NOVEMBER Calendar of Deacon Saints
(based on Ormonde Plater’s Calendar of Deacon Saints)
Caesarius the African, deacon and martyr, with presbyter Julian, drowned at Terracina (a port on the Appian Way between Rome and Naples) in second century.
Caesarius, a deacon from Africa visiting Italy, denounced the pagan custom of having one youth per year immolate himself to the demons by jumping off a cliff in honor of the god Apollo. The priest of Apollo had him arrested and taken before the governor. He was sentenced to be sewn into a sack and thrown into the sea. He was martyred together with Julian, a local presbyter.
In the 4th century Valentinian (emperor 364-375) was cured at the shrine of Caesarius at Terracina. The emperor then decided to move the relics of Caesarius to Rome. They were taken to a church on the Palatine Hill, and they were later moved to a new church near the Appian Way which got the name San Cesareo in Palatio.
Hilary, deacon and martyr, with presbyter Valentine, beheaded at Viterbo near Rome during the persecutions under Diocletian (emperor 284-305) in 304.
Aethalas, deacon and martyr in Persia, with bishop Akepsimus of Naesson and presbyter Joseph, killed in 379.
The three Christians lived in Persia at the time of Shapur II (lived and reigned 309-379). They were leaders of the Christian church in the city of Naesson, where Akepsimus was known for his ascetic life and tireless pastoral work. Shapur ordered his men to seek out and kill Christian clergy. Akepsimas was arrested, even though he was already eighty years old. He was taken to the city of Arbela (now Erbil in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq), where he came before the judge Ardarkh, a pagan priest of the sun god. The bishop refused to offer sacrifice to the Persian gods. For this he was fiercely beaten and thrown into prison. On the following day the seventy- year-old presbyter Joseph and the deacon Aethalas were severely beaten and thrown into jail with him. For three years they were held in confinement and suffered from hunger and thirst.
Shapur came to the temple of the god of fire, located not far from Arbela, and wanted to take a look at the three Christians. Exhausted and covered with festering wounds, they were brought before the emperor. When he asked them to worship the pagan gods, they refused, confessing their faith in Christ instead. The bishop was beheaded, but the presbyter and deacon were taken into the city to be stoned. The execution of the presbyter Joseph was prolonged for several hours. A guard was placed near the place of execution, so that Christians would not take the body of the martyr. On the fourth night a strong windstorm raged near the city, lightning killed the guard, the wind tossed stones about, and the body of Joseph disappeared. Deacon Aethalas was taken to the village of Patrias, where he was stoned. Christians secretly buried his body. According to an old legend, a tree grew on the martyr’s grave, and its fruit caused healings.
Orthodox churches commemorate the three martyrs on November 3, but Aethalas is sometimes also remembered on September 1.
Jane Hall, deaconess of the diocese of New York, died 4 November 1934.
Born in Philadelphia in 1850, Jane Harriss Hall attended the Deaconess School there. She arrived in New York at the age of 45 and remained in the metropolitan area until her death. In New York she served as deaconess at St. Mark’s Church and the Church of the Transfiguration, commonly known as “The Little Church Around the Corner,” where she developed her love of theater, which molded her life’s ministry.
In New York she made her greatest contribution to the women working in the theatrical fields when she established the Three Arts Club, a place for struggling actresses to live while seeking work in the theater. Additionally she started the Professional Children’s School for child actors, which is still in existence, established the Roosevelt Memorial House, and was a founding member of the Episcopal Actors Guild. In her later years she lived in Montclair, New Jersey. Two funeral services were held for Hall, one at St. Luke’s in Montclair, the other at Transfiguration in Manhattan. She was buried in North Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. [research of Deacon Geri Swanson]
Anianus, deacon and martyr, with bishop Demetrius, Eustosius, and twenty companions, killed at Antioch in Syria, date unknown.
Vénérand of Évreux, deacon and martyr, with bishop Maximus, killed at Acquigny in Normandy about 384. [the deacon only is also observed on May 25]
Their legend states that they were brothers, natives of Brescia (in Lombardy in modern Italy). Maximus and Vénérand (originally Venerandus and also called Victorinus) attempted to make converts to Christianity among the ranks of the barbarian armies but failed. The brothers were sent by Pope Damasus I to preach in Gaul instead, to continue the work of Taurinus (Taurin) in the region. Taurinus, venerated as a saint, is considered the first bishop of Évreux.
They traveled to Gaul with two presbyters, Mark and Etherius, passing through Auxerre, Sens, and Paris until they reached Évreux, where Maximus was made bishop. At Acquigny they were captured and beheaded by either pagans or Arians. Mark and Etherius escaped and returned to bury the two brothers. Etherius later became bishop of Évreux.
