Prayers and Petitions



Hesychius of Jerusalem was a Christian presbyter and exegete, active during the first half of the fifth century. Nothing certain is known as to the dates of his birth and death, or, indeed, concerning the events of his life. Bearing as he does the title “priest”, he is not to be confused with Bishop Hesychius of Jerusalem, a contemporary of Gregory the Great.

He was consecrated as a Christian Presbyter (Leader and Elder) by the Archbishop of Jerusalem. He wrote many books and commentaries on the Bible. They include Leviticus, the Psalms, Minor Prophets, Isaiah, Luke and the Blessed Virgin Mary although, sadly, not all of his manuscripts have survived the ravages of time.

Through his writings, he became a highly respected authority on Christian teaching. He had a special devotion to the Eucharist and told his followers, “Keep yourselves free from sin so that every day you may share in the mystic meal; by doing so our bodies become the body of Christ.”

The writings of Hesychius of Jerusalem have been in part lost, in part handed down and edited as the work of other authors, and some are still buried in libraries in manuscript. Whoever would collect and arrange the fragments of Hesychius which have come down to us must go back to the manuscripts.

About half of the matter under “Hesychius” must be discarded. However, the commentary on Leviticus, which is extant in its entirety only in Latin is authentic, although its biblical text has been aligned to the Vulgate text rather than the Septuagint. Its authenticity has been proved by the publication of a Greek fragment, which, moreover, shows that the Latin text is in poor condition.

A comprehensive critical edition of the homilies, said to be of Hesychius, both authentic and spurious, transmitted in Greek under Hesychius’ name was published by Michel Aubineau. Judging from the extant fragments—scattered and translated into Armenian, Georgian, and Latin, Hesychius must have been a very prolific writer on Biblical, particularly Old Testament, exegetics.

The notice in the Greek Menology under 28 March, in which mention is made of the exposition of the entire Scriptures, can refer to none other than Hesychius of Jerusalem. In hermeneutics he adheres to the allegorico-mystical method of the Alexandrines; he finds in every sentence of the Bible a mystery of dogma, and reads into texts of the Old Testament the whole complexus of ideas in the New.

His comment on Isaiah, xix, 1, “the Lord will ascend upon a swift cloud, and will enter into Egypt” is “Christ in the arms of the Virgin”. Water represents always to him “the mystical water” (of baptism), and bread, “the mystical table” (of the Eucharist). It is this hyper-allegorical and glossarial method which constitutes the peculiar characteristic of his exegesis, and proves a valuable help to the literary critic in distinguishing authentic Hesychiana from the unauthentic.

The anti-Semitic tone of many scholia may find an explanation in local conditions; likewise geographical and topographical allusions to the holy places of Palestine would be expected of an exegete living at Jerusalem. The importance of Hesychius for textual criticism lies in the fact that many of his paraphrases echo the wording of his exemplar, whereby he has saved many rare variants.

He is likewise of importance in Biblical stichometry. His “Capitula” and commentaries show the early Christian division into chapters of at least the Twelve Minor Prophets and Isaiah, which corresponds to the inner sequence of ideas of the respective books better than the modern division.

In the case of certain separate books, Hesychius has inaugurated an original stichic division of the Sacred Text—for the “citizen of the Holy City” cited in the oldest manuscripts of catenae of the Psalms, and the Canticles, is none other than Hesychius of Jerusalem. It was discovered by Giovanni Mercati that in some manuscripts the initial letter of each division according to Hesychius is indicated in colour.

Hesychius must have been generally known as an authority, for he is quoted simply as Hagiopolites, or, elsewhere, by the equally laconic expression “him of Jerusalem” St Hesychius was also well known for his preaching and teaching. He died around 450. St Hesychius’ Feast Day in the Greek Orthodox Church is the 28th March.


Saint Hesychius of Jerusalem, pray for us that we will seek the wisdom to search for a deep love of Jesus in our everyday life. Amen



The Roman Martyrology today honors St. Gontran (d. 592), also known as Gontran or Guntramnus. He was the son of King Clotaire and the grandson of Clovis I. He was raised pagan and became King of Orleans in 561.

