Friday, October 24, 2014

Raphael the Archangel

Raphael, whose name means "God has healed," is one of the three archangels mentioned in the Bible, namely from the Book of Tobit. Because his name is attributed to healing, he has also been identified as the angel who would stir the waters in the healing pool in Jerusalem (St. John 5:1-4).

It is fitting that the archangel Raphael's feast day closely follows Saint Luke's, who himself healed others. May he hope for the intercession of the saints in the healing of all who are in need.


Propers for Raphael the Archangel

The Collect.

O God, Who didst give Blessed Raphael the archangel to thy servant Tobias as a companion on his journey, grant to us, thy servants, that we may always be protected by his care and strengthened by his help; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost; ever one God, world without end. Amen.


The Lesson - Tobit 12:7-15


The Holy Gospel - St. John 5:1-4

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.And in these many people were lying who were ill, blind, crippled, cancerous, and they were awaiting the moving of the water;  And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole, of whatsoever infirmity he lay under. (composite translations)


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The Martyrs of Najran

Najran was a predominantly Christian city in the ancient Himyarite Kingdom of Yemen. The kingdom was known for it's religious diversity with the majority being of the Jewish faith and after some initial problems, Christianity had flourished in the area.

Some members of the Himyarite nobility saw Christianity as a threat, not for religious reasons, but saw it as an extension of Byzantine and Ethiopian influence, yet it was tolerated. In A.D. 517 Yūsuf Dhū Nuwas (Dunaan) usurped the throne and combined political and religious reasons as justification for a pogrom against the Christians of the Kingdom.

In A.D. 523 he attacked the Aksumite (Christian Ehtiopian) garrison at Zafar and burned the churches there. Dunaan then proceeded to Najran and laid siege to that city and it's Christian inhabitants. Dunaan's heralds announced that he would spare those who renounced Christ and accept the Jewish faith. The inhabitants under the leadership of their prefect Arethas, held fast and trusted in their defences.

Not daring to assault the Christian city by force, Dunaan resorted to a ruse. Dunaan swore an oath that he would not force the Christians into Judaism, but would merely collect a tribute from Negran. The inhabitants of the city would not heed the advice of Arethas, and putting their trust in Dunaan, they opened the city gates.

The first night of occupation was quiet and peaceful. The next day Dunaan gave orders to light an immense fire and throw all the clergy of the city into it in order to frighten the rest of the Christians. 427 men were burned. He also threw the prefect Arethas and the other chief men into prison. Then the oppressor sent his messengers through the city to convert the Christians to Judaism. Dunaan himself conversed with those inhabitants brought from the prisons, saying, "I do not demand that you should renounce the God of heaven and earth, nor do I want you to worship idols, I want merely that you do not believe in Jesus Christ, since the Crucified One was a man, and not God."  Many refused the offer and the number of martyrs is estimated at between 4,300 - 20,000.

The massacre became the casus belli needed by the Ethiopian King Kaleb of Axum (with the help of the Byzantine Empire) to invade Yemen, a campaign which ended with the death of Dunaan in A.D. 525 and the establishment of a Christian vassal state.


Propers for the Martyrs of Najran


The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed Martyrs of Najran with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall he brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.


Reference and Resources:

http://oca.org/FSLivesAllSaints.asp?SID=4&M=10&D=24
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhu_Nuwas
http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j251sd_Elesbaan_10_27.html

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

James of Jerusalem

Hebrew: יעקב or Jacob) (Greek Iάκωβος), (died 62AD), also known as James of Jerusalem, James Adelphotheos, James, the Brother of the Lord, was an important figure in Early Christianity. According to Christian tradition, he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, the author of the Epistle of James in the New Testament, and the first of the Seventy of St. Luke 10:1–20. Paul of Tarsus in Galatians 2:9 (KJV) characterized James as such: "…James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars…" He is described in the New Testament as a "brother of the Lord" and in the Liturgy of St James as "the brother of God" (Adelphotheos).

James is mentioned briefly in connection with Jesus' visit to Nazareth (M 13:55; P 6:3).

We are told that Jesus' brothers did not believe in Him (J 7:2-5), and from this, and from references in early Christian writers, it is inferred that James was not a disciple of the Lord until after the Resurrection.

Paul, listing appearances of the Risen Lord (1 Cor 15:3-8), includes an appearance to James.

Peter, about to leave Jerusalem after escaping from Herod, leaves a message for James and the Apostles (A 12:17).

When a council meets at Jerusalem to consider what rules Gentile Christians should be required to keep, James formulates the final consensus (A 15:13-21).

Paul speaks of going to Jerusalem three years after his conversion and conferring there with Peter and James (G 1:18-19), and speaks again of a later visit (perhaps the one described in A 15) on which Peter, James, and John, "the pillars," placed their stamp of approval on the mission to the Gentiles (G 2:9).

A few verses later (G 2:11-14), he says that messengers from James coming to Antioch discouraged Jewish Christians there from eating with Gentile Christians. (If this is refers to the same event as A 15:1-2, then Paul takes a step back chronologically in his narration at G 2:11, which is not improbable, since he is dictating and mentioning arguments and events that count as evidence for his side as they occur to him.)

On his last recorded visit to Jerusalem, Paul visits James (others are present, but no other names are given) and speaks of his ministry to the Gentiles (A 21:18).

According to a passage in Josephus's Jewish Antiquities, (xx.9) "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" met his death after the death of the procurator Porcius Festus, yet before Lucceius Albinus took office (Antiquities 20,9) — which has thus been dated to 62. The High Priest Ananus ben Ananus took advantage of this lack of imperial oversight to assemble a Sanhedrin who condemned James "on the charge of breaking the law," then had him executed by stoning. Josephus reports that Ananus' act was widely viewed as little more than judicial murder, and offended a number of "those who were considered the most fair-minded people in the City, and strict in their observance of the Law," who went as far as meeting Albinus as he entered the province to petition him about the matter. In response, King Agrippa replaced Ananus with Jesus, the son of Damneus.

Though the passage in general is almost universally accepted as original to Josephus, some challenge the identification of the James whom Ananus had executed with James the Just, considering the words, "who was called Christ," a later interpolation. (See Josephus on Jesus.)

Eusebius, while quoting Josephus' account, also records otherwise lost passages from Hegesippus (see links below), and Clement of Alexandria (Historia Ecclesiae, 2.23). Hegesippus' account varies somewhat from what Josephus reports, and may have been an attempt to reconcile the various accounts by combining them. According to Hegesippus, the scribes and Pharisees came to James for help in putting down Christian beliefs. The record says:

“ They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they are gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also.


To the scribes' and Pharisees' dismay, James boldly testified that Christ "Himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven." The scribes and pharisees then said to themselves, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."


Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees

“ …threw down the just man… [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech Thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."


And, while they were thus stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: "Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.”


Vespasian's siege and capture of Jerusalem delayed the selection of Simeon of Jerusalem to succeed James.

Josephus' account of James' death is more credible because the Acts of Apostles doesn't mention anything about James after the year 60. Josephus, however, does not mention in his writings how James was buried, which makes it hard for scholars to determine what happened to James after his death.

Robert Eisenman argues that the popularity of James and the illegality of his death may have triggered the First Jewish-Roman War from 66 to 73 C.E.

Propers for James of Jerusalem - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

O LORD Jesus Christ, who didst set thy brother James on the throne of thy church in Jerusalem: Grant, we beseech thee, that as he continually made supplication for the sins of thy people, and laboured to reconcile in one body both Jew and Gentile; so thy Church may ever be faithful in prayer and witness for the salvation of all mankind. Grant this, O Son of Man, who art on the right hand of the Father, in the unity of the Spirit, now and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Acts 15:12-22.

THEN all the multitude kept silence and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

After this I will return,
And will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down;
And I will build again the ruins thereof,
And I will set it up:
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord,
And all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called,
Saith the Lord, who hath made these things known from of old.

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. From early times Moses has had in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren.


The Gospel - St. Mark 3:31-35.

THERE came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/s_jamej.cfm
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/10/23.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_of_Jerusalem

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mellon of Rouen

A Brythonic pagan, Mellon traveled to Rome, Italy to bring tribute to the emperor from the British Isles. While making a sacrifice to the god Mars, he heard Pope Stephen I preaching nearby. He soon after converted to Christianity, and was baptized by Stephen. He sold his property, gave it to the poor, studied further, and was ordained. He was led to evangelize the area of Rouen in modern France. First bishop of Rouen. Healer and miracle worker.


Propers for Mellon - Bishop and Evangelist


The Collect

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Mellon, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the people of Gaul: Raise up, we pray thee, in this and every land, heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that thy Church may make known the unsearchable riches of Christ, and may increase with the increase of God; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Acts 1:1-9.

THE former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things. while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.


The Gospel - St. Luke 10:1-9.

AFTER these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor pack, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hilarion of Gaza

was born of a Pagan family at Thabatha, Gaza in the Roman province of Syria Palaestina. He studied rhetoric in Alexandria and was there converted to Christianity. After that, he shunned the pleasures of his day and spent his time attending church. According to St. Jerome, he was a thin and delicate youth of fragile health.

After hearing of Saint Anthony, Hilarion, at the age of fifteen, went to live with him in the desert for two months. As Anthony's hermitage was busy with visitors seeking cures for diseases or demonic affliction, Hilarion returned home along with some monks. At Thabatha, his parents having died in the meantime, he gave his inheritance to his brothers and the poor and left for the wilderness.

Hilarion went into the desert, and built a little house, scarcely big enough to hold him, and wherein he was used to sleep on the ground. His food was a few figs and some porridge of vegetables, and this he ate not before set of sun, but his prayer was unceasing.

Till his time neither Syria nor Palestine knew of the monastic life, so that Hilarion was the founder of it therein, as Anthony had been in Egypt. He had built many monasteries, and become famous for miracles, so much so that he attracted attention similar to that of his mentor, Anthony. Hilarion did not care for this new found attention and began to wander the Mediterranean region in search of solitude in which he could continue his devotions in solitude.

In the eightieth year of his age, while living in the hills of Cyprus, he fell sick. As he was gasping for his last breath, he said : Go out, my soul; what art thou afraid of? And so he gave up the ghost.


Propers for Hilarion of Gaza - Abbott

The Collect.

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us, we pray thee, from an inordinate love of this world, that, inspired by the devotion of thy servant Hilarion, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Philippians 3:7-15


The Gospel - St. Matthew 6:24-33


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilarion
http://orthodoxsojourn.blogspot.com/2010/10/saint-hilarion-of-gaza-ab-saint-ursula.html
http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-hilarion-of-gaza/

Monday, October 20, 2014

Acca of Hexham

Grew up in the household of Saint Bosa of York, and became his spiritual student, aide, and travelling companion. Benedictine monk. Close friend of and chaplain to Saint Wilfrid, and accompanied him on trips to the continent. Friend of the Venerable Bede, who dedicated some of his writings to Acca. Abbot of Saint Andrews at Hexham, England in 709, nominated by Saint Wilfrid just before that holy man died. Bishop of Hexham.

He built churches, and re-outfitted the principal church at Hexham. Had a beautiful singing voice, and encouraged the revival of vocal music in British liturgy. Bible scholar with a large theological library who supplied information for Bede‘s Ecclesiastical History.

Political intrigues led to king Ceolwulf of Northumbria being kidnapped in 731, and forced to enter a monastery. Ceolwulf’s supporters later restored him to the throne, and Acca was exiled, which probably indicates his involvement in the coup. Some records imply that he fled to Scotland, and was appointed bishop of Whithorn.


Propers for Acca of Hexham - Monastic, Bishop and Liturgist

The Collect.

