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THE MINOR FESTIVALS OF THE CHURCH. Of the “red letter” Festivals, that is, the Festivals for which Special Services are provided, notices will be found under the Epistle and Gospel of each.
The minor or "black letter” Festivals were selected by a Com. mission appointed in 1561, and, with few changes, have been since included in all editions of the Prayer Book. They were taken mainly from the old Sarum Calendar, which differs considerably from the Roman. The principle of selection is not always easy to discern, and in many cases may have been affected by deference to old custom, general or local, and even by connection with secular anniversaries. But, on the whole, the commemorations incline to do special honour to martyrs, and to saints connected either with the English or the Gallican Church.
JANUARY. 8th. Lucian, Priest and Martyr. 3rd century, unknown except by -A Gallican saint, of Roman legend. birth, sent as a priest to be one 20th. Fabian,Bishop and Martyr. of the companions of St. Denys -Fabianus was Bishop of Rome in his mission from Rome to A.D. 236-250 ; designated to the Gaul in A.D. 245. He is said to office while still a layman, and, have become Bishop of Beauvais, according to legend, selected by and to have suffered martyrdom miracle; a man of high character there A.D. 290.
and energy; celebrated by St. 13th. Hilary, Bishop (of Poi. Cyprian as having improved the tiers) and Confessor (Note.-The organization of the Church, and title of “Confessor” is usually ruled it with great integrity. given to those who bore for He suffered martyrdom in the Christ suffering short of mar- persecution of Decius; and a tyrdom; but occasionally to tombstone bearing his name those who had witnessed for was recently found in the crypt Christ by special sanctity and of an ancient cemetery on the austerity of life).-An eminent Appian Way. Gallican prelate and writer, con- 21st. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr. verted from Paganism in man- A young Roman maiden, vowhood, and (like St. Ambrose) ed to purity, vilely assailed by raised by acclamation from a lay lust, and, in revenge for her position to the see of Poitiers stedfast resistance, brought be. (A.D. 350). His life was chiefly fore the tribunal in the persecu. devoted to the struggle against tion of Diocletian (A.D. 304), and Arianism and Semi-Arianism, put to death with torture. Her both in the East and in the West; memory is celebrated by St. Amfor this service he was exiled by brose, St. Jerome, and St. Au. Constantius, but restored to his gustine (in whose time her holysee for three years before his day was already kept), as a type death in A.D. 368. He was one of chastity and innocence. of the earliest of the greater 22nd. Vincent,
Martyr. -A Latin Fathers, both in exe- Spanish Deacon, of Saragossa, getical and dogmatic works. martyred with torture under From his day “Hilary Term" Diocletian (A.D. 304); celeis named.
brated as "the invincible" as 18th. Prisca, Virgin and Martyr. early as the time of St. Ambrose -A Roman lady, martyr in the and St. Augustine.
3rd. Blasius, Bishop and Mar. tyr.-("St. Blaise")-Bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia, of whom nothing is known, but the tradi. tion that he was tortured (torn by iron combs) and beheaded under Diocletian (A.D. 316). He was honoured as Patron of the Woolcombers, and of the city of Ragusa.
5th. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr.-Like St. Agnes a type of purity vainly assailed, and (in revenge) martyred with torture under Decius (or Diocletian) at
Catana in Sicily; mentioned by Damasus, Bishop of Rome (366), and put into the Calendar by Gregory the Great.
14th. Valentine, Bishop.-Only known in tradition as a priest and martyr at Rome, about A.D. 270. The title Bishop is probably a simple error. The habit of “choosing Valentines” seems to have been a Pagan custom, probably connected with the season of the year, and associated by pure accident with the Christian Festival.