Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Joseph of Arimathea

The Gospels tell us that after the death of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy member of the Council, asked Pilate for the body of Jesus, and buried it with honor in the tomb he had intended for himself. This is our only information about him from writers of his own century.

Since the 2nd century a mass of legendary detail has accumulated around the figure of Joseph of Arimathea in addition to the New Testament references. Joseph is referenced in apocryphal and non-canonical accounts such as the Acts of Pilate, given the medieval title Gospel of Nicodemus and The Narrative of Joseph, and in early church historians such as Irenaeus (125 – 189), Hippolytus (170 – 236), Tertullian (155 – 222), and Eusebius (260 – 340), who added details not in the canonical accounts. Hilary of Poitiers (300 – 367) enriched the legend, and Saint John Chrysostom (347 – 407), the Patriarch of Constantinople, was the first to write[2] that Joseph was one of the Seventy Apostles appointed in St. Luke 10.

During the late 12th century, Joseph became connected with the Arthurian cycle as the first keeper of the Holy Grail. This idea first appears in Robert de Boron's Joseph d'Arimathie, in which Joseph receives the Grail from an apparition of Jesus and sends it with his followers to Britain. This theme is elaborated upon in Boron's sequels and in later Arthurian works. Later retellings of the story contend that Joseph of Arimathea himself traveled to Britain and became the first Christian bishop in the Isles.

Propers for St. Joseph of Arimathea

The Collect.

O MERCIFUL God, by whose servant Joseph the body of our Lord and Saviour was committed to the grave with reverence and godly fear: Grant, we beseech thee, to thy faithful people grace and courage to serve and love Jesus with unfeigned devotion all the days of their life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Proverbs 4:10-18.

The Gospel - St. Luke 23:50-56.

Reference and Resources:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

William Wilberforce

(24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was a British politician, philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780 and became the independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire (1784–1812). In 1785 he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, resulting in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform. In 1787 he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave trade activists, including Granville Sharp, Hannah More and Lord Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade until the eventual passage of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.

Wilberforce was convinced of the importance of religion, morality, and education. He championed causes and campaigns such as the Society for Suppression of Vice, the introduction of Christianity to India, the creation of a free colony in Sierra Leone, the foundation of the Church Mission Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. His underlying conservatism led him to support politically and socially repressive legislation and resulted in criticism that he was ignoring injustices at home while campaigning for the enslaved abroad.

In later years, Wilberforce supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery, and continued his involvement after 1826, when he resigned from Parliament because of his failing health. That campaign led to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire; Wilberforce died just three days after hearing that the passage of the Act through Parliament was assured. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to his friend William Pitt.

Propers for William Wilberforce - Layman, Renewer, Reformer and Abolitionist

The Collect -

Let thy continual mercy, O Lord, enkindle in thy Church the never-failing gift of charity, that, following the example of thy servant William Wilberforce, we may have grace to defend the children, the poor, the lost and the oppressed and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Galatians 3:23-29.

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

Reference and Resources:

Monday, July 29, 2013


Martha is the sister of Mary and of Lazarus, and the hostess of Our Lord when he visited their home in Bethany. Martha was also a witness to the raising of her brother Lazarus from the dead. She had faith that Our Lord could perform such a miracle.

Martha's life reminds us that while we need to be diligent in our several callings, we should take time each day to meditate, pray and give glory to God so that our hearts might stay fixed on the love of God revealed in His Son.

Propers for St. Martha - Witness and Hostess of Our Lord

The Collect.

O GOD, who bestowest divers gifts and graces upon thy saints: We give thee humble thanks for the examples of thy servant Martha, a friend and helper of our Saviour Jesus Christ; and we pray thee to give us grace to love and serve thee and others for his sake, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle - Proverbs 31:10, 26-31.

WHO can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; And in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, And eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, But thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: But a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; And let her own works praise her in the gates.

The Gospel - St. Luke 10:38-42.

NOW it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And the Lord answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art concerned and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

GRANT to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 Corinthians 10 : 1-13.

BRETHREN, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

The Gospel - St. Luke 15 : 11-32.

JESUS said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

J. S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach, widely regarded as the greatest of all composers of music for Christian worship, was born in 1685 in Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany, into a family of distinguished musicians. In 1708, shortly after marrying his cousin, Maria Barbara Bach, he became court organist to the Duke of Weimar, where he wrote his principal compositions for the organ. In 1717 he became music director (Kapellmeister) to Prince Leopold of Coethen. In 1720, his wife died, and in 1721 he married Anna Magdalena Wuelcken, for whom he composed a famous set of keyboard pieces. From 1723 until his death in 1750 he was at Leipzig, where he taught, conducted, sang, played, and composed. He had 20 children, of whom nine survived him, four of whom are also remembered as composers.

