Friday, August 31, 2012

John Bunyan

John Bunyan had very little schooling. He followed his father in the tinker's trade, and he served in the parliamentary army from1644 to 1647. Bunyan married in 1649 and lived in Elstow until 1655, when his wife died. He then moved to Bedford, and married again in 1659. John Bunyan was received into the Baptist church in Bedford by immersion in 1653.

In 1655, Bunyan became a deacon and began preaching, with marked success from the start. In 1658 he was indicted for preaching without a license. The authorities were fairly tolerant of him for a while, and he did not suffer imprisonment until November of 1660, when he was taken to the county jail in Silver Street, Bedford, and there confined (with the exception of a few weeks in 1666) for 12 years until January 1672. Bunyan afterward became pastor of the Bedford church. In March of 1675 he was again imprisoned for preaching publicly without a license, this time being held in the Bedford town jail. In just six months this time he was freed, (no doubt the authorities were growing weary of providing Bunyan with free shelter and food) and he was not bothered again by the authorities.

John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim's Progress in two parts, of which the first appeared at London in 1678,which he had begun during his imprisonment in 1676. The second part appeared in 1684. The earliest edition in which the two parts were combined in one volume came out in 1728. A third part falsely attributed to Bunyan appeared in 1693. The Pilgrim's Progressis the most successful allegory ever written, and like the Bible has been extensively translated into other languages.

John Bunyan wrote many other books, including one which discussed his inner life and reveals his preparation for his appointed work is Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666). Bunyan became a popular preacher as well as a very voluminous author, though most of his works consist of expanded sermons. In theology he was a Puritan, but not a partisan. He was no scholar, except of the English Bible, but that he knew thoroughly. He also drew much influence from Martin Luther's Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians.

Some time before his final release from prison Bunyan became involved in a controversy with two theologians of his day: Kiffin and Paul. In 1673 he published his Differences in Judgement about Water-Baptism no Bar to Communion, in which he took the ground that "the Church of Christ hath not warrant to keep out of the communion the Christian that is discovered to be a visible saint of the word, the Christian that walketh according to his own light with God." While he agreed as a Baptist that water baptism was God's ordinance, he refused to make "an idol of it," and he disagreed with those who would dis-fellowship from Christians who did not adhere to water baptism

Kiffin and Paul published a rejoinder in Serious Reflections (London, 1673), in which they set forth the argument in favor of the restriction of the Lord's Supper to baptized believers. The controversy resulted in the Particular (Calvinistic) Baptists leaving the question of communion with the unbaptized open. Bunyan's church permitted pedobaptists (those who baptize children, such as the Calvinistic Presbyterian Church) to fellowship and eventually, Bunyan’s church even became a pedobaptist church.

On a trip to London, John Bunyan caught a severe cold, and he died at the house of a friend at Snow Hill on August 31, 1688. His grave lies in the cemetery at Bunhill Fields in London.

Propers for John Bunyan - Pastor and Writer

The Collect.

Almighty God, who by thy Holy Spirit dost give to some the word of wisdom, to others the word of knowledge, and to others the word of faith: We praise thy name for the gifts of grace manifested in thy servant John Bunyan, and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth which thou has revealed in thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Lesson - Ezekiel 34:11-16.

For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

The Holy Gospel - St. John 21:15-19.

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Reference and Resources:


Aidan of Lindisfarne

the Apostle of Northumbria (died 651), was the founder and first bishop of the monastery on the island of Lindisfarne in England. A Christian missionary, he is credited with restoring Christianity to Northumbria. Aidan is the anglified form of the original Old Irish Áedán.

The Gospel first came to the northern English in 627, When King Edwin of Northumbria was converted by a mission from Canterbury led by Bishop Paulinus, who established his see at York. Edwin's death in battle in 632 was followed by a severe pagan reaction. A year later, Edwin's exiled nephew Oswald gained the kingdom, and proceeded at once to restore the Christian mission.

During his exile, Oswald had lived at Columba's monastery of Iona, where he had been converted and baptized. Hence he sent to Iona, rather than to Canterbury, for missionaries. The first monk to preach was a man named Corman, who had no success, and returned to Iona to complain that the Northumbrians were a savage and unteachable race. A young monk named Aidan responded, "Perhaps you were too harsh with them, and they might have responded better to a gentler approach." At this, Aidan found himself appointed to lead a second expedition to Northumbria. He centered his work, not at York, but in imitation of his home monastery, on Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of England, now often called Holy Isle.

With his fellow monks and the English youths whom he trained, Aidan restored Christianity in Northumbria, King Oswald often serving as his interpreter, and extended the mission through the midlands as far south as London.

Aidan died at the royal town of Bamborough, 31 August, 651. The historian Bede said of him: "He neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men of the world. He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever on his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, he sought to strengthen them in their faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works.

Propers for Aidan - Missionary, Abbot and Bishop

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Aidan to be an apostle to the people of England, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through the merits of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 Corinthians 9:16-23.

FOR though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law (though not being myself under the law), that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

The Gospel - St. Matthew 19:27-30.

THEN answered Peter and said unto Jesus, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Reference and Resources:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rumon of Tavistock

also known as Ruan, Ronan, and Ruadan, was a brother of Tudwal of Treguier.

Tradition says he was educated in Britain - probably Wales - but that he later accompanied St. Breaca on her return from Ireland to her Cornish homeland. Like Tudgual, he had presumably travelled to Ireland to learn the Holy Scriptures. He is said to have lived in a hermitage on Inis Luaidhe, near Iniscathy, and was eventually raised to the episcopacy. In Cornwall, he founded churches at Ruan Lanihorne (on the River Fal), Ruan Major & Minor (near the Lizard Peninsula), a defunct chapel in Redruth and at Romansleigh in Devon; but he quickly moved on to Cornouaille in Brittany, with St. Senan as his companion.

Rumon met up with St. Remigius in Rheims, which would place him in Brittany around the early 6th century, the probable time of his birth if he was a son of Hoel Mawr. At any rate, he settled first at St. Rénan and then moved on to the Forest of Nevez, overlooking the Bay of Douarnenez. He seems to have acquired a wife, named Ceban, and children at some point. He may be identical with Ronan Ledewig (the Breton), father of SS. Gargunan and Silan. His lady wife took a distinct dislike to Rumon's preaching amongst the local pagan inhabitants and considered him to be neglecting his domestic duties. The situation became so bad that she plotted to have Rumon arrested.

Hiding their little daughter in a chest, Ceban fled to the Royal Court at Quimper and sought an audience with the Prince of Cornouaille. She claimed that her husband was a werewolf who ravaged the local sheep every fortnight and had now killed their baby girl! Rumon was arrested, but the sceptical monarch tested him by exposing the prisoner to his hunting dogs. They would have immediately reacted to any sign of wolf, but Rumon remained unharmed and was proclaimed a holy man. His daughter was found, safe and well, whilst his wife appears to have received only the lightest of punishments. Despite this, her troubling making persisted and Rumon was forced to abandon her and journey eastward towards Rennes. He eventually settled at Hilion in Domnonia, where he lived until his death.

Propers for Rumon of Tavistock - Priest, Monastic, Missionary and Bishop

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and hast 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 Rumon, 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.

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

Reference and Resources:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beheading of John the Baptist

The biblical account portrays the beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Herod Antipas. According to the Synoptic Gospels, Herod had imprisoned John because he reproved Herod for divorcing his wife (Phasaelis), and unlawfully taking his brother Herod Philip I's wife, Herodias. On Herod's birthday, Herodias' daughter (traditionally named Salome) danced before the king and his guests. Her dancing pleased Herod so much that in his drunkenness he promised to give her anything she desired, up to half of his kingdom. When the daughter asked her mother what she should request, she was told to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Although Herod was appalled by the request, he reluctantly agreed and had John executed in the prison.

Propers for the Martyrdom of The Forerunner

The Collect.

We pray thee, O Lord, that this solemn festival of John Baptist thy blessed Forerunner and Martyr: may effectually bestow upon us thy succour, to the attainment of everlasting salvation. In the name of Our Lord and Saviour, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

The Epistle - Jeremiah 1:17-19.

The Gospel - St. Mark 6:17-29.

Reference and Resources:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Augustine of Hippo

Aurelius Augustinus, Augustine of Hippo, or Saint Augustine (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430) was one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity, there considered to be one of the church fathers. He framed the concepts of original sin and just war.

In Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of Reformation teaching on salvation and grace. In the Eastern Orthodox Church he is a saint, and his feast day is celebrated annually on June 15, though a minority are of the opinion that he is a heretic, primarily because of his statements concerning what became known as the filioque clause. Among the Orthodox he is called Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed. "Blessed" here does not mean that he is less than a saint, but is a title bestowed upon him as a sign of respect. The Orthodox do not remember Augustine so much for his theological speculations as for his writings on spirituality.

Augustine was one of the greatest theologians of Western Christianity. (In his day the Mediterranean world consisted of an Eastern, Greek-speaking half and a Western, Latin-speaking half, with different ways of looking at things, and different habits of thought.) He was born 13 November 354 in North Africa, about 45 miles south of the Mediterranean, in the town of Tagaste in Numidia (now Souk-Ahras in Algeria), near ancient Carthage (modern Tunis). His mother, Monnica, was a Christian, and his father for many years a pagan (although he became a Christian before his death). His mother undertook to bring him up as a Christian, and on one level he always found something attractive about Christ, but in the short run he was more interested in the attractions of sex, fame, and pride in his own cleverness. After a moderate amount of running around as a teen-ager, he took a mistress, who bore him a son when he was about eighteen. Theirs was a long-term relationship, apparently with faithfulness on both sides, and the modern reader is left wondering why he did not simply marry the girl. He never tells us this (and in fact never tells us her name), so that we can only guess. It seems likely that she was a freedwoman, and the laws forbade marriage between a free-born Roman citizen and a slave, or an ex-slave.

He was from the beginning a brilliant student, with an eager intellectual curiousity, but he never mastered Greek -- he tells us that his first Greek teacher was a brutal man who constantly beat his students, and Augustine rebelled and vowed never to learn Greek. By the time he realized that he really needed to know Greek, it was too late; and although he acquired a smattering of the language, he was never really at home in it. However, his mastery of Latin was another matter. He became an expert both in the eloquent use of the language and in the use of clever arguments to make his points. He became a teacher of rhetoric in Carthage, but was dissatisfied. It was the custom for students to pay their fees to the professor on the last day of the term, and many students attended faithfully all term, and then did not pay. In his late twenties, Augustine decided to leave Africa and seek his fortune in Rome.

Augustine prospered in Rome, and was eventually appointed chief professor of rhetoric for the city of Milan, at that time the capital city of the Empire in the West. It should be noted that this was an extremely prestigious appointment. In classical times, when laws were often made and issues voted on by huge public assemblies, when even juries typically had several hundred members, and when a man's public influence, or even on occasion his life, depended on his ability to sway large audiences, rhetoric -- the art of manipulating an audience -- was a skill that few men thought they could afford to neglect. (Socrates was one of the few, and we know what happened to him!) The art, at first intensely practical, had by Augustine's day become a display form admired for its own sake. However, the admiration was there. Every lawyer, arguing a case, was expected to give an eloquent speech, full of classical allusions and standard rhetorical flourishes. And Augustine was at the top of the field.

In Milan Augustine met the bishop Ambrose, and was startled to find in him a reasonableness of mind and belief, a keenness of thought, and an integrity of character far in excess of what he had found elsewhere. For the first time, Augustine saw Christianity as a religion fit for a philosopher.

He continued to hear Bishop Ambrose. And finally, partly because Ambrose had answers for his questions, partly because he admired Ambrose personally, and chiefly (or so he believed) because God touched his heart, he was converted to Christianity in 386 and was baptised by Ambrose at Easter of 387. About 12 years later he wrote an account of his life up to a time shortly after his conversion, a book called the Confessions, a highly readable work available in English. Ostensibly an autobiography, it is more an outpouring of penitence and thanksgiving.

After his conversion, Augustine went back to his native Africa in 387, where he was ordained a priest in 391 and consecrated bishop of Hippo in 396. It was not his intention to become a priest. He was visiting the town of Hippo, was in church hearing a sermon, and the bishop, without warning, said, "This congregation is in need of more priests, and I believe that the ordination of Augustine would be to the glory of God." Willing hands dragged Augustine forward, and the bishop together with his council of priests laid hands on Augustine and ordained him to the priesthood. (The experience may have colored Augustine's perception of such questions as, "Does a man come to God because he has chosen to do so, or because God has chosen him, and drawn him to Himself?") A few years later, when the Bishop of Hippo died, Augustine was chosen to succeed him.

He was a diligent shepherd of his flock, but he also found time to write extensively. He was an admirer of Jerome, and wrote him a letter hoping to establish a friendship, but the letter went astray. (In those days there was no public post office, and if you wanted to send a letter to a friend in Athens, you entrusted it to someone you knew who was travelling to Athens, or at least in that general direction, with instructions to deliver it or pass it on to someone else who would oblige.) Jerome did not get the letter, and the contents became public knowledge before he heard of it. Augustine, in addition to saying how much he admired Jerome, had offered some criticisms of something Jerome had written. Jerome was furious, and came close to writing Augustine off altogether. However, Augustine wrote him a second letter, apologizing and explaining what had happened, and Jerome was mollified. They had a long and intellectually substantial correspondence.

Augustine died on August 28, 430 during the siege of Hippo by the Vandals. He is said to have encouraged its citizens to resist the attacks, primarily on the grounds that the Vandals adhered to the Arian heresy. It is also said that he died just as the Vandals were tearing down the city walls of Hippo.

After conquering the city, the Vandals destroyed all of it but Augustine's cathedral and library, which they left untouched. Tradition indicates that his body was later moved to Pavia, where they are said to remain to this day.

Augustine was one of the most prolific Latin authors, and the list of his works consists of more than a hundred separate titles. They include apologetic works against the heresies of the Arians, Donatists, Manichaeans and Pelagians, texts on Christian doctrine, notably De doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine), exegetical works such as commentaries on Genesis, the Psalms and Paul's Letter to the Romans, many sermons and letters, and the Retractationes (Retractions), a review of his earlier works which he wrote near the end of his life. Apart from those, Augustine is probably best known for his Confessiones (Confessions), which is a personal account of his earlier life, and for De civitate Dei (The City of God, consisting of 22 books), which he wrote to restore the confidence of his fellow Christians, which was badly shaken by the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410.

Augustine remains a central figure, both within Christianity and in the history of Western thought, and is considered by modern historian Thomas Cahill to be the first medieval man and the last classical man. In both his philosophical and theological reasoning, he was greatly influenced by Stoicism, Platonism and Neo-platonism, particularly by the work of Plotinus, author of the Enneads, probably through the mediation of Porphyry and Victorinus (as Pierre Hadot has argued). His generally favorable view of Neoplatonic thought contributed to the "baptism" of Greek thought and its entrance into the Christian and subsequently the European intellectual tradition. His early and influential writing on the human will, a central topic in ethics, would become a focus for later philosophers such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. In addition, Augustine was influenced by the work of both Virgil (known for his teaching on language) and Cicero (known for his teaching on argument).

