20th July (’22): Saint Elijah

Elijah (/ɪˈlaɪdʒə/ il-EYE-jə; Hebrew: אֵלִיָּהוּ‎, ʾĒlīyyāhū, meaning “My God is Yahweh/YHWH”Greek form: Elias[a] /ɪˈlaɪəs/ il-EYE-əs) was, according to the Books of Kings in the Hebrew Bible, a prophet and a miracle worker who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Ahab (9th century BCE). In 1 Kings 18, Elijah defended the worship of the Hebrew God over that of the Canaanite deity Baal. God also performed many miracles through Elijah, including resurrection, bringing fire down from the sky, and entering heaven alive “by fire”. He is also portrayed as leading a school of prophets known as “the sons of the prophets”.Following his ascension, Elisha, his disciple and most devoted assistant, took over his role as leader of this school. The Book of Malachi prophesies Elijah’s return “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD”, making him a harbinger of the Messiah and of the eschaton in various faiths that revere the Hebrew Bible. References to Elijah appear in Sirach, the New Testament, the Mishnah and Talmud, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Baháʼí writings.

In Judaism, Elijah’s name is invoked at the weekly Havdalah rite that marks the end of Shabbat, and Elijah is invoked in other Jewish customs, among them the Passover Seder and the brit milah (ritual circumcision). He appears in numerous stories and references in the Haggadah and rabbinic literature, including the Babylonian Talmud. According to the Hebrew Bible, Elijah will return during the End of Times.

The Christian New Testament notes that some people thought that Jesus was, in some sense, Elijah, but it also makes clear that John the Baptist is “the Elijah” who was promised to come in Malachi 3:1; 4:5. According to accounts in all three of the Synoptic Gospels, Elijah appeared with Moses during the Transfiguration of Jesus.

In Islam, Elijah or Ilyas appears in the Quran as a prophet and messenger of God, where his biblical narrative of preaching against the worshipers of Baal is recounted in a concise form. Due to his importance to Muslims, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians, Elijah has been venerated as the patron saint of Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1752.

16th July (’22): Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or Virgin of Carmel, is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order, particularly within the Catholic Church. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid-13th century. They built in the midst of their hermitages a chapel which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the “Lady of the place.” Our Lady of Mount Carmel was adopted in the 19th century as the patron saint of Chile.

Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has centered on the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also known as the Brown Scapular. Traditionally, Mary is said to have given the Scapular to an early Carmelite named Saint Simon Stock (1165-1265). The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on 16 July.

The solemn liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was probably first celebrated in England in the later part of the 14th century. Its object was thanksgiving to Mary, the patroness of the Carmelite Order, for the benefits she had accorded to it through its difficult early years. The institution of the feast may have come in the wake of the vindication of their title “Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary” at Cambridge, England, in 1374. The date chosen was 17 July; on the European mainland this date conflicted with the feast of St. Alexis, requiring a shift to 16 July, which remains the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the Roman Calendar of the Catholic Church. The Latin poem “Flos Carmeli” (meaning “Flower of Carmel”) first appears as the sequence for this Mass.

3th July (’22): Saint Thomas the Apostle

Thomas the Apostle (Aramaic: 𐡀𐡌𐡅𐡕𐡌, Biblical Hebrew: תוֹמָאס הקדוש, Classical Syriac: ܬܐܘܡܐ, Tʾōmā, meaning “twin”; Koinē Greek: Θωμᾶς),[a] also known as Didymus (“twin”), was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. Thomas is commonly known as “Doubting Thomas” because he initially doubted the resurrection of Jesus Christ when he was told of it (as is related in the Gospel of John alone); he later confessed his faith (“My Lord and my God”) on seeing the wounds left over from the crucifixion.

According to traditional accounts of the Saint Thomas Christians of modern-day Kerala in India, Thomas travelled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, travelling as far as the Tamilakam which is in South India,[1][5][6][7] and reached Muziris of Tamilakam (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor in Kerala State, India) in AD 52. In 1258, some of the relics were brought to Ortona, in Abruzzo, Italy, where they have been held in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle. He is regarded as the patron saint of India among its Christian adherents, and the Feast of Saint Thomas on July 3 is celebrated as Indian Christians’ Day. The name Thomas remains quite popular among the Saint Thomas

Gospel of John

Thomas first speaks in the Gospel of John. In John 11:16, when Lazarus has recently died, and the apostles do not wish to go back to Judea, Thomas says: “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Thomas speaks again in John 14:5. There, Jesus had just explained that he was going away to prepare a heavenly home for his followers, and that one day they would join him there. Thomas reacted by saying, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”[16]

John 20:24–29 tells how doubting Thomas was skeptical at first when he heard that Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to the other apostles, saying, “Except I shall see on his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” But when Jesus appeared later and invited Thomas to touch his wounds and behold him, Thomas showed his belief by saying, “My Lord and my God”. Jesus then said, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.”

