Saint Porphyry

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Saint Porphyry

Bishop of Gaza

At the age of twenty-five, Porphyry, a rich citizen of Thessalonica, left the world for one of the great religious houses in the desert of Scete. Here he remained five years, and then, finding himself drawn to a more solitary life, passed into Palestine, where he spent a similar period in the severest penance, until ill health obliged him to moderate his austerities. He then made his home in Jerusalem, and in spite of his ailments visited the Holy Places every day, thinking so little of his sickness, says his biographer, that he seemed to be afflicted in another body than his own. About this time God put it into his heart to sell all he had and give it to the poor; then, to reward the sacrifice, He restored him, by a miracle at the Holy Sepulchre, to perfect health.
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Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

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Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows


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.
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“Platting a Crown of Thorns, they put it upon His Head.” [Mt. xxvii: 29]

1. The bad example of superiors is contagious, and strongly affects the life and conduct of their subjects. The soldiers of the Roman Governor Pilate had during the morning repeatedly heard him giving to Jesus of Nazareth the title of King of the Jews. They presumed that such a high title had by the President been used in irony and mockery. This was the reason, says St. John Chrysostom, why those barbarous men, after having, during the scourging at the pillar, covered our Lord from head to foot with wounds and blood, resolved to make sport of Him, by treating Him in every possible way as a mock king, and by forcing upon Him all the ridiculous theatrical insignia and the affected homages of a sham royalty. “Quia Pilatus dixit eum Regem, Schema ei contumeliae apponunt.” [Chrysostom Romil. 88].  Continue reading

Feast of the Crown of Thorns

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Feast of the Crown of Thorns

The first feast in honor of the Crown of Thorns [Festum susceptionis coronae Domini] was instituted at Paris in 1239, when St. Louis brought there the relic of the Crown of Thorns, which was deposited later in the Royal Chapel, in August, and though at first special to the Royal Chapel, the feast was gradually observed as the Feast of theHoly Crown on May 4, celebrated along with the Feast of the Cross in parts of Spain, Germany, and Scandinavia.

It is still kept in not a few Spanish dioceses and is observed by the Dominicans on April 24.

A special feast on the Monday after Passion Sunday was granted to the Diocese of Freising in Bavaria by Clement X [1676] and Innocent XI [1689] in honor of the Crown of Christ. It was celebrated at Venice in 1766 on the second Friday of March. In 1831 it was adopted at Rome as a double major and is observed on the Friday following Ash Wednesday. As it is not kept throughout the universal Church, the Mass and Office are placed in the appendices to the Breviary and the Missal. The hymns of the Office, taken from the “Analecta hymnica” of Dreves and Blume contains a large number of rhythmical offices, hymns, and sequences for this feast.

Beads of the Crown of Thorns

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Beads of the Crown of Thorns

“The Crown of Thorns is a Diadem of Love.”

Though we are not with exact accuracy informed of the real number of thorns that pierced the adorable head of our suffering Lord. yet a pious tradition mentions that they were seventy-two. The truly learned and pious Suarez states that such is the opinion of several Christian writers. From the information that we receive from devout and learned Catholic authors, the Crown of Thorns may have contained more, but not less of these thorns. St. Bernard and St. Anselm affirm that thousands of these sharp thorns pierced our Savior’s adorable Head. Continue reading