This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 5 -- St. Christina of Markygate

Christina, like so many girls of the twelfth century, wanted nothing more than to dedicate her chastity to God and serve him in a nunnery. Given the personal hygiene standards of the day, who can blame them. Sadly, her parents feared the weird cult that demanded virginity of young girls and so they conspired with the local bishop to get her married off.

Her story is full of Ralphs, Roberts, and Rogers. There are so many, in fact, that I cannot keep them straight. She was, for a couple of years, married to a guy named Burhtred, but this was after she had sworn her vow, and since the marriage was never consummated, Bishop Thurstan (Howell III) annulled it for her. Actually, that was probably a relief to poor Burhtred, who was free to marry someone else following the annulment, probably someone who was less enthusiastic about her virginity.

Christina went on to become a model abbess, yada yada, but what I find remarkable about this is the rival bishops cutting each other off. I didn't do the story justice, but bishops were countermanding each other's orders all over the place: accepting her vow of chastity, annulling it to force the marriage, annulling the marriage to support the vow. And there was a bishop named Ralph Flambard who tried to seduce Christina, ignoring not only all the other vows, but presumably his own.

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