Monday, 15 November 2010

Happy St Albert's Day

Today is the feast of St Albert the Great, or Albertus Magnus. St Albert was a Dominican academic and bishop who lived in the thirteenth century. At this time, universities were emerging in Europe, and there was an upsurge of interest in scientific ideas from the ancient Greece that were being transmitted via the Arab world. However, since these ideas had been originated by pagans and transmitted by Muslims, these was some suspicion of them in the Christian Church. St Albert was prominent in teaching that faith must be compatible with reason, and that therefore Christians should not be afraid to embrace scientific knowledge - a teaching as valuable today as it was then. As a result, he's considered the Patron Saint of Scientists, and has the title Doctor of the Church, which is given to those saints who are particularly important for their scholarship and teaching. One of his pupils was St. Thomas Aquinas, usually regarded as the greatest theologian of the Middle Ages.

So, Happy Saint Albert's Day, everybody!