The Magic of Jewels and Charms
The Curious Lore of Precious Stones
By George Fedrick Kunz
Angels and Ministers of Grace
THE veneration of angels and the attribution to them of especial days or months, as well as the idea that they were guardians of those born on those days or during those months, was the result of many factors. The belief in the existence of angels is present in all parts of the Bible, but in the earlier portions they are not individualized in any
way. The angel of God, or of the Lord (malach Elohim or malach Yahveh) was simply a messenger of God, employed
to communicate his will or else to accomplish some act of divine justice.
It is quite possible that the greater prominence given to angels among the Jews after the Babylonian Captivity was
not solely dependent upon Babylonian or Persian influence.
"We learn from the historical and prophetical books of the Old Testament that the Jews had, from the earlest times,
worshipped other gods besides the God of Israel, and were ever ready to assimilate the religious superstitions of the
heathen world. Several of the divinities that were worshipped in Babylonia and Assyria were also objects of
adoration in Israel, not indeed by the chosen spirits of the nation from whom we receive our records, but by the
masses of the people. This very fact, however, served in a certain sense to maintain the purity of the national
religion. As the superstitious inclinations of the populace were so fully satisfied from without, there was no necessity
to develop or distort the national religion in this direction. The Babylonian Captivity changed all this. It was the elite
of the 16
Jewish nation that was deported, and the sufferings and humiliations to which they were subjected in a foreign land
only served to strengthen their faith in Yahveh and in his Law. Hence it is, that when this tried and purified
remnant returned to Judjea, rebuilt the fallen temple and reorganized the state, the latter became a theocracy in a
much stricter sense than ever before, and from this time we can really speak of Judaism as the religion of the whole people.
But the inevitable tendency to split up the unity of the divine force, a tendency that makes itself felt in all religions
and among all peoples, soon asserted itself anew and in a different direction. As the people were no longer allowed,
we may even say were no longer inclined, to go after foreign gods, they proceeded to develop the idea of divine messengers or intermediaries which had always formed part of the national faith, but had never been fully evolved. While Isaiah and Ezekiel both knew of a division of the angels into certain categories as, for example, cherubim, seraphim, hayyot (living creatures), ofanim (wheels) and arelim, there is no attempt at individualization, and the
first mention of an angel's name occurs in the Book of Daniel, which later critics are disposed to assign to the
second century b.c. It is most natural to suppose that such names were known and were familiar to the people long
before that time. When we read in the Book of Daniel, xii, 1: "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great
prince which standeth for the children of Israel," it is easy to see that the idea that certain special qualities were attributed to this angel was deeply rooted in the popular mind. In a previous verse, x, 13, we read: "Michael, one of
the chief princes, came to help me," — a conclusive proof that a hierarchy of angels had already been thought out.
The great source of information in regard to angelology is the Rabbinical literature which had its rise about the
first century b.c. and culminated in the Talmuds of Babylon and Jerusalem in the fifth century a.d. As these
compilations, although nominally commentaries on the books of the Old Testament, are almost encyclopedic in their character, they throw much light on this subject. In a monograph of Kohut, entitled "Jiidische Angelologie,"1 many extracts, belonging to an early period, are given. Seven princes of heaven were recognized and among these four
were especially favored. They occupied a place near to the Throne of Light and were bathed in its radiance. We are
told that "God surrounded his Throne of Light with four angels: Michael, 'Who is like God?' at the right; Gabriel, 'Might of God,' at the left; Uriel, 'Splendor of God,' before it; and Eaphael, 'Salvation of God,' at the west" (Numeri Eabba, c. 2). 2 They represented various attributes of the divine: Michael, goodness and mercy; Gabriel, punitive justice; Uriel, the majesty of God, and Raphael, his providence.
Michael and Gabriel are particularly prominent and are called Royal Angels they have
especial care of Israel. As we have seen, Michael was singled out by Daniel and he was commonly regarded as chief prince.
