Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Basilica, Proverbs 30:5-9, Luke 9:1-6, St Cosmas and Damien, Basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano, Ninth Crusade

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Basilica, Proverbs 30:5-9, Luke 9:1-6, St Cosmas and Damien, Basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano, Ninth Crusade

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  basilica  ba·sil·i·ca  [buh-sil-i-kuh]

Origin:  1535–45;  < Latin  < Greek basilikḗ  hall, short for basilikḗ oikía  royal house. See basilic

1. an early Christian or medieval church of the type built especially in Italy, characterized by a plan including a nave, two or four side aisles, a semicircular apse, a narthex, and often other features, as a short transept, a number of small semicircular apses terminating the aisles, or an atrium. The interior is characterized by strong horizontality, with little or no attempt at rhythmic accents. All spaces are usually covered with timber roofs or ceilings except for the apse or apses, which are vaulted.
2. one of the seven main churches of Rome or another Roman Catholic church accorded the same religious privileges.
3. (in ancient Rome) a large oblong building used as a hall of justice and public meeting place.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Proverbs 30:5-9

5 Every word of God is unalloyed, a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 To his words make no addition, lest he reprove you and account you a liar.
7 Two things I beg of you, do not grudge me them before I die:
8 keep falsehood and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches, grant me only my share of food,
9 for fear that, surrounded by plenty, I should fall away and say, 'Yahweh-who is Yahweh?' or else, in destitution, take to stealing and profane the name of my God


Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 9:1-6

Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey: neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money; and do not have a spare tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there; and when you leave let your departure be from there. As for those who do not welcome you, when you leave their town shake the dust from your feet as evidence against them.’ So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and healing everywhere.
• Today’s Gospel describes the mission which the Twelve received from Jesus. Later, Luke speaks about the mission of the seventy-two disciples (Lk 10, 1-12). The two Gospels complete one another and reveal the mission of the Church.

• Luke 9, 1-2: The sending out of the Twelve on mission. “Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases. And he sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal”. In calling the Twelve, Jesus intensifies the announcement of the Good News. The objective of the mission is simple and clear: they received the power and authority to cast out devils, to cure the sick and to announce the Kingdom of God. Just as people were admired, astonished seeing Jesus’ authority over the unclean spirits, and seeing his way of announcing the Good News (Lk 4, 32.36), the same thing should happen with the preaching of the twelve apostles.

• Luke 9, 3-5. The instructions for the Mission. Jesus sends them out with the following recommendations: “Take nothing for the journey, neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money and do not have a spare tunic”. Do not go from one house to another, but “Whatever house you enter stay there; and when you leave let your departure be from there”. “As for those who do not welcome you, when you leave their town shake the dust from your feet as evidence against them”. As you will see these recommendations, which seem strange to us, have a very important significance.

• Luke 9, 6. The execution of the Mission. They go. It is the beginning of a new stage. Now, not only Jesus, but the whole group goes to announce the Good News to the people. If the preaching of Jesus caused conflict, now, with the preaching of the whole group, there will be a greater conflict.

• The four fundamental points of the mission. At the time of Jesus, there were diverse Movements of renewal: the Essenes, the Pharisees, and the Zealots. They also were seeking a new way to live in community and they had their own missionaries (cf. Mt 23, 15). But, they, when they went on mission, they were advised: to carry a staff, and a haversack to put in it their food. They did not trust the food which was literally not “pure”. Contrary to the other missionaries, the disciples of Jesus received diverse recommendations which help us to understand the fundamental points of the mission, to announce the Good News:

a) They should take nothing (Lk 9, 3; 10, 4). That means that Jesus obliges them to trust in the hospitality; because one who goes with nothing, goes because he trusts in the people and thinks that he will be welcomed, received. With this attitude they criticize the laws of exclusion taught by the official religion and they show, by means of a new practice, that they had other criteria in the community.

b) They should remain in the first house where they enter, until they leave the place (Lk 9, 4; 10, 7). That is, they should live together in a stable way and not go from one house to another. They should work with all and live from what they receive in exchange “because the labourer deserves his wages” (Lk 10, 7). In other words, they should participate in the life and work of the people, and the people will receive them in their community and will share with them house and food. That means that they have to trust in sharing. This explains the severity of the criticism against those who reject the message: shake off the dust from the feet, as a protest against them (Lk 10, 10-12), because they are not rejecting anything new but rather their past.

c) They should cure the sick and drive out the devils (Lk 9, 1; 10, 9; Mt 10, 8). That is, they should carry out the function of “defenders” (goêl) and accept in the clan, in the community, the excluded. With this attitude they criticize the situation of disintegration of community life of the clan and they indicate concrete openings. The expulsion of the devils is a sign of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Lk 11,20).

d) They should eat what the people give them (Lk 10, 8). They could not live separated having their own food, but they should accept the communion with others, eat with others. That means that in the contact with the people, they should not be afraid of losing the purity as it had been taught to them. With this attitude they criticize the laws of purity which were in force and indicate, by means of the new practice, that they possess another access to purity, that is, intimacy with God.

