17 April 2014

Maundy Thursday: Canadian BAS


In The Book of Alternative Services of the Anglican Church of Canada the following is appointed to be said before the Ceremony of the Foot-Washing:

       Fellow servants of our Lord Jesus Christ,
       on the night before his death,
       Jesus set an example for his disciples
       by washing their feet, an act of humble service.
       He taught that strength and growth
       in the life of the kingdom of God
       come not by power, authority, or even miracle,
       but by such lowly service.

       Therefore, I invite you
              (who have been appointed as representatives
              of the congregation and)
       who share in the royal priesthood of Christ,
       to come forward,
       that I may recall whose servant I am
       by following the example of my Master.
       But come remembering his admonition
       that what will be done for you
       is also to be done by you to others,
       for “a servant is not greater than his master,
       nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.
       If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

Christ Washing Peter's Feet
Ford Madox Brown
It is a very simple, straightforward, and elegant solution for providing a standardised introduction to the pedilavium rather than leaving it up to the skills of the presbyter or to the employment of a lengthy exhortation from another book in Prayer Book English.   It is also very realistic in its ambitions as it is the right length for contemporary ears trained by sound bites and commercial advertising.

At the beginning of the B.A.S. Maundy Thursday liturgy the Celebrant is directed to say the following introduction weaving together the themes and Scriptures of the day ... and these words also serve as a good word for contemplating the meaning of this day in Holy Week:

         This is the day
         that Christ the Lamb of God
         gave himself into the hands of those who would slay him.

         This is the day
         that Christ gathered with his disciples in the upper room.

         This is the day
         that Christ took a towel
         and washed the disciples’ feet,
         giving us an example that we should do to others
         as he has done to us.

         This is the day
         that Christ our God gave us this holy feast,
         that we who eat this bread
         and drink this cup
         may here proclaim his Holy Sacrifice
         and be partakers of his resurrection,
         and at the last day may reign with him in heaven.

"BLM committed animal atrocities ..."


Learning the truth of US federal government tactics used by the BLM is enough to make one sick.  By clicking the link I am providing you will be taken to a story that unmasks the tactics of the US federal government against Cliven Bundy and his ranch. It is entitled "BLM committed animal atrocities, shot cows from helicopters, constructed mass graves at Bundy Ranch"

There are graphic images of violence committed against the animals by the federal Bureau of Land Management, so please be advised that the images are too graphic for those with more delicate sensabilities: click here.

It is another argument for the elimination of most functions of the federal government in the USA save for national defensive needs and international relations.  Seeing the BLM being  used as a weapon by the Democratic administration and Senator Harry Reid makes clear that such a weapon needs to be taken away from the federal government regardless of which political party is in office.

Without additional political commentary let me close by simply borrowing from another blogger: "Jesus beheld the United States of America.  And Jesus wept."


16 April 2014

Passion Week: Of Your Mystical Supper

"Of Your Mystical Supper"
From the world premiere complete performance
of Maximilian Steinberg's Passion Week.
Cappella Romana
Alexander Lingas, artistic director
Friday, 11 April 2014

'Our God, Our Help in Ages Past'


The original version of Isaac Watts' hymn (known today as O God, our help in ages past thanks to the editing of the Revd John Wesley) was written as 'Our God, Our Help in Ages Past' in his Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament of 1719.  

Returning to the original text each Ash Wednesday and during Holy Week, I find it good for my soul to sing and pray all of the verses Watts intended for us to sing:

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
“Return, ye sons of men:”
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.


15 April 2014

Irvingite Liturgy & The Prayer of Humble Access


The Irvingite version of the Prayer of Humble Access as found in the Liturgy of the Catholic Apostolic Church, 1847 USA edition is as follows:

I have had a great interest in the Catholic Apostolic Church, in part for familial reasons (re: Albury Park), but moreso because a wide range of Anglican, Episcopalian, Church of Scotland, and US Evangelical & Reformed liturgies
bear the clear signs of having used this magnificently structured Divine Liturgy for inspiration, guidance, and direction in developing liturgical theology based upon a three-fold blending of the Holy Bible, The Book of Common Prayer, and the ancient liturgies of the Apostolic and Eastern Churches in the language, form, and purpose of worship.

