Friday, April 19, 2013

A Most Expeditious Saint

Today, the Roman church celebrates the feast of Saint Expeditus.

Often variously named Elpidius or -- you guessed it -- Expedite, he was a Roman centurion stationed in Armenia who was martyred in AD 303 under the Diocletian persecution. Legend has it that, on the day of his conversion, the Devil appeared in the form of a crow and called out "Cras! Cras!" (Latin for "Tomorrow! Tomorrow!") The soldier crushed the bird on the ground beneath his foot while saying, “No, I will be a Christian today!” His image shows a Greek soldier with a crow underfoot, near a scroll with the word "Cras" as he holds up a cross bearing the word "Hodie" which is Latin for "today."

As with many saints of that period, little is known of him. Indeed, his name may not actually be his own, but an inscription that appeared on a box of relics saying to "expedite" its shipment to its destination. He is invoked against pro-CRAS-tination (Get it?), and in favor of emergencies. He is the patron of the Republic of Molossia, merchants, navigators, computer programmers, and yes, even computer hackers!

Expeditus is honored with a great parade in San Paulo, Brazil, and is also venerated in Chile, Reunion Island, as well as in Creole voodoo magic, not to mention African folk magic or "hoodoo."

For a saint who may never have existed, he certainly gets around, don't you think?

Or don't you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Must be the patron saint of procrastinators? :-)