Is Saint Christopher still a saint?

Yes he is, so say the Eastern Catholics

Is Saint Christopher still a saint? It’s said that his feast day (July 25) was removed from the universal calendar, but was it? Actually it was not. It was removed from the General Roman Calendar of 1969. Saint Christopher is still liturgically celebrated by the Eastern Catholic Churches and by those churches celebrating the Latin Mass, which follow the General Roman Calendar of 1960.

Saint Christopher is an unnamed martyr who died for Christ either under the Roman Emperor Decius (249–251) or under the Roman Emperor Maximinus II Dacian (308–313). My research leads me to believe that the latter date is accurate.

The Legend of the Christophoros:

The legend is that an evil and gigantic Canaanite man named Reprobus (“reporobate”) was asked by a child to carry him across a river. As Reprobus carried the child, the child became heavier and heavier and nearly drowned the giant Reprobus.

The child revealed Himself as the Christ Child who bore the weight of all the sins of the world, especially those of Reprobus. The evil man repented and was baptized by Christ in that same river. His baptismal name became Christo-Phoros (Christ-bearer) since he ferried the Christ Child across the river.

Christopher is sometimes depicted with the head of a dog, since he was a Canaanite. But the term Canaanite was confused for “canine” meaning “dog.”

The Historical Christophoros:

In my best-selling historical-fiction novel Sword and Serpent (featuring Saint George and Saint Christopher as companions) I follow an alternative history for Saint Christopher that identifies him with the Coptic “Saint Menas.”

Saint Menas is venerated in Egypt and is also said to have carried the Christ Child. He was a Roman solider (like Saint George) who later abandoned the military to live a solitary life of a hermit. The association of Saint Menas with Egypt fits the Roman tradition of “Saint Christopher belonging to the Egyptian “Third Valerian Cohort of the Marmantae.”

Additionally, Christopher and Menas received martyrdom in Antioch, further linking their identity.

My hypothesis is that Menas (from Egypt) was martyred to the north in Antioch. The local Christians were not familiar with him but honored him simply as “he who bore Christ” or “Christophoros” and thus the Antiochian Christians called him “Saint Christopher,” and the Egyptian Christians called him by his actual name: “Saint Menas.”

Saint Christopher in Catholic Novel Format:

I tease out all these traditions in my historical-fiction trilogy Sword and Serpent. In the third novel (Book III: Storm of Fire and Blood; due Christmas 2017), while Saint George and Saint Christopher are in Britain, I have the pagan inhabitants mistaking Saint Christopher for the god Woden for reasons that will be entertaining and apparent if you read the Book II: Tenth Region of the Night.

If you’d like to begin this best-selling “5-star” novel trilogy: Book I Sword and Serpent is on sale today (for the feast of Saint Christopher) for:

(It’s available in Spanish as well: La espada y la serpiente.)

Please grab a copy and enjoy your summer reading! Happy feast of Saint Christopher!

Saint Christopher/Menas, pray for us!

Dr Taylor Marshall

How and Why Catholics can use Language of Imputation

A reader of The Catholic Perspective on Paul, named Dylan asks this question:

I have a question for you from “The Catholic Perspective on Paul.” You make brief conversation about the protestant idea of ‘imputed righteousness’ by way of Luther, but didn’t discuss other verses he may have drawn that idea from. In particular, I know James White (a popular debater on YouTube) likes to quote from Romans 4 and the Psalm therein about the “blessed man to whom the Lord imputes to guilt” and makes a big deal about “God’s imputation of our sins to our account”, saying that even if we can be forgiven by the Sacrament of Penance, we would still be un-blessed because God “blames us” for our sins under the Roman system of Theology. Have you discussed this idea before? I would love to hear your thoughts

I was also curious what translation of the Bible you were quoting from in your books. While similar to the RSV2CE I own, I like many passages you quoted because they seem a bit more poetic than what I’m used to reading. What translation are you using?

Here is my response:

Dylan,

For Luther, Calvin (and White) imputation involves legal fiction. God says we are righteous, but we are not. God says we are not guilty, but we are guilty.
God (in Catholicism) does not impute guilt because Christ has actually taken the guilt away. It’s not legal fiction. The guilt is actually removed by Christ from the sinner’s soul. Hence, it is no longer imputed.
Peter Gertner Crucifixion
  • If Dylan owes me one million dollars, I could just pretend that you don’t owe me (Lutheranism) and say you are forgiven.
  • The Catholic way is that I actually give Dylan a million dollars and the debt is actually paid back to me.
Ultimately, the Lutheran way doesn’t even need Christ to die on the cross since nothing actually needs to be paid or transferred. God the Father just fudges the book-keeping for sinners.
The Catholic actually believes in an ontological (down the being of the soul) change in the soul of the sinner at ontological that is infused with grace, faith, hope, and charity. As long as this bond of charity is preserved, the soul is saved and all the guilt is removed.
I hope that helps.
Godspeed,
Taylor
PS: I use RSV translation but I use my own translation from Greek when I don’t prefer the RSV rendering.

#1 Best-Selling Catholic Fiction Novel on Sale Today at Amazon

April 23 marks the feast of Saint George and to celebrate I’ve asked amazon.com to mark down my #1 Best-Selling historical fiction novel on Saint George title Sword and Serpent: A Retelling of Saint George and the Dragon.

Sword and Serpent has been the best-selling Catholic fiction novel of the last couple years:

Sword and Serpent

The story begins in AD 299 with an orphaned young man (the future Saint George) who begins a laborious journey with his sister to Rome. Along the way he meets figures such as Saint Christopher, Saint Blaise, Saint Nicholas, and others. The story climaxes with a mysterious encounter with an intellectual Dragon – but in a way that you may not be able to imagine yet. Let is suffice to say that it plays into the Catholic tradition of demonic apparitions…

Book Trailer for Sword and Serpent on Youtube:

Here’s one readers review of the novel:

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Today only you can receive Sword and Serpent on sale for only:

Sword and Serpent is part of a 3 Volume Series and the second installment is also a best-seller and available for sale today as well. Part 2, title The Tenth Region of the Night is on sale for:

Sword and Tenth Region on wood

You can also read Father Dwight Longenecker’s glowing review of Sword and Serpent by clicking here.

Please explore the reviews for the Sword and Serpent to discover what people are saying about this new edition of Catholic historical-fiction: Read Reviews of Sword and Serpent.

Happy Feast Day of Saint George!!!

Dr. Taylor Marshall

The Horrific Dream of the Wife of Pontius Pilate (about the Nicene Creed)

Let’s examine at the tradition of Pontius Pilate’s wife and the horrific dream that she had in Matthew 27 and how it relates to the Apostles and Nicene Creed.

St Claudia Pontius Pilate

In our New Saint Thomas Institute Catholic Church History series on the Arian Heresy Controversy and the Council of Constantinople, our student Alicia asks:

Is there a reason why the name of Pontius Pilate was included in the second creed?

Pontius Pilate’s name is in the Creeds because it anchors the life of Christ into human history, specifically Roman history. If you interested in the redemptive meaning of Rome, the Roman Pontius Pilate, and the Roman cross of execution in the redemption of man by a Jewish Messiah, please see my book The Eternal City: Rome and the Origins of Catholicism. 

There is a “tradition” that Pontius Pilate’s wife Claudia Procula had a dream of billions of people chanting “sub Pontio Pilato” over and over and over.

What she was hearing was the billions of Christians who recite “He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.”

Most woman would be honored to know that their husband’s name would be on the lips of billions over a period of 20 centuries. But in the case of this Prefect of Judaea, it is the notorious reputation of being the remote efficient cause of Christ’s crucifixion.

The dream of “Claudia” is referred to in Matthew 27:19:

While Pilate was sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sent him a message: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night, I suffered much on account of him.”

If the tradition is true, she dreamed of the countless recitations and liturgical chants of “under Pontius Pilate.”

Origen is the first to mention that she converted to Christianity. She is a saint. In art, she is depicted as whispering into the ear of Pontius. Mel Gibson’s Passion depicts Claudia giving linens to the Blessed Mother to collect the Blood of Christ from the scourging.

St Claudia cloths to Mary

Saint Claudia, pray for us.

If you’d like to take our courses on Historical Theology, the Creeds, the Councils, and Catholic Tradition, please sign up with us at newsaintthomas.com.

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The CATHOLIC (not Protestant) Perspective on Paul

Happy Feast Day of Saint Paul!