Gabriel was looked upon as the avenger and the executor of divine judgments and occupied the next place, while
Uriel and Raphael are less frequently alluded to, although the latter appears prominently in the Book of Tobit.
In the New Testament, also, Michael and Gabriel are evidently regarded as the chief angels, and Revelation places Michael at the head of the hosts of the good angels in their conflict with Satan and his followers. We can see in the Gospels how widespread was the belief in demoniacal possession, and in the existence of evil spirits; it was almost
inevitable that the aid of good spirits should be invoked to
1 Leipsic, 1866.
2 Kohut, loc. cit., p. 25.
counteract them, and although both Christianity and Judaism sternly rebuked any direct worship of angel, they were
regarded as ministering spirits, and it was only natural that the masses should be led to use their names on amulets
and talismans, and little by little to arrive at the belief that a particular angel was entrusted with the welfare of each
individual. The same tendencies were at work in both religions, but a new development was initiated for the Christian church by the growing veneration of the early martyrs and of their relics. When this became more pronounced, the saints to a great extent took the place of the angels; a passage from the writings of St. Ambrose composed in 377
A.D. shows us that this transformation of belief had already begun to make itself felt at that time. St. Ambrose
writes: "We should address our supplications to the angels who are appointed to guard us; we should also address
them to the martyrs, whose patronage seems assured to us by a physical pledge" (their relics).
The danger that the worshipping of angels might lead Christians away from the Church into magic practices and
beliefs was clearly recognized in the early centuries, and at the Council of Laodicea, in 363 a.d., it was proclaimed
that Christians should not render worship to angels outside the church, or in private assemblies or associations. Whoever was found guilty of such practices (of such idolatry, as it was called) was pronounced anathema, as he was considered to have turned away from the Lord Jesus Christ and worshipped idols. The first Council of Eome, held in
492 a.d., expressly forbids the wearing of talismans inscribed with the names "not of angels as they pretend, but
rather with those of demons." Indeed, there is abundant evidence that in this age, and even earlier, those addicted to angelolatry were not satisfied with the few angels named in the Holy Scriptures, but addressed their petitions to a multitude of
angels evolved from the fervid imagination of tlie superstitious among the Jews. Of these angels not recognized by
the Church, the following prayer of a certain Aldebert, condemned by the second Council of Eome, 745 a.d., gives us
a few names: "I pray and supplicate the angel Uriel, angel Eaguel, angel Michael, angel Adimis, angel Tubuas, angel
Sabaoth and angel Simihel. ''In the judgment of the Church fathers, all these names, with the exception of Michael,
A manuscript of the ninth or tenth century in the Library of Cologne gives the following "nomina angelorum," and
instructs the reader as to their special virtues:
If when it thunders you think of the Archangel Gabriel, no harm will befall you. If on awakening you think of Michael you will have a happy day. Have Orihel (Uriel) in mind against your adversary and you will prevail. When eating and drinking think of Raphael and abundance will be yours. On a journey think of Eaguhel and everything will prosper.
Should you have to lay your case before a judge, think of Baraehahel and all will be explained. When you take part
in a banquet, think of Pantasaron and all the guests will delight in you.4
On some medieval gems appear angel figures, one very curious specimen of this class being an onyx, engraved in intaglio. On this gem, which is in the British Museum, the engraver depicts the Annunciation, but the figure of the
Angel Gabriel is precisely that of a nude Cupid; hand and foot are raised as though the little god (or angel) were
dancing. It has been conjectured that this strange attempt at adapting a classic form is due to the fact that the gem
was cut in Constantinople during one of the violent iconoclastic persecutions, and that the engraver thus sought to
veil the true significance of his work. In this case, however,
3 Dictionnaire d'Archgologie Chretienne, ed. by Dom Fernand Cabrol and Dom H. Leclercq, vol. i, Pt. II, Paris,
1907, col. 2088.