Names and etymologies

The name Thomas (Koine Greek: Θωμᾶς) given for the apostle in the New Testament is derived from the Aramaic תְּאוֹמָא Tʾōmā (Classical Syriac: ܬܐܘܿܡܵܐ/ܬ݁ܳܐܘܡܰܐ Tʾōmā/Tāʾwma), meaning “twin” and cognate to Hebrew תְּאוֹם tʾóm. The equivalent term for twin in Greek, which is also used in the New Testament, is Δίδυμος Didymos.

11th June (’22): Saint Barnabas

Barnabas (/ˈbɑːrnəbəs/; Aramaic: ܒܪܢܒܐ; Ancient Greek: Βαρνάβας), born Joseph (Ἰωσήφ) or Joses (Ἰωσής), was according to tradition an early Christian, one of the prominent Christian disciples in Jerusalem. According to Acts 4:36, Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew. Named an apostle in Acts 14:14, he and Paul the Apostle undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against the Judaizers. They traveled together making more converts (c. 46–48), and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (c. 49). Barnabas and Paul successfully evangelized among the “God-fearing” Gentiles who attended synagogues in various Hellenized cities of Anatolia.

Barnabas’ story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles. Tertullian named him as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but this and other attributions are conjecture. Clement of Alexandria and some scholars have ascribed the Epistle of Barnabas to him, but his authorship is debunked.

Although the date, place, and circumstances of his death are historically unverifiable, Christian tradition holds that Barnabas was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus. He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. The feast day of Barnabas is celebrated on June 11.

Barnabas is usually identified as the cousin of Mark the Evangelist on the basis of the term “anepsios” used in Colossians 4, which carries the connotation of “cousin.” Orthodox tradition holds that Aristobulus of Britannia, one of the Seventy Disciples, was the brother of Barnabas.

14th February (’22): Saints Cyril and Methodius

Cyril (born Constantine, 826–869) and Methodius (815–885) were two brothers and Byzantine Christian theologians and missionaries. For their work evangelizing the Slavs, they are known as the “Apostles to the Slavs”.

They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used to transcribe Old Church Slavonic. After their deaths, their pupils continued their missionary work among other Slavs. Both brothers are venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as saints with the title of “equal-to-apostles“. In 1880, Pope Leo XIII introduced their feast into the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared them co-patron saints of Europe, together with Benedict of Nursia.

2° February (’22): CANDLEMAS

Candlemas (also spelled Candlemass), also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Feast of the Holy Encounter, is a Christian holiday commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It is based upon the account of the presentation of Jesus in Luke 2:22–40. In accordance with Leviticus 12, a woman was to be purified by presenting a lamb as a burnt offering, and either a young pigeon or dove as sin offering, 33 days after a boy’s circumcision. It falls on 2 February, which is traditionally the 40th day (postpartum period) of and the conclusion of the ChristmasEpiphany season. While it is customary for Christians in some countries to remove their Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve), those in other Christian countries historically remove them after Candlemas. On Candlemas, many Christians (especially Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans and Methodists) also bring their candles to their local church, where they are blessed and then used for the rest of the year; for Christians, these blessed candles serve as a symbol of Jesus Christ, who referred to himself as the Light of the World.

28th January (’22): Saint Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas (/əˈkwaɪnəs/; Italian: Tommaso d’Aquino, lit.‘Thomas of Aquino‘; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential philosopher, theologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism, he is also known within the latter as the Doctor Angelicus, the Doctor Communis, and the Doctor Universalis. The name Aquinas identifies his ancestral origins in the county of Aquino in present-day Lazio, Italy. Among other things, he was a prominent proponent of natural theology and the father of a school of thought (encompassing both theology and philosophy) known as Thomism. He argued that God is the source of both the light of natural reason and the light of faith. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy is derived from his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.

Unlike many currents in the Catholic Church of the time, Thomas embraced several ideas put forward by Aristotle — whom he called “the Philosopher” — and attempted to synthesize Aristotelian philosophy with the principles of Christianity

His best-known works are the Disputed Questions on Truth (1256–1259), the Summa contra Gentiles (1259–1265), and the unfinished but massively influential Summa Theologica, or Summa Theologiae (1265–1274). His commentaries on Scripture and on Aristotle also form an important part of his body of work. Furthermore, Thomas is distinguished for his eucharistic hymns, which form a part of the church’s liturgy. The Catholic Church honors Thomas Aquinas as a saint and regards him as the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood, and indeed the highest expression of both natural reason and speculative theology. In modern times, under papal directives, the study of his works was long used as a core of the required program of study for those seeking ordination as priests or deacons, as well as for those in religious formation and for other students of the sacred disciplines (philosophy, Catholic theology, church history, liturgy, and canon law).