When I was Protestant, we relished in the belief that the Apostle Paul was thoroughly Protestant. We considered him to be the proto-Martin Luther. We believed that Paul taught:

  • justification by faith alone
  • once saved always saved
  • authority of Scripture alone (no Tradition)
  • sacraments as symbolic

However, there were always those little verses in Paul that made me feel uncomfortable. Here were things that we tried to ignore:

  • Paul rejoiced in being celibate – I didn’t know any celibate Protestant pastors that spoke like Paul did
  • Paul called himself “Father” in relation to his converts – he once refers to his ministry as “priestly”
  • he speaks of baptism transformative and saving
  • he speaks of obedience and good works quite often
  • he holds out the possibility that he might forfeit his own salvation through infidelity

This passages kept bubbling up until at last I saw that Protestantism couldn’t hold all the tension within these passages…and so I became Catholic.

After entering the Catholic Church, I wrote a simple and systematic explanation of nearly every major Catholic doctrine within the writings of Saint Paul. Not only does the book walk you step by step through Paul’s thoroughly sacramental and ecclesial theology, it also includes an appendix with all the verses in Paul – a kind of Pauline cheat sheet for Catholic theology. This appendix will save you hours of time looking for passages. It already arranged for you.

To celebrate Saint Paul’s own conversion, this book is half price today (and down to only $0.99 on Kindle): The Catholic Perspective on Paul. This is a great resource for anyone interested in Apologetics, Pauline theology, New Testament studies, or for anyone who wants to become familiar with Paul’s letters. Check out the Table of Contents and read a free sample here:

If you’ve read the book already, please leave a review by clicking here. I’d love to read your thoughts and I’d be grateful for your review.

Saint Paul, pray for us.

Happy Feast Day of Saint Paul,

Taylor Marshall

Our Winners for the Tenth Region of the Night Book

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Tenth Region of the Night Book Launch Party.

My new best-selling Catholic historical fiction novel about early Catholic saints, Tenth Region of the Night, is now on sale (a few dollars cheaper) for the next few days, if you’d like to get a copy.

Here are the winners of our contests:

Take an Epic #Selfie with the Book
(Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

Winner: Mari Webber with this photo from Germany with depictions of two characters from the books: Saint George and Saint Nicholas

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Thanks for the awesome photo, Mari and thanks for our “smoking St Nicholas.”

Just Get the Book Contest (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card)

Winner: Armando Javier Arteaga.

I hope you enjoyed the novel Armando!

Christmas Contest (Prize: an iPad Mini mailed to your house! AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

David W. Warner

Review the Novel at Amazon.com (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

John M. Sengenberger II for his review on amazon.com:

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To read more reviews of the novel, click here.

Write a Blog Post about Sword and Serpent
(Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card)

Winner: Catherine T. Mohs with her excellent review of the book that you can read on her blog at: The Tenth Region of the Night: Sword and Serpent Book II Review.

Thanks Catherine!

Facebook The Book (Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card)

Winners: Alan and Julie McCabe

Thanks for sharing on Facebook!

Thank you to the hundreds that participated. I wish I could send a prize to you all. Thank you so much for supporting the book. It means so much to me.

Godspeed,
Taylor Marshall

Catholic Video: 3 Facts about Saint Nicholas!

Happy feastday of Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick. Here’s a short Catholic video giving you 3 “Catholic talking points” or facts about Saint Nicholas that you can share at the office cocktail party this Advent:

To begin watching this video, click here:

Did you find this video interesting or helpful?

Please share this on Facebook with your family and friends by clicking here:

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Looking for a Bestselling Historical Fiction Novel about Saint Nicholas? Check out my novel: Sword and Serpent (and its best-selling sequel Tenth Region of the Night) at amazon.com:

Sword and Tenth Region on wood

Orthodox Catholic Fiction Novel = #1 Bestseller in Youth Historical/Action

Dear Readers and Listeners,

In 2014, I published a historical fiction novel about the legend of Saint George and the dragon (titled Sword and Serpent) that debuted at #1 on Amazon.com in Young Adult Religious at both Historical and Action!!! I’m grateful to everyone who read it and reviewed it!

Sword and Tenth Region on wood

Yesterday I published the sequel to Sword and Serpent titled The Tenth Region of the Night: Sword and Serpent Book IIIt also has reached #1 Bestseller status in those categories as well as in “Hot New Releases.”

Tenth Region Number 1

The new novel’s cover depicts a Greek ouroboros – a snake eating itself. Evil always turns in on itself – and this is the plot of the novel. Just before daybreak (what the Egyptians call the “Tenth Region of the Night”), evil is thoroughly destroyed by the dawning light – Saint George, the martyrs, and Constantine’s conversion.

