Wednesday, February 29, 2012

St. Cassian the Unmerciful

The leap-day is an unlucky day. It is the feast of St. Cassian, whose evil-eye can look out on the world today, withering what he sees. In one story, it is said St. Cassian was given the leap-day as a punishment for failing to help a peasant whose cart had turned over in the mud. Cassian, unmerciful, had passed him by, unwilling to dirty himself by helping the poor man. St. Nikolas, always compassionate, came by later to save the peasant, thereby earning himself two feast days in the Russian calendar, while Cassian was punished with only one every four years.

St. Cassian - unmerciful, is not a Saint to pray to, so much as an entity to fear. His day is dangerous. We went out anyway, but I wrapped Petka in red and gold to keep out his eye, and I wore my red seeds to distract him. When the sun sets, his eyes will lower once again, unable to see and harm for another four years, unless some resentful one asks his intercession, to sour milk or darken the sky.


  1. Kinda makes you wonder how he got to be a saint to begin with. :)

  2. well..he didn't. At least not in Rome, he's sort of a vague figure in Russian folklore. There is a legitimate St. Cassian, but he doesn't resemble The Unmerciful at all, so go figure. I love his stories though, and it's best to be careful, right. :)