St Leo the Great on the Ascension

The friend and mentor of many of us at VSI, Fr Reginald Foster, was a great admirer of the writings of Pope St Leo I, and liked to say that “all you need to know about theology, you can find in Leo’s glorious Latin!” This is a little bit of hyperbole (a rhetorical device at which Fr […]

St Pachomius of Egypt

On May 9th, the Coptic Church commemorates one of the great early monastic patriarchs, St Pachomius. He was one of the most influential figures on the organization of monastic life in the 4th century; this is true even in the West, where his feast has only been kept very rarely, since St Benedict adopted many […]

Saint Victor Maurus

The church of Milan today celebrates the feast of the martyr St Victor, a Christian soldier from the Roman province of Africa, who was killed in the first year of the persecution of Diocletian, 303 AD, while serving at Milan under the Emperor Maximian. He is usually called “Maurus – the Moor” to distinguish him […]

St Athanasius of Alexandria

May 2nd is the feast of St Athanasius of Alexandria, who died on this day in the year 373. The Roman Rite shares with the Byzantine and Coptic churches the custom of keeping the feast of St Mark the Evangelist exactly one week before his, a sign of harmony between the Gospel and the Church’s […]

“Pax Tibi, Marce, Evangelista Meus”

The most ancient liturgical books of the Roman Rite do not have the feast of the Evangelist St Mark which the Church keeps today. This might seem surprising, since there is a very ancient tradition, clearly attested already in the second century, that Mark was a disciple of St Peter, came to Rome with him, […]

An Eastertide Sermon of St Augustine

Roman North Africa was one of the first centers of Christianity in the Latin-speaking west of the Empire, and the home of its earliest Latin literature, since the church in Rome itself was predominantly Greek-speaking in the earliest years. However, we know almost nothing about the North African liturgy, apart from hints that we can […]

The Feast of St Hermenegild

In Spain, April 13th has been kept for many centuries as the feast of a Saint called Hermenegild, although it is impeded by either Holy Week or the octave of Easter whenever Easter falls from April 6th to the 20th, as it does this year. He was born ca. 560 AD, the son of a […]

An Easter Sermon of Pope St Leo the Great

Although the Church’s tradition has always been to keep the Saints’ feast days on the anniversary of their death, which is to say, of their entry into eternal life, there have also always been exceptions made for various reasons. One such was St Leo I, one of the three Popes in history who are called […]

The Death of St Ambrose

St Ambrose of Milan died on April 4th, 397, which was Holy Saturday of that year, at the age of roughly 56, in the 23rd year of his episcopacy. The Church traditionally celebrates the Saints’ feasts on the day of their death and entry into eternal life, and in the Middle Ages, many churches kept […]

St John of the Ladder

In the Byzantine Rite, today is the feast of a Saint called John, whose Greek epithet “τῆς Κλίμακος – of the Ladder”) is often improperly anglicized as “Climacus.” This title refers to his popular and extremely influential spiritual treatise, the Ladder of Paradise, still commonly read, and especially in Lent, among Eastern Christians. The treatise […]