|Our prayers accompany Pope Benedict on his pastoral visit to his homeland (September 22-25)|
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EARLY CHRISTIAN MARTYRS
In Switzerland today, a memorial of St. Maurice may be made at Mass; likewise at Ottawa's St. Maurice Parish.
|Romulo Cincinnato, 1583: The Martyrdom of St. Maurice|
St. Maurice was an officer of the Theban Legion of Emperor Maximian Herculius' army, which was composed of Christians from Upper Egypt. He and his fellow legionnaires refused to sacrifice to the gods as ordered by the Emperor to insure victory over rebelling Bagaudae. When they refused to obey repeated orders to do so and withdrew from the army encamped at Octodurum (Martigny) near Lake Geneva to Agaunum (St. Maurice-en-Valais), Maximian had the entire Legion of over six thousand men put to death.
To the end they were encouraged in their constancy by Maurice and two fellow officers, Exuperius and Candidus. Also executed was Victor (October 10th), who refused to accept any of the belongings of the dead soldiers.
Saint Maurice became a patron saint of the Holy Roman Emperors. In 926, Henry I (919–936), even ceded the present Swiss canton of Aargau to the abbey, in return for Maurice's lance, sword and spurs. The sword and spurs of Saint Maurice were part of the regalia used at coronations of the Austro-Hungarian Emperors until 1916, and among the most important insignia of the imperial throne. In addition, some of the emperors were anointed before the Altar of Saint Maurice at St. Peter's Basilica. In 929 Henry I the Fowler held a royal court gathering (Reichsversammlung) at Magdeburg. At the same time the Mauritius Kloster in honor of Maurice was founded. In 961, Otto I was building and enriching the cathedral at Magdeburg, which he intended for his own tomb.
To that end, in the year 961 of the Incarnation and in the twenty-fifth year of his reign, in the presence of all of the nobility, on the vigil of Christmas, the body of St. Maurice was conveyed to him at Regensburg along with the bodies of some of the saint's companions and portions of other saints. Having been sent to Magdeburg, these relics were received with great honour by a gathering of the entire populace of the city and of their fellow countrymen. They are still venerated there, to the salvation of the homeland.
Maurice is traditionally depicted in full armor, in Italy emblazoned with a red cross. In folk culture he has become connected with the legend of the Spear of Destiny, which he is supposed to have carried into battle; his name is engraved on the Holy Lance of Vienna, one of several relics claimed as the spear that pierced Jesus' side on the cross.
Saint Maurice gives his name to the town St. Moritz as well as to numerous places called Saint-Maurice in French speaking countries.
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UN NOUVEAU PASTEUR
Dimanche le 18 septembre, j’ai présidé la messe durant laquelle monsieur l’abbé Jean-Pierre Fredette a été installe comme curé de la paroisse Saint-Sébastien, Ottawa.
Voici quelques photos prises par Benoît Martin à l’occasion :