The Black Saints Orthodox are a group of saints that were born during the Black slave period and are revered by African Americans and others around the world. Their names include Crispina, Athanasius, Moses the Black, Cyprian of Carthage, and New Orleans’ Saint Louis, among others.
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St. Moses the Black
In Egypt, a saint named Moses the Black is celebrated. He was a monk who lived in the fourth century. His name is said to have been derived from the black skin he had.
Saint Moses the Black was born in Ethiopia in 330 AD. When he was a young man, he was a slave of a high government official. After a few years, he turned to the monastic life.
After committing a murder, Moses was banished. Eventually, he was ordained as a priest. While he was in the desert, he met a man named Abba Isidore.
Isidore became his spiritual guide and taught him basic Christian teachings. He also showed him a vision of holy angels and demons. Ultimately, he convinced St. Moses to eat less, fast more, and pray more.
St. Cyprian of Carthage
Cyprian, born in Carthage in the early third century, was the first bishop-marty of Africa. His name came from a description of the plague that ravaged the city.
Although he was baptized late in life, he was converted at an early age to Christianity. He went on to become a philosopher and teacher. During his lifetime, he was a controversial figure.
Cyprian was persecuted for his faith. As a priest, he defended Christian faith in apologia Ad Demetrium. In the document, Cyprian criticized the Roman government, and he warned against granting Roman prerogatives to bishops. He also exhorted brethren to charity.
When Cyprian became bishop, the Christians in North Africa suffered from persecution. The laxist party led by priests opposed Cyprian’s election. They wanted to block the measures he had taken during his absence.
One of the many black saints is Saint Crispina of Rome. She is a rich Roman woman who refused to deny Jesus. Her life was celebrated with great veneration in Africa.
Her life was not without violence. At age twelve, she worked as a prostitute. Later she was convicted for her faith and imprisoned. During her time in prison, she gave birth to her daughter. However, she was also made to face a rabid cow. In the end, the two women exchanged a kiss of peace.
After her imprisonment, St. Perpetua joined the church. It was during her religious life that she was made to care for an infant child in prison. But despite her mother’s faith, her father was a pagan.
When St. Monica was married, her pagan father’s mother lived with her. This was a major problem for St. Monica. She converted her husband and mother-in-law to Catholicism in 370.
Saint Athanasius was a great defender of the Christian faith. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in the year 296. His life and works helped to spread monasticism in Western Europe.
When he was young, St. Athanasius authored two monumental works: “The Life of Saint Anthony the Great,” and “The City of God.” These works helped to dispel the claims that Christianity caused the decline of the Roman empire.
Saint Athanasius’s work was instrumental in forming the Nicene Creed, which emphasized the dual nature of Christ. It also called for simple first principles of the Holy Gospel.
Saint Athanasius lived for seventeen years in exile. He was a fierce advocate of the Orthodox faith. He was a scholar, philosopher, and theologian. He had a sure instinct for truth, and was ready to defend the Christian faith.
St. New Orleanian
Most people have at least a passing interest in the Big Easy. The city has a storied history dating back to the 1700s. It is in fact the birthplace of the famous New Orleans mayor and a plethora of notable personalities past and present. In the not too distant past, the state was also a hotbed of social unrest. However, the enclave redeemed itself for the ages, albeit with some help from its many residents. Regardless, the state continues to be a force to be reckoned with, thanks in large part to its diverse and eclectic population. One can only hope that the city’s future is just as bright as it is today. With that in mind, here are some ten tidbits worth checking out.