Saints celebrated this week
S. John Chrysostom – 13th September
Born at Antioch about 349, his father was a high-ranking military officer. John went on to study theology under Diodore of Tarsus, was ordained as a deacon in 381 by Saint Meletius of Antioch, and was ordained as a presbyter (another word for priest, from the Greek) in 386 by Bishop Flavian I of Antioch. His preaching bore great fruit and his writings revealed the brilliance of his intellect and his strength of faith. He lived an austere life in which he strove to reform the morals of clergy and people. In 398 John was requested — against his will — to take the position of Patriarch of Constantinople and he was later exiled by the emperor who took exception to his work. He was further exiled to Pitiunt (Abkhazia region of Georgia) where his tomb is the shrine for pilgrims. He never reached this destination, as he died during the journey. His last words are said to have been, “Glory to God for all things!”
S. Cornelius – 16th September
Cornelius was elected Pope in 251. After ruling for two years, under the emperor Trebonianus Gallus, he was exiled to Centuricellae (Civita Vecchia), where he died in 253
S. Cyprian – 16th September
Cyprian was born in Carthage in 210 and was an important early Chrisitan writer. He received an excellent classical education and, after converting to Christianity, became Bishop of Carthage in 249. He encouraged his people at a time of fierce persecution and by word and example led them to understand and witness to the faith. On September 13, 258, he was imprisoned at the behest of the new proconsul, Galerius Maximus and was sentenced to die by the sword. His only answer was “Thanks be to God!” The execution was carried out at once in an open place near the city. A vast multitude followed Cyprian on his last journey. He removed his garments without assistance, knelt down, and prayed. Two of his clergy blindfolded him. He ordered twenty-five gold pieces to be given to the executioner, who with a trembling hand administered the death-blow.
S. Robert Bellarmine – 17th September
Robert Bellarmine was born in 1542 to a noble though impoverished family, a nephew of Pope Marcellus II. His mother wished him to enter the Jesuits which he duly did and was ordained priest. He became a vigorous defender of the faith at the time of the Reformation and was made rector of the Roman College in 1592, examiner of bishops in 1598 and cardinal in 1599. As inquisitor, he oversaw the trial and burning of Giordano Bruno. After a disagreement with the Pope he was sent as Bishop to Capua in 1602. He was a very pastoral Bishop, visiting, preaching and teaching, and giving the example of a truly Christian life. In his old age he was allowed to return to his old home, Montepulciano, as its bishop for four years, after which he retired to the Jesuit college of St. Andrew in Rome. He received some votes in the conclaves which elected Pope Leo XI, Pope Paul V, and Pope Gregory XV, but only in the second case had he any prospect of election. He died in Rome in 1621. He was canonised in 1930.