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St. Peter Damian

Saint Peter Damian

Bishop, Confessor & Doctor of the Church

Peter was born to an impoverished noble family in Ravenna, Italy, in the early eleventh century. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by an abusive older brother until another brother, a priest named Damian, saw fit to adopt and educate the devout and intelligent boy. It was likely to honor this brother that Peter took the surname Damian. Peter became a renowned teacher by the age of twenty-five, but he soon retired to live as a Benedictine hermit. After recovering from health issues caused by his more extreme mortifications, Peter returned to lecturing, and eventually became prior of his original hermitage. He oversaw the founding of several other houses, and many saints were formed under his direction. Though he always returned to his beloved solitude, Peter served and advised many popes and emperors, and was made cardinal by Pope Stephen IX. Peter’s devotion to reform was exemplified by his famous “Book of Gomorrah”, condemning the degenerate sins of many clergy of his day. Peter died, fittingly, on the feast of St. Peter’s Chair, in 1072 or 1073, and was named a Doctor of the Church in 1828. He is honored on February 21st in the modern calendar.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for February 23rd

(In leap-year, the Vigil of St. Matthias is not announced today, because it is transferred to the 24th.)

THE vigil of the apostle St. Matthias.

At Faenza, St. Peter Damian, Cardinal bishop of Ostia, and Doctor of the Church, celebrated for learning and sanctity.

At Sirmium, St. Sirenus, monk and martyr. By order of the emperor Maximian, he was arrested and beheaded, for confessing that he was a Christian.

In the same place, the birthday of seventy-two holy martyrs, who ended the combat of martyrdom in that city, and took possession of the everlasting kingdom.

At Rome, St. Polycarp, priest, who with blessed Sebastian converted many to the faith of Christ, and by his exhortations led them to the glory of martyrdom.

In the city of Astorga, St. Martha, virgin and martyr, under the emperor Decius, and the proconsul Paternus.

At Constantinople, St. Lazarus, a monk whom the Iconoclast emperor Theophilus ordered to be put to the torture for having painted holy images. His hand was burned with a hot iron, but being healed by the power of God, he painted anew the holy pictures that had been defaced, and finally rested in peace.

At Berscia, St. Felix, bishop.

At Seville, in Spain, St. Florentius, confessor.

At Todi, St. Romana, virgin, who was baptized by pope St. Sylvester. She led a heavenly life in caves and dens, and wrought glorious miracles.

In England, St. Milburga, virgin, daughter of the king of Mercia.

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

℟. Thanks be to God.

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