Monday, June 30, 2008

First Martyrs of Rome

Ancient Roman historians (non-Christian) relate the first wholesale massacres of Christians by the Roman government as follows: In the year 64, much of the city of Rome burned. It was widely speculated that the Emperor Nero had ordered the fire in order that he might rebuild to his fancy. In order to divert suspicion from himself, Nero accused the Christians of setting the fires, and had many of them put to death in various cruel ways: eaten in the arena by wild beasts, covered with pitch and burned as torches to light the Emperor's nightly revels, and so on. The persecution appears to have been confined to Rome.

Propers for the First Martyrs of Rome

The Collect.

O Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyrs at Rome in the days of the Emperor Nero triumphed over suffering and were faithful even unto death: Grant us, who now remember them with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to thee in this world, that we may receive with them the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lesson - Wisdom 3:1–8

The Gospel - St. Luke 21:9–19

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Sixth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O GOD, who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man's understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Romans vi. 3.

KNOW ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Gospel - St. Matthew v. 20.

JESUS said unto his disciples, Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Saint Peter the Apostle

The Apostle Peter, also known as Saint Peter, Shimon "Keipha" Ben-Yonah/Bar-Yonah, Simon Peter, Cephas and Keipha—original name Shimon or Simeon (Acts 15:14)—was one of the Twelve Apostles whom Jesus chose as his original disciples. His life is prominently featured in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.

According to the New Testament Peter was a Galilean fisherman assigned a leadership role by Jesus (Matthew 16:18; John 21:15–16). Many within the early Church, such as St Clement of Rome (1st Epistle to the Corinthians,1,59:1) and St Irenaeus[1], mention his primacy.

The ancient Christian Churches, Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Anglican Communion, consider Simon Peter a saint and associate him with the foundation of the Church in Rome, even if they differ on the significance of this and of the Pope in present-day Christianity.

Some who recognize his office as Bishop of Antioch and, later, as Bishop of Rome or Pope, hold that his episcopacy held a primacy only of honour, as a first among equals. Some propose that his primacy was not intended to pass to his successors. Still others view Peter as not having held the office of bishop or overseer, on the grounds that this office was a development of later Christianity. Some Protestants do not use the title of "saint" in reference to him.

The Roman Martyrology assigns 29 June as the feast day of both Peter and Paul, without thereby declaring that to be the day of their deaths. St Augustine of Hippo says in his Sermon 295: "One day is assigned for the celebration of the martyrdom of the two apostles. But those two were one. Although their martyrdom occurred on different days, they were one." The Annuario Pontificio gives the year of Peter's death as A.D. 64 or A.D. 67. Some scholars believe that he died on October 13 A.D. 64. It is traditionally believed that the Roman authorities sentenced him to death by crucifixion. According to a tradition recorded or perhaps initiated in the apocryphal Acts of Peter, he was crucified head down. Tradition also locates his burial place where the Basilica of Saint Peter was later built, directly beneath the Basilica's high altar. In art, he is often depicted holding the keys to the kingdom of heaven (the sign of his primacy over the Church), a reference to Matthew 16:19.

The Collect

O ALMIGHTY God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commandedst him earnestly to feed thy flock; Make, we beseech thee, all Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach thy holy Word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Acts xii. 1.

ABOUT that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

The Gospel - St. Matthew xvi. 13.

WHEN Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

References and Resources

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, Theologian

(pronounced ear-a-NAY-us) was probably born around 125. As a young man in Smyrna (near Ephesus, in what is now western Turkey) he heard the preaching of Polycarp, who as a young man had heard the preaching of the Apostle John. Afterward, probably while still a young man, Polycarp moved west to Lyons in southern France. In 177, Pothinus, the bishop of Lyons, sent him on a mission to Rome. During his absence a severe persecution broke out in Lyons, claiming the lives of the bishop and others. When Irenaeus returned to Lyons, he was made bishop. He died around 202. He is thus an important link between the apostolic church and later times, and also an important link between Eastern and Western Christianity.

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, who didst uphold thy servant Irenaeus with strength to maintain the truth against every wind of vain doctrine: We beseech thee to keep us steadfast in thy true religion, that we may walk in constancy and in peace the way that leadeth to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Malachi 2:5-7.

MY covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

The Gospel - St. Luke 11:33-36.

