Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 9 January – St Peter of Sebaste (c 340-c 391) Bishop

Saint of the Day – 9 January – St Peter of Sebaste (c 340-c 391) Bishop of Sebaste in Lesser Armenia. Born in c 340 in Caesarea, Cappadocia and died in 391 in Sebaste, Lesser Armenia, of natural causes. He was the younger brother of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, the famous Christian Hermit Naucratius and Macrina the Younger, all Saints. He is also known as Peter of Sebasteia, as well as a close friend and colleague of St Gregory of Nazianzen, another Doctor of the Church.

Any sibling who has ever idolised their older siblings, followed in their footsteps, or felt himself living in their shadow, can certainly relate to Peter of Sebaste, who was the youngest child of a true theological powerhouse of a family.

Peter lived in the second half of the fourth century and was born around the year 340. He was the youngest of ten children and lost his father in his cradle, some think before he was born. His older siblings were two of the Cappadocian Fathers—Basil of Caesarea, that is St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nyssa—and the great female monk and desert mother, St Macrina the Younger. Macrina took the young Peter under her spiritual wing and trained him in the religious life of asceticism.

Family of Saints

Peter was a brilliant young student and, after a childhood spent studying the liberal arts, he turned all of his intellectual strength towards theological studies, focusing particularly on studying the Sacred Scriptures.

Basil was appointed the Bishop of Caesarea in 370 and, shortly after, ordained his younger brother, Peter, as a Priest. Soon after ordaining Peter, Basil took him into his Episcopal court as an advisor and confidante. Peter withdrew soon after from court and became, like Macrina, a solitary ascetic.

Peter helped Macrina and their mother start a monastic community of women and started a monastery community of men as well but, unfortunately, he was forced back into the public square when he was appointed the Bishop of Sebaste in Armenia.

As Bishop, Peter’s activities were not well-recorded but in his life and Episcopal administration, he displayed the same characteristics as Basil. Linked together in the closest manner with his brothers, he followed their writings with the greatest interest. At his advice Gregory of Nyssa wrote his great work, Against Eunomius, in defence of Basil’s similarly named book answering the polemical work of Eunomius. It was also at his desire, that Gregory wrote the Treatise on the Work of the Six Days, to defend Basil’s similar treatise against false interpretations and to complete it. Another work of Gregory’s, On the Endowment of Man, was also written at Peter’s suggestion and sent to the latter with an appropriate preface as an Easter gift in 397.

“A letter, which St Peter wrote and which is prefixed to St Gregory of Nyssa’s books against Eunomius, has entitled him to a rank among the ecclesiastical writers and is a standing proof, that though he had confined himself to sacred studies, yet by good conversation and reading and by the dint of genius and an excellent understanding, he was inferior to none but his incomparable brother Basil and his colleague and friend, St Gregory of Nazianzen, in solid eloquence.
In 381, he attended the general council held at Constantinople and joined the other Bishops in condemning the Macedonian heretics. Not only his brother, St Gregory of Nyssa but also Theodoret and all antiquity, bear testimony to his extraordinary sanctity, prudence and zeal. ”
(From the life of his sister St Macrina, composed by their brother St Gregory of Nyssa).

His death happened in summer, about the year 391 and his brother of Nyssa mentions, that his memory was honoured at Sebaste (probably the very year after his death) by an anniversary solemnity, with several martyrs of that city. His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology, on the 9th of January.


