Monday, September 10, 2012

St Nicholas of Tolentino (EF only); St Pulcheria (Sept 10)

"At Tolentino, in the March of Ancona, the departure from this life of St. Nicholas, confessor, of the Order of Augustinians."

Also today in the martyrology:

"At Constantinople, St. Pulcheria, empress and virgin, distinguished by her piety and zeal for religion."

St Pulcheria, whose coins are pictured above, lived between 398/399 and 453.  The daughter of Eastern Roman Emperor Arcadius and Empress Aelia Eudoxia, she was the second child. When her father Arcadius died in 408, her brother Theodosius II was made Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, at seven years old. The fifteen-year-old Pulcheria proceeded to proclaim herself regent over her brother in 414, when he was thirteen, and made herself Augusta and Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire.

She took a vow of virginity when she became Augusta.  When her brother died in an accident in 450, she entered into a marriage on the basis that her vow of virginity would be respected, as the Senate was not prepared to permit a woman as sole ruler. 

Pulcheria is known to have held a significant amount of power, and exercized a great deal of influence over the church and theological practices of this time including anti-pagan policies, church building projects, and the debate over the Marian title Theotokos (Mother of God).

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