Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów domain

We celebrate Saint Stanislaus today (+ April 11, 1079), bishop and martyr, who accepted the episcopacy only at the direct order of Pope Alexander II. He proved a wise and courageous leader of his flock, put to death by his own king, Boleslaus, for rebuking the monarch’s ‘immoral life’, the culmination of a series of disputes between the bishop and the king. At a previous trial over a piece of land which had been willed to the church by a certain Piotr, who had died, Bishop Stanislaus, so the legend goes, raised the man who had been in his grave for three days – shades of Lazarus – to testify to his own will.

The details are rather obscure and disputed, but with further disputes, things reached such a pitch that the Bishop excommunicated the King, which weakened him politically, and so the King accused Stanislaus of treason, sending soldiers to kill him.  When the would-be assassins balked, their conscience blanching at the thought of murdering an unarmed, saintly cleric, the King himself took his sword and cut down the saint in the middle of Mass, in a church now dedicated to the Bishop, outside the then-walls of Krakow. He is one of the patron saints of Poland.

The medicinal remedies of excommunication and anathemas need to be ‘raised from the dead’ in our own day, having lain dormant for too many decades. We should pray for a bit more such parrhesia in our bishops, indeed for all the faithful, ourselves included, that ‘boldness’ to which Saint Paul urges us, not caring much what the world thinks, but about saving souls, preaching the Gospel and its truths, in season and out, with courage, clarity and simplicity.

Saint Stanislaus, ora pro nobis! +