Friday, November 30, 2007

Saint Andrew, the Apostle

(Greek: Ανδρέας, Andreas), called in the Orthodox tradition Protocletos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the elder brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" (from Greek : ανδρεία, manhood, or valour), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the second or third century B.C. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him.

The Bible records that St Andrew was a son of Jonah, or John, (Matthew 16:17; John 1:42). He was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee (John 1:44). Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that He will make them "fishers of men" (Greek: ἁλιείς ἀνθρώπων, halieis anthropon). [1] At the beginning of Jesus' public life they occupied the same house at Capernaum (Mark 1:21, 29).

From the Gospel of John we learn that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus (John 1:35-40). Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and hastened to introduce Him to his brother(John 1:41). Thenceforth the two brothers were disciples of Christ. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11; Matthew 4:19-20; Mark 1:17-18).

In the gospels he is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus (Mark 13:3; John 6:8, 12:22); but in Acts there is only a bare mention of him (1:13).

Eusebius quotes Origen as saying Andrew preached in Asia Minor and in Scythia, along the Black Sea as far as the Volga and Kiev. Hence he became a patron saint of Romania and Russia. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium in AD 38, installing Stachys as bishop (the only bishopric in that neighbourhood before that time had been established at Heraclea). This See would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew is recognized as its Patron Saint.

He is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at Patras (Patrae) in Achaea, on a cross of the form called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross) and commonly known as "St. Andrew's cross", at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross on which Christ was crucified. Saint Andrew is the patron of Patras. According to tradition his relics were moved from Patras to Constantinople, and thence to St. Andrews (see below). Local legends say that the relics were sold to the Romans. The head of the saint, considered as one of the treasures of St. Peter's Basilica, was given by the Byzantine despot Thomas Palaeologus to Pope Pius II in 1461. In recent years, the relics were kept in the Vatican City, but were sent back to Patras by decision of the Pope Paul VI in 1964. The relics, which consist of the small finger, part of the top of the cranium of Saint Andrew and small parts of the cross, have since that time been kept in the Church of St. Andrew at Patras in a special tomb, and are reverenced in a special ceremony every November 30.

St. Andrew Basilica at Patras, where the saint's relics are kept, said to be erected over the place of his martyrdom The apocryphal Acts of Andrew, mentioned by Eusebius, Epiphanius and others, is among a disparate group of Acts of the Apostles that were traditionally attributed to Leucius Charinus. "These Acts may be the latest of the five leading apostolic romances. They belong to the third century: ca. A.D. 260," was the opinion of M.R. James, who edited them in 1924. The Acts, as well as a Gospel of St. Andrew, appear among rejected books in the Decretum Gelasianum connected with the name of Pope Gelasius I. The Acts of Andrew was edited and published by Constantin von Tischendorf in the Acta Apostolorum apocrypha (Leipzig, 1821), putting it for the first time into the hands of an Irish professional reader. Another version of the Andrew legend is found in the Passio Andreae, published by Max Bonnet (Supplementum II Codicis apocryphi, Paris, 1895).

Propers for Saint Andrew the Apostle.

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfill thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Romans x. 9.

IF thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things ! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

The Gospel - St. Matthew iv. 18.

JESUS, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father. and followed him.

Reference and Resources:

Friday, November 23, 2007

St. Clement of Rome

the Archbishop of Rome from 88 to 99 AD. Also called Clement of Rome and Clemens Romanus, he was the fourth pope, after Anacletus, according to Catholic tradition. However, other sources cite him as the second pope and successor to Peter.

Saint Clement I is also considered one of the Apostolic Fathers, and his name is in the Roman Canon of the Mass. Saint Clement I is commemorated on November 23 as pope and martyr in the Roman Catholic Churches well as the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran church.

