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.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 13 -- Feast of Saint Agrecius of Trier

 The attachment to material objects as reminders of the spiritual presence is a tricky thing.  Venerating a bowl or a towel or a pair of eyeglasses might feel like idolatry to the hardcore Second Commandmenters (Second Commanders?) but as a visual cue for reflection, it's got power. 

John 19:23-24 reports that the soldiers who executed Jesus divided some of his garments, but they cast lots for his coat, which "was without seam, woven from the top throughout."  John notes that this fulfilled the prophetic verse of Psalm 22:18.

The Germans are so proud of the coat that it's on a stamp
John stays with his main character (Jesus) and loses track of the coat at this point.  Several later claims to possess the one true coat surface.  One version says that a rabbi from Georgia happened to be in Jerusalem and acquired the coat.  He took it back to Mtskheta, Georgia, where it has remained in a crypt in Sveititskhoveli Cathedral.  It's good to keep it clean and pressed because I am sure Jesus wants to wear same coat he was wearing at the Passion when he comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead.  Other garments (or maybe fragments of the robe) were given to the Russian patriarch from the Georgians; those are still in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Kiev. 

A second tradition says that the Byzantine Empress Irene sent the robe to Charlemagne.  He in turn entrusted it to his daughter, the Abbess of Argenteuil.  It survived intact until a priest, fearing its desecration or destruction during the Russian Revolution, cut it into pieces so it could be hidden in several places.  Four fragments remain, all at the Benedictine church of Argenteuil. 

A third tradition says that Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, sent the robe, the knife used at the Last Supper, one of the nails from the Cross, and the bodies (relics) of Saints Lazarus and Martha to her friend Agrecius, the Bishop of Trier.  She had gotten to know him when Constantine was one of the co-emperors, hanging around Trier, and had pushed Pope Sylvester to give him the job, even though he was already Patriarch of Antioch.  It seems like a demotion to me, but maybe he was homesick. Maybe the holy relics made up for the loss of prestige.

Not a lot else was said about him, but being tight enough with the Empress' mother that she entrusts you with a box full of holy relics is pretty good.

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