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.
Dominican preacher and missionary crusader. A native of Bergamo, Italy, he joined the Dominicans in 1319 and soon distinguished himself as a brilliant preacher, attracting huge crowds throughout ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
In the fourth century appeared a Greek religious romance on the Loves of Cecilia and Valerian, written, like those of Chrysanthus and Daria, Julian and Basilissa, in glorification of the virginal life, and with the purpose of taking the place of the sensual romances of ... 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
Born in 1245 in Sant'Angelo, St. Nicholas of Tolentino took his name from St. Nicholas of Myra, at whose shrine his parents prayed to have a child. Nicholas became a monk at 18, and seven years ... continue reading
By Alex Basile
Every carpenter must practice patience. We can learn important lessons from the wood shop in Nazareth from the humble Saint Joseph. I have always been a "do it yourself" type of guy thanks to my father. My dad is always a steady presence during my home-improvement ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes