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Saint of the Day: Bl. Severinus Boethius

Philosopher and Martyr

Martyr (ca. 477-524)

His life

+ Born around the year 480, Boethius (as he is commonly known) was a Roman senator and consul who is especially known for his work as a philosopher.

+ He has often been describes as the last representative of ancient Roman culture and the first of the Medieval thinkers.

+ Boethius is remembered for his Consolation of Philosophy, a discussion of the problem of evil, fortune, death and other issues that was written while he was imprisoned near the end of his life. This became one of the best-known works of philosophy of the Middle Ages.

+ Boethius dedicated his time and energy to trying to maintain unity within the Church, which was already becoming divided between “East” and “West” because of liturgical observances and politics of the failing Roman Empire. Imprisoned and executed for treason by the Arian emperor Theodoric in 524, he was immediately regarded as a martyr.

+ Devotion to Severinus Severinus Boethius was confirmed in 1883. His liturgical memorial is celebrated in Pavia, where he is buried, and in a number Roman churches.

For prayer and reflection

The loftiest good is God: Boethius – and he teaches us this – learned not to sink into a fatalism that extinguishes hope. He teaches us that it is not the event but Providence that governs and Providence has a face. It is possible to speak to Providence because Providence is God. Thus, even in prison, he was left with the possibility of prayer, of dialogue with the One who saves us.”—Pope Benedict XVI at the General Audience of March 12, 2008


Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Severinus Boethius to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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