The Collect for the Day:

O GOD, who hast enlightened thy Church by the teaching of thy servant Clement: Enrich us evermore, we beseech thee, with thy heavenly grace, and raise up faithful witnesses who by their life and doctrine will set forth the truth of thy salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reference and Resources:

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Propers for Thanksgiving Day

The Collect

O MOST merciful Father, who hast blessed the labours of the husbandman in the returns of the fruits of the earth; We give thee humble and hearty thanks for this thy bounty; beseeching thee to continue thy loving-kindness to us, that our land may still yield her increase, to thy glory and our comfort; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - St. James i. 16

DO not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

The Gospel - St. Matthew vi. 25

JESUS said, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than food, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore be not anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

C. S. Lewis, scholar and spiritual writer

Clive Staples Lewis ("Jack" Lewis to his friends) was a tutor and lecturer at Oxford University, and later Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English Literature at Cambridge University. In the judgment of many, he is the most popular and most effective explainer and defender of the Christian faith writing in English in the 20th century. He tried to make a point of avoiding disputes on matters where Christians disagree, and defending those beliefs which they hold in common. His work was valued by many Christians of widely differing backgrounds: Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, etc.

Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings. Both authors were leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University and in the informal Oxford literary group known as the "Inklings". According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptized in the Church of Ireland at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at about the age of 30, Lewis re-converted to Christianity, becoming "a very ordinary layman of the Church of England" (Lewis 1952, p. 6). His conversion had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim. Later in life he married the American writer Joy Gresham, who died of bone cancer four years later at the age of 45.

In early June 1961, Lewis began experiencing medical problems and was diagnosed with inflammation of the kidneys which resulted in blood poisoning. His illness caused him to miss the autumn term at Cambridge, though his health gradually began improving in 1962 and he returned that April. Lewis's health continued to improve, and according to his friend George Sayer, Lewis was fully himself by the spring of 1963. However, on July 15, 1963 he fell ill and was admitted to hospital. The next day at 5:00 pm, Lewis suffered a heart attack and lapsed into a coma, unexpectedly awaking the following day at 2:00 pm. After he was discharged from hospital, Lewis returned to the Kilns though he was too ill to return to work. As a result, he resigned from his post at Cambridge in August. Lewis's condition continued to decline and in mid-November, he was diagnosed with end stage renal failure. On November 22, 1963, Lewis collapsed in his bedroom at 5:30 pm and died a few minutes later, exactly one week before what would have been his 65th birthday. He is buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, Headington, Oxford.


Almighty God, whose servant C.S. Lewis received of Thy grace singular gifts of insight in understanding the truth in Christ Jesus, and of eloquence and clarity in presenting that truth to his readers: Raise up in our day faithful interpreters of Thy Word, that we, being set free from all error and unbelief, may come to the knowledge that maketh us wise unto salvation: through Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reference and Resources:

Monday, November 19, 2007

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

The numerous "St. Elizabeth's Hospitals" throughout the world are for the most part named, not for the Biblical Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, but for this princess of Hungary. She was concerned for the relief of the poor and the sick, and with her husband's consent she used her dowry money for their relief. During a famine and epidemic in 1226, while her husband was away in Italy, she sold her jewels and established a hospital where she nursed the sick, and opened the royal granaries to feed the hungry. After her husband's death in 1227, her in-laws, who opposed her "extravagances," expelled her from Wartburg. Finally an arrangement was negotiated with them that gave her a stipend. She became a Franciscan tertiary (lay associate) and devoted the remainder of her life to nursing and charity. She sewed garments to clothe the poor, and went fishing to feed them.

The Collect for the Day

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy servant Elizabeth: Grant to us, thy humble servants, the same faith and power of love; that as we rejoice in her triumph, we may profit by her example; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reference and Resources:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hugh of Lincoln, Bishop

As a sign of his remorse for his role in the murder of the Archbishop Thomas a Becket, King Henry II founded the first house in England of the strict monastic order called the Carthusians. Difficulties arose with the first two priors, and a French noble recommended Hugh de Avalon, who at that time had been a monk at the mother house of the order for 17 years.

On his arrival in England in 1176, Hugh found that the building of the monastery had not begun. Worse, no compensation had been paid to those who would have to lose their lands and property to make room for it. Hugh refused to take office until these persons had been paid "to the last penny." He intervened again on behalf of the builders, whose pay was not forthcoming.