NO man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
References and Resources

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Patristic Quote for the Day

Whosoever wisheth to draw nigh in systematic order to the life and conduct of the discipleship of Christ before all things it is meet that he should within himself lay hold upon sure faith, which maketh certain that God is, and enquireth not; which holdeth His words to be sure; and seeketh not to investigate His nature; which hearkeneth to His words, and judgeth not His deeds and actions. For faith maketh [man] believe God in everything that He speaketh without requiring testimonies and proofs of the certainty of His word, the certain proof that it is God Who speaketh being sufficient for him. Signs and testimonies and proofs are demanded when it is man who doeth or sayeth anything, but when it is God Himself who speaketh, and the Lord of the universe Who sayeth that He will perform [it], it is necessary for us to believe, it being sufficient for the persuading of our faith that it is God Himself Who speaketh and will perform. And man hath not the power to judge His will; for how can man who hath been made judge the will of Him that created him? For as the vessel cannot chide the handicraftsman and [ask] why he hath thus formed it, or judge any of his works, so also is it with man who is a rational vessel, and he hath no power to chide with the Workman Who made him. And although man possesseth the speech of knowledge it was not given to him to judge the will of Him that made him, but that he might be a panegyrist of the knowledge which formed him; for the rational man is farther removed from the power of scrutinizing His Creator, than is the speechless vessel from the power of criticizing him that made it. For the giving of thanks have we received speech from God our Creator, and in order that we may admire His created things hath He placed in us thoughts of knowledge. That we may perceive Him He hath made us to possess a sense of wisdom, and that we may receive a foretaste of His gracious acts hath He placed within our soul the sense of discernment. That we may see Him in His works He hath given to us the eye of faith which can see deeply into His secret things. God is too great to be investigated by the thoughts, and His dispensation surpasseth the seeking out of speech. And with His nature go also His works: for as His nature is inscrutable so also the deeds and actions of His nature cannot be sought out. And His will and wish cannot be judged, either for what reason hath He willed thus, or for what reason hath He done thus; for as He cannot be judged by us as to why He hath made us in this form, and why He hath formed us, and placed us in the world in this order of constitution, so also none of His wishes can be found fault with by us, either as to why He willed thus, or why He performed.

--- Philoxenus - Ascetic Discourse: Discourse 2 -- On Faith.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is American Theology Watered Down?

The publication of a Pew Survey on American religion is being posted on many news sights and getting spun like cotton candy and if the statistics were true, than the Unitarian-Universalists should be the largest religious body in the U.S.

"America remains a nation of believers, but a new survey finds most Americans don't think their religion is the only way to eternal life, even if their faith tradition teaches otherwise."

St. John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

St. John 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

"The findings, revealed Monday in a survey of more than 35,000 adults, can either be taken as a sign of growing religious tolerance or evidence that Americans dismiss or don't know fundamental teachings of their own faiths."

I think the reasoning for this result can be summed-up thus.

1) Ineffective or shoddy evangelism, does the minister believe or understand what he is preaching, does he know what is in the Gospels or is it a quick power-point presentation of the warm and fuzzy and politically correct portions of the teachings of our Lord?

2) The replacement of a theologically and dogmatically sound catechisms with the "meet-and-greet-supper-club-are you sure you want to be a Christian?" program or a catechism focused on social justice and environmentalism and not on salvation through Jesus Christ.

3) The lack of an instructional office and the recitation of the Decalogue or the Creeds unstained by a new translation that sneaks in post-modern theology.

IMHO, the only way to correct this slide into luke-warm belief is to deliver a message to believers and potential converts, that is rooted in Scripture and tradition and is delivered in a convicted and convincing manner.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

This feast day is a commemoration of the birth of Saint John the Baptist. Throughout the history of the Church, this feast day has been regarded as a "Summer Christmas". When dispute arose as to the name of the child, his father Zacharias, still without speech caused by God for his unbelief, wrote on a tablet that the child's name would be John. Immediately Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost and prophesied saying: Blessed be the Lord of God of Israel: for he hath visited and redeemed his people. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David. . . (St. Luke I: 68-69)

Propers for The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, by whose providence thy servant John Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Saviour by preaching repentance; Make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Isaiah xl. 1.

COMFORT ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

The Gospel - St. Luke i. 57.

ELISABETH'S full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he swore to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

Reference and Resources:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saint Alban, Protomartyr of Britain

(Transfered from 22nd June)

St. Alban was born in the third century in Roman Britain, and was martyred around 304. According to the English Christian historian, the Venerable Bede, Alban was a pagan, and a soldier in the Roman Army.

