Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope it will serve to inspire you and perhaps inform you in some small way regarding the Holy Orthodox Faith or our Lord Jesus Christ. Feel free to comment or ask questions. Christ be with you!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Et in terra hominibus - Antonio Vivaldi

And now a snippet of glory from the quill of Antonio Vivaldi.

The Commemoration of the Holy Apostle St. Paul : A Homily by St. John Chrysostom

The Commemoration of the Holy Apostle St. Paul

A Homily by St. John Chrysostom

It is as though he said : Let not your heart be troubled, even though I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, and bid you be harmless as doves ; for even if I would, I could not now make things otherwise. Even if I could make it so that ye should not have to bear anything grievous, or be at the mercy of the wolves as are other sheep, but on the contrary, could make you more dreadful to the lions than the lions to you, nevertheless I would not do it. For thus must it needs be : and yourselves it will make more glorious ; and my power it will wholly shew forth. For thus was it that afterwards the same Lord said unto Paul : My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. That is to say, It is I that have made you to be what ye are.

But let us look what wisdom it is which the Lord requireth. It is the wisdom of the serpent. The serpent draweth all the rest of his body after his head, and it is no matter to him if his body be cut through, so long as he keepeth his head unharmed. Thus, O Christian, is it with thee. It is no matter to thee that for thy Faith’s sake thou shouldst lose all things else - money, or body, or, if need be, life itself. Thy faith is thy head, and the root of thy being ; hold fast to that , and, as long as thou hast that, although thou shouldst lose all things else, it will only be to receive them back again with interest an hundredfold. And thus it is that the Lord biddeth us, not to be single-hearted only, nor wise only, but both together, that therefrom we may be strong.

If thou wilt see how these words were brought to the proof in very deed, read the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. There thou wilt see how that oftentimes the Jewish people rose up against the Apostles, and gnashed on them with their teeth. But they, with dove-like guilelessness, gave them smooth answers, and turned away their wrath, and quenched their fury, and stopped their onset. When the Jews said : Did not we straitly command you, that ye should not teach in this Name? although the Apostles could have worked any miracles they chose, yet they neither said nor did anything sharp, but answered them with all meekness : Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. Here thou hast the harmlessness of doves ; listen now to the wisdom of serpents : We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.


O God, who through the preaching of thy blessed Apostle Saint Paul hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine forth upon the Gentiles : grant, we beseech thee ; that we, who this day call him to remembrance, may feel the effectual succour of his intercession, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday within the Octave of Corpus Christi - St. Hilary

Wednesday within the Octave of Corpus Christi

A Homily by St. Hilary the Bishop

When we speak concerning the things of God, we must not speak after the manner of men, nor after the manner of the world. Let us ponder those things which are written, and endeavour to understand those things which we read ; and them let us act in a fulness of faith. Unless we learn from Christ how to speak concerning the real truth of his abiding in us, we shall speak thereof foolishly and without devotion. For he himself saith : My Flesh is meat indeed, and my Blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood, dwelleth in me, an I in him. There is here no room left for doubt as to what is his Flesh and what is his Blood.

For now we do know, from the declaration of the Lord himself, and from the experience of our own faith, that this is truly his Flesh and Blood. And when we eat the one and drink the other, they work effectually in us to make us dwell in him and he in us. Is not this true? Of a truth it cannot be denied except by them that in some sense deny that Christ Jesus is very God. He is in us by means of his Flesh, and we are in him, for our own nature is with him in God. That we dwell in him through that Sacrament wherein his Flesh and Blood are given unto us, he himself doth testify, where he saith : Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more, but ye see me ; because I live ye shall live also ; at that day, ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me and I in you.

That this his union with us is real, Christ himself testifieth thus : He that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood dwelleth in me, and I in him. For no one dwelleth in Christ in whom Christ doth not dwell, and only he that receiveth the Body and Blood of the Lord is made one body with Christ. He had already taught that this was the Sacrament of perfect unity, when he said : As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so, he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. He therefore liveth by the Father, and, as he liveth by the Father, so shall we live by receiving his Body.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist, June 24

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

A Sermon by St. Augustine the Bishop

In addition to the holy Nativity of the Lord, we find celebrated in the Gospel only one other birth, namely, that of blessed John Baptist. As for all others among God’s holy and chosen ones, we know that for their feast is observed the day whereon, with their work finished, and the world conquered and finally trampled down, they were born from this to a better life, even into everlasting blessedness. Thus in others is honored the day on which their merits were completed, that is, the last day of their dying life. But is John is honored the first day, for in him the very beginning is found hallowed. And the reason that the Nativity of John is so much made of in Scripture is, without doubt, that the Lord wished John to be an attestation to his own first coming ; for if Christ had come too suddenly and unexpectedly, men might not have recognized him. And on this wise John was a figure of the Old Testament, and shewed in his own person a typical embodiment of the Law ; for he heralded beforehand the coming of the Saviour, even as the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to the grace of Christ.

As a type of the Law, he prophesied while yet in the hidden depths of his mother’s womb ; yea, while he himself was lightless, he bore testimony to the light of the Truth. This was, as it were, a presage of what he later did, for while he himself was wrapped round with the veil and carnal ordinances of the letter, he by the spirit preached unto the world a Redeemer, and testified that Jesus is our Lord. And this he did whole working under the Law, whereby so far as he himself was concerned, the birth of the new dispensation was still in the womb of the future, and not come to light of day. The Jews were estranged from the womb, that is from the Law, that womb heavy with the Christ that was to be ; they were forward, even from their mother’s womb, and went astray as soon as they were born, speaking lies. Therefore John came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

On another occasion also we may recognize the person of John as a figure of the Law ; namely, at the time when John heard in the prison the works of Christ, and sent two of his disciples unto him. Wherein we are minded of the Law which must needs defer to the Gospel, for the Law was (as it were) imprisoned in ignorance, lying in the dark, and in a hidden place, and fettered, through Jewish misunderstanding, within the bonds of the letter. But also of the blessed Baptist John was said by the blessed Evangelist John : he was a burning and a shining light. That is to say, when the whole world was wrapt in the night of ignorance, the Baptist was kindled by the fire of the Holy Ghost, to shew before men the light of salvation, and at the hour of the thickest darkness of sin, to appear like a bright morning star to herald the rising of that Sun of righteousness, Christ our Lord. And this is why John said f himself : I an the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord.