O GOD, who hast brought us near to an innumerable company of Angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect: Grant us during our pilgrimage to abide in their fellowship, and in our Country to become partakers of their joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9.

REJOICE in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice, Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.


The Gospel - St. Luke 6:17-23.

JESUS came down and stood in the plain, with the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coasts of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven.


Reference and Resources:

http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-acca/

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

LORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 1 Corinthians i. 4.

I THANK my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The Gospel - St. Matthew xxii. 34.

WHEN the Pharisees had heard that Jesus had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Jerzy Popiełuszko

September 14, 1947 – October 19, 1984) was a Roman Catholic priest from Poland, associated with the Solidarity union. He was murdered by three agents of the Polish communist internal intelligence agency, the Służba Bezpieczeństwa, (English: Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs) who were shortly thereafter tried and convicted of the murder. He has been recognized as a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church, and was beatified on June 6, 2010.


Born in Okopy near Suchowola, Jerzy Popiełuszko was a charismatic priest who was first sent to strikers in the Warsaw Steelworks. Thereafter he was associated with workers and trade unionists from the Solidarity movement who opposed the Communist regime in Poland.

He was a staunch anti-communist, and in his sermons, interwove spiritual exhortations with political messages, criticizing the Communist system and motivating people to protest. During the period of martial law, the Catholic Church was the only force that could voice protest comparatively openly, with the regular celebration of Mass presenting opportunities for public gatherings in churches.

Popiełuszko's sermons were routinely broadcast by Radio Free Europe, and thus became famous throughout Poland for their uncompromising stance against the regime. The Służba Bezpieczeństwa tried to silence or intimidate him. When those techniques did not work, they fabricated evidence against him; he was arrested in 1983, but soon released on intervention of the clergy and pardoned by an amnesty.

A car accident was set up to kill Jerzy Popiełuszko on October 13, 1984, but he escaped it. The alternative plan was to kidnap him, and it was carried out on October 19, 1984. The priest was beaten and murdered by three Security Police officers. Then, his body was dumped into the Vistula Water Reservoir near Włocławek from where it was recovered on October 30, 1984.

News of the political murder caused an uproar throughout Poland, and the murderers and one of their superiors were convicted of the crime. More than 250,000 people, including Lech Wałęsa, attended his funeral on November 3, 1984. Despite the murder and its repercussions, the Communist regime remained in power until 1989. Popiełuszko's murderers - Captain Grzegorz Piotrowski, Leszek Pękala, Waldemar Chmielewski and Colonel Adam Pietruszka (responsible for giving them the order to kill) - were jailed but released later as part of an amnesty.

In 1997, the Roman Catholic Church started the process of his beatification and by 2008 he had Servant of God status. On December 19, 2009, it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI had approved the decree of beatification of Father Popiełuszko. He was beatified on June 6, 2010 in Warsaw's Piłsudski Square. His mother, Marianna Popiełuszko, who had reached 100 years of age a few days earlier, was present at the event.


Propers for Jerzy Popiełuszko - Priest and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Jerzy Popiełuszko with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall he brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.


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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Luke the Evangelist

Almost all that we know about Luke comes from the New Testament. He was a physician (Col 4:14), a companion of Paul on some of his missionary journeys (Acts 16:10; 20:5; 27-28). Material found in his Gospel and not elsewhere includes much of the account of Our Lord's birth and infancy and boyhood, some of the most moving parables, such as that of the Good Samaritan and that of the Prodigal Son, and three of the sayings of Christ on the Cross: "Father, forgive them," "Thou shalt be with me in Paradise," and "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

In Luke's account of the Gospel, we find an emphasis on the human love of Christ, on His compassion for sinners and for suffering and unhappy persons, for outcasts such as the Samaritans, tax collectors, lepers, shepherds (not a respected profession), and for the poor. The role of women in Christ's ministry is more emphasized in Luke than in the other Gospel writings.

In the book of Acts, we find the early Christian community poised from the start to carry out its commission, confident and aware of Divine guidance. We see how the early Christians at first preached only to Jews, then to Samaritans (a borderline case), then to outright Gentiles like Cornelius, and finally explicitly recognized that Gentiles and Jews are called on equal terms to the service and fellowship of Christ.

If we accepted that Luke was the author of the Gospel bearing his name and the Acts of the Apostles, certain details of his personal life can be reasonably assumed. He does exclude himself from those who were eyewitnesses to Jesus' ministry. He does however repeatedly use the word "we" in describing the Pauline missions in Acts of the Apostles, indicating that he was personally there at those times. There is evidence that Luke resided in Troas, the province which included the ruins of ancient Troy. Evidence of this is, he writes in Acts in the third person about Paul and his travels, until they get to Troas, where he switches to the first person plural. The "we" section of Acts continues until the group returns to Troas, where his writing goes back to the third person. This change happens again the second time the group gets to Troas. There are three "we sections" in Acts, all following this rule. Luke never stated, however, that he lived in Troas, and this is the only evidence that he did.

Another Christian tradition states that he was the first iconographer, and painted pictures of the Virgin Mary (The Black Madonna of Częstochowa) and of Peter and Paul. Thus late medieval guilds of St Luke in the cities of Flanders, or the Academia di San Luca ("Academy of St Luke") in Rome, imitated in many other European cities during the 16th century, gathered together and protected painters. There is no scientific evidence to support the tradition that Luke painted icons of Mary and Jesus, though it was widely believed in earlier centuries, particularly in Eastern Orthodoxy. The tradition also has support from the Saint Thomas Christians of India who claim to still have one of the Theotokos icons that St Luke painted and Thomas brought to India.

The one thing known of Luke's death comes from a 2nd century Greek manuscript; "Luke, a native of Antioch, by profession a physician. He had become a disciple of the apostles and later followed Paul until his [Paul's] martyrdom. Having served the Lord continuously, unmarried and without children, filled with the Holy Spirit he died at the age of 84 years."