Augustine's concept of original sin was expounded in his works against the Pelagians. However, Eastern Orthodox theologians, while they believe all humans were damaged by the original sin of Adam and Eve, have key disputes with Augustine about this doctrine, and as such this is viewed as a key source of division between East and West. His writings helped formulate the theory of the just war. He also advocated the use of force against the Donatists, asking "Why ... should not the Church use force in compelling her lost sons to return, if the lost sons compelled others to their destruction?" (The Correction of the Donatists, 22–24). St. Thomas Aquinas took much from Augustine's theology while creating his own unique synthesis of Greek and Christian thought after the widespread rediscovery of the work of Aristotle. While Augustine's doctrine of divine predestination would never be wholly forgotten within the Roman Catholic Church, finding eloquent expression in the works of Bernard of Clairvaux, Reformation theologians such as Martin Luther and John Calvin would look back to him as the inspiration for their avowed capturing of the Biblical Gospel. Bishop John Fisher of Rochester, a chief opponent of Luther, articulated an Augustinian view of grace and salvation consistent with Church doctrine, thus encompassing both Augustine’s soteriology and his teaching on the authority of and obedience to the Catholic Church. Later, within the Roman Catholic Church, the writings of Cornelius Jansen, who claimed heavy influence from Augustine, would form the basis of the movement known as Jansenism; some Jansenists went into schism and formed their own church.

Augustine was canonized by popular acclaim, and later recognized as a Doctor of the Church in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII. His feast day is August 28, the day on which he died. He is considered the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. The latter part of Augustine's Confessions consists of an extended meditation on the nature of time. Catholic theologians generally subscribe to Augustine's belief that God exists outside of time in the "eternal present"; that time only exists within the created universe because only in space is time discernible through motion and change. His meditations on the nature of time are closely linked to his consideration of the human ability of memory. Frances Yates in her 1966 study, The Art of Memory argues that a brief passage of the Confessions, X.8.12, in which Augustine writes of walking up a flight of stairs and entering the vast fields of memory clearly indicates that the ancient Romans were aware of how to use explicit spatial and architectural metaphors as a mnemonic technique for organizing large amounts of information. According to Leo Ruickbie, Augustine's arguments against magic, differentiating it from miracle, were crucial in the early Church's fight against paganism and became a central thesis in the later denunciation of witches and witchcraft.

Propers for Augustine of Hippo - Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church and Theologian

The Collect.

O LORD God, who art the light of the minds that know thee, the life of the souls that Love thee, and the strength of the hearts that serve thee: Help us, after the example of thy servant Saint Augustine, so to know thee that we may truly love thee, so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle Hebrews 12:22-24, 28-29.

BUT ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.

The Gospel St. John 17:1-8.

THESE words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

References and Sources:

Monday, August 27, 2012


Phanourios the Great Martyr is commemorated on August 27.

Fanourios was a Roman soldier and was martyred during one of the persecutions of the pagan era. Various forms of the legend have him as a devout man in constant prayer for his mother, a notorious sinner.

Angelos Akotantos from Crete has written a number of the Saint's icons many times depicting him killing a dragon; this tradition is found mainly in Crete especially in icons of the 15th century when the Saint is said to have saved many Cretans from certain death from the hands of the invading Ottomans. The original icon is quite large. In the center is a portrait of the saint holding a candle in his right hand and around this are 12 smaller images showing the each stage of his martyrdom.

The portrayal of each illustration is as follows:

1. The saint is standing in front of a Roman magistrate and defending his Christian faith.

2. Soldiers beat the saint on the head and mouth with rocks to force him to deny his faith.

3. The saint remains patient which angers the soldiers. They are shown in this illustration, throwing him to the ground and beating him with sticks and clubs in a further attempt to force him to deny his faith.

4. The saint is now in prison. He is illustrated completely naked with the soldiers ripping his flesh apart with some sort of iron implement.

5. The saint is still in prison. In this station, he is shown praying to God, perhaps to give him strength to endure his tortures.

6. Next, the saint is standing in front of the Roman magistrate again defending his position. The expression on the face of the saint is calm.

7. In this image, it is obvious that the Roman magistrate has sentenced the saint to the executioners for remaining unmoved in Station 6. The saint is again shown naked with executioners torching (burning) his body.

8. At this station, the executioners are now using mechanical means to torture the saint. He appears tied to an apparatus that rotates to crush his bones. Though his body is truly suffering intensely for God, the look on his face is peaceful and patient.

9. His executioners watch as the Saint is thrown into a pit with wild beasts. The wild beasts circle around him as if they are lambs and share companionship with him.

10. The saint is removed from the pit to be crushed under the weight of a huge boulder.

11. Unsuccessful, the executioners now place hot coals into his palms to force the saint to sacrifice at their pagan alter. In this image, their is an image of a dragon, representing the devil, flying away and crying at the saints victory even over this torture.

12. The final scene shows his martyrdom. He is in a large kiln, standing on a stool with flames and smoke all around him. The Saint is shown in prayer.

Propers for Fanourios - Martyr

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

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

Reference and Resouces:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 2 Corinthians iii. 4.

SUCH trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

The Gospel - St. Mark vii. 31.

JESUS, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; and were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Bregwin of Canterbury

Bregowine or Bregwine was a Continental Saxon by birth. The fame of the schools with which the labours of Theodore and Hadrian had enriched England drew Bregwin from his native land. In England, his learning and holiness won for him high esteem and, in AD 759, he was called to occupy the chair of Augustine.

Bregwin was a correspondent of St. Lull, Archbishop of Mainz, with whom he became friends while on a visit to Rome. He apparently held a church synod during his archiepiscopate, but little else is known of him. He died on 24th August AD 764.

Propers for Bregwin of Canterbury - Archbishop

The Collect

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and hast 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 Bregwin, 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.

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

Reference and Resources:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Genesius of Rome

It seems that the art of mocking the Christian faith is nothing new to those in the acting profession, but it is ironic that one of the first actors to mock Christianity was also a martyr for the faith and became a patron saint to faithful thespians.

The biography of Genesius is very unclear with various accounts having him born in different locations within the Roman Empire. What we do know is that he resided at Rome and was the leader of a troupe of actors and comedians, though not a successful one.

Genesius was eager to change his fortunes and try to get his star to rise in the competitive Roman entertainment market. He came-up with a bold new idea for a show that would mock the Christian minority and their rites and practices which was under an intense persecution during the reign of the emperor Diocletian, in an attempt to win an Imperial patronage.

Genesius went undercover to the Christians of Rome and became a catechumen, similar to the immersion into character that actors use today. He knew that he may be captured by the authorities if the Church he attended was raided, and was prepared to deny any faith in the Christian religion and make a quick sacrifice to the pagan gods to prove his loyalty to the emperor.

When it was time to ready his group for the show, Genesius quit attending Church and wrote the script for his play casting himself in the lead role of a catechumen. His theater company rehearsed the play prior to any performance and all of the actors had memorized their lines. Genesius sent an invitation to Emperor Diocletian in the hopes that Cesar would attend.

The night of the opening performance Genesius was thrilled to learn that Diocletian was in the audience and that his plan may just succeed. The show began and the play moved along as scripted until Genesius big scene in which his character was to receive the Sacrament of Baptism with the intention of mocking the Christian rite and practice. When the actor playing the part of the priest poured the water on Genesius head he underwent a conversion as if he was undergoing the Sacrament in earnest at the hand of a real priest.

Genesius seemed to the others of his company to be taking the act to a new level and they tried to improvise when he went off script but Genesius was quiet and fixed his gaze off-stage and was missing all of his ques. To keep the show moving the other actors reverted to the script and two of them that where playing the part of soldiers arrested Genesius character and took him before Diocletian, whom Genesius had included in the script as an added touch in his attempt to win the tyrant's favour. When to be part of the show Diocletian commanded Genesius' character to renounce Christ, Genesius declined, The emperor thought at first this was an attempt to add some realism to the show and again commanded him to renounce his faith, Genesius responded "There's nothing you can do or threaten to remove Jesus Christ from my heart and my mouth. Once I mocked his holy name and now I detest and regret that time. I came so late to the Kingdom and cannot leave it now."

After realizing that something had changed and this was no longer and act, Diocletian became enraged and had Genesius arrested by the Praetorian Guards, who then took Genesius away to be tortured in an attempt to have him renounce the Christian God. After he had been tortured for some time Genesius still would not recant or renounce Christ, Diocletian ordered him beheaded and thereby making him a martyr of the faith he wished to mock.

Propers for Genesius of Rome - Martyr

Prayer of St Genesius.

THERE is no King but Him whom I have seen. I adore and worship Him, and for His sake, even though I be slain a thousand times, I will always be His. Torments are not able to take Christ from my mouth, nor from my heart. Bitterly do I regret that I detested His Holy Name in holy men, and came so late, like a haughty soldier, to adoring the true King. Amen.

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

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

Reference and Resources:

Louis IX of France

born in 1214 and became a devout Christian and king of France. He attended Mass often, prayed frequently, was given to charity (as evidenced in the building of a hospital for the poor and blind) and was an impartial judge in the affairs of his subjects.

Louis was instrumental in garnering support for the crusades, and he himself helped fight in the battles which responded to the Muslim invasions.

He built the beautiful Saint-Chappelle at Paris, where is housed the purported relic of the Crown of Thorns of Christ, which Louis received of Baldwin, the Latin emperor at Constantinople. He died in 1270.

Louis is a wonderful example for us as one, who because he had much, was able to give much in the Name of Christ. May we pray God to raise up Christian rulers, dignataries and elected officials who are more willing to serve than to be served.

