Sainted Vassian, Bishop of Laudia

Commemorated on June 10

      Sainted Vassian, Bishop of Laudia, was a friend of Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Mediolanum-Milan (+ 397, Comm. 7 December). The father of Saint Vassian governed the Syracuse region (in Sicily) and he prepared his son to follow in his footsteps. He sent him to Rome to receive his education. While still in his childhood Saint Vassian had heard about the Christians and he wanted to know more about them and become familiar with the Christian faith. Presbyter Gordian taught him the essentials of the Christian faith, and the youth was filled with the desire to accept Baptism. At the time of the performing of the sacrament Saint Vassian beheld an Angel in the Baptismal font, holding the garb, in which the newly-baptised would be clothed. The saint made bold to ask, who he was and from where. The Angel replied, that he was sent from afar to help him fulfill his holy intent to know Christ, and then he became invisible.
      Saint Vassian began to lead a strict life, he partook little of food, and nights he spent at prayer. His servants were astonished at such temperance, and they surmised, that he had accepted Christianity. They reported about this to the father of Saint Vassian, who then ordered him to return to Syracuse. Praying in the church of Saint John the Theologian, the saint received from the apostle the command to leave from Rome. And so Saint Vassian distributed all his substance to the poor and together with his faithful Christian servant he set off to Ravenna to his kinsman, bishop Ursus.
      Bishop Ursus set him up at a solitary place outside the city near the church in honour of the PriestMartyr Apollinarius. Saint Vassian quite quickly advanced spiritually, and soon he was glorified by miracles. During this time a judge had been falsely accused and was sentenced to death by execution. Along the way to execution he prayerfully called out for help to Saint Vassian. When the executioner was already holding the sword up over his head, the sword suddenly was knocked from the grip of his hands and flew off to the side. This occurred three times. And the same thing happened with another executioner. When they reported about this to the emperor, the emperor set free the judge, who then told how he had been saved through the intercession of Saint Vassian.
      The people of the city, believing that the prayer of Saint Vassian was powerful before God, besought bishop Ursus to ordain him to the dignity of presbyter. Upon the death of the bishop of the city of Lodium (Laudia, in Liguria, Northern Italy), a presbyter of the cathedral church by the name of Clement had a revelation that Saint Vassian would be chosen bishop of Lodium. Both Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Mediolanum-Milan, and bishop Ursus officiated at the laying on of hands at the ordination.
      Saint Vassian taught the people not only by word, but also by deed, providing his flock example of a virtuous life. At Lodium he built up a beautiful church in the name of the holy Apostles. Saint Vassian often exchanged letters with Saint Ambrose, and he was present at the blessed end of the saint and gave burial to his body.
      Saint Vassian died peacefully in the year 430, having served in the dignity of archbishop for 35 years.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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