Monday, October 31, 2011

Reformation Day

On 31 Oct 1517 (the Eve of All Saints), Brother Martin Luther a Augustinian Friar posted his 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church, Wittenberg, Saxony outlining erroneous and corrupt practices taking place in the medieval Church.

Through the centuries the story has been twisted to sound as if Br. Martin was making a declaration of war against the Church and Bishop of Rome, this is a totally false view of the event. Luther had been intending to reform the Church from within and not to split from the Roman Communion. Of course challenging a fragmented and corrupt Church hierarchy that existed in those days did lead to split and schism.

Since those times the Roman Communion has adopted or adapted many of Luther's reforms, yet some Romans continue(d) to vilify him, but in recent years Luther has had favorable resonance with those who have recently occupied the halls of the Vatican. Other Christians should see Luther as a catalyst for change, improving and broadening the average persons understanding and relationship with God.

Propers for Reformation Day

The Collect.

Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Thy Holy Spirit unto Thy faithful people. Keep us steadfast in Thy grace and truth, protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Thy Church Thy saving peace; through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with The and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Epistle - Romans 3:19-28.

The Gospel - St. John 8:31-36.

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O GOD, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Ephesians iv. 17.

THIS I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that yet henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

The Gospel - St. Matthew ix. 1.

JESUS entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

Christ The King

The Collect

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst will to restore all things in thy well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that all the kindreds of the earth, set free from the captivity of sin, may be brought under his most gracious dominion; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle - Colossians 1:12-20.

WE give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace by the blood of his cross.

The Gospel - St. John 18:33-37.

THEN Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

James Hannington

was born at Hurstpierpoint in Sussex, England, on 3 September 1847. A poor scholar, he left school at fifteen to work in his father's Brighton counting house. At twenty-one, Hannington decided to pursue a clerical career, and entered university at St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, where he again proved to be a desultory student. In 1872, the death of his mother spurred a change in Hannington's life: he was awarded his B.A., and on 1 March 1874 was ordained as a deacon, and took charge of the small parish of Trentishoe in Devon.

Around 1882, Hannington heard of the murder of two missionaries on the shores of the Victoria Nyanza. This led to him offering himself to the Church Missionary Society, and he left England on 17 May, setting sail for Zanzibar on 29 June, as the head of a party of six missionaries. Crippled by fever and dysentery, Hannington was forced to return to England in 1883.

In June 1884, having recovered, he was ordained bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, and in January 1885, Hannington again departed for Africa. After arriving at Freretown, near Mombasa, Kenya, he decided to focus on opening a new route to Uganda: together with his team, he safely reached a spot near Victoria Nyanza on 21 October, but his arrival had not gone unnoticed, and under the orders of King Mwanga II of Buganda, the missionaries were imprisoned in Busoga by Basoga chiefs.

After eight days of captivity, by order from King Mwanga II, Hannington's men were killed, and on 29 October 1885, Hannington himself was stabbed in both sides. As he died, his alleged last words to the soldiers who killed him were: "Go, tell Mwanga I have purchased the road to Uganda with my blood." Joseph Mukasa, a Roman Catholic priest and an official at Mwanga's court, rebuked the king for the deed, and was beheaded for it. Hannington and his companions were among the first Martyrs of Uganda. Hannington's feast day in the Church of England is October 29. A dedication stone, erected in his memory along with the Bishop Hannington Memorial Church in 1938, bears the inscription "Thou hast turned my heaviness into joy"

Propers for James Hannington - Missionary, Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

Precious in thy sight, O Lord, is the death of thy saints, whose faithful witness, by thy providence, hath its great reward: We give thee thanks for thy martyrs James Hannington and his companions, who purchased with their blood a road unto Uganda for the proclamation of the Gospel; and we pray that with them we also may obtain the crown of righteousness which is laid up for all who love the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lessons (click for link)

Reference and Resources:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Simon and Jude

Saint Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is generally identified with Thaddeus, and is also variously called Jude of James, Jude Thaddaeus , Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. He is sometimes identified with Jude, brother of Jesus, but is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, another disciple and later the betrayer of Jesus.

Saint Jude's attribute is a club. He is also often shown in icons with a flame around his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles. Occasionally he is represented holding an axe or halberd, as he was brought to death by one of these weapons. In some instances he may be shown with a scroll or a book (the Epistle of Jude) or holding a carpenter's rule.

The apostle called Simon Zelotes, Simon the Zealot, in Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13; and Simon Kananaios ("Simon" signifying שמעון "hearkening; listening", Standard Hebrew Šimʿon, Tiberian Hebrew Šimʿôn), was one of the most obscure among the apostles of Jesus. Little is recorded of him aside from his name, few pseudepigraphical writings were connected to him (but see below), and Jerome does not include him in De viris illustribus.

The name of Simon occurs in all the passages of the synoptic gospels and Acts that give a list of apostles, without further details.

Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas ["the son" is interpolated] of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16, RSV)

To distinguish him from Simon Peter, he is called Kananaios, or Kananites (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18), and in the list of apostles in Luke 6:15, repeated in Acts 1:13, Zelotes, the "Zealot". Both titles derive from the Hebrew word qana, meaning The Zealous, though Jerome and others mistook the word to signify the apostle was from the town of Cana (in which case his epithet would have been "Kanaios") or even from the region of Canaan. As such, the translation of the word as "the Cananite" or "the Canaanite" is purely traditional and without contemporary extra-canonic parallel.

Ss. Simon and Jude were martyred about 65 AD in the Persian Empire.

Propers for Saint Simon and Saint Jude - Apostles

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Ephesians ii. 19.

NOW therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The Gospel - St. John xv. 17.

THESE things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your's also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Reference and Resources:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Alfred the Great

(Old English: Ælfrēd, Ælfrǣd, "elf counsel") (849 – 26 October 899) was King of Wessex from 871 to 899. Alfred is noted for his defence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern England against the Vikings, becoming the only English monarch to be accorded the epithet "the Great". Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself "King of the Anglo-Saxons". Details of his life are described in a work by the Welsh scholar and bishop Asser. Alfred was a learned man who encouraged education and improved his kingdom's legal system and military structure. He is regarded as a saint by some Catholics, but has never been officially canonized. The Anglican Communion venerates him as a hero of the Christian Church, with a feast day of 26 October, and he may often be found depicted in stained glass in Church of England parish churches.

Propers for Alfred the Great - King and Hero of the Church

The Collect -

O Sovereign Lord, who brought thy servant Alfred to a troubled throne that he might establish peace in a ravaged land and revive learning and the arts among the people: Awake in us also a keen desire to increase our understanding while we are in this world, and an eager longing to reach that endless life where all will be made clear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Wisdom 6:1-3,9-12,24-25

The Gospel - St. Luke 6:43-49

Reference and Resources:


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crispin and Crispinian

Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century AD, Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twin brothers, fled persecution for their faith, winding up in Soissons, where they preached Christianity to the Gauls and made shoes by night. Their success attracted the ire of Rictus Varus, the governor of Belgic Gaul, who had them tortured and beheaded c. 286. In the 6th century, a church was built in their honour at Soissons. Crispian and Crispinian are also associated with the town of Faversham in Kent. In early 2007 the parish church of St Mary of Charity dedicated an altar to Crispin and Crispinian in the South aisle of the church.

The supposed tombs of the saints are in Rome in the church of San Lorenzo in Panisperna.

The feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian is October 25. However, these saints were removed from the liturgical calendar (but not declared to no longer be saints) during the Catholic Church's Vatican II reforms. The feast remains as a 'Black Letter Saints' Day' in the calendar of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (1662) and a 'commemoration' in Common Worship (2000).

The St. Crispin's Day Speech;

Crispin is perhaps best known for lending his name to the famous speech given by the eponymous king in Shakespeare's Henry V before the Battle of Agincourt (which occurred on 25 October 1415, though the speech was not written until 1599). In the speech, Crispinian's name is spelled Crispian, perhaps reflecting London pronunciation in Shakespeare's time.

