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.
Martyr whose Apologia, or defense of the faith, is considered one of the most priceless documents of the early Church. Apollonius was a Roman senator who was denounced as a Christian by one of his ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
"Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique statement in John's gospel tells us of the special relationship Jesus had with Martha, her sister, and her brother. Apparently Jesus was a frequent guest at Martha's home in Bethany, a small village ... continue readingMore Female Saints
St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading
The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading
Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the "Little Flower", and found in her short life more inspiration for own lives than in volumes by theologians. Yet Therese died ... continue reading
By Justin Soutar
During his visit to the United States this coming September, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' Once that happens, the Golden State will have its own patron saint and the Church will have another great missionary role ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes