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.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 2 -- Feast of St. Chad

Sometimes, the Church was no better than any other business when it came to getting a promotion; if you weren't bribing your way into the office, it came down to credentials and connections.

When the bishopric in Northumbria opened up, King Oswy appointed Chad to the spot, sending him to Canterbury to get ordained. [Bishops' appointments are confirmed by a sacramental ritual that can only be performed by other bishops, thus maintaining the unbroken chain of command known as apostolic succession.] Upon arriving at Canterbury, Chad found that the archbishop had died, so he headed west in search of another bishop. Eventually he found one, Bishop Wini, who was joined by a couple of Welsh bishops in consecrating our saint. Sadly, none of these homegrown bishops was recognized by the Church in Rome, and there was some whiff of scandal around Wini about the sale of church offices (simony).

Prior to Chad's appointment by Oswy, another future saint named Wilfrid had been appointed to the same bishopric by an underking named Alfrid. He had gone off to France to be consecrated, but everyone got tired of waiting for him to come home so they accepted Chad as bishop. Until Wilfrid showed up, that is, like the scene in Tommy where Captain Walker comes back from the war, except that Ann Margaret didn't whack St. Chad over the head with a lamp and then strangle him with the cord. Did I remember that scene correctly? It's been a long time since I saw that movie. (Sorry. I digress.)

Long story short, Chad tried to hang on to the seat, but Wilfrid appealed and Rome tossed our saint on the strength that Chad's papers were somewhat dubious while Wilfrid's were unimpeachable. Chad eventually got another bishopric, and then even more eventually he got the plague, but the point here is that even among holy men, the signature at the bottom of your certificate can influence your future.

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