These were the four fundamental points of community living which should characterize the attitude of the missionaries who announce the Good News in the name of Jesus: hospitality, sharing, communion and acceptance of the excluded (defender, goêl). If there is a response to these four requirements, then it is possible to cry out all over to the four corners of the world: “The Kingdom has arrived!” (cf. Lk 10,1-12; 9, 1-6; Mk 6, 7-13; Mt 10, 6-16). And the Kingdom of God which Jesus has revealed to us is not a doctrine, nor a catechism, nor a law. The Kingdom of God comes and becomes present when persons, motivated by their faith in Jesus, decide to live together in community to give witness and to reveal, in this way, to all, that God is Father and Mother and that we, the human beings, are brothers and sisters. Jesus wanted the local community to be a new expression of the Covenant of the Kingdom, of the love of God the Father, who makes us all brothers and sisters.
Personal questions
• Has participation in the community helped you to accept and to trust persons, especially the simpler and poorer?
• Which is the point of the mission of the Apostles which for us today has greater importance? Why?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saints Cosmas & Damian

Feast Day: September 26
Patron Saint:  physicians, surgeons, pharmacists and veterinarians

Saints Cosmas and Damian (Greek: Κοσμάς και Δαμιανός) (also written Kosmas and Damianos) (died ca. 287) were twin brothers, physicians, and early Christian martyrs born in Cilicia, part of today's Turkey. They practiced their profession in the seaport of Ayas, Adana, then in the Roman province of Syria. Accepting no payment for their services led to them being named "Ανάργυροι" (Unmercenary); it has been said that, by this, they attracted many to the Christian faith.

During the persecution under Diocletian, Cosmas and Damian were arrested by order of the Prefect of Cilicia, one Lysias who is otherwise unknown, who ordered them under torture to recant. However, according to legend they stayed true to their faith, enduring being hung on a cross, stoned and shot by arrows and finally suffered execution by beheading. Anthimus, Leontius and Euprepius, their younger brothers, who were inseparable from them throughout life, shared in their martyrdom.

Their most famous miraculous exploit was the grafting of a leg from a recently deceased Ethiopian to replace a patient's ulcered leg, and was the subject of many paintings and illuminations.


As early as the 4th century, churches dedicated to the twin saints were established at Jerusalem, in Egypt and in Mesopotamia. Theodoret records the division of their relics. Their relics, deemed miraculous, were buried in the city of Cyrrus in Syria. Churches were built in their honor by Archbishop Proclus and by Emperor Justinian I (527–565), who sumptuously restored the city of Cyrus and dedicated it to the twins, but brought their relics to Constantinople; there, following his cure, ascribed to the intercession of Cosmas and Damian, Justinian, in gratitude also built and adorned their church at Constantinople, and it became a celebrated place of pilgrimage. At Rome Pope Felix IV (526–530) rededicated the Library of Peace (Bibliotheca Pacis) as a basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano in the Forum of Vespasian in their honour. The church is much rebuilt but still famed for its sixth-century mosaics illustrating the saints.

What are said to be their skulls are venerated in the convent of the Clares in Madrid, where they have been since 1581, the gift of Maria, daughter of Emperor Charles V. They had previously been removed from Rome to Bremen in the tenth century, and thence to Bamberg (Matthews). Other skulls said to be theirs have been discovered at Easter 1334 by Burchard Grelle, Archbishop of Bremen. He "personally 'miraculously' retrieved the relics of the holy physicians Cosmas and Damian, which were allegedly immured and forgotten in the quire of the Bremen Cathedral. In celebration of the retrieval Archbishop and Chapter arranged a feast at Pentecost 1335, when the relics were translated from the wall to a more dignified place." (For the original quotation see the note) Grelle claimed the relics were those Archbishop Adaldag brought from Rome in 965. In about 1400 the cathedral master-builder Johann Hemeling commissioned a shrine for the relics, which has been accomplished until after 1420. The shrine from carved oak wood covered with gilt rolled silver is considered an important mediaeval gold work. In 1649 Bremen's Chapter, meanwhile Lutheran, sold the shrine without the heads to Maximilian I of Bavaria. The Heads remains in Bremen, why in Munich they have had two heads from Bamberg and Emnporer Heinrich. The two heads remained in Bremen and came in the possession of the small catholic community. They have been shown last time from 1934 to 1968 in the Church of St. Johann and buried 1994 under the bottom of the crypt. (Wilhelm Tacke: St. Johann in Bremen - erine 600jährige Geschichte - von den Bettelbrüdern bis zu den Pröpsten, Bremen 2006, S. 172ff.) It is now shown in the Jesuit church of St Michael in Munich. At least since 1413 another pair of skulls is stored in St Stephens's Cathedral in Vienna. Other relics are claimed by the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice.

