Feast of St. Serapion of Thmuis (March 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Ruins of Mud Brick Structures at Thmuis, Egypt

Image Source = http://www.unreportedheritagenews.com/2010/12/2300-year-old-temple-discovered-at.html

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SAINT SERAPION OF THMUIS (DIED CIRCA 360)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Thmuis; Liturgist

Information about many of the early saints is scant.  This is a problem for those who study antiquity, for many, if not most, germane written sources have not survived to the present day.  We do know, however, that St. Serapion was Bishop of Thmuis, a city in Lower Egypt, that is the region close to the Mediterranean Sea.  Today Thmuis is a collection of ruins, but it was an important urban center at the time.  We know also that St. Serapion was a good friend of St. Antony of Egypt and an ally of St. Athanasius of Alexandria in his defense of Christian doctrine against the Arian heresy.

Few of the saint’s many writings have survived the ravages of time, people, and elements.  A partial Sacramentary does exist, however.  This interests me greatly, for liturgical practices have caught my attention for most of my life.  So, as I read the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica article about the Sacramentary of St. Serapion, I geeked out.  Then I found his prayer for healing in The Oxford History of Christian Worship.  Really, I follow these details the way some people obsess over baseball statistics.

Above all, let us never underestimate the importance of a holy life–in this case, one devoted to pastoral care, the defense of basic Christology (in this case, the proposition that Christ was not a created being), and the orderly conduct of Christian worship.  Arianism has not gone away, for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, among others, have nurtured it, but it is no less a heresy than it was in the Fourth Century of the Common Era.  And, as an Episcopalian, I affirm the value of a certain level of ritualism; it feeds my soul.

The Book of Sirach, a.k.a. Ecclesiasticus, says in 44:9-15 (New Revised Standard Version):

But of others there is no memory;

they have perished as if they had never existed;

they have become as though they had never been born,

and their children after them.

But these also were godly men,

whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten;

their wealth will remain with their descendants,

and their inheritance with their children’s children.

Their descendants stand by the covenants;

their children, also, for their sake.

Their offspring will continue forever,

and their glory will never be blotted out.

Their bodies are buried in peace,

but their name lives on generation after generation.

The assembly declares their wisdom,

and the congregation proclaims their praise.

We modern Christians are the spiritual children of St. Serapion of Thmuis.  May we stand by the covenants, declare his wisdom, and ensure that people remember his name.

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Loving God, to whom no one is anonymous or forgotten, we thank you for the holy life and legacy of St. Serapion of Thmuis.  May love of you and your co-eternal Son, Jesus Christ, reign in our hearts and govern our lives, so that others may look and find Christ in us.  In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 44:1-15

Psalm 84

2 Corinthians 13:11-14

John 1:1-18

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 21, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ST. AGNES, MARTYR

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Revised on December 24, 2016

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