July 1st: Saint Nicasius
Martyr of the Order of Saint John and of Rhodes and of Malta
Nicasius was the grandson of one of the last emirs of Sicily, who had been converted by Roger of Normandy (or perhaps converted because of Roger). Nicasius was born about 1135 in Sicily, possibly in Palermo, into the Kameti family, later know as ‘de Burgo’.
He joined the Order of Saint John as a knight, as did his brother Ferrandino.
They answered the call of Roger des Moulins and travelled to the Holy Land where Nicasius was martyred in 1187.
He fought in the great siege of Acre (1187-1191). According to one tradition he was captured there and beheaded with many others, including his brother Ferrandino.
According to another tradition, he was captured during the disastrous battle of The Horns of Hattin and was decapitated in the presence of Saladin after refusing to convert to Islam.
Saint Nicasius, as a Knight of Saint John, you gave your life in the Holy Land in defense of Christendom. Pray for the Order of Saint John and for peace in the Holy Land.
O God, every year you give us joy in the commemoration of your martyr, blessed Nicasius: Grant that through his prayers and example the companions of our Order may grow in faith and always follow you with all their hearts.
This information was provided by Fra’ James-Michael von Stroebel. Click here to view the complete Calendar of Liturgical Celebrations Proper to the Order.
Pictured above is Madonna and Child Between St. Francis and St. Nicasius.