Their relics were discovered around 960 by a man named Amalbert. He attempted to carry the remains off, leaving behind only the heads of Maximus and Vénérand. As he was crossing the Seine near Fontenelle Abbey, he fell sick. He left the relics at the abbey, where Richard I of Normandy built a chapel to house them. The relics were later burnt by the Huguenots. The saints’ heads, however, remained at Acquigny. A Benedictine church was built over their tomb, but it fell into decay. The relics were moved to the parish church and deposited under the high altar. The saints were invoked against drought in 1559, 1615, and 1726, when they were carried after the head of Saint Swithun.
(Évreux and Acquigny are the modern names of towns in Haute-Normandie. In the fourth century the Roman name of Évreux was Mediolanum Aulercorum, “the central town of the Aulerci,” the local Gallic tribe. Later the town was called Eburovices, after another Gallic tribe, from which Évreux derives. The Roman name of Acquigny was Aciniacius.)
Abidus, deacon and martyr of Edessa in Syria (modern Urfa in Turkey), killed by burning in 322.
Zachaeus, deacon and martyr, with Alpheus, beheaded at Caesarea in Palestine in 303.
In the first year of Diocletian’s persecution (emperor 284-305), Zachaeus and Alpheus received capital punishment after having undergone many tortures.
Eugene, deacon at Florence under Zenobius, and a disciple of Ambrose of Milan, died in 422.
Romanos of Caesarea, deacon and martyr, killed at Antioch in Syria in 303 or 304.
At the beginning of the Diocletian persecution (emperor 284-305), deacon Romanos of Caesarea in Palestine suffered martyrdom at Antioch. On the proclamation of Diocletian’s edict, Romanos strengthened the Christians of Antioch and openly exhorted the weaker brothers and sisters, who were willing to offer heathen sacrifices, not to waver in the faith. He was taken prisoner, condemned to death by fire, and bound to the stake; however, as Galerius (emperor 305-311) was then in Antioch, Romanos was brought before him. At the emperor’s command his tongue was cut out. Tortured in various ways in prison, he was finally strangled.
Eusebius speaks of his martyrdom in De martyribus Palestin, c. ii. Prudentius (in Peristephanon, X in PL, LX, 444 sq.) relates other details and gives Romanos a companion in martyrdom, a Christian named Barulas. Several historians, among them Baronius, consider that there were two martyrs named Romanos at Antioch, although more likely there was only the one whom Eusebius mentions. Prudentius introduced legendary features into his account, and his connection of the martyrdom of Barulas with that of Romanos is probably arbitrary.
Faustus, deacon and martyr of Alexandria in Egypt, killed fourth century.
Faustus was the companion in exile of bishop Dionysius of Alexandria. He was killed in extreme old age.
Deacon Ingrit Vogt served as General Secretary, IECLB (Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil). For many years she served on the DOTAC Central Committee (DIAKONIA of the Americas and Caribbean). She also served on the DIAKONIA World Executive Committee. She was a highly competent person, and also a gentle soul who led with a quiet, thoughtful determination and with wisdom. She passed away in 2018 after living with cancer for some time.
Susan Trevor Knapp, deaconess and missionary to Japan, died in Los Angeles about 20 November 1941.
Deaconess Susan Knapp
Susan Trevor Knapp was born in 1862. She graduated from the New York Training School for Deaconesses in 1894 and was consecrated deaconess at Grace Church, New York, in 1899 by Bishop Henry Potter. In 1903 she was made dean of the school commonly called St. Faith’s. She was a leader in both the American and worldwide deaconess movement. Because of a power struggle with the board of directors, Knapp was removed as dean in 1916 and offered the position of house mother. She declined and spent the next twenty-two years as a missionary in Japan, teaching English and Bible studies to Japanese and Korean college students. She returned to the United States in 1939 when Japan began to expel foreign missioners. She died in Los Angeles about 20 November 1941, shortly before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. [research of Deacon Geri Swanson]
Jeffrey Ferguson, deacon, prison minister, and community networker in Maine, died 23 November 2004.
Sisinius, deacon and martyr, with presbyter Saturninus, sentenced to hard labor and later martyred at Rome in 309.
Saturninus was a presbyter from Carthage who went to Rome and was arrested with deacon Sisinius, during the persecutions of Maximian (co-emperor 286-305). They were sentenced to hard labor and either died during their ordeal or were tortured and then beheaded. Saturninus lived, was martyred, and was buried on the Via Saleria in Rome, although details are not reliable.