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.
Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 election to the papacy, was born in Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometres from Cracow, on May 18, 1920. He was the second of two sons ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Brigid was probably born at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, Ireland. Her parents were baptized by St. Patrick, with whom she developed a close friendship. According to legend, her father was Dubhthach, an Irish chieftain of Lienster, and her mother, Brocca, was a slave ... 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
Although little is known about Simon Stock's early life, legend has it that the name Stock, meaning "tree trunk," derives from the fact that, beginning at age twelve, he lived as a hermit ... continue reading
By Deacon F.K. Bartels
St. Teresa's whole life is one of simple beauty and fervent purpose; it is a life contained in Christ. She shows us how to live the same way through Prayer.On reading from St. Teresa, a deep feeling of her love for His Majesty envelops us; we begin, in a very real, ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes