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.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19 -- Feast of Saints Expeditus, Timon, and Alphege

Sometimes there's so little recorded (or worth saying) about a saint that they warrant bundling. If you don't have the patience, skip right to Expeditus.
Not that Timon

Acts 6:5 says that Timon was among the seven men selected to be the first deacons of the Church.  The word on the street was that he was later crucified in Corinth.  And that's all there is to say about him.

Alphege, with the axe than done him in
Alphege of Canterbury was a prig of an abbot who never tolerated the slightest bending of the Rule, saying that it would be better for a man to remain in the world than to be an imperfect monk.  For some reason -- perhaps the Peter Principle -- he was promoted to Archbishop of Canterbury.  Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark, overran Canterbury and took the Archbishop prisoner.  To his credit, Alphege did not allow more than one ransom to be paid for his release.  The Danes kept him around for a while, hoping that the English would raise more money, but then one night they got drunk and started pelting him with animal bones.  Vikings, right?  When they'd done some damage, they realized it had gotten out of hand and lopped his head off to put him out of his misery.  Sweyn's son, Canute, was the kind of Christian who practiced polygamy.  Still, he felt it best to acknowledge that Alphege was a martyr and send his bones to to Canterbury for veneration.
Hodie, non cras!

Saint Expeditus might not even have been pious fiction; he was either an Armenian centurion who got martyred or he was just a misunderstood label on a package.  It seems that a box of bones  arrived in Rome in the fourth century.  It was addressed to the Bishop and labeled "EXPEDIT."  That was the Latin equivalent of writing EXPRESS MAIL on it, but then again, Expeditus was a real Roman name.

Although Expeditus is no longer an official saint, he's more popularly invoked than many of the real patrons.  Folks turn to him when they need stuff in a hurry, and often buy little testimonials printed in local papers, as they do with Saint Jude.  Like Saint Joseph for realtors, small statues of Expeditus are sold for racing stables, dashboards, and other such spots.  In pictures, Expeditus is often crushing a crow with his foot.  The crow is actually the Devil, who suggested that Expeditus postpone his conversion to Christianity.  The crow is shown croaking "Cras," Latin for tomorrow.  Expeditus declared, "I'll be a Chrisitan today (hodie)!" and promptly crushed the life out of the feathery little demon.

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