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, January 4, 2012

January 4 -- Feast of Saint Ferreolus of Uzes

Sometimes I am in over my head in these things.  But I continue to plow ahead, unmindful of my own ignorance.  Dire Straits on Jennifer's iPod is a solid secondary.
Reliquary as portrait

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (There is one?  Only one?), per Wikipedia, St. Ferreolus of Uzes was particularly dedicated to conversion of Jews to Christianity.  And yet. unlike so many other Christians, his method of conversion seems to have relied on tolerance and dialogue rather than coercion.  At least that is true early in his career.

He was the Bishop of Uzes, having had the wisdom to be born to the best families (ie. the grandson of Cloderic of the Ripuarian Franks].  He seems to have had two accomplishments as bishop: he equated work in the scriptorium with work in the field (an important decision for the perpetuation of western literature and learning), and the gentle engagement of the Jewish community of Nimes.  It was the latter that got him in trouble.

Too cozy with Jews to be a bishop
Arian / Visigothic Christians had no problem with Jews being Jews, even if they happened to live next door.  Hell, it was probably convenient to have the neighbor's kids light the fires and milk the cows on the Sabbath; the little Jews would do it on Sunday if the little goyim did it on Saturday, right? 

The trouble came when the proto-Orthodox / Catholic got control of the diocese.  Childebert I came to the throne and somehow secured authority all the way south to Uzes.  He booted good Saint Ferreolus from the cathedra for being too friendly with the Jews.  He got his old gig back three years later, but under strict orders and a watchful eye.  He promptly ordered all Jews to plant their asses in the pews of his cathedral, whereupon he promptly preached unto them.  Those who accepted baptism remained in the city; those who maintained their Faith were encouraged to depart forthwith, lest they find themselves martyrs.

So much for Saint Ferreolus.  We don't meet him again until he makes a cameo appearance in James Joyce's Ulysses, an opus I am likely to go to my grave without embracing.

This seems like a moment for discretion to be the better part of valor.  I'll leave the assessment of Ferreolus to the Reader.

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