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, December 7, 2011

December 7 -- Feast of Saint Savinus of Spoleto

Savinus and the deacons appear before Venustianus
 Some of the best hagiographic writing is about the wiseass responses that saints gave just prior to being convicted and executed.  In fact, there should be more of it.  I wonder if the humorless bastards who write this stuff in the Middle Ages expurgated all the mouthy responses or just failed to encourage the copyists to embellish.  Either way, it is a pity because the evolution of saints' stories should be as funny as any Mel Brooks movie. 

During the reign of Diocletian (of course), the Bishop of Spoleto was arrested by the Prefect Venustianus  and charged with being a Christian. 
V:  Who are you?
S: Savinus, a sinner and a bishop. 
V: Are you free or a slave?
S: A slave to Christ but free of the devil.
V: And you think that this Christ is a god?
S: You're mother seemed to think so last night.  She kept panting his name and then shouting "Oh my god! Oh Christ, don't stop!"

Okay, the first four lines were from a real source about Savinus; I made the last two up.  But my point is that they could have had a lot of fun with the saints' stories if they had as little reverence as I. 

Now, to the real story of Savinus.  He smashed the idol they presented for him to venerate. They cut off his hands but kept him alive.  Then they executed the two deacons who had been busted with him.  At this point, Venustianus lost his sight and, hearing that Savinus healed a congenitally blind man, begged to be healed.   Savinus offered healing for conversion.  Venustianus and all his family were baptized, and his sight was restored.  This was lucky, so he could look the Co-emperor Maximianus Herculius in the eye when he and his whole family were condemned to execution.  Then Savinus was ripped apart by iron hooks -- to death. 

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