Henry loved him for his plain speaking. "I do not despair of you," Hugh said to him at their first interview; "I know how much your many occupations interfere with the health of your soul." Henry, impressed by his frankness, swore that while he lived he should not leave his kingdom, and took so much pleasure in his conversation, and paid so much heed to his counsels, that a rumor arose that Hugh was his son. Hugh's biographer wrote that "of all men only Hugh could bend that rhinosceros to his will." When Henry was in danger of shipwreck, he cried out, "If only my Carthusian Hugh were awake and at prayer, God would not forget me."

This affection never diminished, though Hugh dared to oppose the king, particularly in the matter of keeping bishoprics vacant in order that their revenues might fall to the king's treasury. One of the worst examples was Lincoln, which, except for a few months, had been without a bishop for eighteen years. Hugh was elected to the post in 1186, and his monastic superiors ordered him to accept. After so long a period of neglect, there was great need of reform. Hugh employed priests of great piety and learning, and made the fullest use of his authority in disciplining his clergy. He took a stern view of the ill-treatment of the poor by the royal foresters, and when a subject of the church of Lincoln suffered at their hands he excommunicated their chief.

He also refused to appoint a royal favorite to a meaningless but lucrative post. Henry was furious, and summoned him to his presence. He came, and Henry turned away his face and would not speak, but by way of ignoring his presence took out a torn glove and began to sew it. At last Hugh said, "How like you are to your relations at Falaise." The king might have resented this allusion to the humble birth of William the Conqueror's mother, the daughter of a glove-maker, but he only laughed, and the quarrel was made up.

Riots against the Jews broke out in England at the time of the Third Crusade. In defence of the persecuted, Hugh faced armed mobs in Lincoln, Stamford and Northampton and compelled their submission.

Hugh refused to raise money for the foreign wars of King Richard the Lion-Heart, calmed the king's rage with a kiss, and persisted in his refusal: this was the first clear example on record of the refusal of a money-grant demanded directly by the crown, and an important legal precedent. Richard said, "If all bishops were like my lord of Lincoln, not a prince among us could raise his head against them."

His relations with King John were less happy. John showed him an amulet, which he said was sacred and would preserve him. Hugh replied, "Do not put your trust in lifeless stone, but only in the living and heavenly stone, our Lord Jesus Christ." The following Easter he preached at length on the duties of kings, and the king slipped out partway through.

Devout, tireless, and forgetful of self, Hugh also had wit, a temper that he described as "more biting than pepper," and a great love and concern for children and the defenceless. He visited leper-houses and washed the ulcerous limbs of their inmates.

He was fond of animals, and they of him. Birds and squirrels came readily to his hand. He had a swan that would feed from his hand, follow him about, and keep guard over his bed, so that no one could approach it without being attacked.

In 1200 the king sent him on an embassy to France. His mission was a success, but he took ill and returned to England to die on 16 November 1200. John Ruskin called him "the most beautiful sacerdotal (priestly) figure known to me in history."

Propers for HUGH, Bishop of Lincoln, November 17.

The Collect for the Day

O GOD, the light of the faithful and shepherd of souls, who didst call thy servant Hugh to feed thy sheep by his word, and guide them by his example: Grant us, we pray thee, to keep the faith which he taught, and to follow in his footsteps; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reference and Resources:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Saint Margaret of Scotland

(c 1045 – 16 November 1093), was the sister of Edgar Ætheling, the short-ruling and uncrowned Anglo-Saxon king of England. She married Malcolm III, King of Scots, becoming his Queen consort.

Early life:

The daughter of the English prince Edward the Exile, son of Edmund Ironside, Margaret was probably born in Hungary. The provenance of her mother Agatha is disputed. According to popular belief, Margaret was a very serious person, so much that no one ever could recall seeing her laugh or smile.

When her uncle, Edward the Confessor, the French-speaking Anglo-Saxon King of England, died in 1066, she was living in England where her brother, Edgar Ætheling, had decided to make a claim to the vacant throne. According to tradition, after the conquest of the Kingdom of England by the Normans the widowed Agatha decided to leave Northumberland with her children and return to the Continent, but a storm drove their ship to Scotland where they sought the protection of King Malcolm III. The spot where she is said to have landed is known today as St Margaret's Hope, near the village of North Queensferry. Malcolm was probably a widower, and was no doubt attracted by the prospect of marrying one of the few remaining members of the Anglo-Saxon royal family. The marriage of Malcolm and Margaret soon took place and was followed by several invasions of Northumberland by the Scottish king, probably in support of the claims of his brother-in-law Edgar. These, however, had little result beyond the devastation of the province.


