I have a very vague recollection of today’s saint,¬†Eleutherius, from some travels in Italy. A friend posted this sketch of a 6th century monk. Just to situate him: St Benedict died in 547. Some recent theological discussion in the Communio Study Circle about angels and demons leads me think more deeply about persons like Eleutherius.

St. Eleutherius (d. 585 A.D.) was a monk living in Spoleto, Italy. Little is known of his early life. He became the Abbot of St. Mark’s Abbey and was well-known as a man of simplicity and penance. He also demonstrated the gift of miracles and exorcism, and raised a dead man to life. After he healed a boy from demonic possession and saw that the child was afterwards left unharmed, St. Eleutherius made a remark to this effect: “Since the child is among the servants of God, the devil dares not approach him.”

Then the boy, who came to live at St. Mark’s Abbey to be educated by the monks, became possessed again. St. Eleutherius repented of his vain and presumptuous remark, and the whole monastery underwent a penitential fast before the devil would leave the boy for the final time. St. Eleutherius was a friend of Pope St. Gregory the Great, the latter having called upon the saint to pray for him in his illness. St. Eleutherius died in Rome in 585 A.D. Today is his feast day. ¬† (DG)