Saint John The Evangelist. Feast Day December 27th. John was born in Jerusalem around AD 15 Church tradition claims that he was on of the original 12 apostles of Christ and also known as John of Patmos. Various theological works are attributed to him ,his most enduring legacy is the Gospel of St John which he composed in his latter years in Ephesus. The tone of the Gospel of St John is very distinctive from the Synoptic Gospels, John assumes familiarity with the life of Christ and is more concerned with contemplation and theological truth emphasising emphatically the divinity of Jesus .Also attributed to him are four other works in the New Testament ,the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation which he allegedly wrote during his years in Patmos. John was a Galilean fisherman who worked with his father Zebedee and his brother James also one of the original 12. He is described in the Bible as “The Beloved Disciple” or the” Disciple whom Jesus loved “. Along with Peter and James he was present at all the main events during Christ’s life and is the only disciple named as being present at the Crucifixion of Jesus ,where he was entrusted with the care of Christ’s mother ,Mary. After Mother Marys Assumption in to heaven John moved to Ephesus for a while but he was sent in to exile in Patmos. Finally he returned to Ephesus where he spent his last year and died a peaceful death ,he was the only one of the 12 not to suffer martydom.
St. Thomas Becket. Feast Day 29th December. Becket was born in 1119 and was the child of wealthy parents of Norman descent ,his father Gilbert was a well to do Merchant . Educated at Merton abbey in Surrey he studied law in London and Paris. He was an erudite young man and quickly became an agent to Theobald , Archbishop of Canterbury, who made him an Archdeacon and sent him on several important missions to Rome. Beckets talents were noticed by Henry 11 who made him his chancellor and the two became good friends. when Theobald died in 1162 ,Henry made Becket Arch bishop and he quickly went under ordination to the priesthood. The Kings and Beckets friendship went through a great strain when it became clear however that Becket would now fiercely stand up for the Church in its disagreements with the King. In 1164 realising the extent of Henrys displeasure Becket fled in to exile in France. He returned to England in 1170 but on the 29th of December that year ,four knights believing the King wanted Becket out of the way, confronted and murdered Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. In 1173 Thomas was made a saint and his shrine in Canterbury Cathedral became an important focus for pilgrimage.
The Solemnity of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Feast Day January 1st. On New Years day ,the octave day of Christmas ,the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God, the divine and virginal motherhood of the Blessed Virgin. It is the highest title of the Blessed Virgin .” Theotokos” , Mother of God or God Bearer. The title was officially attributed to her at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. Mary is rightly given this title as she carried in her womb and gave birth to the second person of the Holy trinity, Jesus Christ, God Incarnate. From the very moment of her conception Mary had been chosen through Divine Providence to be the Holy temple to carry Gods son, as she was born without original sin . Today we thank Mary for her obedience and complete loyalty to God from the time of the Annunciation where she says ” Let it done to me according to your Word” until the death of her beloved Son our Saviour on the Cross. Mother Mary was a vital part of Gods plan for the salvation of the world as Mother Teresa of Calcutta says , “Without Mary no Jesus”. Jesus gave His mother to us to be the Mother of the universal Church on the Cross ,our Lady is the perfection of” Motherhood” and the Church continually seeks her guidance and intercession.