Margaret and Malcolm had eight children, six sons and two daughters:

* Edward, killed 1093.
* Edmund of Scotland
* Ethelred, abbot of Dunkeld
* King Edgar of Scotland
* King Alexander I of Scotland
* King David I of Scotland
* Edith of Scotland, also called Matilda, married King Henry I of England
* Mary of Scotland, married Eustace III of Boulogne

Her husband, Malcolm III, and their eldest son, Edward, were killed in siege against the English at Alnwick Castle on 13 November 1093. Her son Edmund was left with the task of telling his mother of their deaths. Margaret was ill, and she died on 16 November 1093, three days after the deaths of her husband and eldest son. Her children tried to hide the fact of their father's and brother's deaths, but when Margaret did find out she either died of sadness or a broken heart.

Margaret and Scottish culture:

It is notable that while Malcolm's children by his first wife Ingibjörg all bore Gaelic names, those of Margaret all bore non-Gaelic names. Later tradition often has it that Margaret was responsible for starting the demise of Gaelic culture in the lowlands and Scotland in general. The forenames of Margaret's children were probably intended to bear Margaret's claims to the Anglo-Saxon throne in the period before permanent Norman rule was recognized, and so the first group of children were given Anglo-Saxon royal names. In fact, in Gaeldom, she has usually not been considered a saint, but referred to as Mairead/Maighread nam Mallachd: Accursed Margaret.

Moreover, it is unlikely that they were originally seen as successors to the Scottish throne, as Malcolm had other (grown) sons and brothers who were much more likely to succeed him. Furthermore, Margaret freely patronized Gaelic churchmen, and Gaelic remained an expanding language in northern Britain. Nevertheless, these sons regarded their Anglo-Saxon heritage as important, as the latter was one of the main devices for legitimizing the authority of the Scottish kings in English-speaking Lothian and northern England.


Margaret was canonized in 1251 by Pope Innocent IV on account of her personal holiness and fidelity to the Church. She would personally serve orphans and the poor every day before she herself would eat, and would rise at midnight to attend church services every night. The Roman Catholic Church formerly marked the feast of Saint Margaret of Scotland on 10 June, but the date was transferred to 16 November, the actual day of her death, in the liturgical reform of 1972. Queen Margaret University (founded in 1875), Queen Margaret Hospital (just outside Dunfermline), North Queensferry, South Queensferry and several streets in Dunfermline are named after her.

The Collect:

O GOD, who didst call thy servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst endue her with zeal for thy Church and charity towards thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her example may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Propers for common of a Saint

Reference and Resources:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Former Muslim Gives Great Testimony

Ergun Caner, the dean of Liberty Baptist Seminary, is a former Muslim and discusses coming to know Jesus.

My favorite quote from this video is when Mr. Caner states that "Jesus strapped himself to a cross, so I wouldn't have to strap a bomb to myself".

The same day I find and post this video the Bible Gateway Verse of the Day is 1 Peter 3:18......hmmmmmmmm

Sunday, November 11, 2007

St. Martin of Tours

Propers for ST. MARTIN - Soldier, Bishop of Tours

The Collect

O GOD, who by thy Holy Spirit didst enable thy servant Martin to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil: Grant that we, in the same Spirit, may with pure hearts and minds follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Isaiah 58:10-12:

IF thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt he called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

The Gospel - St. Matthew 25:34-40:

THEN shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred. and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred. and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Beijing Denies Ban of Religious Items During 2008 Olympics

Associated Press

BEIJING — Beijing Olympic organizers angrily disputed allegations of religious intolerance Thursday, saying Bibles and other religious items for personal use will be welcome at next summer's games — except for the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Recent reports by a religious news agency and European media saying Bibles would be banned at the Olympics touched off an outcry that prompted a U.S. senator to call the Chinese ambassador for an explanation and a Christian athletes group to protest the "deep violation."

Beijing organizers flatly denied the reports, and the Foreign Ministry charged the allegations were likely the work of people who want to sabotage Beijing's hosting of the games.

