Tag Archives: saints

Today (Kind of) In History: St. Patrick

St. Patrick stain glass window

I don’t actually have a lot to debunk about St. Patrick Day.  More like just giving up tidbits of information. Feast Day March 17 is the official feast day for St. Patrick.  Theoretically, it’s the date of his death.  In truth, we have no idea when he died, nor, to the best of my knowledge, how he died.  Unlike many early saints, Patrick was not a martyr.  Had he died for his faith, the story of it would certainly have

St. Margaret of Antioch; or, the Teenager Who Destroys Dragons

St. Margaret of Antioch, also known as St. Margaret the Virgin and St. Margaret the Martyr, is purported to have lived at the end of the 3rd century during the great persecution of Christians under the reign of Emperor Diocletian.  Disowned for converting to Christianity, Margaret moved to the countryside where she attracted the unwanted attention of a man who demanded she both marry him and disavow Christianity. The teenage Margaret, already pledged to a life of chastity, refused, at

Will the Real St. Valentine Please Stand Up? or Why I Hate the History Channel

A couple of months ago, I did a post about St. Valentine and how he has nothing to do with modern, secular celebrations of Valentine’s Day.  I mentioned how hard it was to find good info online because so many sources mix-up folklore and urban legend with actual history. And it just got a little harder. My original post was inspired by a meme that featured this image: The original meme included the words: Roses are red, violets are blue,

Not at All Today in History: St. Valentine

Oh, Valentine’s Day, how you don’t make any sense. Valentine’s Day comes from the Catholic Feast of St. Valentine, but even that holiday is problematic.  There are at least three early saints with that name, and it’s not clear which one  Feb. 14 was meant to celebrate.  The Orthodox Church actually has two different feast days for two of them…but they are on July 6 and July 30.  Moreover, their stories grew up long after the fact of their lives

Judgmental Augustine: Peter Lombard Gets it Wrong

St Augustine Objecting in Lombard's Gloss of the Psalms

Medieval marginalia is most known for being bizarre and offensive. It frequently is, but not always, particularly in earlier manuscripts. In the mid 12th century, Peter Lombard wrote a gloss of the psalms. That is, he created pages that displayed both the text of the Book of Psalms and his theological commentary on the text, which included frequent references to other respected theologians. Occasionally, however, Lombard got his sources mixed up. The book was commissioned by Thomas Becket, the Archbishop

Where’s Jesus?

Through most of the Middle Ages, artwork had a decided lack of environment. If you weren’t familiar with medieval Christian Art, you’d have a hard time knowing what the image at right even is, much less where it is happening. What I see: Man with a bad bleach job and no thighs trapped in a tiny cell being watched by munchkins.  He may or may not be stoned. What this is: Christ sitting on a throne in heaven, although a

Today in History: The Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket, 1170

On December 29, 1170, Henry II of England accidentally murdered his former best friend, Thomas Becket. The Anarchy As always, to understand a historical tale, you need to understand some of the context. Henry’s entire childhood developed in the context of a 18-year civil war known as the Anarchy, and that fight deserves its own mention. Henry I, son of William the Conqueror, produced a small army of illegitimate kids. (Wikipedia lists 24).  However, he only produced one legitimate son,