Prayer -

Almighty God, beautiful in majesty and majestic in holiness, who hast taught us in Holy Scripture to sing thy praises, and who hast given to thy servant Johann Sebastian Bach grace to show forth thy glory in music: Be with all thy servants who write and make music for thy people, that with joy we on earth may glimpse thy beauty, and at length may know the inexhaustible richness of thy new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reference and Resources:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

William Reed Huntington

(1838–1909) was an American Anglican priest and author

Huntington was born in Lowell, Mass. He graduated at Harvard in 1859 and in 1859–1860 was an instructor in chemistry there. Entering the Episcopal ministry, he was rector of All Saints Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1862–1883 and of Grace Church, New York from 1883 until his death. Dr. Huntington always took a prominent part in public affairs. He was active in the movement for liturgical revisions and was long chairman of the Prayer-Book Revisions Committee, and editor with Dr. Samuel Hart of the Standard Prayer-Book of 1892.

In his book The Church Idea (1870), Huntington undertook to discuss the basis of Christian unity, and he formulated the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, a statement adopted first by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in 1886 and then, with slight modifications, by the Bishops of the world-wide Anglican Communion assembled at Lambeth in 1888. The statement set forth four principles which Anglicans regard as essential, and offer as a basis for discussion of union with other Christian bodies.

Despite his involvement in the national affairs of the Church, Huntington was foremost a parish priest, for 21 years (1862-1883) as All Saints' Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, and for 26 years (1883-1909) at Grace Church, New York City. He died 26 July 1909.

Propers for William Reed Huntigton - Priest, Poet, Author and Churchman

The Collect.

O Lord our God, we thank thee for instilling in the heart of thy servant William Reed Huntington a fervent love for thy Church and its mission in the world; and we pray that, with unflagging faith in thy promises, we may make known to all peoples thy blessed gift of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Ephesians 4:11-16.

The Gospel - St. John 17:20-26.

Reference and Resources:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Scriptures tell us nothing about the parents of the Virgin Mother, not even their names. An early but unreliable document, known as the Proto-Gospel (or Proto-Evangelion) of James, calls them Ann and Joachim, by which names they are customarily known. Our only real information about them, however, is an inference from the kind of daughter they reared.

Propers for Anne and Joachim - Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, heavenly Father, who settest the solitary in families: We thankfully remember before thee this day the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and we humbly entrust to thy never-failing care the homes in which thy people dwell; that we may be made very members of the heavenly family of thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle - Proverbs 31:10-31

The Gospel - St. Matthew 13:44-52

Reference and Resources:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

St. James the Apostle

James, son of Zebedee (d. AD 44) or Yaakov Ben-Zebdi/Bar-Zebdi, was one of the disciples of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of John the Evangelist. He is called Saint James the Greater to distinguish him from the other apostle named James (James, son of Alphaeus) (also known as James the Lesser). James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him. According to Mark, James and John were called Boanerges, or the "Sons of Thunder". James was one of only three apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration. The Acts of the Apostles 12:1-2 records that King Herod had James executed by sword, making him the first of the Twelve Apostles to be martyred.

Propers for Saint James the Apostle

The Collect.

GRANT, O merciful God, that, as thine holy Apostle Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had, without delay was obedient unto the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him; so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections, may be evermore ready to follow thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Acts xi. 27, and part of Chap. xii.

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. Now 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.

The Gospel - St. Matthew xx. 20.

THEN came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Reference and Resources:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thomas von Kempen

Thomas Hammerken (or Hammerlein -- both mean "little hammer") was born at Kempen (hence the "A Kempis") in the duchy of Cleves in Germany around 1380. He was educated by a religious order called the Brethren of the Common Life, and in due course joined the order, was ordained a priest, became sub-prior of his house (in the low Countries), and died 25 July 1471 (his feast is observed a day early to avoid conflict with that of James bar-Zebedee the Apostle).

Thomas is known almost entirely for composing or compiling a manual of spiritual advice known as The Imitation of Christ, in which he urges the reader to seek to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to be conformed in all things to His will.

Propers for Thomas à Kempis - Priest, Monk, and Writer

The Collect.

