Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity; We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.
Monday, June 17, St. Barnabas the Apostle (transferred from June 11)
In Acts 11:24, St. Luke describes Barnabas as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” Though Barnabas is not named as one of the twelve apostles, he early emerged as a leader in the new Christian church. He was a Levite from from Cyprus, who sold his estate and gave the proceeds to the Church when He became a Christian (and it was when he was with St. Paul in Antioch that the name “Christian” first began to be used). He may have known Paul from studying with Gamaliel and he was the one who gave Paul his approval after Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, subsequently introducing Paul to the leaders of the Jerusalem Church. Barnabas and Paul were sent to Antioch and then on their first missionary voyage, but eventually, they separated from each other after a conflict over Barnabas’s nephew John Mark (this dispute was eventually settled). Barnabas preached the Gospel in Rome; legends say that Saint Clement actually converted because of his teaching. Jerome says that some believed that Barnabas was the author of the Letter to the Hebrews. In his old age, Barnabas returned to Cyprus where he was martyred around 60 A.D.
Tuesday, June 18, St. Ephrem
Born around 306, St. Ephrem was raised by Christian parents in the town of Nisibis in Mesopotamia. He was baptized at age 18 by the Bishop Jacob and became part of the bishop’s household, likely accompanying him to the Council of Nicaea in 325. After being ordained as a deacon, he was head of the Catechetical School until Nisibis was defeated by the Persians in 363. Then, he fled to Edessa where he began a school of theology. He is best known for his Syriac poetry and hymns that are still used today. And, the Prayer of Saint Ephrem is considered the summation of Great Lent for Orthodox Christians. He died on June 10th of 373, ministering to victims of the plague.
Wednesday, June 19, St. Columba
St Columba was born in Ireland around the year 521. Trained as a monk by Finnian, he started several monasteries (including Kells) before he set off for the island of Iona in Scotland. He left Ireland because his passionate love of books actually started a war (you can read more of this story in the beautiful book, The Man Who Loved Books by Jean Fritz, illustrated by Trina S. Hyman!) After 3,000 were slain in a battle, Columba was considered to blame and was almost excommunicated until St. Brendan intervened and Columba was allowed to be exiled. Twelve monks went with him to Iona where they began a monastery which then became the base for the expansion of Christianity throughout Scotland, converting kings and establishing churches. His biographer, Adomnan wrote,
He spent thirty-four years as an island soldier, and could not let even an hour pass without giving himself to praying or reading or writing or some other task. Fasts and vigils he performed day and night with tireless labor and no rest, to such a degree that the burden of even one seemed beyond human endurance. At the same time he was loving to all people, and his face showed a holy gladness because his heart was full of the joy of the Holy Spirit.
He spent his last four years transcribing books of the Gospels, dying on June 9 in 597.
Thursday, June 20: First Book of Common Prayer (transferred from June 10)
In the year 549, Pentecost fell on June 9th. On that day, the first Book of Common Prayer, developed by Thomas Cranmer, was introduced in England. Riots and rebellion started in many places. As Fr. John Julian writes, “Whatever anyone may think of Cranmer and his theology, or concerning the intentions of those who authorized the Prayer Book, what was created on that Whitsunday in 1549 was to become the very soul of Anglicanism — in one astounding book was provided simple liturgical uniformity for all ceremonies and rites of the Church, a manual for personal spirituality, and the only formal guardian of Anglican doctrine, in which, uniquely, doctrine is derived from and protected by liturgy, giving a strong reinforcement of the ancient aphorism lex orandi, lex credendi — what is prayed is what is believed.”
Friday, June 21: St. Basil the Great
Living from 329 to 379, St. Basil was one of the “Cappadocian Fathers” (which also included his brother, Gregory of Nyssa and his dearest friend, Gregory of Nazianzus). In his studies, he focused on rhetoric and composition because he believed those skills, learned from pagan writers and orators, would be the most useful to communicate the Gospel. He studied at the university of Athens, along with his friend Gregory who wrote, “[Basil and I] made it our only and great affair, our only aim, and all our glory, to be called and to be Christians.” After starting a public school for oratory and becoming an advocate in the law courts, Basil left these positions because of their potential for pride to make a pilgrimage, studying famous monasteries and hermits. At this time, he wrote his famous longer and shorter monastic Rules which became the foundation for all Eastern Orthodox monasticism. Basil and Gregory spent several years then in solitude and retreat (which Gregory later said were the happiest days of his life). Eventually, Basil was ordained priest and then was consecrated Archbishop of Caesarea in 366. From this point, he preached and taught and defended Nicene Christianity against the Arians. He was known for his oratory, his care of the poor and also founding a huge hospital in Caesarea. He died peacefully in 379.
Saturday, June 22, St. Alban
St. Alban was the first Christian martyr, or “protomartyr,” of Britain. All we know for sure is that sometime between 209 and 305, a man named Alban encountered an escaped Christian priest. Some say that he gave the priest shelter, which resulted in Alban becoming a Christian, but one of his servants betrayed them. When the Roman soldiers came to arrest the priest, Alban hurriedly switched clothing with the priest and gave himself up to be arrested. He was beheaded on Holmhurst Hill (which later became the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Alban ), near Verulamium (which now is known as “Saint Albans” ) on June 22.
- Read our post on Trinity Sunday: A Few Traditions and Links. For church today, we sang The Breastplate of St. Patrick; Holy God, We Praise Thy Name; Holy Father, Great Creator; and Holy, Holy, Holy. Also, in terms of the featured photo, clover (specifically, Trifolium repens or white clover) is traditionally associated with the Trinity.
- If you read that post on Trinity Sunday from a few years back, you’ll also read about our plans for a family culture series. Here are some of those posts: Family Culture and Sunday Tea, Reading Aloud Family Culture, Vacations and Family Culture.
- Speaking of series, we’d still love to receive your submissions in our Meaningful Home series. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- This year, as we look ahead to Trinity season, I’m looking forward to finishing up the saints summaries in August. We’re thinking about different ways to structure these posts — whether to continue this weekly guide format or whether something like a monthly newsletter would be better, with all the saints, collects, coloring pages, etc. for the month all collected together. Would you be interested in something like that or do you like this weekly post format?