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

Matins Lesson for Friday in the Octave of Corpus Christi

Friday in the Octave of Corpus Christi

A Sermon by St. Augustine the Bishop

We have heard from the Gospel the words of the Lord which follow those that formed the subject of my earlier discourse. From these a sermon is due to your ears and understandings ; and such a sermon is not unseasonable on this day, since this passage concerneth the Body of the Lord, which he said that he would give for the life of the world, that a man may eat thereof and not die. He made manifest how he bestoweth this gift, and what manner of gift it is, when he said : He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him. The sign to shew whether a man hath or hath not eaten that Flesh and drunk that Blood, is whether or not he dwelleth in Christ and Christ in him ; whether or not he is a guest of Christ and Christ of him ; whether or not he cleaveth unto Christ in such wise that Christ departeth not from him.

This hath he taught, and warned us, by words of deep meaning, namely ; to be in his body as his members,(of which he is the head,) and to be partakers of his flesh , not separating ourselves from his oneness. Many of his disciples when they had heard this, as the Gospel saith, went back, and walked no more with him : for they understood not by the word Flesh any flesh other than such as they themselves were made of. The Apostle saith, and very true it is : To be carnally minded is death. The Lord giveth us his Flesh to eat : but to understand these words carnally is death. Where he saith : Whoso eateth my Flesh hath eternal life : we must not understand this as his Flesh carnally, as did they of whom it is written : Many of his disciples (not his enemies) when they heard this, said, This is an hard saying, who can hear it?

If his disciples took his words for a hard saying, how (think you) must his enemies have taken them? And yet is behoved him to speak in this fashion, that is, in such a way that all men would not understand them. A secret of God ought to make us thoughtful, not hostile ; and yet, when the Lord Jesus Christ spoke thus in mystery, many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. They believed not that he was speaking of some great thing, nor that grace lay hidden under these words. Rather, they understood just as they pleased, after the manner of men. And so they thought that Jesus was claiming to be able to give to them that believe on him, that flesh (wherewith he, the eternal Word, is clothed,) as it were in slices. And so they said : This is an hard saying ; who can hear it?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Feast of Corpus Christi

A Homily by St. Augustine the Bishop

By the use of meat and drink men seek to attain to this end, namely, that they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more. And yet noting doth truly accomplish this, except that Meat and Drink whereby this corruptible is able to put on incorruption, and this mortal to put on immortality ; namely, the means of Communion with that general assembly and Church of the first-born which is the fellowship of the saints ; which same are kept in perfect peace, and are all one (even as Christ and his Father are one) in full and perfect unity. And therefore it is, (even as men of God before our time have understood it,) that our Lord Jesus Christ hath set before us his Body and his Blood in the likeness of things which, from being many, are reduced into one. That is to say, in one loaf are many grains of corn, and in one cup of wine the juice of many grapes. Hence it is that, in this passage from the Gospel, he now giveth us to know how that which he spake cometh to pass, in answer to the question : How can this man give us his Flesh to eat, and his Blood to drink?

He saith : He that eateth my Flesh, and drinketh my Blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. This, then, is to eat of that Bread and drink of that Cup, to wit: to dwell in him, and to have him dwelling in us. And contrariwise, he which dwelleth not in Christ, and in whom Christ dwelleth not, doth not spiritually eat Christ’s Flesh nor drink his Blood, although he do carnally and visibly press the Sacrament with his teeth ; but rather, such an one eateth and drinketh judgement unto himself, because he dareth to draw nigh unclean to that secret and holy thing of Christ, whereunto none draweth nigh worthily, save he which is clean ; for concerning such it is said : Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

As the living Father hath sent me, (saith he,) and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is as though he had said : The Father hath sent me unto the world, and therefore I have humbled myself, and taken upon me the form of a servant, and so was found in fashion as a man ; and as Man I ascribe my life to One that is greater than I ; but the partaking, whereby anyone eateth me, causeth him to live by me; I, having been brought low, live by the Father, but man, having been raised up, shall live by me. And although he saith : I live by the Father : (that is, he is of the Father, not the Father of him ;) these words are no disparagement of the equality of the Father and the Son as God. On the other hand, by saying : He that eateth me, even he shall live by me : he doth not signify equality between him and ourselves, but rather that he is the one Mediator between God and man.


O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament, hast left unto us a Memorial f thyPassion : grant us, we beseech thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of they Body and Blood ; that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of thy redemption, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now and forever. Amen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

St. Alban, Protomartyr of Britain. June 22

St. Alban, Protomartyr of Britain. June 22

From the Ecclesiastical History by St. Venerable Bede the Priest

Alban was still a heathen when the decrees of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian set the storm raging against the Christians, at which time he gave a certain clergyman refuge in his house. As he saw this person intent on prayer and vigils by day and night, suddenly the grace of God moved him to seek to copy that ensample of faith and godliness. Thereupon he was gradually taught by the precious exhortations of his guest and cast away the darkness of idolatry, and became a Christian with his whole heart.

Upon a time the persecutors came to the house to search for this clergyman, and Alban, to save his guest and teacher, wrapped himself in the other’s great cloak, and allowed the soldiers to take him ; who bound him with thongs and led him unto the judge. When the judge out the trick that had been played upon him, he commanded God’s holy Confessor to be smitten by the tormentors, and when he found that he could not overcome him by the torture, nor beguile him from the practice of the Christian Faith, he ordered him to be beheaded.

When Alban came to the top of the hill which was hard by, the executioner, who was to behead him, was seized with terror from God, cast away his sword, and threw himself at the feet of the Saint, himself desiring rather to die with the Martyr or for the Martyr. Alban therefore was beheaded there, and received that crown of life which God hath promised unto them that love him ; and along with him was beheaded that soldier who refused to strike God’s witness, and of whom we know that, although he was not washed in the water of Baptism, he was purified in the laver of his own blood, and was made worthy to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Alban suffered hard by Verulam on the twenty-second day of June in the year 304.


O Lord, who hast sanctified this day to thy blessed Saint Alban by his glorious martyrdom : grant we beseech thee, that as year by tear we do rejoice to pay him honour, so we may ever be defended by his continual help, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Saint Silverius, Pope and Martyr, June 20th

Saint Silverius, Pope and Martyr, June 20th

Saint Silverius, Pope and Martyr

This Silverius was the son of Pope Hormidas, and a subdeacon in Rome when Saint Pope Agapitus died at Constantinople in 536, which same he in that year succeeded in the Papacy. His orthodoxy and holiness shone brightest in his dealing with heresy, and in upholding a sentence which had been passed by the said Agapitus. For the latter had deposed Anthimus from the Patriarchate of Constantinople on account of his defence of the heresy of Eutyches ; and Silverius would never allow of his restoration, although the Empress Theodora repeatedly asked him to do so. The woman was enraged at him on this account, and ordered Belisarius to send Silverius into exile. He was accordingly banished to an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, whence he is said to have written these words to a friend : I am fed upon the bread of tribulation and the water of affliction, but nevertheless I have not given up, and I will not give up, doing my duty. However, the sickness and the hardships of his exile soon broke his strength, and he fell asleep in the Lord on June 20th, about the year 537. According to the Pontifical Book, he ruled the Church for more than three years, and ordained in the month of December thirteen priests, five deacons, and nineteen bishops for divers Sees.


Be merciful to the people of thy flock, O Lord, eternal Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of men : and keep us in thy continual protection at the intercession of thy blessed Martyr, the Holy Father Silverius, whom thou didst raise up in thy Church to be thine under-shepherd, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Matins Lesson for Monday after Trinity Sunday

Matins Lesson for Monday after Trinity Sunday

From the Treatise of the Faith by St. Gregory of Nazianzus

Every Catholic knoweth that the Father is truly Father, the Son truly Son, the Holy Ghost truly Holy Ghost ; as the Lord himself taught the Apostles, when he told them to baptize all nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This is the perfect Trinity in Unity, which we profess to be of one Substance. For we cannot admit division in God, as thought he ware a body ; but according to the power of the divine Nature, which is immaterial, we both do believe them to be truly distinct Persons, and do testify to the unity of their divinity.

We do not say, as some have imagined, that the divine Word, the Son of God, is the extension of some part of the divinity ; nor do we hold that he is a word without reality, like the sound of a voice ; but we believe the three Names to signify what the three Persons are, namely, a oneness of essence, majesty and power. For this reason therefore we do confess on God, to wit, because the Unity of Majesty doth not allow us to speak of several Gods.

Lastly, according to the Catholic Faith, we speak of the Father and the Son ; but we neither can nor ought to say that they are two Gods. Not indeed that the Son of God is not God, rather, that he is true God of true God ; but because we know that the Son of God is from none other than the one Father himself, therefore we speak of one God. This is the doctrine delivered to us by the Prophets and Apostles ; and taught by the Lord himself when he saith : I and the Father are one. When he saith One : he hath reference to the unity of the divinity, as I have already said : but the plural word Are indicateth the Persons.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Matins Lesson for Trinity Sunday: A Homily by St. John Chrysostom

Matins Lesson for Trinity Sunday

A Homily by St. John Chrysostom

Nicodemus, as yet, could think of Christ only as human. And therefore he greeted Christ as a Prophet, for on this wise he was fain to account for Christ’s power of working miracles. What then saith Christ? He saith: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That is to say : If thou partake not of the Spirit from the Laver of Regeneration, thou canst not make a right estimate of me, for the estimate which thou hast made is not spiritual, but carnal. It is impossible, saith Christ, for one not so born to see the kingdom of God ; and by this word See, he would shew that we need other than natural sight if we would perceive what Christ is. Having heard this, Nicodemus saith : How can a man be born again when he is old? And thus do hereticks continue in their heresy, saying : How was Christ begotten? And thus do they attempt to comprehend Infinite Being within the limitations of their own reasoning.

Can a man, saith Nicodemus, enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Seest thou how, when a man committeth spiritual things to his own reasonings, he speaketh ridiculously? Nicodemus hath but just now heard of spiritual generation in Baptism, yet he perceiveth it not as a spiritual matter, but interpreteth the words of Christ in a gross physical sense. Of such Paul said : The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit. Yet in all this Nicodemus evidently preserved his reverence for Christ, even thought he was astonished in mind. Let us therefore think reverently. We have heard that the Father begat the Son ; let us believe, and let us not ask, How?

Except, saith Christ, a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Yet even this, Nicodemus did not understand. Nothing is worse than to commit spiritual things unto argument. This is why we are called The Faithful, namely, because we do leave human reasonings below as we ascend the heights of the Faith. At the first creation, God made man in his own image, but in the new creation God actually uniteth man to himself. Therefore, let us believe what God hath said [when he that baptizeth speaketh for God, in the Name of God, saying : The servant of God, is baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:] and let us answer, Yea, verily, amen. For the power of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, fulfilleth these things ; through the grace and loving-kindness of the same our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the same Father, and the same Spirit, be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity; We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.

Saint Ephraem Syrus, Deacon, Confessor and Doctor, June 18th

Saint Ephraem Syrus, Deacon, Confessor and Doctor, June 18th

Ephraem was born of Syrian parentage at the turn of the third century, at Nisibis in Mesopotamia, which at that time was still under Roman rule. And he became so renowned as a teacher, orator, poet, theologian, and defender of the Faith that by Western Catholics he is now reckoned amongst the Doctors of the Church, even as by all Eastern Christians he hath ever been esteemed as one of the greatest of the early fathers, the only Syrian to be so generally honored throughout all Christendom. Of him blessed Jerome wrote : Ephraem the Deacon of the Church of Edessa composed many works in Syriac, and became famous in such wise that his writings are publicly read in some churches after the Sacred Scriptures. A lasting debt is owed him by all Christians because of his accomplishments in hymnody, for the metrical songs composed by him for his own liturgy proved so popular that the custom of such hymn-singing spread form Edessa through all the liturgies of the East, and finally found a permanent place in the Western Liturgy also. * So completely was he a poet that nearly everything he wrote except his exegetical works, took poetic form, that is to say, his sermons and exhortations as well as his hymns ; for which reason the Syrians call The-sweet-stringed-instrument-of-the-Holy-Spirit. At the age of eighteen he was baptized by Saint Jacob the Bishop of Nisibus, and sometime thereafter was appointed master over the flourishing school which the Christians maintained in that city ; where he remained during the time of the three succeeding bishops, until the Persians over-ran and took that country, whereafter Ephraem finally established himself in a cave on a mountain overlooking Edessa. Her he lived a most ascetic life, his small body shriveled and dried up from much fasting and the heat of the sun, but his beardless face ever glowing with a strange inner fire. Since he was always known as the Deacon Ephraem it is believed that his humility made him refuse the priesthood. In the night-season he wrote his books, if so be he might with all diligence, spread far and wide the mysteries of our Lord Jesus Christ, and destroy the many errors which at that time were creeping in and tearing asunder the Church of God. * But often he came down from his mountain to preach in the city, and so eloquent was he in speaking of the things of God that the sobs of the congregation sometimes made it well nigh impossible for him to continue. He had a great devotion to the sacred humanity of our Lord, and to the Blessed Virgin as his spotless Mother. Of the Upper Room he once wrote : O blessed spot! That which was contained in thee, though bounded in so strait a compass, filleth the universe! Blessed dwelling-place wherein with holy hand the bread was broken, and the grape which grew on Mary’s vine was crushed in the chalice of salvation! About the year 370 he undertook a journey to Caesarea in Cappadocia, to visit Saint Basil, and so fruitful was this conference between these two holy Doctors that Basil’s brother Saint Gregory of Nyssa, as well as Ephraem himself, wrote accounts thereof. On his return to Edessa there was a famine in the land, and he undertook to organize all the agencies available for the relief of the poor, for whom he had a most tender compassion. Thereafter, worn out by his long labours for God an men, he went to heaven full of years, sometime around the third quarter of the fourth century, on the eighteenth of June.