Holy Father, who hast nourished and strengthened thy Church by the writings of thy servant Thomas of Kempen: Grant that we may learn from him to know what we ought to know, to love what we ought to love, to praise what highly pleaseth thee, and always to seek to know and follow thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9

The Gospel - St. Luke 6:17-23

Reference and Resources:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Birgitta of Sweden

Birgitta (Bridget) Birgerstotter was born in Sweden about 1303, daughter of the governor of the province of Uppland. As a child, she began to have dreams about the suffering of Christ. She was married at 13 to Ulf Gundarsson, son of the governor of the province of West Gotland. They had four offspring. In 1335, she became chief lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Sweden. In 1341, she and her husband made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and on the return trip her husband Ulf Gudmursson fell ill and died soon after.

Birgitta began to live a more ascetic life. Her dreams and visions grew more frequent and vivid, and became more and more the focus of her life. She devoted her life to prayer, to assisting the poor and needy, and to speaking plainly to those in power. She mediated between warring rulers, and warned the Pope at Avignon that it was his duty to return to Rome (see Brigitta in Rome).

In 1351 she founded an order of both monks and nuns, to be governed by an abbess. The order, the Order of the Holy Savior, popularly called the Brigittines, spread through Europe, and was an important educational influence. Today, the Society of St. Birgitta (Birgittastiftelsen) in Sweden is a laypersons' society that seeks to carry on her work.

She is known for her Revelations, which are largely meditations on the Passion of Our Lord.

Propers for Birgitta of Sweden - Monastic and Mystic

The Collect - 

O Lord, our God, Who through Thine only-begotten Son, didst reveal heavenly secrets to blessed Bridget, grant us, Thy servants, to rejoice and be glad in the revelation of Thine eternal glory. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 Timothy 5: 3-10

The Holy Gospel - St. Luke 7: 11-16


Apollinaris of Ravenna

According to tradition, he was a native of Antioch in Roman Province of Syria. As the first Bishop of Ravenna, he faced nearly constant persecution. He and his flock were exiled from Ravenna during the persecutions of Emperor Vespasian (or Nero, depending on the source). On his way out of the city he was identified, arrested as being the leader, tortured and martyred by being run through with a sword.

Propers for Apollinaris of Ravenna - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

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

The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

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

Reference and Resources:


Monday, July 22, 2013

Mary Magdalene

is mentioned in the Gospels as being among the women of Galilee who followed Jesus and His disciples, and who was present at His Crucifixion and Burial, and who went to the tomb on Easter Sunday to anoint His body. She was the first to see the Risen Lord, and to announce His Resurrection to the apostles. Accordingly, she is referred to in early Christian writings as "the apostle to the apostles."

Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany (sister of Martha and Lazarus), and the unnamed penitent woman who anointed Jesus's feet (Luke 7:36-48) are sometimes supposed to be the same woman. From this, plus the statement that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her (Luke 8:2), has risen the tradition that she had been a prostitute before she met Jesus. Though it would be wiser to assume that they were different women all named Mary.

Because of the assumption that Mary Magdalene had been a spectacular sinner, and also perhaps because she is described as weeping at the tomb of Jesus on the Resurrection morning, she is often portrayed in art as weeping, or with eyes red from having wept. From this appearance we derive the English word "maudlin", meaning "effusively or tearfully sentimental."

Propers for Mary Magdalene

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, whose blessed Son did sanctify Mary Magdalene, and call her to be a witness to his Resurrection: Mercifully grant that by thy grace we may be healed of all our infirmities, and serve thee in the power of his endless life; who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle - 2 Corinthians 5:14-18.

FOR the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.

The Gospel - St. John 20:1, 11-18.

THE first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O GOD, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Romans viii. 12.

BRETHREN, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

The Gospel - St. Matthew vii. 15.

BEWARE of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Sermon - Fr. Robert Hart


Little is known for about Praxedes, and not all accounts agree. According to Jacobus de Voragine's The Golden Legend, Praxedes was the sister of Saint Pudentiana; their brothers were Saint Donatus and Saint Timothy. During one of the periods of persecution, they buried the bodies of Christians and distributed goods to the poor. De Voragine's brief account states they died in 165, "in the reign of Emperors Marcus and Antoninus II."

Sabine Baring-Gould, in the entry for Saint Novatus, states that the "holy virgin" Praxedes was a daughter of Saint Pudens, sister of Saint Pudentiana, and that her brothers were Saint Novatus and Saint Timothy. Novatus is said to have died in 151.

Propers for Praxedes of Rome

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - 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. Matthew 25:31-40.

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

Reference and Resources:


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Margaret of Antioch

Virgin and martyr; also called Marina; belonged to Pisidian Antioch in Asia Minor, where her father was a pagan priest. Her mother dying soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a pious woman five or six leagues from Antioch. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, she was disowned by her father and adopted by her nurse.