Alban offered refuge to a Christian priest named Amphibalus during a persecution. The priest ended up converting him, and when soldiers arrived at his home, Alban dressed in the priest's clothes to protect him. Alban was taken prisoner allowing the priest to flee. When compelled to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, Alban refused to renounce his new faith, and was beheaded as a consequence.

He thus became the first Christian martyr in Britain. The second was the executioner who was to kill him, but who heard his testimony and was so impressed that he became a Christian on the spot, and refused to kill Alban. The third was the priest, who when he learned that Alban had been arrested in his place, hurried to the court in the hope of saving Alban by turning himself in. The place of their deaths is near the site of St. Alban's Cathedral today.

Propers for ALBAN - First Martyr of Britain

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering, and despised death: Grant, we beseech thee, that enduring hardness, and waxing valiant in fight, we may with the noble army of martyrs receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 John 3:13-16.

The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:34-42.

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Fifth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

GRANT, O Lord, we beseech thee, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that thy Church may joyfully serve thee in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 St. Peter iii. 8.

BE ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.

The Gospel - St. Luke v. 1.

IT came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Onesimos Nesib

Onesimos Nesib (in Oromo orthography, Onesimoos Nasiib; about 1856 – 21 June 1931), was a native Oromo who converted to Lutheran Christianity and translated the Christian Bible into the Oromo language. His name at birth was Hika; he took the name "Onesimus", after the Biblical character, upon converting to Christianity.

The Mekane Yesus Church honored him by naming their seminary in Addis Ababa for him.

Propers for Onesimos Nesib - Translator and Missionary

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Onesimos Nesib, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the Oromo people of Africa: 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 Gospel - St. Luke 10:1-9.

Reference and Resources:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Olde Anglican Quote for the Day

"The gracious promises of God by the mediation of Christ showeth us, (and that to our great relief and comfort,) whensoever we be repentant...we have forgiveness of our sins, [are] reconciled to God, and accepted, and reputed just and righteous in his sight, only by his grace and mercy, which he doth grant and give unto us for his dearly beloved Son's sake, Jesus Christ; who paid a sufficient ransom for our sins; whose blood doth wash away the same; whose bitter and grievous passion is the only pacifying oblation, that putteth away from us the wrath of God his Father; whose sanctified body offered on the cross is the only sacrifice of sweet and pleasant savour, as St. Paul saith: that is to say, of such sweetness and pleasantness to the Father, that for the same he accepteth and reputeth of like sweetness all them that the same offering doth serve for."

--- Thomas Cranmer, Justification

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bible Passage for the Day

My wife and I have been disturbed at what seems to be a large number of news stories in which children are the victims of many heinous crimes and we are especially saddened and repulsed by the stories in which the children die at the hands of their parents.

I comfort myself in knowing that the LORD will take these innocent souls unto Himself and relieve them of the suffering they experienced on earth, but I still mourn the lost life and potential of those children, along with the other innocents murdered for profit and convenience.

The Gospel According to St. Luke 17:1-2

Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bernard Mizeki

Bernard Mizeki was born in Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) in about 1861. When he was twelve or a little older, he left his home and went to Capetown, South Africa, where for the next ten years he worked as a laborer, living in the slums of Capetown, but (perceiving the disastrous effects of drunkenness on many workers in the slums) firmly refusing to drink alcohol, and remaining largely uncorrupted by his surroundings. After his day's work, he attended night classes at an Anglican school. Under the influence of his teachers, from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE, an Anglican religious order for men, popularly called the Cowley Fathers), he became a Christian and was baptized on 9 March 1886. Besides the fundamentals of European schooling, he mastered English, French, high Dutch, and at least eight local African languages. In time he would be an invaluable assistant when the Anglican church began translating its sacred texts into African languages.

After graduating from the school, he accompanied Bishop Knight-Bruce to Mashonaland, a tribal area in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to work there as a lay catechist. In 1891 the bishop assigned him to Nhowe, the village of paramount-chief Mangwende, and there he built a mission-complex. He prayed the Anglican hours each day, tended his subsistence garden, studied the local language (which he mastered better than any other foreigner in his day), and cultivated friendships with the villagers. He eventually opened a school, and won the hearts of many of the Mashona through his love for their children.

