The Holy Father continued his series of homilies on the Fathers of the Church, speaking today in St. Peter’s plaza about St. Eusebius of Vercelli. He emphasized that his example should inspire Christians to keep the faith, live in harmony and remain in constant prayer.
Eusebius was born in Sardinia at the beginning of the fourth century, educated in Rome and eventually elected Bishop of Vercelli. “There he founded a priestly community inspired by the early monastic communities of Egypt, and helped to spread the ideal of apostolic holiness throughout northern Italy”, the Holy Father remarked.
Eusebius tirelessly defended the truth that Jesus is fully God, which was proclaimed at the Council of Nicaea, even at the cost of exile.
“His example of pastoral zeal greatly influenced many of his contemporaries,” the Holy Father noted, “including Saints Ambrose and Maximus of Turin.” Eusebius’ Letters testify to his closeness to the faithful of Vercelli, as well as his concern for those who were not of the faith.
“His episcopal ministry was shaped by his commitment to the monastic ideals of contemplation and self-discipline. He thus found the strength to resist every form of external pressure in his faithful service to the Gospel”, Benedict observed.
Finally, the Holy Father prayed, “May his teachings and example inspire us, in all our life and activity, to ‘make every effort to preserve the faith, to live in harmony and to be constant in the practice of prayer’ (cf. Ep. II).
In English, the Holy Father greeted the members of Serra International, and invoked “God’s abundant blessing…upon all the English-speaking visitors, including those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, the Philippines and the United States.”