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Saturday, June 27, 2015
St. Irenaeus of Lyons
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: June 28
|The writings of Irenaeus give him an honored place among the Fathers of the Church for they laid the foundations of Christian theology and, by refuting the errors of the Gnostics, kept the youthful Catholic faith from the danger of corruption by the subtle, pessimistic doctrines of these philosophers. Irenaeus was born, probably about the year 125, in one of the maritime provinces of Asia Minor, where the memory of the Apostles was still cherished and where Christians were already numerous. His education was exceptionally liberal, for, besides a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, he had an acquaintance with Greek philosophy and literature. Irenaeus had also the privilege of sitting at the feet of men who had known the Apostles. Of these the one who made the deepest impression on him was St. Polycarp, the venerable bishop of Smyrna. All through his life, he told a friend, he could recall every detail of Polycarp's appearance, his voice, and the very words he used when telling what he had heard from John the Evangelist and others who had seen Jesus.|
From early times commerce had been brisk between the ports of Asia Minor and the city of Marseilles, at the mouth of the Rhone River. In the second century of the Christian era Levantine traders were conveying their wares up the river as far as Lyons, the most populous city of Gaul and an important mart for all Western Europe. In the train of these Asiatic merchants, many of whom settled in Lyons, came Christian missionaries, who brought the Gospel to the pagan Gauls and founded a vigorous church. Here Irenaeus was sent to serve as priest under the bishop, Pothinus.
The high regard which Irenaeus earned for himself at Lyons was shown in the year 177, when he was chosen to go on a serious mission to Rome. He was the bearer of a letter to Pope Eleutherius, urging him to deal firmly with the Montanist faction in faraway Phrygia, for heresy was now rampant in the East. This mission explains how it was that Irenaeus did not share in the martyrdom of his fellow Christians. A persecution broke out, and some of the leaders of the Lyons church were imprisoned; a few suffered martyrdom. This was in the reign of the philosophical pagan emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Since Lyons was a vital outpost of imperial power, adorned with temples and fine public buildings, the Roman officials perhaps thought it necessary to keep the new religion in check here. When Irenaeus returned from Rome it was to fill the now vacant bishopric. The brief period of persecution was over, and the twenty or more years of his episcopate were fairly peaceful. In addition to his pastoral duties at Lyons, Irenaeus is said to have extended the sphere of Christian influence by sending missionaries to other towns of Gaul-SS. Felix, Fortunatus, and Achilleus to Valence, and SS. Ferrutius and Ferreolus to Besancon. The bishop identified himself with his flock so completely as to speak habitually the native tongue instead of Latin or Greek, and to encourage all priests to do likewise.
The spread of Gnosticism in Gaul led Irenaeus to make a careful study of its tenets, not an easy matter since each Gnostic teacher was inclined to introduce subtleties of his own. He was, Tertullian tells us, "a curious explorer of all kinds of learning," and the task interested him. His treatise <Against the Heresies>, in five books, sets forth fully the doctrines of the main dissident sects of the day and then contrasts them with the words of Scripture and the teachings of the Apostles, as preserved not only in sacred writings but by oral tradition in the churches which the Apostles founded. Above all, he cites the authoritative tradition of the Church of Rome, handed down from Peter and Paul through an unbroken succession of bishops. In his theological works Irenaeus especially shows the influence of St. Paul and St. John. An humble, patient man, he writes of controversial matters with a moderation and courtesy unusual in this age of perfervid conviction.
An example of his method is his discussion of one type of Gnostic doctrine, that the visible world was created and is sustained and governed by angelic beings, but not by God, who remains unconnected with it, aloof and unmoved in his own inaccessible sphere. Irenaeus states the theory, develops it to a logical conclusion, and then by an effective <reductio ad absurdum> demonstrates its fallacy. The Christian doctrine of a close continuing relationship between the Triune God and the world He created Irenaeus describes thus: "The Father is above all, and He is the Head of Christ; the Word (Logos) is through all things and is Himself the Head of the Church, while the Spirit is in us all, and His is the living water which the Lord gave to those who believe in Him and love Him, and who know that there is one Father above all things and through all things." Irenaeus was convinced that the veil of mystery which enveloped Gnosticism was part of its attraction, and he was determined to "strip the fox," as he expressed it. His book, written in Greek and quickly translated into Latin, was widely circulated, and from this time on Gnosticism presented no serious threat.
Thirteen or fourteen years after his mission to Rome, Irenaeus attempted mediation between another Pope and a body of Christians in Asia Minor called the Quartodecimans, who refused to fix the day of Easter by the method commonly used by Christians. Pope Victor had excommunicated them, and Irenaeus pleaded with him in a beautiful letter to raise the ban, pointing out that these Asiatics were only following their Apostolic tradition, and that the difference of opinion on this minor point had not prevented St. Polycarp and many others from staying in communion. At the end of the fourth century Jerome wrote that many Eastern bishops still adhered to the ancient Jewish calendar.
The date of the death of Irenaeus is usually given as about the year 203. According to a late and dubious tradition he suffered martyrdom under Septimius Severus. His book <Against the Heresies> has come down to us entire in its Latin version; and an Armenian translation of his <Exposition of Apostolic Preaching> has lately been discovered. Though the rest of his writings have perished, in these two works may be found the elements of a complete system of Catholic theology.
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And in our Souls take up Thy rest, Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created;
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. LET US PRAY
O God , who didst teach the hearts of Thy faithful people by sending them the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us by the same Spirit, to have a right judgement in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort, through Christ Our Lord, Amen 2. AN ACT OF CONTRITION
(Here, O God is my sacrifice, a broken spirit; a heart that is humbled and contrite, thou O God, will never disdain; ps 50:19)
My God, I believe in Thee.* I hope in thee .* I love Thee above all things.* With all my Soul,* With all my heart ,* and with all my strength ; * I love Thee because thou are infinitely good * And worthy of being loved * and because I love Thee,* I repent with all my heart * Of having offended Thee; * have mercy on me a sinner. Amen
3. FOR THE INTENTIONS OF THE HOLY FATHER
THE OUR FATHER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses , as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen THE HAIL MARY
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, JESUS , Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen THE GLORY BE TO THE FATHER
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy spirit.
As it was in the beginning , is now and ever shall be world without end . Amen
4. INVOCATIONS TO OUR LADY
We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God. Despise not our petitions in our necessities. But ever deliver us from all dangers O glorious and blessed Virgin. Priest : O Mother of Perpetual Succour, thou whose very name inspires confidence.
People : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : That I may love and serve God with all my heart.
Pe. : Help me, O loving mother
Pr. : That I may never neglect prayer
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : In temptations against the holy vitue of purity
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : That I may quickly rise again should I have the misfortune to fall into sin.
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother
Pr. : That I may courageously resist the seductions of the world, evil companions, bad books and films Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : That I may often and devoutly receive the Sacraments and fulfil my Christian duties and the duties of my state.
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : That I may be patient and resigned in all trials and troubles of life
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : In sickness and pain, in poverty and distress
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : That I may not delay my conversion from day to day
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : That I may ever love and serve thee and invoke thy assistance Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : That I may be able to lead others to love serve and pray to thee
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : When death is near and I am about to pass into eternity.
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
Pr. : To my last hour, to my last breath do thou watch over me.
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother. Pr. : Pray for us O Mother of Perpetual Succour
Pe. : Help me, O loving Mother.
LET US PRAY O Almighty and merciful God * Who in order to assist the human race * Has willed the blessed virgin Mary * To become the Mother of Thy only-begotten Son * Grant we beseech Thee * That by her intercession * We may avoid the contagion of sin * And serve Thee with a pure heart * Through the same Christ Our Lord * Amen 5. SUMMARY OF PETITIONS & THANKSGIVINGS 6. NOVENA PRAYERS O Mother of Perpetual Succour * Behold me a miserable sinner at thy feet * I have recourse to thee and put my trust in thee * O Mother of Mercy, have pity upon me * I hear thee called by all * The refuge and the hope of sinners; * be then my refuge and my hope * Succour me for the love of Jesus Christ *; Stretch forth thy hand to me, * a poor sinner, * who recommend and dedicate myself to thee * As thy perpetual servant * I bless and thank God for having in His Mercy given me this confidence in Thee * the pledge , as I believe of my eternal salvation*
Alas, too often in past times have I miserably fallen * Because I had not recourse to thee * I know that with thy help I shall conquer * I know that thou will help me * If I recommend myself to thee * But I fear lest in the occasion of failing * I should cease to call upon thee * And so should lose my soul * This then is the grace I seek from thee, * and I beg of thee, as far as I know how and can, * to obtain it for me * namely, in the assaults of hell,* always to have recourse to thee and to say to thee; * O mary help me * Mother of Perpetual Succour, * Suffer me not to lose my God * Amen.
Priest : Mother of Perpetual Succour
People : Pray for thy Children.
Hail Mary.......... (Repeat three times)
Holy Mary, * Succour the miserable, help the faint hearted * Cheer those that weep, *Pray for the people ,* be the advocate of the clergy, * Intercede for all devout women, * Let all feel thine aid,* Who implore thy perpetual succour.
Priest : Thou has been made for us O Lady, a Refuge.
People : A helper in need and tribulation.
LET US PRAY
O Lord Jesus Christ,* Who hast given us Thy Mother Mary, * Whose wondrous image we venerate, * To our Mother ,* Ever ready to succour us,* grant , we beseech Thee,* That we, who earnestly implore her maternal aid, * May deserve to enjoy perpetually the fruit of thy redemption * Who lives and reigns world without end. Amen.
June 27, is the feast day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, and the Madonna di San Matteo. We are reminded that Our Blessed Mother constantly intercedes for us with Jesus, Our Lord—in our times of struggle, pain, and difficulty.
Mother of Perpetual Help, you have been blessed and favored by God. You became not only the Mother of the Redeemer but the Mother of the redeemed as well. We come to you today as your loving children. Watch over us and take care of us. As you held the child Jesus in your loving arms, so take us in your arms. Be a mother ready at every moment to help us. For God who is mighty has done great things for you, and His mercy is from age to age on those who love Him. Our greatest fear is that in time of temptation, we may fail to call out to you, and become lost children. Intercede for us, dear Mother, in obtaining pardon for our sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to call upon you, Mother of Perpetual Help.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a title and devotion given to Our Blessed Mother, following an association with a Byzantine painting originating as early as the 13th century. Since that time, this golden image has inspired Catholics to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary for intercession with her beloved Son, Jesus Christ. The painting, as interpreted by art historians and theologians, represents a message of salvation and reparation: “You can come to me.” The icon, possibly painted in Crete by an unknown artist, depicts Our Blessed Mother, holding the infant Christ. To her right is the Archangel Michael, carrying the lance and sponge of the crucifixion. On her left is the Archangel Gabriel carrying the cross and nails used in the crucifixion. Also known as the Theotokos of the Passion, the icon suggests that Christ, even as an infant, knew of His passion and death, and is seeking the comfort of his mother.
The origins and early history of the painting are lost to record, but in the fifteenth century, the icon was first venerated at the Church of San Matteo. Prior to that, history suggests that the painting was stolen in Crete, and brought to Italy by a pious merchant, who eventually (possibly following an apparition of the Blessed Mother to his daughter) bequeathed the painting to the church, which was served for a time by the Hermits of Saint Augustine. The picture remained in the church for nearly three hundred years.
In 1812 the French invaded Rome and destroyed the church. The picture disappeared. Between 1863 and 1865 it was discovered in an oratory of the Augustinian Fathers at Santa Maria in Posterula. Under the direction of Pope Pius XI, the original icon was displayed for public veneration under the care of the Redemptorist Fathers at the Church of Saint Alphonsus (built on the original site of the destroyed Church of San Matteo), where it remains today.
O MOTHER of Perpetual Help, Grant that I may ever invoke Your most powerful name, Which is the safeguard of the living And the salvation of the dying.
O purest Mary! O sweetest Mary! Let your name henceforth Be ever on my lips.
Delay not, O Blessed Lady, To succor me Whenever I call on you.
In all my temptations, In all my needs, I will never cease To call on you Ever repeating Your sacred name, Mary, Mary!
Oh, what consolations, What sweetness, What confidence, What emotion fills my soul When I utter your sacred name, Or even only think of you!
I thank the Lord For having given you, For my good, So sweet, so powerful, So lovely a name.
But I will not be content With merely uttering your name. Let my love for you prompt me Ever to hail you, Mother of Perpetual Help.
Mother of Perpetual Help, Pray for me And grant me the favor I confidently ask of you.
Text shared from 365 Rosaries Blog
St. Cyril of Alexandria
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: June 27
|Doctor of the Church. St. Cyril has his feast in the Western Church on the 28th of January; in the Greek Menaea it is found on the 9th of June, and (together with St. Athanasius) on the 18th of January.|
He seems to have been of an Alexandrian family and was the son of the brother of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria; if he is the Cyril addressed by Isidore of Pelusium in Ep. xxv of Bk. I, he was for a time a monk. He accompanied Theophilus to Constantinople when that bishop held the "Synod of the Oak" in 402 and deposed St. John Chrysostom. Theophilus died 15 Oct., 412, and on the 18th Cyril was consecrated his uncle's successor, but only after a riot between his supporters and those of his rival Timotheus. Socrates complains bitterly that one of his first acts was to plunder and shut the churches of the Novatians. He also drove out of Alexandria the Jews, who had formed a flourishing community there since Alexander the Great. But they had caused tumults and had massacred the Christians, to defend whom Cyril himself assembled a mob. This may have been the only possible defence, since the Prefect of Egypt, Orestes, who was very angry at the expulsion of the Jews was also jealous of the power of Cyril, which certainly rivaled his own. Five hundred monks came down from Nitria to defend the patriarch. In a disturbance which arose, Orestes was wounded in the head by a stone thrown by a monk named Ammonius. The prefect had Ammonius tortured to death, and the young and fiery patriarch honoured his remains for a time as those of a martyr. The Alexandians were always riotous as we learn from Socrates (VII, vii) and from St. Cyril himself (Hom. for Easter, 419). In one of these riots, in 422, the prefect Callistus was killed, and in another was committed the murder of a female philosopher Hypatia, a highly-respected teacher of neo-Platoism, of advanced age and (it is said) many virtues. She was a friend of Orestes, and many believed that she prevented a reconciliation between the prefect and patriarch. A mob led by a lector, named Peter, dragged her to a church and tore her flesh with potsherds till she died. This brought great disgrace, says Socrates, on the Church of Alexandria and on its bishop; but a lector at Alexandria was not a cleric (Scr., V, xxii), and Socrates does not suggest that Cyril himself was to blame. Damascius, indeed, accuses him, but he is a late authority and a hater of Christians.
Theophilus, the persecutor of Chrysostom, had not the privilege of communion with Rome from that saint's death, in 406, until his own. For some years Cyril also refused to insert the name of St. Chrysostom in the diptychs of his Church, in spite of the requests of Chrysostom's supplanter, Atticus. Later he seems to have yielded to the representations of his spiritual father, Isisdore of Pelusium (Isid., Ep. I, 370). Yet even after the Council of Ephesus that saint still found something to rebuke in him on this matter (Ep. I, 310). But at last Cyril seems to have long since been trusted by Rome.
It was in the winter of 427-28 that the Antiochene Nestorius became Patriarch of Constantinople. His heretical teaching soon became known to Cyril. Against him Cyril taught the use of the term Theotokus in his Paschal letter for 429 and in a letter to the monks of Egypt. A correspondence with Nestorius followed, in a more moderate tone than might have been expected. Nestorius sent his sermons to Pope Celestine, but he received no reply, for the latter wrote to St. Cyril for further information. Rome had taken the side of St. John Chrysostom against Theophilus, but had neither censured the orthodoxy of the latter, nor consented to the patriarchal powers exercised by the bishops of Constantinople. To St. Celestine Cyril was not only the first prelate of the East, he was also the inheritor of the traditions of Athanasius and Peter. The pope's confidence was not misplaced. Cyril had learnt prudence. Peter had attempted unsuccessfully to appoint a Bishop of Constantinople; Theophilus had deposed another. Cyril, though in this case Alexandria was in the right, does not act in his own name, but denounces Nestorius to St. Celestine, since ancient custom, he says, persuaded him to bring the matter before the pope. He relates all that had occurred, and begs Celestine to decree what he sees fit (typosai to dokoun--a phrase which Dr. Bright chooses to weaken into "formulate his opinion"), and communicate it also to the Bishops of Macedonia and of the East (i.e. the Antiochene Patriarchate).
The pope's reply was of astonishing severity. He had already commissioned Cassian to write his well known treatise on the Incarnation. He now summoned a council (such Roman councils had somewhat the office of the modern Roman Congregations), and dispatched a letter to Alexandria with enclosures to Constantinople, Philippi, Jerusalem, and Antioch. Cyril is to take to himself the authority of the Roman See and to admonish Nestorius that unless he recants within ten days from the receipt of this ultimatum, he is separated from "our body" (the popes of the day had the habit of speaking of the other churches as the members, of which they are the head; the body is, of course the Catholic Church). If Nestorius does not submit, Cyril is to "provide for" the Church of Constantinople. Such a sentence of excommunication and deposition is not to be confounded with the mere withdrawal of actual communion by the popes from Cyril himself at an earlier date, from Theophilus, or, in Antioch, from Flavian or Meletius. It was the decree Cyril has asked for. As Cyril had twice written to Nestorius, his citation in the name of the pope is to be counted as a third warning, after which no grace is to be given.
St. Cyril summoned a council of his suffragans, and composed a letter which were appended twelve propositions for Nestorius to anathematize. The epistle was not conciliatory, and Nestorius may well have been taken aback. The twelve propositions did not emanate from Rome, and were not equally clear; one or two of them were later among the authorities invoked by the Monophysite heretics in their own favour. Cyril was the head of the rival theological school to that of Antioch, where Nestorius had studied, and was the hereditary rival of the Constantinopolitan would-be patriarch. Cyril wrote also to John, Patriarch of Antioch, informing him of the facts, and insinuating that if John should support his old friend Nestorius, he would find himself isolated over against Rome, Macedonia, and Egypt. John took the hint and urged Nestorius to yield. Meanwhile, in Constantinople itself large numbers of the people held aloof from Nestorius, and the Emperor Theodosius II had been persuaded to summon a general council to meet at Ephesus. The imperial letters were dispatched 19 November, whereas the bishops sent by Cyril arrived at Constantinople only on 7 December. Nestorius, somewhat naturally, refused to accept the message sent by his rival, and on the 13th and 14th of December preached publicly against Cyril as a calumniator, and as having used bribes (which was probably as true as it was usual); but he declared himself willing to use the word Theotokos. These sermons he sent to John of Antioch, who preferred them to the anathematizations of Cyril. Nestorius, however, issued twelve propositions with appended anathemas. If Cyril's propositions might be might be taken to deny the two natures in Christ, those of Nestorius hardly veiled his belief in two distinct persons. Theodoret urged John yet further, and wrote a treatise against Cyril, to which the latter replied with some warmth. He also wrote an "Answer" in five books to the sermons of Nestorius.
