Posted in PATRONAGE - SKIN DISEASES, RASHES, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Saint of the Day – 24 August – St Bartholomew the Apostle and Martyr

Saint of the Day – 24 August – St Bartholomew the Apostle and Martyr. Saint Bartholomew, whose name appears only in the lists of the Apostles, is believed to be Nathanael, whom Philip brought to Christ. He preached in Persia and Egypt and was flayed alive in Armenia. His relics are believed to be in the Church of Saint Bartholomew in Rome.

Saint Bartholomew Apostle and Martyr
Excerpt from The Liturgical Year
By Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)

A witness of the Son of God, one of the princes who announced His glory to the nations, lights up this day with his apostolic flame.

Personally, who was this Apostle who borrowed such solemnity from the scene of his apostolic labours? Under the name or surname of Bartholomew (“Son of Tholmai“), the only mark of recognition given him, by the first three Gospels, do we see, as many have thought that Nathaniel, whose presentation to Jesus by Philip forms so sweet a scene in St John’s Gospel (1: 45-51)?
A man of uprightness, innocence and simplicity, … for whom, the Man-God had choice graces and caresses from the very beginning.

Be this as it may, the lot which fell to our Saint among the Twelve, points to the special confidence of the Divine Heart. The heroism of the terrible Martyrdom which sealed his apostolate, reveals his fidelity. The dignity preserved by the nation he grafted onto Christ, in all the countries where it has been transplanted, witnesses to the excellence of the sap first infused into its branches. When, two centuries and a half later, St Gregory the Illuminator, so successfully cultivated the soil of Armenia, he did but quicken the seed sown by the Apostle, which the trials never wanting to that generous land, had retarded for a time but could not stifle. …

We learn from Eusebius and from St Jerome that before going to Armenia, his final destination, St Bartholomew evangelised the Indies, where Pantaenus a century later found a copy of St Matthew’s Gospel in Hebrew characters, left there by him. …

The City of Rome used to celebrate the Feast of St Bartholomew on the following day, as do also the Greeks who commemorate on 25 August – a translation of the Apostle’s relics. It is owing, in fact, to the various translations of his holy body and to the difficulty of ascertaining the date of his Martyrdom that different days have been adopted for his Feast ,by different Churches, both in the east and in the west. The 24th of this month, consecrated by the use of most of the Latin Churches, is the day assigned in the most ancient Martyrologies, including that of St Jerome. In the 13th Century, Pope Innocent III, having been consulted as to the divergence, answered that local custom was to be observed.

The Church gives just the following Lessons for the life of the Apostle of Armenia:

The Holy Apostle Bartholomew was a native of Galilee. It fell to his lot to preach the Gospel in western India;and he announced to those nations the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of St Matthew. But after converting many souls to Jesus Christ in that Province and, undergoing much labour and suffering, he went into eastern Armenia.

Here he converted to the Christian Faith, the King Polymius and his Queen, as well as twelve Cities. This caused the pagan priests of that nation to be exceedingly jealous of him and they stirred up Astyages, the brother of King Polymius against the Apostle, so that he commanded him to be flayed alive and finally beheaded. In this cruel Martyrdom he gave up his soul to God.

His body was buried at Albanapolis, the town of eastern Armenia where he was Martyred but it was afterwards taken to the island of Lispari and thence to Beneventum. Finally it was translated to Rome by the Emperor Otto III and placed on the island of the Tiber, in a Church dedicated to God under his invocation.

On this day of thy Feast, O holy Apostle, the Church (in the Collect of the Mass) prays for grace to love what thou didst believe and to preach what thou didst teach. Not that the Bride of the Son of God, could ever fail, either in faith or in love but She knows, only too well that, although Her Head is ever in the light and Her heart ever united to the Spouse, in the Holy Ghost Who sanctifies Her, nevertheless ,Her members and particular Churches may detach themselves from their centre of life and wander away in darkness. O thou who didst choose the west as the place of thy rest, thou in whose precious relics Rome glories in possessing, bring back to St Peter, the nations thou didst evangelise, that we may together, enjoy the treasures of our concordant traditions and go to God, even at the cost of being despoiled of all things, by the course so grand and yet so simple, taught us by thy example and by thy sublime theology. Amen.

Posted in PATRONAGE - against EPIDEMICS, PATRONAGE - BACHELORS, PATRONAGE - DOGS, PATRONAGE - GOUT, KNEE PROBLEMS, ARTHRITIS, etc, PATRONAGE - SKIN DISEASES, RASHES, PATRONAGE - THE SICK, THE INFIRM, ALL ILLNESS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 16 August- St Roch (1295-1327) Confessor

Saint of the Day – 16 August- St Roch (1295-1327)  Confessor, Pilgrim, Hermit, Apostle of the Sick, Miracle Worker.   Born in 1295 at Montpelier, France and died in 1327 at Montpelier or Angleria, France of natural causes).   His relics are in Venice, Italy in the Church of San Rocco,some reside in Rome and others in Arles, France.   Patronages –  against cholera, against diseased cattle, against epidemics, against knee problems, against the plague, against skin diseases and rashes, bachelors, of dogs, falsely accused people, invalids, relief from pestilence, surgeons, tile makers, Tagbilaran, Philippines, diocese of, Constantinople, 24 other assorted Cities around the world.   Attributes – angel, bread, dog, pilgrim with staff, often displaying a plague wound on his leg, pilgrim with a dog, pilgrim with a dog licking the wound, pilgrim with a dog carrying a loaf of bread in its mouth.

