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, January 3, 2013

January 3 -- Feast of Saint Gordius

I'm not sure who the other fella is
Last February 12, horse racing was delayed at the Meadows Racetrack in Washington County, Pennsylvania when three deer jumped onto the track and raced around.  The race announcer cracked jokes about Bambi and Rudolph coming into the stretch.  Joking seemed to be about all that the spectators could do as they waited for the track to be cleared and racing to resume. The article linked here has video as well as a longer description. 

Sometime in the early fourth century, the proconsul of Cappadocia was sponsoring a chariot race in honor of Mars.  His race too was interrupted, but he opted for a less patient solution than waiting. 

Gordius, the source of the interruption, had been a centurion with the Roman garrison in Caesarea.  His faith in Christianity forced his retirement when the persecution of Diocletian rolled around, but he must have been a popular NCO because no one denounced him.  He was just allowed to slip quietly into the desert to live out his days as a hermit. 

But he's in this picture too. 
It might have rankled him that so many other Christians were rushing to win the crown and palm of martyrdom while he hunkered in the desert.  Or maybe he thought his testimony before an assembled crowd of race fans would win converts.  For all I know, maybe it did.  But whatever the reason, he decided to interrupt the races by explaining his faith in Jesus. 

The proconsul had him hauled off the track and delivered for questioning.  Satisfied that Gordius was unwavering in his Christianity, the proconsul delayed the race long enough for everyone to walk outside the city and watch the torture and execution of the saint.  They then went back to the stadium and honored Mars with some racing. 

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