While she was one day engaged in watching the flocks of her mistress, a lustful Roman prefect named Olybrius caught sight of her, and attracted by her great beauty sought to make her his concubine or wife. When neither cajolery nor threats of punishment could succeed in moving her to yield to his desires, he had her brought before him in public trial at Antioch. Threatened with death unless she renounced the Christian faith, the holy virgin refused to adore the gods of the empire and an attempt was made to burn her, but the flames, we are told in her Acts, left her unhurt. She was then bound hand and foot and thrown into a cauldron of boiling water, but at her prayer her bonds were broken and she stood up uninjured. Finally the prefect ordered her to be beheaded.

Her Acts place her death in the persecution of Diocletian (A.D. 303-5), but in fact even the century to which she belonged is uncertain. St. Margaret is represented in art sometimes as a shepherdess, or as leading a chained dragon, again carrying a little cross or a girdle in her hand, or standing by a large vessel which recalls the cauldron into which she was plunged.

Propers for Margaret of Antioch - Virgin, Confessor & Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Margaret 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 - Ecclesiasticus 51:9-12.

Then lifted I up my supplications from the earth, and prayed for deliverance from death. I called upon the Lord, the Father of my Lord, that he would not leave me in the days of my trouble, and in the time of the proud, when there was no help. I will praise thy name continually, and will sing praises with thanksgiving; and so my prayer was heard: For thou savedst me from destruction, and deliveredst me from the evil time: therefore will I give thanks, and praise thee, and bless they name, O Lord.

The Gospel - St Matthew 13:44-52.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Macrina the Younger

was born at Caesarea, Cappadocia. Her parents were Basil the Elder and Emmelia, and her grandmother was Macrina the Elder. Among her nine siblings were two of the three Cappadocian Fathers, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, as well as Peter of Sebaste. Her father arranged for her to marry but her fiancé died before the wedding. She devoted herself to her religion, becoming a nun.

She became well known as a holy woman and instructed many young women religiously. For this she is honored as one of the most prominent nuns of the Eastern Church. She had a profound influence upon her brothers with her adherence to an ascetic ideal. Gregory of Nyssa wrote a work entitled Life of Macrina in which he describes her sanctity throughout her life. In 379, Macrina died at her family's estate in Pontus, which with the help of her younger brother Peter she had turned into a monastery and convent. Her brother Gregory composed a "Dialogue on the Soul and Resurrection" (peri psyches kai anastaseos), entitled ta Makrinia (P.G. XLVI, 12 sq.), to commemorate Macrina.

Propers for Macrina the Younger - Monastic and Teacher

The Collect.

Merciful God, who didst call thy servant Macrina to reveal in her life and her teaching the riches of thy grace and truth: Mercifully grant that we, following her example, may seek after thy wisdom and live according to her way; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Ecclesiasticus 51:13-22

The Gospel - St. Matthew 11:27-30

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Elisabeth Hesse Romanov

was born Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Elisabeth Alexandra Louise Alice of Hesse and by Rhine on 1 November 1864. She was the second child of Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and by Rhine and British Princess Alice. Through her mother, she was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Alice chose the name Elisabeth for her daughter after visiting the shrine of Elizabeth of Hungary, ancestress of the House of Hesse, in Marburg. Alice so admired St. Elizabeth that she decided to name her new daughter after her. Elizabeth was known as "Ella" within her family.

She married Grand Duke Sergei Romanov 15 June 1884 in the Chapel of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, gaining the title Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna. The couple settled in the Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace in St. Petersburg; after Sergei was appointed Governor-General of Moscow in 1892, they resided in one of the Kremlin palaces. During the summer, they stayed at Il’yinskoe, an estate outside Moscow that Sergei had inherited from his mother.

The couple never had children of their own, but their Il’yinskoye estate was usually filled with parties that Elizabeth organized especially for children. They eventually became the foster parents of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, Sergei’s niece and nephew.

Although Elizabeth was not legally required to convert to Russian Orthodoxy from her native Lutheranism, she voluntarily chose to do so in 1891. Although some members of her family questioned her motives, her conversion appears to have been sincere.

On 18 February 1905, Sergei was assassinated in the Kremlin by the Socialist-Revolutionary, Ivan Kalyayev. Elisabeth remained calm, yet distant to visitors that came to call and seemed to be fixed on a focal point, possibly trying to contain her grief.

After Sergei’s death, Elizabeth wore mourning clothes and became a vegetarian. In 1909, she sold off her magnificent collection of jewels and sold her other luxurious possessions; even her wedding ring was not spared. With the proceeds she opened the Convent of Sts. Martha and Mary and became its abbess. She soon opened a hospital, a chapel, a pharmacy and an orphanage on its grounds. Elizabeth and her nuns worked tirelessly among the poor and the sick of Moscow. She often visited Moscow’s worst slums and did all she could to help alleviate the suffering of the poor.

