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Friday, December 16, 2016
St. Eusebius of Vercelli
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 The Virgin Mary in Glory with Archangel Gabriel, and Saints Eusebius of Vercelli (seated), Saint Sebastian, and Saint Roch by Sebastiano Ricci.

Semidouble (1954 Calendar): December 16

Today is the Feast of St. Eusebius of Vercelli, who was born in 283 and died in 371.  Despite the many years that have passed since St. Eusebius walked on this earth, there is much we can learn from his holy life.

St Eusebius was bishop of Vercelli in northern Italy in the middle of the fourth century. St. Ambrose says that he was the first in the West to introduce the practice of community life among secular clergy.

No stranger to sufferings at the hands of heretics, St. Eusebius was exiled to Palestine and Cappadocia by Emperor Constantius for his defense of St. Athanasius and his opposition to the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ.

Though greatly mistreated in exile, [he won the title of martyr for his grievous sufferings] the courageous bishop survived the ordeal and, on the death of the Emperor, took up the fight for the Church once more. He won over enemies, however, by urging clemency toward repentant Arian bishops, the very ones who had been a cause of his exile.

St. Eusebius died in peace at Vercelli on August 1, 371.

Collect:

O God, who gladdens us each year by the feast of Your blessed martyr bishop Eusebius, mercifully grant that we who celebrate his birthday may also enjoy his protection. Through Our Lord . . .

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