"There is no such thing. This kind of report is an intentional distortion of truth," said Li Zhanjun, director of the Beijing Olympics media center.

He said texts and other items from major religious groups that are brought into China for personal use by athletes and visitors are permitted. The Beijing Olympics Web site said "each traveler is recommended to take no more than one Bible into China."

Li also said religious services — Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist — will be available to athletes in the Olympic Village.

However, he said, the policies do not apply to Falun Gong, reasserting China's determination to eradicate the movement. Falun Gong was banned eight years ago as an "evil cult" after its members staged a mass protest outside government headquarters to demand official recognition.

The State Department says Falun Gong practitioners in China face arrest, detention and possible torture as members overseas maintain a vigorous campaign of protest against China's government.

"We don't recognize it because it's a cult," Li said. "So Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden. Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of China."

China's leadership is using the Summer Olympics to project a positive image of the country. Venue construction has hummed at a record pace, and Beijing is so eager to host a flawless event that it enacted campaigns to stomp out speaking poor English, spitting, littering and cutting in line.

Yet preparations have been tarred by complaints about China's human rights abuses and Beijing's choking smog. The regime also has drawn criticism over its support for Sudan's Arab-dominated government, an oil supplier accused of atrocities against ethnic Africans in Darfur.

The games have now cast a spotlight on religion, which is heavily regulated in China by the officially atheist ruling Communist party. Worship is legal only in party-controlled churches, temples and mosques, and those who attend others face harassment, arrest and terms in labor camps or prison.

Bibles are printed under government supervision and can be sold only in approved churches, according to the Web site of China's State Administration for Religious Affairs. Visitors can bring in religious texts for personal use, but no more than three copies of each, said an official at the agency's regulation department, who refused to give his name.

In a statement, the International Olympic Committee said the news articles reporting a Bible ban stemmed from a misunderstanding of what was said at an October briefing in Beijing during which items banned from import into China were discussed.

"It is clear that athletes coming to the games are able to bring with them religious items for personal use, as in previous games, to the Olympic venues," the statement said.

Speaking at a regularly scheduled news conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said the media reports pointed to attempts to undermine China's Olympic glory.

"There are some people out there who do not want to see China hold a successful games," Liu said.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Bishop, Missionary

Propers for Willibrod (Common of a Saint)

The Collect:

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and bast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses; Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of thy Saints, and especially of thy servant Willibrod, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we with them attain to thine eternal joy; through him who is the author and finisher of our faith, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Hebrews 12:1-2:

SEEING we also are compassed about with so great a of cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

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 still 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.

References and Resources:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Leonard of Noblac

Abbott, Confessor

Propers for Leonard (Common of a Saint)

The Collect:

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and bast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses; Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of thy Saints, and especially of thy servant Leonard, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we with them attain to thine eternal joy; through him who is the author and finisher of our faith, thy Son 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. Matthew 25:31-40:

WHEN the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the lease of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Richard Hooker

Priest, Teacher, Theologian
Propers for Richard Hooker
The Collect
O GOD, who hast endowed thy servant Richard Hooker with clarity of faith and holiness of life: Grant us to keep with steadfast minds the faith which he taught, and in his fellowship to be made partakers of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle - Wisdom 7:7-14:
I CALLED upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither compared I unto her any precious stone, because all gold in respect of her is as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay before her. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for the light that cometh from her never goeth out. All good things together came to me with her, and innumerable riches in her hands. And I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom goeth before them: and I knew not that she was the mother of them. I learned diligently, and do communicate her liberally: I do not hide her riches. For she is a treasure unto men that never faileth: which they that use become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts that come from learning.
The Gospel - St. John 17:18-23:
AS thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me though their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
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Friday, November 2, 2007

All Souls

Propers for ALL SOULS DAY
The Collect:
O GOD, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful: grant unto the souls of thy servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins; that through devout supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.
The Epistle - 1 Corinthians xv. 51:
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up, in victory. 0 death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Gospel - St. John v. 25:
Jesus said unto the multitude of the Jews: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of condemnation.
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Thursday, November 1, 2007

