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FLEMISH RELIQUARY, 13TH CENTURY. Freserved in the Convent of Dames du Sacré-Cour Mons

July, Part I.

July 5.

SS. STEPHEN, B., and Comp., MM. at Rhegium, in Italy, 1st cent.
S. ZOE, M. at Rome, A.D. 286.

S. DOMITIUS, M. in Syria, A.D. 363.

S. ATHANASIUS, Deac., M. at Jerusalem, circ. A.D. 453.

S. PHILOMENA, V. at San Severino, in the Marches of Ancona

S. TROPHIMA, V.M. at Minuri, near Amalfi.

S. MONGUNNA, V. Abss. in Ireland, about A.D. 650.

S. ISLIEF, B. at Skalholt, in Iceland, A.D. 1080.


[Greek Menæa. Cultus at Reggio in Calabria on this day, sanctioned by the Congregation of Sacred Rites in 1622. Authority :-A late account in Greek, probably by Metaphrastes, of most questionable authority. Certain it is that nothing was known at Reggio of there having been a bishop and martyrs there, before the 17th cent., when they were made acquainted with it through the Greek Menaa; and at once popular invention added particulars.]

CCORDING to the Greek story, S. Paul on his way to Rome in the ship, tarried at Rhegium, after leaving Syracuse, sufficient time to preach to the people, and convert many thousands. Not only so, but he ordained one Stephen to be their archbishop. After seventeen years, persecution broke out under Hieracos the governor, and Stephen, another bishop, named Sueras, and three women, Agnes, Felicitas and Perpetua were put to death with the sword.

Since the 17th century, when the good people of Reggio were first made aware that they had a martyr bishop, their lively imaginations have filled out the story. When S. Paul landed there, the citizens would not believe him, till an end of candle he held in his hand caught fire spontaneously. Then he placed the candle

on a marble pillar, and when the wick of the candle fell over, it set the marble on fire, and the pillar burnt down to its socket. This story has been gravely inserted as fact by Marco Antonio Politi in his Chronicon Regiense, and many others.1

It is of course most questionable whether S. Paul preached at Rhegium. In Acts xviii. 13, it is said that he only tarried one day there, and probably he did not even disembark. "Landing at Syracuse, we tarried. there three days. And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went towards Rome." The fable of the candle, says Janning the Bollandist, must have grown up among the vulgar, the product of some idle brain, till it made its way into the writings of serious authors. The martyr Agnes is derived from the Greek Menology, which commemorates one of this name on July 5th, without saying where she suffered, but giving a story which bears a strong resemblance to that of S. Agnes of Rome. Felicitas and Perpetua occur together in suspicious proximity, and have probably been translated from Africa, and anti-dated by rather more than a century. In 1622, Annibal de Afflictis, archbishop of Reggio, requested permission to erect altars and set up images, and institute mass and other devotions in honour of these martyrs. The Sacred Congregation of Rites gave the faculty desired.

1 Marafioti in his Chronicon Calabriae. Ughelli in his History of the Bishops of Reggio; and Paolo Gaulteri in his Saints of Calabria.

S. ZOE, M.
(A.D. 286.)

[Modern Roman Martyrology. Ado, Usuardus, Notker and Wandelbert. Authority :-Mention in the Acts of S. Sebastian.]

S. ZOE, the wife of Nicostratus, keeper of the records in Rome, was converted by S. Sebastian (see Jan. 20th.) It is unnecessary here to repeat the circumstances, as they have been already related in the life of S. Sebastian.

Zoe was taken by the Roman soldiers praying in the "Confession" of S. Peter, and was ordered to sacrifice to Mars. As she refused, she was thrown into a dungeon, and kept five days without light and food. On the sixth day she was drawn forth, and hung by her hair in a tree over a smoking dung heap. When she was dead, a stone was attached to her neck, and she was cast into the Tiber by the guards "lest the Christians should take away her body, and make her their goddess."


(ABOUT A.D. 453-)

[Roman Martyrology. Not in the Greek Menæa. Authorities :-Mention by Nicephorus Callistus, lib, xv. c. 9. (d. 1341), and before him by Theophanes in his Chronographia (d. 817). Marcian the Emperor, a contemporary, in his epistle to the Church of Jerusalem, mentions the circumstance of the murder of the Deacon, without giving his name.]

ATHANASIUS, deacon of the church in Jerusalem, under the holy orthodox bishop Juvenal, was savagely murdered, his body dragged through the streets, and his flesh cast to the dogs, in the riots occasioned by the Eutychians, under the monk Theodosius, who drove Juvenal from his see, and installed himself in his room.1

See SS. Flavian and Elias, July 4th, p. 99.

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