He moved his mission complex up onto a nearby plateau, next to a grove of trees sacred to the ancestral spirits of the Mashona. Although he had the chief's permission, he angered the local religious leaders when he cut some of the trees down and carved crosses into others. Although he opposed some local traditional religious customs, Bernard was very attentive to the nuances of the Shona Spirit religion. He developed an approach that built on people's already monotheistic faith in one God, Mwari, and on their sensitivity to spirit life, while at the same time he forthrightly proclaimed the Christ. Over the next five years (1891-1896), the mission at Nhowe produced an abundance of converts.

Many black African nationalists regarded all missionaries as working for the European colonial governments. During an uprising in 1896, Bernard was warned to flee. He refused, since he did not regard himself as working for anyone but Christ, and he would not desert his converts or his post. On 18 June 1896, he was fatally speared outside his hut. His wife and a helper went to get food and blankets for him. They later reported that, from a distance, they saw a blinding light on the hillside where he had been lying, and heard a rushing sound, as though of many wings. When they returned to the spot his body had disappeared. The place of his death has become a focus of great devotion for Anglicans and other Christians, and one of the greatest of all Christian festivals in Africa takes place there every year around the feast day that marks the anniversary of his martyrdom, June 18.

Propers for Bernard Mizeki - Catechist, Missionary & Martyr

The Collect.

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

The Epistle - Revelation 7:13-17.

The Gospel - St Luke 12:2-12.

Reference and Resources:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Patristic Quote for the Day

"The covetous man is odious to the members of his household, severe to his domestics, useless to his friends, ungracious to strangers, troublesome to his neighbors, a sorry companion to his wife, a penurious rearer of children, a bad master of himself; at night full of anxiety, by day absorbed, talking to himself like one demented; abounding in wealth, yet groaning as though in need; not enjoying what he has, and yet seeking what he has not; not using his own, yet casting avaricious eyes upon the property of others. Such a man has a great flock of sheep that fills the folds in which it is penned, and covers the plains on which it pastures. And if a single sheep belonging to his neighbor appear in good flesh, taking no notice of his own vast flock he lays greedy siege to that one sheep of his neighbor. The same is true in the case of his kine and of his horses; nor is it otherwise in the matter of his land. The house is crowded with everything, but nothing is made any use of. For it is impossible for a greedy person to have any enjoyment, but his house is almost like a grave. For see, graves are often full of silver and gold, but no one uses the riches. The body is not sustained by them; the soul finds no satisfaction in them; for alms are not scattered by the right hand of the dead."

Asterius of Amasea: Sermons (1904) pp. 72-110. Sermon 3: Against Covetousness

Monday, June 16, 2008

Olde Anglican Quote for the Day

"The inheritance I speak of is the only inheritance which can be kept forever; all others must be left in the hour of death, if they have not been taken away before. Those who are extremely wealthy cannot carry anything with them beyond the grave. But it is not so with the "heirs of God." Their inheritance is eternal."

--- J.C. Ryle; Heirs of GOD

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Fourth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O GOD, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Romans viii. 18.

I RECKON that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

The Gospel - St. Luke vi. 36.

BE ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Basil of Caesarea

One of the Cappadocian Fathers, Basil was born at Caesarea in Cappadocia around 330. His brother was Saint Gregory of Nyssa and his sister Saint Macrina. He was a brilliant theologian, a founder of monasticism and a devout bishop.

While receiving his education at the highly esteemed schools in Constantinople and Athens, he befriended Gregory Nazianzus, who no doubt influenced his decision to choose the monastic life. Later he was made bishop of Caesarea. Basil is recognized for his significant contribution on the development of dogma regarding the Holy Ghost. His efforts provided the Church protection against those Arians who tried to deny the full divinity of Christ by denying the full divinity of the Holy Spirit.

His labour for Christ was instrumental in keeping the Church from being torn asunder during this heretical time. Pray for more such defenders of the Faith.

He is counted (with the two Gregories) as one of the three Cappadocian Fathers, and (with Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom) as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs. In the West, he is reckoned (with Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom, and Athanasius) as one of the Four Greek (Eastern) Doctors of the Undivided Church. (The Four Latin (Western) Doctors are Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great.)

Propers for Basil The Great - Bishop of Caesarea

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY, everlasting God, whose servant Basil steadfastly confessed thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to be Very God and Very Man: Grant that we may hold fast to this faith, and evermore magnify his holy Name; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 Corinthians 2:6-13.

The Gospel - St. Luke 10:22-24.

Reference and Resources:

Anthony of Padua

(ca. 1195 – June 13, 1231) also venerated as Saint Anthony of Lisbon and Saint Anthony of Padua, was born in Lisbon, Portugal, as Fernando Martins de Bulhão to a wealthy family and who died in Padua, Italy.