O God, who hast vouchsafed to enlighten thy Church with the wondrous learning and singular holiness of they blessed confessor and Doctor Saint Ephraem, we humbly pray thee, that, at his intercession, thou wouldst with thine unfailing power defend the same against all the deceits of false doctrine, and all the assaults of iniquity, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Saint Botulph, Abbot, June 17th

Saint Botulph, Abbot, June 17th

Botulph, and his brother Adulph, both of whom are venerated as saints, went as youths to Belgic Gaul, and there became monks. Adulph is said to have become a legionary bishop at Utrecht. Botulph in the course of time returned to England, and founded, about the year 654, a monastery at a place usually identified with Boston in Lincolnshire, for Boston is a corruption of Botulph’s Town. He was proclaimed far and wide as a man of remarkable life and learning, full of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and went to god about the year 680. And when the monastery was destroyed during the Danish invasion of the ninth century, his relicks, and those of Saint Adulph which had been enshrined with him, were saved, and later distributed among various great Minsters in England.


Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the prayers of thy holy Abbot, blessed Botulph, may commend us unto thee, that we, who have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, may by his advocacy find favour in thy sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Matins Lesson for Thursday in the Octave of Pentecost

Matins Lesson for Thursday in the Octave of Pentecost

A Homily by Saint Ambrose the Bishop

We learn from Christ’s precepts what manner of men they ought to be who preach the kingdom of God as the Gospel saith : Take nothing for your journey ; neither staves not scrip, neither bread, neither money. Thus let the apostolic preacher, ( seeking no earthly help, and relying on faith,) deem himself able to do all the more, as he needeth all the less. And they who wish to do so, may interpret this passage as referring to the proper interior intention, to wit : A man may be said to have laid aside the encumbrances of the body, not only by abdicating power, and despising riches, but also by truly abandoning the allurements of the flesh. And first of all, Christ gave the Apostles a general precept concerning their manner : they were to be bringers of peace ; not gadding about, but observing both the laws and ties of hospitality which were offered to them. To gad about from house to house, and to abuse the rights of hospitality, are things alien to a preacher of the kingdom of heaven.

But as the kindness of hospitality is to be met with courtesy, so also is it said : Whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet, for a testimony against them. Hereby is taught that hospitality doth meet with a good reward ; for if, to those who receive us, we bring peace, [which same cometh from forgiveness,] then also it is true to say that, whosesoever there enter the feet of them that bear the gospel there the clouds of sinful vanities do flee away. And so it is not without reason that Matthew saith : Into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy ; and there abide till ye go thence : thus avoiding any possible need of going from house to house. But no such caution is enjoined on him that giveth hospitality, lest his hospitality should be lessened by shewing partiality.

This passage, taken according to its plain meaning, instructed us in the sacred duties of hospitality, and charmeth us with a hint of heavenly mystery. When the house is chosen, it is asked if the master thereof be worthy. Perchance this is a figure of the Church, and of her Master, Christ. What worthier house can the apostolic preacher enter than holy Church? Or what host is more to be preferred before all others than Christ, who was wont to wash the feet of his guests? Yes, he suffered not that any whom he receiveth into his house should dwell there with unclean feet. However defiled they be from their former wanderings, he doth vouchsafe to cleanse them for the rest of their journey. From his house ought no man ever to go forth, nor change his roof for any other shelter, for unto him it is well said : Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of Life : and these words of thine do we believe.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ss. Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, Martyrs

Ss. Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, Martyrs

The cultus of holy Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia began in very early times, and they were martyred about the year 302. Tradition giveth their story on this wise. Vitus was a child who was baptized without his father’s knowledge. When his father had found it out, he tried to dissuade hi son from the Christian religion, but as he found him persistent in it, he handed him over to the judge to be whipped. But as he still remained as unshaken as before, he was given back to his father. And while his father was turning over in his mind to what severe discipline to subject him, Vitus fled out of his own land, which was Sicily, in company wit his tutor Modestus and his nurse, Crescentia. In Lucania he found a new home, and grew in holiness, with his two companions, and became known for his power to heal the sick through prayer. Afterwards they came to Rome, where Vitus healed a child who was vexed with a devil. Now this child was the son of the Emperor Diocletian, who, when he found that Vitus would not worship the gods, accused the young Christian of sorcery, and cast him and Modestus and Crescentia into prison, binding them in fetters. But when they were found in their prison more faithful than ever to their confession, the Emperor commanded them to be thrown into a great vessel full of melted lead, resin, and pitch. Therein these three, like the three Holy Children in the burning fiery furnace, sang praise to God ; and upon that they were haled forth and cast to a lion, but he lay down before them, and licked their burns. Then the Emperor, being filled with fury, commanded Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia to be stretched upon a block and their limbs crushed, and their bones rent one from the other. As for what remained of the Martyrs’ bodies, the noble lady Florence took the same, as most holy relicks, and embalmed them with spices, and honorably buried them. And Vitus came to be honored as the patron of those who were subject to seizures such as epileptics, and those who were subject to the disorder named after him, Saint Vitus’ dance.

Grant, O Lord, we pray thee, that, at the intercession of thy blessed Martyrs, Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, they Church may learn not to be highminded, but to grow in all such lowliness as is acceptable unto thee, that we may eschew all things that are contrary to thy will, and in freedom and charity perform all things that are agreeable to the same, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Vigil of Pentecost: A Homily by Augustine the Bishop

The Vigil of Pentecost.

A Homily by Augustine the Bishop

By these words of the Lord : I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter : he certainly doth imply that he himself is a comforter. The Greek word used, namely, Paraclete, signifieth also an advocate, and is used in that sense where it is written : We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. The Gospel continueth with the words: Even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive : concerning which the Apostle saith : The carnal mind is enmity against God ; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. Which is as though to say : Nothing can make unrighteousness righteous. By the word World, in this place, we must understand the lovers of the world, a love which cometh not of the Father. And therefore it is that this love of the world, which we strive to lessen and to destroy in ourselves, is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
The Evangelist saith, concerning the Spirit of Truth, that the world cannot receive him, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him. For to love the world is to lack those spiritual eyes, which are able to see him who is invisible, namely, the Holy Ghost. But, saith the Lord to his disciples : Ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you abidingly. The Lord did not mean that the Spirit would come to dwell for a while, and so be in his people only for a season. According to this latter sense of the verb To Be, one must first be in a place before one can dwell there. So, lest the Apostles should think that the words : He shall dwell with you : signified that he should visibly abide with them for a while as guests in the houses of men, the Lord added in explanation : He shall be in you : which is to say : He shall abide in you.
On this wise, then, is he seen that is invisible : If he were not in us we could have in us no knowledge of him ; but he is seen in us, as we see our consciences. We see the faces of other men, and we cannot see our own ; but of men’s consciences we see none save that which is within ourselves. However, our conscience is never elsewhere except within us ; whereas the Holy Ghost may be outside of us, as well as within us. He is given to be within us, and unless he is within us, we can neither see nor know him, either within us or outside us. Then, after the Lord had promised the Holy Ghost, (lest anyone should fancy that he intended to give them this Comforter in place of himself, and he himself was to be no longer with them, but leave them as orphans, ) he said also : I will not leave you comfortless ; I will come to you. Therefore, although the Son of God hath made us by adoption sons of his own Father, and hath willed that the Same who is his Father by nature should e our Father by grace, nevertheless, he sheweth that he himself hath towards us a love as of a father, whereof he saith : I will not leave your comfortless, that is , orphans.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Saint Columba, Abbot.

Saint Columba, Abbot.
Columba was born about the year 521, at Garton in Donegal, Ireland, of the Clan O’Donnell, and on both sides was of royal descent. In baptism he was named Colum, which in the Latin tongue is written Columba, and signifieth a dove. With many other lads, as was the custom of his day, he was brought up in a monastic school under the direction of Saint Finian, where for each, no matter what his rank might be, study was combined with prayer and manual work. In due time Columba became a monk and was ordained priest, and because of his much learning and many gifts, was partaker in the founding of many monasteries and churches ; wherefore he is sometimes called Columcille, which is, by interpretation, Columba of the churches. * It is said of Columba that he had a natural violence and pride of temper, which same was not clean put off albeit he put on the monastic habit. Wherefore, because he loved books overmuch, he once was drawn into dispute concerning the possession of one which he had copied without the knowledge of the possessor thereof, who laid claim to the same. When appeal was made to the king of that region, judgement was given that as a calf belongeth to the cow, so belongeth the copy to the original. In redress of this wrong, Columba stirred up his royal kinfolk, and a civil war did ensue, and many Christians were slain. Thereupon Columba (so it is said) sought his confessor, Saint Molaise, who imposed upon him the penance that he was to forsake Ireland, which he most dearly loved, and never return, but rather preach the Gospel amongst the heathen, so as to gain souls for Christ to the number of them that were slain in battle, which penance Columba accepted with great humility and sorrow. * In his forty-fourth year he departed from Ireland with twelve companions in a small wickerwork boat, covered with hides. And these thirteen men landed on a rocky island which afterwards came to be known far and wide as the Holy Isle of Iona. Here Columba founded a monastery which was the center of great missionary labours throughout all the western coast of Scotland, whereby were converted to Christ all the northern Picts and Scots. Whether or not the story be true that Columba entered upon his missionary labours as a penance, there is no question that he was a great apostle of souls, and that he became known for his humility, patience and gentleness, and that he never ceased to sorrow for his separation from his own kith and kin. At vesper time on Saturday, June 9the, in 597, forewarned of death, he went forth from the monastery, and climbed a hill, whence he blessed Iona Island and all his flock. At midnight he entered the church before the rest of his brethren, and at matins-time was found of them prostrate before the altar, where he breathed forth his soul to God, surrounded by his disciples.

We pray thee, O Lord, inspire our hearts with the desire of heavenly glory : and grant that we, bringing our sheaves with us, may thither attain where the holy Abbot Columba shineth like a star before thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Offertory Sentence & Blessing of Antidoron

The Choir of Our Lady of Walsingham Orthodox Church

Saint Norbert, bishop and Confessor

Norbert is not officially recognized by the Orthodox Church but his great virtues are praiseworthy and his birth and ministry occurred just subsequent to the official date of the Schism, so as a matter of charity I am including this post regarding his holy life.

Saint Norbert, bishop and Confessor
Norbert was born in the year 1080, at Xanten, in the Duchy of Cleves, of parents of the highest rank. He was thoroughly educated in his youth in worldly knowledge, and as a member of the imperial court, became a worldly young man, much given to the pleasures of life. But one day he was thrown from his horse, and lay for a long time insensible. Whereupon, when he came to his senses, and realized the uncertainty of life, he enlisted as a soldier of the Church. Being ordained priest, he made the preaching of the Word of God the one object of his life. He had the right to rich revenues of the Church, but these he renounced ; and the ample fortune which he had from his father he gave to the poor. He fasted often, and ever lived a life of singular hardness, whence came that mighty power of his words and deeds, whereby he was able to turn countless hereticks to the true Faith, sinners to repentance, and enemies to peace and brotherly love. * Being one-while in France, the Bishop of Laon besought him not to leave his diocese, and he therefore made choice of a wilderness at a place called Premontre, whither he withdrew himself with thirteen disciples, and thus founded the Order of the Promonstratensian Canons. When, however, the fame of his holy life became every day more and more noised abroad, and great numbers sought to become his disciples, the Institute was wonderfully extended. To these Norbertine Canons, form the teaching of blessed Norbert, the Church is indebted much for that devotion to the Reserved Sacrament which began in the north of Europe and spread south, even to Italy. Being called Antwerp, he gave the death-blow to the shameful heresy which had there grown up, which same denied the need of either the sacraments or the priesthood. * He was thereafter created (albeit he would rather not have had it so) Archbishop of Magdeburg, and as such was a strong upholder of the discipline of the Church, specially contending against the concubinage of the clergy. After the death of Honorius II an unhappy schism divided the Church, whereupon he was a great help to Innocent II, for whom he got recognition as the lawful Bishop of Rome throughout much of Europe. It was at last at Magdeburg that this mighty man of God, full of good works and of the Holy Ghost, fell asleep in the Lord, on June 6th, in 1134, in the fifty-third year of his life, and the eighth year of his episcopate.

O God, who didst appoint Saint Norbert, thy Confessor and Bishop, to be an excellent preacher of thy holy word, and through him hast enriched thy Church with a new offspring : grant, we beseech thee ; that, by the intercession of his merits, we may of thee be enabled to perform those things which he taught both in word and in deed, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Propers for the Sunday after Ascension

This  clip includes selections from the Mass performed by the Choir and people of Our Lady of Walsingham Orthodox Church.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

Winfrid, afterwards called Boniface, was born in England, towards the end of the seventh century. From childhood he had his heart set upon becoming a monk; and as soon as he was old enough, against the wishes of his father, who had others plans for his clever young son, he entered a monastery, where he was instructed in all godliness and divers kinds of learning. At the age of twenty-nine he was priested, and became an unwearied preacher of the Word of God, wherein ha had a gift which he used with great gain to souls, and whereby he became so renowned in England that many ecclesiastical dignities were open to him. However, his chief desire was to spread the kingdom of Christ as a missionary, and he continually bewailed the vast number of savages who were still plunged in darkness of ignorance. Which zealous love of souls did but increase in him day by day, till nothing would serve him except an adventure for the salvation of the heathen. So, having implored the blessing of God by tears and prayers, and obtained authority from his abbot at Nursling abbey, in the Diocese of Winchester, he set forth for the coast of Germany. * It was in the year 716 that he set sail from England with two companions, and reached the town of Doerstadt in Friesland. A bloody war being then raging between Radbold, Duke of the Frieslanders, and King Charles Martel, Winfrid preached the Gospel in vain, an hence went back to England to Nursling Abbey, whereof he was, against his own will, chosen to be abbot. After two years he obtained the consent of the Bishop of Winchester to resign his office ; and to ensure his right to be a missionary to the Germanic peoples, in 719 he went to Rome, and sought an apostolic commission to preach to them. Gregory II courteously welcomed him, and in token of his commission to do good, changed his name from Winfrid to Boniface. Whereupon he went to Germany, and preached Christ to the tribes in Thuringia and Saxony. Radbold, Duke of Friesland, who had bitterly hated the Christian name, being dead, Boniface went a second time among the Frieslanders and there, with his comrade Saint Willibrord, preached the gospel for three years with so much fruit, that the idols were hewn down, and countless churches arose to the true God. * Holy Willibrord urged upon him to take the office of a Bishop but he deferred to seek it, that he might the more instantly toil for the salvation of the unbelievers. After he had advanced into Germany, and reclaimed thousands of the Hessians from devil worship, Pope Gregory sent for him from Rome, whither he came in 723, and he was then consecrated bishop. On his return to Germany, he thoroughly purged Hesse and Thuringia from all remains of idolatry, and because of his great works was made archbishop, and later founded four bishopricks and held divers synods, and became primate of all that country. In these holy labours he had much assistance for his kinswoman Saint Kioba, who came from England with a colony of some thirty nuns, and established convents, and schools for girls among the Germans. The Frieslanders having again fallen back into idolatry, Boniface once more betook himself to preach the Gospel among them ; and while he was busied in this duty he obtained the crown of martyrdom, being by some ungodly savages murdered, along with many others, in a massacre near the river Borne, on June 5th, in the year 755, and of his own age the seventy-fifth. In accordance with the wish expressed by himself during his life, his body was carried to Maintz, and buried in the great abbey of Fulda of which he had been the founder, and where God hath gloriously honored it by the working of many signs and wonders. He is revered as the Apostle of Germany.

O God, who by the labours of blessed Boniface, thy Martyr and Bishop, didst vouchsafe to call many nations to the knowledge of thy Name : mercifully grant that we, who as on this day do keep his feast, may by his advocacy find favour in thy sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday in the Octave of Ascension Day

Sunday in the Octave of Ascension Day

A Homily by St Augustine the Bishop

St. Augustine of Hippo
The Lord Jesus addressed a discourse to his disciples after the Last Supper. This was on the very eve of his passion, when he was, as it were, about to go away and leave them, so far as his bodily presence was concerned, albeit as touching his spiritual presence, he is with us always, even unto the end of the world. In that discourse he exhorted them to bear patiently the persecution of wicked men. These men he called The World. I have chosen you, saith he, out of the world. It was from this world that he hath chosen the very disciples themselves, and this fact he pointeth out to them, so that they might know that it was by the grace of God that they were what they were, whereas it was by their own sins that they had been what they had been.

If they have persecuted me, saith he, they will also persecute you. Here he plainly pointeth to those Jews who were the persecutors both of himself and of his disciples ; so as to make clear that they which persecute his holy ones are as much citizens of the world which he had condemned as thy which persecuted himself. He saith : They know not him that sent me : and yet again : They have hated both me and my Father : that is to say, both the Sender and the Sent, (of all which things we have already treated in other sermons,) and with that he came at length to say : That the word might be fulfilled that is written in their Law : They hated me without a cause.

Then saith the Lord, as though in continuation : 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. What connection hath this with the foregoing words? Which words are : 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. Is not this the connection? To wit: When the Comforter is come, even the Spirit of Truth, he will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgement. That is to say, this stirring up of conviction in men’s hearts is the testimony of the Spirit of Truth unto all such as have both seen and hated both God the Son and God the Father. Yea, for some there were who had thus seen, and were still in hatred, until the testimony of the Comforter converted them to the Faith which worketh by love.

O God, the King of glory, who hast exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven; We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. AMEN.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saint Leo the Great Ascension Day Sermon


INTROIT. Viri Galilaei. Acts I.YE MEN of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? Alleluia : in like manner as ye have seen him going up into heaven, so shall he come again. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 47. O clap your hands together, all ye people : O sing unto God with the voice of melody. V. Glory be.

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God : that like as we do believe thy only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens ; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell. Who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen

FOR THE EPISTLE. Acts 1:1-111 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 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:
3 To whom also he showed 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:
4 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.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 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.
8 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 Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

GRADUAL. Alleluia, alleluia. V. Ps. 47. God is gone up with a merry noise and the Lord with the sound of the trump, alleluia. V. Ps. 68. The Lord is among them as in the holy place of Sinai, he is gone up on high ; he hath led captivity captive. Alleluia.

GOSPEL St. Luke 24:49-53
49 Jesus said: behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

ACCEPT. O Lord, we pray thee, the oblations which, in remembrance of the glorious Ascension of thy Son, we do offer unto thee : and mercifully grant that we, being delivered from all perils in this life ;present, may attain in the end unto life everlasting. Through the same.

COMMUNION. Ps. 68. Sing ye to the Lord, who ascended to the heaven of heavens, to the sunrising, alleluia.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Martyrs of Lyons

The Martyrs of Lyons
From the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius

A record of these Martyrs was written for posterity, and in truth it is worthy of perpetual remembrance. I will give it in their own words, to wit: - The servants of God residing at Vienne and Lyons in Gaul, to the brethren through Asia and Phrygia : The greatness of the tribulation in the region, and the fury of the heathen, and the sufferings of the blessed Martyrs, could not possibly be put into words. They shut us out from houses and baths and markets, and forbade us to appear in any public place whatsoever. But the grace of God confirmed even the weak amongst us, and made them able to endure in patience all kinds of shame and injury : clamours, blows, draggings, robberies, stonings, imprisonments, and all things which an infuriated mob delight to inflict on such as they chose to regard as enemies. * Then, being taken before the magistrate, and having confessed Christ, they were thrown into prison to await the governour’s coming. He treated us with the utmost cruelty. The Protomartyrs were manifestly ready. But some there were, weak as yet, and unable to endure so great a conflict. About ten of these proved to be children of God born out of due season, which same caused us sorrow beyond measure, and weakened the zeal of others who had not yet been seized. But those who were worthy were seized day by day. And some of our heathen servants, fearing for themselves, accused us falsely of deeds which we cannot even believe were ever done by men. Then all the people raged like wild beasts against us, even those who before had been moderate. And that which was spoken by the Lord was fulfilled : The time will come when whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. Wrath was aroused exceedingly against Sanctus, the Deacon of Vienne ; and Maturus, a recent convert but noble combatant ; and Attalus, a native of Pergamus, where he was always a pillar and a foundation ; and Blandina, the slave, through whom Christ shewed that what appeareth to men as mean can with God be of great glory. For Blandina endured her sufferings with so much fortitude that even those who in relays tortured her from morning till evening grew faint and weary. He relief in pain was in exclaiming ; I am a Christian, an nothing vile is done amongst us. * As for Sanctus, red-hot brazen plates were fastened to the most tender parts of his body, but he continued unyielding, his body being one complete wound and bruise, drawn out of shape, and altogether unlike human form. The devil invented other contrivances, such as : confinement in dungeons ; stretching of the feet to the fifth hole in the stocks ; suffocation ; leaving the tortured without human ministration. Blessed Pothinus, Bishop of Lyons, was more than ninety years of age, and very infirm ; but being asked who the god of the Christians is , he said : If thou art worthy, thou shalt know. Those near him beat him and kicked him ; those at a distance hurled at him whatever they could seize. Scarcely breathing, he was cast into prison, and died after two days. Blandina was suspended on a stake, and thus exposed to wild beasts ; and because she appeared as if hanging on a cross, and because of her prayers, she inspired the combatants with great zeal, for in this their sister they beheld Christ Crucified. But as none of the wild beasts at that time did touch her, she was preserved for another contest. And some of those who had as first denied Christ confessed him, and were added to the Martyrs. Blessed Blandina, last of all, was finally enclosed in a net and thrown before a bull, which same tossed her about. In the end all that remained alive were sacrificed by the pagans. We were in deep affliction because we were not even allowed to bury their bodies, for these were exposed for six days, then burned, and the ashes thrown into the Rhone. ( The foregoing is part of an Epistle written by the surviving Christians in Vienne and Lyons to the Christians of Asia Minor, a trustworthy account of the great martyrdom which occurred in Gaul about the year 177.)

Grant, O Lord, that as we keep the Feast of Pothinus the Bishop, Blandina the Virgin, and their Companions in holy Martyrdom : so we may become rooted and grounded in love of thee ; and sustain with unconquered soul any sufferings of this present life, for the glory that shall be revealed in us, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ss. Marcellinus, Peter, and Erasmus, Bishop, and Martyrs.

Ss. Marcellinus, Peter, and Erasmus, Bishop, and Martyrs.
Marcellinus and Peter have their names amongst those Martyrs who are commemorated daily in the Gregorian Canon of the Mass. Pope Saint Damasus wrote an epitaph for the tomb of these Martyrs, saying : O Marcellinus and Peter, when I was still a child, your executioner himself related to me how he had been commanded by the cruel tyrant to sever your heads from your bodies in the midst of a wood, so that no man should know the place of your burial ; and how that ye then, with your own hands, diligently prepared for yourselves a tomb ; and in this cave which ye had cleansed, your bodies lay for some time undiscovered, until ye made the place known to Lucilla, who preferred to translate your holy relicks thither. The details of their passion is told as followeth : Peter, an exorcist, (having been sent to prison at Rome, about the 304 under Diocletian, because he confessed the Christian Faith,) delivered Paulina, daughter of Artemius the keeper of his prison, from an evil spirit which tormented her ; whereupon the girl’s parents, and many of their friends, were converted to Jesus Christ ; and all these Peter sent to Marcellinus the priest, who baptized them ; and when the judge heard of it, he took Peter and Marcellinus, and separated them ; shutting up Marcellinus naked in a prison strewn with broken glass, without either food or light ; and confining Peter elsewhere in locked fetters ; but when such and other torments served but to increase their faith and courage, they were beheaded, unshaken in their testimony, and confessing Jesus Christ gloriously. Erasmus (Also called Elmo) is reputed to have been a Syrian bishop, who fled from country to country because of the persecution to which he was subjected for Christ’s sake. And in each place he converted many to believe in Christ. And finally, about the year 304, at Formi in the Campagna, he obtained the palm of a glorious martyrdom. Because of his travels, he was accounted a seafaring man, and so came to be widely venerated as the patron of sailors ; and the strange fire which sometimes is seen to flare forth on the rigging of ships is called after him, Saint Elmo’s Fire, and was believed to be a sign of his intervention of behalf of the ship. He is said to have been martyred by disemboweling, for which reason he was invoked against stomach disorders.

