Thursday, May 10, 2018

Saint Birinus the "Apostle to the West Saxons" & the first Bishop of Dorchester, England (+649) - December 3


Saint Birinus the "Apostle to the West Saxons" 

& the first Bishop of Dorchester, England (+649)

December 3

Saint Birinus (c. 600 – 649) was the first Bishop of Dorchester and was known as the "Apostle to the West Saxons" for his conversion of the Kingdom of Wessex to Christianity.

After Augustine of Canterbury performed the initial conversions in England, Birinus, a Frank, came to the kingdoms of Wessex in 634, landing at the port of "Hamwic", now in the St Mary's area of Southampton. During Birinus's brief time at Hamwic, St. Mary's Church was founded.

A Benedictine monk, Birinus had been made bishop by Asterius in Genoa, and Pope Honorius I created the commission to convert the West Saxons. In 635, he persuaded the West Saxon king Cynegils to allow him to preach. Cynegils was trying to create an alliance with Oswald of Northumbria, with whom he intended to fight the Mercians. At the final talks between kings, the sticking point was that Oswald, being a Christian, would not ally himself with a pagan. Cynegils then converted and was baptised. He gave Birinus Dorchester-on-Thames for his episcopal see. Birinus's original commission entailed preaching to parts of Britain where no missionary efforts had reached and may have included instructions to reach the Mercians. But he ultimately remained in Wessex.

Birinus is said to have been very active in establishing churches in Wessex. After Cynegils' death, the new king, Cenwalh, established a church at Winchester, perhaps under Birinus' direction. Birinus also supposedly laid the foundations for St. Mary's in Reading, Saint Helen's in Abingdon, and other churches such as the church of St Peter and St Paul, Checkendon, near Reading. Tradition has it that Birinus built the first church at Ipsden, as a small chapel on Berins Hill, about two miles east of the present church. Birinus baptised Cynegils's son Cwichelm (died 636) in 636 and grandson Cuthred (died 661) in 639, to whom he stood as godfather.

Saint Birinus died in Dorchester on 3 December in 649.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saint Prophet Nahum - December 1


Saint Prophet Nahum

The Holy Prophet Nahum, whose name means “God consoles,” was from the village of Elkosh (Galilee). He lived during the seventh century B.C. The Prophet Naum prophesies the ruin of the Assyrian city of Nineveh because of its iniquity, the destruction of the Israelite kingdom, and the blasphemy of King Sennacherib against God. The Assyrian king Ashurbanipal died in 632 B.C., and over the next two decades, his empire began to crumble. Nineveh fell in 612 B.C.

Nahum differs from most of the prophets in as much as he does not issue any call to repentance, nor does he denounce Israel for infidelity to God.

Details of the prophet’s life are unknown. He died at the age of forty-five, and was buried in his native region. He is the seventh of the Twelve Minor Prophets

The Prophet Nahum and Saint Nahum of Ochrid (December 23) are invoked for people with mental disorders.



Sunday, November 26, 2017

Saint Lucy the Virgin Maryr of Syracuse in Sicily, Italy (+304) - December 13


Saint Lucy the Virgin Maryr of Syracuse in Sicily, Italy (+304)

December 13

During Diocletian’s persecutians, the Christian maiden Lucy went with her mother on pilgrimage to the tomb of St Agatha (February 5), to pray for her mother’s healing from an ailment. Saint Agatha appeared to Lucy in a dream and said ‘Lucy, my sister, why do you ask from me what your own faith can obtain? Your mother is healed. You will soon be the glory of Syracuse as I am of Catania.’ Lucy’s mother was healed from that day, and Lucy determined to consecrate herself entirely to God. She broke off an engagement to a nobly-born young man and gave her large dowry of land and jewels to the poor. Her would-be husband angrily denounced her as a Christian to the Governor of Syracuse.

At the tribunal, Lucy firmly confessed her faith in Christ and refused to make sacrifice to the gods. The Governor ordered that she be placed in a brothel, but his minions were unable to move her from the place where she stood, even when they tied her with ropes and attempted to drag her with oxen. The Governor asked what witchcraft she used, to which she answered ‘I do not use witchcraft — it is the power of God that is with me. Bring ten thousand of your men if you wish; they will not be able to move me unless God wills it.’ The men then lit a fire around her, but it did not harm her. Finally they beheaded her where she stood. With her last words, she predicted the deaths of Maximian and Diocletian, and the coming of peace to the Church.