Propers for Saint Luke the Evangelist

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, who didst inspire thy servant Saint Luke the Physician, to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son; Manifest in thy Church the like power and love, to the healing of our bodies and our souls; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Timothy 4:5-15


The Gospel - St Luke 10:1-7a


Resources and References:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/10/18.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/s_luke.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luke_the_Evangelist
http://comfortablewords.blogspot.com/2009/10/st-luke-evangelists-assurances-to-his.html
http://www.monasteryicons.com/monasteryicons/Our-Icon-Collection_A1/Mounted-Icons_D1/Icons-of-the-Apostles-and-Evangelists_X5/Item_St-Luke_747.html
http://www.ttstm.com/2009/10/october-18-luke-evangelist-physician.html
http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2009/10/beloved-physician.html
http://atonementparish.blogspot.com/2009/10/st-luke-evangelist.html
http://cyberbrethren.com/2009/10/18/feast-of-st-luke-evangelist/

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Vigil of St. Luke

The Collect.

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that as we do prevent the festival of thy holy Apostle Saint Luke so he may implore thy mercy for us; that we being delivered from all our iniquities, may likewise be defended against all adversities. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle -  Ecclesiasticus 44:22-45:5, 7

THE blessing of the Lord was upon the head of the righteous. Therefore the Lord gave him an heritage; and divided his portion among the twelve tribes. And he found favour in the sight of all fleshy. And the Lord magnified him so that his enemies stood in fear of him. By his words he caused the wonders to cease: he made him glorious in the sight of kings, and gave him a commandment for his people, and shewed him his glory. He sanctified him in his faithfulness and meekness, and chose him out of all men. He gave him commandments before his face, even the law of life and knowledge, and exalted him. An everlasting covenant he made with him: the Lord beautified him with ornaments of righteousness: and clothed him with a robe of glory.


The Holy Gospel - St John 15:12-16

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.


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Henry Martyn

(18 February 1781 – 16 October 1812) was an Anglican priest and missionary to the peoples of India and Persia. Born in Truro, Cornwall, he was educated at Truro Grammar School and St John's College, Cambridge. A chance encounter with Charles Simeon led him to become a missionary. He was ordained a priest in the Church of England and became a chaplain for the British East India Company.


Martyn arrived in India in April 1806, where he preached and occupied himself in the study of linguistics. He translated the whole of the New Testament into Urdu, Persian and Judaeo-Persic. He also translated the Psalms into Persian and the Book of Common Prayer into Urdu. From India, he set out for Bushire, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Tabriz.

Martyn was seized with fever, and, though the plague was raging at Tokat, he was forced to stop there, unable to continue. On 16 October 1812 he died. He was remembered for his courage, selflessness and his religious devotion. In parts of the Anglican Communion he is celebrated with a Lesser Festival on 19 October.


Propers for Henry Martin - Missionary, Priest and Translator

The Collect.

O God of the nations, who didst give to thy faithful servant Henry Martyn a brilliant mind, a loving heart, and a gift for languages, that he might translate the Scriptures and other holy writings for the peoples of India and Persia: Inspire in us, we beseech thee, a love like his, eager to commit both life and talents to thee who gavest them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Lesson - Isaiah 49:1-6


The Gospel - St. John 4:22-26


Reference and Resources:

http://www.ttstm.com/2011/10/october-20-henry-martyn-missionary.html
http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/273.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Martyn

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Oxford Martyrs

When Henry VIII of England died, he left three heirs: his son Edward and his two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. Edward succeeded to the throne and was a staunch Anglican (or at least his advisors were). Under his rule, the church services, previously in Latin, were translated into English, and other changes were made. When Edward died, the throne passed to his sister Mary, who was firmly Roman Catholic in her beliefs. She determined to return England to union with the Pope. With more diplomacy, she might have succeeded. But she was headstrong and would take no advice. Her mother had been Spanish, and she determined to marry the heir to the throne of Spain, not realizing how much her people (of all religious persuasions) feared that this would make England a province of the Spanish Empire. She insisted that the best way to deal with heresy was to burn as many heretics as possible. (It is worth noting that her husband was opposed to this.) In the course of a five-year reign, she lost all the English holdings on the continent of Europe, she lost the affection of her people, and she lost any chance of a peaceful religious settlement in England. Of the nearly three hundred persons burned by her orders, the most famous are the Oxford Martyrs, commemorated today.

Hugh Latimer was famous as a preacher. He was Bishop of Worcester (pronounced WOOS-ter) in the time of King Henry, but resigned in protest against the King's refusal to allow the reforms that Latimer desired. Latimer's sermons speak little of doctrine; he preferred to urge men to upright living and devoutness in prayer. But when Mary came to the throne, he was arrested, tried for heresy, and burned together with his friend Nicholas Ridley. His last words at the stake are well known: "Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and play the man, for we shall this day light such a candle in England as I trust by God's grace shall never be put out."

Nicholas Ridley became an adherent of the reforming cause while a student at Cambridge. He was a friend of Archbishop Cranmer and became private chaplain first to Cranmer and then to King Henry. Under the reign of Edward, he became bishop of Rochester, and was part of the committee that drew up the first English Book of Common Prayer. When Mary came to the throne, he was arrested, tried, and burned with Latimer at Oxford on 16 October 1555.

Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury in the days of Henry, and defended the position that Henry's marriage to Katharine of Aragon (Spain) was null and void. When Edward came to the throne, Cranmer was foremost in translating the worship of the Church into English (his friends and enemies agree that he was an extraordinarily gifted translator) and securing the use of the new forms of worship. When Mary came to the throne, Cranmer was in a quandary. He had believed, with a fervor that many people today will find hard to understand, that it is the duty of every Christian to obey the monarch, and that "the powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13). As long as the monarch was ordering things that Cranmer thought good, it was easy for Cranmer to believe that the king was sent by God's providence to guide the people in the path of true religion, and that disobedience to the king was disobedience to God. Now Mary was Queen, and commanding him to return to the Roman obedience. Cranmer five times wrote a letter of submission to the Pope and to Roman Catholic doctrines, and four times he tore it up. In the end, he submitted. However, Mary was unwilling to believe that the submission was sincere, and he was ordered to be burned at Oxford on 21 March 1556. At the very end, he repudiated his final letter of submission, and announced that he died an Anglican. He said, "I have sinned, in that I signed with my hand what I did not believe with my heart. When the flames are lit, this hand shall be the first to burn." And when the fire was lit around his feet, he leaned forward and held his right hand in the fire until it was charred to a stump. Aside from this, he did not speak or move, except that once he raised his left hand to wipe the sweat from his forehead.