O God, who makest us glad with the yearly festival of thy Martyrs, Marcellinus, Peter, and Erasmus : grant, we beseech thee ; that, as we do rejoice in their merits, so we may be enkindled to follow them in all virtuous and godly living, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Ascension Day Hymn & Lesson for Matins

Ascension Day
Hymn.Aeterne Rex altissime.

Eternal Monarch, King most high,
Whose blood hath brought redemption nigh,
By whom the death of Death was wrought,
And conquering grace to man was brought

Ascending to the throne of might,
And seated at the Father’s right,
All power, O Jesu, is thine own,
That here thy Manhood had not known.

To thee the whole creation now
Doth in its three0fold order bow,
Of things on earth, and things on high,
And things that underneath do lie.

With awe the Angels contemplate
The wondrous change of man’s estate;
Though flesh hath sinned, Flesh purged the stain,
And in that Flesh our God doth reign

We therefore beg, dear Lord, of thee
To pardon our iniquity;
Yea, of thine own supernal grace
Uplift our hearts to seek thy face.

That when in clouds, O Judge of doom,
Thy glory shall this earth illume,
Thou mayst remit our debt of pain,
and grant our long-lost crowns again.

All praise from every heart and tongue,
To thee, ascended Lord, be sung;
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost, forever more. Amen.
From a Sermon by St. Leo the Great

After the blessed and glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, (wherein was raised up in three days that true Temple of God which hath been destroyed by the impiety of Jewry,) there came by God’s providential ordering a season of forty days, the annual commemoration of which endeth on this day. The original great forty days, dearly beloved, were spent by the Lord in profitable instruction for our benefit. On this wise, his bodily presence was still given to the earth during all those forty days, that our faith in his resurrection might be armed with all needful proofs. For the death of Christ had troubled the hears of many of his disciples ; their thoughts were sad when they remembered his agony upon the cross, his giving up of the Ghost, and the burial in the grave of his lifeless body : and so a sort of hesitation had begun to weigh on them.

Hence the most blessed Apostles and all the disciples who had been fearful concerning the death on the cross, and doubtful of the trustworthiness of the report of Christ’s resurrection, were so strengthened by the clear demonstration of the truth, that, when they saw the Lord going up into the heights of heaven, they sorrowed not ; nay, they were filled with great joy. And, in all verity, it was a mighty and unspeakable cause of rejoicing for all the holy multitude of believers, when they perceived that the nature of mankind was thus exalted above all creatures, even the heavenly spirits, so as to pass above the ranks of the Angels, and be raised beyond the heights of the Archangels. For on this wise they perceived that no limit was set upon the uplifting of that nature short of the right hand of the Eternal Father, where it was to be Sharer of his throne, and Partaker of his glory ; and nevertheless it was still nothing more than that nature of man, which the Son hath taken upon him.

Therefore, dearly beloved, let us also rejoice with fitting joy. For the Ascension of Christ is exaltation for us. And whither the glory of the Head of the Church is passed in, thither is the hope of the body of the Church called on to follow. Let us rejoice with exceeding great joy, and give God glad thanks. This day is not only the possession of paradise made sure unto us, but in Christ our Head we are actually entering into the heavenly mansions above. Through the unspeakable goodness of Christ we have gained more than ever we lost by the envy of the devil. For those whom our venomous enemy cast down from the happiness of their first estate, these same hath the son of God made to be of one body with himself, and hath given them a place at the right hand of the Father : with whom he liveth and reigneth, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever on God, world without end. Amen.


Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Matins Lesson for the Vigil of the Ascension

Matins Lesson for the Vigil of the Ascension

A Homily by St. Augustine the Bishop
Our Lord, the only-begotten and co-eternal Son of the Father, could have prayed silently (if need were) in the form of a servant ; but he willed to shew himself as thus praying to the Father, that we might remember him as our teacher. Thus he made known unto us the prayer which he made for us. For he was so great a Master that, not only his discourse to them, but his prayer to the Father for them, is an edification for his disciples. And it was so for them who were there to hear, truly it is so for us also, for whose instruction it hath been written down.

Wherefore, by these words: Father, the hour is come ; glorify thy Son : he sheweth that every occasion, whereon he hath done anything, or alloweth anything to be done, and the season wherein he did it or allowed it, and even the time itself, is alike ordained of him, who is himself not subject to time. Yea, all things which were then to come, or are yet to come now, have the reason why they should be, in the Wisdom of God, which is itself independent of all time. The hour is come. We must not believe that that hour was brought on by the march of destiny, but was by the ordination of God. No stars decreed irresistibly that the time was come for Christ to suffer, for God forbid that the revolutions of his planets should force death on him who made them.

Some think that the glorification of the Son by the Father was this, that he spared him not, but delivered him up for us all. But if we say that he was glorified by suffering how much more shall we say that he was glorified by rising again? While he suffered, his humbleness was the more manifested than his glory, as saith the Apostle : He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Then he addeth, concerning glorification : Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth ; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. This is the glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ, that glorification whose first rays began to dawn on the resurrection morning.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Fellowship of St. Alban & St. Sergius

The Fellowship of St. Alban & St. Sergius

A meeting to launch a local chapter of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius was held last night at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Arlington Texas. The meeting was attended by clergy of local Orthodox and Anglican Churches of varied jurisdictions and interested laity. Tentative plans were made for quarterly meetings at which theological papers will be presented focusing on points of commonality between Orthodox and Anglican theology, ecclesiology, etc. Meetings will be alternately held at Anglican and Orthodox facilities.

The evening’s activities began with the chanting of the Office of Evensong (Vespers) in the sanctuary of St. Mark’s Church, followed by opening remarks and discussion of the history of the Fellowship and aims of the local chapter for the future.
Especially noted by some was the relationship of the American Anglican seminary, Nashotah House, and it’s nurture of Orthodox Christian students in the days before the establishment of an orthodox seminary in America.

Choir loft St. Mark's Church
 I will post details on the next scheduled meeting when they are finalized. Let us pray God will smile on and prosper the filial endeavor in bringing unity and clarity among all his children in Christ our Savior, Lord and God. Amen.