Friday November 22, 2019

After 1800 years, Two Christian Martyrs’ remains from ancient Rome come to Louisville

St. Magnus and St. Bonosa lay in separate side altars at a Catholic Church in Louisville

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St. Magnus and Bonosa. Image source: Wikimedia Commons .
  • Two Saints’ remains are placed at side altars of a Catholic Church
  • The Catholic Church was once the scene of a vicious mob attack
  • Restoration of the Church was done in 2012

In a city where its residence are more concerned with basketball, and horse racing you can find the holy skeletons of two saints. In one church you can find the ancient remains of St. Magnus and St. Bonosa.

St. Martin of Tours is a Catholic parish; one of the oldest parishes that belongs to the oldest inland archdiocese in the United States. Dating back to 1853, the church sprang up in the town of Phoenix Hall. Phoenix Hall was predominantly an immigrant neighborhood, and now it is mostly African American, said the atlasobscura report.

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In its beginnings that church served as a place of worship for mainly German immigrants. The cathedral was usually over packed, so they began attending mass at St. Martin of Tours. Unfortunately, the Catholics were not left alone to worship in peace.

In 1855, on Election Day, armed mobs attacked the church. The attackers were anti-immigrant, “Know-Nothings.” These folks were recognized as a political group who believed in conspiracy theories that Catholics were going to take over the United States. The “Know-Nothings” believed that there were weapons being stored inside of the church, so they decided to burn it down. Roughly 20 lives were lost during the riots. Outside of the church it is believed that whole Catholic families were burnt to death inside of their homes.

St. Martin of Tours Church. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
St. Martin of Tours Church. Wikimedia Commons.

 According to the atlasobscura report, the riot became known as “Bloody Monday.” It caused thousands of Catholics to pack up and leave the city; potentially the reason Louisville’s efforts to become a well known city were thwarted.

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On New Year’s Eve in 1901 two packages showed up at Louisville’s U.S. Customs Office. Although fifty years later the two packages had people wondering about the persecution of Catholics. Sent from Italy, inside the boxes were the remains of Saint Magnus and Bonosa. These two Roman martyrs were killed when Christianity was illegal in the Roman Empire.

Bonosa was a Roman virgin who was executed for her Catholic beliefs. It is uncertain whether she was executed during the 3rd century C.E. under Septimius Severus, or in the 4th century under Diocletian. Magnus, on the other hand, was a Roman centurion. Apparently, Magnus was so moved by Bonosa’s faith that he converted to Christianity, leading him to his own death. In another rendition of the story, Magnus jumped into the ring to save Bonosa and was killed on the spot. Even the Catholic Church struggles to identify Bonosa and Magnus, and the different stories do not help the matter, said the atlasobscura report.

How they ended up in Louisville is a more concrete story. In the 1800s Italy was going through turbulent times. Much of Italy was run by the papacy, and this caused an anti-clerical movement to spread across the country. This caused many monasteries to shut down, and people began fearing the remains of saints and other holy people as superstitious. The result was many of the remains being shipped to America.

In 1901, the bones were placed in side altars. Locals stitched regal garments for the remains, and crowns were placed on the skulls to represent the salvation of the two martyrs. The church underwent restoration in 2012, and so the remains were also spruced up. The old garments were now considered holy objects. As a form of respect, the rotting articles were burnt. A mass was said in Latin, and the bones were placed in new side altars on September 9, 2012.

-prepared by Abigail Andrea, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter @abby_kono

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Re-Assessing The Classical West: Two Emperors And A Sign

Modern Christian Europe, is largely not confounded by the presence of a rich classical history, existing simultaneously with Christianity

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Paganism
Paganism is no longer a fringe cult in Europe. It has returned full force, to challenge the notions of its Judeo-Christian usurpers.

 

Ms Tania Bhattacharya
Ms Tania Bhattacharya.

BY TANIA BHATTACHARYA

Following the process of Christianization, Europe underwent a period generally regarded as its dark age. It was a time, when the collective knowledge of its ancients, be it in the Mediterranean, or further north, among the Celtic Druids, who had ushered in Europe’s earliest classical civilization of Stonehenge; was retreating in the face of advancing religious indoctrination. Unlike its polytheistic predecessor though, which had encouraged the spirit of inquiry, the new faith placed utmost importance on dogma, and its propaganda, in the process snuffing out much of what Paganism had bestowed upon Europe; referring to its Arts, Sciences, and the Athletics.

Modern Christian Europe, is largely not confounded by the presence of a rich classical history, existing simultaneously with Christianity, an evangelizing religious path, that had looked askance at the very classicism that today, Europeans have embraced as their own. So, while British schoolchildren sing defiantly in praise of their national icon, the first century Queen Boudicca, a Pagan Celtic heroine who had valiantly fought off the Roman legions on the island; they feel no dichotomy in extending the same goodwill to King Wenceslas, a Christian Slavic monarch, who had been assassinated due to a collusion between his Pagan mother Drahomira, and younger brother Prince Boleslas, both of whom had refused to abandon the polytheism of their forefathers. 

