Friday, November 25, 2016

Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Today is the feast of the great virgin and martyr, St. Catherine of Alexandria!  This great saint of the early 4th century was long an object of great veneration and devotion, is one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers" and is patron saint of philosophers, maidens, apologists, those that work with wheels, and students, among others.

'Saint Catherine of Alexandria' by Caravaggio, c.1598
St. Catherine of Alexandria by Caravaggio

Tradition has it that St. Catherine was a young lady during the persecution of Diocletian, as it was carried out under the psycho Maximinus II Daia, in Egypt.  Her martyrdom account highlights her brilliant debate with her pagan persecutors, the attempt to break her on a wheel, and finally her beheading in around 305AD in Alexandria, Egypt.

As on of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, St. Catherine was immensely popular in the Medieval period, especially, and a great number of chapels and sites were named in her honor.  Indeed, she was on of the saints that appeared to St. Joan of Arc in 15th century France.

For more details, you might consult:
Catholic Saints Info: St. Catherine of Alexandria

Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Catherine of Alexandria

This site also includes an account of many of the charming customs of the day:
Fisheaters: St. Catherine of Alexandria

For more on the Fourteen Holy Helpers as a group, you might note
Catholic Saints Info: Fourteen Holy Helpers

Here is a simple list of those fourteen saints:
Fisheaters: Fourteen Holy Helpers List

Worthy of note, finally, is the great monastery bearing the name of St. Catherine on the Sinai peninsula of Egypt, pictured below:

["Katharinenkloster Sinai BW 2" by Berthold Werner - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons]

Founded during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, the monastery is one of the oldest working monastic houses in the world, and houses the second largest library of codices and manuscripts in the world.

Perhaps you might visit the website of this Orthodox monastery?  Official Website of St. Catherine's Monastery

Live well!

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