St Euthymius of Sardis St Evaristo Blessed Giovanni Orsini (1333-1411) Cardinal Archbishop of Turin Bl Jean of Hainaut St Margaret of Hohenfels Bl Marinus of Rome Bl Paganus of Lecco Bl Pierre Boffet St Tathai of Wales St Theodore the Sacristan
Madonna della Acheropita, Maria Santissima Acheropita / Our Lady of Acheropita, Rossano, Italy (1140) – 26 December:
The Abbot Orsini relates: “Tradition has it that one night, a woman in great brightness appeared to a watchman on duty where a new Church was being built in Rossano, Italy. She asked him to withdraw from the place. The next morning there was seen in the building a picture of the Blessed Virgin, painted but not by the hand of man. For that reason it came to be called “Acheropita,” not made by human hands.”
The latest historical research has established that the image of Acheropita – a fresco on a pillar – was found in a small Chapel near the cave of one of the many hermits who formed the aura of Saint Nicholas of Vallone in the 6th century. It seems a holy hermit named Ephrem was very devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the year 580, a certain Captain Mauricio, was deflected from his course by the winds and landed near present day Rossano. The hermit Ephrem went to meet him with the strange sounding greeting of: “It was not the winds that brought you here but Our Lady, for once you are appointed emperor, you will build a Church here.” A mere two year later, in the year 582, Mauritius was crowned Emperor and remembering the prophesy, had artists brought to the cave to paint a fitting image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although the artists toiled all day, during the night their work always mysteriously disappeared. The Governor, unsure of what was happening, ordered that the cave be guarded at night. That night as the guards went about their duty in front of the cave, a young woman of rare beauty came out of nowhere amidst a bright light wearing a white silk cape. She asked the guard to depart from the site, which they did. Informed the next morning of what had happened, the Governor went to the Church. To everyone’s surprise he observed an image that perplexed him, for painted on the bottom of the inner wall was a beautiful picture of Our Lady, similar to the Byzantine icons he had seen before. It was exactly where his artists had been trying in vain to draw the image. The news of the miracle soon spread throughout the City. The faithful began arriving to the place, shouting in wonder and cheering in tears with songs of praise, “Acheropita! Acheropita!” The image became an object of veneration for the people of Rossano and a new Church had to be built to satisfy popular piety in a more worthy manner. That Church is now known as the Rossano Cathedral, and it was built next to the grotto where the image is still preserved. It is also said, that later, the Saracens attacked, trying to surprise the City of Rossano but they were repulsed by Our Lady, who appeared dressed in purple and holding in her hand a lighted torch. The sight of her majesty terrified the Saracens, who turned and fled. On 26 May 1949, the Diocesan Cathedral was erected at the Shrine. From 16 August to 16 October 1949, a silver Statue of Our Lady was carried on a triumphal pilgrimage through the Archdiocese. 15 August is the annual date for the celebration of the Madonna Acheropita and it is said that during the celebration a wonderful atmosphere envelops the whole of the City, with the festival offering an opportunity for the faithful to demonstrate their love for the Blessed Virgin. On 18 June 1950, Cardinal Micara crowned the image of the Blessed Virgin.
St Abadiu of Antinoë Bl Agata Phutta Bi Bl Agnès Phila St Amaethlu of Anglesey St Archelaus of Mesopotamia Bl Bibiana Khamphai Bl Cecilia Butsi Bl Daniel of Villiers
St Euthymius of Sardis St Evaristo of Constantinople Bl Giovanni Orsini Bl Jean of Hainaut Bl Lucie Khambang St Margaret of Hohenfels Bl Maria Phon Bl Marinus of Rome Bl Paganus of Lecco Bl Pierre Boffet St Tathai of Wales St Theodore the Sacristan
Saint of the Day – 26 December – St Pope Dionysius (Died 268) Bishop of Rome from 22 July 259 to his death on 26 December 268. According to early Church records, Dionysius was the first pope not Martyred for his Faith.
Historians know very little about the early life of Dionysius except that he was Greek and Italian. Though his family came from Greece, he was born in Italy sometime around 200. Some believe that he was born in the small town of Terra Nova but others think that he was born in Magna Graecia. During his early years, he used the name Dionusius, which he changed to Dionysius upon becoming Pope.
Dionysius was not the first man chosen for the next Pope after the death of Sixtus II. Pope Sixtus II was Martyred as were many other Christians at the time. It took nearly a year before Dionysius became the Pope and the Bishop of Rome.
Pope Dionysius had an easier time than Sixtus II did, mainly because of the murder of Emperor Valerian. Valerian was known for the persecution of Christians but the King of Persia issued orders in 260 that led to his capture and murde. Gallienus then became Emperor and issued orders that called for the tolerance of Christians. The new Emperor helped rebuild churches and allowed Christians to practice again. This period became known as the Little Peace of the Church, which lasted for nearly four decades.
Though his predecessor ruled for less than one year, Pope Dionysius reigned for more than nine years and a total of 3,445 days. He was likely in his late 50s when he assumed the throne and in his late 60s when he died. Due to his age, many historians believe that he died of old ages or natural causes. As with previous popes, the Church had his body interred in the Cemetery of Callistus. Many recognise him as a calm and peaceful man who worked hard to reorganise the Church after the many years of persecution and to care for the Christians under his care, in his role as the Holy Vicar of Christ.
St Abadiu of Antinoë Bl Agata Phutta Bi Bl Agnès Phila St Amaethlu of Anglesey St Archelaus of Mesopotamia Bl Bibiana Khamphai Bl Cecilia Butsi Bl Daniel of Villiers St Pope Dionysius (Died 268) St Euthymius of Sardis St Evaristo of Constantinople Bl Giovanni Orsini Bl Jean of Hainaut Bl Lucie Khambang St Margaret of Hohenfels Bl Maria Phon Bl Marinus of Rome Bl Paganus of Lecco Bl Pierre Boffet St Tathai of Wales St Theodore the Sacristan St Vincenza Maria Lopez (1847- 1890) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/26/saint-of-the-day-26-december-saint-vincenza-maria-lopez-1847-1890/ St Zeno of Gaza St Pope Zosimus