Theodosius Issued an Edict

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Theodosius Issued an Edict

There are many turning points in the Church’s history. One of the most significant is little remembered by most of the faithful.

After Constantine’s conversion, he legitimised Christianity. Soon thereafter Christians in the Roman empire divided between Arianism (which denies the divinity of our Blessed Lord) and Trinitarianism (which sees God as three persons in one being). The first universal Church council, held at Nicea in 325, resisted Arianism; all but three of its Bishops voted for a Trinitarian creed.

Shortly after he came to the Imperial throne, Theodosius ended the Arian dispute by the simple expedient of issuing an edict. On this day 27 February 380 (some historians say 381) this edict commanded everyone to be a Christian–but not just any kind of Christian. A Catholic Christian, it said, was one who held that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one Godhead and equal in majesty. This, of course, was the position of the Nicene Creed. Theodosius’ decision was the result of his upbringing: he was reared in a Christian home, perhaps the first emperor to enjoy that distinction.

The following year, Theodosius issued another edict specifically requiring worship of the one God according to the Nicene Creed. Theodosius deposed Demophilus of Constantinople an Arian bishop and replaced him with a Trinitarian.

These laws (Codex Theodosianus16.1.2 and 16.5.6) are significant for many reasons. They made orthodox catholic Christianity the official dogma of the Church and suppressed the Arian factions. The laws established a pattern which would become more pronounced as Theodosius’ reign progressed of using the apparatus of the state to ensuring the orthodoxy of the Faith.

Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

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Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

Passionist
(1838-1862)

Saint Gabriel was born at Assisi in 1838. He was guided by Our Lady into the Passionist Order founded by Saint Paul of the Cross, and became a veritable Apostle of Her Sorrows. He was a very great and truly contemplative soul, whose only preoccupation was to unite himself to God at all times. He allowed no distractions to enter his spirit, and even though Italy, his country, was in a state of ferment when he entered religion, he wanted to know nothing of it.

The way to attain union with our Saviour and our God was, for Saint Gabriel, as for Saint Louis de Montfort, his Heavenly Mother. He wrote home to his father, from the first month of his noviciate, Believe your son, whose heart is speaking by his lips; no, I would not exchange one single quarter of an hour spent near the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, our consolatrix, our protectress and our hope, for a year or several years spent in the diversions and spectacles of the earth. Among his resolutions was that of visiting Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament each day, and praying for the gift of a tender and efficacious devotion to His Most Holy Mother. He wrote a beautiful Credo, worthy to be printed in letters of gold, expressing all that he believed of the Mother of God.

At twenty-four years of age Saint Gabriel died of tuberculosis, having already attained heroic sanctity by a life of self-denial and great devotion to our Lord’s Passion and the Compassion of His Mother.

Although his life was without any miraculous event, after his death in 1862 many miracles occurred at his tomb in Isola di Gran Sasso, Italy. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920, and his feast was extended to the entire church by Pope Pius XI in 1932. He is the patron of youth, and especially of young religious.

*On leap years, the feast day of this Saint is celebrated on February 28.

Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O. Cist., Ph.D. (Catholic Book Publishing Co.: New York, 1951-1955)