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Is Simon of Cyrene a Saint?


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TIA,

This may be a dumb question but...

I always thought Simon of Cyrene was a Saint, yet I am having difficulty finding information about him and/or prayers and devotions to him. It seems "progressive Episcopalians" have no trouble referring to him as a Saint...

I thought Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira would have written something on him, but I have been unable to find the same. If you have some information on him, please share it with the undersigned.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.

     Sincerely,

     M.V.S.

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TIA responds:

Mr. M.V.S.,

Here is what Fr. Cornelius a Lapide says, commenting on the passage of St. Matthew (27:32) which refers to Simon of Cyrene carrying the Cross of Our Lord:

There is a tradition, says Pererius, according to which Simon after [carrying the Cross] converted with his sons to the Faith of Christ. Hence St. Mark adds that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus, who at the time that St. Mark wrote, seemed to be known and famous disciples of Christ. Rufus was first Bishop of Tebas, and then of Tortosa in Spain, and his feast day is celebrated there on November 12.

Thus, St. Polycarp wrote to the Philippians:

“I pray you all to speak with the justice and patience you observed not only in those saints – Ignatius, Zozimus and Rufus – and in others who are with you, but also in St. Paul and the other Apostles.”

The other son of Simon, Alexander, brother of Rufus, was placed in the Martyrologium by Adone and Beda on March 11.

Thus, Dexter, in his Chronicle of the year 112 A.D. (n. 10) states:

“In Cartagena (Spain), St. Alexander, brother of Rufus, first Bishop of Tortosa in Tarragona, son of that Simon who carried the Cross for Christ, suffered martyrdom with Candidus, Zozimus and other companions. They [the two sons] followed Simon in religion and did not deny his debt of mercy, which was to carry the Cross of Christ, but after having done many good works, placidly rest in [the Heavenly] Jerusalem.” ...

See also other notes of the Breviary that mention Simon, called the Black, who was the companion of Saints Paul and Barnabas (Act. 13: 1). …

Great was the injury and ignominy received by that pilgrim soldier Simon who was forced to carry the infamous Cross of Christ to the place of torment. The patience showed by Simon warranted his enlightenment by Christ to become a Christian and a Saint, as it is said. So, His companion in the Cross was raised up in order to participate in His glory (Commentaria in Scriptura Sacram, Paris: Ludovicum Vives, 1877, vol 15, pp. 613-614).


These are some authors Fr. Cornelius a Lapide offers to us along with his own comments.

We hope the mentioned texts will help you in your research.

     Cordially,

     TIA correspondence desk
Posted November 20, 2007

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