Monday, February 6, 2023

The Great Cloud of Witnesses

Pope St. Hilary
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.

Pope St. Hilary

February 28

Pope Saint Hilary (5th c.) was Bishop of Rome from 461 to 468. Not much is known of his early life other than that he was from Sardinia. He rose to prominence in the Church when he became archdeacon under Pope St. Leo the Great, working closely with him as a trusted aid. St. Leo sent Hilary as one of the papal legates to the Council of Ephesus in 449. There St. Hilary fought bravely against the monophysite heresy, for which his life was threatened. He was forced into hiding and fled back to Rome for safety. He was so highly esteemed that after Pope Leo's death he was elected to the papacy. As pope, St. Hilary fought for the rights of the papacy in spiritual matters against the Roman Emperor, and increased organization and discipline between the bishops and the Holy See. He also did much work in building, remodeling, and decorating Roman churches and other public places. Pope St. Hilary's feast day is February 28.

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Martyred Family of Constantinople January 26 Saint Mary and Saint Xenophon were married and the parents of Saint John and Saint Arcadius. Theirs was a wealthy family of Senatorial rank in 5th century imperial Constantinople, but were known as a Christians who lived simple lives. To give their sons a good education, Xenophon and Mary sent them to university in Beirut, Phoenicia. However, their ship wrecked, there was no communication from them, and the couple assumed, naturally, that the young men had died at sea. In reality, John and Arcadius had survived and decided that instead of continuing to Beirut, they were going to follow a calling to religious life and became monks, eventually living in a monastery in Jerusalem. Years later, Mary and Xenophon made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem - where they encountered their sons. Grateful to have their family re-united, and taking it as a sign, Xenophon and Mary gave up their positions in society in Constantinople, and lived the rest of their lives as a monk and anchoress. in Jerusalem. A few years later, the entire family was martyred together.
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