Feast of the Black Nazarene, Our Lady of Mercy of Absam/Our Lady of Clemency (Austria) and Memorials of the Saints – 9 January

Feast of the Black Nazarene, 9 January:
The Black Nazarene is a blackened, life-sized wooden icon of Jesus Christ carrying a cross. It was constructed in Mexico in the early 17th century by an Aztec carpenter. Spanish Augustinian Recollect friar missionaries to Manila, Philippines originally brought the icon to Manila in 1606. The transport ship caught fire, burning the icon but the locals kept the charred statue. Miracles, especially healings, have been reported in its presence. The church in which it stood burned down around it in 1791 and 1929, was destroyed by earthquakes in 1645 and 1863 and was damaged during bombing in 1945. It used to be carried through the streets every January and Christians would rub cloths on it to make healing relics but centuries of this treatment have left the statue in bad shape and since 1998 a replica is paraded at the feast day celebrations. In 1650, Pope Innocent X issued a papal bull which canonically established the Cofradia de Jesús Nazareno to encourage devotion. In the 19th century Pope Pius VII granted indulgences to those who piously pray before the image. Patronage: Quiapo, Philippines.

Our Lady of Mercy of Absam/Our Lady of Clemency (Austria) – 9 January:
The shrine is probably the only one in the world where Our Lady’s shrine is enclosed in glass. It dates from the late 18th century.
On a dark snowy day in 1797, Rosina Bucher, a young girl of the village of Absam near Innsbruck, was sitting by the window sewing in her farmhouse. It was between three and four in the afternoon and the light was just beginning to fade. Rosina looked up and saw a face in the window pane. She looked closely, not sure that she saw clearly and finally called her mother.
Others, including the Parish Priest, were called in to observe the strange happening. All agreed that it was a face, the face of the Mother of Sorrows. It was turned slightly and there was a strange expression on it.
The window was made up of several small panes of glass quite dark in colour. They removed the pane of glass with the picture on it, which was on the inside of the double window. After they had examined the glass, it was sent to experts in painting and glasswork. Here it was discovered that the face disappeared when water was put on the glass but came back as soon as the glass was dry. They analysed it chemically and could not discover by what process the picture had been placed there.

Rosina’s mother thought it was an omen of trouble. The Parish Priest, on the contrary, felt that Our Lady’s blessing must rest on the house. He asked her to let him have the picture for the Church. It can now be seen at St Mary’s Basilica Absam, which quickly became a popular shrine and the most important site of Marian pilgrimage in the Austrian federal state of Tyrol.
Many miracles have been recorded from the pilgrims who prayed there. The church was raised to the status of a Minor Basilica in June of 2000 by Pope John Paul II due to its popularity as a site of pilgrimage.
Our Lady of Clemency of Absam is still a popular place of pilgrimage but the most popular date is the anniversary of the discovery of the picture, 17 January. On the 17th of each month, there is a celebration of the discovery of the image. The picture is quite small, the size of a small pane of glass. It is not at all pretty and popularly known as Our Lady of Mercy and Clemency of Absam – clemency, because Mary’s heart is filled with love and kindness to those who pray at this shrine and implore her help.

St Adrian of Canterbury (c 635-710)
About St Adrian:

Blessed Alix le Clerc/Teresa of Jesus CND (1576-1622)
Her Story:
St Agatha Yi
Bl Antony Fatati
St Brithwald of Canterbury
St Eustratius of Olympus
Bl Franciscus Yi Bo-Hyeon
St Honorius of Buzancais
Bl Józef Pawlowski

Sts Julian and Basilissa (died c 304) Martyrs
Bl Kazimierz Grelewski
St Marcellinus of Ancona
St Marciana
Bl Martinus In Eon-min
St Maurontius
St Nearchus
St Paschasia of Dijon
St Peter of Sebaste (c 340-c 391) Bishop
St Philip Berruyer
St Polyeucte
St Teresa Kim
St Waningus of Fécamp

Martyrs of Africa – 21 saints: A group of 21 Christians murdered together for their faith in the persecutions of Decius. The only details to survive are 14 of their names – Artaxes, Epictetus, Felicitas, Felix, Fortunatus, Jucundus, Pictus, Quietus, Quinctus, Rusticus, Secundus, Sillus, Vincent and Vitalis. They were martyred in c 250.
Martyrs of Antioch – 6 saints: A group of Christians martyred together during the persecutions of Diocletian – Anastasius, Anthony, Basilissa, Celsus, Julian and Marcionilla.