PAUL THE HERMIT
Paul the Hermit (ca. 233–ca. 345), also known as Paul of Thebes, is traditionally regarded as the first hermit in Chris tian history. He fled to the desert during a period of persecution (probably during the reign of the Roman emperor Decius [249–51]) and is reputed to have lived there to well over a one hundred. Life in solitude was a way of following Christ, but also a defiant “no” to the newly comfortable Church under Constantine. His feast was suppressed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969, but continues to be celebrated in the East on this day.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER
Lutherans commemorate the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–68) on this day as a “renewer of society” and “martyr.” The United States Catholic bishops recommended to the Vatican that his name be included on a list of twentieth-century martyrs announced by Pope John Paul II in May 2000.