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 […]

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 […]

Pope Leo XIII on the Holy Rosary

In the course of his Papacy, the fourth longest in history, Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), who was a superb Latinist, issued eleven encyclicals on the Rosary, in the years 1883, ’84 and ’87, and then each year from 1891-98. All of them were published in September (except one, at the very end of August), looking […]

The First Church in the Roman Forum

September 27th is the traditional date for the feast of Ss Cosmas and Damian, two brothers who were killed in the persecution of Diocletian ca. 304 A.D. The written accounts of their lives and martyrdom are considered to be historically unreliable; they are said to have been doctors who treated their patients for free, and […]

The Death of St Cyprian

Today marks the anniversary of the death of St Cyprian, bishop and martyr, in the year 258. His feast was originally kept on this date, according to the Church’s most ancient custom that Saints are celebrated on the day of their entry into eternal life, but later bumped forward to the 16th by the Exaltation […]

Saint “Added-On”

Since well before the middle of the sixth century, August 30th has been the feast of two Roman martyrs, a priest named Felix, and a man who after his martyrdom was given the name “Adauctus”, meaning “added-on” or “increased.” The reason for this is explained in their “passio”, the account of their martyrdom read in […]

The Election of Pope Benedict XIV

Today marks the anniversary of the election in 1740 of Pope Benedict XIV, who is rightly regarded as one of the most learned men ever to sit on the throne of St Peter. He was born in 1675 as Prospero Lambertini, to a noble family of Bologna, the second city of the Papal States. When […]

Pius XII and the Dogma of the Assumption

The feast of the Assumption, which is celebrated today, was brought into the Roman Rite by Pope St Sergius I (687-701) at the end of the 7th century from the Byzantine tradition. However, the Church’s belief that the Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven body and soul at the end of Her earthly life certainly […]

St Leo the Great Preaches on St Lawrence and the Riches of the Church

As we noted yesterday, the church of Rome has from the most ancient times celebrated the deacon and martyr Lawrence as one of her most important patron Saints, alongside the Apostles Peter and Paul. Since yesterday we read a bit about him from St Ambrose, a bishop of Milan, it is only right that we […]

The Dog-Days of Summer

Since yesterday we talked about dogs in connection with both pagan and Christian religious observances in the early days of August, today we look at the “dog-days” of summer, and a Christian feast which is related to the heat of this season. The term “dog-days” comes from the Latin “dies caniculares”, a translation of the […]