4 Ibid., col. 2089.
we must believe that the accompanying inscription was added at a later date, for it expressly names the
Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel, and the Virgin ("Mother of God") 5
Another interesting gem, from about the same period, is a square amethyst, measuring about 3 cm. in each direction. This bears, engraved in intaglio, a standing figure of Christ, without a halo; behind his head is the
monogram and in his left hand he holds a scroll with the words (in Greek): "In the beginning was the Word";
his right hand is stretched forth in benediction, and alongside the figure are the following angels 'names in Greek characters: Raphael, Penel, Ouriel, Ichthys, Michael, Gabriel, Azael, The fourth and middle name, Ichthys (fish) is
the well-known anagram of the Greek words signifying "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour," and the use of
this as the name of an angel is thought to have been suggested by a passage in Isaiah (ix, 6).6
A "prime emeraude" among the Gorlseus gems is engraved with a design showing two souls brought before God by
the two guardian angels.'' Somewhat the same belief in the guiding or conducting of souls after death is found in
Plato 's "Phaedon,'' where it is said that the daimon which had guided a person during life led his spirit to the place
in Hades where judgment was to be rendered.
The following list from Lodge's "Wit's Miserie," printed in 1596, gives the seven good angels and sets over against them the seven bad angels, each of whom represents one of the seven deadly sins:
4 Dictionnaire d'Arch6ologie Chretienne, ed. by Dom Pernand Cabrol and Dom H. Leclereq, vol. i, Pt. II, Paris, 1907, cola. 2089, 2090.
5 Dictionnaire d'Archgologie Chretienne, ed. by Dom Fernand Cabrol and Dom H. Leclercq, vol. i, Pt. II, Paris, 1907, cols. 2088, 2089.
6 Macarius (L'Heureux) , "Abraxus sen Apistopistus," Antwerp, 1657, Plate XIX, No. 78 (Gorlsus, 1695, PI.
CCXVIII, No. 430).
Good Angels Bad Angels
Michael Leviathan, pride
Gabriel Mammon, avarice
Raphael Asmodeus, lechery
Uriel Beelzebub, envy
Euchudiel Baalberith, ire
Barchiel Belphagor, gluttony
Salathiel Ashtaroth, sloth
The curious book called in Hebrew "Sepher de-Adam Kadmah" and attributed to the angel Eaziel, is supposed to
belong to the twelfth or the thirteenth century, or at the earliest to the eleventh century,8 although the redactor may
have used some earlier materials. Legend states that it was engraved upon a sapphire and was given by the angel
Eaziel to Adam when the latter was driven from Paradise.
Handed down from generation to generation, it finally came into the possession of Solomon. The name Raziel
signifies ''secret of God,'' in allusion to the revelations contained in the book, which was supposed to protect the
house wherein it was from all danger of fire.
In this book there is an interesting list of angels, denominated the twelve princes, set over the twelve months of the
year. The text of the first printed edition appears to be corrupt in some places, but the names may be transliterated
as follows: 9
Sh'efiel, "Balm of God" Presiding over Nisan (April)
Ragael, "Balance of God" Presiding over Ayyar (May)
Didanor, "Our light" Presiding over Sivan (June)
Ta'anbanu, "Answer for us "... Presiding over Tammuz (July)
Tohargar, "Whirlwind" Presiding over Ab (August)
8 Zunz, " Die gottesdienstliche Vortrage der Juden," Berlin, 1832, p. 167. Zunz conjectures that Eleazar of Worms (1176-1238) may have written a portion of this work.
