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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 10 -- Feast of Saint Marcian the Oikonomos

In the picture at right, the purple outer garment is is a chasuble.  That will be important (sort of) in picturing the story at the end of this post. 

Marcian was a pretty well-connected, affluent Byzantine priest.  He was related somehow to Emperor Theodosius II, which can often set you in good stead.  Yet Marcian was more devout than worldly, which resulted in a net loss of personal wealth.  And moreover, he took that left hand / right hand admonition seriously, always donating money anonymously.  He was tremendously austere in his personal life, which is a good qualification for an Oikonomos -- a word for treasurer, from which is derived the English word economy.  I'd like to say that's how he became the patron saint of economists, but the truth is no particular saint is designated for that patronage.  The closest is Albertus Magnus, Doctor of the Church and patron of scientists and philosophers. 

Apparently, this coin shows Marcian's face.
So here's the fun miracle story that sets Marcian apart from the other January 10 saints.  Marcian was on his way to the consecration of a new church one day.  By the way, the consecration of a church is a very big deal.  I was at the consecration of Saint Pius X (Portland, Maine), during which my brother carried the cross for the Bishop.  One of the Knights of Columbus drew his sword too close to my brother's head for comfort, but other than that it was a very spectacular pageant.  Oh, yeah, sorry.  Back to Marcian. 

He was on his way to the consecration Mass when he encountered a naked beggar in the road.  Marcian slipped off his chasuble, then stripped off all his other clothes.  He gave them to the beggar, redraped the chasuble over himself, and hustled off.  No one perceived Marcian's nakedness; in fact, everyone else saw him clothed in a rich, golden robe.  After the Mass was over, the Patriarch called him on his ostentation, showing everyone else up by wearing such an extravagantly costly garment.  Marcian pointed out that he was in fact buck-naked under the chasuble, but in truth he was robed in the beauty of his generosity. 

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