DAILY CATHOLIC    CHRISTMAS-NEW YEAR'S ISSUE     December 24, 1999 - January 2, 2000     vol. 10, no. 245


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Historical Events in Church Annals for December 24:

  • 642 A.D.
  • Election of Pope John IV, 72nd successor of Peter. This Dalmatian-born pontiff's papacy would last just a few months shy of two years. During his pontificate he would try to bring the dissentients of Egypt to the way of Truth. He would also have the remains of the martyrs Venantius, Anastasius and Maurus transfered to the Lateran. He would personally ordain 28 priests and consecrate 18 bishops in order to be sure of their faith and allegiance to Rome.

  • 1046 A.D.
  • Election of Pope Clement II, 149th successor of Peter. His pontificate would last less than a year in which his great preoccupation would be with the arrogance of the Count-Bishops, the cause of much bitter fighting among their vassals. He would also succeed in overcoming the resistance of Bishop Aribert of Milan. It was Clement who would canonize the Hungarian martyr Saint Viborata.

  • 1294 A.D.
  • Cardinal Benedetto Gaetani becomes Pope Boniface VIII, 193rd successor of Peter. This pope of great stature but questionable measures, would celebrate the first Holy Year in 1300 and decree that every one hundred years it would be repeated. During his bitter fued with King Philip IV of France this former advisor to Popes would issue the famous Papal Bull Unam Sanctam.

  • 1997 A.D.
  • Pope John Paul II lights the first Channukah candle ever officially lit at the Vatican in a gesture of peace toward the Jews.

Historical Events in Church Annals for December 25:

  • 1 A.D.
  • Birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth in Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem. His arrival would ultimately change the world forever as well as all calendars regarding chronological time differentiating "BC" for "Before Christ" and "AD" for "Anno Domini" - In the year of Our Lord.

  • 795 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Hadrian I, 95th successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff had been elected on February 1, 772. During his 13-year papacy he restored the walls of Rome and the ancient aqueducts. The golden statue of the tomb of St. Peter and the silver pavement in front of the altar of the Confession are due to him. He convened the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787 at Nicea in which Iconoclasm was condemned.

  • 800 A.D.
  • Pope Saint Leo III crowns Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor at St. Peter's on Christmas night.

  • 1046 A.D.
  • Pope Clement VI crowns Henry III Holy Roman Emperor. Henry had accompanied this new Saxon Pope to Rome after Popes Sylvester III, Gregory VI and Benedict IX had been deposed.

  • 1223 A.D.
  • Saint Francis of Assisi displays the first Nativity creche scene in Greccio, Italy, beginning a lasting and venerable tradition that would remind all of the reason for the season.

  • 1775 A.D.
  • Pope Pius VI issues his first encyclical Inscrutabile which outlined the problems of the pontificate.

  • 1955 A.D.
  • Pope Pius XII releases his 32nd encyclical Musicae sacrae on sacred music and the use of popular music in the liturgy.

Historical Events in Church Annals for December 26:

  • 35 A.D.
  • Projected date of the death of the first martyr of the Church, Saint Stephen. For more on him, see LITURGY.

  • 268 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Saint Dionysius, 25th successor of Peter. Also known as Pope Saint Denis this Turio-born pontiff's papacy lasted nine years. At the time he was elected on July 22, 259 the Barbarians were storming the gates of the Roman Empire. He was actually elected a year after his successor Pope Saint Sixtus II because of persecutions. He reorganized the parishes of Rome and obtained liberty for the Christians from Gaul, which would eventually become France.

  • 418 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Saint Zosimus, 41st successor of Peter. Of Greek extraction, he was elected on March 18, 417. He had a strong personality and insisted on the rights of the Church against foreign interference. A holy man of very strict morals, he ordained that illegitimate children could not be raised to the priesthood. He sent apostolic vicars to the Franks.

  • 1948 A.D.
  • Cardinal Mindszenty is arrested by the Communists in Hungary after they had taken over "Caritas" and all the Catholic schools, universities and religious institutions the same year. The Cardinal was sentenced to life-imprisonmentin 1949. He was released in 1956 during the successful uprising in that country and took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. He died in Vienna, Austria in 1975 a free man.

Historical Events in Church Annals for December 27:

  • 314 A.D.
  • Emperor Constantine the Great initiates the process of transforming a pagan temple into the great Saint Sophia's Cathedral in Constantinople.

  • 1983 A.D.
  • Pope John Paul II pardons Mehmet Ali Agca the man who shot the Holy Father on May 13, 1981 in St. Peter's Square.

Historical Events in Church Annals for December 28:

  • 418 A.D.
  • Election of Pope Saint Boniface I, 42nd successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff's papacy would last four years to September 4, 422. During his pontificate the interference of Charles of Ravena would mark the beginning of secular power interference in the election of Popes. Boniface's consecration as Supreme Pontiff would be delayed several months because of the opposition presented by the antipope Eulalius.

  • 1446 A.D.
  • Death of the Spanish antipope Clemens VIII - Cardinal Gilbert Sanchez Munoz during the reign of the legitimate Pope Eugene IV. He had set up a mini-papacy in Pensacola on the Spanish Mediterranean coast in the aftermath of the Great Western Schism.

  • 1878 A.D.
  • Pope Leo XIII issues his 2nd encyclical Quod Apostolici muneris on the growing cancer of socialism. This was one of the first decrees that recognized the growing carbuncle of communism.

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 DAILY 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.

December 24, 1999 - January 2, 2000       volume 10, no. 245


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