St Catherine of Alexandria in the Liturgy of the Church of Milan

St John XXIII’s Constitution on the study of Latin Veterum Sapientia rightly reminds us that it is the key to exploring not only the literary riches of the ancient Roman world, but also those of the Church itself. Among these we may count innumerable treasures from its liturgical tradition, and especially those which through whatever […]

The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis

Today marks the anniversary of the death of the Christian apologist and beloved author C.S. Lewis, exactly one week before what would have been his 65th birthday, in 1963. At the time, the news of his death was completed overshadowed by the assassination of the American president John F. Kennedy, which took place less than […]

St John of Damascus on the Presentation of the Virgin Mary

The feast of the Virgin Mary’s Presentation the originated with the dedication of a new church which the emperor Justinian built to honor Her in Jerusalem in 543. In the Byzantine Rite, it is celebrated as one of the most important solemnities of the year, part of a group known as the Twelve Great Feasts […]

Vir Vespertilio et Hobbitus

As interest in Latin continues to grow, teachers and students of the language are finding all kinds of interesting ways to put new technologies to use in service of the ancient language. One of the best examples of this is Luke Ranieri, who produces all kinds of Latin content on his YouTube channel Scorpio Martianus. […]

St Gregory the Wonderworker

In the Byzantine Rite, and the usus antiquior of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St Gregory (ca. 215-70), bishop of Neo-Caesarea in Pontus, a region of north-central Asia Minor. One of his disciples, St Macrina the Elder, was the grandmother of Saints Basil the Great (who later held the same see) and […]

The “Secret History” of the Emperor Justinian

Yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of the Roman Emperor Justinian I in the year 565, the 83rd of his life, and the 38th of his reign. Although he was born in Macedonia, his family was Roman, as evidenced also by his name; he was a native Latin-speaker, likely the very last such among […]

Vocabula Mira: “Confessor” and “Cappella”

In the earliest years of Christianity, the vast majority (not the totality) of those whom the Church honored as Saints were those who had witnessed to the Faith by dying during persecution. Such persons were called “martyrs”, the Greek word for “witness”; already by the later 2nd century, this was so well known in the […]

Pope St Leo the Great, the Deliverer of Rome

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Pope St Leo the Great in 461, after a reign of just over 21 years, the tenth longest in the Church’s history. His feast day was traditionally kept on April 11th, the anniversary of the placement of his relics in the basilica of St Peter, where they […]

St Cyprian on the Communion of Saints

Although the feast of All Saints on November 1st became a universal custom of the Roman Rite in the mid-9th century, it was not until the later 15th century that it became common to celebrate it with an octave. When the Breviary of St Pius V was promulgated in 1568, a new selection of Matins […]

In Hoc Signo Vinces

The half-century after the assassination of the emperor Alexander Severus by his own troops, which took place in 235 AD, was an era of prolonged crisis for the Roman Empire. It is often described as a “military anarchy”, with one general after another contending for the throne, and most emperors meeting a violent death at […]