Glories of the West: LUCIA – The night of light | Jonna Jinton

Sankta Lucia – the Feast of St. Lucia (“Lucy”), whose name means “Light” – is an ancient tradition in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries (although the Christian figure of St. Lucia originated in Sicily, interestingly enough). Her feast-day falls on the 13th of December, which in the Old (Julian) Calendar, would have been the Winter Solstice.

Although she is a Christian saint, with a Christian story, “Sankta Lucia” can also be translated “Holy Light,” and the folksy, homey rituals surrounding St. Lucia’s Day – in which the girl or young woman chosen to portray St. Lucia for that year, wearing a crown of candles, brings gifts of steaming-hot coffee and sweet rolls to her family (or village), while her attendants sing traditional songs – is a beautiful and moving enactment of the rebirth of light in the midst of the darkest time of the year.

This video was created by the incomparable Jonna Jinton, who writes,

“Lucia is a tradition in Sweden where we bring light to the darkness. Since many years back I have always gone out in the middle of the Lucia night to light up hundreds of candles in the forest, with the intention to spread light into the world.

“Maybe you have seen my earlier lucia-films here on my YouTube. But this year was special. Just as the other lucia-nights I prepared to get out and light up my candles. But this night, the forest surprised me.

“This film is for all the world. For all of you wonderful people out there ♥ I hope to be able to spread some light into your hearts. Thank you for taking the time to watch it.”

Do yourself a favour, and watch this in full-screen… and allow yourself to get lost in it. Magical!

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Feast of St. Nicholas – December 6th

St. Nicholas Icon

A contemporary icon, in traditional style, of St. Nicholas, whose feast-day is the 6th of December. This is not the “jolly old St. Nick” of the secular mythos, mind you, but the passionately-dedicated orthodox Christian bishop of Myra, who reportedly got into a physical altercation with the presbyter Arius, who taught that Jesus Christ was not of the same substance as God the Father, but rather the first of all created beings, during the Council of Nicaea. However, it is he who evolved, in the public imagination, and by many steps and stages, into the “St. Nicholas” we all – even the most secular – know and, usually, love.

St Nicholas Day – cover pic

Today marks one of the steps in that evolution, for in Holland, traditionally, on the eve of St. Nicholas’ DAy, the children would put their wooden shoes outside the door of their room, in hopes of finding them filled with fruit, candy, and coins (today usually foil-covered chocolates), on the morning of December 6th. Why? Well, St. Nicholas quickly became known as the patron saint of children, after a legend in which he saved three daughters of a poor man from slavery (or worse – forced prostitution) by tossing a small bag of gold into their house each of three successive nights (in Europe “down the chimney,” but in Myra in Anatolia – now Turkey – it is more likely to have been through a roof-top entrance), to serve as their dowries.

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From that it is not far to the image of a saint (or in later, secular interpretation, a sort of magical being who embodies “the spirit of Christmas”) who comes down the chimney with toys for good little boys and girls! He also became known as the patron saint of Holland, probably as an extension of his older status as patron saint of sailors: Holland was for a long time quite a sea-power. The Dutch – who settled part of the Eastern seaboard of what is now the U.S. – called him “Sinter Klaas.” And it is from that name that we now know him as “Santa Claus.” An interesting historic and linguistic transformation!

St Nicholas Day – cropped

December 6th: Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c. 342 | For All the Saints

Source: Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c. 342 | For All the Saints

“Nicholas is famed as the patron of Russia and Greece, the guardian of virgins and poor maidens, the protector of travelers, sailors, and merchants. He is also the patron of many towns and cities, including Bari, Venice, Freiburg, and Galway. In modern times he is perhaps best known as the protector and benefactor of children.”

When I was spending a semester studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, in 1990, I attended St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, Church of Ireland (Anglican). I was greatly comforted by the clergy there, and by John, Anglican Bishop of Galway, following the death of my beloved Jeanne.

The Sunday Next Before Advent: “Stir-Up” Sunday!

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Good morning, folks, and a joyous Sunday to you! For those of us who are Christians, today is the Sunday Next Before Advent (Propers follow, below): since the Church’s calendar begins on Advent Sunday, then in a sense I suppose one could think of this as the Christian “New Year’s Eve.” Although if we become intoxicated, let it be with the Holy Spirit, and not with more carnal potions! At least not this early in the day…

Today is also known as “Stir-Up Sunday,” from the opening words of the Collect for the day: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people…” – a most apt petition, on this last Sunday before the beginning of the season of both penitent preparation and joyous expectation that is Advent! Indeed, just as the “Gesima” Sundays in late Winter prepare us for the coming of Lent, so “Stir-Up” Sunday gives us the opportunity to prepare to keep a holy Advent.

It is also the day on which many in England (and some here in the States, if of English heritage and affections) “stir up” the traditional Christmas pudding. The lovely “Full Homely Divinity” blog recounts the matter thus: Continue reading “The Sunday Next Before Advent: “Stir-Up” Sunday!”

Consecration of Samuel Seabury, first Anglican Bishop in North America, 1784 | For All the Saints

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Samuel Seabury, the first Bishop in the Protestant Episcopal Church, was consecrated to the episcopate by “Non-Juring” Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1784.

