Thursday 22 February 2024

Saints of Empire Saints Alive! Volume 1 - Andrew M. Seddon - News Stories of Old Saints Second Edition

Saints of Empire
Saints Alive! Volume 1
News Stories of Old Saints 
Second Edition
Far Wanderings
ISBN 9798851917714

Saints of Empire Saints Alive! Volume 1 - Andrew M. Seddon - News Stories of Old Saints Second Edition

I am so glad to see this book back in print in a revised or second edition. I have recommended the two volumes in this series many times over the years. I absolutely love the books, and still hope that someday Seddon might expand the series. When I found out they were back in print I picked up the eBook of both the volumes and the new edition that has both in a single edition. I can easily recommend this book and series!

In the forward to the second edition Seddon states:

“Pope Benedict XVI declared the year beginning in October 2012 to be the “Year of Faith”: A year for Christians to examine, deepen, express, and share their faith—the Faith of the Church, the Faith of the saints, the Faith that the world desperately needs. Although that year has passed, yet the need for modern Christian saints remains. I pray that this book may be some small inspiration to those seeking to follow in the footsteps of our Savior.”

The description of this book is:

“Saints Of The Early Church Come Alive!

These stories of saints of the early Christian Church bring the humanity, as well as the sanctity, of early Christians to life. Drawing his inspiration from traditional hagiography, Andrew Seddon shows that these early Christians were people like us, who had to struggle as we do to live out their faith. Each story focuses on a defining moment in the saint’s life that illuminates the nature of that holy man or woman’s Christian walk, in a way that can challenge modern readers.

You’ll get fresh insights into saints still known and loved today, such as the early martyrs St. Cecilia and St. Ignatius of Antioch, and you may find yourself inspired by others you’ve never heard of before, such as the diminutive desert monk, St. John the Dwarf, or the reformed harlot, St. Pelagia. The engaging stories of Saints of Empire will delight young and old alike.”

I read an advanced copy of Saints Alive Volume II - Celtic Paths a number of years ago and loved these books ever since. After reading the first story in the new volume I went back and purchased the first edition of this volume and alternately read chapters in each book. I have read each of the two volumes at least three times.

Now let us focus on Saints of Empire, Saints Alive Volume I. This wonderful little volume with take you many places and give 12 examples of faith. The stories are written around legends of saints, to quote the introduction: "Edification was their reason for existence. The hagiographers were concerned that the lives, deeds, words, and examples of the saints would endure, encouraging and inspiring later generations of Christians." The saints who's stories we evaluate in this volume are:

1. Wheat of Lions - St. Ignatius of Antioch - Rome, c.107
2. Ariadne's Angels - St. Ariadne - Phrygia, c.117-161
3. The Informer - St. Cecilia - Rome, c. 177-250
4. The Governor's Eyes - St. Sabinus - Etruria, c.303
5. A Vision of Theodota - St. Anastasia - Illyricum, c.304
6. The Sword of Dioscorus - St. Barbara - Heliopolis in Syria, c. 304
7. Relics - St. Boniface of Tarsus - Rome, c. 306
8. The Fortieth Martyr - The Forty Martyrs of Sebastea - Armenia, 320
9. The Lure of Terenuthis - St. John the Dwarf - Egypt, c.390
10. The End of the Games - St. Telemachus - Rome, c. 404
11. Bishop Martin's Cloak - St. Martin of Tours - Gaul, c.407
12. The Penitent Pigeon - St. Pelagia & St. Nonnus - Antioch, Late 400s.

Some of the Saints will be familiar but others will likely not be. Seddon has chosen to present lesser known stories for some saints and some he focuses on other characters. Each story entertains, and will also challenge readers. Even reading this volume for the fourth time, I found myself praying and pausing to reflect on some of the incidents in the stories. Is that not what the Saints are supposed to do. Seddon also states: "These stories are not strict retelling of the lives of the saints involved and should not be read as such. They are, rather, literary creations, tales based upon an incident in the life of a saint. They do, however, contain as much factual detail as could reasonably be accommodated." This book was an amazing read and left me wanting to read more. Thankfully Seddon provides extensive notes and list of resources at the end of the book. I loved this book and have already read it twice and know I will read it again. I cannot give it a higher recommendation.

I love this book and series and am very thankful it is back in print, I can easily recommend them. It is great for readers of all ages. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Andrew M. Seddon:
Walking with the Celtic Saints (with Neil & Gerlinde Kennedy-Jones)
Dr. Andrew's Curious and Quirky Compendium

Historical Fiction:
Imperial Legions

Saints Alive Series:

Saints Alive Second Editions:

Stories Of The Supernatural:
What Darkness Remains
In Death Survive
Science Fiction:
Red Planet Rising
Iron Scepter
The DeathCats of Asa’ican and Other Tales of a Space-Vet
Wreaths of Empire

German Shepherd Wanderings Series:
Bonds of Affection
Ranger's First Call

Contributed to:
Sky Songs
Sky Songs II
Fungi #20
Unintended Consequences
Silent Screams: An Anthology of Socially Conscious Dark Fiction
Eldritch Embraces: Putting the Love Back in Lovecraft
Tails from the Front Lines
Legends of Sleepy Hallow
Wolf Wanderings

Saints of Empire Saints Alive! Volume 1 - Andrew M. Seddon News Stories of Old Saints  Second Edition

Celtic Paths Saints Alive! Volume 2 - Andrew M. Seddon News Stories of Old Saints  Second Edition

Saints Alive! Volume 1 and 2 - Andrew M. Seddon News Stories of Old Saints

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