The martyr twins are invoked in the Canon of the Mass in the prayer known as the Communicantes (from the first Latin word of the prayer): "In communion with the whole Church, they venerate above all others the memory of the glorious ever-virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, then of blessed Joseph, husband of the Virgin, your blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Laurence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian and all your Saints: grant through their merits and prayers that in all things we may be defended by the help of your protection." They are also invoked in the Litany of the Saints, and in the older form of the Roman rite, in the Collect for Thursday in the Third Week of Lent, as the station church for this day is Santi Cosma e Damiano.

Their feast day in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, which had been on September 27, was moved in 1969 to September 26, because September 27 is the dies natalis ("day of birth" into Heaven) of Saint Vincent de Paul, now more widely venerated in the Latin Church, but some traditionalist Catholics continue to observe the pre-1970 calendar.

Sts Cosmas and Damian are regarded as the patrons of physicians and surgeons and are sometimes represented with medical emblems.


  • Catholic Encyclopedia: "Sts. Cosmas and Damian"


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's Snippet I:  Basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano

The basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano is a church in Rome, Italy, located in the Roman Forum. It is one of the ancient churches called tituli, of which cardinals are patrons as deacons: the Cardinal Deacon of the Titulus Ss. Cosmae et Damiani is Giovanni Cheli. The basilica, devoted to the two Greek brothers, doctors, martyrs and saints Cosmas and Damian, is located in the Forum of Vespasian, also known as the Forum of Peace.

The Temple of Romulus was dedicated by Emperor Maxentius to his son Valerius Romulus, who died in 309 and was rendered divine honours. It is possible that the temple was in origin the temple of "Iovis Stator" or the one dedicated to Penates, and that Maxentius restored it before the re-dedication.

The ancient Roman fabric was Christianized and dedicated to Sancti Cosma et Damiano in 527, when Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, and his daughter Amalasuntha donated the library of the Forum of Peace (Bibliotheca Pacis) and a portion of the Temple of Romulus to Pope Felix IV. The pope united the two buildings to create a basilica devoted to two Greek brothers and saints, Cosmas and Damian, in contrast with the ancient pagan cult of the two brothers Castor and Pollux, who had been worshipped in the nearby Temple of Castor and Pollux. The apse was decorated with a Roman-Byzantine mosaic, representing a parousia, the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time. The bodies of Saints Mark and Marcellian were translated, perhaps in the ninth century, to this church, where they were rediscovered in 1583 during the reign of Pope Gregory XIII.

In 1632, Pope Urban VIII ordered the restoration of the basilica. The works, projected by Orazio Torriani and directed by Luigi Arrigucci, raised the floor level seven metres, bringing it equal with the Campo Vaccino, thus avoiding the infiltration of water. Also, a cloister was added. The old floor of the basilica is still visible in the lower church, which is actually the lower part of the first church.

In 1947, the restorations of the Imperial Forums gave a new structure to the church. The old entrance, through the Temple of Romulus, was closed, and the temple restored to its original forms; with the Pantheon, the Temple of Romulus is the best preserved pagan temple in Rome. A new entrance was opened on the opposite side (on via dei Fori Imperiali), whose arch gives access to the cloister, and through this to the side of the basilica.

Structure and art

The mosaics, with the parousia of Christ, among saints.
Next to the new entrance to the complex, there are the rooms with the original marble paving of the Forum of Peace, and the wall where the 150 marble slabs of the Forma Urbis Romae were hung. Through the cloister, the entrance to the church opens on the side of the single nave. The plan of the basilica followed the norms of the Counter-Reformation: a single nave, with three chapels per side, and the big apse, which now looks quite oversized because of the reduction in height of the 17th century restoration, framed by the triumphal arch, also mutilated by that restoration.

The mosaics are masterpieces of 6th-7th century art. In the middle is Christ, with Saint Peter presenting Saint Cosmas and Saint Theodorus (right), and Saint Paul presenting Saint Damian and Pope Felix IV; the latter holds a model of the church.

