Saint of the day:
Saint Eusbius of Vercelli
Patron Saint of Vercelli
Saint Eusebius of Vercelli’s Story
Someone has said that if there had been no Arian heresy denying Christ’s divinity, it would be very difficult to write the lives of many early saints. Eusebius is another of the defenders of the Church during one of its most trying periods.
Born on the isle of Sardinia, he became a member of the Roman clergy, and is the first recorded bishop of Vercelli in Piedmont in northwest Italy. Eusebius was also the first to link the monastic life with that of the clergy, establishing a community of his diocesan clergy on the principle that the best way to sanctify his people was to have them see a clergy formed in solid virtue and living in community.
He was sent by Pope Liberius to persuade the emperor to call a council to settle Catholic-Arian troubles. When it was called at Milan, Eusebius went reluctantly, sensing that the Arian block would have its way, although the Catholics were more numerous. He refused to go along with the condemnation of Saint Athanasius; instead, he laid the Nicene Creed on the table and insisted that all sign it before taking up any other matter. The emperor put pressure on him, but Eusebius insisted on Athanasius’ innocence and reminded the emperor that secular force should not be used to influence Church decisions. At first the emperor threatened to kill him, but later sent him into exile in Palestine. There the Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up in a little room, releasing him only after his four-day hunger strike. They resumed their harassment shortly after.
His exile continued in Asia Minor and Egypt, until the new emperor permitted him to be welcomed back to his see in Vercelli. Eusebius attended the Council of Alexandria with Athanasius and approved the leniency shown to bishops who had wavered. He also worked with Saint Hilary of Poitiers against the Arians.
Eusebius died peacefully in his own diocese at an advanced age.
Cattedrale di Vercelli
(Cathedral of Vercelli)
Piazza S. Eusebio
13100 Vercelli, Italy
*This church is dedicated to St Eusebius of Vercelli. During his life he strenuously opposed the heresy of Arianism. In 355 AD at a synod in Milan his refusal to accept Arianism led to his exile. During this time he suffered greatly especially at the hands of an Arian bishop in Syria.
Some years later he was granted his freedom and eventually returned to Vercelli.
*An altar on the left side of the nave contains an urn with the remains of St Eusebius.
We are celebrating with an Italian recipe because our Saint is the Patron Saint of Vercelli.
Potato Gnocchi with Rocket Pesto & Walnuts
(fresh arugula walnut pesto)
1 kg waxy potatoes (like a fingerling)
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1 pinch salt and pepper
50 g rocket
50 g walnuts
50 g parmigiano reggiano
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbls lemon juice
1 pinch salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and roast potatoes for 45-60mins depending on size. If they are really large you may wish to impale them with a metal skewer to ensure they cook through.
Chop potatoes in half and place skin side up in a potato ricer or on top of a sieve and push through in to a bowl leaving the skins behind.
While still hot mix through flour, salt and pepper. Turn dough out on to a floured surface and divide in to 4 portions. Roll each portion in to a 2cm thin log and chop in to bite sized pillows.
Leave aside on a tray while preparing the pesto. Ensure that the pieces are not
touching and are dusted with flour so they do not stick.
Slice or dice parmesan to ensure it processes evenly and add last 6 ingredients from the list in to a food processor or blender and process until combined but still chunky.
Boil a large pot of well salted water and add the gnocchi.
Remove when they rise to the surface, toss through the pesto and serve!
Makes 4 generous servings.
Tip: Both Gnocchi and Pesto freeze well, freeze gnocchi uncooked and place straight in to boiling water. Stash in the freezer for a fantastic quick meal.