DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     February 19-21, 1999     vol. 10, no. 35


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Historical Events in Church Annals for February 19:

  • 452 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Odran, who, as the chariot/horse driver for Saint Patrick throughout Ireland. He is considered a martyr because when he learned of a plot by some pagan tribesmen to ambush the Irish bishop, he masqueraded as Patrick to save him, and rode into the gauntlet of certain death in order to give Patrick time to escape.

  • 509 A.D.
  • Death of the Palestinian Martyrs who were slaughtered by Persian Saracens who were on a mission to destroy anything or anyone who represented the Roman empire or Christianity. Unfortunately for these hermits in Palestine they were rooted out and swords thrust into them as they died for Christ.

  • 607 A.D.
  • Election of Pope Boniface III, 66th successor of Peter. Born in Rome, his pontificate would last less than a year. During this short time he would forbid arrangements for the election of the new Pope until three days had passed after the death of a pontiff. Today that has been extended to nine days - novendiali". He would also decree that the only universal bishop was that of Rome, ergo - the Pope, a decision that would further strengthen the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff as head of the Church.

  • 682 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Barbatus, Bishop of Benevento who was instrumental in eliminating idolatry and the belief in superstitions from not only his Diocese but much of Lombardy. He also was of great assistance to Pope Saint Agatho, 79th successor of Peter in helping organize the Sixth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 680. Shortly after that he passed on to his Heavenly reward at the age of 70.

  • 1352 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Conrad, Franciscan hermit of Piacenza who was renowned for both his humility and miracles both during his death and after when many reported cures after visiting his grave. In early life he had been a hellion, but his conscience got the best of him and he came clean, giving it all up to join the Franciscan Order started by Saint Francis of Assisi four decades earlier as well as convincing his wife to join the Poor Clares. The couple surrendered all their personal belongings and gave the rest of their lives to God.

Historical Events in Church Annals for February 20:

  • 302 A.D.
  • Death of the Martyrs of Tyre , also part of the contingent of Palestinians, not to be confused with the Palestinian martyrs who would die seven years later or the Phoenician martyrs a year after that. Legend has it that these Egyptian Christians living in Palestine were rounded up and when they refused to offer up sacrifices to false idols, were made sport of by unleashing wild beasts on them.

  • 743 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Eucherius, Benedictine Bishop of Orleans who felt unworthy of being elevated to the episcopacy but when the people clamored for his election he relented. Throughout his bishopric he was a constant thorn in the side of French sovereign Charles Martel because of his policies, lifestyle and gutting of Church property and treasures. The former had him exiled hoping that would silence him but the people and monks rallied behind this humble man, giving him sanctuary in a monastery in Cologne. When Martel moved to have him exiled further, he was befriended by the governor who permitted Eucherius to retire in peace in a monastery near the Netherlands far enough away from Martel's influence.

  • 1431 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Martin V, 206th successor of Peter. For more on this pontiff who was the first after the end of the Great Schism of the West, we refer you to Tuesday's feature from THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH with Pope Martin V: The struggle to start anew.

Historical Events in Church Annals for February 21:

  • 107 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Simeon , believed to be first cousin of Jesus and nephew of St. Joseph who became one of the first bishops. Some historians believe he was given a heavenly warning of the impending destruction of Jerusalem in 66 AD and gathered a group of faithful and fled the city, setting a safe distance away until returning to Jerusalem to rebuild it. Though many times he nearly met his martyrdom, it wasn't until 107 when, under the persecution of Emperor Trajan that he was scourged and crucified like his relative Christ had been 74 years before.

  • 434 A.D.
  • Death of the Northern African Martyrs Saint Felix, Fortunatus, Saturninus, Secundinus, Siricius, and Verulus along with their companions at Hadrumetumm at the hands of Vandals who derided them for their superstitious faith.

  • 606 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Paterius, This Roman monk from Brescia wrote extensive commentaries on the Bible while transcribing the Latin Vulgate in his monastery. He was also a close friend and confidant of Pope Saint Gregory the Great and helped influence the latter in formulating Gregorian chant.

  • 1072 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Peter Damian, Doctor of the Church. Born in Ravenna, Italy he died when he was 71 after a dedicated life in his Church of giving of himself heart and soul.

  • 1173 A.D.
  • Saint Thomas Becket, Martyred Archbishop of Canterbury is canonized by Pope Alexander III three years after Thomas had been murdered in the Cathedral.

  • 1513 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Julius II, 216th successor of Peter. Born in Savona, Italy, he was elected on November 26, 1503 and his pontificate lasted ten years. During this time he encouraged the arts and contributed to the study magnificence of Rome through the contribution of the Renaissance masters Raphael and Michelangelo. It was Julius who completed construction of St. Peter's Basilica as it is today. He also called the 18th Ecumenical Council, also known as Lateran V in which the Church would deal with Neo-Aristotelianism and enact reforms in an effort to stave off the growing dissidence among those who embraced "enlightenment."

  • 1595 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Robert Southwell, Jesuit martyr who was canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 25, 1970 along with forty other martyrs in England and Wales during this time of persecution of Catholics. Robert, whose family was influential inside the court of King Henry VIII, considered his family of the Church greater and became a member of the Society of Jesus and returned to England, ministering to the people in disguise because priests were arrested at that time. Eventually he was betrayed by one of those who he ministered to as a chaplain and tortured terribly as the English executioners, at the order of Queen Elizabeth, sought to extract information from Robert to uncover the many other priests still in hiding. He refused and died a martyr's death.

  • 1730 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Benedict XIII, 245th successor of Peter whose pontificate lasted six years. Born in Gravina di Puglie, Italy on February 2, 1649 he was already 75 when he became Vicar of Christ. He occupied himself principally with his spiritual mission. On the occasion of the 17th Jubilee (1725) he inaugurated the marvellous flight of steps of Trinita dei Monti in Rome. It was Benedict who canonized Saint Louis Gonzaga and the patron saint of Poland, Saint Stanislaus.

February 19-21, 1999       volume 10, no. 35


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