On this date in 1955, Disneyland was dedicated and opened by Walt Disney in Anaheim, California. Some said it was a Mickey Mouse operation, but compared to the future Walt Disney World in Florida, it was definitely Minnie.
Marina (or Margaret) of Antioch (d. 306) killed a dragon! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. She was sent to live with a Christian auntie when her mom died, and came to believe in Christ. This got her pagan dad’s seamless undergarment in a twist just long enough for him to disinherit her and drop out of the story. She was arrested and brought before Governor Olymbrios, who tried to persuade her to renounce her faith and marry him. She of course did neither, and was subject to cruel torments including sharp things and fire. She survived. Not having been liturgically dunked yet, she prayed aloud that God, having seen her safe through fire, would bring her through the waters of baptism. A gleam came into Olymbrios’ eye, and he ordered her tossed into a cauldron and drowned. Bad plan. Thunder cracked across the sky, a dove came down from heaven bearing a crown (a hefty dove or a light crown), her chains fell off, she was healed of her wounds, and 5,000 witnesses came to believe in God right then and there.
Thwarted, Olymbrios threw her into prison, where she was confronted with a dragon (possibly Satan in draconic form) and was promptly et. In the belly of the (evidently quite large) beast she made the sign of the cross upon herself, whereupon BLAMMO! the beast exploded asunder, and she stepped out unharmed (if, perhaps, a bit gooey). Next day she was beheaded, praying for God to forgive her tormenters. A voice from heaven said “Will do” (or equivalent).
She is unusual in being one of the few women (if not the only woman) to be depicted on Deacon’s Doors — her image was popularly so placed in the Balkans in medieval times, as a protectress against demons and evil. She is also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and the patron saint of women in labor.
Alexius of Rome (V Cent.) (in the east “Alexis the Man of God”), the son of a Roman politician, desired to be a virgin of God, but was forced into an arranged marriage by his parents. (Where have we heard this kind of thing before?) He put up with the wedding, but afterwards gave his ring back to the bride and said, “I’m out of here.” One source says they had agreed on this beforehand. One hopes that source is right.
He made his way to Edessa, where he lived as a beggar, yet gave away a share of his gleanings to people even poorer than himself (begging being, perhaps, an acquired skill). So he lived for seventeen years, when his cover was blown by a vision of the Blessed Virgin referring to him as “the Man of God,” upon which he fled back to Rome, and to his parents’ home. They didn’t recognize him, but being charitable agreed to allow him to sleep under the stairs (whom does that remind us of?). He made his living working in their kitchen among the servants (who abused him, not knowing he was their master) (oh the irony!) (wait, is that real irony or Morissette irony?), and begging on the streets. Seventeen years later the Pope (Innocent I) heard a voice saying, “Seek the Man of God.” He was directed to Alexius’ folks’ home, where they found Alexius in his cubbyhole, dead, holding a parchment that told his story. He is, for no discernible reason, the patron saint of belt makers.
Today is also the anniversary of the murders by the Bolsheviks of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, including their son Alexis. The royal family are considered by some to be martyrs, and by others to be passion-bearers (people whose deaths were not specifically due to their faith, but which they suffered with Christian aplomb). Alexis the Tsarevich is the patron saint of your intrepid blogger.
Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.
July 17 (Wikipedia)
Saint Margaret of Anitoch (The Circle of the Dragon) – Main source
Greatmartyr Marina (Margaret) of Antioch in Pisidia (OCA)
A Woman Saint on a Deacon’s Door? (Come and See Icons Books & Art)
Saint Margaret of Antioch (SQPN)
Image of Margaret of Antioch by flicker user Walters Art Museum Illuminated Manuscripts is covered under Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) and its use here should not be taken to imply any endorsement by the photographer of the Onion Dome, this article, me, my dog, or anything like that.
Alexis of Rome (St. Patrick DC) – Main source
Venerable Alexis the Man of God (OCA)
Saint Alexius of Rome (SQPN)
Image of Alexis by Ferrer Bassa, ca. 1346, currently in the Monastery of Pedralbe (Barcelona), from Wikimedia.