Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 25 December – Blessed Peter the Venerable (c 1092–1156)

Saint of the Day – 25 December – Blessed Peter the Venerable (c 1092–1156) Eighth Abbot of Cluny, Reformer, Scholar and Writer, Poet. Born in c 1092 in Auvergne, France and died on 25 December 1156 of natural causes. Also known as – Peter of Cluny, Peter of Montboissier. Additional Memorials – 29 April as one of the Abbots of Cluny, 11 May (Benedictine calendar), 29 or 30 December on some calendars.

A descendant of the noble family of Montboissier, Peter was born to Blessed Raingarde in Auvergne, He was “Dedicated to God” at birth and was educated at the Mmonastery at Sauxillanges of the Congregation of Cluny. Peter, aged seventeen, made his profession to his Abbot, St Hugh, shortly before the latter’s death in 1109.. By the age of twenty he gained a professorship and was appointed Prior of the Monastery of Vézelay, before he moved to the Monastery at Domène.

Success at Vézelay and Domène led to his election as General of the Order, aged thirty. After his predecessor, the Abbot Pontius, had been deposed by the Pope, Peter became a tireless reformer of the Cluniac Order, in the face of criticism from other Orders and prominent Monks and theologians, including his great friend, St Bernard of Clairvaux. His defence of his Order against critics and his introduction of radical reforms, earned him the appellation of “venerable”.

Peter making his profession to St Hugh

His interest in the pursuit of studies at Cluny brought about a controversy with his intimate friend, St Bernard, who wished to see the monastic life confined to prayer and manual work. In 1130 Peter supported Pope Innocent II against the antipope Anacletus II, himself a Cluniac Monk and in 1140, he gave shelter to Abelard first at Cluny and later at the priory of St-Marcel-de-Chalon.

Between his numerous journeys, which took him to Spain in 1142, to Germany in 1147, twice to England and ten times to Italy, he frequently retired to a hermitage to devote himself to study and meditation. He was the first to have the Koran translated into Latin (completed 1143) and himself, wrote against the Muslims. His works, among which are treatises against Peter de Bruys and against the Jews (1144–7), a number of sermons and some poems, show comparatively little acquaintance with the Fathers but profound knowledge of the Scriptures and a preference for the literal sense, which causes him to avoid allegorical speculations. His friendship and correspondence with Bishop Henry of Blois of Winchester and Glastonbury, between 1138 and 1142, together with his debating skills, brought wider recognition of his scholarship. And, his moderation and gentleness earned him the veneration of his contemporaries but, in the eyes of posterity, he was overshadowed by the great figure of his illustrious friend, St Bernard.

Peter died a holy death on Christmas Day in 1156. He was in buried in the southern end of the cloister of the Monastery Church of Cluny Abbey. Sadly, his grave was desecrated by the Huguenots in 1562 and most of his relics were destroyed in 1792 in the anti–Catholic excesses of the French Revolution.

Although he has always been honoured as a Saint, he was never canonised and the Martyrologies grants him the title of Blessed. His cult was finally confirmed in 1862 by Blessed Pope Pius IX. and in France and around Europe, he is called “Saint.”


The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ, Mary of Salvation and Memorials of the Saints – 25 December

The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ
Celebration of the anniversary of the Birth of Our Lord. In the earliest days of the Church there was no such Feast, the Saviour’s Birth was commemorated with the Epiphany by the Greek and other Eastern Churches. First mention of the Feast, then kept on 20 May, was made by Clement of Alexandria c 200. The Latin Church began c 300 to observe it on 25 December, though there is no certainty that Our Lord was born on that day. Priests have the privilege of saying three Masses, at midnight, daybreak and morning. This was originally reserved to the Holy Father alone – beginning about the 4th century he celebrated a midnight Mass in the Lateran Basilica (in which according to tradition, the manger of Bethlehem is preserved), a second in the church of Saint Anastasia, whose Feast comes on 25 December and a third at the Vatican Basilica. Many peculiar customs of the day are the outcome of the pagan celebrations of the January calendar. The Christmas tree, of which the first known mention was made in 1605 at Strasbourg, was introduced into France and England in 1840. The feast is a holy day of obligation, preceded by the preparatory season of Advent and by a special Vigil – should it fall on a Friday it abrogates the law of abstinence. Today’s Gospel is the prologue of John.

Mary of Christmas
Unknown Author

I know not how, dear Lady love,
To offer you my praise,
I cannot fashion as I wish
The words that I world raise.
You stand afar, celestial Queen,
The stars are in your crown,
They spangle at each gesture’s path
And dust upon your gown.
Perhaps I might recall the night
You knelt beside the crib,
The night when doors and casements shut
And left a mountain’s rib,
Alone, exposed, to hoard you close
Beside the new-born Child
And seek in Joseph’s kindly eyes
For something worldly-mild.
To counteract such mundane chill
I hereby set my heart,
Dim mirror of an Infant’s warmth,
Its flaming but a part,
A small, sad part of Endless Love
That came on Christmas day
To show a mother wonder-bright
To guide us on our way.

St Adalsindis of Hamay
St Alburga of Wilton
St Anastasia of Sirmium
Bl Artale
St Basilée of the Via Latina
Bl Bentivoglio de Bonis
Bl Diego de Aro
St Eugenia of Rome
St Fulk of Toulouse

Blessed Jacopone da Todi OFM (1230-1306) Priest and Friar of the Order of the Friars Minor, Author of the “Stabat Mater,” Confessor, Hymnist, Poet, Musician, Mystic, Lawyer.

St Jovin of the Via Latina
Bl Maria Therese von Wüllenweber
Bl Matthew of Albano
Bl Michael Nakashima Saburoemon
Bl Nera
Blessed Peter the Venerable (c 1092–1156) Abbot
St Romulus of Berry

Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians martyred by order of Diocletian. They were reported to have all been in the single basilica to celebrate Christmas. While there unquestionably was an endless series of martyrs under Diocletian, it’s likely the ancient sources exaggerated the numbers of this incident. And as the Christmas holy day was not celebrated in the East in 303, they were probably gathered for another feast. They were burned alive in 303 in the basilica of Nicomedia.