If you’d like to immerse yourself into the life of early persecuted Christians (circa AD 299) with the likes of Saint George (Jurian), Saint Nicholas (Nikolaos), Saint Christopher (Menas), Saint Catherine (Aikaterina), Constantine, and Saint Helen, then please explore these novels.

It’s what would happen if you mishmashed stories like The Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings, and Hunger Games with historic truths about relics, miracles, bilocating saints, popes, and self-sacrifice. What if epic adventures didn’t have in a far away fantasy world…but happened in the Roman Empire in AD 299. That’s this story…and it has something like a dragon it!

Just like last time, we are having a Launch Party to get the word out with prizes.

How To Join the Party and Get FREE Books (hashtag: #SwordAndSerpent #TenthRegion)

Here are 8 epic ways you can do epic things and win epic stuff:

1. Take an Epic #Selfie with the Book
(Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

HOW TO ENTER: Take a photo with the book The Tenth Region of the Night. Extra points will be awarded for costumes or exotic places. The more epic, the more likely you are to win. Take a photo, post it on Facebook and then send an email to swordandserpent+selfie@gmail.com with a link to your picture.

RULES:

  • This is not a random drawing. This is a performance-based contest that will be judged. Be epic. Get the family to dress up as Jurian, Sabra, Aikaterina, Menas, Helena, et al. and snap a selfie with the book. Or maybe take a photo of yourself holding the book in someplace amazing. If you get a photo of yourself standing next to Pope Francis holding the book, you win hands down!
  • Selfies with any version of the The Tenth Region count (printed, ebook).

2. Create The Tenth Region of the Night Cocktail/Beverage (Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card)

HOW TO ENTER: That’s right mixologists, here’s a contest for you! Using ideas, concepts, locations, items, people, or ingredients mentioned in the book Tenth Region (Saint Anastasia is a pharmacist in the novel!), create the official The Tenth Region of the Night cocktail or beverage. Send an email to swordandserpent+drink@gmail.com and write down the recipe, take a photo of the drink, and the explain how it relates to the book.

RULES:

  • This is not a drawing. It is performance based. The best concotion wins.
  • The drink need not be alcoholic. It could be a kid’s milk shake or soda concoction. Or it could be “Menas Mojito” inspired by dragons, the Aikaterina Sleeper Martini, Constantine, and/or the sword of Saint George. Get epic. Get crazy. Have fun with it. Take pics.

3. Just Get the Book Contest (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card)

HOW TO ENTER: Buy just one copy of The Tenth Region of the Night and then send an email to swordandserpent+boughtbook@gmail.com simply stating “I bought a copy.” If you buy more than one copy, please send one email for each copy you bought. *If you already reviewed the novel before today and emailed me about it, you’re already entered into this contest.

You can get a copy of The Tenth Region of the Night by clicking here. 

RULES:

  • You can enter for each copy purchased. (For example, if you buy four copies, send an email saying “I bought 4” in the subject line.)
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24.

4. Christmas Contest (Prize: an iPad Mini mailed to your house! AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

HOW TO ENTER: Several reviewers on amazon.com said that Sword and Serpent would be a perfect Christmas gift. This contest honors Saint Nicholas who is an important character in the book – it’s also his feast day this week. To win this prize, purchase at least 4 copies (1 for yourself and 3 as gifts to give away at Christmas) and send an email to swordandserpent+gifts@gmail.com. You can order copies by clicking here.

RULES:

  • You must purchase at least 4 copies to enter.
  • If you purchase multiples of 4, you can enter that many times (8 copies = 2 entries; 12 copies = 3 entries; 80 copies = 20 entries – enter how many copies you got in the subject line: “I got 8 copies as Christmas gifts” – that’s 2 entries in this prize)
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24 and will receive an iPad for free.

5. Review the Novel at Amazon.com (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

HOW TO ENTER: Read the book and leave a friendly review at amazon.com. Next, send an email to swordandserpent+reviewed@gmail.com with a link to your review.

RULES:

  • Please leave a review at amazon.com before December 24.
  • Even though GoodReads is not a retailer, we’ll count GoodReads reviews too. So if you review at Amazon and goodreads, that’s two entries. Way to go! Click here for GoodReeds reviews.
  • Send an email to swordandserpent+reviewed@gmail.com with a link to your review.
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24.

6. Write a Blog Post about Sword and Serpent
(Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card + a promo link to your blog from my blog)

HOW TO ENTER: Write a blog post about The Tenth Region of the Night with the amazon link to the book in your review. Next, send an email to swordandserpent+blog@gmail.com with a link to your review.