Propers for Louis IX of France - King and Confessor

The Collect.

O GOD, who didst call thy servant Louis to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst endue him with zeal for thy Church and charity towards thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate his example may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious fellowship of thy saints; through 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 shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven.

Reference and Resources:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bartholomew the Apostle

was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. Bartholomew (Greek: Βαρθολομαίος, transliterated "Bartholomaios") comes from the Aramaic bar-Tôlmay (תולמי‎‎‎‎‎-בר‎‎), meaning son of Tolmay (Ptolemy) or son of the furrows (perhaps a ploughman). Many have, based on this meaning, assumed it was not a given name, but a family name.

Though Bartholomew is listed among the Twelve Apostles in the three Synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and also appears as one of the witnesses of the Ascension (Acts 1:4, 12, 13), each time named in the company of Philip, he is one of the apostles of whom no word is reported nor any individual action recorded in the New Testament.

We have no certain information about Bartholomew's later life. The majority tradition, with varying details, is that Bartholomew preached in Armenia, and was finally skinned alive and beheaded in Albanus or Albanopolis on the Caspian Sea. His emblem in art is a flaying knife. The flayed Bartholomew can be seen in Michelangelo's Sistine painting of the Last Judgement. He is holding his skin. The face on the skin is generally considered to be a self-portrait of Michelangelo.

Propers for Saint Bartholomew the Apostle

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church, to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Acts v. 12.

BY the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

The Gospel - St. Luke xxii. 24.

AND there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Reference and Resources:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lupus of Thessalonica

The Martyr Lupus lived at the end of the third century and beginning of the fourth century, and was a faithful servant of the holy Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica. Being present at the death of his master, he soaked his own clothing with his blood and took a ring from his hand.  Lupus destroyed pagan idols, for which he was subjected to persecution by the pagans.

Lupus voluntarily delivered himself into the hands of the torturers, and by order of the emperor Maximian Galerius, he was beheaded by the sword.

Propers for Lupus of Thessalonica - Servant, Soldier and Martyr.

The Collect.

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

The Lesson - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

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

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

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

Reference and Resources:


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sigfrid of Wearmouth

Benedictine monk. Spiritual student of Saint Benedict Biscop, and brother monk to Saint Esterwine of Wearmouth and Saint Ceolfrid. Biblical scholar. Co-adjutor abbot of Jarrow Abbey. Abbot in Wearmouth, England in 686.

Propers for Sigfrid of Wearmouth - Abbot

The Collect.

O GOD, by whose grace the blessed Sigfrid enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we may be inflamed with the same spirit of discipline and love, and ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle -  Philippians 3:7-15.

HOWBEIT what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffer the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself yet to have apprehended: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye are otherwise minded, even this shall God reveal unto you.

The Holy Gospel - St. Luke 12:22-37.

JESUS said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you. Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life? If ye then be not able to do that which is least, why are ye anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of anxious mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall he added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

Reference and Resources:


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Olde Anglican Quote for the Day

Maximilian and Bonosus

Were soldiers of the Herculean cohort; they were standard-bearers, and refused to remove the chrismon (monogram of Christ) from the standard, as had been ordered by Julian the Apostate.

Count Julian, uncle of the emperor, commanded them to replace the chrismon with images of idols, and, upon their refusal, had them tortured and beheaded.

Propers for Maximilian and Bonosus of Antioch - Soldiers and Martyrs

The Collect.

Almighty and Everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyrs Maximilian and Bonosus, Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lesson - Jeremiah 15:15-21.

O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail? Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD. And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.

The Holy Gospel - St. Mark 8:34-38.

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Bernard was born of noble parentage in Burgundy, France, in the castle of Fontaines near Dijon around 1090. Under the care of his pious parents he was sent at an early age to a college at Chatillon, where he was conspicuous for his remarkable piety and spirit of recollection. At the same place he entered upon the studies of theology and Holy Scripture. After the death of his mother, fearing the snares and temptations of the world, he resolved to embrace the newly established and very austere institute of the Cistercian Order, of which he was destined to become the greatest ornament. He also persuaded his brothers and several of his friends to follow his example. In 1113, St. Bernard, with thirty young noblemen, presented himself to the holy Abbot, St. Stephen, at Citeaux. After a novitiate spent in great fervor, he made his profession in the following year.

His superior soon after, seeing the great progress he had made in the spiritual life, sent him with twelve monks to found a new monastery, which afterward became known as the celebrated Abbey of Clairvaux, St. Bernard was at once appointed Abbot. His saintliness and self-mortification - helped him transform the fledgling Cistercian Order, increasing its size to over 700 monks. During his lifetime he founded numerous monastic communities.

Bernard preached an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary. In the year 1128, Bernard assisted at the Council of Troyes, at which he traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar, who soon became the ideal of Christian nobility.