St. Gontran was the son of King Clotaire and grandson of Clovis I and Saint Clotildis. When Clotaire died in 561, his domains were divided among his four sons. While Gontran’s brother Caribert reigned at Paris, Sigebert in Metz, and Chilperic in Soissons, he was crowned king of Orleans and Burgundy in 561. He then made Chalons-sur-Saone his capital.

When compelled to take up arms against his ambitious brothers and the Lombards, he made no other use of his victories, gained under the conduct of a brave general called Mommol, than to give peace to his dominions. The crimes in which the barbarous habits of his nation involved him, he effaced by tears of repentance. The prosperity of his reign, both in peace and war, condemns those who suppose that human policy cannot be determined by the maxims of the Gospel, whereas the truth is just the contrary: no others can render a government so efficacious and prosperous.

Saint Gontran always treated the pastors of the Church with respect and veneration. He was the protector of the oppressed, and the tender parent of his subjects. He gave the greatest attention to the care of the sick. He fasted, prayed, wept, and offered himself to God night and day as a victim ready to be sacrificed on the altar of His justice, to avert His indignation, which Saint Gontran believed he himself provoked and drew down upon his innocent people.

He was a severe punisher of crimes in his officers and others, and by many wholesome regulations he restrained the barbarous licentiousness of his troops, but no man was ever more ready to forgive offenses against his own person. With royal magnificence, he built and endowed many churches and monasteries.

This good king died on the 23rd of March in 593, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, having reigned thirty-one years. His Patronage is Divorced people; guardians; repentant murderers.

He was buried in the Church of Saint Marcellus, which he had founded in Chalon. Almost immediately, his subjects proclaimed Gontran a saint and the Catholic Church celebrates his feast day on 28 March. The Huguenots scattered his ashes in the 16th century. Only his skull remains in the Church of St. Marcellus in a silver case.



Venturino of Bergamo (9 April 1304 – 28 March 1346) was an Italian Dominican preacher. He was born at Bergamo, and received the habit of the Order of Friars Preachers at the convent of St. Stephen, Bergamo, 22 January 1319. From 1328 to 1335 he won fame preaching in all the cities of upper Italy.

In February, 1335, he planned to make a penitential pilgrimage to Rome with about thirty thousand of his converts. His purpose was misunderstood, and Pope Benedict XII, then residing at Avignon, thought that Venturino wished to make himself pope. He wrote letters to Giovanni Pagnotti, Bishop of Anagni, his spiritual vicar, to the Canons of St. Peter’s and St. John Lateran’s, and to the Roman senators empowering them to stop the pilgrimage.

This complaint to the Dominican Master General resulted in an ordinance of the Chapter of London (1335) condemning such pilgrimages. The pope’s letters and commands, however, did not reach Venturino, and he arrived in Rome, 21 March 1335. He was well received, and preached in various churches. Twelve days later he left Rome, without explanation, and the pilgrimage ended in disorder.

In June, he requested an audience with Benedict XII at Avignon; he was seized and cast into prison (1335–43). He was restored to favour by Pope Clement VI, who appointed him to preach a crusade against the Turks, 4 January 1344; his success was remarkable.

He urged the pope to appoint Humbert II of Dauphiné, whose friend and spiritual adviser he had been, leader of the crusade, but Humbert proved incapable and the crusade came to nothing. Venturino’s writings consist of sermons (now lost) and letters. He died at Smyrna.

Other Saints honoured on 28 March

Alkelda of Middleham
Antonio Patrizi
Castor of Tarsus
Christopher Wharton
Conon of Naso
Cyril the Deacon
Dedë Maçaj
Donal O’Neylan
Dorotheus of Tarsus
Gundelindis of Niedermünster
Hesychius of Jerusalem
Hilarion of Pelecete
Jean-Baptiste Malo
Jeanne Marie de Maille
Joseph Sebastian Pelczar
Proterius of Alexandria
Renée-Marie Feillatreau épouse Dumont
Rogatus the Martyr
Stephen Harding
Successus the Martyr
Tutilo of Saint-Gall
Martyrs of Caesarea
Conall of Kilskyre


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