Following the Russian Revolution Elizabeth and other members of Russian Royal Family were arrested and relocated to more remote parts of the country and were eventually taken to an abandoned mine in Siniachikha. The Cheka beat all the prisoners before throwing their victims into a pit, Elizabeth being the first. Hand grenades were then hurled down the shaft, but only one victim, Feodor Remez, died as a result of the grenades.

According to the personal account of Vassili Ryabov, one of their killers, Elizabeth and the others survived the initial fall into the mine, prompting Ryabov to toss in a grenade after them. Following the explosion, he claimed to hear Elizabeth and the others singing a Russian hymn from the bottom of the shaft. Unnerved, Ryabov threw down a second grenade, but the singing continued. Finally a large quantity of brushwood was shoved into the opening and set alight, upon which Ryabov posted a guard over the site and departed.

Early on 18 July 1918, the head of the Alapaevsk Cheka, Abramov, and the head of the Yekaterinburg Regional Soviet, Beloborodov, who had been involved in the murders of the Imperial Family, exchanged a number of telegrams in a pre-arranged plan saying that the school had been attacked by an "unidentified gang". A month later, Alapaevsk fell to the White Army.

On 8 October 1918, the Whites discovered the remains of Elizabeth and her companions, still within the shaft where they had been murdered. Elizabeth had died of wounds sustained in her fall into the mine, but had still found strength to bandage the head of the dying Prince Ioann. Her remains were removed and ultimately taken to Jerusalem, where they lie today in the Church of Maria Magdalene.

She is one of the ten 20th-century martyrs from across the world who are depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, London, England.

Propers for Elisabeth Hesse Romanov - Princess, Monastic and Martyr

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Elizabeth 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.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

William White

Before the American Revolution, there were no bishops in the colonies (partly because the British government was reluctant to give the colonies the kind of autonomy that this would have implied, and partly because many of the colonists were violently opposed to their presence). After the Revolution, the establishment of an American episcopate became imperative. Samuel Seabury was the first American to be consecrated, in 1784 (see 14 Nov), and in 1787 William White and Samuel Provoost, having been elected to the bishoprics of Pennsylvania and New York respectively, sailed to England and were consecrated bishops on 14 February by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and the Bishop of Peterborough.

William White was born in Philadelphia in 1747, went to England in 1770 to be ordained deacon and priest, returned in 1772 and became first an assistant and then the rector of the Church of Christ and Saint Peter in Philadelphia. He served as Chaplain of the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1789, and then as Chaplain of the Senate.

Bishop White died at his home after a lingering illness, retaining his full mental faculties until the end. He was buried in the family vault at Christ Church Burial Ground on July 20, 1836, next to his brother-in-law, Robert Morris. On December 23, 1870 his remains were re-interred in the chancel of Christ Church.

Propers for William White - Bishop

The Collect.

O Lord, who in a time of turmoil and confusion didst raise up thy servant William White, and didst endow him with wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper, that he might lead thy Church into ways of stability and peace: Hear our prayer, we beseech thee, and give us wise and faithful leaders, that through their ministry thy people may be blessed and thy will be done; 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 1:4-10.

Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

The Gospel - St. John 21:15-17.

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

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Bartolome de Las Casas

O.P. (August 24, 1484 – July 17, 1566), was a 16th century Spanish Dominican priest, missionary to Native Americans and the first resident Bishop of Chiapas.

Las Casas became well-known for his advocacy of the rights of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, whose cultures he described with care. His descriptions of the caciques (chiefs or princes), bohiques (shamans or clerics), ni-taínos (noblemen), and naborias (common folk) in the Caribbean clearly showed a feudal structure. He was a mentor of Taíno rebel Enriquillo in his early age, being later a conciliator between him and the conquistadors. His book A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies (original title in Spanish: Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias), published in 1552, gave a vivid description of the atrocities committed by the conquistadors in the Americas – most particularly, the Caribbean, Central America, and what is now Mexico – including many events to which he was a witness, as well as some events he reprints from others' eyewitness accounts.

Las Casas' "Doctrine of Self Determination" maintained that all power derives from the people; power is delegated to rulers in order that they may serve their people; and all important governmental acts require popular consultation and approval. “No state, king, or emperor can alienate territories, or change their political system, without the express approval of their inhabitants,” he wrote. This doctrine had an obvious influence on later thinkers including those of the enlightenment and the Founding Fathers.

