DAILY CATHOLIC    NEW YEAR'S ISSUE     December 29 - January 3, 1999     vol. 9, no. 250


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Historical Events in Church Annals for December 29:

  • 1170 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury is murdered in the cathedral by four of King Henry II's knights. For more, see LITURGY

  • 1926 A.D.
  • The Vatican places the works of Charles Maurras, A Catholic French Fascist on the forbidden list of the Index.

Historical Events in Church Annals for December 30:

  • 274 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Saint Felix I, 26th successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff was elected on January 3rd, 269. He asserted the divinity and humanity of Jesus and the doctrine of two natures in one Person. He suffered the persecution of Aurelian. It was Felix who began the custom of burying martyrs under church altars and of celebrating Holy Mass on their tombs.

  • 1317 A.D.
  • Pope John XXII, 196th successor of Peter and second of the Avignon Popes in exile, issued his pontifical decree Sancta Romania which ordered the Franciscan Spiritualists to obey their superiors and accept the legitimacy of storing provisions even though the latter felt their founder Saint Francis of Assisi had never intended them to own anything. This decree angered their leader Michael of Cesena and prompted the Spiritualists to become bitter enemies of the French pontiff by aligning with his enemy Louis IV.

  • 1591 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Innocent IX, 230th successor of Peter who was born in Bologna. He was elected on November 3rd and died less than two months later on this date. During that short span he succeeded in limiting the effects of a terrible plague and fought bandits and various internal factions with a certain degree of success. He undoubtedly would have left a lasting mark on Church history had he not contracted a chill and died of pneumonia.

Historical Events in Church Annals for December 31:

  • 335 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Saint Sylvester I, 33rd successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff was the first to wear the Tiarra and called the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea where the "Creed" was formulated. For more, see LITURGY

  • 431 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Melania the Younger, daughter of a Roman Senator who endowed and founded monasteries for men and women in Numidia and the Holy Land. She is widely venerated by Latin Catholics in Constantinople and Jerusalem.

  • 1378 A.D.
  • Birth of Alfonso de Borgia in Jativa, Spain. He would go on to become a cardinal priest and the 209th successor of Peter on April 8, 1455 as Pope Callistus III He would be responsible for the growth of Christianity in Scandinavia. It would be this Spanish-born pontiff who would order the ringing of the bells at midday each day, establishing the tradition of the Angeles and it was Callistus III who would institute the Feast of the Transfiguration.

  • 1550 A.D.
  • Birth of Henri Guise, French duke and leader of the Catholic League.

  • 1929 A.D.
  • Pope Pius XI releases his fourteenth encyclical Rappresentanti in terra on Christian education which would be published several months later with minor alterations to the Latin text Divini illius magistri.

  • 1930 A.D.
  • Pope Pius XI publishes his sixteenth encyclical Casti connubii on Christian marriage and the dangers of mixed marriages.

Historical Events in Church Annals for January 1:

  • 379 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Basil, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. For more on him, see LITURGY.

  • 1431 A.D.
  • Birth of Rodrigo de Borgia at Jativa, nephew of Cardinal Alfonso de Borgia, bishop of Valencia and the future Pope Callistus III. Rodrigo would follow in his uncle's footsteps, becoming a cardinal and the notorious Pope Alexander VI who would bed and marry Lucretia Borgia and cause scandal universally within the Church during his eleven year pontificate. It was his papacy that triggered the beginning rumblings of the Protestant rebellion.

  • 1557 A.D.
  • Death of Jacques Cartier, French explorer who, with the blessings of Pope Paul III, founded the French Empire in America and Canada, bringing the faith to that region where it is still strong because of the Jesuit missionaries who traveled with him up the St. Lawrence River.

  • 1982 A.D.
  • Pope John Paul II publicly prays for an end to martial law in his native Poland and supports the solidarity movement that would take form under his friend Lech Walesa. Less than a decade later the iron curtain would topple, largely through the efforts of this great Polish Pope.

Historical Events in Church Annals for January 2:

  • 329 A.D.
  • Birth of Saint Gregory of Nazianzen at Nazianzus, Cappodocia. He would go on to become a bishop and Doctor of the Church. For more on this saint, see LITURGY.

  • 533 A.D.
  • Election of Pope John II as 56th successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff would serve for slightly over two years and would become the first Pope to change his name since Mercurius, his birth name, was the name of a pagan god. Through an edict of Atalaric the Pope would be recognized as the head of the bishops of the whole world.

Historical Events in Church Annals for January 3:

  • 236 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Saint Anterus, 19th successor of Peter whose pontificate lasted less than two years. Born in Magna Grecia, he was elected on November 21, 235. Like others he suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Roman Emperor Maximus, the barbarian from Thrace. He ordered that the acts and relics of the martyrs be gathered together and kept in churches in a place called the "scrinium."

  • 269 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Saint Felix I, 26th successor of Peter. He died a martyr at the hands of the Roman Emperor Aurelian and his successor Pope Saint Eutychian would commemorate his death on his tomb, a practice originated by Felix.

  • 500 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Genevieve virgin and mystic of Paris who tended to the poor during the occupation of the city by Chilideric and the Franks. She was successful in interceding on behalf of the people and through her intercessory prayers and example, Paris was spared of attacks from the dreaded Huns as well as plagues, epidemics and other catastrophes.

  • 1431 A.D.
  • Saint Joan of Arc is handed over to the court of Bishop Pierre Cauchon and charged with heresy and witchcraft because of her mystical visions she received from God. Five months later, on May 30th she would be burned at the stake and not absolved until Pope Callistus III would find her innocent in 1456.

  • 1521 A.D.
  • Pope Leo X publishes his Papal Bull Decet Romanum pontificem, condemning Martin Luther and officially excommunicating the Augustinian monk for burning Leo's previous bull Exsurge Domine.

  • 1962 A.D.
  • Pope John XXIII hands Cuban ruler Fidel Castro the bell, book and candle for his refusal to heed the teachings of the Church or allow the people to worship, and for his embracing atheistic communism.

December 29, 1998 - January 3, 1999       volume 9, no. 248


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