Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus to be included in the General Roman Calendar

Pope Francis has established that the memory of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus be included in the General Roman Calendar.

David Fernández Alonso-February 2, 2021-Reading time: 4 minutes
santos marta maria lazaro

In addition to the brothers of Bethany, Pope Francis has also established, through the publication of the corresponding decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship, the optional memory of the three Doctors of the Church: St. John of Avila, St. Gregory of Narek and St. Gregory of Narek. St. Hildegard of Bingen to be held on May 10, February 27 and September 17, respectively..

July 29: Feast of Martha, Mary and Lazarus

On January 26, Cardinal Robert Sarah and Archbishop Arthur Roche, Prefect and Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, have signed a Decree of Variation in the General Roman Calendar concerning the July 29th celebration. A from this year it will be called Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus..

In the Decree signed by Cardinal Robert Sarah and Archbishop Arthur Roche, respectively Prefect and Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, it is recalled that ".in the house of Bethany, the Lord Jesus experienced the family spirit and friendship of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and that is why the Gospel of John affirms that he loved them.". And it adds:

"Martha generously offered him hospitality, Mary listened attentively to his words, and Lazarus came quickly out of the tomb at the command of Him who has humbled death."

Marta's inscription

It also highlights that "the traditional uncertainty of the Latin Church about the identity of Mary - the Magdalene, to whom Christ appeared after his resurrection, the sister of Martha, the sinner whose sins the Lord forgave - which led to the inscription of only Martha on July 29 in the Roman Calendar, has been resolved in recent studies and times, as testified by the current Roman Martyrology, which also commemorates Mary and Lazarus on the same day.".

Already celebrated in some calendars

It also explains that "In some particular calendars the three brothers are celebrated together on that day. Therefore, considering the important evangelical witness they gave by hosting the Lord Jesus in their home, by listening to him attentively, by believing that he is the resurrection and the life.":

"The Supreme Pontiff Francis, welcoming the proposal of this Dicastery, has decreed that July 29 be inscribed in the General Roman Calendar as the memorial of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus."

Therefore, the memory of Martha, Mary and Lazarus should appear under this name in all liturgical Calendars and Books for the celebration of Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.The variations and additions to be adopted in the liturgical texts attached to the present decree are to be translated and approved. After confirmation by this Dicastery, they will be published by the Episcopal Conferences.

The three doctors: St. John of Avila, St. Gregory of Narek and St. Hildegard of Bingen

In this way, "these new memorials should be inscribed in all Liturgical Calendars and Books for the celebration of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours." y "the liturgical texts to be adopted, attached to the present decree, are to be translated, approved and, after confirmation by this Dicastery, published by the Episcopal Conferences.".

In this regard, the text states:

"Holiness is combined with the knowledge, which is experience, of the mystery of Jesus Christ, indissolubly united to the mystery of the Church. This link between holiness and the understanding of things divine and at the same time human, shines forth in a very special way in those who have been adorned with the title of Doctor of the Church, says the decree that bears the date of January 25, 2021, feast of the Conversion of the Apostle St. Paul.".

The decree also explains the meaning of this title for the universal Church: "The wisdom that characterizes these men and women is not theirs alone, for in becoming disciples of divine Wisdom they have in turn become teachers of wisdom for the entire ecclesial community. From this point of view, the holy "doctors" appear in the General Roman Calendar.".

The monk of Andzevatsik

The monk Gregory of Narek probably lived around 950 in Andzevatsik, Armenia, now Turkish territory. 

He was an excellent theologian, poet and religious writer. commentary on the Song of SongsHe wrote numerous panegyrics and a collection of 95 prayers in poetic form called "Narek", after the name of the monastery where he spent his entire life. 

Important elements of Mariology are found in his theology, such as the prefiguration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conceptionproclaimed more than eight hundred years later. In 2015 Pope Francis declared him "Doctor of the Universal Church" with the Apostolic Letter "quibus sanctus Gregorius Narecensis Doctor Ecclesiae universalis renuntiatur".

St. John of Avila, model for priests

John of Avila lived in Spain in the 16th century in a well-to-do family of Jewish origin. He became a priest and, moved by an ardent missionary spirit, he wanted to go to the Indies but the archbishop of Seville kept him in his homeland to preach in Andalusia.

There he worked for nine years, converting people of all ages and social classes and leading them to progress in their faith journey.

He lived in poverty and prayer, continuing his studies in theology and preaching. He laid the foundations of what would become his spirituality, which took Mary as model and mother. He asked for apostolic and missionary zeal, starting with the contemplation and a stronger commitment to the universal call to holiness

Mercilessly accused of heresy by the Inquisition, he was later acquitted of the unjust accusations. He was a counselor and friend of great saints and one of the most prestigious and consulted spiritual masters of his time.. Among them, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of God. Canonized in 1970 by St. Paul VI, Benedict XVI proclaimed him "Doctor of the Church" on October 7, 2012.

St. Hildegard of Bingen

A woman endowed with an extraordinary intelligence, multifaceted and eclectic genius, St. Hildegard of Bingen was a Benedictine nun and abbess.writer, mystic, philosopher and theologian, composer of music, expert in natural sciences and medicine, advisor to princes, popes and emperors. 

She was born in Bermesheim, Germany, in 1098, the last of ten children. "She who is bold in battle"means his first name. In spite of her delicate health, she reached the age of 81 facing a life full of work. Her visions, transcribed in notes and later in organic books, made her famous. On the mountain of St. Rupert, near Bingen, on the banks of the Rhine, Hildegard founded the first monastery. In 1165, the second, on the opposite bank of the river.  In 2012 she was declared Doctor of the Church by Benedict XVI..

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