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, March 13, 2012

March 13 -- Feast of Saints Roderic and Solomon

There are levels of religious tolerance. France, for example, might not be as restrictive as China, but it is certainly more restrictive than the USA.  And even the Americans still debate the extent to which the Religious Freedom Restoration Act should permit the faithful to flout laws that bind other Americans. 

Roderic lived in ninth century Spain, during the time it was occupied by Moors.  The conquerors had imposed a Muslim theocracy, but landed somewhere in the tolerance spectrum with regard to Christianity.  Christians could live among them, and could even convert to Islam, but Muslims could not convert to Christianity.  Apostasy Street only was clearly marked one-way.

Apostasy Street
Roderic, a priest, had two brothers.  One had become a Muslim and the other was a lapsed Christian.  One day, Roderic found the two of them fighting.  He stepped between them to make peace and was (of course) beaten senseless by both of them.  The Muslim brother then took it upon himself to drag Roderic up and down the street, proclaiming loudly that his brother the priest wanted to convert to Islam. 

Roderic eventually escaped from his brother, but the brother went to the authorities and complained that Roderic had apostatized.  The priest was promptly arrested.  His defense was that he had never declared himself a convert to Islam, but that was no defense at all in Moorish Spain so he was sent to prison to await execution. 

Holy relics?
Solomon's role in this feast is that he had the fortune (good, bad, or indifferent) to be on a cellmate with Roderic.  The two of them were executed on the same day, and since Roderic's story was compelling enough to get a feast, Roderic got a share for having been there. They were beheaded beside each other on March 13, 837. 

The officials who handled the execution, by the way, were very thorough.  They ordered that the pebbles which had been stained with the saints' blood be gathered up and thrown into the river to prevent Christians from gathering them as sacred relics.  Now those folks were on the ball.

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