The fourth-century bishop Eusebius of Vercelli (ca. 283-371) was born in Sardinia and raised in Rome; he served as a priest there for some years, and was appointed Bishop of Vercelli, a town in northern Italy, in 340. Eusebius devoted himself to the care of the people; he was especially concerned with improving the sanctity and brotherhood of the clergy, so that they might provide the laity with a good example. He was a leader in the fight against the heresy of Arianism, which wrongly denied the divinity of Jesus. The pope sent Eusebius to the emperor to ask for a council which would end the Arian controversy; however, as Eusebius had feared, the Arians gained the upper hand, and with the emperor’s support they rejected Eusebius’s demand that the Nicene Creed be accepted as a statement of Church teaching.
Because of his opposition to Arianism, Eusebius was sent into exile for six years, spending time in Palestine, Asia Minor, and Egypt, and suffering much abuse from the local Arians. Upon the election of a new emperor in 361, Eusebius was released and allowed to return to Vercelli. He worked closely with St. Athanasius of Egypt and St. Hilary of Poitiers to reduce the influence of Arianism, and he approved the Church’s policy of leniency toward those bishops who had wavered in their support of the faith. St. Eusebius’s final years were peaceful, and he died after a long period of service marked by a courageous defense of the teachings of the Church.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Peter Julian Eymard (1868), Priest, Founder of Servants of the Blessed Sacrament
St. Alphonsus Liguori (1787), Bishop, Doctor, Patron of confessors, moral theologians
St. Stephen I (257), Pope, Martyr
Our Lady of the Angels