31 July 2007

One for Brighton!

Inspired by Rafael, I recount a short version of the story St Pelayo, Martyr. (911-925)

This nephew of Bishop Hermogio of Tuy, in Galicia, was brought up in a still-Christian part of Spain, and went to school to learn the Psaltery and how to serve at the Mozarabic Rite of Mass. But as happened with so many children in those times, he was captured during a Moorish raid and became a prisoner of the Emir, Abderramán III. His uncle was captured in 920 at the battle of Val de Junquera and was to be ransomed, but, as no gold appeared, Pelayo himself became the ransom. He became a slave of the Emir, building the wonderful buildings of Córdoba, and suffered as he saw the sufferings of his companions.

His good behaviour meant that his captors were tolerant towards him and he was allowed to study, and to learn from priests who were also held captive. His great prayer, in the terrible circumstances in which he was held, and in the terrible moral climate of the city in which he was held, was that he might maintain his purity. One day the Emir caught sight of him and insisted that he be bathed and perfumed and brought to him. Pelayo chose the best part.

"I am a Christian and always will be. Your riches are worth nothing. I will not renege on Christ who is my Lord, and yours, even if you don't wish Him to be so." And when the Emir tried to touch his clothes he said "Get away, dog! Do you think I'm like the young men who you always have by your side? Lord: free me from the hands of my enemies."

It was too much: he was fired by a catapult across the River Guadalquivir and being found not yet to have died, was decapitated by a palace guard.

His relics are venerated to this day, but not, I imagine, by those who think that sodomy is a Catholic option. We should venerate St Pelayo as much as we venerate St Maria Goretti.

2 comments:

John said...

St Pelayo, ora pro nobis!

JARay

White Stone Name Seeker said...

A saint for today if ever I saw one.