Pope Saint Pontian who reigned from 230-235 holds the distinction of being the first pontiff to abdicate. Perhaps a Roman by birth, he was elected to succeed St. Urban I and devoted much of his reign to upholding the condemnation of the heretical aspects of Origenism and struggled against the schismatic movement which supported the antipope St. Hippolytus.
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Saint Edith Stein) (1891-1942), was a German Catholic philosopher and nun. Born into an observant Jewish family, she became an atheist by her teenage years, but converted to Christianity in 1922. In 1942 she was arrested and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where she died in the gas chamber. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1998. She is one of the six patron saints of Europe.
Pope Saint Hormisdas (r.514-523) was born at Frosinone in the Roman Campagna. Married before ordination, he had a son, Silverius, who also became pope. As a deacon, Hormisdas had staunchly backed St. Symmachus in his trouble with the antipope Lawrence and the pro-Byzantine faction. Elected with difficulty, St. Hormisdas began his career of peace with victory by receiving back into the Church the last die-hards of the Laurentian schism.
All three Synoptic Gospels tell the story of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36). With remarkable agreement, all three place the event shortly after Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus’ first prediction of his passion and death. Peter’s eagerness to erect tents or booths on the spot suggests it occurred during the Jewish weeklong, fall Feast of Booths.
The most important church in the city of Rome dedicated to Our Lady is the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, erected around the year 352, during the reign of Pope Liberius. (352-366) According to legend, a member of an aristocratic family, John and his wife were childless and prayed that the Blessed Mother might designate an heir to bequeath their wealth. They were favored with a dream in which Our Lady appeared to them on the night of August 4-5. She requested that they build a church in her honor on the Esquiline hill and the sign to accompany this dream is that the exact location would be marked out in snow.