9 "Sepher de-Adam Kadmah,'' Amsterdam, 1701, fol. 34 verso. The interpretations of the several names are from Schwab's "Vocabulaire de I'angelologie," Paris, 1897, except in the ease of Ragael, where Schwab gives "angel of
Morael, "Fear of God" ........ Presiding over Elul (September)
Hahedan, "The Brilliant" ...... Presiding over Tishri (October)
Uleranen, "To Chant, Celebrate" .... Presiding over Marchesvan (November)
Anatganor, "Thou art the Guardian" ......... Presiding over Kislevi (December)
Mephneil, "Before God" ......... Presiding over Tebah (January)
Tashnaderis, "Saturnus" ....... Presiding over Shebat (February)
Abarchiel, "Fire of God" ......... Presiding over Adar (March)
The following list while probably of later date, than the one we have just given, is more frequently cited as
Orders Angels Tribes Signs
Seraphim Malchidiel Dan Aries
Cherubim Asmodel Reuben Taurus
Thrones Ambriel Judah Gemini
Dominations Muriel Manasseh Cancer
Powers Verchiel Asher Leo
Virtues Hamaliel Simeon Virgo
Principalities Zuriel Issachar Libra
Archangels Barbiel Benjamin Scorpio
Angels Adnachiel Naphtali Sagittarius
Innocents Hanael Gad Capricornus
Martyrs Gabriel Zabulun Aquarius
Confessors Borichiel Ephraim Pisces
In Rabbinical writings we are told that if a man fulfilled one of the commandments, one angel was bestowed upon
him; if he recieved two commandments, he received two angels; if, however, he fulfilled all of the commanments,
many angels were given him. This was a literal construction of the text Ps. xci, 11: "For he shall give his angels
charge over thee." These angels were believed to shield the believer from the attacks of evil spirits.11 The Mohammedan Atlas, the angel appointed by God to bear the earth upon his shoulders, was given a rock of Ruby to
10 Barret, "The Magus" London, 1801, p. 138.
11 Weber, "Judische Theologie", 2d. ed., Leipsig, 1897.
stand upon. Beneath this ruby-rock, were, successively a huge bull, an immense fish, a mass of water, and lastly
darkness.12 Thus the grand vision of "the face of the deep" over which hovered the Spirit of God, before the
creative words were spoken, giving form to the earth, is not altogether lost sight of in this Mohammedan fancy.
Luther was a firm believer in the existence of guardian angels, and he even goes so far as to assert that the angels
assigned to men differed in rank and ability as did the men themselves. Of this he says:
Just as among men, one is large and another small, and one is strong and another weak, so one angel is larger,
stronger, and wiser than another.
Therefore, a prince has a much larger and stronger angel, one who is also shrewder and wiser, than that of a count,
and the angel of a count is larger and stronger than that of a common man. The higher the rank and the more
important the vocation of a man, the larger and stronger is the angel who guards him and holds the Devil aloof.13
Our idea of a guardian angel is so spiritual and so pure that it is difficult for us to understand the curious results this belief has occasionally produced among the primitive peoples. A weird tale is told of a Congo negro who killed his mother so as to gain an especially powerful guardian spirit.14 The dreadful deed was perpetrated in the full conviction that the mother's love would remain unshaken, while her power for good would be increased. Such ferocious egoism does not find an exact parallel among civilized peoples, but the underlying principle is unfortunately too often
illustrated in our midst at the present day.
The belief in guardian angels has the best of Scripture warrant as offered by the text Matthew, chapter xviii, v. 10,
12 Lane, "Arabian Society in the Middle Ages," ed. by Stanley Lane-Poole, London, 1883, p. 106.
13 Schindler, " Der Aberglaube des Mittelalters," Breslau, 1858, p. 4.
14 Peschel, "Volkerkunde," Leipzig, 1885, p. 272. Quoted from Winwood Reade's "Savage Africa."
where Christ speaking of little children says: "Their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in
Another New Testament passage testifyng distinctly to the existence of this belief in the Apostolic Age, is in the Acts
of the Apostles (xii, 15), where we read that after the miraculous rescue of Peter from his imprisonment, his friends could not believe the report that he had been seen standing at the door of their dwelling, and exclaimed: "It is his angel."