In one of his last works, De thesauris in Peru, he vigorously defended the rights of the natives of Peru against enslavement by the early Spanish Conquest. The work also questioned Spain's right to take the treasures derived from Atahualpa ransom during the Inca Conquest, as well as those valuables found and taken from the burial sites of the Indian population.

The book was dedicated to King Philip II of Spain. Las Casas explained that he had supported the Spanish conquest when he first arrived in the New World, but that he soon became convinced that it would eventually lead to the collapse of Spain itself in an act of Divine retribution. According to Las Casas, it was the responsibility of the Spanish to convert the Indians, who would then be loyal subjects of Spain, rather than to kill them. To address the labor needs of the Spanish colonists, Las Casas proposed that Africans be brought to America instead, though he later changed his mind about this when he saw the effects of slavery on Africans. Largely due to his efforts, New Laws were adopted in 1542 to protect American Indians in the colonies.

Las Casas also wrote Historia de las Indias and was the editor of Christopher Columbus' published journal. He was instrumental, on his repeated return trips to Spain, in gaining the temporary repeal of the encomienda regulations that established virtual slave labor gangs in Spanish America. In 1547, De Las Casas initiated theological debates with the priest Sepulveda en Salamanca. Las Casas returned to Spain and was eventually able to bring about the great debate of 1550 in Valladolid between himself and the advocate for the settlers, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda. Though the encomienda system triumphed, championed by the colonial Spanish classes who were profiting from it, the writings of Las Casas were translated and republished across Europe. His published accounts are important primary sources on Spanish colonial atrocities. They influenced the essayist Montaigne's views of the New World.

Propers for Bartolome de Las Casas - Missionary, Teacher, Bishop and Humanitarian

The Collect.

Let thy continual mercy, O Lord, enkindle in thy Church the never-failing gift of charity, that, following the example of thy servant Bartolome de Las Casas, we may have grace to defend the children of the poor, and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Philippians 3:7-15.

The Gospel - St. John 17:18-23.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Henry Williams

(11 February 1792 – 16 July 1867) was one of the first missionaries who went to New Zealand in the first half of the 19th century. He was named "the sea-warrior". He entered the navy at the age of fourteen and served in the Napoleonic Wars. He went to New Zealand in 1823 as a missionary. The Bay of Islands Māori gave Williams the nickname Karu-whā ('Four-eyes' as Henry wore spectacles), he was known more widely as Te Wiremu. His younger brother William Williams was also a missionary in New Zealand. William was "the scholar-surgeon". Although Henry Williams was not the first missionary in New Zealand – Thomas Kendall, John Gare Butler, John King and William Hall having come before him – he was "the first to make the mission a success, partly because the others had opened up the way, but largely because he was the only man brave enough, stubborn enough, and strong enough to keep going, no matter what the dangers, and no matter what enemies he made"

Propers for Henry Williams - Missionary and Translator

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - Acts 1:1-9.

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

The Gospel - St. Luke 10:1-9.

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

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Monday, July 15, 2013


was Bishop of Winchester from October 30, 852 to his death on July 2, 862. However, he is scarcely mentioned in any document of his own time. His death is entered in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the year 861; and his signature is appended to several charters in Kemble's Codex diplomaticus. Of these charters three belong to 833, 838, 860-862. In the first the saint signs as Swithunus presbyter regis Egberti, in the second as Swithunus diaconus, and in the third as Swithunus episcopus This means that if the second charter is genuine, the first must be wrong, and it is so marked in Kemble.

Under Ethelwulf, Swithun was appointed bishop of Winchester, to which see he was consecrated by Archbishop Ceolnoth. In his new office he was known for his piety and his zeal in building new churches or restoring old ones. At his request Ethelwulf gave the tenth of his royal lands to the Church. Swithun made his diocesan journeys on foot; when he gave a banquet he invited the poor and not the rich. His best known miracle was his restoration on a bridge of a basket of eggs that workmen had maliciously broken. He died on 2 July 862, and gave orders that he was not to be buried within the church, but outside in a vile and unworthy place.

More than a hundred years later, when Dunstan and Æthelwold of Winchester were inaugurating their church reform, Saint Swithun was adopted as patron of the restored church at Winchester, formerly dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. His body was transferred from its almost forgotten grave to Ethelwolds new basilica on 15th July 971, and according to contemporary writers, numerous miracles preceded and followed the move.

Propers for Swithun - Bishop of Winchester

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast made this day honourable for us by the translation of blessed Swithun, thy Confessor and Bishop: Grant thy Church joy in this feast, that we who reverently celebrate his memory on earth may by his prayers be lifted up to heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Hebrews 12:1-2.

