered it a sheep each day, until the sheep disappeared and the people were distraught.  This was when they decided that a maiden would be just as effective as sending a sheep.   The townspeople chose the victim by drawing straws.   This continued until one day the princess’ straw was drawn.   The monarch begged for her to be spared but the people would not have it.   She was offered to the dragon but before she could be devoured, George appeared.   He faced the dragon, protected himself with the sign of the Cross and slayed the dragon.   After saving the town, the citizens abandoned their paganism and were all converted to Christianity.

header - Detail from Saint George and the Dragon, Raphael, about 1506 ·1-the-fight-st-george-kills-the-dragon-vi-edward-burne-jonesRubens_-_San_Jorge_y_el_Dragón_(Museo_del_Prado,_1605)

Interesting Facts

Saint George stands out among other saints and legends because he is known and revered by both Muslims and Christians.
It is said Saint George killed the dragon near the sea in Beirut, thus Saint George Bay was named in his honour.
Saint George’s feast day is celebrated on 23 April but if it falls before Easter, it is celebrated Easter Monday.
The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates three St George feast days each year -23 April, 3 November, to commemorate the consecration of a cathedral dedicated to him in Lydda, and on 26 November for when a church in Kiev was dedicated to him.
In Bulgaria, his feast day is celebrated 6 May with the slaughter and roasting of a lamb.
In Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria calls St George the “Prince of Martyrs” and celebrates on 1 May.   There is a second celebration 17 November in honour of the first church dedicated to him.
Saint George is the patron saint of England and Catalonia and his cross can be found throughout England including on the English and other Commonwealth flags.
In older works, Saint George is depicted wearing armour and holding a lance or fighting a dragon, which represents Christ’s enemies.

Correggio, Madonna with St George, 1530-32,
The Madonna with St George – Correggio