Friday, January 1, 2016

January 1-7

The first week of the year includes a couple of biggies. New Year’s Day is the feast day of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation (for you non-Catholics out there, that means ya gots to go to church). It also includes the feast of the Epiphany – AKA the Feast of the Magi, or the Three Wise Men.

#10  Balthasar, Melchior, Caspar  (Jan. 6)
Patronage: playing card manufacturers

Yup, it’s the Three Wise Guys. Other than their names, their gifts, and that they were coming from the East and were really smart, we really don’t know that much about them. Caspar is, however, typically portrayed as being Black. 

In addition to playing card manufacturers, patronage for the three also includes epilepsy sufferers, motorists, and sawyers (i.e., people who saw wood). Who woulda thunk it?

#9  Raymond of Penyafort  (Jan. 7)
Patronage: medical record librarians

Well, that’s a little particular, isn’t it? Other occupations under Raymond’s patronage, though, include attorneys, barristers, and lawyers (hey, aren’t those all the same thing?). 

St. Raymond was head of the Dominicans in the 13th Century and also codified a fair amount of church law. He lived to be 100. A fairly well-known saint, he has his own line of medals and such like.

#8  Macra of Rheims  (Jan. 6)
Representation: shears with which her breasts were cut off

Now, I realize half of the saints were martyrs, and usually become martyrs in some rather gruesome ways. That said …

We actually don’t know much about poor Macra other than the particularly grisly way she died. Oh, we are talking a pretty long time ago – 287, to be exact.

I’ll spare you any pix.

#7  Gerlach of Valkenburg  (Jan. 5)

Gerlach is here for the awesome name, but also because of his patronage (against cattle disease) and for his representation (man living in a hollow tree) as well. It’s pretty much a saintly trifecta!

Interestingly, there are a surprising number of patron saints for sick cows out there. In addition to Gerlach, we’ve also got:
  • Amand of Maastricht
  • Beuno Gasulsych
  • Charalampias
  • Erhard of Regensburg
  • Roch
  • Sebastian
Valkenburg is in the Netherlands, by the way.

#6  Dafrosa of Acquapendente  (Jan 4)

Another martyr from the early days, Dafrosa also made saintliness something of a family business. Her husband Flavian and daughters Bibiana and Demetria were saints as well. 

Now, Dafrosa was decapitated. Bibiana was committed to a madhouse, then flogged to death. Flavian died of unspecified “torture and abuse.” Demetria was the lucky one, dropping dead before they could actually do anything to her.

Acquapendente is in central Italy. It means “hanging water” (i.e., “waterfall”).

#5  Macarius the Younger  (Jan. 2)

Like Gerlach, Macarius has some great patronage (pastry chefs) as well as a very interesting representation (flies stinging a desert hermit). 

Macarius was a bit on the extreme side, I’m afraid – avoiding eating, drinking, sleeping, and sitting down. He also liked to punish himself by having insects bite him all over (hence the interesting representation). 

And, yes, there is a St. Macarius the Elder (January 15)

#4 Fulgentius of Ruspe  (Jan. 1)

So, not only is your name the pretty risible Fulgentius, but you also so happen to be from some place with the rather odd name of Ruspe (pronounced “ruspy,” I’m assuming). I feel for you, dude.

St. Fulgentius was a monk (and short-term bishop) who spent a good deal of the 400s and 500s wandering around the Mediterranean, arguing with or fleeing from Monophysites, Arians, Vandals, Moors, and Semipelagians. Ruspe is actually in North Africa, in modern Tunisia.

#3 Fintan of Doon  (Jan. 3)

Sounds like a character from some video game. 

The real St. Fintan lived quite a long time ago (in the 6th Century, to be exact), in Ireland. As with most saints from so far back, there are no shortage of “pious legends” surrounding him. According to these, Fintan sank pirate ships with storms, fed lepers with corn grown in a single day, and lived to be 260. 

It’s kind of hard to believe, but there are actually two other Fintans, one from Clonenagh and one from Taghmon. By the way, Fintan had a brother with the wonderful name of Finlug. 

#2  Aspasius of Auch  (Jan. 2)

I particularly like the alliteration on this one. Auch is in France, by the by. I actually have no idea how it’s pronounced. We’re talking the 6th Century again. This guy was a bishop. Sorry, not much else out there on him.

Not sure which one is him

#1  Odino of Rot  (Jan. 2)

So, not only is your name the rather odd Odino, but you also so happened to be from some place with the incredible name of Rot. I really feel for you, man.

Now, your first question is probably, “Where the heck is Rot?” And my answer to you is, “It’s in Germany.” I’m guessing your second question is, “Who the heck names their kid ‘Odino’”?  And my answer is, “It’s a nickname for Otto.” You probably don’t even have a third question.

Monk, 1100s, Germany … and that’s about it for Odino.

Odino I, Odino II
(thanks, Google Images)

Honorable Mention
  • Brannock of Braunton
  • Cronan Beg
  • Demetrius of Philadelphia
  • Theopemptus of Nicomedia
  • Mark the Mute
  • Cyrinus of Cyzicus
  • Aedh Dubh
  • Cywyllog ferch Caw
  • Blidulf of Bobbio
  • Blitmund of Bobbio

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