Collect: Almighty God, who hast given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life; Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saints of the Week
Monday, May 6: St. Alphege (transferred from April 19)
Born around 934, St. Alphege became monk in Gloucestershire at an early age, but then withdrew from monastic life to be a hermit. Because of his holy reputation, he was eventually called out of the hermetic life to be Abbot of Bath and then Bishop of Winchester in 984. In 1005, he became Archbishop of Canterbury. As Archbishop, he was deeply loved and respected for his devout life, asceticism, and his unmatched generosity toward the poor. In 1011, the Danes overran Southern England, besieging and eventually conquering Canterbury. Alphege was taken prison, but held for an exorbitant ransom. He refused to allow anyone to pay his ransom, knowing that it would hurt his impoverished people. Held captive for seven months, Alphege ministered to the Danes in their sickness and impressed the Danish chieftain Thurkill. On the Saturday after Easter, the Danes became drunk while celebrating a festival. They called for Alphege, to try to get his ransom, but when he again refused, they started beating him with the oxen bones. As recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, “They pelted him with bones and ox-heads, until one of them struck him on the head with the back of an axe. He sank down with the blow, his holy blood falling on the ground, and he sent his holy soul to God’s kingdom.” This was on April 19, 1012.
Tuesday, May 7, St. Anselm (transferred from April 21)
Born in 1033 in Northern Italy, St. Anselm’s mother died when he was young and, as he said, “the ship of his heart lost its anchor and drifted off into the waves of the world.” He spent his youth drifting around until he arrived at the Benedictine Abbey at Bec in Normandy. While there, he met Lanfranc and eventually became a monk — and then prior and then abbot during his 34 years there. In 1093, Anselm was made Archbishop of Canterbury. During his years as archbishop, he had to go into exile twice as he defended the Church from the crown. Anselm was a brilliant theologian and philosopher — one of the great Latin Fathers of the Church. You can’t study theology or apologetics without learning of his Ontological Argument for the existence of God or his “satisfaction” theory of the crucifixion. In the perennial dilemma of how to understand the relationship of faith and reason, Anselm famously wrote “I want to understand something of the truth which my heart believe and loves. I do not seek thus to understand in order to believe, but I believe in order that I may understand.” Anselm died in 1109.
Wednesday, May 8, St. George (transferred from April 23)
We know very little about St. George except that he was a soldier of Cappadocian Greek origins, potentially of a noble Christian family. He was likely martyred in 303, during the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian. The story of St. George slaying the dragon comes from the Middle Ages (the first account is from an 11th century Georgian source). St. George is the patron saint of England, also Georgia and the city of Moscow.
Thursday, May 9, St. Gregory of Nazianzus
Born in 329, the son of the bishop of Nazianzus in Cappadocia, St. Gregory met his dearest friend Basil at the University of Athens. Though Gregory desired to lead the contemplative life, after some years as a hermit, he was forced (he said his father made him priest in an “act of tyranny”) to serve in the leadership of the Church. He and Basil together combated the Arian heresy in public debates and continued their friendship and partnership until Basil died in 379. In that same year, he was asked to go to Constantinople to win over the city for Nicene Orthodoxy. When he came to the city, he was scorned for his ragged and emaciated appearance and wasn’t considered a match for the sophisticated needs of the city. However, when he started preaching and teaching, he swiftly drew crowds — not just Catholics, but also heretics and pagans — even Jerome came from the desert to be Gregory’s disciple. Eventually, Gregory was appointed bishop of Constantinople, but his enemies relentless opposed this appointment (even, at one point, hiring an assassin, whom Gregory instead converted). In 381, Gregory decided to resign his bishopric because of the turmoil that had been stirred up. He returned to Nazianzus and spent the end of his life in peace, dying on January 25 in 390.
Saturday, May 11: St. Cyril and St. Methodius
Saints Cyril (827-869) and Methodius (815-885) were brothers born in Thessalonica. Cyril was a genius; at the age of 24, he became chair of philosophy at the University in Constantinople and given charge of the huge library at the Hagia Sophia. Meanwhile, his older brother Methodius studied law and had been governor of a Slav province before joining Cyril at their monastery. In 862, the brothers were sent to Moravia (the present day Czech Republic and Slovenia) to create a written version of the Slavic language and teach the Christian faith in the vernacular. Though the vernacular liturgy caused quite the controversy, to this day, the language they created is the liturgical language of all Russians, Ukrainians, and more — whether they are Eastern Orthodox or Catholic. The alphabet Cyril created still bears his name (Cyrillic) and they are known as the “Patrons of Europe” for their demonstration of ecumenism. Cyril died in 869 in Rome and Methodius died in 885 in Moravia.
Anglican Home Guest Posts
We are starting a new series and would love your guest posts! A little while ago, we shared a favorite quote from G.K. Chesterton:
“It is the main earthly business of a human being to make his home, and the immediate surroundings of his home, as symbolic and significant to his own imagination as he can.”
With that quote in mind, we are looking for guest posts where you show us how you follow Chesterton’s advice and make your home “symbolic and significant” to the imagination. What art do you have on your walls? Do you have a home altar/little oratory? A special garden? We are not looking for perfect homes or professional photography — just ordinary inspiration, a window into Anglican homes decorated with symbol and meaning.
So, if you’d be ever so kind, send in your posts with photos and captions to firstname.lastname@example.org (We would love posts that come from varieties of situations — homes or apartments, etc. and it also doesn’t have to be a full “house tour.” If you just have one photo to share, we’d also like that.).
Rogation, Ascension, and Pentecost
Rogation Sunday is still a bit away, but here’s a post if you’re wondering what it is and here’s something to do with your family. Also, here are our collected resources for Rogation, Ascension, and Pentecost.