66th Anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

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👑 On this day in 1953, Her Majesty The Queen’s coronation was held at Westminster Abbey.

Source: The British Royalist Society, which writes:

“The Queen was the 39th sovereign to be crowned in the Abbey and the sixth Queen to be crowned there in her own right. The service used for the Queen’s coronation descends directly from King Edgar’s in 973.

“The Sovereign’s procession was made up of 250 people including Church leaders, Commonwealth Prime Ministers, members of the Royal Household, civil and military leaders and the Yeoman of the Guard.

“Her Majesty’s accession to the throne also set history in and of itself. Queen Mary (the Queen’s grandmother) was the first grandmother to see two Sovereigns ascend and Prince Charles was the first child to witness his mother’s coronation as Sovereign. Princess Anne did not attend the ceremony as she was considered to be too young. On a side note, Princess Marie Louise (Queen Victoria’s granddaughter) witnessed four coronations, including that of Elizabeth II.

“129 nations and territories were represented at the coronation with a whopping 8,200 guests were in attendance.

“Read more about the coronation and its importance here.”

[The Anglophilic Anglican notes that the above-linked short essay on the Coronation is quite fascinating and helpful in understanding the significance of this ceremony.]

None of them look terribly happy about it, in this picture – but considering that Her Majesty had come to the crown unexpectedly due to the premature death of her father, King George VI, that is perhaps to be expected.

Nota Bene: I am not certain of the identity of the prelate to the right of Her Majesty; but she was crowned by the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Geoffrey Francis Fisher, then Archbishop of Canterbury. Aside from the Coronation of Her Majesty, he is perhaps most famous for his assertion that

“We [meaning the Church of England, and by extension Anglicans in general] have no doctrine of our own — we only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church enshrined in the Catholic creeds, and those creeds we hold without addition or diminution. We stand firm on that rock.”

The one to the far left, I am quite confident, is then-Bishop of Durham Arthur Michael Ramsey, who became the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury (1961 – 1974), following Fischer: one of the greatest – arguably, the greatest of the 20th century – occupants of that Primatial See. He was known as a gifted theologian, educator, and advocate of Christian unity, and the writer of many books, perhaps most notably his first: The Gospel and the Catholic Church.

Ironically and somewhat amusingly, Fisher – who had been Ramsey’s headmaster at Repton, and known him basically all his life – is said to have counseled Prime Minister Harold Macmillan against selecting Ramsey for approval by Her Majesty as Archbishop of Canterbury, commenting that

“Doctor Ramsey is a theologian, a scholar and a man of prayer. Therefore, he is entirely unsuitable as Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Macmillan reportedly responded,

“Thank you, your Grace, for your kind advice. You may have been Doctor Ramsey’s headmaster, but you were not mine.”

Ramsey was duly selected.

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Rogation Sunday and Rogationtide

 

Rogationtide – My Book of the Church's Year
From My Book of the Church’s Year, by Enid M. Chadwick. London: Mowbrays (no date).

So, what is Rogation Sunday, and Rogationtide (a.k.a., the Rogation Days), anyway…? The lovely Anglican blog, “Full Homely Divinity,” explains:

“The week of the Sixth Sunday of Easter [note: for those of us using the traditional calendar, the Fifth Sunday after Easter] is busy with processions and outdoor activities. The week begins with prayers and celebrations that focus on stewardship of creation and culminates in the great (but lately much-neglected) Feast of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven on the fortieth day of the Paschal Feast.

“The Rogation Days, the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day, originated in Vienne, France (not Vienna, Austria), in 470 after a series of natural disasters had caused much suffering among the people. Archbishop Mamertus proclaimed a fast and ordered that special litanies and prayers be said as the population processed around their fields, asking God’s protection and blessing on the crops that were just beginning to sprout.

“The Latin word rogare means ‘to ask,’ thus these were ‘rogation’ processions. In an agricultural society, closely connected with the soil and highly vulnerable to the uncertainties of nature, this was an idea that took root quickly, and the custom spread around Europe and over to Britain. The Sunday before the Rogation Days came to be considered a part of Rogationtide (or ‘Rogantide’) and was known as Rogation Sunday.”

Thus, the blessing of crops, and from that, a more general sense of exercising good, due, and proper stewardship of Creation, is an important part of this day, and this Tide.