When the sun of the western classical era was on its descent, with Judeo-Christianity gradually wearing it down, some fundamental changes were made to the collective psyche of the hitherto polytheistic Europeans. Those negative changes have held strong right up to the present times. Perfectly good and decent historical personages from the pagan past have been reviled, and been turned into despicable figures, simply by affecting a string of historical falsifications. In this article, I shall address three such incidents.

EMPEROR RAMSES II

Among a long list of pharaohs, a few of them women, that ruled over Upper and Lower Egypt, till the region was conquered by the Romans, the name of Ramses the Second, is a stand-alone exemplar. He was born and raised in the Egypt of the nineteenth dynasty of kings, in the era of the thirteenth century before the first. In recent times, the classical heritage of that country has come under attack from Islamic hardliners including Mohammad Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. It seems as if only the secular, and authoritarian dictators of Egypt, have the good intention of maintaining intact, and renovating, the ancient wealth of their ancestors. 

Mummy
The mummy of Emperor Ramses II, aged 90, in 1213 BCE. Cairo Museum.

Even though structurally apart, there are many parallels which can be drawn between the Kemetic pagan religion of Egypt; and India’s Vedic Hinduism. Simple folk are more likely to grasp this glaring truth, as opposed to scholars, who are too busy etching out the chasm between cultures, and as a result, eventually missing the forest, for the trees. 

Sergey Glazenap, a prominent Soviet astrophysicist, made a note about Indians during the First World War. He observed, that when the Indian soldiers – then fighting on the side of Britain – were returning back home after the cessation of hostilities, they had to pass through Egypt. Glazenap writes, that the simpletons, once they had chanced upon the reliefs of the Egyptian deities, had immediately fallen on their knees, praying to them, saying, that those gods were the same as the ones they were accustomed to worshipping in India.

The above is a historical incident and a reminder, of the common thread which runs through all Polytheism. Separated through time and space that these religions are, they are nevertheless of equal respect to fellow worshippers within the Pagan sphere of life. It therefore would make sense, if the ordinary Hindu took an interest in the history and ancient ethos of global paganism, but unfortunately that has never been the case. It appears, that the average Hindu, is too cozy, wrapped up in the nuances of their own faith, to explore those that belong to fellow pagan communities.

Ramses the Second was the only known Egyptian ruler, who could extend the borders of ancient Egypt, maintain peace and stability; and mend relations with his neighbouring Hittites. The latter are the progenitors of Vedic Hinduism. Asia Minor’s Hittites have been West Asia’s most significant homegrown monarchy, that practised an indigenous religion.

Ramses the Second’s name was destined to remain untainted, that is, until it became intertwined with that of a famous religious philosopher, who was supposedly a contemporary. The person being referred to, is the Messiah of the Jews, Moses. For millennia, Jews and Christians have claimed, that Moses and his followers were expelled from Egypt by Ramses the Second, after the former had endured many calumnies and injustices at the hands of the latter. Following the expulsion, it is supposed, that Moses and his people, then wandered the deserts forty days and forty nights. 

Modern archaeology has unearthed some revealing facts about the aforementioned folklore. To begin with, there were next to no Jews that were residing in the Egypt of Pharaoh Ramses. It is now known, that the myth of the Jewish exodus, was given its final contours around the fourth century BCE, after taking inspiration from facets of Judaic legends, that had been in place thirty three hundred years ago. The motive for the myth-making, seems to be political, an effort that was made with an eye to uniting the Jewish people into a monolithic force. Moreover, the forty days and nights of wandering in the Sinai desert, have been disproven completely. Presumably, the same desert was used by many communities as land routes, in the intervening period of time, so for Judeo-Christian religious pundits to claim, that the exodus is a historical fact, based on certain ancient bone fragments found in the desert, is not only fallacious, but displays a degree of mischievousness. 

Ralph Lewis MD, author of Finding Purpose In A Godless World, himself an author, and a contributor to Psychology Today, has painstakingly disproven the circumstances involved in the story of Exodus. He is one among a growing number of rationalists, who have come forward armed with historical titbits, that rubbishes all the claims made by Judeo-Christian theologists concerning Exodus.

The sufferer in the end, however, has been none other, than the pristine image of Pharaoh Ramses the Second, that has been soiled for millennia together. What an incredible tale of character assassination! The poor ruler’s reputation deserves a thorough cleansing! Over the past few centuries, many Egyptians as well as other Arabs, have been complaining about what the Judeo-Christian West, had done to their beloved emperor of bygone times.

EMPEROR JULIAN…THE GREAT

The most important figure in the history of the Holy Roman Empire, is not Charlemagne, as mistakenly imagined, but the first ever Roman emperor, who had not only converted to Christianity, but who had made it his official state religion, and punished Paganism, by making its public worship, illegal, throughout the length and breadth of Europe, as also within Rome’s colonies in West Asia and North Africa. This king had been Constantine. History, always perceived in the west, through Jesus rimmed glasses, has bestowed upon him the epithet of ‘The Great’, in a gesture of gratitude. 

Emperor Julian
A bronze statue of Constantine, at York Minster, England.

