The Beheading of St. John the Baptist

Beheading St. John BaptistBesides the chief feast of St. John the Baptist, that of his nativity, the Church commemorates on the twenty-ninth of August, his glorious death and birth into heaven. Ever since the Fourth Century in Africa, in the East, in Syria, and in many places all over the world, the beheading of St. John has been commemorated on August 29th. When in 362, pagans violated the tomb and burned his remains; some parts were saved by monks, and taken to St. Athanasius at Alexandria. The head is said to have been preserved at Jerusalem, and may later have been brought to Rome.

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St Augustine

St. Augustine was born at Tagaste, Africa, in 354. In his early life he abandoned the pious teaching of his mother and fell into grievous sin. Finally at Milan he was converted by the example and words of St. Ambrose and baptized in 387. His mother, St. Monica, died seven months later when, with her son, she was about to return to Africa. St. Augustine remembered her always in his prayers and offered the Holy Mass for her soul. He was made bishop of Hippo in 395, and established a common life for his clergy. The rule of St. Augustine is drawn from his 211th epistle which he wrote for nuns and which later was adapted for the men. He is one of the few saints who was appreciated even during his lifetime; his contemporaries recognized his sanctity and his learning. No council was held at that time in Africa of which the Bishop of the small city of Hippo was not the leading spirit. He died in 430. His body was saved by African bishops from the profanation of the Vandals. It was taken first to Sardinia, and then to Pavia, where it is still preserved in Ciel d’Oro.