22 August: “Nate, nate, Symphoriane!”

In the traditional Roman calendar, today is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In the newer calendar it is the memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Either way it is also the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth Field.

In the 2005 Roman Martyrology we find the entry for St. Symphorianus (he and others had a commemoration in the 1962 Missale Romanum today). He is the patron of Autun, and he was killed during the time of Marcus Aurelius.

This is an interesting entry because it contains a quotation.

2. Augustoduni in Gallia Lugdunensi, sancti Symphoriani, martyris, quem, dum ad supplicium ducebatur, de muro urbis mater commonuit dicens: “Nate, nate, Symphoriane, in mente habe Deum vivum. Hodei tibi vita non tollitur, sed mutatur in melius”.


The phrase “vita mutatur non tollitur” is in the Preface for Masses for the Dead. “Life is changed, not ended.” I am sure this is from St. Augustine, though I can’t remember where off the top of my head and I can’t look it up right now.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. And in the EF, St. Symphoriam (along with Sts. Timotheus and Hippolytus) is commemorated today with 2nd propers (collect, secret, and postcommunion).

  2. asperges says:

    Re Bosworth Field (about 20 miles from here):

    A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

    Withdraw, my lord; I’ll help you to a horse.

    Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
    And I will stand the hazard of the die:
    I think there be six Richmonds in the field;
    Five have I slain to-day instead of him.
    A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

    (Richard iii, Act V)

  3. Tom in NY says:

    “In Autun, Lyon, France, the commemoration of St. Symphorianus, a martyr, whom his mother addressed from the city walls, while he was being led to torture, saying, ‘Be born, be born, Symphorianus, keep the living God on your mind. Today, life is not taken away from you, but changed for the better. ‘ ”

    “Vita mutatur, non tollitur” is often included when I receive an alumni message to pray for the departed.
    Salutationes omnibus

  4. Tom in NY: “Be born”

    What would happen if “nate” were vocative?

  5. Tom in NY says:

    Si casu vocativo sit, anglice, “son”.
    Tibi gratias ago.

  6. Tom in NY: ,b>“son”

    Which is, of course, the correct rendering of nate.

    Nate, as an imperative, would have to be something like “Ya’ll have a swim!”

  7. Random Friar says:

    “Life is changed not ended” — I have seen it used online by some to refer to their new life in wedded bliss.

  8. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Two intersting references to the Church of St. Symphorian (as he is Englished by Lewis Thorpe) occur in St. Gregory of Tours’ ‘History of the Franks’ (II. 15 and VIII.30).

    St. Gregory’s accounts of what various Christian Frankish kings and princes did, tend to make plausible the More-Shakespeare version of the history Richard III – which fortunately need not tempt one to abandon well-weighed Riccardianism!

  9. Andrew says:

    Mirus ardor in matre, et vix credibilis fortitudo.

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