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.
Nothing is known of St. James the Greater's early life, though it has been established that he is the son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of John the disciple. The title "the Greater" was added to ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Saint Veronica is known as the woman who offered a cloth to Jesus so He could wipe His face on the way to His crucifixion. The cloth is believed to exist today in the Vatican and is considered one of the most treasured relics of the Church. Saint Veronica is not ... 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
Augustinian bishop. Born at Fuentellana, Castile, Spain, he was the son of a miller. He studied at the University of Alcala, earned a licentiate in theology, and became a professor there at the age of twenty-six. He declined the chair of philosophy at the university of ... continue reading
St. Peter Claver was born at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580, of impoverished parents descended from ancient and distinguished families. He studied at the Jesuit college of Barcelona, entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona in 1602 and took his final vows on August ... 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