NETHERLANDS OF MY HEART
Saint Alberic of Utrecht, the Netherlands (+784)
August 21 & November 14
Saint Alberic of Utrecht (died 21 August 784) was a Benedictine monk and bishop of Utrecht, in what is today the Netherlands.
Saint Alberic was the nephew of Saint Gregory of Utrecht. Little is known of Saint Alberic before he joined the Order of Saint Benedict. It is known that he served as prior of the Cathedral of Saint Martin. When Saint Gregory died in 775, Saint Alberic succeeded his uncle as the bishop of Utrecht. His bishopric was noted for the success of its mission among the pagan Teutons, as well as the reorganization of the school of Utrecht. In addition, Saint Alberic directed the mission of Ludger in Ostergau.
Saint Alberic was a good friend of Alcuin, a teacher and poet from York, England, preeminent among the scholars of that era. This relationship likely speaks to Saint Alberic’s own intelligence, as the saint has been noted for his “encyclopedic knowledge of the faith”.
SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE
Saint John of Damascus, Syria (+780)
ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA
Saint John of Damascus was born about the year 680 at Damascus, Syria into a Christian family. His father, Sergius Mansur, was a treasurer at the court of the Caliph. John had also a foster brother, the orphaned child Cosmas (October 14), whom Sergius had taken into his own home. When the children were growing up, Sergius saw that they received a good education. At the Damascus slave market he ransomed the learned monk Cosmas of Calabria from captivity and entrusted to him the teaching of his children. The boys displayed uncommon ability and readily mastered their courses of the secular and spiritual sciences. After the death of his father, John occupied ministerial posts at court and became the city prefect.
In Constantinople at that time, the heresy of Iconoclasm had arisen and quickly spread, supported by the emperor Leo III the Isaurian (717-741). Rising up in defense of the Orthodox veneration of icons [Iconodoulia], Saint John wrote three treatises entitled, “Against Those who Revile the Holy Icons.” The wise and God-inspired writings of Saint John enraged the emperor. But since the author was not a Byzantine subject, the emperor was unable to lock him up in prison, or to execute him. The emperor then resorted to slander. A forged letter to the emperor was produced, supposedly from John, in which the Damascus official was supposed to have offered his help to Leo in conquering the Syrian capital.
This letter and another hypocritically flattering note were sent to the Saracen Caliph by Leo the Isaurian. The Caliph immediately ordered that Saint John be Continue reading “Saint John of Damascus, Syria (+780) – December 4”