Fernando spent the first twenty-five years of his life in Portugal. Desiring to become a missionary, he joined the Franciscans and was sent to Morocco to preach to the Muslims. His health failed, and he returned almost immediately and was sent to Italy, where he seemed headed for an uneventful obscurity.

However, a conference of Dominicans and Franciscans was scheduled, at which each group thought that the other was about to provide the preacher, and so no one was prepared. For some reason, Antony was thrust forward and told to say something, and he astonished his hearers with the grace and power of his exhortation. He was told that he must speak more often, and he devoted the last nine years of his life to preaching. He had a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, and his sermons reflect that knowledge. He was noted for his refutations of heresies, and for his denunciations of clergy who did not live dedicated lives and of wealthy and powerful persons who oppressed the common people.

One of the most beloved of saints, his images and statues are ubiquitous. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on January 16, 1946, he is sometimes called "Evangelical Doctor". He is especially invoked for the recovery of things lost ("Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and cannot be found.").

It is said that Antony in his private prayers was accustomed to direct his devotion to Jesus as an infant, and to meditate on the Divine Humility that stooped to accept, not merely the limitations of being human, but the limitations of being a helpless baby, utterly dependent on others. For this reason, artists often portray Antony in a Franciscan robe, carrying a lily and the child Jesus.

Propers for Anthony of Padua - Preacher

The Collect.

O God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst give to thy servant Antony a love of the Holy Scriptures, and the gift of expounding them with learning and eloquence, that thereby thy people might be established in sound doctrine and encouraged in the way of righteousness, grant to us always an abundance of such preachers, to the glory of thy Name and the benefit of thy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 Corinthians 4:9b-14.

The Gospel - St Luke 12:35-50.

Reference and Resources:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Prayer for the Day

As I ponder the future of our nation and our people, this prayer keeps popping back into my head. It also reminds me of how far down we have brought ourselves in this post-modern era and seem to be abandoning not only God, but our heritage, our culture and our posterity.

Lord have mercy upon us.

For Our Country.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for
our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may
always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and
glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry,
sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence,
discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from
every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one
united people the multitudes brought hither out of many
kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those
to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government,
that there may be justice and peace at home, and that,
through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise
among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity,
fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble,
suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

--- The Book of Common Prayer (U.S. 1928 Edition), Page 36

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Saint Barnabas the Apostle

"Joseph, a Levite, born in Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (son of encouragement), sold a field he owned, brought the money, and turned it over to the apostles." (Acts 4:36f). This is the first mention we have of Barnabas. He has been honored with the title of apostle, although he was not one of the original twelve.

His new name fits what we know of his actions. When Saul (or Paul) came to Jerusalem after his conversion, most of the Christians there wanted nothing to do with him. They had known him as a persecutor and an enemy of the Church. But Barnabas was willing to give him a second chance. He looked him up, spoke with him, and brought him to see the other Christians, vouching for him. Later, Paul and Barnabas went on a missionary journey together, taking Mark with them. Part way, Mark turned back and went home. When Paul and Barnabas were about to set out on another such journey, Barnabas proposed to take Mark along, and Paul was against it, saying that Mark had shown himself undependable. Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance, and so he and Mark went off on one journey, while Paul took Silas and went on another. Apparently Mark responded well to the trust given him by the "son of encouragement," since we find that Paul later speaks of him as a valuable assistant (2 Tim 4:11; see also Col 4:10 and Phil 24), Paul also refers to him in his letters to the Corinthians and Galatians.

Legend has it that Barnabas was martyred at the hands of the Jews of Salamis in Cyprus. Pray that God raises up men in the church to be apostles for Christ, and that they may be, like Barnabas, a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith . (Acts 11:24). (The day's epistle, page E 67, The People's Anglican Missal).

Propers for Saint Barnabas the Apostle.

The Collect.

O LORD God Almighty, who didst endue thy holy Apostle Barnabas with singular gifts of the Holy Ghost; Leave us not, we beseech thee, destitute of thy manifold gifts, nor yet of grace to use them alway to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Acts xi. 22.

TIDINGS of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

The Gospel - St. John xv. 12.

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.