On the death of Pope Honorius II, which occurred on February 14, 1130, a schism broke out in the Church. King Louis VI convened a national council of the French bishops at Étampes, and Bernard was chosen to judge between the rival popes. In 1139, Bernard assisted at the Second Council of the Lateran. Bernard denounced the teachings of Peter Abelard to the Pope, who called a council at Sens in 1141 to settle the matter. Bernard soon saw one of his disciples, Bernard of Pisa, elected Pope. Having previously helped end the schism within the Church, Bernard was now called upon to combat heresy. In June 1145, Bernard traveled in Southern France and his preaching there helped strengthen support against heresy.

Following the Christian defeat at the Siege of Edessa, the Pope commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade. The last years of Bernard's life were saddened by the failure of the crusaders, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him. Bernard died at age 63 on 20 August 1153, after 40 years spent in the cloister. He was the first Cistercian monk placed on the calendar of saints, and was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. Pope Pius VIII bestowed upon him the title of "Doctor of the Church."

Propers for Bernard - Abbot of Clairvaux, Theologian and Poet

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - Ecclesiasticus 39:1-10.

The Gospel - St. John 15:7-11.

Reference and Resources:


Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O GOD, who declarest thy almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 Corinthians xv. 1 -

BRETHREN, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

The Gospel - St. Luke xviii. 9 -

JESUS spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Helena of Constantinople

Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta, also known as Saint Helena, Saint Helen, Helena Augusta or Helena of Constantinople (ca. 250 – ca. 330) she was married to the Roman general Constantius Chlorus, who became emperor of Britain, Gaul, and Spain when Diocletian divided the Empire. In about 272 she bore him a son, Constantine, but in 292 he divorced her in order to cement a political alliance by another marriage.

Most historians say that she was born in Drepanum (now Helenopolis) in Asia Minor; but an old tradition asserts that she was born in Britain, in Colchester, and was the daughter of the chieftain Cole, remembered today as Old King Cole. If so, she may have been a Christian from birth, since Christianity was well established in that region.

In 306, after the death of Constantius, the Roman army at York proclaimed Constantine emperor in his father's place, and by 312 he was master of the Western Empire and issued an Edict of Toleration that made the practice of Christianity legal for the first time in over 200 years.

Helena worked enthusiastically to promote Christianity, and eventually went to the Holy Land, where she spent large sums on the relief of the poor and on building churches on sacred sites. She is particularly associated with the discovery at Jerusalem, near the probable site of Calvary, of a wooden cross that was accepted as the actual cross on which Jesus was crucified.

She also found the nails of the crucifixion. To use their miraculous power to aid her son, Helena allegedly had one placed in Constantine's helmet, and another in the bridle of his horse. Helena left Jerusalem and the eastern provinces in 327 to return to Rome, bringing with her large parts of the True Cross and other relics, which were then stored in her palace's private chapel, where they can be still seen today. Her palace was later converted into the church Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.

According to one tradition, Helena acquired the Holy Tunic on her trip to Jerusalem and sent it to Trier.

Several of Saint Helena's treasures are now in Cyprus, where she spent some time. Some of them are a part of Jesus Christ's tunic, pieces of the holy cross and the world's only pieces of the rope to which Jesus was tied with on the Cross. The latter has been held at the Staurovouni monastery, which was also founded by Saint Helena.

Helena passed unto heavenly rest in about 330, her sarcophagus is on display in the Pio-Clementine Vatican Museum, although the connection is often questioned (The elaborate reliefs contain hunting scenes). During her life, she gave many presents to the poor, released prisoners and mingled with the ordinary worshipers in modest attire.

Propers for St. Helena of Constantinople

The Collect.

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Helena 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; Grant unto us thy people that we may be fruitful in good works, and steadfast in our faith in thee, and finally by thy mercy may attain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9.

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

Reference and Resources:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

William Porcher Dubose

(April 11, 1836-August 18, 1918) was an American Anglican priest and theologian. He spent most of his career as a professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He is remembered on August 18 on the Episcopal Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. His middle name, Porcher, is pronounced as if it were spelled por-shay.

Dubose descended from Huguenot stock in the midlands of South Carolina and attended Mt. Zion College and then the Citadel where he graduated as ranking cadet in 1855. While at the Citadel, Dubose had a conversion experience that he describes thus:

"I lept to my feet trembling, and then that happened that I can only describe by saying that a light shone about me and a Presence filled the room. At the same time, ineffable joy and peace took possession of me which it is impossible to either express or explain"

In 1856, DuBose entered the University of Virginia. He graduated from that institution with a Master of Arts in 1859. Later that same year, he entered the South Carolina diocesan seminary in Camden, South Carolina. It was during DuBose's seminary studies that the American Civil War broke out.

During the War Between the States Dubose served as an adjutant of Holcome's Legion in the Confederate Army where he was wounded twice and later captured and interned as a POW. In 1863 Dubose was paroled by the Union Army and he returned home being ordained to the priesthood in December of 1863 and appointed as a Chaplain in Kershaw's Brigade of the Confederate Army.

After the war, DuBose served St. Stephen's Episcopal Church near his home of Winnsboro. While there, he also taught Greek at nearby Mt. Zion College.