RULES:

  • The post does not have to be a “book review.” It can be a theological reflection or an interview with me about the book.
  • Please include the amazon.com link: http://amzn.to/2gOQq3N
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24.

7. Facebook The Book (Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card)

HOW TO ENTER: Write an update on your Facebook wall about Sword and Serpent and include a link to the amazon link and the link to the book trailer. Next send an email to swordandserpent+facebook@gmail.com.

Please use this photo and this link to the book: http://amzn.to/2gOQq3N

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RULES:

8. Book Club Contest (Prize $75 Gift Card to Restaurant and Skype Chat with Me and your Group AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

HOW TO ENTER: Gather a book group of at least five friends who will read the The Tenth Region of the Night and meet to discuss. The winner will get a $75 restaurant gift certificate to pay for food or drinks for your book club. I will also sit down with you via internet interview in Skype or Google Hangout for 15 minutes to talk about the book and answer group questions. Send an email to swordandserpent+bookclub@gmail.com with a link to an Evite or other online invitation showing four or more attendees.

RULES:

  • The primary purpose of the meeting should be discussion of The Tenth Region of the Night.
  • One entry per group.
  • You can choose the restaurant, but please find one that has gift cards so I can pay for it.
  • Winner will be drawn at random.
  • I will arrange my schedule around the winner’s book club meeting to do the Skype interview. It’ll be fun!

Okay, there are the 8 contests. They all end on Dec 24 2016. Get busy taking epic selfies. By the way the easiest contest to win is #3 – Just Get the Book: The Tenth Region of the Night.

To everyone who already made The Tenth Region of the Night possible and helped it get to #1, THANK YOU!

Happy winnings and Happy Advent!

Saint George, pray for us!
Taylor

Epic Book Trailer for Sword and Serpent, Book I:

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Saint George pray for us,
Taylor Marshall

Saint Nicholas is smoking incense in our kitchen!

Check out this incense smoking Saint Nicholas “nutcracker” statue.

Mari Webber, New Saint Thomas Institute Member and Sword and Serpent Launch Team member (and Our Lady of Guadalupe NSTI Pilgrim) purchased in Germany this beautiful smoking Saint Nicholas for our family. Our children love it! Thanks Mari for your generosity!

You place incense inside of him and he blows the incense smoke out of his mouth, as if he is smoking his pipe:

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and here is Mari taking an “epic selfie” with a copy of Sword and Serpent in Germany:

Epic Selfie #1

Thank you Mari for our smoking German Saint Nick!

Happy Advent to everyone!

Godspeed,

Taylor Marshall

Get a free pre-release copy of Sword and Serpent Book 2!

It’s finally ready. The sequel to my best-selling Catholic historical fiction novel Sword and Serpent about Saint George, Saint Christopher, Saint Nicholas, and Constantine is ready for printing.

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Book 1 – Book 2 is on it’s way. Cover art coming soon.

The title of the new book is The Tenth Region of the Night: Sword and Serpent Book II. I’ll be sharing cover art soon.

The title refers to an Egyptian myth about a serpent that is killed just before the dawn of the day – at the tenth region of the night. Book II begins in Egypt with Jurian (Saint George) meeting Aikaterina (the historical Saint Catherine of Alexandria). The new book features Constantine (as in Sword and Serpent) and includes Saint Helen his mother and a number of newly included saints.

In my opinion, Book 2 is better than Sword and Serpent Book 1!

My publication team will be choosing 200 “Tenth Region Launch Team” readers who will receive an advanced free digital before the publication date and their name printed in the back of the book with a thank you message from me.

Here is who we are looking for in our Launch Team:

  1. Readers who have read Sword and Serpent Book 1 already
  2. Readers who can read the book in about 1 week
  3. Readers who are willing to promote the book with a tweet or Facebook or Instagram post
  4. Readers who are willing to write a review on Amazon.com
  5. Readers who won’t share or publish their advanced digital copy to the public

So if you’d like to get an advanced copy and read it before the book is published for the public (and have your name printed in the book), please apply using this form:

Click here to join the Sword and Serpent 2 Launch Team!

I look forward to sending out a free copy to you!

Godspeed,
Taylor Marshall

PS: Palabra press in Madrid Spain is about to release the Spanish translation of Sword and Serpent Book 1 – La Espada y La Serpient. If you know any Spanish speakers who love Catholic fiction, please tell them about this upcoming release!

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