August 1, 2016

August 2nd: Optional Memorial of Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop and Defender of the Faith

The Martyrdom of St Eusebius
The Martyrdom of St Eusebius, Gaetano Gandolfi, 1784.
There is one God, and... one Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus, Himself a man, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all. (1 Tim 2:5-6) 
[St.] Eusebius (c. 283 - 371) was the founder of the canons regular, priests living under a religious rule and dedicated to pastoral work. The canons regular was the immediate result of the rise of monasticism in the East, and St. Eusebius of Vercelli saw the possibilities of this new movement for the clergy. His example was imitated all over the West and brought about a renewal of clerical life. He was born in Sardinia and as a child was taken to Rome, where he became a member of the Roman clergy under Pope Julius. Consecrated for the see of Vercelli in 344, he gathered his clergy into a community life, founding also the dioceses of Turin and Embrun. In 355, he attended the Council of Milan as legate of Pope Liberius, which defended St. Athanasius against those Western bishops intimidated by the emperor. When Eusebius was ordered along with other bishops to condemn Athanasius, he refused, insisting instead that they all sign the Nicene Creed. When threatened by the emperor, Eusebius stood his ground and told the emperor he had no right interfering in Church matters. (St. Eusebius was instrumental in helping defeat Arianism* at the First Council of Nicaea in 325.)

Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints, Rev. Clifford Stevens.

*Arianism was a theological view held by followers of Arius in the early Christian Church. They believed that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was created by God the Father at a point in time and is distinct from, and therefore subordinate to the Father. Arianism denied that Christ and God the Father were of the same fundamental essence, seeing the Son as a created and inferior being to the Father. St. Eusebius defended the Church's teaching that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father. St. Eusebius, you endured shame and exile for your faith; help us to remain faithful even when mocked by those who ridicule God and the Church.

Collect Prayer

Lead us, Lord God, to imitate the constancy of Saint Eusebius in affirming the divinity of your Son, so that, by preserving the faith he taught as your Bishop, we may merit a share in the very life of your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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