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September 12 Saints of the Day – Julian of Galatia and Guy of Anderlecht

On this day in 1940, cave paintings were discovered in Lascaux, France. Adjacent hieroglyphics read, “Og’s Buffalo Meat — Always Fresh.”

Grapes from AnkaraJulian of Galatia (IV cent.), a presbyter, served the divine liturgy for forty laypeople, with whom he lived in a cave near Ancyra (aka Ankara aka Angora of cat, goat, and bunny fame). At some point he was nabbed by the authorities and brought before the governor, who demanded he rat out his companions. Julian, of course, refused. He was then invited to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods. Julian, of course, refused. He was then stripped and placed on a red-hot iron grate, but when he crossed himself, an angel appeared and quenched the flame (and cooled the grate, one presumes). “How did you do that?” the governor asked. “I am a servant of God,” said Julian. “Duh.”

Just then the soldiers dragged in Julian’s aging mother, saying, “Make him sacrifice to the gods, or we’ll torture you.” “As if,” she said. “You forget we Christians think martyrdom is honorable, and denying God is dishonorable.” Humiliated by her defiance, they let her go.

Julian then prayed for strength to endure his sufferings, and that dirt from his grave would have miraculous agricultural insecticide properties (seriously). Then, baring his neck for the swordsman, he prayed for God to accept his spirit, and died before the stroke fell, a Voice from on high summoning him Home. The hidden Christians heard the Voice and came forward, confessed their faith, and became martyrs in turn.

Guy of AnderlechtGuy of Anderlecht (ca. 950 – 1012) was also called Guido, but (so far as we know) never worked for the Corleones. His pious but poor (or poor but pious; sources vary) parents brought him up to love God and eschew Mammon (which is just as well, as he didn’t have any). After working for a time as a farm laborer (where the angels would plow for him so he could pray), Guido went wandering, and ended up at the church of Our Lady at Laeken, within the Brussels area code. The parish priest immediately hired him as sacristan (janitor), and soon the place was neater than a pin (and pins were much neater in those days than they are nowadays, trust me). Everyone who visited remarked on how clean and orderly everything was.

Now, Guido lived frugally and gave all his spare change to the poor, but an unscrupulous capitalist seduced him into investing in a “commercial venture” in order that he might have even more money to give to the poor, and (here’s the clincher) more leisure time to himself. Guido, simple soul that he was, turned over his cash, and resigned his post at the church. But their ship sank whilst leaving whatever distant harbor it had been in, and all was lost. Guido blamed himself, saying, “If only I had been content to keep working as a sacristan, this would never have happened.” (We are not told if the new sacristan kept the place as neat and tidy as Guido had. Seems doubtful. But as Guido never went and asked for his job back, we’ll never know.) To atone for his sins, he betook himself to Rome and Jerusalem on pilgrimage. Seven years later he returned to Belgium, exhausted and ill. He died, was buried, and was forgotten.

That’s where the story would have ended had his grave not been discovered some years later by a horse (of all people). Dobbin’s owner hired two neighborhood lads to build a hedge around the grave, but they laughed him to scorn, and themselves to death. Literally. (Moral: never laugh at grave matters.) The grave instantly became a pilgrimage destination, and (less fatal) miracles started happening. Guido’s relics got moved around pretty much continually, and were last seen in 1851. For centuries a fair was held in his honor, at which the cab drivers of Brabant held a bareback riding competition, the winner being crowned with roses by the parish priest. This happy tradition ended with the advent of the Great War (1914). Guy is the patron of, inter alia, sheds, stables, and other outbuildings.


Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.


Bibliography
September 12 (Wikipedia)
Martyr Julian of Galatia (OCA) – Main (only) Source
Image of grapes by Wikimedia user KetaiBlogger licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license Use here does not imply KetaiBlogger would approve if s/he found out. So this is just between you and me, k?
Guy of Anderlecht (St. Patrick DC) – Main source
Guy of Anderlecht (Wikipedia)
Saint Guy of Anderlecht (SQPN)
Image of Guy from SQPN (copyright unknown)

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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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