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Holy Days in January

The Naming and Circumcision of Jesus (1st January)

St. Basil the Great (2nd January)
Bishop of Caesarea, and one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church. Born probably 329; died 1st January, 379. He ranks after Athanasius as a defender of the Oriental Church against the heresies of the fourth century.  

St Gregory of Nazianzus (2nd January)
Doctor of the Church. Born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, in 325 and died in the same place in 389.

Seraphim (2nd January)
Monk of Sarov, Spiritual Guide, 1833

Vedanayagam Samuel Azariah (2nd January)
Bishop in South India. Evangelist 1945

The Epiphany (6th January)

William Laud, Archbishop and Martyr (10th January)
William Laud, born in 1573, was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 to 1645 in the days of King Charles I. It was a turbulent time throughout, one of violent divisions in the Church of England, eventually culminating in the English Civil War.

Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa (11th January)
Born in Aberdeen in 1848, Mary Slessor spent her early life working in a factory. In 1875 she went to Africa, where she was successful in bringing to an end many tribal abuses (twin murder and human sacrifice). She fought all her life against witchcraft and human cruelty. She died in 1915.

Aelred of Hexham (12th January)
Abbot of Rievaulx, homilist and historian (1109-66). He was born at Hexham, but at an early age made the acquaintance of David, King of Scotland. He become a Cistercian monk and later Abbot in the abbey of Rievaulx in Yorkshire.

Benedict Biscop (12th January)
An English monastic founder. He spent his youth at the court of the Northumbrian King Oswy. Benedict was the first to introduce into England the building of stone churches and the art of making glass windows.

Hillary of Poitiers (13th January)
Bishop, born in that city at the beginning of the fourth century, exiled to the distant coasts of  Phrygia, fought against heresy through his writing and preaching.

Kentigern (13th January)
Bishop, founder of the See of Glasgow, born about 518; died at Glasgow, 603. Consecrated as bishop, about 540 and for some thirteen years he laboured in the district, living a most austere life in a cell at the confluence of the Clyde and the Molendinar. He spent some time in Wales founding a large monastery at Llanelwy, now St. Asaph's. He was known as Mungo which means “Dear One”.

George Fox (13th January)
Born in Fenny Drayton, Leicestershire, in 1624. Apprenticed to a Nottingham shoemaker. He formed a group called the Friends of Truth, later known as the Society of Friends. In 1661 he founded the American Quaker Colony of Pennsylvania. He continued as a travelling preacher until his death in 1691.  

Antony of Egypt, Hermit, Abbot (17th January)
The son of wealthy Christian parents. He was influenced by the text, "Sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and come follow me".  Having provided for the care of his sister, he gave his land to the tenants who lived on it, and gave his other wealth to the poor, and became a hermit. In 305, he became the head of a group of monks. They did not simply renounce the world, but were diligent in prayer for their fellow Christians, worked with their hands to earn money so that they might distribute it as alms, preached and gave personal counselling to those who sought them out.

Charles Gore, Bishop (17th January)
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1878. He helped to found the Christian Social Union. He founded the Society of the Resurrection, an association for priests, aimed at a deepening of the spiritual life, which became the Community of the Resurrection, a religious order for priests. He was appointed Bishop of Worcester and afterwards Bishop of Birmingham. He was translated to became Bishop of Oxford.  He was known as a great speaker and preacher.   

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18th-25th January)

Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester (19th January)
When William the Norman conquered England in 1066, he replaced most of the native Anglo-Saxon bishops with clergy of his own. The most conspicuous exception was Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, who had been a supporter of King Harold, but who submitted to William after Harold's death, and became one of the King's most trusted advisors. He is best remembered for his opposition to the slave trade in western England.   

Richard Rolle (20th January)
Yorkshire-born mystic and writer. After leaving Oxford at the age of 19, he lived as a hermit and poured out devotional works in Latin and English, and biblical translations which anticipated Wyclif. In his mystical writing he describes his ascent during four years to the highest point of divine rapture. A number of his works, already well-known in manuscript, were later printed by Wynkyn de Worde.

Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome (21st January)
Agnes was a Christian martyr who died at Rome around 304 in the persecution of Diocletian. Her name means "pure" in Greek and "lamb" in Latin. She is said to have been only about twelve or thirteen when she died, and the remains preserved in St Agnes' Church in Rome are in agreement with this. It is said that her execution shocked many Romans and helped bring an end to the persecutions.   

Vincent (22nd January)
of Saragossa, Deacon and first martyr of Spain, 304

Francis de Sales (24th January)
Bishop of Geneva. Teacher of the Faith, 1622 Born at Thorens, in the Duchy of Savoy, 21st August, 1567 died at Lyons, 28th December, 1622. A prolific writer and champion of the poor.

The Conversion of Paul (25th January)

Timothy and Titus – Companions of Paul (26th January)
Timothy and Titus appear in the New Testament writings as missionary companions of, and co-workers with, the Apostle Paul. Titus is mentioned as a companion of Paul in some of his epistles Timothy is mentioned in Acts 16-20, and appears in 9 epistles either as joining in Paul's greetings or as a messenger. Timothy has two New Testament letters addressed to him, and Titus one. From these three letters (called the Pastoral Epistles), it appears that Paul had commissioned Timothy to oversee the Christian community in Ephesus and its vicinity, and Titus to oversee that in Crete.

Thomas Aquinas (28th January)
In the thirteenth century the works of Aristotle, largely forgotten in Western Europe, began to be available. These works offered a new way of looking at the world. Many students of Aristotle adopted him as an alternative to Christianity. The response of many Christians was to denounce Aristotle as an enemy of the Christian Faith. A third approach was that of those who tried to hold both Christian and Aristotelian views side by side with no attempt to reconcile them. Aquinas had a fourth approach. While remaining a Christian, he immersed himself in the ideas of Aristotle, and undertook to explain Christian ideas and beliefs in language that would make sense to disciples of Aristotle. Aquinas's insistence that the Christian scholar must be prepared to meet other scholars on their own ground, to become familiar with their viewpoints, to argue from their premises, has been a permanent and valuable contribution to Christian thought.   

Charles (30th January)
King at the time of the English Civil War after which he was executed for treason. Born in 1600 he became king at the age of 25. Martyred in 1649

John Bosco (31st January)
Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order. Worked as a tailor, baker, shoemaker and carpenter while attending college and the seminary. He was ordained  in 1841. A teacher who worked with youth, finding places where they could meet, play and pray,  teaching catechism to orphans and apprentices. Chaplain in a hospice for girls.

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