The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake in Oxford, England, for their religious beliefs and teachings.

The three martyrs were the bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, and the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. They were tried at University Church of St Mary the Virgin, the official church of Oxford University on the High Street. The martyrs were imprisoned at the former Bocado Prison near the still extant St Michael at the Northgate church (at the north gate of the city walls) in Cornmarket Street. The door of their cell is on display in the tower of the church.

The martyrs were burnt at the stake just outside the city walls to the north, where Broad Street is now located. Latimer and Ridley were burnt on 16 October, 1555. Cranmer was burnt five months later on 21 March 1556.

A small area cobbled with stones forming a cross in the centre of the road outside the front of Balliol College marks the site. The Victorian spire-like Martyrs' Memorial, at the south end of St Giles' nearby, commemorates the events.


Propers for the Oxford Martyrs

The Collect.

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, after the examples of thy servants Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer; that we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Epistle - 1 Corinthians 3:9-14.


The Gospel - John 15:20-16:1.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oxford_Martyrs
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/10/16.html

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Teresa of Avila

The third child of Don Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda by his second wife, Doña Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, who died when the saint was in her fourteenth year, Teresa was brought up by her saintly father, a lover of serious books, and a tender and pious mother. After her death and the marriage of her eldest sister, Teresa was sent for her education to the Augustinian nuns at Avila, but owing to illness she left at the end of eighteen months, and for some years remained with her father and occasionally with other relatives, notably an uncle who made her acquainted with the Letters of St. Jerome, which determined her to adopt the religious life, not so much through any attraction towards it, as through a desire of choosing the safest course.

Leaving her father's home secretly at the age of 20, Teresa entered the convent of the Incarnation of the Carmelites outside Ávila. In the cloister, she suffered greatly from illness. Early in her sickness, she experienced periods of religious ecstasy through the use of the devotional book "Tercer abecedario espiritual," translated as the Third Spiritual Alphabet (published in 1527 and written by Francisco de Osuna). This work, following the example of similar writings of medieval mystics, consisted of directions for examinations of conscience and for spiritual self-concentration and inner contemplation (known in mystical nomenclature as oratio recollectionis or oratio mentalis). She also employed other mystical ascetic works such as the Tractatus de oratione et meditatione of Saint Peter of Alcantara, and perhaps many of those upon which Saint Ignatius of Loyola based his Spiritual Exercises and possibly the Spiritual Exercises themselves.

Around 1556, various friends suggested that her newfound knowledge was diabolical, not divine. She began to inflict various tortures and mortifications of the flesh upon herself. But her confessor, the Jesuit Saint Francis Borgia, reassured her of the divine inspiration of her thoughts. On St. Peter's Day in 1559, Teresa became firmly convinced that Jesus Christ presented himself to her in bodily form, though invisible. These visions of Jesus Christ lasted almost uninterrupted for more than two years. In another vision, a seraph drove the fiery point of a golden lance repeatedly through her heart, causing an ineffable spiritual-bodily pain.

In 1560 she resolved to reform the monastery that had, she thought, departed from the order's original intention and become insufficiently austere. Her proposed reforms included strict enclosure (the nuns were not to go to parties and social gatherings in town, or to have social visitors at the convent, but to stay in the convent and pray and study most of their waking hours) and discalcing (literally, taking off one's shoes, a symbol of poverty, humility, and the simple life, uncluttered by luxuries and other distractions). In 1562 she opened a new monastery in Avila, over much opposition in the town and from the older monastery. At length Teresa was given permission to proceed with her reforms, and she traveled throughout Spain establishing seventeen houses of Carmelites of the Strict (or Reformed) Observance (the others are called Carmelites of the Ancient Observance). The reformed houses were small, poor, disciplined, and strictly enclosed.

Her final illness overtook her on one of her journeys from Burgos to Alba de Tormes. She died in 1582, just as Catholic nations were making the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, which required the removal of October 5–14 from the calendar. She died either before midnight of October 14 or early in the morning of October 15, which is celebrated as her feast day.


Propers for Teresa of Avila - Monastic and Reformer


The Collect.

O God, who by the Holy Spirit didst move Teresa of Avila to manifest to thy Church the way of perfection: Grant us, we beseech thee, to be nourished by her excellent teaching, and enkindle within us a lively and unquenchable longing for true holiness; through Jesus Christ, the joy of loving hearts, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Romans 8:22‑27


The Gospel - St. Matthew 5:13‑16


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/10/15.html
http://www.monasteryicons.com/monasteryicons/Our-Icon-Collection_A1/Mounted-Icons_D1/Icons-of-the-Saints-of-the-East-and-West_X6/Item_St-Teresa-of-Avila_425.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teresa_of_Avila
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14515b.htm
http://anglicangradual.stsams.org/FTP/MSWord/2726-TeresaAvila.doc

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky

Schereschewsky was born in Tauroggen, Russian Lithuania 6 May 1831. He appears to have been named for his father. His mother was Rosa Salvatha. Orphaned as a young boy, it is speculated he was raised by a half-brother who was a timber merchant in good circumstance. Having shown himself to be a promising student, he was given the best education available and it was his family's intention that he become a rabbi.

