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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30 -- Feast of Saint Peter Chrysologus

The Homily Doctor
Peter's bio didn't seem very promising, but since he is a Doctor of the Church, he gets an automatic berth.  Fortunately, there are a couple of cool things to relate about him. 

He is known as the Doctor of Homilies.  Google's dictionary service offers two definitions of homily.  The first says that it is a religious discourse for spiritual edification, a sermon.  The second says that it is a tedious moralizing discourse.  I'll confess that when I saw that Saint Peter Chrysologus is the Doctor of Homilies, my mind ran to the second definition.  Happily, however, he was famous for short, clear, and inspiring sermons -- apparently he honed them because he was afraid of boring his audiences.  In fact his cognomen Chrysologus, meaning golden word, was given to him by the very influential Empress Galla Placidia, who admired his style.  Seminaries should have a required course in the Oratorical Style of Saint Peter Chrysologus. 

Talk to Pope Sixtus -- it was his dream, not mine
He actually had a rough start as a bishop.  The bishop of Ravenna was a big deal in the fifth century.  Rome had become such a rotten, dangerous place, the emperors (and later kings of Italy) often governed from Ravenna.  The bishop of that city, therefore, would probably have more influence with the government than the emperor himself.  When the bishop of Ravenna died, the folks there selected a nominee to replace him and asked Bishop Cornelius of Imola to escort him to the Pope for confirmation.  Bishop Cornelius put together an appropriate delegation, including his deacon, Peter.  When the Pope saw Peter, he recalled a dream in which Saint Peter (Simon, the Rock) and Saint Apollinaris, the first bishop of Ravenna, had appeared to him.  In the vision, they showed him the next bishop of Ravenna: it was of course Peter and not the poor humiliated sot whose nomination was rejected.  As one would expect, Peter was received coolly by the folks in Ravenna, though in time they warmed to him -- short sermons probably had much to do with that. 

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