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.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20 -- Feast of Saints Eustachia and Euthymius

Nice beard, Euthymius
Righteous Euthymius the Great, as he is called by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOArch), was born in 377.  As an abbot in Palestine, he had the exceptional success in the early fifth century, of converting a tribe of Palestinian Arabs to Christianity.  Their faith was secured through the miraculous healing of the sheik's son, Aspebetos.  That young prince took the Christian name Peter and was consecrated Bishop of the Tents, i.e. of his nomad clan. 

Euthymius is said to have influenced the Eudoxia, the widow of Emperor Theodosius II.  Since the Emperor died in 450, I wondered about the timeline, but Euthymius is not said to have died until 473, ninety-five years or so after his death.  That's plenty of time to offer counsel to a misguided monarch. 

Johnny C -- successor to Elijah
Eudoxia is primarily noted for her persecution of Saint John Chrysostom, who declared that two of her children were stillborn because God disapproved of her materialistic lifestyle and heretical views.  Yeah, Johnny C could be a real insensitive prick. 

Here's the part that I don't understand about Empress Consort Eudoxia.  GOArch says that she wrote to Saint Simeon Stylites, asking his advice about the Monophysite heterodoxy.  Simeon recommended that she talk to Euthymius, who corrected her erroneous thinking and put her back on the path to righteousness.  GOArch concludes the episode by noting that "holy Empress Eudocia" is celebrated with a feast on August 13, but does not seem to list her on its calendar for that date.  By contrast Wikipedia (yes, that sublime theological source, Wikipedia -- don't sneer, you use it too) says that Johnny C's biographer ( a fella with the awkward name of Pseudo-Martyrius) celebrated her death and called her a second Jezebel.  Although the artist Judy Chicago did not set a place for her in the famous sculptural installation, The Dinner Party, she did include either her or her daughter Eudoxia on the heritage floor.  
Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party

Eustachia Calafati, who is also known by the neuter-sounding name Eustochium but was baptized Smerelda, was a fifteenth century Sicilian girl.  There's not much to say about her, except that her entrance into the convent was preceded by some discord.  She tried to join a community of Poor Clares, but the sisters declined to admit her after Eustachia's brothers said they'd burn the house down if she were admitted.  After lots of persuasion, she finally joined, only to find the rule of the house too lax.  

In 1457, she founded her own convent, where monastic rules were strictly enforced and the austerities of life befitted would-be follower's of Christ's rugged path. She died one year later, at age thirty-five.  Hard knowin' if the hard livin' done her in, but I figure it's the prime suspect. 

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