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

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Vladimir The Great

Old East Slavic: Володимѣръ Свѧтославичь Old Norse as Valdamarr Sveinaldsson, Russian: Влади́мир, Vladimir, Ukrainian: Володимир, Volodymyr, (c. 958 near Pskov – 15 July 1015, Berestovo) was a Varangian (Viking) grand prince of Kiev.

Vladimir's father was the Varangian prince Sviatoslav of the Rurik dynasty. After the death of his father in 972, Vladimir, who was then prince of Novgorod, was forced to flee to Scandinavia in 976 after his brother Yaropolk had murdered his other brother Oleg and conquered Rus. In Sweden with the help from his relative Ladejarl Håkon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway, assembled a Varangian army and reconquered Novgorod from Yaropolk.

By 980 Vladimir had consolidated the Kievan realm from modern day Ukraine to the Baltic Sea and had solidified the frontiers against incursions of Bulgarian, Baltic, and Eastern nomads. Originally a pagan, Vladimir converted to Christianity in 988, and proceeded to baptise all of Kievan Rus'.

Propers for Vladimir the Great - King

The Collect.

Almighty God, who hast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of thy servant Vladimir , may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we may with him attain to thine eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Micah 6:6-8.

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

The Gospel - St. Matthew 25:31-40

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

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Seventh Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

LORD of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Romans 6:19-23.

I SPEAK after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Gospel - St. Mark 8:1-9.

IN those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: and if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

Sermon: Father Robert Hart


He was born at Bagnoregio in Latium, not far from Viterbo. Almost nothing is known of his childhood, other than the names of his parents, Giovanni di Fidanza and Maria Ritella.

He entered the Franciscan Order in 1243 and studied at the University of Paris, possibly under Alexander of Hales, and certainly under Alexander's successor, John of Rochelle. In 1253 he held the Franciscan chair at Paris and was proceeded as Master of Theology. Unfortunately for Bonaventure, a dispute between seculars and mendicants delayed his reception as Master until 1257, where his degree was taken in company with Thomas Aquinas. Three years earlier his fame had earned him the position of lecturer on the The Four Books of Sentences—a book of theology written by Peter Lombard in the twelfth century—and in 1255 he received the degree of master, the medieval equivalent of doctor.

After having successfully defended his order against the reproaches of the anti-mendicant party, he was elected Minister General of the Franciscan Order. On 24 November 1265, he was selected for the post of Archbishop of York; however, he was never consecrated and resigned the appointment in October 1266. It was by his order that Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar himself, was interdicted from lecturing at Oxford and compelled to put himself under the surveillance of the order at Paris.

Bonaventure denied the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and championed the knowledge given by God to Christians, as being far superior to all forms of mere human wisdom.

Bonaventure was instrumental in procuring the election of Pope Gregory X, who rewarded him with the title of Cardinal Bishop of Albano, and insisted on his presence at the great Council of Lyon in 1274. There, after his significant contributions led to a union of the Greek and Latin churches, Bonaventure died suddenly and in suspicious circumstances. The Catholic Encyclopedia has citations which suggest he was poisoned. The only extant relic of the saint is the arm and hand with which he wrote his Commentary on the Sentences, which is now conserved at Bagnoregio, in the parish church of St. Nicholas.

Propers for Bonaventure - Bishop and Doctor.

The Collect.

O GOD, who didst make Bonaventure to shine and to burn as a Bishop and Doctor in thy Church; Grant that we may be so inwardly touched by his heavenly doctrine, that we may be filled with the sweetness of the love that dwelt in him; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 2 Timothy 4:1-8

The Gospel - St Matthew 5:13-20

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nathan Söderblom

Lars Olof Jonathan Söderblom (15 January 1866 – 12 July 1931) was a Swedish clergyman, Archbishop of Uppsala in the Church of Sweden, and recipient of the 1930 Nobel Peace Prize. He is commemorated in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on July 12.

Söderblom was born on a farm called Trönö, today Söderhamn Municipality, Gävleborg County. His father was a priest and a devoted Christian with a strong personal faith.

He enrolled at Uppsala University in 1883. Although not initially convinced what he wanted to study, he eventually decided to follow in his father's footsteps. On returning from a journey to the U.S., he was ordained priest in 1893.

During the years 1892 and 1893, Söderblom was first vice president and the president of the Uppsala Student Union.

In 1912, he became a professor of Religious studies at Leipzig University. But already in 1914, he was chosen to become Archbishop of Uppsala and Primate of the Church of Sweden.

