Saint Disiderius: 406 - 2007
The Church celebrates the death of Her saints as their birthday into the better life. The jaw of this Blessed martyr, which, by reason of the words it uttered, bought down upon him the wrath of the king, resides in the chapel of the Transalpine Redemptorists on Papa Stronsay.
When still young he was elected bishop of Langres in France. The Martyrology of Brauntius states that an angel commanded him to accept this burden, and that the spirit of God worked so powerfully in him, that it made of him an excellent preacher of the truth. His prudence, doctrine, vigilance, zeal for souls and holiness were admirable. He assisted, by a deputy, at the council of Cologne in 346 AD, and he assisted personally at the council of Sardica in 343 where he generously supported, with the other Catholic bishops, the cause of Saint Athanasius, which was inseparable from that of the faith of the Church.
A short time later the Vandals made their first irruption in Gaul of which St Jerome speaks in his 11th epistle to Agerunchia; and God permitted it to chastise the population for its crimes and to purify the land of the heresy of Vigilance. After having ravaged Gaul the Vandals, in the year 406, laid siege to Langres in Champagne. Saint Disiderius, touched with compassion for his people, sought with many prayers and tears, the mercy of God; but seeing that these were insufficient, since the number of sins had too much irritated God’s anger, he believed that he could find clemency by giving his life for those of whom he was the pastor. He therefore went to find the king of the besiegers and asked him to spare the inhabitants of Langres; but the Vandal named Croscus, was not touched by his entreaties, nor by his heroic charity, and had the holy Pontiff seized by his soldiers. Then, after vainly trying to have him renounce his faith, Croscus decapitated him outside the walls of the city.
At the moment when his head was cut off, St Disiderius held the book of the Gospels between his hands. The blood that flowed in abundance from his neck fell on the pages of this holy book without effacing even a single letter from the handwritten text. Then, by the judgment of God, Croscus lost his mind, and he ran around the walls of the Langres screaming, until he rammed his head into the gate of the city so hard that his brains were smashed, and he died in front of his followers. This caused such a great fear that the army ceased their atrocities. Shortly afterwards the main city of King Croscus, Arles, fell to his enemies. Then the body of the saint stood up by itself, took his head into his hands, and walked to the place within the walls of the city where he wanted to be buried. His relics were translated on 19 January 1414, by William de Durfort, bishop of Langres, to the Saint Magdalen priory which took the name of Saint Dizier (Disiderius). Gui Bernard, bishop of Langres, ordained the 23 May as the feast of Saint Disiderius.
SANCTI DESIDERII ORA PRO NOBIS!
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