Today in the year of Our Lord 2016 is Friday of the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary and the Feast of St. Stephen of Hungary, king and confessor; St. Agricolus, bishop (Hist)
St. Stephen of Hungary, king and confessor
Stephen I, also known as King Saint Stephen, was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians between 997 and 1000 or 1001, and the first King of Hungary from 1000 or 1001 until his death in 1038. The year of his birth is uncertain, but many details of his life suggest that he was born in or after 975 in Esztergom. At his birth, he was given the pagan name Vajk. The date of his baptism is unknown. He was the only son of Grand Prince Géza and his wife, Sarolt, who was descended from the prominent family of the gyulas. Although both of his parents were baptized, Stephen was the first member of his family to become a devout Christian. He married Gisela of Bavaria, a scion of the imperial Ottonian dynasty.
After succeeding his father in 997, Stephen had to fight for the throne against his relative, Koppány, who was supported by large numbers of pagan warriors. He defeated Koppány mainly with the assistance of foreign knights, including Vecelin, Hont and Pázmány, but also with help from native lords. He was crowned on 25 December 1000 or 1 January 1001 with a crown sent by Pope Sylvester II. In a series of wars against semi-independent tribes and chieftains—including the Black Hungarians and his uncle, Gyula the Younger—he unified the Carpathian Basin. He protected the independence of his kingdom by forcing the invading troops of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor, to withdraw from Hungary in 1030.
Stephen established at least one archbishopric, six bishoprics and three Benedictine monasteries; thus the Church in Hungary developed independently of the archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire. His system of local administration was based on counties organized around fortresses and administered by royal officials. Hungary, which enjoyed a lasting period of peace during his reign, became a preferred route for pilgrims and merchants traveling between Western Europe and the Holy Land or Constantinople.
St. Agricolus, bishop (Hist)
The son of a Gallo-Roman senator named Magnus, St. Agricolus entered the monastery about the age of 14, possibly after the death of his mother, and acquired a great reputation for piety and learning. Meanwhile, his widowed father, Magnus, received Holy Orders and became a monk. Magnus was named bishop of Avignon 16 years later, and he consecrated his son, who by then had been a priest for quite some time, to become coadjutor bishop. St. Agricolus succeeded his father ten years later and became famous for preaching and aid to the sick and poor. Depicted here with a dragon, St. Agricolus, like Sts. George, Arsacius and Margaret of Antioch, is considered to have done battle with the devil–not utilizing his own weak human will, but shielded with a crucifix, much prayer, fasting and faith in his Redeemer. As bishop of Avignon, St. Agricolus worked all the harder for the sake of his flock. He was named Patron of Avignon in 1647.
Excerpted from 2009 Saints Calendar, Tan Books and Publishers
In an effort to include all Catholics, those who go to the EF & OF of the Latin Rite, you may notice some Saints not mentioned in your Missal or Liturgical Calendar – this is because we are including all Saints from both Calendars. Because of this some Feast days will be repeated throughout the year
Today in Catholic History
Today in 459 – Saint Simeon Stylites, Byzantine Saint, receives his eternal reward (b. 390)
Today in 1192 – The Treaty of Jaffa is signed between Richard I of England and Saladin, leading to the end of the Third Crusade.
Today in 1649 – The Italian city of Castro is completely destroyed by the forces of Pope Innocent X, ending the Wars of Castro.
Today in 1666 – The Great Fire of London breaks out and burns for three days, destroying 10,000 buildings including St Paul’s Cathedral.
Today in 1752 – Great Britain adopts the Gregorian calendar, nearly two centuries later than most of Western Europe.