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Saint John Gualbert


John Gualbert was born towards the close of the tenth century, to a noble family at Florence, and became one of those several Saints who contributed so much towards ecclesiastical reform during the eleventh century, and enabled Saint Pope Gregory VII to change the face of Europe. John, by the wish of his father, became a soldier. Now his only brother Hugh, had been slain by a cousin. And on a certain Good Friday, John, armed and accompanied by soldiers, met the murderer, alone and defenseless, in a narrow way, where neither could turn aside. As he was at the point to kill him, the wretched man fell on his knees, and stretched out his arms in the form of the cross, adjuring him for the sake of that holy Sign, to forgive him: and out of reverence for the cross John spared his life. Forthwith he went into a monastery-church, hard by, to pray. And there he thought he saw the image of Christ crucified which had that day been venerated by the faithful, bow its head to him. Whereby he was so moved, that he laid aside soldiering, even against his father's wishes, and entered the said monastery to become a monk.

When the abbot of that house died, the monks chose John to succeed him. But the servant of God desired to obey more than to command, and betook himself to holy Romuald, at Camaldoli, for advice. Where he learned that it was God's will that he should found an Order of his own, for a primitive observance of the Rule of Saint Benedict, in the valley called Vallombrosa. There many gathered themselves to him, drawn by the fame of his holy life. Them he took for his comrades, and set to labour earnestly to cleanse the Church in those parts from the pollution of heresy and simony. But such witness against the evils of the times made enemies, who caused them much suffering. Once certain of their enemies came by night to one of their monasteries, with the purpose of destroying John and his monks. These set the church on fire, pulled down their huts, and wounded many of the monks.

But at length John and his disciples got the peace which they longed for, and purged Tuscany from the pollution of simony, and restored the Faith far and wide. In his seventy-eighth year, worn out by watching, fasts, prayers, and punishing of the flesh, his strength gave way. When he was at the point of death, he asked that the following words be written down, and buried with him: I, John, do believe and confess that Faith which the Holy Apostles preached, and which the Holy Fathers have ratified in the four Councils: and thereafter he passed to the Lord, namely, on July 12th, 1073; and in 1193 he was canonized.


GRANT, we beseech thee, O Lord: that the prayers of thy holy Abbot, blessed John may commend us unto thee: that we, who have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, may by his advocacy find favour in thy sight. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1315-1316

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website.

Ordo Kalendars are available from the Anglican Parishes Association Book Publisher.