Söderblom, a Lutheran in a church that had retained the historic episcopate, valued the liturgy and devotional tradition of traditional Catholic worship, while seeing much of worth in the writings of liberal Protestant scholars. He believed it his duty to work for a united Christendom, both catholic and evangelical, and saw practical cooperation on social issues as a promising first step. During World War I, he worked tirelessly to alleviate the conditions of prisoners of war and refugees. For this and his subsequent work for Church unity and world peace, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1930. At Stockholm in 1925, he organized the Universal Christian Council on Life and Work. Meanwhile, a chiefly Anglican group had formed an inter-denominational Conference on Faith and Order.

His leadership of the Christian "Life and Work" movement in the 1920s has led him to be recognized as one of the principal founders of the ecumenical movement, and he was a close friend of the English ecumenist George Bell.

Propers for - Nathan Söderblom, Bishop and Primate of Sweden

The Collect.

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Nathan Söderblom a special concern for the unity of thy Church and the welfare of thy people: grant that by the power of thy Holy Ghost we may be moved to seek an end to the barriers that divide Christian from Christian, and may show forth thy love to all the world in deeds of generosity, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the same Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Hebrews 12:1-2.

The Gospel - St. Luke 6:17-23.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Bo Giertz

(31 August 1905 in Räpplinge, Öland – 12 July 1998 in Gothenburg), was a Swedish Confessional Lutheran bishop and Christian novelist.

Giertz embraced the faith while studying medicine at the University of Uppsala and switched to theology. Ordained a priest in 1934, Giertz first served in youth work, then as an Associate Pastor (komminister) at Torpa (1938-1949). Largely due to his popular writings, such as The Hammer of God (in Swedish, Stengrunden), Giertz became the Bishop of the Göteborg (Gothenburg) Diocese in the Church of Sweden (1949-1970). This was a shock, due both to his young age (44) and position in the rural Torpa parish, as Swedish Bishops were routinely selected from among Cathedral Deans and University Chairmen of Theology.

Giertz' characteristic combination of the pietistic type of care of souls with his High Church Lutheran theology, which can also be noticed in his novels, made him listened beyond boundaries. It also made his novels as well as non-fictional books about Christian faith popular in all Scandinavia.

Most famous of his novels is The Hammer of God (Stengrunden, 1941). (Translated by Clifford Ansgar Nelson and Hans O. Andrae. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2005. Also appeared in 1960 and 1973).

After the Swedish parliament's and the Church Assembly's decision on the ordination of women in the Church of Sweden, Giertz became a leader of the opposition and took the initiative to form an organization called the Church Coalition for the Bible and Confession.

Giertz was a pioneer on advocating regular celebration of the Mass on Sundays, something that was not usual in the Church of Sweden at that time. He also strongly recommended ministers to regular prayer according to the Divine office; something he unerringly applied in his own devotional life.

Propers for Bo Harald Giertz - Novelist, Bishop and Confessor

The Collect.

Almighty God who didst turn the heart of thy servant Bo Giertz from the pursuits of this world to the service of thy Church and to confess the name of thine only begotten Son, we beseech thee to grant unto us similar focus and strength to serve thee, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Epistle - Hebrews 7:23-27.

The Gospel - St. Matthew 25:14-23.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Benedict of Nursia

(c. 480 AD – 543 AD) was born at Nursia (Norcia) Italy to a wealthy Roman family, making him liberiori genere, ‘of good birth.' Tradition gives him a twin sister, Scholastica.

Benedict’s Italy was an unstable province of a collapsing Roman Empire, and throughout the fifth century, waves of invaders weakened the peninsula. First Goth warriors marched along the Via Flaminia and into Rome, sacking it in 410. Others soon followed. Into this fragile, violent world, Benedict (or ‘Bennet’) was born among the Apennine valleys and mountains of central Italy. St. Benedict was married to a young woman, her name is not available, but she had dark brown hair and black eyes with white skin. St. Benedict was not supposed to be married but was any way in 522.

Benedict founded twelve monasteries, the best known of which was his first monastery at Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. The monastery at Monte Cassino was the first Benedictine monastery (most monasteries of the Middle Ages were of the Benedictine Order). Benedict wrote a set of rules governing his monks, the Rule of Saint Benedict, which was heavily influenced by the writings of John Cassian. The Benedictine Rule, one of the more influential documents in Western Civilization, was adopted by most monasteries founded throughout the Middle Ages. Because of this, Benedict is often called "the founder of western Christian monasticism." Benedict was canonized a saint in 1220.

Propers for Benedict of Nursia - Monastic Father

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, we give thee thanks for the purity and strength with which thou didst endow thy servant Benedict; and we pray that by thy grace we may have a like power to hallow and conform our souls and bodies to the purpose of thy most holy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Acts 2:44-47.

AND all that believed were together, and had all things in common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people.

The Gospel - St. Luke 14:26-33.

IF any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

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