Liturgies as different as those of the Anglicans in India to the United Liturgy of Nigeria to the 1979 USA Book of Common Prayer all bear the marks of having grown in part from the fertile soil of the Catholic Apostolic Church's liturgies in English.

The Euchologion from the Church of Scotland perhaps best carried forward the extreme humility and deeply penitential qualities of the Catholic Apostolic Liturgy, but none of them managed to hold in tension that equal measure of humility and penitence with a like measure of rapturous adoration and praise so emblematic of the Irvingite liturgical offerings.

Penance and self-abnegation are never ends in themselves in the Catholic Apostolic liturgical orders: they always point brightly to the Divine Mercy of God the Father in the bestowal of spiritual and physical mercies and gifts together within the never-failing communion of the individual within the mystical Body of Christ.

I conclude with one of the acts of praise from the Liturgy and Divine Offices of 1847:


Not Between Candlesticks

This morning I am ruminating upon something written many years ago by the Reverend George MacLeod, Baron MacLeod of Fuinary, the founder of the Iona Community:
The Revd George MacLeod

“I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the centre of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. 

I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap; at a crossroads so cosmopolitan that they had to write his title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek . . . at the kind of place where cynics talk smut and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Because that is where he died. And that is what he died about.”


14 April 2014

A Hymn of St. Nerses the Grace-Filled

O DAY-SPRING, Sun of righteousness, shine forth with light for me!
Treasure of mercy, let my soul thy hidden riches see!

Thou before whom the thoughts of men lie open in thy sight,
Unto my soul, now dark and dim, grant thoughts that shine with light!

O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Almighty One in Three,
Care-taker of all creatures, have pity upon me!

Awake, O Lord, awake to help, with grace and power divine;
Awaken those who slumber now, like heaven’s host to shine!

O Lord and Saviour, life-giver, unto the dead give life.
And raise up those that have grown weak and stumbled in the strife!

O skilful Pilot! Lamp of light, that burnest bright and clear!
Strength and assurance grant to me, now hid away in fear!

O thou that makest old things new, renew me and adorn;
Rejoice me with salvation, Lord, for which I inly mourn.

Giver of good, unto my sins be thy forgiveness given!
Lead thy disciples, heavenly King, unto the flocks of heaven!

Defeat the evil husbandman that soweth tares and weeds;
Wither and kill in me the fruits of all his evil seeds!

O Lord, grant water to my eyes, that they may shed warm tears
To cleanse and wash away the sin that in my soul appears!

On me now hid in shadow deep, shine forth, O glory bright!
Sweet juice, quench thou my soul’s keen thirst! Show me the path of light!

Jesus, whose name is love, with love crush thou my, stony heart;
Bedew my spirit with thy blood, and bid my griefs depart!

O thou that even in fancy art so sweet, Lord Jesus Christ,
Grant that with thy reality my soul may be sufficed!

When thou shalt come again to earth, and all thy glory see,
Upon that dread and awful day, O Christ, remember me!

Thou that redeemest men from sin, O Saviour, I implore,
Redeem him who now praises thee, to praise thee evermore!

St. Nerses Shnorhali (1102-1172)
Armenian Poems Rendered into English Verse
by Alice Stone Blackwell
Boston, 1917

13 April 2014

HOLY WEEK: Reredos • Closed


Reredos - Closed position
by Nina Somerset


Robert Klein Engler: Stations of the Heart

This Holy Week I am reading again a book of poetry by Robert Klein Engler (of Chicago and New Orleans) entitled 'Stations of the Heart: A Book of Sonnets'.  The third part of the book is an extraordinary series of sonnets entitled "Via Crucis" which I read and revisit often in prayer and contemplation.

