Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22-31

#10  Abdon (July 30)
Patronage:  bucket makers

Not sure how many of you there are out there … But this just goes to show that there’s a patron saint for pretty much everybody.

Abdon was a Persian official and closet Christian. He was found out by his Roman rulers, and led back to the capital to serve as entertainment in the Coliseum. The wild animals failed to touch him, however, and he was eventually dispatched by some gladiators. We’re talking roughly the year 250 here.

He’s almost always pictured with his bud (and fellow martyr) Sennon

The bucket makers? Haven’t a clue.

#9  Christina of Bolsena (July 24)
Representation:  woman holding a millstone and standing on a pagan

Usually, representations show the saint being martyred. In this one, though, it sounds like the tables might just have been turned.

I’m afraid that Christina’s just a tad on the confusing side, unfortunately. Bolsena, for example, is in Italy. Her “legend,” however, puts her in Tyre, a Phoenician city that is now part of Israel.

Said legend goes on to say that Christina was a young virgin who converted in the 3rd Century. She was found out, however, and tortured in a remarkably varied number of ways, including:
  • Iron hooks
  • Grilling by fire
  • Thrown in a furnace
  • On the wheel
  • Poisonous snakes
  • Tied to a millstone & throw in a river (well, that at least explains the millstone)
  • Shot by arrows (these are what actually did her in)

To make all this even worse, all this happened when Christina was only 11. Further, it was her father, a rich and powerful Phoenician magistrate, who initiated it.

Millstone? Check. Arrows? Got it. Snakes? Yup. Now, what are we missing?

#8  Edward Thwing (July 26)

Patron thaint of thwingerth, I underthtand.

Sorry about that. Blessed Edward was one of (many) English Catholic priests who were put to death during the Tudor years.  Like most of them, Edward was born in England, educated and ordained in France, returned to England clandestinely, was found out, and then was drawn and quartered. 

Like I said, Edward was just one of many martyrs who have almost the same bio. It’s actually rather surprising – and definitely sobering – how bloody the English Reformation was … on both sides.

The only thing that really distinguishes poor Edward is his odd last name and his friendship with the equally oddly named – and fellow martyr – Robert Nutter.

Hard to believe there are two people that have that same name

#7  Serapia of Syria (July 29)

Suffering saintly succotash!

And would you believe that St. Serapia sold herself into slavery, to a mistress named Sabina? Seriously.

Serapia was originally from Antioch, in ancient Syria. Her family fled from there to Rome during persecutions there. When her parents died, she sold all of her inheritance so she could give the money to the church. She then sold herself as well!

She then converted her mistress. The two would subsequently be martyred together under the emperor Hadrian.

Serapia is also known as Seraphia and Seraphima.

#6  Germanus of Auxerre (July 31)
Representation:  bishop trampling on a judge

I say, there sure is a lot of saintly violence in this post.

Germanus was born of a noble family in the late 4th Century in Gaul. Things started very secularly for Germanus – he studied law, married, and was made a provincial governor. 

He would later become a monk and then a bishop, build a large monastery, act as a missionary to Britain, help convert Ireland, perform some miracles, defeat some pagans in battle, and mentor some saints and discover and promote others. 

Unfortunately, I have no idea who the judge was.

St. Germanus, as portrayed in the movie Arthur
(no, not that Arthur)

#5  Neot (July 31)
Patronage:  fish

Can’t decide which is worse – the name or the patronage.

A quick search on Google for “neot” gets you lots of hits to the ticker symbol for a company called Neothetics:

Neothetics is a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company developing therapeutics for the aesthetic market. Our LIPO-202 has the potential to be a best-in-class injection for localized fat reduction and body contouring, offering an approximately five minute or less, non-surgical procedure that effectively and safely reduces abdominal bulging in non-obese patients, with no downtime. (

A quick search of “st neot” tells us that the saint lived in the 9th Century, in Cornwall. After beginning life as a soldier, Neot became a hermit and monk. He was known for his good works for the poor, and was sought out for advice by no less a personage than King Alfred (who he may have been related to).

The fish bit? Haven’t a clue.

Surprisingly, they are called the Saints, and not the Fish

#4  Botwid (July 28)

Not a baby name you hear a lot these days …

Botwid is a Swedish saint. He was born of pagan parents there, but converted while on a business trip to England (seriously).

He was murdered, in 1120, by a slave he had bought, converted and freed. Geez, talk about ingratitude.

Botwid is known as the Apostle of Sweden. Alternate versions of his name include Botvid, Botwinus, Botuid,  and Botuidus. I think I still like Botwid the best.

And it looks like his representation might be “with axe and fish” 

#3  Gleb (July 24)

Short, sweet … Actually, it’s really the total opposite of sweet. Go ahead, say it out loud. More like short and sour.

Gleb – along with his brother Boris – are actually pretty well-known saints in Russia (but are also recognized by the Catholic Church). Their main claim to fame, however, seems to be getting murdered by their brother, the wonderfully named Svyatopolk the Accursed. 

The three were sons of Vladimir I, Grand Prince of Kiev (who was also a saint as well). When Vladimir died, he split his kingdom up among his three sons. Svyatopolk, though, wanted to rule alone. Though Gleb and Boris put up no resistance to that wish, Svyatopolk had them murdered anyway. 

Gleb remains a popular Russian name to this day, including for this hunky guy, Gleb Savchenko, from Dancing with the Stars (and, yes, he is Mr. May)

#2  Seven Sleepers of Ephesus (July 27)

You’re gonna love this one. These guys are kind of like a bunch of saintly Rip Van Winkles. Here, let me explain …

It’s the year 250. In the town of Ephesus (in present-day Turkey), seven young men are found out as Christians. They subsequently run off and hide in a local cave. While they sleep there, though, they are found out and walled in.

180 years later, they wake up. Many things have changed – including the Roman emperor, who is now a Christian. Cool story, huh? You think Washington Irving stole this one?

It’s a popular story in Islam as well

#1  Christina the Astonishing (July 24)

You’ve heard of Christina, surely? One of the Six Totally Awesome Virgins? You know, Kaitlyn the Incredible, Ashley the Amazing, Jessica the Spectacular, Madison the Fabulous?

So, seriously, what was so astonishing about Christina anyway? Well, would you believe that she once arose from the dead? At her own funeral mass? Sounds pretty astonishing to me.

And if that wasn’t enough, she also levitated up to the rafters of the church and, when she came down, related a tour she had had of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. 

After that pretty wild experience, Christina spent the rest of her life as an extreme ascetic. In fact, her asceticism was so extreme that many thought she was merely insane –  something that explains her many patronages:
  • Against insanity
  • Against madness
  • Against mental disorders
  • Against mental handicaps
  • Against mental illness
  • Lunatics
  • Mental health caregivers
  • Mental health professionals
  • Mentally ill people
  • Psychiatrists
  • Therapists

Of course, the fact that she was born in the County of Loon (in Belgium, in 1150) might have had something to do with that as well.

Honorable Mention
  • Modesto Vegas Vegas
  • Pablo Díaz de Zárate y Ortiz de Zárate
  • Donatilla of Tebourba
  • Movean of Inis-Coosery
  • Rasyphus of Rome
  • Jaum Buch Canals
  • Godo of Oye
  • Ebrulfus
  • Callinicus of Paphlagonia
  • Hatebrand

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