A look at some of the history and holidays on December 2
The Feast of St. Bibiana, a virgin martyr of the early Roman Church. Legend has it that According to this legend, Bibiana was the daughter of a former prefect, Flavianus, who was banished by Julian the Apostate. Dafrosa, the wife of Flavianus, and his two daughters, Demetria and Bibiana, were also persecuted by Julian. Dafrosa and Demetria died a natural death and were buried by Bibiana in their own house; but Bibiana was scourged to death. Two days after her death a priest named John buried Bibiana near her mother and sister in her home, the house. A church in Rome, Santa Bibiana, was built over the house in the 3rd century and exists to this day.
1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island.
The Touro Synagogue was, by a matter of weeks, the first synagogue in colonial America (the second being at the home of the largest Jewish population in the colonies, Charleston, SC). Colonial America, and then early America, were among the few places that welcomed Jews with open arms. No one made that more plain then George Washington who, on his 1790 tour of the colonies to lobby for the passage of the Bill of Rights, exchanged letters with the congregation of the Touro Synagogue. After receiving a laudatory letter on August 17, 1790 from the synagogue’s warden, Moses Seixas, Washington responded with a now famous full throated embrace of religious tolerance:
While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.
The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.
If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.
The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.
May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.
May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.