For the past few years I have traveled to meet members of our different communities. Most frequent were my visits to the Clarion Temple of Apollo in the area of Philadelphia, Pa. Amica meae Diana, co-founder of the Clarion Temple, has moved to Florida and recently remarried. Congratulations to Diana and Robert. Diana’s daughter, Sophia, also celebrated her fifth birthday in March! A new sacerdos of Diana some day? Matrona Diana is seen below at the Archaeology and History Museum of the U. Penn. in Philadelphia. She stands in front of statuary excavated from the imperial temple of Diana Lucina at Lake Nemi, across from Aricia, Lazio. Above all of them rests the head of Diana Lucina, believed to have stood within Her temple.
Last year in May the Collegium Deorum authorized the first marriages by confarreatio to take place in Poltava, Ukraine. Attending were Pontifex Cn. Lentulus of Hungaria, representing myself as the Pontifex Maximus, and M. Agricola, Augur, arriving from Japan, as well as M. Corvus, as flamen Dialis and one of the bridegrooms of Poltava.
On the kalends of March this year the international fellowship of cultores Deorum Romanorum then joined with our community members in Poltava in celebrating the Matronalia. This festival is held in honor of Juno Lucina whose temple atop the Esquiline Hill of Rome was dedicate on this day. It is a festival at which men and boys honor the women in our lives, our mothers, sisters, and wives. And, yes Fabiana, not a few female friends like you as well. This was an especially happy celebration in our community since Poltava had previously announced that last year’s brides are now expecting this April. These shall be the first infants born into a marriage by confarreatio in the past several centuries, so our world-wide community is in excited anticipation.
While we await more news from Poltava on those births and on their progress with the construction of a Temple for Jupiter O. M., here are some photos from a Matronalia party held in Poltava: https://picasaweb.google.com/m.octavius.corvus/MATRONALIAElsewhere I have had an update on the condition of Maria Caeca. It was a great pleasure to me to have met Maria Caeca last September. Frail and resilient, blind and undaunted, Maria exudes an aura of calm gentleness and wisdom. She is a camilla in training under Virgo Maxima Valeria Messallina and was to become a Vestalis Virgo later this year. As Pontifex Maximus I was therefore anxious to meet one of our future Vestales over whom I have some instructive responsibilities. And she had some trepidations on meeting me, which quickly faded, she was happy to say, once she had met me and discovered my humor is not as stern as I must have appeared to her.
With the division of the former Nova Roma, Maria Caeca was named by the minority faction as their Vestalis Virgo before her training was completed. It was an understandable decision, seeing that most of the Pontifices, flamines and sacerdotes, all of the Augures, and the Vestales remained with the Res Publica and Consul Fabius Buteo. But the intent of the minority faction, led by monotheists, had long been to create a schism by opposing those sacerdotes who were duly adlected by the Collegium and proposing others in their stead. Unwilling to take sides, Maria Caeca agreed to perform rites for Vesta on behalf of those in the minority who had broken with the Res Publica and supported the usurptation of dictatorial powers by Consul Memmius Impius. The first ritual she performed was the Parentalia Vestales on the Ides of Februaria (13 Feb.).
On the very next day, within hours of reporting her ritual performance, Maria was struck by a truck while walking to work in Atlanta, Georgia. Only a week earlier she had had cracked a rib during a fall, and now her ribs had broken during the impact of the truck, and pierced her lungs. Her shoulder, wrist and hand were also badly damaged in the accident. She had then been held in suspension in ICU for quite some time, while she continued to have operations on her lungs, ribs, and other injuries. All of us have been worried by Maria’s accident and praying daily for her recovery.
In recent phone conversations and emails I have now heard that she has be moved to a rehabilitation center. She was to be released by 6 April, and return to the hospital for more surgeries around 16 April. But that schedule has now been postponed due to other concerns. An operation on her shoulder and another on her hand are still to be performed. May Minerva Medica and Hercules safeguard her health, and may Vesta protect one of Her own.