Thursday, August 24, 2006

St. Bartholomew's Day

Today is the feast of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, also known as Nathaniel.

Outside of his mention in the New Testament, Bartholomew appeared for the first time in the works of Eusibius. He is supposed to have traveled to India and preached the gospel there. He was martyred by being flayed alive by the king of Armenia. He is the patron saint of tanners, a patronage that this monk finds appropriate to the point of irony.

Today is also the date of the infamous massacre of St. Bartholomew. Under the queen dowager Catherine de Medici, and her son, King Charles IX, the people and nobility of Paris rose up and slaughtered the Huguenots in the city. This slaughter spread throughout France, and over all, about 10,000 or more protestants were slain. Gregory XIII, when he wasn't busy reforming the calendar, had a Te Deum sung, and had Giorgio Vassari paint murals celebrating this "triumph." These were later sanded over and repainted with other scenes by the 19th century.

Too bad a perfectly good saint and Apostle of Christ has to have his name associated with such an atrocity.

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