Monday, March 29, 2010

Memorial of St Berthold

"A native of Lombardy, Berthold was the second prior general of the Carmelites (about 1230). He died and was buried on Mount Carmel. To him is attributed a vision during which he saw the souls of many Carmelites who had been killed by the Saracens being carried into heaven by angels. His figure has passed through various deforming stages. The information given here has been preserved in the collection of Abbreviated Legends of the Catalogue of the Saints, which in the case of many saints include a still more primitive version.

The Dominican, Stephen of Salignac (before 1278) —¦ who attributed the composition of the Carmelite rule to Aymeric of Malefaida of Salignac, patriarch of Antioch (1142-93?), while in reality it is the rule of Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem (1206-14) — said that the said Aymeric had among the Carmelites a nephew, «a holy and famous man.» This nephew received a name and a rank in the so-called Letter of Cyril, published after the year 1378 by the Carmelite, Philip Riboti. Riboti says that Berthold was a brother — no longer a nephew — of Aymeric, that his name was Berthold, and that he was the first prior general of the Carmelites. Afterwards another Carmelite, John Grossi, in his Viridarium /Garden/ (about 1400), gave to this nephew the name of Brocard (q. v.), while in the succeeding compositions of the same work and in the Catalogue of Carmelite Saints of the same epoch, Berthold of Malefaida is considered the first general and Berthold of Lombardy passes to fourth place.

The saint is represented in the Carmelite habit, with a book and a sword, or while he has the vision of the martyrs. His cult was ordered by the general chapter of the Order of 1564. His name, removed from the reformed breviary of 1585, was re-introduced a short while after (1609). The proper lessons were approved in 1672. His feast was fixed for March 29; now it is abolished."

-- Biography by Adrian Staring, OCarm

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