Thursday, April 30th, 2009
At yesterday’s Wednesday Audience, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the life and work of St. Germanus, an eighth-century Patriarch of Constantinople who was a key figure in the infamous Iconoclast Controversy.
GENERAL AUDIENCE ADDRESS
April 29, 2009
Dear brothers and sisters,
The patriarch Germanus of Constantinople, of whom I would like to speak today, does not belong to the most characteristic figures of the Eastern Christian world, and yet, his name appears with a certain solemnity in the list of the great defenders of sacred images, compiled in the Second Council of Nicaea, the 7th ecumenical council (787).
The Greek Church celebrates his feast in the liturgy of May 12. He had a significant role in the complex history of the fight for images, during the so-called iconoclast crisis: He knew how to effectively resist pressure from an iconoclast emperor, that is, an adversary of icons, such as was Leo III.
During Germanus’ time as patriarch (715-730), Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, suffered a very dangerous besiegement from the Saracens. On that occasion (717-718), a solemn procession was organized in the city with the showing of the image of the Mother of God, the Theotokos, and a relic of the holy cross, to invoke from on high the defense of the city. In fact, Constantinople was liberated from the besiegement. The adversaries decided to permanently let go of the idea of establishing their capital in the city that was the symbol of the Christian empire, and the appreciation for divine help was extremely great among the people.
Priest of the Most High God,
you were a good shepherd and pleasing to the Lord, alleluia.
Today ends the “Dominican Triduum” that every year closes the month of April. On Tuesday, we remembered St. Louis de Montfort, the missionary priest and Dominican tertiary who renewed devotion to Mary throughout France. Rumors still circulate that he will be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church. Yesterday, we celebrated St. Catherine of Siena, the Italian Dominican tertiary whose sweet love for Jesus, Mary, and Peter guided her every prayer and work. A peacemaker among peoples, Catherine brought peace also to the Church by guiding Pope Gregory XI back to Rome from Avignon. And today we honor St. Pius V, a mid 16th-century Dominican friar charged, after his election to the papacy, with implementing the reforms and directives of the Council of Trent. In the Chair of Peter for less than seven years, Pius fulfilled his mission with decisive action and ardent devotion.
Heading into the month of Mary, we are fortified by the witness of three great Dominican devotés of Our Lady.
From the Dominican Ordo:
Antonio Chisliere was born in 1504 at Bosco, in Peidmont, Italy. At the age of fourteen he entered the Dominican Order and took the name Michaele. He taught theology and held several positions of responsibility, first as prior of several communities, then as Commissary General of the Roman Inquisition. In 1556 he was named bishop of Nipi and Sutri and was created cardinal in 1557. In 1566 he was elected pope and took the name Pius. He implemented the decrees of the Council of Trent; published the revised Breviary (1568) and Missal (1570); reformed the Roman Curia; issued the Roman Catechism (1566); and defended Catholic doctrine against the Reformers. His love and devotion to the Virgin Mary was manifest when he entreated her through the rosary to spare the Christian forces in the Battle of Lepanto. Moved by this victory he instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory. He died May 1, 1572.
you called our brother Pius
to defend the faith
and to renew the worship of your Church.
With the help of his prayers
guide us toward that worship in truth
which is faithful to your Word.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.