That not only individuals but nations also had special guardian angels was, as we have already noted, a belief held to
a certain extent among the Jews after the Babylonian Captivity. To the trace of this in the tenth chapter of Daniel
(vs. 13, 21), where Michael stands for Israel, may be added the evidence afforded by the Greek Septuagint version
of Deuteronomy xxxii, 8, part of the "Song of Moses."
Here the Revised version based on our Hebrew text reads:
He set the bounds of the peoples, According to the number of the children of Israel.
The Septuagint translators, however, must have had a slightly different text before them for they render the last
words: "According to the number of God's angels." It therefore seems probable that they read in Hebrew bene
Elohim instead of bene Yisrael. Of the bene Elohim or "Sons of God" we read in Genesis, chapter vi, verse 2, that
they wedded with the "Daughters of Men." This has been given a poetic form by Thomas Moore in his "Loves of
the Angels. ''The Book of Job also, in its Prologue in Heaven (i, 6-12), introduces the "Sons of God" among whom
appeared Satan, the "Adversary." Of angel names, as has been noted, there is Biblical warrant only for Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, the last-mentioned, in the Apocrphyl Book of
Tobit; to tliese IV Esdras (not a canonical book) adds Jeremiel and Uriel, names not admitted by the Church.
There has been preserved for us a most interesting calendar for the city of Rome, written by Furius Dionysius
Filocalus in 354 a.d., and containing a series of drawings by his hand showing the symbolical figures of the months
of the year. Though the original manuscript is lost, several apparently faithful copies exist, one of which is in the
Imperial Library in Vienna. Much of this work deals with matters referring to the Roman calendar, but perhaps its
most valuable part is a list of the early Christian saints and martyrs. As this is the earliest list of the kind, of even
earlier date than the rest of the work, we give it here unabridged, as a most interesting documentary proof of the
veneration in which the saints were held in the fourth, or, we should probably say, in the third century.
ITEM DEPOSITIO MARTIRUM 16
VIII kal. Jan. natus Christum in Betleem Judese. mense Januario.
XIII kal. Feb. Fabiani in Callisti et Sebastiani in Catacumbas.
XII kal. Feb. Agnetis in Nomentana. mense Februario.
VIII kal. Martias natale Petri de cathedra, mense Martio. non. Martias. Perpetuae et Felieitatis, Africae. mense
XIIII kal. Jun. Partheni et Caloeeri in Callisti, Diocletiano Villi et Maximiano VIII . mense Junio.
III kal. Jul. Petri in Cataeumbas et Pauli Ostense, Tusco et Basso cons. . mense Julio.
16 Achelis, " Die Martyrologien," p. 8.
VI idus Felicis et Filippi in Priscillae
et in Jordanorum, Martialis Vitalis Alexandri
et in Maximi Silani. hunc Silanum martirem
Nouati furati sunt.
et in Praetextatae, Januari.
III kal. Aug. Abdos et Semnes in Pontiani, quod est
ad ursum piliatum.
VIII idus Aug. Xysti in Callisti
et in Praetextati Agapiti et Telicissimi.
VI idus Aug. Secundi Carpofori Victorini, et Seueriani Albano.
et Ostense VII ballisteria Cyriaci
Largi Creseentiani Memmiae Julianetis
IIII idus Aug. Laurenti in Tiburtina.
idus Aug. Ypoliti in Tiburtina.
et Pontiani in Callisti.
XI kal. Septemb. Timotei, Ostense
V kal. Sept. Hermetis in Basillfe Salaria uetere.
non. Sept. Aconti, in Porto, et Nonni et Herculani
V idus Sept. Gorgoni in Lauicana.
Ill idus Sept. Proti et Jaeinti, in Basillae.
XVIII kal. Octob. Cypriani, Afrieas. Eomae eelebratur
X kal. Octob. Basillae, Salaria uetere, Diocletiano
IX et Maximiano VIII consul. (304)
pri. idus Octob. Callisti in via Aurelia. mUiario III.
V idus Nou. dementis Semproniani Claui Nicostrati
III kal. Dee. Saturnini in Trasonis.
idus Decern. Ariston in pontum.
This list, which begins with the great Christian festival of Christmas, enumerates the days on which Roman martyrs
died and were buried. The months are given in their order and below their names appears a very brief record, giving
the day and place of burial and the name of each of the martyrs. The first entry, for instance, reads: "January 20,
interment of Fabianus in the cemetery of Callistus." The earliest martyrs mentioned are SS. Perpetua and Felicitas
who died in 202 a.d.; thus all definite memory of the many martyrs of the first and second centuries seems to have
been lost. Even heretics do not appear to have been excluded, for as it is stated that the Novatians carried away the body of Silanus, it seems more than probable that he himself belonged to this heretical sect. As. martyrs, all are regarded as equally entitled to the highest veneration, regardless of what they may have passed through on earth. Other communities than the Roman one possessed similar lists, as is clearly indicated by the words of Cyprian, in
his thirty-ninth epistle, where he says: "As you remember, we offered the sacrifice for them, just as we celebrated a commemoration of the 'sufferings of the martyrs and of their anniversary days."
To many of the saints curative powers are attributed, and these powers are usually specialized so that each of these saints is invoked for aid against a different disease or defect. With very few exceptions it will be found that some circumstance in the history or legend of the saint is the origin of these beliefs. An exception may perhaps be made in
the case of the two saints to whom recourse is most frequent at the present day, namely, St. Anthony of Padua
(June 13) and St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary (July 26). Eelics of the latter saint, preserved in many parts of Europe and also in America, are regarded as endowed with wonderful therapeutic powers. Recently, in New York
City, at the church of St. Jean Baptiste, a relic of St. Anne was shown to many thousands of the faithful, and
some wonderful cures are said to have been accomplished by its aid. Sceptics will be inclined to attribute such cures
to the influence of suggestion, while Catholics will see in them a proof of the power of the saint's intercession on
behalf of those who repose their trust in her. St. Anthony is usually appealed to for success in difficult enterprises,
and more particularly for the discovery of lost articles. Here the belief in the successful intervention of the
respective saints is more generalized and appears to have grown up independently of any event chronicled in the legends, but these instances are quite exceptional.
An exceedingly beautiful jewelled medallion said to have been given by Pope Paul V, in 1614, to the Archbishop of
Lisbon, Don Miguel de Castro, shows in the centre the figures of the Virgin and Child, surrounded by a setting of old
Indian, table-cut diamonds. The archbishop donated this to the Church of St. Antonia da iSe, sometimes called the
"Royal House of St. Antonio," for this church was built on the site of the house in which dwelt the parents of St.
Anthony, Don Martin de Bulhoes and Dona Teresa de Azavedo, and in which the saint was born on February 6, 1195.
At his baptism he was given the name Fernando, but later he changed this to Antonio. The great Lisbon earthquake
of 1755 completely wrecked this church, but the high altar wherein the medallion had been placed escaped
comparatively unharmed, and the jewel was found by some peasants, who later sold it to the family of Machados e Silvas, in whose private chapel it reposed until within a few years.
The shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre may be seen in the Basilica of Beaupre, about 20 miles distant from Quebec.
It stands on the site of a small wooden sanctuary erected about the middle of the seventeenth century by some
Breton mariners who, when in imminent danger of shipwreck while navigating the St. Lawrence, made a vow
to build a chapel to
St. Anne, the dearly-loved patron saint of their native province, at the spot where they should first come to land. St.
Anne was regarded in French Canada as the patroness of seafarers and hence a large number of those who
frequented her shrine were seafaring people. However, even more were attracted by the report of the marvellous
cures of all kinds of diseases which were said to have taken place there.