The decision was made in haste it seems, for not only was Constantine a demonic personality, who went out of his way to remove the last vestiges of Roman Polytheism from its natural homeland; he found no contrariety in retaining the pagan honorific of Pontifex Maximus, or the Chief Priest of Rome, complete with a coronation ceremony that was held annually, by placing a helmet fashioned after the sun god Sol Invictus, upon the head of the emperor. 

It seems to be the case, that political expediency was the chief worry of Constantine. As John Canning mentions in ‘100 Great Lives’, Constantine could not afford alienating the multitudes of Romans including his own elite, Praetorian Guards, who were still polytheistic to the hilt. Those same political persuasions had made him concoct a story about seeing a flaming cross in the sky, inscribed with the words ‘By THIS, Conqueror!’ which he had then interpreted as a command from the almighty, instructing him to embrace the new faith. No one would be inclined to believe such poppycock in our present day and age, but seventeen hundred years ago, such stuff was taken seriously. It is altogether a different matter, that Constantine ‘the great’ had embarked soon, on a campaign of liquidation; having his own wife and son, murdered; and excommunicating the Arian sect of nascent Christianity. He truly converted to Christianity only on his deathbed, allowing himself the liberty to kill, imprison, torture, and expel at will, during his ambiguous phase. His new religion had promised him a clear track to heaven, for which all he had to do, was to ask to be forgiven of his lifetime of sins, and undergo a final baptism. The whole scenario, is enough to churn the stomach of the modern legal system.

A few generations into the line of Constantine’s household, a male child was born, who was named Julian. Tutored in the purple to become a general and a king, and an emerging man of letters, Julian took the throne as emperor of Rome, in the middle of the fourth century AD. This particular ruler of Rome, was a complete antithesis of his earlier, blood ancestor, Constantine ‘the great’, and perhaps remains the most significant Caesar to have been instated, after Augustus, and Augustus’ grand-uncle Julius, in the first century. 

Julian
A 4th century marble statue of Emperor Julian, housed at the Musee de Cluny.

Julian was a figure of depth and consistency of character. He married only once, and remained loyal to his wife till the time that she died during childbirth. Contemporary historians, and multiple sources at that, testify that Julian had been a virgin, and a complete celibate till his wedding, and that following his status as a widower, never took interest in women in a romantic sense, even though he was of marriageable age. This tall figure of Roman history, made a mark upon its annals, by emerging as a writer, a philosopher, a general, and a ruler, all at once. Displaying a tenderness toward the Jewish population that had sought refuge during his tenure, he was immortalized by them as ‘Julian, the Hellene’. It can be considered the misfortune of Rome and its people, that Emperor Julian was assassinated while fighting against the Persians, one of the mortal enemies of ancient Rome, akin to Carthage, once upon a time. 

If one contrasts the two figures of Roman history, namely, Constantine and Julian, it is not difficult to determine just who trumps the other over every aspect of creativity, humanism, and progress. Yet, it is remarkable, that Julian has gone down in history, not simply as ‘Emperor Julian’, but as ‘Julian the Apostate’. His crime? Julian was an avowed polytheist. Despite having been reared as a Christian, he had renounced the religion in his early youth, and sought to return Rome, to its ancestral, native, system of beliefs. He might very well have achieved it, had he lived out his entire lifetime. This, and this alone, earned him the downright derogatory epithet of ‘Apostate’. 

Any person with an iota of judiciousness can see for themselves, just who among the two notable characters of a post-Christian Rome, deserved to be denigrated. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched for the champions of secularism to demand, that Constantine be stripped of his honorific, and Julian be adorned with one. It wouldn’t be too much to ask for, if Constantine ‘the great’ were to be reduced to a mere ‘Emperor Constantine’; and Julian ‘the apostate’, were to be elevated to ‘Julian, the Great’.

THE SWASTIKA

The symbol of the swastika, denotes the cycle of reincarnation. According to the theory of the transmigration of souls, a soul particle – a very small physical particle corresponding to the ‘quark’ of Physics – must pass through the animate world by incarnating into every type of life form from the simplest (plankton, for example) to the most complex (humans), in order to understand and empathize with all living conditions experienced by each singular organism. Once the knowledge and empathy is complete, the soul particle can escape mortality and rise to the plane of immortals. Reincarnation was an idea implicit in all the ancient belief systems of the world which looked upon it as a given truth. 

The latent symbolism of the Swastika holds, that a person may wander off from the centre – which symbolizes the origin of all truth – in any of the four directions. However, the good news is, that he or she, will never fall off the arms of the swastika. He or she will ultimately always find one’s way back, to the centre. The wanderings of an individual constitute the duration of his or her, innumerable lifetimes on earth. The centre of the swastika, is an allegory for salvation from the mortal world.

Swastika
A 6th century BCE Greek vase, adorned with swastikas.
Swastika
An Iranian necklace, three thousand years old, with swastikas hanging from it.


This beautiful symbol ought to be rescued from the negative imagery that has been forced upon it, by the Anglo-American-Zionists on the one hand and the Communists-Islamists on the other, who continue to connect it with Nazism and Fascism.

Swastika
A Navajo, Native American rug, with swastika designs on it.