The full text of the speech is:

King Henry V (IV, iii):

What's he that wishes so? My cousin Westmorland. No, my fair cousin: If we are marked to die, we are enow To do our country loss; and if to live, The fewer men, the greater share of honour. God's will, I pray thee, wish not one man more. By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; It ernes me not if men my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires: But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive. No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England: God's peace, I would not lose so great an honour As one man more, methinks, would share from me For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more. Rather proclaim it presently through my host, That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart. His passport shall be made And crowns for convoy put into his purse: We would not die in that man's company That fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is called the Feast of Crispian: He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a-tiptoe when the day is named, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. He that shall see this day and live t'old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian": Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day." Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember with advantages What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now abed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Propers for Crispin and Crispinian

The Collect:

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

The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

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

References and Resources:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - 1 Corinthians i. 4.

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

The Gospel - St. Matthew xxii. 34.

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

Saturday, October 22, 2011

James of Jerusalem

(From 10/23)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees

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

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

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

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

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

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

Propers for James of Jerusalem - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - Acts 15:12-22.

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

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

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

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

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

Reference and Resources:

Re: A Plea For Help, Prayers


Thank you for the response.

Things have been moving along and students have been rallying well. More things have come to the light about all of this that both softens the blow and further frustrates everybody.

It's been made clear that the only threat is Father Thorne's position. The school has no intentions of doing anything with the property nor of restricting services in any way however the proposed cuts to his funding would essentially mean the loss of a full time chaplain.

As it stands the President of the University is in favour of maintaining a full time chaplaincy and with the help of a small committee and the Board of Governors will look into the possibility of funding half of Father Thorne's budget through incorporating that cost into the general operating costs of the school. In a way, this would be ideal as it both maintains the chaplaincy and allows us more of a "stake" in the position, rather than being at the mercy of the Diocese. On the other hand, the very best solution is if either money could be raised or the BOG could find endowments which could be reallocated for this purpose. Both are possibilities at this point.

The response to this within the college and alumni community has been overwhelming and in some cases tempers have risen and inflammatory things have been said which I don't think will affect us in the long run, but from the outside make the advocates for the chapel seem less reasonable than we all are.

I think if you were to share or post anything on a blog, asking others to pray that the path to keeping a full time chaplain is made clear to us is all that needs be said. I do not wish to incite tempers, at this point any further than they may already be incited and simply want to let providence work. The lesson for many of us here in the coming weeks will be that we cannot wait until we are under great threat from without to start extolling the beauty within the chapel or praying that God's will be done through all of us, we have to live it continually.

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. I will certainly continue to update you.

In Christ,


Friday, October 21, 2011

Hilarion of Gaza

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

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

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

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

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

Propers for Hilarion of Gaza - Abbott

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - Philippians 3:7-15

The Gospel - St. Matthew 6:24-33

Reference and Resources:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Plea For Help, Prayers

Mr. Curtis,

I am sorry to be emailing you out of the blue, but yours is the only email I can find of the RTBP blog and I think you may be interested in hearing this. As well, if this could be shared among fellow Anglican bloggers it would be appreciated, we are in dire straits here and wish to share our story with fellow Anglicans. I have been a reader of your blog and others you write for (RTBP) for some time, having found them when looking for coverage on the death of Father Robert Crouse (who taught at King's, Dalhousie, and mentored so many people in our community)

My name is Colin Nicolle and I am a student at the University of King's College, Halifax, Nova Scotia ( I am also the Assistant-Sacristan in the King's College Chapel ( We are Canada's oldest chartered University, founded by Loyalists in the 18th century. We were founded as an Anglican institution and still maintain strong ties to the Diocese even now.

The reason I am writing you is that lately the Chaplaincy at King's has come under threat of funding being cut from the Diocese. The Right Rev'd Susan Moxley, Bishop of the Diocese, in a letter addressed to the president of the University, announced that she plans to cut a majority of the Chaplain's funding by the end of December. In this same letter she describes the Traditional BCP liturgy at the Chapel as, "Antiquated," and the chapel only supporting a, "Male dominated clergy."

Her suggestion was that the Board of Governors create a committee to see what can be done to direct funding towards the Chapel, although the president and the BOG is maintaining that the University is a "secular" school and is having trouble figuring out how it can help the Chapel.  Forgetting, I think, that the Chapel is not just for "Anglicans" but for everybody on campus.

That said, it has become clear that the Diocese does not understand the importance of the Chapel or its Chaplain, Lt. Col. Rev'd Dr. Gary Thorne, to the students at this school. We have daily offices which are constantly attended, including compline throughout the week and a Solemn Eucharist service on Thursdays which, on average, has an attendance of 50-70 congregants. The chapel and our chaplain help so much with those fostering vocations to Holy Orders (at present about seven young men, myself included, are discerning a vocation). It has been a place of conversion for so many people, either through the liturgy, the music or the community. This, again, I know because I am one of them. I was received into the Anglican Communion this year at a service held at the local Cathedral alongside four others being confirmed and two others baptized; we were the only confirmations, baptisms and receptions in the Diocese at Easter this year, and all of us experienced our conversions through the Chapel.

Students are beginning to rally, write, and meet with representatives of the Diocese to discuss this issue, but at this point it will be a great fight for us to maintain Father Thorne's position as Chaplain at the University. I send this only to inform other Anglicans about this place of beauty and truth which is now in great peril. It would be so helpful and appreciated if you could share this with anybody you think may be interested in hearing it, we are in great need of prayer.

There is a group on Facebook entitled, "Save the Chapel," that has been created for people to share stories and experiences about the chapel. We are nearing 300 members within the first day of this group existing.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.

In Christ,


Henry Martyn

Telling The Stories That Matter: October 20 - Henry Martyn, Missionary, Witness to Calling

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Frideswide of Oxford

(c. 650 – 19 October 727; Old English: Friðuswīþ; also known as Frithuswith, Frideswith, Fritheswithe, Frevisse, or simply Fris) was an English princess and abbess who is credited with establishing Christ Church in Oxford.

Born in Oxford, which was then in the Kingdom of Mercia, St. Frideswide was the daughter of pious parents, sub-King Didan and Sefrida. These two committed her to the care of a holy woman named, Elgitha, but, after her mother's death, Frideswide returned to live with her father. She persuaded him to build her a church at the gates of Oxford and, there, she took the veil with twelve young women of her acquaintance. Didan enhanced the establishment, by erecting convent buildings nearby and, there, they lived, not bound by the rules of the cloister, but by holy charity and love of seclusion.

Algar (that is, Ælfgār), a Mercian prince, sought to marry her. When Frideswide refused him, Algar tried to abduct her. Algar searches for her in Oxford, but the people refuse to tell him where she is. He searched the whole town but cannot find her, she sneaks back into the town. The king follows her, but just outside the Oxford city gates he falls off his horse and breaks his neck.

St. Frideswide's Priory, a medieval Augustinian house which became Christ Church, Oxford following the dissolution of the monasteries is claimed to be the site of her abbey and relics. The authority on the subject, Dr. John Blair of Queen's College, Oxford believes that Christ Church Cathedral is built on the site of her Saxon church.

St. Frideswide died on 19th October AD 735 and was buried in her monastery in Oxford, where Christ Church Cathedral now stands. Multitudes of pilgrims resorted to her tomb, to the chapel at Binsey and to the fountain nearby. All became famous for miraculous cures, though it is clear that the place of her flight was originally understood to be Bampton. She is represented, in art, with the pastoral staff of an abbess, a fountain springing up near her and an ox at her feet.

Propers for Frideswide of Oxford - Abbess

The Collect.

O GOD, by whose grace the blessed Frideswide 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:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Luke the Evangelist

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

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

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

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

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

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

Propers for Saint Luke the Evangelist

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - 2 Timothy 4:5-15

The Gospel - St Luke 10:1-7a

Resources and References:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Nothelm of Canterbury

was a medieval Anglo-Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury. A correspondent of both Bede and Boniface, it was Nothelm who gathered materials from Canterbury for Bede's historical works. After his appointment to the archbishopric in 735, he attended to ecclesiastical matters, including holding church councils. Although later antiquaries felt that Nothelm was the author of a number of works, later research has shown them to be authored by others.