I cannot think of another recent North American poet who has done such a masterful job with putting the Stations of the Cross into poetry.  The following is an excerpt from the sonnet on the Sixth Station entitled "VI. St. Veronica Wipes Our Lord's Face with Her Veil":

       If Simon could remove the weight awhile,
       Then certainly her veil could help erase
       The rouge and rue that issued from his trial -
       So with her cloth she boldly blots his face...
              Then looks surprised ... expecting stains, instead,
              She finds her proof, within a mirror of thread.

Robert Klein Engler
"Via Crucis"
Stations of the Heart: 
A Book of Sonnets
Alphabeta Press, Chicago

Radio Walsingham


You may wish to listen to RADIO WALSINGHAM ONLINE this Holy Week.  Click HERE.


12 April 2014

A Sermon by Fr. Apostolos Hill

of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

A sermon on St. Mary of Egypt by Fr. Apostolos Hill (Dean of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona) has grabbed my attention this year, and I feel compelled to share its message as we enter into Holy Week.  

I encourage you, dear reader, to listen to Fr. Apostolos' sermon via Ancient Faith Radio at this link.  

Also, you may wish to read what Fr. Apostolos' wrote about St. Mary of Egypt at this link.

[You may also be blessed by listening to Fr. Thomas Hopko speak on Lazarus Saturday which is today's bright Feast in the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox communities of faith.  Click here to listen.]

Many who have been far form the Church will peak in the doors during Holy Week; let us be sure to welcome them with the same hospitality with which Saints Lazarus, Mary, and Martha welcome the Lord to their own home.


Lazarus, come forth!


Jesus Raising Lazarus from the Dead
Fresco by Giotto

Divna Ljubojević and the choir Melodi in Church Slavonic
Serbian chant, mode 1

O Christ God, 
when Thou didst raise Lazarus from the dead, 
before Thy Passion,
Thou didst confirm the universal resurrection.
Wherefore, we, like babes, 
carry the insignia of triumph and victory,
and cry to Thee, O Vanquisher of death,
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.

Тропар на Цвијети:
Обшчеје воскресеније, прежде твојеја страсти увјерјаја,
из мертвих воздвигал јеси Лазарја, Христе Боже,
тјемже и ми јако отроци побједи знаменија носјашче,
тебје побједитељу смерти вопијем:
Осана во вишњих,
благословен грјадиј во имја Господње

Obščeje voskresenije, prežde tvojeja strasti uvjerjaja,
iz mertvih vozdvigal jesi Lazarja, Hriste Bože,
tjemže i mi jako otroci pobjedi znamenija nosjašče,
tebje pobjeditelju smerti vopijem:
Osana vo višnjih,
blagosloven grjadij vo imja Gospodnje


Eastern Catholic Monastery


"Eastern Catholic Monasticism"
Rt. Rev. Archimandrite NICHOLAS (Zachariades)
Romanian Greek Catholic Church
EWTN LIVE with Fr Mitch Pacwa, S.J.


11 April 2014

A Gelasian Holy Week Collect

A collect from the Gelasian Sacramentary put into English by Thomas Cranmer:

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, 
which of thy tender love toward man, 
hast sent our Saviour Jesus Christ, 
to take upon him our flesh, 
and to suffer death upon the Cross, 
that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; 
mercifully grant that we both follow the example of his patience, 
and be made partakers of his Resurrection; 
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


10 April 2014


There is much talk of late regarding the evils of 'clericalism' thanks to Pope Francis' various comments.  A recent discussion with a Roman Catholic religious teaching sister made me think of something the late Orthodox priest and theologian Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann wrote regarding the ordination of the laity through Chrismation. In fact, as I could remember, his point was that in the Holy Orthodox Church all are ordained for ministry in some fashion -- a very different idea from the 'Us' vs. 'Them' divide in Latin-rite Catholicism between the laity and the clergy.

Side note: The Episcopalians in the USA teach something like the Orthodox idea by claiming that the laity form one of the four Orders of ministry in the Episcopal Church (TEC).  It is not clear if the laity means all of the baptised or all of the confirmed.  Currently it seems that "the laity" among Episcopalians refers to the Baptised who are anointed with Chrism at Holy Baptism and may receive Confirmation later in life -- that old 'via media' -- this time between Orthodoxy and Catholicism.  

