The son of Grand Prince Yaroslav II of Vladimir, St. Alexander Nevski is a hero because he defended Russia against the Swedes and the Germans; he is also an enigma because he was conciliatory to the Mongols. Born c. 1220, Alexander was elected Grand Prince of Novgorod in 1236. Married three years later, he defeated the Swedes at the confluence of the Ithara and Neva Rivers in 1240, and from this victory, he earned the name "Nevski." Two years later, he routed the Teutonic Knights, whom Pope Gregory IX had commissioned to christianize the Baltic. Alexander was also victorious over the Lithuanians and the Finns. On the death of his father in 1246 Alexander and his brother, Andrew, struggled briefly for the throne. The Great Khan appointed Alexander Prince of Kiev and Andrew Prince of Vladimir. Alexander became Prince of Vladimir in 1252, when he revealed his brother's plans for a revolt to the Mongols. Alexander continued to control Novgorod through his son, Vassily, and ended the election of princes in that city. In 1255, Alexander quelled a rebellion against Vassily, and in 1257, he put down a rebellion against the Mongols. His relationship with the Golden Horde is thought to have protected the Russian people from the usual ravages of Mongol occupation, and in 1262, at his request, the Mongols exempted Russians from their draft. Alexander died in 1263 in Gorodets.
Martyr of England. She was born Margaret Plantagenet, the niece of Edward IV and Richard III. She married Sir Reginald Pole about 1491 and bore five sons, including Reginald Cardinal Pole. Margaret ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Barbara lived in the 4th century and brought up as a heathen. A tyrannical father, Dioscorus, had kept her jealously secluded in a lonely tower which he had built for that purpose. Here, in her forced solitude, she gave herself to prayer and study, and contrived to ... 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
St. Zita was born into a poor but holy Christian family. Her older sister became a Cistercian nun and her uncle Graziano was a hermit whom the local people regarded as a saint. Zita herself always ... 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