At age 15 he entered The Rabbinical School at Zhitomir and was responsible for supporting himself working as a tutor and a glazier. While at the school he came into possession of a Hebrew translation of the New Testament which had been left by English missionaries to the Jews that were operating in the Zhitomir area. It was in his study of the New Testament that Samuel began to see the messianic prophecies of the Jews had been met in the person of Jesus Christ.

By the time he was 19 (1850), Schereschewsky found himself caught in a struggle of religious identity and moved to the German states to further his learning and to sort thing out and added German to the growing list of languages he had mastered (Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, Lithuanian and Russian)

In 1854 Schereschewsky emigrated to the United States and it was in New York he made company with Christian Jews, but did not enter the Christian faith until the next spring (1855). He was Baptized in a Baptist congregation but then left for Presbyterianism and studying at the Western Theological Seminary after two years (1857) he left for the the Episcopal Church and the General Theological Seminary and had added English to his mastered tongues.

In 1859 Schereschewsky volunteered for missionary work in China and won an appointment to the Shanghai mission and was Ordained to the Diaconate 17 July 1859. Schereschewsky sailed for China, learning Shanghainese dialect of Chinese on the voyage, he arrived at Wusung on 21 December 1859.

On 28 October 1860 Schereschewsky was Ordained to the Priesthood in his mission school chapel later designated as the Church of Our Saviour by Bishop William Jones Boone of Shanghai. While serving as a Priest, Schereschewsky worked with his talent for languages, translating the Psalms into Shanghainese.

In 1877 Schereschewsky was elected Bishop of Shanghai and founded St. John's University to help educate and win converts among the local Chinese. He also began his next project of translating the Bible into the Wenli dialect of Chinese. Schereschewsky served as Bishop until 1884 as illness had slowed his work and eventually confined him to a wheelchair.

Bishop Schereschewsky moved to Tokyo, Japan with his wife to continue his work of learning languages and then translating the Bible and Book of Common Prayer into his newly learned tongues, including Mandarin, Wenli, Shanghainese and Mongolian and by my estimation he had learned and mastered at least thirteen languages - Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, German, English, Shanghainese, Mandarin, Wenli, Mongolian and Japanese.

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky passed to the eternal life 15 October 1906 and is buried in the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo, next to his wife, who supported him constantly during his labors and illness. Four years before his death, he said, “I have sat in this chair for over twenty years. It seemed very hard at first. But God knew best. He kept me for the work for which I am best fitted.”

Propers for Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky - Missionary, Translator and Bishop

The Collect.

O God, who in thy providence didst call Joseph Schereschewsky from his home in Eastern Europe to the ministry of this Church, and didst send him as a missionary to China, upholding him in his infirmity, that he might translate the Holy Scriptures into languages of that land: Lead us, we pray thee, to commit our lives and talents to thee, in the confidence that when thou givest unto thy servants any work to do, thou dost also supply the strength to do it; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epsitle - 2 Corinthians 4:11-18


The Gospel - St. Luke 24:44-48


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Isaac_Joseph_Schereschewsky
http://www.ttstm.com/2009/10/october-14-samuel-isaac-joseph.html
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/10/14.html
http://anglicangradual.stsams.org/FTP/MSWord/2723-SIJSchereschewsky.doc

Monday, October 13, 2014

Translation of Edward the Confessor

Edward was born in 1003. He was the last Saxon king to rule (for more than a few months) in England. He is called "Edward the Confessor" to distinguish him from another King of England, Edward the Martyr (c962-979).

In Christian biographies, the term "confessor" is often used to denote someone who has born witness to the faith by his life, but who did not die as a martyr. Edward was the son of King Ethelred the Unready. This does not mean that he was unprepared, but rather that he was stubborn and willful, and would not accept "rede," meaning advice or counsel.

Aethelred was followed by several Danish kings of England, during whose rule young Edward and his mother took refuge in Normandy. But the last Danish king named Edward as his successor, and he was crowned in 1042. Opinions on his success as a king vary. Some historians consider him weak and indecisive, and say that his reign paved the way for the Norman Conquest. Others say that his prudent management gave England more than twenty years of peace and prosperity, with freedom from foreign domination, at a time when powerful neighbors might well have dominated a less adroit ruler. He was diligent in public and private worship, generous to the poor, and accessible to subjects who sought redress of grievances.

While in exile, he had vowed to make a pilgrimage to Rome if his family fortunes mended. However, his council told him that it was not expedient for him to be so long out of the country. Accordingly, he spent his pilgrimage money instead on the relief of the poor and the building of Westminster Abbey, which stands today (rebuilt in the thirteenth century) as one of the great churches of England, burial place of her kings and others deemed worthy of special honor.

Edward died on 5 January 1066, leaving no offspring; and after his death, the throne was claimed by his wife's brother, Harold the Saxon, and by William, Duke of Normandy. William defeated and slew Harold at the Battle of Hastings (14 October 1066), and thereafter the kings and upper classes of England were Norman-French rather than Anglo-Saxon. Edward is remembered, not on the day of his death, but on the anniversary of the moving ("translation") of his corpse to a new tomb, a date which is also the anniversary of the eve of the Battle of Hastings, the end of Saxon England.

Propers for The Transaltion of St. Edward the Confessor

The Collect.

O GOD, who hast crowned the blessed King Edward, thy Confessor, with everlasting glory: make us, we beseech thee, so to venerate him on earth, that we may reign with him hereafter in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 25:31-40.


References and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/10/13.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/s_edwar.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_the_Confessor


Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

LORD, we pray thee that thy grace may always prevent and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Ephesians iv. 1.

I THEREFORE, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.


The Gospel - St. Luke xiv. 1.

IT came to pass, as Jesus went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; and answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things. And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief seats; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest seat; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest place; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, "Friend, go up higher": then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Edwin of Northumbria

(c. 586 – 12 October 632/633) was the son of Ælle king of Deira and seems to have had (at least) two siblings. His sister Acha was married to Æthelfrith, king of neighboring Bernicia. An otherwise unknown sibling fathered Hereric, who in turn fathered Abbess Hilda of Whitby and Hereswith, wife to king Anna of East Anglia's brother Æthelric.