Furthermore, there developed in England the concept of “the beating of the bounds,” in which the Rogation Procession made its way around the bounds of the parish, reaffirming a sense of place, and instructing the young in the geography of home, and significant locations, sites, and features within those bounds. Because those boundaries were sometimes transgressed, it also provided an opportunity to reconcile with one’s erring neighbors.

Another excellent blog, “The Homely Hours,” notes,

“George Herbert gave the following reasons to observe the Rogation Days, that are still practical for us today: 1) [asking] a blessing of God for the fruits of the field; 2) Justice in the preservation of the bounds; 3) Charitie, in living, walking and neighbourliy accompanying one another, with reconciling of differences at that time, if they be any; 4) Mercie, in relieving the poor by a liberal distribution of largess which at that time is or oght be made.

The author of that blog, Amanda, further recounts, “I remember the first time I participated in our church’s Rogation Day ‘Beating of the Bounds.’ I was deeply impressed by the way that the Rogation Days took seriously the life of the body in the world.”

So should we all!

A tale of two eras – Fr. Robert Hart | The Continuum

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For the last few years I have made it clear that Anglicans cannot use the words “Catholic” and “Protestant” to mean two opposite and irreconcilable positions, or even to mean mutually exclusive  positions. For us a good Protestant (in the Anglican sense) has to be a good Catholic, and vice versa…

Source: The Continuum: A tale of two eras

“What really separates English Reformation theology and the Oxford Movement is simply time. It is not a matter of disagreement. Time created its own emergencies, needing doctrinal clarification…

“The strength of Anglicanism today is that we have the restoration of Evangelical truth in our foundation, and we have the fullness of Catholic faith, worship and sacramental practice. We did not obtain this great inheritance by excluding any portion of the Faith of the Universal Church, but by possessing it all.

“One need of our era is to correct the misperceptions of Schools X and Y, and refuse to be pressured into losing part of our wealth by taking unnecessary losses through false choices.”

In my opinion, this essay by Fr. Robert Hart expresses very effectively and persuasively (*) what I believe is the proper balance in the Anglican tradition as truly Reformed Catholic: that is, occupying – dare I say? – an appropriate “Via Media” between the extreme High-Church Anglo-Catholic and extreme Low-Church Evangelical positions.

My recommendation? As I have written many times in this blog, borrowing a line from one of our more famous Prayer Book Collects: “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest“!


(* Despite what, Fr. Hart’s disclaimer / explanation in the comments notwithstanding, I cannot help but think is a slight caricature of the late-medieval, pre-Reformation English Church (I tend to take a more irenic view of Eamon Duffy’s evidence and interpretations)… but only slight.)

Britain’s equivalent to Tutankhamun found in Southend-on-Sea | UK news | The Guardian

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Burial chamber of a wealthy nobleman in Prittlewell shows Anglo-Saxon Essex in new light

Source: Britain’s equivalent to Tutankhamun found in Southend-on-Sea | UK news | The Guardian

The title is a little click-bait-ish; the article itself points out only that “it could be seen as a British equivalent to Tutankhamun’s tomb, although different in a number of ways.” Nonetheless, a fascinating find!

As the article also comments, the site was discovered in 2003, as the result of a proposal to widen a road, but “it is only now, after years of painstaking investigation by more than 40 specialists, that a fuller picture of the extraordinary nature of the find is emerging.”

Of greatest interest to me, as The Anglophilic Anglican:

“… scientific dating now suggests the burial was in the late-6th century, about 580… Gold foil crosses were found in the grave which indicate he was a Christian, a fact which has also surprised historians.

“Sue Hirst, Mola’s Anglo-Saxon burial expert, said that date was remarkably early for the adoption of Christianity in England, coming before Augustine’s mission to convert the country from paganism.

But it could be explained because Seaxa’s mother Ricula was sister to king Ethelbert of Kent who was married to a Frankish Christian princess called Bertha. ‘Ricula would have brought close knowledge of Christianity from her sister-in-law.'”

However it arrived (and the connection to Kent is significant, as it was King Ethelbert who gave refuge to Augustine, later “of Canterbury,” when he arrived), this is interesting – to my mind, fascinating! – evidence that Christianity had at least a toe-hold in Anglo-Saxon England earlier than most had previously thought.