Reference and Resources

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The First Book of Common Prayer

In 1549, under the reign of Edward VI, successor to Henry VIII, the primary language of public worship in England and other areas ruled by Edward was changed from Latin to English, and the first Book of Common Prayer came into use. It was first used on Pentecost Sunday, 9 June 1549, and the occasion is now commemorated "on the first convenient day following Pentecost." The Book was the work of a commission of scholars, but primarily of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was based primarily upon the Latin worship tradition of the Use of Sarum (similar to, but not identical with, the Roman rite used by most Roman Catholic between 1600 and 1950), with some elements taken from the Greek liturgies of the Eastern Church, from ancient Gallican (French) rites, from the new Lutheran order of service, and from the Latin rite of Cologne.

The older usage had grown haphazardly through the centuries, and had added so many complications that it was difficult to follow (the priest often needed to juggle up to a dozen books to get through a single service). The new order pruned and simplified so that only one book other than the Bible was necessary, and so that even the laity could follow the service and participate without difficulty. Moreover, the quality of the English was outstanding. All Christians who worship in English, from Roman Catholics to Southern Baptists and beyond, are in some measure influenced by it, and all to whom it is important that the people of God understand the worship of the Church and take an active part therein have cause to be grateful for the Book of Common Prayer.

Propers for The First Book of Common Prayer

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, who didst guide thy servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, to render the worship of thy Church in a language understanded of the people: Make us ever thankful for this our heritage, and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding also, that we may worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle - Acts 2:38-42.

THEN Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about thee thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The Gospel - St. Matthew 6:5-15.

WHEN thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask them. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debt, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Reference and Resources:

Monday, June 9, 2008

St. Columba

In the troubled and violent Dark Ages in Northern Europe, monasteries served as inns, orphanages, centers of learning, and even as fortresses. The light of civilization flickered dimly and might have gone out altogether if it had not been for these convent-shelters.

Columba, a stern and strong monk from Ireland, founded three such establishments. He founded the monasteries of Derry and Durrow in his native Ireland, and the island monastery of Iona on the coast of Scotland. Iona was the center of operations for the conversion of the Scots and Picts, and became the most famous religious house in Scotland. There Columba baptized Brude, King of the Picts, and later a King of the Scots came to this Abbot of the "Holy Isle" for baptism.

The historian Bede tells us that Columba led many to Christianity by his "preaching and example." He was much admired for his physical as well as spiritual prowess. He was a strict ascetic and remained physically vigorous and unflagging in his missionary and pastoral journeys throughout his seventy-six years of life. The memory of Columba lives on in Scotland, and Iona, though desecrated during the Reformation, today houses a flourishing ecumenical religious community.

Propers for Columba - Abbot of Iona

The Collect.

O GOD, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant Columba didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in the land of Scotland: Grant, we beseech thee, that having his life and labours in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lesson - 1 Corinthians 3:11-23.

The Gospel - St. Luke 12:22-37.

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Third Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 St. Peter v. 5.

ALL of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel - St. Luke xv. 1.

THEN drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Patristic Quote for the Day

"This then is the order of the rule of our faith, and the foundation of the building, and the stability of our conversation: God, the Father, not made, not material, invisible; one God, the creator of all things: this is the first point of our faith. The second point is: The Word of God, Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord, who was manifested to the prophets according to the form of their prophesying and according to the method of the dispensation of the Father: through whom all things were made; who also at the end of the times, to complete and gather up all things, was made man among men, visible and tangible, in order to abolish death and show forth life and produce a community of union between God and man. And the third point is: The Holy Spirit, through whom the prophets prophesied, and the fathers learned the things of God, and the righteous were led forth into the way of righteousness; and who in the end of the times was poured out in a new way upon mankind in all the earth, renewing man unto God. "

--- Irenaeus: The Proof of the Apostolic Preaching

Friday, June 6, 2008

Olde Anglican Quote for the Day

"Meanwhile, while we must be true to our distinctive responsibilities in the place where God has put us, we must, by all means, constantly remember that the divisions within the Church, though they are sadly deep, do not go near the root. In the unseen world where Christ is and the blessed dead, and in the Holy Spirit who works in every heart and every sacramental ordinance, the Church is still one. Let us live in the sense of that deep and high unity, subsisting at the heart of our wearisome divisions; and let us ask that the prayers of all the saints, reunited now even though they were separated on earth, may be with us to encourage us to faithfulness; to faithfulness alike in our struggle to become better Christians, in our struggle to reform our own part of the Church on the original Catholic pattern, and in our struggle to knit together again the sadly divided communions of the one Church of Christ."

