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.

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2 -- Feast of Saint Victorinus of Poetovio

Today is the Feast of All Souls; there is a candle burning beside me to honor the memory of the deceased. 

It is also the feast of Saint Victorinus, the bishop of a Pannonian city which is now known as Ptuj, Slovenia.  Through reading about him, I learned a new word today: chiliastic. 

Victorinus with martyr's sword
Victorinus wrote commentaries on Biblical passages and books.  Growing up in a Greek-dominated region, he struggled to write in Latin (the first Biblical exegete to do so).  Saint Jerome, a big fan of Victorinus, thought his theology was better than his prose.  We know many of his topics from Jerome, but we only have two of his books: one is his commentary on the Apocalypse (The Revelation of Saint John) and another on Creation. 

It is from reading about his work on the Apocalypse that I picked up the adjective chiliastic.  Chiliasm, as I understand it, was the controversial doctrine that the reign of God (following the Apocalypse) would last one thousand years.  A chiliad is a unit of 1000, just as a myriad is a unit of 10,000.  Marcion apparently advocated this, and I am sure he had some chapter and verse he could point to in support.  Other theologians, Victorinus included, rejected this view in favor of an eternal kingdom of God.  They too probably had chapter and verse on their side; certainly something led the folks at the Council of Nicea to include the line, and His kingdom shall have no end

Jerome says he was martyred.  Folks generally assumed that if you were a martyr from the third century, Diocletian got you, but modern scholarship suggests that Numerian took him down instead.  Either way, it might not have distressed him as much as having some of his works listed by Pope Gelasius I as apocrypha, i.e. not free of error and therefore anathematized as doctrine.  Maybe that sounds worse than it is, since nobody tried to de-canonize him.  In fact, I hope his sainthood is recognized for another chiliad or until the Day of Judgment, whichever comes first. 

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