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St. Anselm

Saint Anselm of Canterbury

Bishop, Confessor & Doctor of the Church

Anselm was born to a noble family in what is now northern Italy, around the year 1033. When his pious mother died, Anselm’s own piety waned somewhat, though he retained a love of learning. To avoid his father’s harsh temperament, the young man left home, ending up at the abbey of Bec in Normandy. There his faith grew strong, and he wrote many works of theology and philosophy. He was made the reluctant abbot of Bec in 1078, then the even more reluctant archbishop of Canterbury in 1093. Immediately Anselm and King William II clashed over matters of authority, a conflict that persisted until William’s death, while Anselm was in exile on the continent. Anselm defended the Filioque at the council of Bari, among other services to Rome, then returned to England, where he finally established the Gregorian Reforms. Further conflict with King Henry I drove Anselm into exile again a few years later, but he eventually returned, victorious in upholding the rights of the Church. Anselm died peacefully in Canterbury in the year of Our Lord 1109. For his magnificent writings he was named a Doctor of the Church in 1720.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for April 21st

AT Canterbury, in England, St. Anselm, bishop and Doctor of the Church, who was renowned for sanctity and learning.

In Persia, the birthday of St. Simeon, bishop of Seleucia and Ctesiphon. He was arrested by order of Sapor, king of Persia, loaded with irons, and presented to the iniquitous tribunals. As he refused to adore the sun, and openly and courageously bore testimony to Jesus Christ, he was confined a long time in a dungeon with one hundred other confessors, among whom were bishops, priests, and clerics of various ranks. Afterwards Usthazanes, the king’s foster-father, who had been converted from apostasy by Simeon, endured martyrdom with great constancy. The day after, which was the anniversary of our Lord’s Passion, the companions of Simeon whom he had feelingly exhorted, were beheaded before his eyes, after which he met the same fate. With him suffered also several distinguished men: Abdechalas and Ananias, his priests, with Pusicius, the chief of the royal artificers. This last having encouraged Ananias, who seemed to falter, died a cruel death, having his tongue drawn out through a perforation made in his neck. After him, his daughter, who was a consecrated virgin, was put to death.

At Alexandria, the holy martyrs Arator, priest, Fortunatus, Felix, Silvius, and Vitalis, who died in prison.

Also, the Saints Apollo, Isacius, and Crotates, who suffered under Diocletian.

At Antioch, St. Anastasius Sinaita, bishop.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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