Tuesday, April 04, 2006
St. Isidore of Seville: Patron Saint of the Internet  

Today is the optional memorial of St. Isidore of Seville, Spain. He is a doctor of the Church, and, if not officially, at least somewhat officially, he has been made the patron saint of the Internet. He is also the patron of computer technicians, computer users, computers, schoolchildren and students.
Son of Severianus and Theodora, people known for their piety. Brother of Saint Fulgentius, Saint Florentina, and Saint Leander of Seville, who raised him after their father's death. Initially a poor student, he gave the problem over to God and became one of the most learned men of his time. Priest. Helped his brother Leander, archbishop of Seville, in the conversion the Visigoth Arians. Hermit.

Archbishop of Seville c.601, succeeding his brother to the position. Teacher, founder, reformer. Required seminaries in every diocese, wrote a rule for religious orders. Prolific writer including a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of Goths, and a history of the world beginning with creation. Completed the Mozarabic liturgy which is still in use in Toledo, Spain. Presided at the Second Council of Seville, and the Fourth Council of Toledo. Introduced the works of Aristotle to Spain. Source
He is the patron of the Internet because much of his own writing consisted in gathering together the wisdom of previous generations in order to make available for his contemporaries.
As a writer, Isidore was prolific and versatile to an extraordinary degree. His voluminous writings may be truly said to constitute the first chapter of Spanish literature. It is not, however, in the capacity of an original and independent writer, but as an indefatigable compiler of all existing knowledge, that literature is most deeply indebted to him. The most important and by far the best-known of all his writings is the "Etymologiae", or "Origines", as it is sometimes called. This work takes its name from the subject-matter of one of its constituent books. It was written shortly before his death, in the full maturity of his wonderful scholarship, at the request of his friend Braulio, Bishop of Saragossa. It is a vast storehouse in which is gathered, systematized, and condensed, all the learning possessed by his time. Throughout the greater part of the Middle Ages it was the textbook most in use in educational institutions. So highly was it regarded as a depository of classical learning that in a great measure, it superseded the use of the individual works of the classics themselves. Not even the Renaissance seemed to diminish the high esteem in which it was held, and according to Arevalo, it was printed ten times between 1470 and 1529. Source
I appreciate the fact that St. Isidore was so learned and eventually declared a doctor of the Church despite the fact that in the beginning, his school career gave no indication that he would achieve success in the field of academics. It is interesting to note that it seems that God is not as concerned with our beginnings as much as He is concerned about our endings.

St. Isidore humbly gave over his poor academic abilities to God, and like the fishes and loaves, God multiplied the poor gift into a bountiful feast of knowledge which was shared with many. This is a powerful lesson for me that God wants me to give Him everything, but I should be especially eager to give him my weaknesses. Who knows? He may make the weakness into a gift for others. Even if He does not, I will know that I have placed it in His hands to dispose of as He sees fit.

Thanks to Laura Gibbs of the Bestiaria Latina Blog, I can point to a post which has a number of links to St. Isidore's texts which are available online. Click here for more information on St. Isidore and his writings. Also, check out her site for resources for brushing up on your Latin, or in my case, picking it up for the first time.

Posted by David at 7:38 AM  |  Comments (1)  | 


We are very lucky that many of Isidore's texts are available on the Internet now. as my memorial to Isidore today, I included a list here:

Isidore of Seville: Texts Online

best wishes,

Laura Gibbs

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 04, 2006 11:29 AM  

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