According to his Acta and his vita in the Golden Legend, he was born at Montpellier, at that time “upon the border of France”, as the Golden Legend has it, the son of the noble governor of that city.   Even his birth was accounted a miracle, for his noble mother had been barren until she prayed to the Virgin Mary.   Miraculously marked from birth with a red cross on his breast that grew as he did, he early began to manifest strict asceticism and great devoutness;  on days when his “devout mother fasted twice in the week and the blessed child Rocke abstained him twice also, when his mother fasted in the week, and would suck his mother but once that day”.

On the death of his parents in his twentieth year he distributed all his worldly goods among the poor like Francis of Assisi—though his father on his deathbed had ordained him governor of Montpellier—and set out as a mendicant pilgrim for Rome.   Coming into Italy during an epidemic of plague, he was very diligent in tending the sick in the public hospitals at Acquapendente, Cesena, Rimini, Novara and Rome, and is said to have effected many miraculous cures by prayer and the sign of the cross and the touch of his hand.   St Roch Praying to the Virgin for an End to the Plague Creator(s- Jacques-Louis DavidIn In Rome, according to the Golden Legend he preserved the “Cardinal of Angleria in Lombardy” by making the Sign of the Cross on his forehead, which miraculously remained!    Ministering at Piacenza he himself finally fell ill.   He was expelled from the Town and withdrew into the forest, where he fashioned a shelter of boughs and leaves, which was miraculously supplied with water, by a spring wic arose in the place;.   He would have perished, had not a dog belonging to a nobleman named Gothard Palastrelli, supplied him with bread and licked his wounds, healing them.   Count Gothard, following his hunting dog carrying the bread, discovered Saint Roch and became his acolyte.

Jacopo_Tintoretto_-_St_Roch_in_the_Hospital_(detail)_-_WGA22606+(2)816roch16guido reni san roque 1617Saint_Paul_Saint_Roch

On his return incognito to Montpellier he was arrested as a spy (by orders of his own uncle) and thrown into prison, where he languished five years and died on 16 August 1327, without revealing his name, to avoid worldly glory.   After his death, according to the Golden Legend;

“anon an angel brought from heaven a table divinely written with letters of gold into the prison, which he laid under the head of St Rocke.   And in that table was written that God had granted to him his prayer, that is to wit, that who that calleth meekly to St Rocke he shall not be hurt with any hurt of pestilence.”

The townspeople recognised him as well by his birthmark;  he was soon canonised in the popular mind and a great church erected in veneration.

The story that when the Council of Constance was threatened with plague in 1414, public processions and prayers for the intercession of Roch were ordered and the outbreak ceased, is provided by Francesco Diedo, the Venetian governor of Brescia, in his Vita Sancti Rochi, 1478.   The cult of Roch gained momentum during the bubonic plague that passed through northern Italy in 1477–79.

His popularity, originally in central and northern Italy and at Montpellier, spread through Spain, France, Lebanon the Low Countries, Brazil and Germany, where he was often interpolated into the roster of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, whose veneration spread in the wake of the Black Death.   The magnificent 16th-century Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the adjacent church of San Rocco were dedicated to him by a confraternity at Venice, where his body was said to have been surreptitiously translated and was triumphantly inaugurated in 1485;  the Scuola Grande is famous for its sequence of paintings by Tintoretto, who painted St Roch visited by an angel, in a ceiling canvas (1564).

Tintoretto,_Jacopo_-_St_Roch_in_Prison_Visited_by_an_Angel_-_1567

We know for certain that the body of St Roch was carried from Voghera, instead of Montpellier as previously thought, to Venice in 1485.   Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503) built a Church and a hospital in his honour.   Pope Paul III (1534–1549) instituted a confraternity of St Roch.   This was raised to an Arch-confraternity in 1556 by Pope Paul IV;  it still thrives today.

Saint Roch had not been officially recognised as a Saint as yet, however.   In 1590 the Venetian Ambassador to Rome reported to the Serenissima that he had been repeatedly urged to present the witnesses and documentation of the life and miracles of St Rocco, already deeply entrenched in the Venetian life because Pope Sixtus V “is strong in his opinion either to Canonise him or else to remove him from the ranks of the Saints.”    The Ambassador had warned a Cardinal of the general scandal that would result, if the widely venerated St Rocco, were impugned as an impostor.   Sixtus did not pursue the matter but left it to later Popes to proceed with the Canonisation process.   His successor, Pope Gregory XIV (1590–1591), added Roch of Montpellier, who had already been memorialised in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for two centuries, to the Roman Martyrology, thereby fixing 16 August as his universal Feast Day.

Numerous brotherhoods have been instituted in his honour.   He is usually represented in the garb of a pilgrim, often lifting his tunic to demonstrate the plague sore in his thigh and accompanied by a dog carrying a loaf in its mouth.   The Third Order of Saint Francis, by tradition, claims him as a member and includes his Feast on its own calendar, observing his Feast on 17 August.