Saints Aurelius and Natalia

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Martyrs. These were two members of a group of five Christians martyred at Cordoba in Spain, by the Muslim Emir Abd ar-Rahman II in about 852. Aurelius was the son of a Muslim man and a Spanish woman who was a secret Christian. Natalia also came from a Muslim and Christian family. Aurelius had a relative, Felix who became Muslim for a time but then returned to his Christian faith and married a Christian wife Liliosa.

All four openly professed their faith and the women went out with their faces unveiled. They were arrested for apostacy and all beheaded, together with a monk, named George who had openly preached against the Muslim religion.

St Joachim and Ann

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Parents of the Virgin Mary. Little is known about the parents of Our Lady. Their story is told in the apocryphal Gospel of James but neither are mentioned in Holy Scripture.

The early cult of Joachim was recorded in the East with images on the columns of St Marks in Venice. Later, Giotto painted Joachim and Ann in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.

They were also depicted together in stained glass at Great Malvern Priory, Hereford, Worcester and elsewhere (according to the Oxford Dictionary of Saints). Joachim is said to be buried in Jerusalem.

St Pantaleon the Healer

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Physician, confessor, and martyr. Pantaleon was born in the city of Nicodemia, now Izmit, in northern Turkey near the Black Sea. His mother, Eubula, was a devout Christian while his father, Eustorgius, did not convert until much later. Sadly, Eubula died while Pantaleon was still quite young. While he had been exposed to Christianity, Pantaleon did not practice his faith. His father Eustorgus, sent him to study under a famous physician, and eventually he was appointed royal physician to the court of Emperor Maximian.

In the court he met a Christian named Hermolaus, who became his advisor and friend. Hermolaus told him that although the famous physicians of ancient times knew how to cure bodies, Jesus Christ was a far more excellent physician, able to cure not only bodies, but souls, by His divine doctrine.

In the course of his work, Pantaleon then experienced a miraculous healing, saving a child from certain death after being bitten by a viper. Needing no further proof of the power of the Lord, he was baptized, and undertook a rigorous course of study of Chis new faith. He subsequently cured a man of blindness. When his father, heard of his son's healings, he also became a Christian.

When his father, died, Saint Pantaleon liberated all his slaves on the family estate, sold most of his possessions, and gave the money to the freed slaves and the poor.

He cured other illnesses and soon became renowned in Nicodemia, attracting the attention of competing physicians who reported him to the Emperor.

Pantaleon was asked to make sacrifice to the pagan Roman gods but refused. He was then sentenced to be tortured and killed. Saint Pantaleon was beheaded in 303.

His body was anointed with myrrh and buried outside the city. His remains, were later translated to Constantinople, where they are venerated today. It is said that his blood, conserved in a small vial, liquefies on his feast day, becoming oxygenated. Some of his relics, including his head, were later again translated to France by Charlemagne, and reside in the abbey of Saint Denys near Paris and in Lyons.

Saint Pantaleon, whose name means the "all-compassionate one," is one of the patron saints of physicians.