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June 30 Saints of the Day – The Twelve Apostles and Theobald of Provins

On this date in 1972, the first leap second was added to the UTC time system. Billions of people complained the next day of feeling like they had overslept.

The Twelve ApostlesThe Twelve Apostles (I Cent.) celebrate their Synaxis today, or at least we do. “Synaxis” comes from the Greek words “syn” meaning “together” and “axis” meaning “an imaginary line passing through the center of a symmetrical solid.” (It also means “gathering.”)

Our Lord chose the Twelve in either Mark 3 or Luke 6 after praying all night on a mountain. Later he sent them out two by two to preach and cast out demons, in order to provide material for the second verse of the song “Children, Go Where I Send Thee.” The Twelve show up in all four Gospels, and are present at the Last Supper, where Judas Iscariot was famously pointed out by Christ as the one who would betray him. The Twelve are also implicated in the post-resurrection appearance of Christ at which Thomas was not present, and following which he earned his sobriquet, “Doubting Thomas.” According to ancient tradition (which I am in no position to refute), Thomas went and preached the Gospel in India and died for his faith, stabbed with five spears, but not doubting a bit.

In fact all of the twelve except John (and maybe Matthew) died as martyrs, some in more interesting ways than others. Peter was crucified upside-down. Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross (“saltire”), which is commemorated on the national flag of Scotland, due to a Milvian-Bridge-style vision that led a Pictish king to victory. James, brother of John, was stabbed with a sword by Herod Agrippa, or maybe beheaded. Philip was stoned to death while tied to a cross upside-down, which rather seems like over-egging the pudding on the part of his executioners. Bartholomew was flayed alive, which in all seriousness strikes me as possibly the most horrible way to be martyred. James (the other one, often called “the Lesser” although we have no proof he ever leased anything) (oh wait that’s “lessor”) was beaten to death, as was his brother Jude (about whom the Beatles most emphatically did not sing a song). Unless they were crucified. (Sources! Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.)

Simon Zealotes was either crucified in Samaria or sawn in half in Persia. I’m going to go out on a limb and say “but probably not both.” Matthias, chosen to replace Judas because twelve is a magic number, was stoned. And Matthew was either killed by the sword, by a spear, or by voluntarily giving up his spirit after two unsuccessful immolation attempts; or he died peacefully in old age. Sources are all over the map, as are the suggested sites of his demise, although the majority suggest Ethiopia. John of course was exiled to Patmos after a decidedly non-fatal bath in hot oil, and lived to a ripe old age. Paul, who is sometimes included among the twelve for reasons that will ever remain unconvincing, was beheaded.

Theobald of ProvinsTheobald (also Thibault) of Provins (1033 – 1066), son of a well-placed count, was an early refusenik. A great fan of various desert dwellers (John the Baptist, Paul the Hermit, Anthony the Great, etc.), Theobald refused to get married, refused to go to court, refused a commission in the army, and refused to help his cousin win the Burgundian crown. Eventually all that refusing convinced his father to let him be a hermit, which of course was his plan all along. He fell in with a friend named Walter, and together they hermitted a bit near Suxy, worked as a day laborers, went on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in northern Spain, and then went to Rome in preparation for a trip to the Holy Land. When Walter fell ill they decided to stay in Italy, and when he died Theobald became something of a leader of a group of hermits. The bishop priested him, and his parents came and visited. At the end of his life Theobald became a Camaldolese monk (not that that’s why he died, mind).

Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.

June 30
The Bible (There are many great Bible resources online; my favorite is Bible Gateway). – Main source
Synaxis of the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Twelve Apostles (OCA)
Orthodox Saints commemorated in June (Abba Moses)
Saint John the Apostle (SQPN)
Saint Andrew the Apostle (SQPN)
Saint James the Greater (SQPN)
Saint James the Lesser (SQPN)
Saint Jude Thaddeus (SQPN)
Saint Bartholomew the Apostle (SQPN)
Saint Simon the Apostle (SQPN)
Saint Matthias the Apostle (SQPN)
Saint Philip the Apostle (SQPN)
Life of Saint Matthew the Apostle
The Best Reissues & Compilations of 2009 (New Testament) – Source of image
Theobald of Provins (Wikipedia) – Main source
Theobald (Thibaud) of Provins, OSB Cam. Hermit (RM) (St. Patrick DC)
Vie de saint Thibaut de Provins (Librairie La Procure) – Source of image


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.

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