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.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 27 -- Feast of St. Gelasius of Armagh

I was all set to write about St. John Damascene today, but it turns out I wrote about him on December 4, which is when the Eastern Church celebrates him. Since he is from Damascus, I suppose it is appropriate to use the Greek calendar.

Fortunately, March 27 also celebrates St. Gelasius of Armagh, the first Irish archbishop (I'd say primate, but I always think of the monkey house in the zoo) to receive a pallium. [The pallium is a sort of woolen yoke that popes give to archbishops as tokens of their office.] I didn't put up a picture of Gelasius because most of them I found were of Pope St. Gelasius, whose feast is November 21.

Gelasius of Armagh should get far more attention in world history than he does. Really. He called the synod of Armagh in 1170 to try to figure out how to thwart the pending Anglo-Norman invasion. But since all the Irish leaders were there in one place, he made his pitch against the practice of slavery. They approved a resolution stating, "Freedom was God's best gift to man, and no one had a right to hold his fellow man in bondage." According to, "Ireland was the first country in the civilised world to set the example, and from the year 1170, no slave was kept in Ireland." This was six and a half centuries before England abolish slavery, and almost seven centuries before the USA did.

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