The Basilica and the history of medicine

The importance of this Basilica for the history of medicine is not only related to the fact that the two brothers were physicians and became soon patrons of physicians, surgeons, pharmacists and veterinarians, but also to the tradition according to which Claudius Galen himself lectured in the Library of the Temple of Peace (“Bibliotheca Pacis”). Furthermore, for centuries, in this “medical area” roman physicians had their meetings.


  • Tucci, Pier Luigi, ‘Nuove acquisizioni sulla basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano’, Studi Romani 49 (2001) 275-293
  • Tucci, Pier Luigi, ‘The Revival of Antiquity in Medieval Rome: the Restoration of the Basilica of SS. Cosma e Damiano in the Twelfth Century’, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 49 (2004) 99-126


Today's Snippet II : Ninth Crusade1271-1272

The Ninth Crusade, which is sometimes grouped with the Eighth Crusade, is commonly considered to be the last major medieval Crusade to the Holy Land. It took place in 1271–1272.

Louis IX of France's failure to capture Tunis in the Eighth Crusade led Prince Edward of England to sail to Acre in what is known as the Ninth Crusade. The Ninth Crusade saw several impressive victories for Edward over Baibars. Ultimately the Crusade did not so much fail as withdraw, since Edward had pressing concerns at home and felt unable to resolve the internal conflicts within the remnant Outremer territories. It is arguable that the Crusading spirit was nearly "extinct," by this period as well. It also foreshadowed the imminent collapse of the last remaining crusader strongholds along the Mediterranean coast.


Following the Mamluk victory over the Mongols in 1260 at the Battle of Ain Jalut by Qutuz and his general Baibars, Qutuz was assassinated, leaving Baibars to claim the sultanate for himself. As Sultan, Baibars proceeded to attack the Christian crusaders at Arsuf, Athlith, Haifa, Safad, Jaffa, Ascalon, and Caesarea. As the Crusader fortress cities fell one by one, the Christians sought help from Europe, but assistance was slow in coming.

In 1268 Baibars captured Antioch, thereby destroying the last remnant of the Principality of Antioch, securing the Mamluk northern front and threatening the small Crusader County of Tripoli.

Louis IX of France, having already organized a large crusader army with the intent of attacking Egypt, was diverted instead to Tunis, where Louis himself died in 1270. Prince Edward of England arrived in Tunis too late to contribute to the remainder of the crusade in Tunis. Instead, he continued on his way to the Holy Land to assist Bohemund VI, Prince of Antioch and Count of Tripoli, against the Mamluk threat to Tripoli and the remnant of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Crusader operations in the Holy Land

It was decided that Edward along with Louis' brother Charles of Anjou would take their forces onward to Acre, capital of the remnant of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the final objective of Baibars' campaign. The army of Edward and Charles arrived in 1271, just as Baibars was besieging Tripoli, which as the last remaining territory of the County of Tripoli was full of tens of thousands of Christian refugees. From their bases in Cyprus and Acre, Edward and Charles managed to attack Baibars' interior lines and break the siege.

As soon as Edward arrived in Acre, he made some attempts to form a Franco-Mongol alliance, sending an embassy to the Mongol ruler of Persia Abagha, an enemy of the Muslims. The embassy was led by Reginald Rossel, Godefroi of Waus and John of Parker, and its mission was to obtain military support from the Mongols.[3] In an answer dated September 4, 1271, Abagha agreed for cooperation and asked at what date the concerted attack on the Mamluks should take place.

The arrival of the additional forces from England and Hugh III of Cyprus, under the command of Edward's younger brother Edmund emboldened Edward, who engaged in a raid on the town of Qaqun. At the end of October 1271, a small force of Mongols arrived in Syria and ravaged the land from Aleppo southward. However Abagha, occupied by other conflicts in Turkestan could only send 10,000 Mongol horsemen under general Samagar from the occupation army in Seljuk Anatolia, plus auxiliary Seljukid troops. Despite the relatively small force though, their arrival still triggered an exodus of Muslim populations (who remembered the previous campaigns of Kithuqa) as far south as Cairo.[4]

But the Mongols did not stay, and when the Mamluk leader Baibars mounted a counter-offensive from Egypt on November 12, the Mongols had already retreated beyond the Euphrates.

