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, October 24, 2012

October 24 -- Feast of Saint Proclus of Constantinople

Sometimes, the third time's a charm.  Sometimes it is not. 

William Jennings Bryan -- third time's not a charm
Consider, for example, Democratic (US) presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan.  In 1896, he lost to Republican William McKinley 271 electoral votes to 176.  In the rematch in 1900, he lost 292 to 155.  He sat out 1904, rebuilding his personal coffers, but was nominated again in 1908.  That year he lost 361 to 162.  He may never have won the presidency, but he holds the record for most cumulative electoral votes of anyone who never won the office. 

Fourth time's not always a charm either.
Then consider the Buffalo Bills, four-time American Football Conference champions.  In 1991, they lost the Superbowl to the New York Giants, 20-19, with a heart-breaking (okay, that's hyperbole, but it was pretty dramatic at that moment) missed field goal attempt at the last minute.  In 1992, they lost to the Washington Redskins, 37-24.  That's not as close, but given the eccentric scoring system of American football, it is not as wide a margin as it may seem.  In 1993, the third time was not the charm.  The Bills lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 52-17.  And just to be sure, the Bills showed up the following year, losing to the Cowboys yet again, 30-13.  They are tied with the Minnesota Vikings for most Superbowl appearances without any victories. 

But sometimes... Saint Proclus (right) at translation of St. Johnny C's relics
And yet, sometimes the third time is a charm, or at least the fourth.  Saint Proclus was the bishop of Cyzicus, a coastal city on the Sea of Marmara in Turkey.  Actually, he only held the title; opponents of his theological views prevented him from actually taking his place on his cathedra.  He appears to have been an especially gifted orator and an above-average theologian, if more than a little controversial.  He was a key player in the designation of Mary as the Theotokos (the God-bearer).  When Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, advanced an alternate view of the natures of Mary and Christ, calling Mary the Christotokos (since Jesus, as a human, could not have been a god), he was accused of heresy.  Proclus was neither the first nor the most vociferous of Nestorius' accusers, but he was a prominent voice in the pack.  And what has this to do with third times being charms? 

Proclus had twice put himself forward as a candidate to become Patriarch of Constantinople, and he had been twice passed over.  He must have thrown his mitre into the ring again when Nestorius was anathematized and driven from Constantinople, but was once again passed over in favor of Maximian.  Max died in office with Proclus still hanging around, so -- the fourth time being a charm -- Proclus got the nod. 

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