After the death of his father Edwin was deposed and exiled by Æthelric an usurper. Edwin traveled around the kingdoms of Britain and had found refuge in several royal houses, eventually marrying Cwenburg, Princess of Mercia. From refuge with King Rædwald of the East Angles, Edwin with his allies fought his rival Æthelric with the usurper being killed in the battle, thus Edwin was placed on the throne of Northumbria and made a vassal of Rædwald.

During his exile, Edwin had learned about Christianity from several of his hosts and with his restoration was contemplating his own conversion along with that of his kingdom. Edwin was very indecisive and held-back in his decision for fear of risk to his throne, but eventually he gave in to the counsel of Paulinus of York and was Baptized on 12 April 627.

After his conversion Edwin's star seems to rise with many victories, both political and military and Edwin was the most powerful king among the Anglo-Saxons, ruling Bernicia, Deira and much of eastern Mercia, the Isle of Man and Anglesey. His alliance with Kent, the subjection of Wessex, and his recent successes added to his power and authority. The imperium, as Bede calls it, that Edwin possessed was later equated with the idea of a Bretwalda, a later concept invented by West Saxon kings in the 9th century. Put simply, success confirmed Edwin's overlordship, and failure would diminish it.

It wasn't until the early 630's that Edwin was challenged for regional power. In 632/633 his vassals Penda of Mercia and Cadwallon of Gwynedd formed an alliance to resist Northumbrian overlordship. Edwin faced Penda and Cadwallon at the Battle of Hatfield Chase in the autumn of 632/633, and was defeated and killed. For a time his body was (allegedly) hidden in Sherwood Forest at a location that became the village of Edwinstowe (trans. Edwin's resting place). Of his two grown sons by Cwenburh of Mercia, Osfrith died at Hatfield, and Eadfrith was captured by Penda and killed some time afterwards.

Edwin is considered a martyr as that his adversary Penda and the Mercians were pagans.


Propers for Edwin of Northumbria - King, Convert and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Edwin with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22


Reference and Resources:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_of_Northumbria
http://comfortablewords.blogspot.com/2009/10/conversion-of-st-edwin.html

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Philip the Protodeacon


He is first mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (6:5) as one of "the seven" who were chosen to attend to certain temporal affairs of the church in Jerusalem in consequence of the murmurings of the Hellenists against the Hebrews.

After the martyrdom of Saint Stephen he went to "the city of Samaria", where he preached with much success, Simon Magus being one of his converts.

He afterwards instructed and baptized the Ethiopian eunuch on the road between Jerusalem and Gaza; next he was "caught away" by the Spirit and "found at Azotus" (Ashdod), then "passing through he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea" (Acts 8).

Here some years afterwards, according to Acts 21:8-9, where he is described as "the evangelist" (a term found again in the New Testament only in Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:5), he entertained Paul and his companion on their way to Jerusalem; at that time "he had four daughters which did prophesy".

At a very early period he came to be confused with the apostle Philip; the confusion was all the more easy because, as an esteemed member of the apostolic company, he may readily have been described as an apostle in the wider sense of that word, beyond the original 12 Apostles. A late tradition describes him as settling at Tralles in Anatolia, where he became the bishop of that church.


Propers for Philip the Protodeacon

The Collect.

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Philip the Deacon, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the peoples of Samaria and Ethiopia. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that thy Church may make known the immeasurable riches of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and for ever.Amen.


The Epistle - Acts 1:1-9.

THE former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things. while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.


The Gospel - St. Luke 10:1-9.

AFTER these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor pack, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.


Reference and Resources:



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Friday, October 10, 2014

Paulinus of York

In the middle 400's the pagan Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain, driving the Christian Britons north and west into Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. In 597 a band of monks headed by Augustine of Canterbury (feast 26 May--not to be confused with Augustine of Hippo) arrived in southeastern England, in the kingdom of Kent, and began to evangelize the people there, with considerable success. In 601 a second group of monks arrived, including Paulinus (born around 584).


Sometime after 616, Edwin, the pagan king of Northumbria (the region north of the Humber river--roughly the northern quarter of England), asked for the hand in marriage of Ethelburga, the sister of the king of Kent. He was told that a Christian princess could not marry a pagan, but he promised that she would be free to practice her religion, and that he would listen to Christian preachers, and seriously consider becoming a Christian himself. At this Ethelburga agreed to marry him, and went north in 625, taking with her as chaplain the monk Paulinus, who was consecrated bishop for the purpose.

Edwin heard the preaching of Paulinus for many months, and finally consulted his advisors. Coifi, the high priest of the pagan religion, advised adopting Christianity, since he said that the pagan religion had not proved satisfactory. Another nobleman agreed, saying: "Life is like a banquet hall. Inside is light and fire and warmth and feasting, but outside it is cold and dark. A sparrow flies in through a window at one end, flies the length of the hall, and out through a window at the other end. That is what life is like. At birth we emerge from the unknown, and for a brief while we are here on this earth, with a fair amount of comfort and happiness. But then we fly out the window at the other end, into the cold and dark and unknown future. If the new religion can lighten that darkness for us, then let us follow it."

The other elders and counselors of the king gave similar advice, and so in 627 the king and many of his chief men were baptized. Other conversions followed, and the Church in Northumbria flourished. However, six years later, King Edwin was defeated and killed by Cadwallon of Wales and Penda of Mercia at the battle of Hatfield Chase. Paulinus left his deacon James in charge of what remained of the Church there, and took Queen Ethelburga and her children back to Kent by ship. There the elderly Paulinus was given the bishopric of Rochester, which he held till his death on 10 October 644.


Propers for Paulinus of York - Missionary and Bishop

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Paulinus, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the people of England: Raise up, we pray thee, in this and every land, heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that thy Church may make known the unsearchable riches of Christ, and may increase with the increase of God; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Acts 1:1-9.

