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The origin of this miraculous image in Czestochowa, Poland is unknown for absolute certainty, but according to tradition the painting was a portrait of Our Lady done by St. John sometime after the Crucifixion of Our Lord and remained in the Holy Land until discovered by St. Helena of the Cross in the fourth century. The painting was taken to Constantinople, where St. Helena’s son, the Emperor Constantine, erected a church for its enthronement. This image was revered by the people of the city.

During the siege by the Saracens, the invaders became frightened when the people carried the picture in a procession around the city; the infidels fled. Later, the image was threatened with burning by an evil emperor, who had a wife, Irene, who saved it and hid it from harm. The image was in that city for 500 years, until it became part of some dowries, eventually being taken to Russia to a region that later became Poland. Continue reading

St. Sabina

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St. Sabina, Martyr

SHE was a rich widow lady of high birth, and lived in the province of Umbria in Italy. She had a servant called Seraphia, a native of Antioch in Syria, who was a zealous Christian, and served God in the holy state of virginity. The religious deportment of this virtuous maid-servant had such an influence over the mistress, that she was converted to the Christian faith; and so powerfully did the great truths of our holy religion operate on her soul, that her fervour and piety soon rendered her name illustrious among the great lights of the church, in the beginning of the second century. The persecution of Adrian beginning to rage, Beryllus, governor of the province, caused Sabina and Seraphia to be apprehended, and the latter to be beat to death with clubs. Sabina was discharged out of regard to her quality and friends; but her zeal procured her the crown of martyrdom the year following. She suffered at Rome, as the Bollandists have proved. She is honoured on the 29th of August, and again with St. Seraphia on the 3rd of September, because, on that day, as Ado informs us, a famous ancient church was dedicated to God in Rome, under the patronage of those two saints, in 430. It at present bears only the name of St. Sabina. In it was kept the first among the stations in Lent, till, in the last century, the public prayers of forty hours succeeded the devotion of the stations, both being equally the general assembly of the city in the same church to join in prayer. See the acts of SS. Sabina and Seraphia in Baluze, Miscell. t. 2. 1

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VIII: August.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866. August 29


The Beheading of St. John Baptist

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The Beheading of St. John Baptist

When St. John, the Baptist and Precursor of Jesus Christ, of whose miraculous birth we have spoken elsewhere, by divine admonition left the desert, he repaired to the river Jordan, to preach repentance, thus to prepare men for the recognition of the Messiah. The abuses and vices which had crept in among the Jews, and had become habitual with them, were rebuked by him without respect to persons. At that period there reigned in Judaea, King Herod, surnamed Antipas, a son of the Herod who murdered the Holy Innocents, and a brother of the Herod who clothed Christ with a white garment and derided Him. This King had forcibly carried off Herodias, the wife of his still living brother, Philip, and had married her. The whole country was scandalized at this criminal deed, but nobody dared to reproach the King for his unlawful conduct. St. John alone would not be silent.  Continue reading