Born Orlando Bandinelli c. 1105, Alexander III was the first great lawyer pope. He taught law at Bologna before becoming an advisor to Adrian IV, whose quarrels with King Frederick Barbarossa continued into Alexander's papacy. In 1157, Adrian called the Holy Roman Empire a benefice of the papacy in a document authored by Cardinal Bandinelli, who later downplayed the fact that benefice usually meant fief. When Adrian died in 1159, the cardinals elected Bandinelli to the see, and the following year, Frederick called his own council at Pavia and had anti-pope Victor IV elected. The pope and the emperor continued to vie for power and for the states of Italy until the Peace of Rialto in 1177. The Third Lateran Council, convoked in 1179, ended unanimous papal elections and established the two-thirds majority rule. Alexander was the first pope to express concern about the Albigenses and was an influence on Peter Abelard. Alexander died in exile in 1181. His body was returned to Rome for burial, and the mob defaced his tomb.
The writings of St. Irenaeus entitle him to a high place among the fathers of the Church, for they not only laid the foundations of Christian theology but, by exposing and refuting the errors of the ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
With the lives of so many early martyrs shrouded in legend, we are fortunate to have the record of the courage of Perpetua and Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself, her teacher Saturus, and others who knew them. This account, known as "The Martyrdom of Perpetua ... continue readingMore Female Saints
Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading
Juan Diego was born in 1474 in the calpulli or ward of Tlayacac in Cuauhtitlan, which was established in 1168 by Nahua tribesmen and conquered by the Aztec lord Axayacatl in 1467; and was located 20 kilometers (14 miles) north of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). On ... continue reading
FRANCIS XAVIER, ST. (1506-1552). Born in the family castle of Xavier, near Pamplona in the Basque area of Spanish Navarre on Apr. 7, he was sent to the University of Paris 1525, secured his licentiate in 1528, met Ignatius Loyola and became one of the seven who in ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the very ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes