Archive for June 2012

Feast of St. Ansegisus of Fontanelle (July 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Treaty of Verdun (843 Common Era)

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ANSEGISUS OF FONTANELLE (CIRCA 770-833)

Roman Catholic Abbot

St. Ansegisus of Fontanelle (circa 770-833) came from the province of Lyonnais, which, at the time,

comprise the territory dependent on Lyons west of the Saone and the Rhone rivers as far as the Monts du Lyonnais, east of the Rhone and in the immediate vicinity of Lyons, and east of the Saone north of Lyons.

–1982 Encyclopedia Britannica, Micropedia, Volume VI, page 418

The saint became a Benedictine monk at age 18.  Charlemagne (reigned 768-814), whom he advised, appointed him administrator of St. Sixtus Abbey at Rheims and St. Menge Abbey near Chalons.  The saint’s next assignment was as Abbot of St. Germer-de-Fly Abbey, a place all but destroyed in a Vandal raid.  He, apppointed by Louis I “the Pious” and “the Debonair” (reigned 814-840), renewed the monastery both physically and spiritually.

As Abbot of Fontanelle (823-833) the saint revitalized the library there.  (Monastic libraries were treasures of knowledge during Medieval times.)  He also maintained there a collection of capitularies, or royal decrees.  The monastery library was duly famous.

(And I, a bookworm descended from a lineage of bookworms, adore a good library.)

The saint died at Fontanelle Abbey on July 20, 833.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 18, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DELPHINUS OF BORDEAUX, AMANDUS OF BORDEAUX, SEVERINUS OF BORDEAUX, VENERIUS OF MILAN, AND CHROMATIUS OF AQUILEIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF ANSON DODGE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF BERNARD MIZEKI, ANGLICAN CATECHIST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF VERNARD ELLER, CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN THEOLOGIAN

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servant Saint Ansegisus of Fontanelle,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with him attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

Feast of St. John Plessington (July 19)   2 comments

Above:  The Flag of England

SAINT JOHN PLESSINGTON (CIRCA 1637-1679)

Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

Having written against the practice of professing Christians martyring each other, I permit the saint’s life to speak for itself.

St. John Plessington (circa 1637-1679) studied at St. Omer’s Monastery in France then at the English seminary at Valladolid, Spain.  Ordained a priest at Segovia, Spain, in 1662, the saint returned to his homeland the following year.  Until 1670 he lived under aliases and worked in the Cheshire area.  Then he became a tutor to the children of one Mr. Massey at Puddington Hall near Chester.  The end came in 1679, after an arrest on trumped-up charges of having participated in a plot (an imaginary one!) to assassinate King Charles II.  The saint’s real crime was to be a Roman Catholic priest.

On the gallows the saint made a historically accurate statement:

But I know it will be said that a priest ordained by authority from the See of Rome is, by the law of the nation, to die as a traitor.  But if that be so, what must become of all the clergymen of The Church of England?  For the first Protestant bishops had their ordination from those of the Church of Rome, or not at all, as appears by their own writers so that ordination comes derivatively from those not living.

I argue with the “Protestant” description, unless one considers any Christian who is neither Orthodox nor Roman Catholic to be Protestant.  But I, as an Episcopalian, am neither fish nor fowl.  I am more Catholic than Protestant without being Roman Catholic.  And I am more Protestant than Catholic without belonging to a communion descended from the era of the Protestant Reformation on the European mainland.  Anglicanism, with its Elizabethan origin, is the Via Media in Western Christianity.  And I acknowledge the historical connection to Roman Catholicism.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 18, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DELPHINUS OF BORDEAUX, AMANDUS OF BORDEAUX, SEVERINUS OF BORDEAUX, VENERIUS OF MILAN, AND CHROMATIUS OF AQUILEIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF ANSON DODGE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF BERNARD MIZEKI, ANGLICAN CATECHIST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF VERNARD ELLER, CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN THEOLOGIAN

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Saint John Plessington

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him with thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 714

Feast of Sts. Poemen, John the Dwarf, and Arsenius the Great (July 19)   3 comments

Above:  Egypt and Palestine in 395 Common Era

SAINT POEMEN (DIED CIRCA 450)

Roman Catholic Abbot

His feast transferred from August 27

mentor of

SAINT JOHN THE DWARF (BORN CIRCA 399)

Roman Catholic Monk

His feast transferred from October 17

mentor of

SAINT ARSENIUS THE GREAT (CIRCA 355-CIRCA 450)

Roman Catholic Monk

Each of these saints has a separate feast day on the Roman Catholic calendar, but to tell their collective story in one post makes much sense to me.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Our story begins with St. Poemen (died circa 450).  He and other hermits settled at Skete, in the Libyan desert.  In 408 Berber raids forced them to relocate.  So the hermits moved to the ruins of a pagan temple at Terenuthis, Egypt.  St. Poemen and Anubis, his brother, alternated as abbot until the latter died.  The saint loved austerity, insisted on the frequent taking of the Holy Eucharist, had a reputation for holiness, and uttered many pithy and wise sayings, for which he was famous.

St. Poemen mentored St. John the Dwarf (born circa 399).  Born into a poor family at Basta in Lower Egypt, St. John went into the desert while a young man.  There he met St. Poemen.  Initially conceited and short-tempered, St. John grew spiritually, became gentle and humble, and lived most of his life austerely.  Late in life he was so spiritually-minded as to be absent-minded.  St. John died at Mount Quolzum, where he had lived since Berber raids had forced him to leave Skete.

While preparing for this post I read that St. John was also a disciple of one St. Ammoes.  I can find no other information about this saint, certainly a holy hermit in the north African desert.  Undoubtedly his positive influence was evident in St. John’s spiritual maturation.

St. Arsenius the Great (circa 335-circa 450) tutored the Roman Emperors Arcadius (reigned in the East from 395 to 408) and Honorius (reigned in the West from 395 to 423), sons of Theodosius I “the Great” (reigned in the East from 379 to 395 and in the West from 392 to 395), for a decade.  Then he left Constantinople to live in a monastic community at Alexandria, Egypt.  From there he moved to Skete, where St. John the Dwarf taught him how to live a holy hermit.  St. Arsenius chose this life over the alternative, luxury.  Circa 434 Marizi tribal raids forced him to leave Skete.  So St. Arsenius moved to the rock of Troe, Memphis, Egypt, where he lived for a decade.  Later he spent time on the island of Canopus, near Alexandria, before returning to Troe, where he died.  St. Arsenius also wrote a commentary on the Gospel of Luke.

In the lives of these saints we see wisdom, holiness, humility, and erudition.  We also witness the opposite of materialism.  How much does one person need?  I can answer that question only for myself.  It is a question the answer to which I continue to seek.  And I encourage you, O reader, to seek your own answer with God’s help and direction.

Regardless of the personalized answer to that question, I am certain of one universal rule:  Rust, moths, and thieves cannot deprive us of intangible blessings.  St. Poemen, starting a chain reaction  of holiness, passed along such blessings. Maybe you, O reader, can identify someone who has blessed you intangibly.  And maybe you will bless others in the same way.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 18, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DELPHINUS OF BORDEAUX, AMANDUS OF BORDEAUX, SEVERINUS OF BORDEAUX, VENERIUS OF MILAN, AND CHROMATIUS OF AQUILEIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF ANSON DODGE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF BERNARD MIZEKI, ANGLICAN CATECHIST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF VERNARD ELLER, CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN THEOLOGIAN

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O God, by whose grace your servants

Saint Poemen,

Saint John the Dwarf, and

Saint Arsenius the Great,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light,

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

Feast of St. Nerses Lampronats (July 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, a.k.a. Little Armenia or Lesser Armenia (1198-1375)

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT NERSES LAMPRONATS (1153-1198)

Armenian Apostolic Archbishop of Tarsus

A brief tutorial of parts of Armenian history is essential.  This is hardly a comprehensive list of Armenian political stages to 1375, but it is what I have cobbled together with the help of the 1962 Encyclopedia Americana, the 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica, and Jeremy Black’s World History Atlas (London, UK:  Dorling Kindersley, 1999).

PERTAINING TO THE ARMENIAN HOMELAND

Territory of the Persian Empire (550-331 BCE)

Territory of the Macedonian Empire (331-323 BCE)

Territory of the Seleucid Empire (323-190 BCE)

Kingdom of (Greater) Armenia and states it subsumed (190 BCE-429 CE)

Roman-Sassanid Partition (387)

Territory of the Roman/Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire (387-641)

Territory of the Sassanid (Persian) Empire (387-641)

Territory of the Islamic Empire (641-885)

Kingdom of (Greater) Armenia–Bagratid Dynasty (885-1045)

Kingdom of Vaspurakan–Ardsrunid Dynasty (914-1022)

Territory of the Byzantine Empire (1045-1157)

Territory of the Great Seljuk (Turkish-Persian) Empire (1157-1235)

Mongolian Invasion and Conquest (1235)

PERTAINING TO CILICIA/LITTLE ARMENIA/LESSER ARMENIA

Founded by Refugees from Greater Armenia

Principality of Cilicia (1080-1198)

Kingdom of Cilicia (1198-1375)

Egyptian Mamluk Invasion and Conquest

Our story occurs in Ciclica/Little Armenia/Lesser Armenia.

St. Nerses Lampronats (1153-1198) came from Lampron, Cilicia.  Educated at Skeyra Monastery, he became a noted theologian, biblical scholar, and linguist expert in Greek, Coptic, Latin, and Syriac.  Ordained in 1169, after the death of his father, the saint lived as a hermit before becoming Archbishop of Tarsus in 1176.  He translated many texts into Armenian.  These texts included the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great and the Rule of St. Benedict of Nursia.  He also wrote hagiographies of desert saints, texts of hymns, treatises on liturgy, and commentaries on the Bible.

The saint favored the union of the Armenian Apostolic Church with the Roman Catholic Church.  He worked for that union for years, and died on July 14, 1198, six months after witnessing its culmination.  That union, more theoretical than actual, ended with the Mamluk invasion and the fall of the kingdom in 1375.

I like intellectual saints.  I recall one of my father’s parishioners in a rural southern Georgia (U.S.A.) United Methodist church.  (Please do not tar The United Methodist Church as a whole; the denomination is more progressive and intellectual than many of its members in the South Georgia Conference.)  This gentleman, over lunch at his house one day, criticized intellectuals in general.  Such intelligent people, he said, had a type of faith inferior to that of non-intellectuals, such as my host.  In other words, dummies have superior faith, according to this gentleman.  I said nothing.  I disagreed, of course, but I was a courteous lunch guest.

As an Episcopalian, I acknowledge the invaluable role of reason in faith life.  It is part of Richard Hooker’s Three-Legged Stool, which is really closer to a tricycle.  The human intellect is one element of the image of God.  If I am supposed to honor God with my whole being, that mandate includes my intellect.  To be blunt, the church is not supposed to be Holy Morons R Us, regardless of which see with whom is in communion.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 15, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

THE FEAST OF EVELYN UNDERHILL, ANGLICAN MYSTIC

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Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom,

and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Saint Nerses Lampronats,

and we pray that by his teaching we may be led a fuller knowledge of the truth

we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom of Solomon 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

Feast of St. Mary Magdalen Postel (July 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  The French Tricolor Flag, Which Flew Over the Saints’ Homeland for Most of Her Life

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MARY MAGDALEN POSTEL (NOVEMBER 28, 1756- JULY 17, 1846)

Founder of the Poor Daughters of Mercy

Julia Frances Catherine Postel  came from Barfleur, France.  Educated at the Volognes convent, she opened a girl’s school.  That school had to close during the French Revolution.  The Roman Catholic Church had supported the old royalist order, so the Church became a target for revolutionaries.  Sometimes innocents paid the price for the hierarchy’s support for an absolutist monarchy and an exploitative system.  During the Revolutionary period the saint sheltered fugitive priests (those who had not sworn loyalty to the First Republic).  Those fugitive priests celebrated Masses in her home.

The saint worked in religious education after the Concordat of 1801.  At Cherbourg, in 1807, she took the monastic name Mary Magdalen and founded the Poor Daughters of Mercy.  The order experienced difficulties and setbacks during its early years yet found stability in 1832.

As a holder of two undergraduate degrees in education I understand the value of a good education.  And, as one who has taught good Sunday School lessons and suffered through bad ones, I grasp the true worth of excellent religious education.  So I honor the saint, the first superior of the order she founded.  May her devotion to this cause inspire others in the same cause.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 15, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

THE FEAST OF EVELYN UNDERHILL, ANGLICAN MYSTIC

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Saint Mary Magdalen Postel,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

Feast of St. Eugenius of Carthage (July 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Kingdom of the Vandals in 526 Common Era

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT EUGENIUS OF CARTHAGE (DIED 505)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Carthage

The Vandals  were a Germanic tribe.  From their Latin name, Vandalus, we derive the English word “vandalism,” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition, defines as

willful or malicious destruction of public of private property.

The Vandals settled in the Iberian peninsula in 409 before establishing their north African kingdom in 429.  They were Arians, adherents to a Christological heresy.  They persecuted Roman Catholics in the realm at some times yet not at others.  When persecutions were in fashion, priests had to surrender their libraries and the crown left episcopal sees vacant.

In 481 King Huneric (reigned 477-184) permitted the election of St. Eugenius as Bishop of Carthage, filling a see left vacant for decades since the time of St. Deogratias (died 457)   At the end of his reign, however, Huneric began what the 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica described as a

fierce persecution,

(Volume 22, page 880)

plundering churches and exiling bishops.  Huneric deported St. Eugenius to the desert near Tripoli, where Anthony, an Arian bishop, tortured the saint.

Gontramund (reigned 484-496) succeeded his uncle Huneric.  In 488 the new king permitted exiled bishops (including St. Eugenius) to return and reopened closed churches.  Gontramund’s successor and brother, Thrasamund (reigned 496-523), practiced limited persecution of Roman Catholics.  “Limited,” in the case of St. Eugenius, meant that the monarch sentenced the bishop to death then commuted the sentence to exile.  The saint ended his days at a monastery near Albi, in the Langudeoc region of Gaul.

The rest of the story is that the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire conquered the Vandals in 534, enslaving most of the population and restoring Roman Catholic churches the Vandals had closed.

One should refrain from engaging in hysterics over public policy disagreements and calling them religious persecution.  There are documented degrees of severity of persecution in history, and public policy disagreements do not rise to even the lowest level of persecution.  To claim that they do trivializes persecution.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 13, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA  ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF GILBERT KEITH (G. K.) CHESTERTON, AUTHOR

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Lord God, you have surrounded us with so great a cloud of witnesses.

Grant that we [encouraged by the example of your servant Saint Eugenius of Carthage]

may persevere in the course that is set before us and, at the last,

share in your eternal joy with all the saints in light,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 9:1-10

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Luke 6:20-23

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

Feast of the Martyrs of Gorkum (July 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Hapsburg Empire in 1547

MARTYRED JULY 9, 1572

SAINT NICHOLAS PIECK

SAINT JEROME WEERDEN

SAINT ANTONY OF HOORNAER

SAINT ANTONY OF WEERT

SAINT THEODORE VAN DER EEM

SAINT GODEFRIED OF MERVEL

SAINT NICASIUS JANNSEN

SAINT ANTONY VAN WILLEHAD

SAINT CORNELIUS OF WYK

SAINT PETER OF ASSCHE

SAINT FRANCIS OF ROYE

SAINT LEONARDUS VECHEL

SAINT JEANNES LENARTE

SAINT NICHOLAS JANNSEN POPPEL

SAINT GODEFRIED VAN DUYNSEN

SAINT JOHANNES VAN HOORNAER

SAINT ADRIANUS JANSSEN

SAINT JACOBUS LUCOPS

SAINT ANDREAS WOUTERS

Authors of accounts of martyrs tend to focus on martyrs from their tradition.  So, on the Roman Catholic calendar, one finds names of Roman Catholics whom Protestants, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox killed.  Accordingly, Eastern Orthodox calendars contain names of Orthodox Christians whom Roman Catholics martyred.  Anglican calendars lead us  to accounts of good Anglicans whom Roman Catholics and some occasional Protestants killed.  And (especially old) Protestant sources are as prone to anti-Roman Catholicism as old Roman Catholic sources are to hysterics over the existence of Protestantism, and therefore to institutional defensiveness.  If, in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Gentile, then neither are there Protestants or Anglicans or Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox; such divisions prove irrelevant in Christ.  So a Christian martyr is a Christian martyr first and foremost on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Today I add the Martyrs of Gorkum, or Gorinchem, Holland.  Some historical background is essential.  Holland was a Hapsburg domain under Spanish rule in 1572.  The Eighty Years’ War, which ended in Dutch independence, had begun four years earlier.  The Holland of 1572 consisted of the modern-day Kingdoms of Belgium and The Netherlands.  Our story is set in The Netherlands part of Holland.  There was no separation of religion and politics.  Most Dutch (at least the non-Belgian ones) were Calvinists, and the Hapsburg rulers were Roman Catholics.

St. Nicholas Pieck was the Guardian of the Observant (really strict) Franciscan house at Gorkum.  Most of the other Martyrs of Gorkum came from that house; priests from nearby communities also became victims of the violence.  Of most of these saints we have only glowingly positive accounts.  Then there is St. Andreas Wouters, of whom the Catholic Encyclopedia says

…whose conduct was not edifying up to the time of his arrest, but who made ample amends by his martyrdom.

All nineteen saints experienced tortures for their faith and refused the same offer of freedom in exchange for abandoning their faith.  And all nineteen died on the grounds of a deserted monastery on the outskirts of Brielle.  Thus Calvinists made more Roman Catholic martyrs.

I have a shirt which reads,

WHO WOULD JESUS BOMB?

I know, it should read,

WHOM WOULD JESUS BOMB?

I wonder,

WHOM WOULD JESUS MARTYR?

And why do people who profess to follow him martyr others who make the same profession of faith?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 5, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONIFACE OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of the Martyrs of Gorkum,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

Posted June 5, 2012 by neatnik2009 in July 9, Saints of 1560-1579

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