Saint Ildephonsus


Toledo at dawn – rights here

Today is the feast of Saint Ildephonsus, a seventh-century Visigothic Bishop of Toledo and influential theologian. For some reason, I have been reading about the Vandals, Sueves, Huns and Visigoths. Sueves are interesting – they ( a language/culture group rather than a distinct ‘people’) have left their name in Swabia, for one, and across Galicia, in what was once the Kingdom of Gallaecia. The Brits got there too, by the way.

The Huns, Ostrogoths, Langobardi, Alans and Gepids are all, obviously, fascinating for someone whose knowledge of any early Northern and Eastern European history is derived from a close reading of Asterix. What is interesting is how many of these wandering, fighting tribes, who settled into kingdoms, empires and sophisticated cultures, were Arians. Had the Goths not lost their wars with the Moors, Franks and Rome ( the Eastern Roman empire based in Byzantium) – and the theological and political developments leading to their conversion – would Europe now be mourning the loss of our Arian culture to modernist atheism?   Naturally, we could also be defending a Church unaltered by the Great Schism or the Reformation…counterfactuals being what they are – that is, great ( if sobering) fun.

Bartolome Esteban Murillo – The Chasuble of Saint Ildefonso 

Saint Ildephonsus, who had a great devotion to Our Lady, received a vision of Our Lady and a priestly chasuble, with which to celebrate the Mass. Saint Ildephonsus, pray for us.

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