Things like this are why my understanding of the “Anglican Tradition” encompasses much more than simply Cranmer, Hooker, and the Caroline Divines. Without question, they were crucial to the formation of Anglicanism as we understand it today. But the roots of the Ecclesia Anglicana are found here – and in similar sites, both previously and yet-to-be discovered – and even earlier, among the Celts (both Brythonic and Goidelic) that preceded the Anglo-Saxons.

There is so much more to the Anglican tradition than just the 16th and 17th centuries!

QOTD (with reflections): “We are the religion of the Incarnation…”

“We are the religion of the Incarnation. God became man, the invisible God became visible, he sanctified the material world and elevated these visible, tangible signs to communicate invisible graces and to convey eternal truths.”

— Canon Michael Stein, ICRSS, rector of St. Joseph’s Oratory (Roman Catholic) in Detroit

Amen!

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Photos of the traditional religious procession in Detroit were widely shared on social media

Source: Vintage-style photo of St Joseph’s Day procession goes viral | Catholic Herald

Canon Stein noted, in reference to the St. Joseph’s Procession (pictured above) in particular,

“It only takes a quick glance around the world to see a fatherless society, and to see either a slothful or workaholic society, or a lack of an appropriate understanding of manliness. It’s neither brute nor effeminate, it’s faithful, it’s steadfast, it’s courageous and gentle. And we find all those things in St. Joseph, so I think that’s another part of the power of that picture.”

All very true. But, he goes on to add,

“We are body and soul, all these spiritual truths are meant to be communicated through our senses. We get to see our faith, hear our faith, taste our faith, etc., and that just appeals to us so much,” he said.

“Truth needs to shine in beauty…we’re not angels, we’re not just pure intelligences, we need to see, touch, hear; and that’s something the traditional liturgy has always done. That’s something that a reverent Mass or procession can do, these visible signs that the Church has used throughout her history to excite devotion and promote devotion.”

Again, amen. Amen, and amen!

One of my reasons for concern when we as Anglicans veer too far to the Protestant / Reformed side of the Christian spectrum is the accompanying tendency to get uncomfortably close to a quasi-gnostic devaluation of the physical, the material, the sensory – Creation itself – in favor of the cerebral, the theoretical, the (narrowly-defined) spiritual. “Spirit good, matter bad” is a common view in Christian circles. But, it’s a heretical one! Continue reading “QOTD (with reflections): “We are the religion of the Incarnation…””

Ember Days | For All the Saints

The Ember Days are four groups each of three days in the Church year that have been observed as days of fasting in the Churches of the West.

Source: Ember Days | For All the Saints

Today is Ember Saturday in Lent: the last day of Lenten Embertide, which runs from Wednesday through today (although Thursday is not not considered an Ember Day. But it’s a question worth asking: what are Ember Days, exactly, and what’s their significance? For All the Saints has a typically good and interesting treatment of these days, but here is some additional information on the subject: Continue reading “Ember Days | For All the Saints”

QOTD: What is truly progressive?

Martin Thornton

“It is sometimes more progressive to look back a thousand years than to look forward three weeks.”

— Martin Thornton, English Spirituality

Who is Martin Thornton? Here is a brief introduction (click here for the more substantive one from which this is excerpted) that might be helpful:

“A farmer, Anglican priest and spiritual director who lived primarily in the UK yet also taught in the US (and almost became a professor at Nashotah House), Thornton’s voice in his 13 books remains remarkably sober, pastoral, and witty—yet rigorously theological and erudite.

His purpose was simple: he wanted to equip priests and lay catechists with the appropriate tools to teach prayer—liturgically, biblically, doctrinally, devotionally—that cultivates Anglican parish health within the Catholic Church toward our eventual union with the Holy Trinity at the Second Coming of Christ. His value to us today is that he wrote in prophetic anticipation of the then-nascent reconfiguration of Christian life to post-Christendom. That is, he wrote not to ‘keep the boat afloat’ but rather to ‘pick up after the party.’

“Anglicans have got themselves into quite a predicament, to put it mildly. For Thornton, the recovery of Anglican strength and genius lies not in recreating past glory but rather ressourcement: creative re-application through prayer of what formed us in the first place. It should then come as no surprise that his theological outlook is anchored in the Book of Common Prayer seen as Regula, that is, as a corporate system or Rule of ‘ascetic’ in the tradition of the Rule of Saint Benedict.”