Episcopal Diocese of Southeast FloridaMural

St. Isidore of Seville

St. Isidore of Seville, Patron Saint of the Internet

St. Isadore of Seville, Patron Saint of the Internet

Invocation to St. Isidore

When programs crash and cursors freeze,
with warnings: "fatal error",
our systems drive us to our knees—
can this be cyber-terror,
or mere demoniac possession?
We need some saintly intercession!
Ah, what comfort to implore,
"Pray for us, St. Isidore!"

When files we've saved cannot be found
(not even by Outlook),
when viruses and worms abound,
and eat the address book,
when through the Windows data's flying,
the desperate cyber-slaves are crying,
prostrate on the office floor,
"Pray for us, St. Isidore!"

When "You've got mail!" but it's all spam
(or files that won't unzip),
when all at once there's no more RAM,
we start to lose our grip,
and filling with the foulest hates,
we would defenestrate Bill Gates!
"Our charitable hearts restore—
pray for us, St. Isidore!"

When downloads fail, when disks erase,
when life-work's lost in cyberspace,
remind us in our dire frustration:
The goal here is communication.
"Oh, heed our pleas (but don't keep score)—
pray for us, St. Isidore!"

— Mary W. Cox
Copyright© 2002 Mary W. Cox

Isidore of Seville

Born: c.560 in Cartagena, Spain
Died: April 4, 636
Canonized: 1598
Feast Day: April 4

Patron Saint of computers, computer users, computer programmers and the Internet.

Isidore was born in 560 AD to a noble family in Cartgena, Spain. He was educated mainly by his older brother, Leander, a monk. Succeeding his brother, Isidore served for 36 years as archbishop of Seville, and was known for his emphasis on education. In 633, three years before his death, he presided over the Fourth National Council of Toledo, which enacted a decree commanding all bishops in Spain to establish seminaries in their Cathedral Cities, along the lines of the school already existing at Seville.

In the 7th century he produced one of the world's first databases in the form of a twenty-volume encyclopedia called the Etymologies. He was the first Christian writer to essay the task of compiling a summa of universal knowledge. His encyclopedia epitomized all learning, ancient as well as modern, and in it many fragments of classical learning are preserved which otherwise would have been hopelessly lost.

In 1999 the Vatican's Observation Service for Internet, which drew its mission from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, researched the Internet and related technologies to select a patron saint who would best reflect the concerns and ideals of computer designers, programmers and users. Because of St. Isidore's leadership in compiling and making accessible the world's knowledge in his time, he seemed an appropriate choice.

A Prayer Before Logging Onto The Internet

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thy image
and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and
beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thy only-
begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech
Thee that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore,
bishop and doctor, during our journeys through the
Internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that
which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and
patience all those souls whom we encounter.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.