Let us look at a brief statement from Fr. Schmemann on the subject:

The Layman Is Ordained

We are accustomed to think of "ordination" as precisely the distinctive mark of clergy. They are the ordained and the laity, the non-ordained Christians. Here again, however, Orthodoxy differs from Western "clericalism," be it Roman Catholic or Protestant. If ordination means primarily the bestowing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the fulfillment of our vocation as Christians and members of the Church, each layman becomes a layman — laikos — through ordination. We find it in the Sacrament of Holy Chrism, which follows Baptism. Why are there two, and not just one, sacraments of entrance into the Church? Because if Baptism restores in us our true human nature, obscured by sin, Chrismation gives us the positive power and grace to be Christians, to act as Christians, to build together the Church of God and be responsible participants in the life of the Church. In this sacrament we pray that the newly baptized be:

"an honorable member of God’s Church

"a consecrated vessel

"a child of light

"an heir of God’s kingdom,

that "having preserved the gift of the Holy Spirit and increased the measure of grace committed unto him, he may receive the prize of his high calling and be numbered with the first borne whose names are written in heaven".

We are very far from the dull Webster definition.  St. Paul call all baptized Christians "fellow citizens with the saints and the household of God" (Eph. 2:1a). "For through Christ"— he says — "ye are no more strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints... in whom all the building fully framed together growth unto a holy temple in the Lord, in whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

Fr. Schmemann illustrates his point very well, but it is interesting that the quote comes from an essay regarding the 'Us' vs. 'Them' mentality causing distress among the laity and clergy in Orthodox parishes.  The essay may be read in full by clicking HERE.

Sommerville College, Oxford: St. John's Passion


Excerpts from Bach's St. John's Passion
The Choir of Somerville College, Oxford
Musicians of the Dreaming Spires 
Robert Smith (organ and harpsichord)
David Crown (conductor)
St. Mary Magdalene Church, Woodstock, 14 March 2014 
Somerville College Chapel, Oxford, 16 March 2014

Best Video on Coptic Church

This is the best video on the Coptic Orthodox Church I have seen.  It was made when the late Pope Shenouda was still leading the Church.


Hymn of Kassia the Nun

The Holy Week Hymn by the Orthodox Nun Kassia 

Byzantine Tone 8

09 April 2014

"Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters"

With Obama's latest purgings of the U.S. Armed Forces, only those "asleep at the wheel" will be surprised by this latest turn of events. Let the conspiracy theories bloom large as the conspiracy facts unfold, seen and unseen:

The National Guard is following a direct order — but it’s not happy with it. All of the Guard’s AH-64 Apache helicopters are scheduled to go to the active Army, and there’s nothing its top brass can do about it.

“None of us like what we’re having to do,” National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, the military website Defense One reported. “My big concern right now is figuring out how I’m going to move, and how many states I’m going to have an impact on, and what’s the cost of facilities and to retrain pilots. I’ve got to tackle that because the decision’s been made.”

The entire article from The Washington Times may be read by clicking HERE.

Marx, Stalin, and Satan

I am convinced that US Americans do not understand what is happening to their country under Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama because they have not studied Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Gramsci, and Alinsky.  If none of the aforesaid was a serious part of your formal education, the end of Lent and Passiontide is a fine time to delve into this Darkness.  Did you know that Marx referred to himself as 'the Pope of communism' or that Stalin's gang called him 'the Priest'...? 

The first book I would recommend is by the late Pastor Richard Wurmbrand.  If you are not familiar with him or his book on Marx & Satan, a good place to start are articles on the Churchmouse Campanologist blog.  

The Churchmouse Campanologist provides a fine introduction here, and another article provides summaries of each chapter of the Pastor Wurmbrand's book Marx and Satan: click here.  

But I do recommend reading the entire book which may be read on Scribd: Marx and Satan.

Additional books to read:

Young Stalin

Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar