Thursday, February 01, 2024

NLM Quiz no. 24: Who Is This Saint? - The Answer

Can you explain who this Saint is, what has just happened to him, and what makes it interesting? (Click on image to enlarge.) I have a couple of hints to offer. 1. His story is pertinent to the liturgical season which we entered this week. 2. He is not on the general calendar, or in the breviary, but his story is told in the Church’s liturgy, without giving his name.

The Answer: This one was obviously a stumper, but the correct answer was given by Josef: Feliciter tibi, optime! The Saint in this stained glass window in the chapel of St Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology, but not by name, on April 5th, right after St Vincent Ferrer: “In Africa, the passion of the holy martyrs who, in the persecution of the Arian king Genseric, on the day of Easter, were killed in church; among them, a lector, while he was singing ‘Alleluia’ in the pulpit, was shot in the throat with an arrow.”

The reason why I wrote that he “is pertinent to the liturgical season which we entered this week” is that he is one of two exceptions to the rule that Alleluia is not said anywhere in the liturgy from Septuagesima until Holy Saturday. The other is in the sixth Matins lessons for St Gregory the Great on March 12: “Having called together a synod at St Peter’s, he ordained many things; among them, ... that Alleluia should be said outside the season between Septuagesima and Easter.”
The Best Wildly Incorrect answer award goes to Margaret for guessing that this is either St Ephraim the Syrian or St Francis; it is difficult to imagine that either of them would ever be depicted so pale, so blond, and so young. cf’s extremely clever Best Humorous Answer deserves to be quoted in full: “That is, of course, St. Tractus, a Roman deacon of the seventh century who was martyred by a band of ruffians who were obstreperously shouting ‘All*luia’ in the public square after the beginning of Gesimatide (Parce nobis, optime! - the word is “Forelent.”) When Tractus tried to suppress these shenanigans by hauling out a missal and pointing to the appropriate rubric, a scuffle ensued, and he took an arrow to the neck. He is depicted in a dalmatic with a stole worn priest-wise on top of it because his giving of his life for the sake of liturgical propriety conferred the rarely-encountered ‘ordination by blood.’ The Tract was added after the Gradual in his honor. He is the patron of rubricists and sacristy rats.” Outstanding!!!

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: