Monday, May 16, 2005

two more saints

While on a short break from rereading the less memorable portions of Green Book, I thumbed through a book of primary source documents collection in which women describe their experiences on the 19th century wagon trains. One woman remembered that when her grandmother saw an old man, with little of a house and wearing even less, the grandmother exclaimed, "It's the resurrection of St. Onuphrius!"

All right, Joe, Hugh and John, admit it. St. Onuphrius isn't exactly on your "Sainthood Top Ten" eh? All right, maybe he is and you're all far better read than I, but I loved the name, so looked him up.

St. Onuphrius was a fifth century hermit who lived in the deserts of Egypt for sixty years, clad only in his overgrown beard and long hair. For this reason, he is the patron saint of weavers. His feast day is June 12.

Meanwhile, one of today's saints is John of Nepomuk. He's partron of many things, most of them related to bridges, but is also "invoked against detraction." Huh? sez I, and off to the dictionary. "Detraction" is "the act of desparaging or detracting from the reputation or worth of a person."

Great word.

Words Written: the sermon is proving a great time to jot down ideas...
Lessons Graded: fifteen


John B. said...


I am going to desist from participating in this saintly conversation, ergo this one thought...

St. Onuphrius was famously "clad only in his own hair", because it was considered holy to have a beard that would be long enough to cover the genitals, thus doing away with the need for clothing, a source of vanity for him, being a hermit. As Casey Stengel said, "you can look it up".

He is a big icon / saint in the Ukranian Churches (close relatives of my Polish Catholic ancestors) and Middle Eastern churches...

Anyhow, I assume that a beard of hair long enough to cover one's genitals would definitely invoke a detraction in today's society, at least on the bar scene anyhow.

torporific said...

The patron saint of Weavers. I never heard of that one. I guess he is doubly invoked if one seeks to stop someone for making disparaging remarks about the weaving industry.

Hugh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hugh said...

Aha! so that's where the composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel got his name. I was always confused about that, because Nepomuk sounds like the name of the Vancouver Canucks newest recruit.

PS -- Damn Fruit of the Loom! [thunder clap]

Joe said...

Well, St. Onuphrius, rather famously, is the... oh, you already looked it up. Saves me the work of inventing something. And i never would've gone that weird anyway.

I guessed what "detraction" meant, but I wonder how you invoke a saint against it. At my last job, you could get your network account revoked for "calumny"; that one sent me to the dictionary. (Getting your network account closed was referred to as a "Nepomukking".) :-)

Now what I really want to know is whether there's an Onophrius of Nepomuk out there somewhere.