Saint of the Day (week)


Saint Hilary January 13

Hilary is best known for his defence of Christianity against the 4th-century Arian heresy, a position that questioned the nature of the Trinity. Hilary was born in Poitiers, Gaul [France], circa 320 and was already an adult, married and a father when he converted to Christianity. Chosen bishop of Poitiers about 350, Hilary offered a valiant defence of Christianity. In 356, on the advice of Arian bishops, the emperor exiled Hilary to the East. His continued defence of orthodoxy created such-problems for the Arians there that they convinced the emperor to send him back to his own diocese. His stay in the Eastern Church enriched his theological writings, and he continued his confrontation with Arian-ism until his death circa 368. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1851. He is a patron saint of lawyers.

Saint Anthony January 17

Saint Anthony had a profound influence on the history of monasticism. Much of what we know about Anthony comes from a biography of him written by Saint Athanasius. Anthony was born into a wealthy Christian family in Upper Egypt about 251. Both his parents died while he was a teenager; Anthony gave away his inheritance and became a hermit. After years of solitude, he emerged to gather the ascetics who had followed him into a community. This was the beginning of Christian monasticism, with Anthony's understanding of monastic life soon taking root elsewhere. In 311, Anthony went to Alexandria to encourage the Christians there who were being persecuted. In 355, he returned to Alexandria to help his close friend Bishop Athanasius in the struggle against Arianism. Anthony died on January 17, 356, well known for his holiness, wisdom and asceticism."

Saint Fabian January 20

Fabian succeeded Saint Anterus as pope in 236. The historian Eusebius describes Fabian's election as pope: Fabian was a layman and a stranger in Rome at the time of the election. When a dove settled upon his head, those around him were reminded of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism. The event was seen as divine intervention. Fabian was chosen pope and reigned for 14 years. He was martyred during a persecution in 250. Saint Cyprian records that Fabian was an ""incomparable man."" His tombstone can still be seen in the catacomb of Saint Callixtus in Rome.

Saint Sebastian January 20

We know only that Sebastian was martyred in Rome, probably in the 3rd century, and buried along the Appian Way, in the catacombs. Saint Ambrose writes that Sebastian came from Milan, where he has been venerated since the 4th century. The Acts of Saint Sebastian was written in the 5th century and is, for the most part, fictitious. Not until the late mediaeval period was Sebastian pictured pierced with arrows or holding an arrow. In May 2010 Benedict XVI entrusted newly sworn-in Swiss Guards to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and to their patron saints. Sebastian is a patron saint of the pope's Swiss Guard. He is also the patron saint of athletes and soldiers.


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