THE former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things. while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.



The Gospel - St. Luke 10:1-9.

AFTER these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor pack, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulinus_of_York
http://www.missionstclare.com/english/people/oct10.html

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Denis of Paris

also called Dionysius, Dennis, or Denys) is a Christian martyr and saint. In the third century, he was bishop of Paris. He was martyred in approximately 250, and is venerated especially in the Roman Catholic Church as patron of Paris, France and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. The modern name "Denis" derives from the ancient name Dionysius, "servant of Dionysus".

Gregory of Tours states that Denis was bishop of the Parisii and was martyred by being beheaded by a sword. The earliest document giving an account of his life and martyrdom, the Passio SS. Dionysii Rustici et Eleutherii dates from c. 600, is mistakenly attributed to the poet Venantius Fortunatus, and is legendary. Nevertheless, it appears from the Passio that Denis was sent from Italy to convert Gaul in the third century, forging a link with the "apostles to the Gauls" reputed to have been sent out under the direction of Pope Fabian. This was after the persecutions under Emperor Decius had all but dissolved the small Christian community at Lutetia. Denis, with his inseparable companions Rusticus and Eleutherius, who were martyred with him, settled on the Île de la Cité in the River Seine. Roman Paris lay on the higher ground of the Left Bank, away from the river.

Denis, having irritated the tempers of heathen priests for his many conversions, was executed by beheading on the highest hill near Paris (now Montmartre), which was likely to have been a druidic holy place. The martyrdom of Denis and his companions gave it its current name, which in Old French means "mountain of martyrs". According to the Golden Legend, after his head was chopped off, Denis picked it up and walked several miles, preaching a sermon the entire way. The site where he stopped preaching and actually died was made into a small shrine that developed into the Saint Denis Basilica, which became the burial place for the kings of France. Another account has his corpse being thrown in the Seine, but recovered and buried later that night by his converts.


Propers for Denis of Paris - Bishop and Martyr


The Collect:

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Denis with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22


References and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/cal10_07.cfm?PropersYear=1637
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Robert Grosseteste

English statesman, scholastic philosopher, theologian and bishop of Lincoln, was born of humble parents at Stradbroke in Suffolk. A.C. Crombie calls him "the real founder of the tradition of scientific thought in medieval Oxford, and in some ways, of the modern English intellectual tradition".

Had the leaders of the thirteenth century heeded this preacher, many of the disasters of the following three centuries might have been avoided. Robert was a peasant lad from Suffolk, born about 1175. He distinguished himself at Oxford in law, medicine, languages, natural sciences, and theology. He became what is now called Chancellor of Oxford University.

In 1235, he was elected Bishop of Lincoln, in area the largest diocese in England. He promptly visited all the churches in the diocese and quickly removed many of the prominent clergy because they were neglecting their pastoral duties. He vigorously opposed the practice by which the Pope appointed Italians as absentee clergy for English churches (collecting salaries from said churches without ever setting foot in the country). He insisted that his priests spend their time in the service of their people, in prayer, and in study. He went on a pilgrimage to Rome, where he spoke out boldly against ecclesiastical abuses. Back in England, he spoke against unlawful usurpations of power by the monarch, and was one of those present at the signing of the Magna Carta.

Grosseteste's scholarly writings embraced many fields of learning. He translated into Latin the Ethics of Aristotle and the theological works of John of Damascus and of the fifth-century writer known as Dionysius the Areopagite. He was skilled in poetry, music, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, optics, and physics (one of his pupils was Roger Bacon). His writings on the first chapter of Genesis include an interesting anticipation of modern cosmological ideas. (He read that the first thing created was light, and said that the universe began with pure energy exploding from a point source.) He knew Hebrew and Greek, and his Biblical studies were a notable contribution to the scholarship of the day.


Propers for Robert Grosseteste - Bishop

The Collect:

O God our heavenly Father, who didst raise up thy faithful servant Robert Grosseteste to be a bishop and pastor in thy Church and to feed thy flock: Give to all pastors abundant gifts of thy Holy Spirit, that they may minister in thy household as true servants of Christ and stewards of thy divine mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever.Amen.


Bible Readings: Psalm 112:1-9, Psalm 23 Acts 20:28-32 and St. Luke 16:10-15


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/10/09.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Grosseteste

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lepanto



The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic maritime states, Spain, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia, the Republic of Venice, the Papacy, the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy, the Knights Hospitaller with additional troops from Germany and Croatia decisively defeated the main fleet of the Muslim Ottoman Empire.

The battle lasted for five hours on the northern edge of the Gulf of Patras, off western Greece, where the Ottoman forces sailing westwards from their naval station in Lepanto (Turkish: İnebahtı; Naupaktos or Épahtos) met the Holy League forces, which had come from Messina ships were manned by Berbers, Egyptians and Syrians

The Victory of the Holy League prevented the Mediterranean Sea from becoming an uncontested highway for Muslim forces, protected Italy from a major Ottoman invasion, and prevented the Ottomans from advancing further into the southern flank of Europe. Lepanto was the last major naval battle fought entirely between galleys, and has been assigned great symbolic importance.


Propers for the Commemoration of the Christian Victory at Lepanto

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, the Sovereign Commander of all the world, in whose hand is power and might, which none is able to withstand; We bless and magnify thy great and glorious Name for this happy Victory, the whole glory whereof we do ascribe to thee, who art the only giver of Victory. And. we beseech thee, give us grace to improve this great mercy to thy glory, the advancement of thy Gospel, the honour of our country, and. as much as in us lieth, to the good of all mankind. And, we beseech thee, give us such a sense of this great mercy, as may engage us to a true thankfulness, such as may appear in our lives by an humble, holy and obedient walking before thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, as for all thy mercies, so in particular for this Victory and Deliverance, be all glory and honour, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle - Ephesians 6:10-20.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.


The Holy Gospel - St. John 14:1-4.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.


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