--- Charles Gore: Catholicism and Roman Catholicism, Three Addresses delivered in Grosvenor Chapel in Advent, 1922. Part III

Thursday, June 5, 2008

St. Boniface

(Latin: Bonifacius; German: Bonifatius; c. 672 – June 5, 754), the Apostle of the Germans, born Winfrid or Wynfrith at Crediton in the kingdom of Wessex (now in Devon, England), was a missionary who propagated Christianity in the Frankish Empire during the 8th century. He is the patron saint of Germany and the Netherlands.

He was killed in Frisia in 754. His tomb is in the crypt of Fulda Cathedral.

Winfrid was of a respected and prosperous family. It was somewhat against his father's wishes that he devoted himself at an early age to the monastic life. He received his theological training in the Benedictine monasteries of Adescancastre, near Exeter and Nursling, on the western edge of Southampton, under the abbot Winbert. Winfrid taught in the abbey school and at the age of 30 became a priest. He wrote the first Latin grammar produced in England.

Later he set out to preach in Friesland (overlaps with modern Holland), whence he was soon expelled because of war between its heathen king and Charles Martel of France. Boniface, after a brief withdrawal, went into Hesse and Bavaria, having secured the support of the Pope and of Charles Martel for his work there. In Hesse, in the presence of a large crowd of pagans, he cut down the Sacred Oak of Geismar, a tree of immense age and girth, sacred to the god Thor. It is said that after only a few blows of his axe, the tree tottered and crashed to the ground, breaking into four pieces and revealing itself to be rotted away within. It was the beginning of a highly successful missionary effort, and the planting of a vigorous Christian church in Germany, where Boniface was eventually consecrated bishop. He asked the Christian Saxons of England to support his work among their kinsmen on the continent, and they responded with money, books, supplies, and above all, with a steady supply of monks to assist him in teaching and preaching.

Boniface did not confine his attentions to Germany. He worked to establish cooperation between the Pope and others in Italy on the one hand and Charles and his successors in France on the other. He persuaded Carloman and Pepin, the sons of Charles, to call synods for the reform of the church in their territories, where under previous rulers bishoprics had often been sold to the highest bidder. He never forgot his initial failure in Friesland, and in old age resigned his bishopric and returned to work there. Many Frisians had been converted earlier by Willibrord (another Saxon missionary from England--see 7 Nov), but had lapsed after his death. Boniface preached among them with considerable success. On June 5, the eve of Pentecost, 754, he was preparing a group of Frisians for confirmation when they were attacked and killed by heathen warriors.

Propers for Boniface (Winfrid of Wessex) - Missionary, Bishop & Martyr

The Collect.

Almighty God, who didst call thy faithful servant Boniface to be a witness and martyr in the lands of Germany and Friesland, and by his labor and suffering didst raise up a people for thine own possession: Pour forth thy Holy Spirit upon thy Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many thy holy Name may be glorified and thy kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Acts 1:1-9.

The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

Reference and Resources:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Andronicus of Perm

Born Vladimir Nikolsky, was born on August 1, 1870, the son of a deacon of the church the village of Povodnevo, Myshkin uyezd, Yaroslavl diocese.

In 1891 he finished his studies at the Yaroslavl seminary and was appointed to the Moscow Theological Academy. On August 1, 1893, with the blessing of St. John of Kronstadt, he was tonsured into monasticism with the name Andronicus, and was ordained to the diaconate on August 6. In 1895 he graduated from the Academy, and was awarded the degree of candidate of theology for his work "The Early Church's Teaching on the Eucharist as a Sacrifice in connection with the Question of Redemption". On July 22, 1895 he was ordained to the priesthood.

He served for many years as a priest and bishop in Japan, before returning to Russia for health reasons. On October 26, 1907, he became the deputy of Bishop Eulogius of Kholm and took temporary control of the diocese, appearing in a session of the State Duma in Kholm. On March 14, 1908 he was made bishop of Tikhvin, a vicariate of the Novgorod diocese.

On March 8, 1913 Vladyka Andronicus received the independent see of Omsk; and his ascent up the Urals Golgotha began on July 30, 1914 with his appointment as bishop of Perm and Solikamsk. That summer Great Princess Elizabeth Fyodorovna made a pilgrimage to the relics of St. Symeon of Verkhoturye.

In 1917 Vladyka became one of the seven hierarchs in the preconciliar council of the Local Council of the Russian Church in Moscow. From August 15/28, 1917, until the end of the second session on April 7/20, 1918, Vladyka Andronicus took an active part in the Council, being deputy president of the section on the Old Believers and Yedinovery, deputy president of the publishing section and president of the section on the legal and property qualifications of the clergy. In December, 1917, he made an appeal to his flock in Perm to stand firm in defence of the Church.