In July 1871, DuBose's name was given to the Board of Trustees of the University of the South by Vice-Chancellor Charles Todd Quintard, to serve as Chaplain of the School and Professor of the School of Moral Science and the Evidences of the Christian Religion. DuBose served as Chaplain of the school from 1871-1883 (he was succeeded by Thomas Frank Gailor).

Among his work at the University of the South, DuBose helped to establish the Theological Department, which would later be known as the School of Theology at the University of the South. He served as professor in the Theological Department from 1877-1893. In 1894, DuBose was elected as Dean of the Theological Department, a position he held until 1908.

Propers for William Porcher Dubose - Priest and Theologian

The Collect.

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant William Porcher DuBose special gifts of grace to understand the Scriptures and to teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant, we beseech thee, that by this teaching we may know thee, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Epistle - 2 Timothy 1:11-14.

The Gospel - St. Luke 24:25-32.

Reference and Resources:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mammes of Caesarea

(AD 259-275)

Born in prison to parents who had been jailed because they were Christian, Mammes became an orphan when his parents were executed. After his parents' death, Mammes was raised by a rich widow named Ammia, who died when Mammes was 15 years old.

Mammes was tortured for his faith by the governor of Caesarea and was then sent before the Roman Emperor Aurelian, who tortured him again. The Mammes legend states that an angel then liberated him and ordered him to hide himself on a mountain near Caesarea.

Mammes was later thrown to the lions, but managed to make the beasts docile. He preached to animals in the fields, and a lion remained with him as companion. Accompanied by the lion, he visited Duke Alexander, who condemned him to death. He was struck in the stomach with a trident. Bleeding, Mammes dragged himself to a spot near a theater before his soul was carried into heaven by angels.

Propers for Mammes of Caesarea - Martyr

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

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

Reference and Resources:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Roger of Taizé

Frère Roger (Brother Roger) (Provence, Switzerland, May 12, 1915 - Taizé, August 16, 2005), baptized Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche, also known as Brother Roger, was the founder and prior of the Taizé Community, an ecumenical monastic community.

Roger was born the ninth and youngest child of Karl Ulrich Schütz, a Protestant pastor from Bachs in the Zürcher Unterland (Zürich Lowlands) in Switzerland, and his wife, Amélie Henriette Schütz-Marsauche, a French Protestant woman from Burgundy.

From 1937 to 1940, Roger studied Reformed theology in Strasbourg and Lausanne.

In 1940, he rode a bicycle from Geneva to Taizé, a small town near Mâcon, about 390 kilometers (240 miles) southeast of Paris. Taizé was then in unoccupied France, just beyond the line of demarcation to the zone occupied by German troops. For two years Brother Roger hid Jewish refugees before being forced to leave Taizé. In 1944, he returned to Taizé to found the Community, first as a small quasi-monastic community of men living together in poverty and celibacy.

Since the late 1950s, many thousands of young adults from many countries have found their way to Taizé to take part in weekly meetings of prayer and reflection. In addition, Taizé brothers make visits and lead meetings, large and small, in Africa, North and South America, Asia, and in Europe, as part of a “pilgrimage of trust on earth”.

The spiritual leader always kept a low profile, rarely giving interviews and refusing to permit any "cult" to grow up around himself. Prior to his death, he was due to give up his community functions because of his advanced age and ill-health which had seen him suffer from fatigue and often use a wheelchair.

Brother Roger wrote many books on prayer and reflection, asking young people to be confident in God and committed to their local church community and to humanity. He also wrote books about Christian spirituality and prayer, some together with Mother Teresa with whom he shared a cordial friendship.

From a Protestant background, Brother Roger undertook a step that was without precedent since the Reformation: entering progressively into a full communion with the faith of the Roman Catholic Church without a “conversion” that would imply a break with his origins. In 1980, during a European Meeting in Rome, he said in St Peter’s Basilica in the presence of Pope John Paul II: “I have found my own identity as a Christian by reconciling within myself the faith of my origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking fellowship with anyone.”

Brother Roger was stabbed to death during the evening prayer service in Taizé on August 16, 2005 by Luminiţa Ruxandra Solcan. He was stabbed several times and, though one of the brothers carried him from the church, he died shortly afterward. The assailant was immediately apprehended by members of the congregation and was placed in police custody.

His stabbing lead many who already considered him a saint to think of him as a martyr, even though there is no clear link between his faith and the crime.

Propers for Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche - Prior of Taizé

The Collect.

O GOD, by whose grace the blessed Roger of Taizé enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we may be inflamed with the same spirit of discipline and love, and ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Philippians 3:7-15.

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

Reference and Resources:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Blessed Virgin Mary

On this date we remember the heavenly birth of St. Mary, the Blessed and Ever Virgin Theotokos.

The Collect.

O GOD, who hast taken to thyself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of thine only Son: Grant that we who have been redeemed by his blood may share with her the glory of thine eternal kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle - Isaiah 61:7-11.

THEREFORE in their land they shall possess a double portion: everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the Lord love justice. I hate robbery and wrong; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

The Gospel - St Luke 1:46-55.

MY soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.