Saint Adrian of Canterbury. Feast Day January 9th. Adrian was born in North Africa in the 7th Century ,little is known of his earlier life. He was serving as an abbot in a monastery near Naples when the new Archbishop of Canterbury St Theodore of Tarsus appointed him abbot at the abbey of St Peter and St Paul later renamed Saint Augustine’s at Canterbury. Pope Vitalian considered him the best replacement of St Deusdedit the former Archbishop of Canterbury but Adrian politely declined the offer suggesting that the position be given to St Theodore a Greek monk to whom he became personal advisor and assistant. Under Adrian’s influence the monastery became one of the most important centres of learning and attracted many outstanding scholars world wide producing numerous future bishops and archbishops. Scholars were taught Latin, Greek , theology , Roman law and astronomy. Above all they were schooled in how to live a life of virtue and holiness. Adrian taught at the school for nearly 40 years until his death in 710 AD and his body was buried at the monastery. Several years later when reconstruction was being carried out Adrian’s body was found in an incorrupt state. Many miracles have been said to occur at his tomb, he is renown for helping theological students in trouble with their masters.
Saint Theodosius the Cenobiarch. Feast Day January 11th. Theodosius was born in Marissa in Cappadocia, modern day Turkey in 423 AD to a devout family. His mother Eulogia later became a nun making her own son her spiritual advisor.In 451 AD, taking a leaf out of Abrahams book he left his hometown and family and travelled to Jerusalem, when he reached Antioch he met with St Simeon of Stylite who blessed him and predicted future pastoral service for him.Yearning for the solitary life he settled in Palestine in a desolate cave on a mountain top which he inhabited for 30 years. Here he perfomed great feats of asceticism , including standing through the night in prayer. Several monks joined him but when the cave became too small he established a small community of monks at the Cenobitic Lavra monastery near Bethlehem in 476 AD which later became known as The Monastery of St Theodosius. The community grew rapidly eventually accomadating around 700 monks from different cultural backgrounds. The centre cared predominantly for the sick and mentally impaired . Eventually Theodosius was appointed leader of all monks living in the vicinity of Palestine , this is the origin of his being called “The Cenobiarch”, which literally means chief of all those living a life in common. He died near Jerusalem aged 105 in 529 AD. Theodosius was an exalted model of life for all monks in , labour, prayer ,fasting, watchfulness and in all Christian virtues. He was burried in a tomb at the monastery.
Saint Hillary of Poitiers. Feast Day January 13th. Hilary was born in France in 310 AD in to a wealthy pagan family originally from Gaul. He received and excellent education including an in depth instruction in Greek . However he was drawn spiritually to seek a greater meaning in life and a higher power and began to study the Bible abandoning his ideology of Neo -Platonism and adopting the Christian religion. Hilary was held in high regard by his fellow Christian contemporaries and in 350 AD received the title, Bishop of Poitiers. Fearlessly he championed Catholic orthodoxy against the prevalent heresy of Arianism and for this very reason he is referred to as the ” Hammer of the Arians “.Bluntly refusing to attend the council convened by Emperor Constantius 11 in 355 where Arian opposition was influential he was exiled to Phrygia in in 356 AD. Hilary was a strong relentless and charismatic individual and his banishment to Phrygia refused to silence his quest against Arianism . It was here in Phrygia that he wrote some of his greatest theological works including “De Trinate”, which emphasises the Divinity of Christ and ” De Synodis”, which concentrates on eastern religious thought and practice. In 361 AD, he returned to Poitiers where he spent his final days. In 1851 he was named a Doctor of the Church , Hilary is invoked to help all those children with learning difficulties.