Pilgrimages to this shrine continue to be made at the present time; indeed, the number of those who thus testify to
their belief in the power of the saint has increased rapidly during the past thirty years. In 1880 the pilgrims numbered 36,000; in 1900 the record showed 135,000, and in 1910 the number had increased to 188,266, a proof that the
devotees are more and more convinced that St. Anne's relics are the sources of great healing virtue.
All of the numerous relics of St. Anne exhibited in Canada and elsewhere are said to have come originally from the
town of Apt in France, where, according to Catholic tradition, her body was found by the Emperor Charlemagne in
792, and it is related that when the reliquary covering the holy body was opened a fragrance as of balsam emanated from the interior. How the body was transferred to Apt from its resting place in Palestine is a mystery not solved
even in tradition, although some believe that it was brought thither by St. Auspicius, known as the Apostle of Apt.
The Basilica of Beaupre contains five of these precious relics; one of them was brought to Canada from the
Cathedral of Carcasonne, in France, about the year 1662, at the instance of Monseigneur de Laval, first bishop of Quebec, and founder of Laval University. This is the first joint of the middle finger of the saint. The devotees at the shrine first saw this precious gift March 12, 1670; it is adorned with two intersecting rows of pearls, forming a cross.
Another relic of peculiar importance is that given in 1892 by the
late Cardinal Taschereau. This is a bone from St. Anne's wrist measuring four inches in length. It is enclosed in a
reliquary made of massive gold and studded with precious stones, the gifts of those whose prayers to the saint had
been answered. In the ornamentation appear eight diamonds, four amethysts, a fire opal, etc. At the bottom of the
reliquary there is a gold plate with the inscription: "Ex brachio S, Annae," and a gold ring set with twenty-eight
diamonds. This jealously-guarded treasure is exhibited in the shrine but once a year, from July 26 to August 2, a
period comprising St. Anne's Day and the week following it; at other times the reliquary is kept in the Sacristy, but
may be seen on special request.
A remarkable jewel in the treasury of the Basilica is the seal of Santa Anna, elected president of Mexico in 1832.
A golden eagle, with eyes formed of two rubies, stands on a rock of lapis lazuli and bears the stamp of the seal;
resting on his spread wings is a sphere of lapis lazuli in which the words "Diaz, Mexico," are inlaid in letters of gold. The seal is engraved with the initials of the president's name, surrounded by a design embodying the insignia of his office.
At the feast of St. Blaise, Bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia (d. circa 316), which occurs on February 3d in the Roman
Church, the wick of a candle is sometimes dipped in a vessel containing consecrated oil, the throats of the faithful
being then touched with this wick, to preserve them from diseases of the throat. At other times the ceremony is performed in a different way. The priest holds two candles, adjusted so as to form a cross, above the heads of those
who come to seek the saint's aid, and the following prayer is recited:
"Through the intercession of St. Blaise may God free thee from diseases of the throat, and from every other disease.
(Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo.)
It is related that this saint in his travels, once meeting a poor woman whose only child had swallowed a fish-bone,
relieved the child of its trouble by offering up a prayer and laying his hand upon its throat. In the prayer he adjures
all who may suffer from a like trouble to seek his intercession with God.
St. Apollonia of Alexandria (February 9) is said to cure toothache and all diseases of the teeth, the reason for this
being that at her martyrdom all her beautiful teeth were pulled out. In a similar way St. Agatha, of Catania or
Palermo, in Sicily, is endowed with the power to cure diseases of the breast, because it is related that before her
martyrdom her breasts were cruelly torn and mutilated.
To recite the formula of St. Apollonia was considered by the Spaniards of three centuries ago to be a cure for
toothache. This fact is brought out by a passage in Don Quixote, when the knight's housekeeper is urged to recite it
for her master's benefit when he is ailing. To this request the woman quickly answers: "That might do something if
my master's distemper lay in his teeth, but, alas! it lies in his brain." This formula was probably used before the
age of Cervantes, and has persisted to our own time. It is in verse and has been literally translated into English as
Apollonia was at the gate of Heaven and the Virgin Mary passed that way. "Say, Apollonia, what are you about?"
"My Lady, I neither sleep nor watch, I am dying with a pain in my teeth." "By the star of Venus and the setting sun,
by the Most Holy Sacrament, which I bore in my womb, may no pain in your tooth, neither front nor back, afflict you from this time henceforward."
Of Santa Lucia (December 13), bom in Syracuse on the island of Sicily, a strange legend is told. A young man fell
16 Parmele, "Tothe-Lore," reprint from the International Dental Journal, January, 1899, p. 14. 17
passionately in love with, her, and wrote to her that her wonderful eyes pursued him even in his dreams. Moved by
the Scripture text, "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out," and longing to save the youth from sensual passion, Lucia
cut out her beautiful eyes, placed them on a dish, and sent them to her lover with the following message: "Here thou hast what thou so ardently desirest; I beseech thee leave me in peace." Very naturally, this saint is believed to cure all
diseases of the eye.
For protection against highway robbers and thieves,
St. Nicholas (December 6), Bishop of Myra, in Lycia, was invoked. Legend relates of this saint that he restored to
life three boys who had been murdered at an inn by the wicked innkeeper, a wretch who was in the habit of making
away with his guests and then utilizing their bodies to enrich his menu. This tale accounts for the fact that, under the
familiar name of Santa Claus, St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children.
St. Barbara (December 4) , born in Heliopolis, is appealed to for protection against lightning and injury by firearms.
For this reason the gun-room on a ship is called in French the sainte-barbe. The legend, as usual, gives us the origin
of the belief in the saint's special powers, for her heathen father is said to have been killed by a stroke of lightning,
because of his having denounced his daughter, as a Christian, to the Roman authorities, and then executed judgment upon her with his own hands. Of St. Barbara the legend says:
"She was a fair fruit from an evil tree." 17
Beneath portraits or images of St. Christopher (July 25) there often appears a Latin verse to the effect that whoever
gazes on the image will not suffer from f aintness or exhaustion on that day. As the saint is said to have been of great
17 Symeonia Logothetae, cognomento Metaphrastae, "Opera Omnia," ed. Migne, Parisiis, 1864, vol. iii, col. 315.
size and strength, the worshipper at his shrine was believed to acquire some of his physical power.
The cure of diseases of the tongue was the province of St. Catherine of Alexandria (November 25), who was famed
for her eloquence as well as for her devotion to the study of the Scriptures.
St. Roch, who was born in Montpelier toward the end of the thirteenth century (d. August 16, 1327), is regarded as
the special guardian of those afflicted with plague or pestilence. In his lifetime he went from place to place
ministering to those who suffered from the plague until finally he himself succumbed to this malady. So great was the repute of St. Roch's curative powers that the Venetians are said to have stolen his body from Montpelier, where it
was interred, and transported it to Venice, that they might have ever-present help in the numerous pestilences from which this city suffered, because of the constant commercial intercourse with the East.
Another saint who was invoked for help in plague and pestilence was St. Sebastian (January 20), bom in Narbonne in Gaul. In this case the story of the saint's martyrdom gave rise to the belief in his curative powers, for the legend tells
us that he was transfixed with arrows, and these missiles were regarded as symbols of the plague. We have an illustration of this old belief in the first book of Homer's Iliad, where the pestilence that visited the army of the
Greeks is represented as due to the shafts sped from Apollo's silver bow.
Although no curative powers are attributed to them, no one of English speech should forget SS. Crispin and Crispian,
on whose day the battle of Agincourt was fought, in 1415. The old feud between France and England has been long forgotten, the rivalry between these nations has given place to a close friendship, and there is no trace of animosity