As the fifteenth-century idea of an oecumenical council superior to the pope had yet to be invented, and there was but one precedent for such an assembly, we need not be surprised that St. Celestine welcomed the initiative of the emperor, and hoped for peace through the assembly. (See EPHESUS, COUNCIL OF.) Nestorius found the churches of Ephesus closed to him, when he arrived with the imperial commissioner, Count Candidian, and his own friend, Count Irenaeus. Cyril came with fifty of his bishops. Palestine, Crete, Asia Minor, and Greece added their quotient. But John of Antioch and his suffragans were delayed. Cyril may have believed, rightly or wrongly, that John did not wish to be present at the trial of his friend Nestorius, or that he wished to gain time for him, and he opened the council without John, on 22 June, in spite of the request of sixty-eight bishops for a delay. This was an initial error, which had disastrous results.
The legates from Rome had not arrived, so that Cyril had no answer to the letter he had written to Celestine asking "whether the holy synod should receive a man who condemned what it preached, or, because the time of delay had elapsed, whether the sentence was still in force". Cyril might have presumed that the pope, in agreeing to send legates to the council, intended Nestorius to have a complete trial, but it was more convenient to assume that the Roman ultimatum had not been suspended, and that the council was bound by it. He therefore took the place of president, not only as the highest of rank, but also as still holding the place of Celestine, though he cannot have received any fresh commission from the pope. Nestorius was summoned, in order that he might explain his neglect of Cyril's former monition in the name of the pope. He refused to receive the four bishops whom the council sent to him. Consequently nothing remained but formal procedure. For the council was bound by the canons to depose Nestorius for contumacy, as he would not appear, and by the letter of Celestine to condemn him for heresy, as he had not recanted. The correspondence between Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople was read, some testimonies where read from earlier writers show the errors of Nestorius. The second letter of Cyril to Nestorius was approved by all the bishops. The reply of Nestorius was condemned. No discussion took place. The letter of Cyril and the ten anathemaizations raised no comment. All was concluded at one sitting. The council declared that it was "of necessity impelled" by the canons and by the letter of Celestine to declare Nestorius deposed and excommunicated. The papal legates, who had been detained by bad weather, arrived on the 10th of July, and they solemnly confirmed the sentence by the authority of St. Peter, for the refusal of Nestorius to appear had made useless the permission which they brought from the pope to grant him forgiveness if he should repent. But meanwhile John of Antioch and his party had arrived on the 26th and 27th of June. They formed themselves into a rival council of forty-three bishops, and deposed Memnon, Bishop of Ephesus, and St. Cyril, accusing the latter of Apollinarianism and even of Eunomianism. Both parties now appealed to the emperor, who took the amazing decision of sending a count to treat Nestorius, Cyril, and Memnon as being all three lawfully deposed. They were kept in close custody; but eventually the emperor took the orthodox view, though he dissolved the council; Cyril was allowed to return to his diocese, and Nestorius went into retirement at Antioch. Later he was banished to the Great Oasis of Egypt.
Meanwhile Pope Celestine was dead. His successor, St. Sixtus III, confirmed the council and attempted to get John of Antioch to anathematize Nestorius. For some time the strongest opponent of Cyril was Theodoret, but eventually he approved a letter of Cyril to Acacius of Berhoea. John sent Paul, Bishop of Emesa, as his plenipotentiary to Alexandria, and he patched up reconciliation with Cyril. Though Theodoret still refused to denounce the defence of Nestorius, John did so, and Cyril declared his joy in a letter to John. Isidore of Pelusium was now afraid that the impulsive Cyril might have yielded too much (Ep. i, 334). The great patriarch composed many further treatises, dogmatic letters, and sermons. He died on the 9th or the 27th of June, 444, after an episcopate of nearly thirty-two years.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)