All Saints

All Saints' Day, All Hallows, Hallowmas ("hallows" meaning "saints," and "mas" meaning "Mass"), is a feast celebrated on November 1 or on the first Sunday after Pentecost in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. Halloween is the day preceding it, and is so named because it is "The Eve of All Hallows". All Saints is also a Christian formula invoking all the faithful saints and martyrs, known or unknown. In terms of Catholic theology, the feast remembers all those who have attained the beatific vision in heaven, while the next day, All Souls' Day, commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven.
In the early Church, Christians would celebrate the anniversary of a martyr's death for Christ (known as the saint's "birth day") by serving an All-Night Vigil, and then celebrating the Eucharist over their tomb or place of martyrdom. In the fourth century, neighbouring dioceses began to transfer relics, and to celebrate the feast days of specific martyrs in common. Frequently, a number of Christians would suffer martyrdom on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all.
A commemoration of "All Martyrs" began to be celebrated as early as the year 270, although no specific month or date are mentioned in existing records. The first trace of a general celebration on a specific day is attested in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost. There is mention of a common day in a sermon of St. Ephrem the Syrian (373), and the custom is also referred to in the 74th Homily of St. John Chrysostom (†407), who speaks of a "feast of martyrs of the whole world." As early as 411, there is found among the Chaldean Christians a general commemoration of all Confessors (Commemoratio Confessorum), celebrated on the Friday after Easter.
The Western Christian holiday of All Saints Day (called Festum omnium sanctorum in Latin) falls on November 1, followed by All Souls' Day on November 2, and is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Church, with a vigil. This feast used to have an octave. The octave was abrogated in 1955 along with other octaves.
A similar festival to All Saints celebrated in the West dates to May 13 in 609 or 610, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; the feast of the dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. The chosen day, May 13, was a pagan observation of great antiquity, the culmination of three days of the Feast of the Lemures, in which were propitiated the malevolent and restless spirits of all the dead. The medieval liturgiologists based the idea that this Lemuria festival was the origin of that of All Saints on their identical dates and on the similar theme of all the dead. The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731-741) of an oratory in St Peter's for the relics "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world", with the day moved to November 1. This coincided with the Celtic pagan holiday of Samhain, which had a theme similar to that of Lemuria, but which was also a harvest festival.
The Irish, whose holiday Samhain had been, did not maintain this November 1 date for All Hallows Day, as extant historical documents attest that the celebration of All Hallows in Ireland took place in the spring: "...the Felire of Oengus and the Martyrology of Tallaght prove that the early medieval churches [in Ireland] celebrated the feast of All Saints upon 20 April." A November festival of all the saints was already widely celebrated on November 1 in the days of Charlemagne. It was made a day of obligation throughout the Frankish empire in 835, by a decree of Louis the Pious, issued "at the instance of Pope Gregory IV and with the assent of all the bishops," which confirmed its celebration on the 1st of November. The octave was added by Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484).
The festival was retained after the Reformation in the calendar of the Church of England and in many Lutheran churches. In the Lutheran churches, such as the Church of Sweden, it assumes a role of general commemoration of the dead. In the Swedish calendar, the observance takes place on the first Saturday of November. In many Lutheran Churches, it is moved to the first Sunday of November. It is also celebrated by other Protestants of the English tradition, such as the United Church of Canada and the Wesleyan Church.
In the United Methodist Church, All Saint's Day on the first Sunday of November. It is held to remember all those that have passed away from the local church congregation. A candle is lit by the Acolyte as each person's name is called out. Then, a liturgical prayer is offered for each soul in Heaven.
In Portugal, Spain and Mexico, ofrendas (offerings) are made on this day. In Spain, the play Don Juan Tenorio is traditionally performed. In Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Spain people bring flowers to the graves of dead relatives.
In Poland, Czech, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Croatia, Austria, Romania, Hungary and Germany, the tradition is to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives.
In the Philippines, the day is spent visiting the graves of deceased relatives, where they offer prayers, lay flowers, and light candles.
In English speaking countries, the festival is traditionally celebrated with the hymn "For All the Saints" by William Walsham How. The most familiar tune for this hymn is Sine Nomine by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Propers for All Saints' Day
The Collect:
O ALMIGHTY God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle - Revelation vii. 2:
AND I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four living creatures, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
The Gospel - St. Matthew v. 1:
JESUS seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
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