Cornelius | Stephanus
16 September | 2 August
? | ?
June 253 | 2 August 257
Civitavecchia, Roman Empire | Rome, Roman Empire
Pope Saint Cornelius
Some of his relics were taken to Germany during the Middle Ages; his head was claimed by Kornelimünster Abbey near Aachen. In the Rhineland, he was also a patron saint of lovers. A legend associated with Cornelius tells of a young artist who was commissioned to decorate the Corneliuskapelle in the Selikum quarter of Neuss. The daughter of a local townsman fell in love with the artist, but her father forbade the marriage, remarking that he would only consent if the pope did as well. Miraculously, the statue of Cornelius leaned forward from the altar and blessed the pair, and the two lovers were thus married.
Cornelius, along with Quirinus of Neuss, Hubertus and Anthony the Great, was venerated as one of the Four Holy Marshals in the Rhineland during the late Middle Ages.
A legend told at Carnac states that its stones were once pagan soldiers who had been turned into stone by Cornelius, who was fleeing from them.
The Catholic Church commemorated Cornelius by venerating him, with his Saint’s Day on the 16th of September, which he shares with his good friend St. Cyprian. His Saint’s Day was originally on the 14th of September, the date on which both St. Cyprian and St. Cornelius were martyred, as proposed by St. Jerome. St. Cornelius’s saintly name means “battle horn”, and he is represented in icons by a pope either holding some form of cow’s horn or with a cow nearby. He is the patron against earache, epilepsy, fever, twitching, and also of cattle, domestic animals, earache sufferers, epileptics, and the town of Kornelimünster, Germany where his head is located.
Pope Saint Stephen I
Pope Stephen I (Latin: Stephanus I; died 2 August 257) was the head of the Catholic Church from 12 May 254 to his death in 257. Of Roman birth but of Greek ancestry, he became bishop after serving as archdeacon of Pope Lucius I, who appointed Stephen his successor.
Following the Decian persecution of 250–251, there was disagreement about how to treat those who had lapsed from the faith, and Stephen was urged by Faustinus, Bishop of Lyon, to take action against Marcian, Bishop of Arles, who denied penance and communion to the lapsed who repented, the position called Novatianism, after Novatian, later declared a heretic, who held for the strictest approach.
Stephen held that converts who had been baptized by splinter groups did not need re-baptism, while Cyprian and certain bishops of the Roman province of Africa held rebaptism necessary for admission to the Eucharist. Stephen’s view eventually won broad acceptance.
He is also mentioned as having insisted on the restoration of the bishops of León and Astorga, who had been deposed for unfaithfulness during the persecution but afterwards had repented.
The Depositio episcoporum of 354 speaks of Pope Stephen I as not a martyr and he is not celebrated as such by the Catholic Church, in spite of the account in the Golden Legend that in 257 Emperor Valerian resumed the persecution of Christians, and Stephen was sitting on his pontifical throne celebrating Mass for his congregation when the emperor’s men came and beheaded him on 2 August 257. As late as the 18th century, what was said to be the chair was preserved, still stained with blood.
St Stephen I’s feast day in the Roman Catholic Church is celebrated on 2 August. In 1839, when the new feast of St Alphonsus Mary de Liguori was assigned to 2 August, Saint Stephen I was mentioned only as a commemoration within the Mass of Saint Alphonsus. The revision of the calendar in 1969 removed the mention of Saint Stephen I from the General Roman Calendar, but, according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the 2 August Mass may now everywhere be that of Saint Stephen I, unless in some locality an obligatory celebration is assigned to that day, and some continue to use pre-1969 calendars that mention a commemoration of Saint Stephen I on that day.
Pope Saint Stephen I is the patron of Hvar.