St Bassian the Bishop of Lodi in Lombardy

Saint Bassian, Bishop of Lodi, was a friend of St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (December 7). St Bassian’s father governed the Syracuse region (in Sicily) and he prepared his son to follow in his footsteps. He sent him to Rome to receive his education. While still in his childhood St Bassian had heard about the Christians and he wanted to learn more about them and become familiar with the Christian Faith. Gordian the priest taught him the essentials of the Christian Faith, and the youth was filled with the desire to accept Baptism. At the time of the performing of the Mystery St Bassian beheld an angel in the Baptismal font, holding the garment in which the newly-baptized would be clothed. The saint made bold to ask who he was and where he was from. The angel replied that he was sent from afar to help him fulfill his holy intent to know Christ. Then he became invisible.

St Bassian began to lead a strict life, eating little food, and spending his nights at prayer. His servants were astonished at such temperance, and they surmised that he had accepted Christianity. They reported about this to St Bassian’s father, who ordered him to return to Syracuse. Praying in the church of St John the Theologian, the saint received from the Apostle the command to leave Rome. And so St Bassian distributed all his substance to the poor and together with his faithful Christian servant, he set off to Ravenna to his kinsman, Bishop Ursus.

Bishop Ursus set him up at a solitary place outside the city near the church in honor of the Hieromartyr Apollinarius. St Bassian quickly advanced spiritually, and soon he was glorified by miracles. During this time a judge had been falsely accused and was sentenced to death by decapitation. Along the way to he prayerfully called out for help to St Bassian. When the executioner was already holding the sword over his head, the sword suddenly was knocked from his hands and flew off to the side. This occurred three times. The same thing happened with another executioner. When they reported this to the Emperor, the Emperor set the judge free. He then told how he had been saved through the intercession of St Bassian.

The people of the city, believing that the prayer of St Bassian was powerful before God, asked Bishop Ursus to ordain him to the priesthood. Upon the death of the bishop of the city of Lodium (Lodi in Liguria, Northern Italy), the priest Clement of the cathedral church had a revelation that St Bassian would be chosen Bishop of Lodium. Both St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, and Bishop Ursus officiated at at his consecration.

St Bassian taught the people not only by word, but also by deed, providing his flock example of a virtuous life. At Lodi he built a beautiful church dedicated to the holy Apostles. St Bassian often exchanged letters with St Ambrose, and he was present at his blessed repose, and buried his body.

St Bassian died peacefully in the year 430, having served as archbishop for 35 years.