Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Constantine and his mother, Helena

Technically, I should still be wishing everyone a happy and fruitful Advent. But it's close enough, isn't it?

Present-wise this Christmas is going to be a bit minimal in my family. Gift-wise it will be as sumptuous as ever, since we will still get to celebrate the birth of the Incarnate God. I think we are going to skip Midnight Mass this year and instead go to the Bishop's Mass during the Day at the Cathedral downtown. I have yet to hear Bishop Lennon preach, so I am very curious to hear what that Boston accent sounds like.

In other news, I have been doing some genealogical research and discovered the online marriage, birth, and death records for my grandfather's little home village in Romania/Transylvania. It goes back a couple centuries, but it is a little confusing because apparently many of my cousins married other cousins... I even found the entry where the christening of my grandfather, Walter Stefan, was noted down!

I also discovered that our rather mysterious last name, Kostendt, refers to the Eastern Catholic/Eastern Orthodox saint, St. Constantine the Great. He of the Milvian Bridge and the Edict of Milan.

In the Latin Church the emperor is not formally celebrated as a saint, for a number of reasons; his continued fondness for the pagan god Sol throughout his reign, for instance. Nevertheless he was baptized on his death bed and therefore I imagine he got to Heaven pretty quickly! His mother, Helena, is a saint in the Latin Church.

It surprised me at first, but Kostendt (KAH-stent) does sound like Constantine (KAHN-stent-tine). It amuses me a little because that side of our family is Protestant, and here they are named after an Eastern saint! Romania is a very Orthodox country. There are not a lot of Catholics there; in my grandfather's village, there is a Lutheran church and an Orthodox church, and that is it.

Since the Eastern Catholic Church recognizes him, I suppose I could develop a devotion to St. Constantine. He is listed at Catholic Online with a feast day of May 21. It would have been cooler if we were named after, say, St. Martin of Tours or St. Anthony of Padua, but I'm not complaining!

1 comment:

  1. Miles Jesu is bi-ritual including the Latin & eastern rites..i enjoyed your post..every Christmas blessing..