Nothelm was a contemporary of Boniface and Bede, whom he supplied with correspondence from the papal library following a trip to Rome. He also researched the history of Kent and the surrounding area for Bede, supplying the information through the abbot of St Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury. Before his appointment to the archbishopric, he was the archpriest of the Saxon-built St Paul's Cathedral, London.

Named to the see of Canterbury in 735, Nothelm was consecrated the same year. Pope Gregory III sent him a pallium in 736. He may have been appointed by Æthelbald, King of Mercia, whose councilor he was. Whether or not he owed his appointment to Æthelbald, Nothelm was one of a number of Mercians who became Archbishop of Canterbury during the 730s and 740s, during a time of expanding Mercian influence. He held a synod in 736 or 737, which drew nine bishops; the meeting adjudicated a dispute over the ownership of a monastery located at Withington. A significant feature of this synod was the fact that no king attended, but yet the synod still rendered judgement in the ownership even without secular oversight, which was more usual.

Nothelm oversaw the reorganization of the Mercian dioceses which took place in 737. The archbishop consecrated Witta as Bishop of Lichfield and Totta as Bishop of Leicester. The diocese of Leicester was firmly established by this action, although earlier attempts had been made to establish a bishopric there. In 738, Nothelm was a witness on the charter of Eadberht I, the King of Kent.

Bede addressed his work In regum librum XXX quaestiones to Nothelm, who had asked the thirty questions on the biblical book of Kings that Bede answered. Bede's work De VIII Quastionibus may have been written for Nothelm. While he was archbishop, Boniface wrote to him, requesting a copy of the Libellus responsionum of Pope Gregory I for use in Boniface's missionary efforts. Boniface also asked for information on when the Gregorian mission to England arrived in England. This text of the Libellus responsionum has been the subject of some controversy, with the historian Suso Brechter arguing that the text was a forgery created by Nothelm and a Roman archdeacon. The historian Paul Meyvaert has refuted this view, and most historians incline towards the belief that the text is genuine, although it is not considered conclusively proven.

Nothelm died on 17 October 739, and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. He is considered a saint, and his feast day is 17 October. The antiquaries and writers John Leland, John Bale, and Thomas Tanner all felt that Nothelm was the author of various works, but later research has shown them to be authored by other writers. A verse eulogy for Nothelm, of uncertain date, survives in a 16th century manuscript now at the Lambeth Palace library.

Propers for Nothelm - Archbishop of Canterbury

The Collect.

O Heavenly Father, shepherd of thy people, we give thee thanks for thy servant Nothelm, who was faithful in the care and nurture of thy flock; and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life, we may by thy grace grow into the stature of the fulness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lesson - Ezekiel 34:11-16

The Gospel - St. John 21:15-17

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - Ephesians iv. 1.

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

The Gospel - St. Luke xiv. 1.

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

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Oxford Martyrs

(from 10/15)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Propers for the Oxford Martyrs

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - 1 Corinthians 3:9-14.

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

Reference and Resources:

Teresa of Avila

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

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

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

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

Her final illness overtook her on one of her journeys from Burgos to Alba de Tormes. She died in 1582, just as Catholic nations were making the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, which required the removal of October 5–14 from the calendar. She died either before midnight of October 4 or early in the morning of October 15, which is celebrated as her feast day.

Propers for Teresa of Avila - Monastic and Reformer

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - Romans 8:22‑27

The Gospel - St. Matthew 5:13‑16

Reference and Resources:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Collect.

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

The Epsitle - 2 Corinthians 4:11-18

The Gospel - St. Luke 24:44-48

Reference and Resources:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Translation of Edward the Confessor

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

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

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

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

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

Propers for The Transaltion of St. Edward the Confessor

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9.

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

References and Resources:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Edwin of Northumbria

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

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

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

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

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

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

Propers for Edwin of Northumbria - King, Convert and Martyr

The Collect.

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

The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48

The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Sixteenth Sunday After Trinity

The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Ephesians iii. 13.

I DESIRE that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

The Gospel - St. Luke vii. 11.

AND it came to pass the day after, that Jesus went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Denis of Paris

(from 10/09)

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

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

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

Propers for Denis of Paris - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect:

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

The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48

The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22

References and Resources: