Tuesday, December 30, 2008

St Anysia, Virgin-Martyr of Thessalonika

18th Century Russian Icon: St. Anysia is under the Virgin of Kazan, Far Left
As a doubly-shining lamp of truly mystical brightness
do ye shine upon the Church like a high-towering beacon:
thou with beams of martyr's glory, O Anysia;
thou with rays of great ascetic deeds, O Melania.
Now together ye are honoured by Christ your Bridegroom for your travails in His Name.
(from the Greek Orthodox Church)
The Holy Virgin Martyr Anysia lived in the city of Thessalonica during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). Upon the death of her parents, who had raised her in Christian piety, St Anysia sold everything she owned, distributing her riches to the poor, and she began to lead a strict life of fasting, vigil, and prayer. During his persecution against Christians, Maximian issued an edict stating that anyone had the right to kill Christians with no fear of punishment. Soon there were many bodies to be found in cities, towns, and by the roadside. Once, when St Anysia was on her way to church, a pagan soldier stopped her and demanded that she come along to the festival of the sun to offer sacrifice. St Anysia gently pulled herself away from him. When he soldier boldly grabbed her and attempted to tear the veil from her head, she shoved him, spit in his face and said, "My Lord Jesus Christ forbids you!" In anger, the soldier ran her through with his sword. Those gathering over her body wept and loudly complained against the cruel emperor for issuing an edict that resulted in the death of many innocent people. Christians buried the martyr near the city gates, and a chapel was built over her grave. (from the OCA website)

Sacred Harp: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Feast of the Holy Family... 30 December

Icon of Holy Family, Monastary of St. Gerasimos

(any guess as to who the young man accompanying Jesus, Mary and Jospeh is?)

Icon of the Holy Family Fleeing to Egypt, The Hanging Church, Cairo

Holy Family, Aiden Hart

The Holy Family, S.M.Sazsh - 1729
Orientis partibus Adventavit asinus (Song of the Ass, 13th century)
From the East the donkey came,
Stout and strong as twenty men;
Ears like wings and eyes like flame,
Striding into Bethlehem.
Heh! Sir Ass, oh heh!
Faster than the deer he leapt,
With his burden on his back;
Though all other creatures slept,
Still the ass kept on his track.
Heh! Sir Ass, oh heh!
Still he draws his heavy load,
Fed on barley and rough hay;
Pulling on along the road --
Donkey, pull our sins away!
Heh! Sir Ass, oh heh!
Wrap him now in cloth of gold;
All rejoice who see him pass;
Mirth inhabit young and old
On this feast day of the ass.
Heh! Sir Ass, oh heh!

Monday, December 29, 2008

St Thomas a Becket

The Shrine of St. Thomas a Becket, Canterbury Cathedral

'The Murder of Becket' designed by Christopher Hobbs andinstalled in the Becket Chapel in 2006

For wherever a saint has dwelt, wherever a martyr has given his blood for the blood of Christ, There is holy ground, and the sanctity shall not depart from it
Though armies trample over it, though sightseers come with guide-books looking over it.
-Chorus, Part II- Murder in the Cathedral

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Carols and Images for Christmastide

Dec 28- Childermas

The Murder of the Holy Innocenta, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, 1566

The day of the Holy Innocents, Sarah Mant 2004

AP photograph, aftermath of suicide bombing in Afghanistan today near a primary school, where 14 children were killed.

Kontakion 6

Having become God-bearing heralds, the Magi returned to Babylon, having fulfilled Thy prophecy; and having preached Thee to all as the Christ, they left Herod as a babbler who knew not how to sing: Alleluia!

Oikos 6

By shining in Egypt the light of truth, Thou didst dispel the darkness of falsehood; for its idols fell, O Saviour, unable to endure Thy strength; and those who were delivered from them cried to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, uplifting of men: Rejoice, downfall of demons! Rejoice, thou who didst trample down the dominion of delusion: Rejoice, thou who didst unmask the fraud of idols! Rejoice, sea that didst drown the Pharaoh of the mind: Rejoice, rock that doth refresh those thirsting for life! Rejoice, pillar of fire that guideth those in darkness: Rejoice, shelter of the world broader than a cloud! Rejoice, sustenance replacing manna: Rejoice, minister of holy delight! Rejoice, land of promise: Rejoice, thou from whom floweth milk and honey! Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Coptic Icon- Flight Into Egypt

Thursday, December 25, 2008

25 Dec... The Feast of the Incarnation

Nativity, Lu Lan, China

Nativity, Antonio Poteiro, Brazil

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Eve of the Feast of the Incarnation: Christ Is Born!! Glorify Him!!

All Saints Church, South Pickenham, Norfolk

The Gospel According to Luke

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Medieval Icon of the Nativity of Christ

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only. begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin*; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy holy† Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

