FEAST OF STS JAMES INTERCISUS AND VIRGILIUS OF SALZBURG
FEAST DAY – 27th NOVEMBER
James was a soldier and courtier to King Yezdigerd I of Persia in the early fifth century, and he was a Christian. During Yezdigerd’s persecution of Christians, he renounced his faith out of fear of death and abandoned his religion. When the king died, and the persecution ended, his family, who had remained faithful, contacted James and chastised him for renouncing his Heavenly King before the worldly king of Persia.
James did not have the courage to confess his faith. He was afraid of losing the king’s friendship. Instead, he gave up his faith or at least pretended to. Saint James’ wife and mother were broken-hearted. When the king died, they wrote a strong letter to him to change his ways. This letter had its effect on St. James. He had been a coward, but at heart, he was still good. Now he began to stay away from court. He blamed himself openly for having given up his faith.
After hearing the rebukes of his family for the denial of his faith, James was thrown into a deep crisis of conscience, and he went through a true, deep conversion, uniting and conforming himself to the living God. Wanting to make amends, he declared that he was a Christian and professed his faith before the new king, Bahram and was sentenced to die and hacked to pieces.
He is referred to as ‘Intercisus’ because the name literally means ‘hacked to pieces,’ and this name was given to him documenting the manner of his death. He was hung from a beam and slowly cut into 28 pieces, beginning with his fingers and then his toes, hands, and so forth until his beheading, the final cut.
Even though the crowd, made up of many Christians, urged him to renounce his faith and worship the sun because they could not bear to see him suffer such excruciating torture, he never renounced his faith. Instead, he made every piece cut from his body an offering to the Living God, and won the crown of martyrdom. James is the patron saint of lost vocations and torture victims. His feast is 27th November.
O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed James the Intercisus with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
St. James Intercisus, pray for us.
SAINT VIRGILIUS OF SALZBURH
Vergilius of Salzburg (also Virgilius) was born in c. 700 in Ireland; and died on 27 November 784 in Salzburg, France. Virgilius was an Irish churchman and early astronomer; and he served as Abbot of Aghaboe, bishop of Ossory and later, bishop of Salzburg and was called “the Apostle of Carinthia”, and “the geometer” because of his knowledge of geography. He was a Benedictine priest.
He worked with Saint Rupert of Salzburg as Abbot of Saint Peter’s cloister in Salzburg, Austria.
He originated from a noble family of Ireland, where his name was Feirgil or Fearghal, and is said to have been a descendant of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Feirgil was probably educated at the Iona monastery. Around 745 he left Ireland for the Holy Land but settled down in France. Among his notable accomplishments was the conversion of the Alpine Slavs. However, he came into collision with Saint Boniface, who did not agree with some of his decisions and teachings.
He was received with great favour by Pippin the Younger, who was then Mayor of the Palace under Childeric III of Franconia. He was an adviser to Pippin. He probably used a copy of the Collectio canonum Hibernensis (an Irish collection of canon law) to advise him to receive royal unction in 751, to assist his recognition as king Pippin III after the deposition of Childeric.
After spending two years at Cressy, near Compiègne, he went to Bavaria, at the invitation of Duke Odilo, where he founded the monastery of Chiemsee, and within a year or two, was made Abbot of St Peter’s Abbey at Salzburg. Among his notable accomplishments, besides converting the Alpine Slavs was the sending of missionaries to Hungary.
As Abbot of St Peter’s, he came into collision with Saint Boniface. A priest having, through ignorance, conferred the Sacrament of Baptism using, in place of the correct formula, the words “Baptizo te in nomine patria et filia et spiritu sancta” (instead of “Baptizo te in nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti”), Vergilius held that the sacrament had been validly conferred, but Boniface complained to Pope Zachary. The latter, however, decided in favour of Vergilius.
After the martyrdom of Boniface, Vergilius was made Bishop of Salzburg in 766 or 767 and laboured successfully for the upbuilding of his diocese as well as for the spread of Christianity in neighbouring heathen countries, especially in Carinthia. He died in Salzburg on 27 November 784 and was canonized in 1233 by Pope Gregory IX. His feast is celebrated on 27 November.
His patronage is against birth complications, and Salzburg, Austria
Look, O Lord, upon your family, which the Bishop blessed Virgil engendered by the Word of truth and fed with the Sacrament of life, that your grace, which has made them faithful through his ministry, may through his prayers make them fervent in charity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
St Vjrgilius of Salzburg, pray for us.