Saint Vaast (Vedast, Vedastus) of Arras, †540

St. Vedast

Another pre-schism Saint who has been recognized in the West as an intercessor for disabled people, especially those with eye diseases, is Saint Vaast of Arras, also known as St. Vedastus, the name listed in Alcuin’s extended account below, written around 800 A.D.

He also instructed St. Clovis of the Franks toward baptism into Christ.


You may also access Alcuin’s account at the website below:

(This translation was prepared from the MGH text by Mark Lasnier, University of Kansas, 1996.)

An excerpt:

Having accepted the rank of bishop and the office of preaching he was roused to go and proceed to that city; but in token of future prosperity and salvation, through the testimony of certain miracles, God announced Vedastus’ entry to the citizens.
At the city gate, two needy and infirm men, one blind, the other lame, barred his way, asking in pitiable voices for alms from the man of God. The priest of Christ, immediately feeling their misery, considered what he might be able to offer them. And when he realized he didn’t have any money in his sack, relying on the mercy of God and comforted by the example of the holy apostles Peter and John, the apostolic preacher said “I have neither gold nor silver with me; however, what I have, that is, responsibilities of charity and pious prayers to God, these I will not hesitate to offer to you.” (Acts 3:6) And after these words, the man of God, touched in his innermost heart for their misery, shed tears for their misery and with purity of faith asked a divine act for their bodies and for the spiritual health of the people present. Nor could such pious and necessary prayers be ineffectual, but according to him who said through the prophet Isaiah “At the proper time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I aided you” (Isaiah 69:8). Soon both received their longed-for health in the sight of the multitude; the one given the clearness of sight, the other rejoicing in his speed of foot. They returned home, both giving thanks to supernal piety, carrying away greater things than the the money for which they had hoped.

Image from a third source: 

Contemporary Cases of Miraculous Help

Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov

The website listed below begins with the Preface, followed by two articles, “Miracles and Reality,” by Fr. Savva Scherbin, and “How to Treat Miracles,” by Fr. Alexander Soyuzov.  These articles help the reader to receive the accounts with the appropriate attitude, according to the Orthodox Christian Way.

The table of contents for the many accounts of miracles can be found by scrolling up from these introductory articles. Here is the URL of the site:



Among the accounts: Healed of Blindness. ; The Mentally Retarded Girl. ; The Mute Started Talking. (accounts involving persons with disability)

The last three listings are also for the purpose of guiding us in receiving these accounts properly, for our spiritual health, body, soul, and spirit:

Instead of an Epilogue by Fr. Boris Balashov {followed by About Miracles and Signs)  by St. Isaac the Syrian and About Miracles and Sorrows by Bishop Ignatius (Bryanchaninov)}

May these accounts lift up your hearts to the Lord, that you may praise Him. And to put the accounts into their proper perspective in God’s economy, read the other articles as well.

Icon from

Please join the discussion! Linked In: Orthodox Christian Disability Advocates

An online discussion concerning issues related to the current state of Orthodox Christian response to persons with disabilities (both mental and physical): 

Linked In: Orthodox Christian Disability Advocates 

If you become a member you can not only respond to discussions; you can begin one.

A Letter to the Church

This is a letter from a woman named Monica, an autist. It is a challenge, a plea, to the Orthodox Church to take responsibility for people with autism, mental illness, and developmental disabilities. She writes,

. . . . Church is inclusive in that there are no statements made regarding salvation of people with brain differences, people with mental problems, people whose IQ scores do not reach triple digits etc. Quite the opposite, it is frequently stated that the Church believes that Gods mercy most certainly extends to people such as us, and He’ll know what to do with us.

I fully agree, He certainly will. Yet by stating that God will know what to do with us, you make it abundantly clear that you do not. By stating that because of a disorder, there’s no responsibility for our salvation on our part, and God will know what to do, you basically absolve yourself of responsibility as well.

God will know, we can be sure of that and freely depend on His mercy. Yet what are you doing in the meantime? . . .

She continues:

. . . . We want to grow closer to God, . . .  we just don’t always do well with the available tools, and need a hand finding those that do work. We want to be a part of the Church, and part of our churches. We need your help.

Please read the entire letter; it’s not long. Really, it sums up everything Arms Open Wide is about- developing our Orthodox Christian understanding of how to serve and involve in our Church life, our Divine-human life, the life which is life indeed, both those among us as well as those out there who may well come to be among us who are different, and those who are disabled.

To access:

A Letter to the Church

Victoria M. Kattouf, Visionary – ☦2011

My wife and I visited Victoria Kattouf’s parish, St. George Church in Altoona, Pennsylvania, a  number of years ago to hear a guest speaker, and we met her and her son, Subdeacon Gregory, who has Down Syndrome. We had a conversation with both of them; they seemed to us to be very devoted people. Victoria Kattouf died four years ago today, at the age of 91. The three webpages below consist of two obituaries, both of which refer to her zealous advocacy for people with disabilities. The second webpage has a picture of her and her son. The third relates the story of Gregory’s elevation to the subdiaconate. 

Victoria Kattouf remembered as visionary in regard to creating opportunities for people with disabilities 

Victoria M. Kattouf

Subdeacon Gregory Kattouf

January 24: The Feast of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg ☦1798

St. Xenia of Petersburg

  The following webpage describes the celebration of the feast of St. Xenia of Petersburg at the St. Elizabeth Convent in Minsk, Russia. St. Xenia is the Convent’s patron saint. First, there is the Divine Liturgy. First things first. Then there is a dinner, where many loving thoughts and feelings are shared:

Day of St Xenia of Petersburg, Our Patron Saint

 St. Xenia is known to be an effective intercessor for those without a home or a job, or with an illness of some sort. She also has been recommended as an intercessor for those with mental illness.  Her feast day is January 24, New Calendar, February 4, Old Calendar.
 St. Xenia Orthodox Church in Methuen, MA (USA) devotes a troparion and a story of her life to their webpage: 
Here is the Orthodox Church of America’s page devoted to St. Xenia: 
Here is another life of St. Xenia by Nun Nectaria McLees, as well as an Orthodox Christian ballad by Kathleen Patitsas with introductions byArchimandrite Nektarios Serfes on his website: 

A life of St. Xenia of Petersburg with two troparions and a kontakion on the webpage of Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church, 2049 Argyle Ave. Los Angeles, California 90068: 

Another life of St. Xenia,  with two excellent holy icons of her, from St. Xenia Cathedral in Kanata, Ontario, Canada:

Icon from Orthodoxy in NWA:

Saint Cadoc of Llancarvan †580

 St. Cadoc is commemorated by the Orthodox Church on January 24.

He is counted in the West to be an intercessor for persons with hearing problems and deafness, as well as scrofula and glandular disorders. He was from Wales. 

A monastic, he spread the faith of Christ in both Wales and Brittany (Northern France), establishing Churches in these places. In addition to the monastery at Llancarvan in Wales, he built a stone monastery in Scotland.  He also lived with St. Gildas as a hermit on a small island off the coast of Brittany for a time. 

Sources Venerable Cadoc, Abbot of Llancasrfan in Wales 

The Wikipedia entry on St. Cadoc  associates him with King Arthur. There is also mention of the locale in Brittany where “he is called upon to cure the deaf:” 

Source of Icon: Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries:

Blog Stats

  • 101,765 hits
February 2016
« Jan    


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 679 other followers

%d bloggers like this: