Source: Lucia Morning | Jonna Jinton
A beautiful meditation on the meaning and significance of Luciamorgon (the morning of St. Lucia’s Day) in the life of this Swedish photographer, artist, and blogger. The picture above is a still from the stunning video that accompanies it. The Google machine translation of the page is imperfect, of course, but it’s good enough to get the gist of this lovely post!
While the celebration of St. Lucia’s Day may be waning in Sweden itself – sadly – it appears to remain popular among the Swedish expatriate community in London! These pictures were taken at St. Paul’s Cathedral, in 2015. Beautiful!
The night goes with weighty step
round yard and hearth,
round earth, the sun departs,
leave the woods brooding.
There in our dark house,
appears with lighted candles
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.
The night goes great and mute
now hear it swings
in every silent room
murmurs as if from wings.
Look at our threshold stands
white-clad with lights in her hair
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.
The darkness shall soon depart
from the earth’s valleys
thus she speaks
a wonderful word to us
The day shall rise anew
from the rosy sky.
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.
~ traditional Swedish carol for St. Lucia’s Day, December 13th
Note that while “Sankta Lucia” is generally translated “Saint Lucia,” it can also be translated as “Holy Light”! An appropriate image and archetype for this darkest time of year, as we await the “rebirth” of the Sun at the Winter Solstice.
How should Christians live as society grows increasingly hostile to faith?
Plough’s Peter Mommsen and New York Times-bestselling author Rod Dreher talk about Donald Trump, religious liberty, American empire, persecution, and Christian community.
Source: Building a Communal Church: An Interview with Rod Dreher
“Critics of the Benedict Option say that it’s a form of retreat – of abandoning society in order to live a purer, holier life. Are they right to see a kind of selfishness in withdrawing?”
“That’s a claim that drives me crazy: ‘You just want to go run to the hills and live in your bunker and wait for the end.’ That’s absolutely not what I’m saying. What I am saying is, we need to have a strategic, limited retreat from the mainstream for the same reason you would protect a candle with a lantern if you go outside in a gale. Otherwise, the wind would be so strong that it would blow the light out. The currents of culture have become so antithetical to Christianity that if we’re going to form ourselves and our kids in the authentic faith, we’re going to have to have some kind of limited withdrawal… Continue reading “Building a Communal Church: An Interview with Rod Dreher”
Skeletons found at a site, said in legend to have been visited by King Arthur, are the oldest example of monks found in the UK, archaeologists say.
Source: Beckery Chapel near Glastonbury ‘earliest known UK monastic life’ / OrthoChristian.Com
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
~ William Blake
This may not be the chapel which legend tells was founded by Joseph of Arimathea, when he brought the Holy Thorn (and perhaps, also, the Holy Grail) to Glastonbury — or, then again, it may be — but it is fascinating nonetheless. This ancient chapel near Glastonbury, linked to the Arthurian traditions, houses skeletons indicating the oldest example of a monastic community thus far found in Britain. That alone makes it pretty awesome!
An Iconic Swedish tradition, the annual candlelit Lucia procession, is dying out across the country, several news outlets have reported.
Source: Winter Tradition Disappearing Because It’s Too Swedish
Tomorrow – December 13th – is St. Lucia day, the feast day of a little-known saint who may reflect even more ancient archetypes, in Sweden and other areas of Northern Europe. Santa Lucia processions, and the choosing of a local girl to represent the one whose name means “Holy Light,” are centuries-old customs in many areas. Now, however, it seems that even this venerable tradition is falling to a combination of disinterest and what I would characterize as runaway political correctness.
Some people may choose to discount this story because of its source. Others may accept its factual accuracy, but believe the disappearance of traditional St. Lucia celebrations are no big deal, or even desirable, in the eternal quest to be more “inclusive.”
I believe any of these viewpoints is unfortunate. Human cultures have this in common with trees: if severed from their roots, they quickly wither and die. And the right to protect, preserve, and pass on with integrity and mindfulness their distinct culture and heritage, customs and traditions, is not unique to certain groups, and not others.
Like many other European customs and traditions, St. Lucia is – or has been, until recently – a vibrant blend of Christian and “baptized” pre-Christian elements. I have, to my knowledge, only a small amount of Swedish heritage. But I would mourn deeply the passing of this enchanting and sacred spiritual and cultural tradition. I believe that Europeans, both in Europe and in the “European diaspora” across the globe, need to more fully and intentionally embrace their own cultural heritage. For too long we have taken it for granted. That luxury is no longer available to us!