Traditional Mass

Monday, December 14, 2015

Within the Octave; Saints Nicasius and Eutropia; Saint Venantius Fortunatus


Bishop & his Sister (5th C. Historical)

(5th century)

Saint Nicasius and his Companions
Saint Nicasius and his Companions

In the fifth century an army of Vandal barbarians from Germany, while ravaging part of Gaul, plundered the city of Rheims. Nicasius, its holy bishop, an emissary of peace, justice and charity, had foretold this calamity to his flock; for the city of Rheims, which for a long time had been docile to his word, little by little was seen by the afflicted pastor to be sinking into vice and corruption. He endeavored to waken them to penance: Weep, lament in sackcloth and ashes, unfortunate flock, for God has numbered your iniquities, and if you do not do penance, dreadful punishments are going to come upon you! But his words were unheeded.
When Saint Nicasius saw the enemy at the gates and in the streets, forgetting himself and solicitous only for his spiritual children, he went from door to door encouraging everyone to patience and constancy, and awakening in each breast the most heroic sentiments of piety and religion. By endeavoring to save the lives of his flock, he exposed himself to the sword of the infidels, who indeed slew him, while he was praying on his knees the words of a Psalm: Lord, my soul has been as though fastened to the earth; Lord, give me life, according to Your word! Florens, his deacon, and Jocond, his lector, were massacred by his side. His sister Eutropia, a virtuous and beautiful virgin, fearing she might be reserved for a fate worse than death, boldly cried out to the infidels that it was her unalterable resolution to sacrifice her life rather than her faith or her virtue. In reply, they dispatched her with their cutlasses, and continued their massacre.
Then, suddenly, a strange and terrible noise was heard in the Church of Notre-Dame, and the alarmed barbarians took flight without taking time to pillage the houses or burn the city, or even take the booty they had already amassed.
When the city's inhabitants who had fled to the mountains of the region felt it was safe to return, having seen an unexplained flame above the place of the torment and heard what seemed to be an angelic concert in that area, they went with the intention of piously burying the remains of the slain, and they found there Saint Nicasius, their bishop, his assistants, and Saint Eutropia. Many miracles occurred at their tomb.

Bishop (605 A.D. Historical)

Gallic poet and (briefly) serving bishop of Poitiers, France. Known in full as Venantius Clementianus Fortunatus, he was born in Trevise, near Venice, Italy, and studied at Ravenna. He suffered from some ailment of the eye, but thanks to St. Martin of Tours, he was able to embark upon a pilgrimage in 565 which brought him to Mainz, Cologne, and Trier, Gennany, and to Metz and the Moselle, France. He reached the court of King Sigebert (r. sixth century) at Metz in 566 and there was much praise for his poetry, especially his eulogies. Venantius next journeyed to Verdun, Reims, Soissons, Paris, and finaIly Tours, where he prayed at the tomb of St. Martin. Moving on to Poitiers, he entered into the service of Queen Rodegunda who was now living as a nun, acting as her secretary until her death in August 587. Shortly before his death, he was named bishop of Potiers. A brilliant poet, considered a transitional figure in literature between the ancient and medieval periods, Venanhus was a prolific writer: six poems on the Cross, including the two famous works Vexilla Regia and Pange Lzngua Gloijosi; eleven books of poems; a metrical life of St. Martin of Tours; the prose lives of eleven Gallic saints, including the Vita Rodegundis; and the elegy DeExcidie Thui'ingiae.