A Sermon on the Feast of the Incarnation, by Leo the Great

All share in the joy of Christmas.
Our Savior, dearly-beloved, was born today (Christmas day): let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one is kept from sharing in this happiness. There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord, the destroyer of sin and death, finds none free from the charge, so He comes to free us all.
Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is invited to being pardon. Let the gentile take courage in that he is called to life. For the Son of God in the fullness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered. And in this conflict undertaken for us, the fight was fought on great and wondrous principles of fairness.
Truly foreign to this nativity is that which we read of all others: "no one is clean from stain, not even the infant who has lived but one day upon earth." Nothing therefore of the lust of the flesh has passed into that peerless nativity, nothing of the law of sin has entered.
A royal Virgin of the stem of David is chosen, to be impregnated with the sacred seed and to conceive the Divinely-human offspring in mind first and then in body: she learns from the angel that what is to be wrought in her is of the Holy Ghost. Nor does she believe it loss of honor that she is soon to be the Mother of God. Her implicit faith is confirmed also by the attesting of a miracle, and Elizabeth receives unexpected fertility: in order that there might be no doubt that He who had given conception to the barren, would give it even to a virgin.
Therefore the Word of God, Himself God, the Son of God who "in the beginning with God," through whom "all things were made" and "without" whom "was nothing made," with the purpose of delivering man from eternal death, became man: The true God and true man were combined to form one Lord, so that, as suited the needs of our case, one and the same Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, could both die with the one and rise again with the other.
Rightly therefore did the birth of our Salvation impart no corruption to the Virgin's purity, because the bearing of the Truth was the keeping of honor. Such then beloved was the nativity which became the Power of God and the Wisdom of God even Christ, whereby He might be one with us in manhood and surpass us in Godhead.
For unless He were true God, He would not bring us a remedy: unless He were true Man, He would not give us an example. Therefore the exulting angel's song when the Lord was born is this, "Glory to God in the Highest," and their message, "peace on earth to men of good will." For they see that the heavenly Jerusalem is being built up out of all the nations of the world: and over that indescribable work of the Divine love how ought the humbleness of men to rejoice, when the joy of the lofty angels is so great?
Christians then must live worthily of Christ their Head.

Dec 24 ero cras



Rex Gentium


Clavis David

Radix Jesse



Tomorrow, I Shall Come

Vero Cras: Virgo virginum, Emmanuel, Rex Gentium, Oriens

Clavis David, Radix Jesse, Adonai, Sapientia.

Truly, Tomorrow

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dec 23 O Emmanuel

Prince of Peace, Michael McGrath

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

Shalom, Laura Bolter

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come to save us, O Lord our God.

Losing Paradise, He Qi

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And Advent Poem

End beginning

Days getting shorter
much darker
walking knees ache
words wrought with
throbbing wrists
cold, damp wind
making “never”
disappear into
night, and soon
Light will come
before forever.

Advent turning round
woven with doubt
but stitched on
surprised awe
night sky a dome
like the first …
tiny lights signal
million miles
beyond now
and God bound.

Closed days gone silent
watch sole woman
in hope worn
wrapped veil uncovered,
young womb probed
Spirit the sperm
ovary cell stung
with life’s spark

by Virginia M. Kimball, 2008
Christ the King, Chancel Reredos, St. Peter's Church, Bushey Heath, Hertforshire

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hanukkah Begins tonight at Sundown

Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish brothers and Sisters.

Blessing for Lighting the Candles:
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav vetzivanu l'hadlik ner (shel) hanuka. ( "Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to light the Hanukkah candle[s].")

Blessing for the Miracles of Hanukkah:
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, she‑asa nisim la‑avoteinu ba‑yamim ha‑heim ba‑z'man ha‑ze. ("Blessed are you, LORD, our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time.")

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, she‑hehiyanu v'kiy'manu v'higi'anu la‑z'man ha‑ze. ("Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.")

Dec 21 O Oriens, O Morningstar

Icon- The Pre-Eternal Christ Creating the Stars

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

The Light of the World, William Holman Hunt 19th century

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

The Son of Righteousness Shall Rise
, Susan Tilt 21st century

VENI, veni O Oriens,

solare nos adveniens,

noctis depelle nebulas,

dirasque mortis tenebras.

Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel,

nascetur pro te Israel!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

O clavis David - Antifone

Dec 20 O Clavis David

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death

Anointing of David, 3rd century

VENI, Clavis Davidica,
regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum,
et claude vias inferum
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel,
nascetur pro te Israel!

Icon of Christ Liberating the Captives in Hell- The Dark Church, Cappadocia

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dec 19 O Radix Jesse: O Root of Jesse

A tender shoot has started up from a root of grace,
as ancient seers imparted from Jesse's holy race:
It blooms without a blight, blooms in the cold mid-winter,
turning our darkness into light.

This shoot Isaiah taught us, from Jesse's root should spring;
The Virgin Mary brought us the branch of which we sing;
Our God of endless might gave her this child to save us,
Thus turning darkness into light.
Lyrics: Otto Goldschidt - trans. W Bartholomew

Icon of the Tree of Jesse, written by Tatiana Grant

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare

O Root of Jesse, Guache, by Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before whom kings will shut their mouths,
whom the nations will implore:
Come to deliver us, and do not now delay.

Tree of Jesse with all ancestors in trunk: Herrad of Hohenburg, Hortus Deliciarum (before 1195; colored sketch).

Veni, O Jesse virgula,

Ex hostis tuos ungula,

De specu tuos tartari

Educ et antro barathri

Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel

Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Jesse Tree, Jan Mostaert (1472-1555)-Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

Tree of Jesse, Chagall, 20th century

The Tree of Jesse, from the Lambeth Bible- 12th Centuty

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dec 18 O Adonai

The Great Day at Sinai, by Yitzhak ben Yehuda

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

Moses Before the Burning Bush, Domenico Feti (1613)

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come to redeem us with an outstretched arm.

Icon of the Theotokos, Unburnt Bush- Crete

Veni, veni, Adonai,

qui populo in Sinailegem

dedisti verticein maiestate gloriae

Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel,

nascetur pro te Israel!

Adonai by Daniel Gautier

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dec 17 O Wisdom

from the Narthex of St. Sophia Johannite Church, Conover, NC

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come to teach us the way of prudence.

Sophia, the Holy Wisdom of God, written by Diana Arkhi, based on a Russian icon

Veni, O Sapientia,

quae hic disponis omnia,

veni, viam prudentiaeut doceas et gloriae.

Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel

nascetur pro te Israel!

Icon of Sophia, Holy Wisdom of God, Novgorod Cathedral of haggia Sophia