In the interim, Baibars came to suspect there would be a combined land-sea attack on Egypt. Feeling his position sufficiently threatened, he endeavoured to head off such a maneuver by building a fleet. Having finished construction of the fleet, rather than attack the Crusader army directly, Baibars attempted to land on Cyprus in 1271, hoping to draw Hugh III of Cyprus (the nominal King of Jerusalem) and his fleet out of Acre, with the objective of conquering the island and leaving Edward and the crusader army isolated in the Holy Land. However, in the ensuing naval campaign the fleet was destroyed and Baibars' armies were forced back.

Following this victory, Edward realized that to create a force capable of retaking Jerusalem it would be necessary to end the internal unrest within the Christian state, and so he mediated between Hugh and his unenthusiastic knights from the Ibelin family of Cyprus. In parallel to the mediation, Prince Edward and King Hugh began negotiating a truce with Sultan Baibars; a 10 year, 10 month and 10 day agreement was reached in May 1272, at Caesarea. Almost immediately Prince Edmund departed for England, while Edward remained to see if the treaty would hold. The following month, Baibars attempted to assassinate Edward. Edward killed the assassin but received a festering wound from a poisoned dagger in the process, further delaying Edward's own departure. In September 1272, Edward departed Acre for Sicily and, while recuperating on the island, he first received news of the death of his son John, and then a few months later news of the death of his father. In 1273 Edward started his homeward journey via Italy, Gascony and Paris. Edward finally reached England in the summer of 1274, and was crowned King of England on August 19, 1274.


Romantic portrayal of the "Last Crusader". Increasing Muslim victories and Christian defeats led to the end of the Crusades.
Edward had been accompanied by Theobald Visconti, who became Pope Gregory X in 1271. Gregory called for a new crusade at the Council of Lyons in 1274, but nothing came of this. Meanwhile, new fissures arose within the Christian states when Charles of Anjou took advantage of a dispute between Hugh III, the Knights Templar, and the Venetians in order to bring the remaining Christian state under his control. Having bought Mary of Antioch's claims to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, he attacked Hugh III, causing a civil war within the rump kingdom. In 1277, Roger of San Severino captured Acre for Charles.

Although the internecine war within the crusaders' ranks was debilitating, it provided the opportunity for a single commander to take control of the crusade in the person of Charles. However, this hope was dashed when Venice suggested a crusade be called not against the Mamluks but against Constantinople, where Michael VIII had recently re-established the Byzantine Empire and driven out the Venetians. Pope Gregory would not have supported such an attack, but in 1281 Pope Martin IV assented to it; the ensuing fiasco helped lead to the Sicilian Vespers on March 31, 1282, instigated by Michael VIII, and Charles was forced to return home. This was the last expedition launched against the Byzantines in Europe or the Muslims in the Holy Land.

The remaining nine years saw an increase in demands from the Mamluks, including tribute, as well as increased persecution of pilgrims, all in contravention of the truce. In 1289, Sultan Qalawun gathered a large army and invested the remnants of the county of Tripoli, ultimately laying siege to the capital and taking it after a bloody assault. The attack on Tripoli however was particularly devastating to the Mamluks as the Christian resistance reached fanatical proportions and Qalawun lost his eldest and most able son in the campaign. He waited another two years to regather his strength.

In 1291, a group of pilgrims from Acre came under attack and in retaliation killed nineteen Muslim merchants in a Syrian caravan. Qalawun demanded they pay an extraordinary amount in compensation. When no reply came, the Sultan used it as a pretext to besiege Acre and finish off the last independent Crusader state occupying the Holy Land. Qalawun died during the siege, leaving Khalil, the sole surviving member of his family, as Mamluk Sultan. With Acre seized, the Crusader States ceased to exist. The center of power of the Crusaders was moved northwards to Tortosa and eventually offshore to Cyprus. In 1299, a Mongol army led by Ghazan Khan led a series of successful raids against the Mamluks in an area northeast of Homs to as far south as Gaza. He finally withdrew from Syria in 1300. The Mongols and their Cilician Armenian allies led another campaign to recapture Syria, but were soon defeated by the Mamluks at the Battle of Shaqhab in 1303. The last remaining foothold on the Holy Land, Ruad Island, was lost in 1302/1303. The period of the Crusades to the Holy Land was over, 208 years after Pope Urban II called for the first of these holy wars.


  1. ^ The Gospel in All Lands, Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society, Methodist Episcopal Church, p. 262
  2. ^ A Manual of Church History, Albert Henry Newman, p. 461
  3. ^ Histoire des Croisades III, René Grousset, p. 653. Grousset quotes a contemporary source ("Eracles", p. 461) explaining that Edward contacted the Mongols "por querre secors" ("To ask for help").
  4. ^ Histoire des Croisades III, René Grousset, p. 653.


  • "Histoire des Croisades III", René Grousset