Saint of Day – 19 January – St Bassian of Lodi (c 320–c 413) Archbishop, Penitent, miracle-worker – Born c 320 in Syracuse, Sicily – died in 413 in Lodi, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Bassano del Grappa, Italy, Lodi, Italy, San Bassano, Italy, Pizzighettone in Italy. St Bassian was a close of friend of St Ambrose and St Felix of Como.
Saint Bassian, Bishop of Lodi, was a friend of Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. Saint Bassian’s father governed the Syracuse region (in Sicily) and he prepared his son to follow in his footsteps. He sent him to Rome to receive his education. While still in his childhood Saint Bassian had heard about the Christians and he wanted to learn more about them and become familiar with the Christian Faith. Gordian the priest taught him the essentials of the Christian Faith and the youth was filled with the desire to accept Baptism. At the time of the performing of the Holy Sacrament, Saint Bassian beheld an angel in the Baptismal font, holding the garment in which the newly-baptised would be clothed. The saint made bold to ask who he was and where he was from. The angel replied that he was sent from afar to help him fulfil his holy intent to know Christ. Then he became invisible.
Saint Bassian began to lead a strict life, eating little food and spending his nights at prayer. His servants were astonished at such temperance and they surmised that he had accepted Christianity. They reported this to Saint Bassian’s father, who ordered him to return to Syracuse. Praying in the church of Saint John, the saint received from the Apostle the command to leave Rome. And so Saint Bassian distributed all his goods to the poor and together with his faithful Christian servant, he set off to Ravenna to his kinsman, Bishop Ursus.
Bishop Ursus set him up at a solitary place outside the city near the church in honour of the St Apollinaris. Saint Bassian quickly advanced spiritually and soon he was glorified by miracles. During this time a judge had been falsely accused and was sentenced to death by decapitation. Along the way to he prayerfully called out for help to Saint Bassian. When the executioner was already holding the sword over his head, the sword suddenly was knocked from his hands and flew off to the side. This occurred three times. The same thing happened with another executioner. When they reported this to the Emperor, the Emperor set the judge free. He then told how he had been saved through the intercession of Saint Bassian.
The people of the city, believing that the prayer of Saint Bassian was powerful before God, asked Bishop Ursus to Ordain him to the Priesthood. Upon the death of the Bishop of the city of Lodi in Liguria, Northern Italy, the priest Clement of the cathedral church had a revelation that Saint Bassian would be chosen Archbishop of Lodi. Both Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan and Bishop Ursus officiated at at his Consecration.
He built a church dedicated to the Apostles, consecrating it in 381 in the presence of Saint Ambrose and Saint Felix of Como. He participated in the Council of Aquileia in 381 and may perhaps have participated in the Council of Milan (390).
Saint Bassian taught the people not only by word but also by deed, providing his flock example of a virtuous life. At Lodi, he built a beautiful church dedicated to the holy Apostles. Saint Bassian often exchanged letters with Saint Ambrose and he was present at his blessed repose and buried his body.
Saint Bassian died peacefully in the year 413, having served as Archbishop for 35 years. Bassian’s signature is found together with Ambrose’s in a letter sent to Pope Siricius.
In 1158, when Milanese forces destroyed Lodi, his relics were taken to Milan. They were returned in 1163, when Lodi Cathedral was rebuilt, the Statue below resides there.
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