On January 28, 1918 the Bolsheviks of Perm published the decree on freedom of conscience and the separation of the Church from the State. Thus the robbing of Church property which had taken place in 1917 was replaced by the "lawful" confiscation of the Church's possessions. On January 25 Vladyka Andronicus made a written appeal to the Orthodox people in all the churches and monasteries of the diocese to defend the heritage of the Church from the aggressors and looters.

Upon reading the Moscow Overland Assembly's instructions on the matter, Archbishop Andronicus ordered his archdeacon to anathematize the Communists. The Archbishop was arrested, shot by two members of the Perm CHEKA, then buried on the road from Perm to Motoviliha.

Propers for Andronicus of Perm - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Andronicus of Perm with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to proclaim thy Holy Name, and to fear not torture, death or adversity; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

Reference and Resources:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Olde Anglican Quote for the Day

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ a man must have, beyond all question, if he is to be saved. I know no other way of access to the Father. I see no intimation of mercy, excepting through Christ. A man must feel his sins and lost estate,-must come to Jesus for pardon and salvation,-must rest his hope on Him, and on Him alone. But if he only has faith to do this, however weak and feeble that faith may be, I will engage, from Scripture warrants, he shall not miss heaven.

-- J.C. Ryle; Assurance

The Martyrs of Uganda

On 3 June 1886, thirty-two young men, pages of the court of King Mwanga of Buganda, were burned to death at Namugongo for their refusal to renounce Christianity. In the following months many other Christians throughout the country died by spear or fire for their faith.

These martyrdoms totally changed the dynamic of Christian growth in Uganda. Introduced by a handful of Anglican and Roman missionaries after 1877, the Christian faith had been preached only to the immediate members of the court, by order of King Mutesa. His successor, Mwanga, became increasingly angry as he realized that the first converts put loyalty to Christ above the traditional loyalty to the king. Martyrdoms began in 1885. Mwanga first forbade anyone to go near a Christian mission on pain of death, but finding himself unable to cool the ardor of the converts, resolved to wipe out Christianity.

The Namugongo martyrdoms produced a result entirely opposite to Mwanga's intentions. The example of these martyrs, who walked to their deaths singing hymns and praying for their enemies, so inspired many of the bystanders that they began to seek instruction from the remaining Christians. Within a few years the original handful of converts had multiplied many times and spread far beyond the court. The martyrs had left the indelible impression that Christianity was truly African, not simply a white man's religion. Most of the missionary work was carried out by Africans rather than by white missionaries, and Christianity spread steadily. Uganda now has the largest percentage of professed Christians of any nation in Africa.

Propers for the Martyrs of Uganda

The Collect.

O God, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: Grant that we who remember before thee the blessed martyrs of Uganda, may, like them, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ, to whom they gave obedience even unto death, and by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Hebrews 10:32-39

The Gospel - St. Matthew 24:9-14

Reference and Resources:

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Martyrs of Lyon

At Lyons and Vienne, in Gaul, there were missionary centers which had drawn many Christians from Asia and Greece. Persecution began in 177.

At first, Christians were excluded from the public baths, the market place, and from social and public life. They were subject to attack when they appeared in public, and many Christian homes were vandalized. At this point the government became involved, and began to take Christians into custody for questioning. Some slaves from Christian households were tortured to obtain confessions, and were induced to say that Christians practiced cannibalism and incest. These charges were used to arouse the whole city against the Christians, particularly against Pothinus, the aged bishop of Lyons; Sanctus, a deacon; Attalus; Maturus, a recent convert; and Blandina, a slave. Pothinus was beaten and then released, to die of his wounds a few days later. Sanctus was tormented with red-hot irons. Blandina, tortured all day long, would say nothing except, "I am a Christian, and nothing vile is done among us." Finally, the survivors were put to death in the public arena.

Propers for the Martyrs of Lyon

The Collect.

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we who keep the feast of the holy martyrs Blandina and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of thee, and may endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be revealed in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 Peter 1:3-9

The Gospel -
St. Mark 8:34-38

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Second Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O LORD, who never failest to help and govern those whom thou dost bring up in thy steadfast fear and love; Keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, and make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 St. John iii. 13.

MARVEL not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

The Gospel - St. Luke xiv. 16.

A CERTAIN man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.