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, May 10, 2012

May 10 -- Feast of Saint Calepodius

Saint Maria in Trastavere -- that's Calepodius on the right
Somewhere around the third milestone on the Via Aurelia (outside Rome) was the cemetery of Saint Calepodius.  He might have been buried there for a while, but his relics (bones) got translated (moved) to Santa Maria in Trastavere, where some of them remain today.  Others got translated to Fulda, Cysoing, and Notre Dame de Reims.  In Trastavere, he is under the main altar with Calistus and Cornelius, even though they were not the saints he was martyred with.

Speaking of his martyrdom...

Calepodius was a priest during the reign of Severus Alexander.  Roman history (and most Christian history) records nothing of Severus Alexander persecuting Christians.  Rather, he seems to have been preoccupied with making peace with the Sassinid Persians, a policy that ultimately cost him his life; warhawks in Rome assassinated him when he appeared too willing to compromise.

But in the segment of Calistus' life that discusses Calepodius, Severus Alexander is said to have declared a general persecution of Christians.  This followed a fire which broke out in Rome, damaging the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus.  The fire burned hot enough to melt the right hand of a statue of Jupiter, which was sacrilege enough to warrant a general persecution.  After all, if a fire broke it, it must have been started by Christians.  If it burned the temple, that must have been intentional.  And if the idol was damaged, who could say that wasn't deliberate blasphemy designed to bring the wrath of Jupiter down on all Rome?

Calepodius resisted all incentives and disincentives to abandon the faith.  For his fidelity, he won the crown of martyrdom by beheading.  They tossed his headless body in the Tiber, but fishermen brought it up with their catch and turned it over to the pope.

There is much that I wonder about, but nothing so much as fishing in the Tiber.  Really?  The same river into which the Cloaca Maxima dumped the metabolic waste of a million Romans?  You're going to eat fish caught in that open sewer?  It's no wonder that the body of Calepodius found no rest there, but took the Fresh Catch Express to Vatican Hill instead. 

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