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.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24 -- Feast of Saint Romanus

Sometimes, a quote is best.  Terry Jones ( wrote of Romanus, "Noted for being backward, shy, introverted, and a lousy preacher..."  Mr. Jones then went on to say how Saint Romanus succeeded in winning many converts. 

Lacking the persuasive skill of an orator, Romanus demonstrated his faith through healings, exorcisms, and maybe even a resurrection or two.  Yeah, that would help to spread the Word.  One would think he'd become the Big Man in Gaul with all these miracles, but his shy, awkward nature prevented that.  Instead, he just shifted attention onto God, offered the customary baptism / communion combo, and then beat feet out of town.

When his uncle died (for a discussion of the year, see the rant below), he returned to Le Mans for the interment.  No sooner was the good Julian laid to rest than other dying Christians expressed their wishes to repose near this certain saint (Santo Subito!).  Rather than go back on the circuit, Romanus asked permission to develop a consecrated cemetery, then a basilica.  He and some Christian brothers formed a minor monastic order, the Grave Diggers, dedicated to... well, digging graves. 

Eventually, as his life began to ebb, he made one trip back to Rome (which by that point was also on the outbound tide).  He had promised Bishop Pavace, Julian's successor, that he'd return.  He kept his promise, though he died shortly after.  They laid him to rest beside his uncle. 

NB.  The best (only) illustrations I could find of Saints Julian and Romanus, including the one ranted about below) are the stained glass windows at the Cathedrale Saint-Julien in Le Mans.  Unfortunately, the post would not load with them embedded.  C'est domage.

Hagiographic Rant:  I know the scholars have no trouble with this because they work with the most precise and reputable sources, but pop hagiophiles like me need to be wary of the miserably inaccurate information out there.  Two sources on Romanus (you know who you are) give his death as AD 385.  One of those same sources says his uncle Julian died in AD 117. The Cathedral of St. Julien in Le Mans shows Saint Peter investing Saint Julien as the first bishop of Le Mans.  Peter was crucified in AD 67.  A written source says Pope Clement, who served as Bishop of Rome from AD 88 to AD 97, sent Julian.  Even the Wikipedia says that Julian was a third or fourth century bishop who may have been a Roman nobleman or perhaps one of the Seventy-Two Disciples of Christ.  I am willing to entertain the miraculous and the inexplicable, but not the sloppy. 

Someone's got to make a decision and it might as well be me.  First, Julian and Clement were fourth century saints.  Not first; not third.  The depiction of Peter investing Julian was metaphorical, in the sense that all popes are Peter's successors, with all the apostolic inheritance implied.  Clement, like the date 117, were just errors.  Sorry, got a little confused thereWe meant to say Marcellus, or Marcellinus, or maybe Julius, but we had to change it because it sounded too much like Julian and would confuse the listeners

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