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The Catholic Defender Saint Narcissus of Jerusalem


Narcissus lived to a very old age, and he is the patron saint against insect bites.


The holy Bishop Narcissus performed many miracles, one being that during the Easter Vigil, the saintly Bishop changed water into oil to supply all the lamps of the Church. He wrought many miracles during his long reign as Bishop of Jerusalem, and remained in constant prayer for unity and peace.


Details of his life are sketchy, but there are many reports of his miracles. The miracle for which Narcissus is most remembered was turning water into oil for use in the church lamps on Holy Saturday when the deacons had forgotten to provide any.


Life in second- and third-century Jerusalem couldn’t have been easy, but Saint Narcissus managed to live well beyond 100. Some even speculate he lived to 160.


Details of his life are sketchy, but there are many reports of his miracles. The miracle for which Narcissus is most remembered was turning water into oil for use in the church lamps on Holy Saturday when the deacons had forgotten to provide any.


We do know that Narcissus became bishop of Jerusalem in the late second century. He was known for his holiness, but there are hints that many people found him harsh and rigid in his efforts to impose Church discipline. One of his many detractors accused Narcissus of a serious crime at one point. Though the charges against him did not hold up, he used the occasion to retire from his role as bishop and live in solitude. His disappearance was so sudden and convincing that many people assumed he had actually died.


Several successors were appointed during his years in isolation. Finally, Narcissus reappeared in Jerusalem and was persuaded to resume his duties. By then he had reached an advanced age, so a younger bishop was brought in to assist him until his death.


As our life spans increase and we face the bodily problems of aging, we might keep Saint Narcissus in mind and ask him to help us face our developing issues.


God, You made St. Narcissus an outstanding exemplar of Divine love and the faith that conquers the world, and added him to the roll of saintly pastors. Grant by his intercession that we may persevere in faith and love and become sharers of his glory. Amen.

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