Thomas Aquinas is considered one of the Catholic Church’s greatest theologians and philosophers. Pope Benedict XV declared: “This (Dominican) Order … acquired new luster when the Church declared the teaching of Thomas to be her own and that Doctor, honored with the special praises of the Pontiffs, the master and patron of Catholic schools.” The English philosopher Anthony Kenny considers Thomas to be “one of the dozen greatest philosophers of the western world”.

25th January ’22 – Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle

The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle is a feast celebrated during the liturgical year on 25 January, recounting the conversion. This feast is celebrated in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches. This feast is at the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an international Christian ecumenical observance that began in 1908, which is an octave (an eight-day observance) spanning from 18 January (observed in Anglican and Lutheran tradition as the Confession of Peter, and in the pre-1961 Roman Catholic Church as the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Rome) to 25 January. In rural England, the day functioned much like groundhog day does in the modern-day United States. Supposed prophecies ranged from fine days predicting good harvests, to clouds and mists signifying pestilence and war in the coming months.

The collect in the Roman Missal is: O God, who taught the whole world through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul, draw us, we pray, nearer to you through the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today, and so make us witnesses to your truth in the world.

4th December (’21): Saint Barbara, patroness of firefighters

Saint Barbara, known in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the Great Martyr Barbara, was an early Christian Lebanese and Greek saint and martyr. Accounts place her in the 3rd century in Heliopolis Phoenicia, present-day BaalbekLebanon.There is no reference to her in the authentic early Christian writings nor in the original recension of Saint Jerome’s martyrology. Despite the legends detailing her story, the earliest references to her supposed 3rd-century life do not appear until the 7th century, and veneration of her was common, especially in the East, from the 9th century.

Because of doubts about the historicity of her legend, she was removed from the General Roman Calendar in the 1969 revision, though not from the Catholic Church’s list of saints.

Saint Barbara is often portrayed with miniature chains and a tower. As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Barbara continues to be a popular saint in modern times, perhaps best known as the patron saint of armourersartillerymenmilitary engineers, miners and others who work with explosives because of her legend’s association with lightning, and also of mathematicians. A 15th-century French version of her story credits her with thirteen miracles, many of which reflect the security she offered that her devotees would not die before getting to make confession and receiving extreme unction.

11th November: Saint Martin’s Day

Martin of Tours (Latin: Sanctus Martinus Turonensis; 316 – 8 November 397) was the third bishop of Tours. He has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints in France, heralded as the patron saint of the Third Republic, and is patron saint of many communities and organizations across Europe. A native of Pannonia (in modern central Europe), he converted to Christianity at a young age. He served in the Roman cavalry in Gaul, but left military service at some point prior to 361, when he became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers, establishing the monastery at Ligugé. He was consecrated as Bishop of Caesarodunum (Tours) in 371. As bishop, he was active in the suppression of the remnants of Gallo-Roman religion, but he opposed the violent persecution of the Priscillianist sect of ascetics.

The tradition of cutting the cloak
San Martino shares his precious cloak with a poor man, detail of the facade of the Cathedral of Lucca dedicated to the saint

As a circitor, his job was the night patrol and the inspection of the guard posts, as well as the night surveillance of the garrisons. During one of these patrols, the episode took place that changed his life (and which is still today the one most remembered and most used by iconography). In the harsh winter of 335 Martino met a half-naked beggar. Seeing him in pain, he cut his military cloak (the white chlamys of the imperial guard) in two and shared it with the beggar.

The following night he saw in a dream Jesus dressed in half of his military cloak. He heard Jesus say to his angels: “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized, he has clothed me.” When Martin woke up his cloak was intact. The miraculous cloak was kept as a relic and became part of the relic collection of the Merovingian kings of the Franks. The medieval Latin term for “short mantle”, chapel, was extended to the people in charge of keeping the mantle of St. Martin, the chaplains, and from these it was applied to the royal oratory, which was not a church, called a chapel.

In Italy the cult of the saint is linked to the so-called summer of San Martino which manifests itself, in a meteorological sense, at the beginning of November and gives rise to some traditional popular festivals. In the Abruzzo municipality of Scanno, for example, large fires called “glories of San Martino” are lit in honor of San Martino and the districts compete against each other who makes the highest and most durable fire