May 17 Saints of the Day – Euphrosyne of Moscow and Paschal Baylon

On this date in 1792, the New York Stock Exchange was formed. A lot of legends have formed about this. Many are unbearable, and most of them are bull.

Euphrosyne of MoscowEuphrosyne of Moscow (d. 1407) was born Евдокия Дмитриевна (Eudoxia Dmitrievna), daughter of the Grand Prince of Nizhny Novgorod (or maybe Suzdal). She married the Grand Prince of Moscow, thus bringing stability between Suzdal (or maybe Nizhny Novgorod) and Moscow. She was a spiritual disciple of St. Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow, and St. Sergius of Radonezh.

Eudoxia did not shirk her political and religious duties, even while raising her five (or maybe twelve) children (this seems a very odd thing for sources to disagree on). While her husband was off fighting the Blue Horde (which, when mixed with the White Horde, became the Gold Horde – don’t ask; hordes aren’t paint), she held the fort in Moscow. (She wanted to leave, but the Muscovites wouldn’t let her.) During a later battle, she arranged to have the Vladimir Icon of the Theotokos transferred to Moscow, and this was believed to have turned the tide of war. Speaking of icons, she also commissioned the icon of the Archangel Michael that became the focal point of the Kremlin’s Archangel Cathedral. In short, she was the very image of an iconodule.

After her husband’s death, she founded the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos, now the oldest building in Moscow, as well as the Ascension Monastery. At the latter she later was nunnified, taking the name Euphrosyne, and it is there that she is buried.

Paschal BaylonPaschal Baylon (1540 – 1592) was born on Whitsunday, and was therefore named “Easter,” due to exigencies of the Spanish language it probably wouldn’t pay to go into. He worked for his parents as a shepherd, carrying religious books into the field and tapping passers-by for reading lessons, which (amazingly enough) worked. He attempted to join the Franciscans after a vision at age 18, but they sent him away. He read a few more books interovinially, and was accepted when he came back at 24.

He served as doorkeeper or cook for various impoverished friaries (places where impoverished friars grow — not to be confused with chippies, which are places where fatty fish & chips grow). When he wasn’t doorkeeping or cooking, he liked to spend time in the presence of the reserved Sacrament, about which he had no reservations. He is called the “Seraph of the Eucharist” (not the “Cherub of the Eucharist,” for obvious reasons) because of this devotion. He often experienced visions and ecstasies while kneeling before the altar, but he played these down. He definitely shied from taking credit for his piety, which definitely is to his credit, ironically.

For reasons entirely not elaborated, he was sent to bear a personal message to the head of the Observants (the Franciscan Friars — keeping track of the various threads of Franciscanery can be a chore; I do not blame the reader for not taking notes), who was in France at the time. Given the religious wars then going on, walking on foot from eastern Spain over the Pyrenees Mountains and on into France was not as easy as it sounds. Paschal insisted on wearing his habit, however, which led him into several scrapes. At one point he was accosted by a Calvinist preacher and got into a protracted argument in which, before an audience of onlookers, he defended the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. History does not report who won the argument, but we at the Onion Dome would have put our money on Paschal. He also got stoned by a party of Huguenots, by which we mean he had rocks thrown at him, sustaining injuries that plagued him to the end of his days.

The end of his days came on a Whitsunday, just as the bells were ringing for Mass. He was buried in Villareal, and his tomb became a pilgrimage destination, until it and his relics were destroyed in the Spanish Civil War, about which grrr. He is the patron saint, against all reason, of Italian women.

Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.

May 17 (Wikipedia)
St Euphrosyne the Princess, (Eudoxia) of Moscow (OCA) – Main source (1 of 2)
Eudoxia of Moscow (Wikipedia) – Main source (2 of 2)
Paschal Baylon (St. Patrick DC) – Main source
Paschal Baylon (Wikipedia)
Franciscan (Wikipedia)


About Your Intrepid Blogger

I live in the Tacoma area. When not writing things some people think are funny, I teach technology to 7th and 8th graders at a local middle school.

3 comments on “May 17 Saints of the Day – Euphrosyne of Moscow and Paschal Baylon

  1. I love your Saints of the Day posts! Will you have a post on Andronicus and Junia (May 17th Saints)?

    • Thank you! Sorry to say, I’ve already done the saints for May 17, so I won’t be doing Andronicus and Junia, unless they have another day later in the year. If you have saints you want to see in the coming days/weeks/months, please let me know. I’m happy to take requests, if I have enough prior warning.

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