Source: Consecration of Samuel Seabury, First Anglican Bishop in North America, 1784 | For All the Saints

A most important commemoration for all American Anglicans: the consecration to the episcopate of Samuel Seabury, the first Anglican Bishop not only in the newly-minted United States, but North America! (AFIK, that includes our friends to the north in Canada, but if I am wrong about that, I’m sure someone will correct me.)

“Samuel Seabury, the first bishop in the Protestant Episcopal Church, was born in Groton, Connecticut, on the thirtieth of November 1729. After ordination in England in 1753, he was assigned to Christ Church, New Brunswick, New Jersey as a missionary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel…

“After the War, a number of Connecticut clergymen, meeting in secret on the twenty-fifth of March, 1783, named Seabury or Jeremiah Leaming, whoever would be willing and able, to seek episcopal consecration in England. Leaming declined, while Seabury accepted and set sail for England.

“After a year of negotiation, Seabury found it impossible to obtain episcopal orders from the Church of England because, as an American citizen, he could not swear allegiance to the Crown… Seabury then turned to the Non-Juring bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and on the twenty-fourth of November 1784, in Aberdeen, he was consecrated by the bishop and the bishop coadjutor of Aberdeen and the bishop of Ross and Caithness, in the presence of a number of clergy and laity.”
Continue reading “Consecration of Samuel Seabury, first Anglican Bishop in North America, 1784 | For All the Saints”

Martin, Bishop of Tours, 397 | For All the Saints

Source: Martin, Bishop of Tours, 397 | For All the Saints

In addition to being both the Centenary of Armistice Day (11 November 1918) and Remembrance Day (UK) / Veterans Day (US), today is also Martinmas: the Feast of St. Martin on Tours:

“One of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages and one of the patron saints of France, Martin was born in Pannonia (now Hungary) around the year 316. His father was a pagan officer in the Roman army, and Martin joined the army for some time as well, probably as a conscript.

“He intended to become a Christian from an early age and enrolled among the catechumens while still a soldier. He became convinced that his commitment to Christ prevented his serving as a soldier, because he would be expected to kill the enemy in battle. After protesting against his military service, he was imprisoned, and at the end of hostilities, was discharged.

“According to an ancient legend, while Martin was still a catechumen, he was approached by a poor man who asked for alms in the Name of Christ. Martin, drawing his sword, cut off part of his military cloak and gave it to the beggar. On the following night, Jesus appeared to Martin, clothed in half a cloak, and said to him, ‘Martin, a simple catechumen, covered me with this garment.'”

It is also the first anniversary of my ordination to the sacred priesthood of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, in its Anglican expression!

Glories of the West: Colomansfest, Schwangau

Source: Romantic-Road-Germany: Colomansfest, Schwangau | Facebook

Saint Coloman – Schwangau – Riders“SCHWANGAU, Bavaria: On Sunday, October 14, 2018, the traditional Colomansfest takes place, which is always held on the second Sunday of October. With the Colomansfest, the tradition of the Horse Ride goes back to the 16th century. More than 200 splendidly dressed horses – ridden by traditional wearers [wearers of traditional costume] – take part in it. At 9:00 o’clock the cavalry train is formed at the town hall and led by the music band Schwangau and accompanied by the music band Weissensee in the direction of the pilgrimage church St. Coloman. In favorable weather, the Holy Mass is held with all riders and visitors outdoors. At the end of the Mass, Coloman’s relic is followed by a solemn equestrian event, followed by a three-hour tour around the church, which the clergy and political guests of honor perform in decorated carriages. Guests of honor this year are Markus Ferber (MEP), Angelika Schorer (MdL) and Schwangau Second Mayor Johann Stöger.

Saint-Colman-of-Stockerau1“The pilgrimage church of St. Coloman is dedicated to a saint – Saint Coloman [Irish Colmán]. According to legend, he is said to have been an Irish prince who undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His path also took him through our area. In July 1012 Coloman came to the area of ​​Stockerau, the former border area between Bavaria and Moravia. Because of his foreign clothing and language, he was suspected as a spy, tortured, sentenced to death and executed. Soon his innocence turned out. Because miracles took place on his corpse, the then sovereign ordered on October 13, 1014, the solemn transfer of the bones from Stockerau to the collegiate church in Melk. When the horse ride took place for the first time, is not known. However, it may be assumed that the first hunts took place in the 15th or 16th century, possibly even going back to the beginnings of the pilgrimage. The importance of Colomansfest in village life may be seen from the fact that in 1552, Emperor Charles V granted the owner of Hohenschwangau the right to set up and hold a market “annually and for eternity” on Coloman day. Based on this market right, stands on this feast day at the church stalls with drinks and snacks, because it is a tradition to cultivate the cosiness after the church.

Saint Coloman – Collegiate Church, Melk“Colomansfest on Sunday, October 14, 2018 in Schwangau:
– from 9 clock, installation of the riders at the town hall of the community Schwangau
– 10 clock service at the pilgrimage church of St. Coloman
– 3 pm Rosary
On Saturday, October 13th, the Colomanstag will be celebrated with a mass at 10 o’clock and a rosary at 14 o’clock in the pilgrimage church of St. Coloman. A small service provides for your physical well-being.”

Here is a video on the subject of St. Coloman himself:

And here is a video of (parts of) the 2013 Colomansfest: