Today is the old feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian.
Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the French Christian patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers. According to legend they preached Christianity to the Gauls and made shoes by night. [Gaul was the region that now corresponds to parts of Belgium, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, and Italy.]
The feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian is on October 25. However, these saints were removed from the liturgical calendar (but not declared to no longer be saints) during the Catholic Church’s Vatican II reforms (1962-1965). The reasoning used by Vatican II for this decision was that there was insufficient evidence that Saints Crispin and Crispinian actually existed.
But the day has proven fateful for the famous battles that took place on it, including the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the Battle of Balaklava (Charge of the Light Brigade) during the Crimean War in 1854, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Pacific theatre in 1944.
You may remember The Battle of Agincourt from Shakespeare’s play Henry V, in which Henry (the former “Prince Hal”) inspired his men before the battle by declaring them “a band of brothers.” Although the English were outnumbered five to one, they went on to defeat the French at Agincourt.
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…”