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 […]

The Chains of St Peter

Today is the tradition date of a feast which is called in Latin “Sancti Petri ad Vincula”, translated literally as “(the feast of) St Peter at the chains”, although it is usually given in English less exactly as “the feast of St Peter’s Chains” or “of St Peter in Chains.” Like many specifically Roman feasts, […]

The Legend of Simon Magus in Rome

In the 8th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, the deacon Philip goes to Samaria to preach the Gospel, and encounters a “magician” called Simon, who had “bewitched (the Samaritans) with his magical practices”, causing them to say that he was “the power of God, which is called great.” This man was converted by […]

St Leo the Great and the Church of Rome

This week, we celebrated the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the founders of the church of Rome, preceded by that of St Irenaeus of Lyon, an important early witness to that church’s primacy, and followed by the feast of its first martyrs. It seems fitting, therefore, to continue with something on the same […]

The First Martyrs of the Roman Church

On the liturgical calendar of the Novus Ordo, the feast of Ss Peter and Paul is followed by that of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome, “whose number and names are known only to God.” (Butler’s Lives of the Saints.) Before 1970, this group had never been honored with their own feast, but […]

The Roman Hymn of Ss Peter and Paul

The liturgical genre known as the “hymn”, which is to say, a composition arranged in stanzas with a repeating meter, was introduced into common use in the West by St Ambrose in the later part of the fourth century. The Empress Justina had wanted to seize one of the churches of Milan and give it […]

St Irenaeus and the Primacy of Rome

June 28 is traditionally the feast day of Pope St Leo II, who died on this day in 683, after a reign of less than 11 months. The Liber Pontificalis, an important but not always reliable source of information about the early Popes, records that on the previous day he celebrated the ordination of nine […]