Archive for the ‘St. Antony of Egypt’ Tag

Feast of St. Pambo of Nitria, His Proteges and Their Associates, St. Melania the Elder, and Her Family (November 8)   2 comments

Above:  The Eastern Roman Empire

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

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SAINT PAMBO OF NITRIA (DIED CIRCA 375)

Desert Father

Also known as Saint Pambo of the Nitrian Desert

His feast transferred from July 18

mentor of

SAINT AMMONIUS OF SKETE (DIED CIRCA 403)

Desert Father

His feast = November 8

teacher of

EVAGRIUS OF PONTUS (345-399)

Monk, Theologian, and Deacon

Also known as Evagrius Ponticus and Evagrius the Solitary

teacher of

PALLADIUS OF GALATIA (363/364-420/430)

Monk, and Bishop of Helenopolis

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SAINT DIDYMUS THE BLIND (CIRCA 313-398)

Biblical Scholar

His feast transferred from October 18

teacher of 

SAINT RUFINUS OF AQUILEIA (344/345-411)

Monk and Priest

His feast transferred from October 1

ordained by

SAINT JOHN II (CIRCA 356-JANUARY 10, 417)

Bishop of Jerusalem

His feast transferred from January 10

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SAINT MACARIUS OF EGYPT (CIRCA 300-391)

Desert Father

Also known as Saint Macarius the Great and Saint Macarius the Elder

His feast transferred from January 15, January 19, and April 4

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SAINT MACARIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (CIRCA 300-395)

Desert Father

Also known as Saint Macarius the Younger

His feast transferred from January 19 and May 1

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SAINT PISHOY (320-JULY 15, 417)

Desert Father

Also known as Saint Bishoy

His feast transferred from June 19

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SAINT MELANIA THE ELDER (325-410/417)

Desert Mother

Her feast transferred from June 8

grandmother of

SAINT MELANIA THE YOUNGER (CIRCA 383-DECEMBER 31, 439)

Desert Mother

Her feast transferred from December 31

wife of

SAINT PINIAN (DIED IN 420)

Monk

His feast transferred from December 31

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The genesis of this post was the listing of St. Ammonius (of Skete) [feast day = November 8] in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018.  One connection led to another until I had thirteen saints, not including some I had added to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days already.

St. Pambo of Nitria

Above:  St. Pambo of Nitria

Image in the Public Domain

St. Pambo of Nitria (died circa 375) was an influential spiritual figure.  He, a disciple of St. Antony of Egypt (d. 356), founded a monastery in the Nitrian Desert of Egypt.  St. Pambo advised, among others, St. Rufinus of Aquileia, St. Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 295-373), St. Melania the Elder, St. Pishoy, St. John the Dwarf (c. 339-c. 405), and St. Ammonius of Skete and his brothers.  St. Pambo died in the company of St. Melania the Elder.

St. Ammonius of Skete (died circa 403), one of a host of saints named “Ammonius,” was one of four brothers who became hermits under St. Pambo in the Nitrian Desert.  Prior to becoming a hermit, St. Ammonius had memorized much of the Old and New Testaments and mastered much of the work of early Christian theologians.  Our saint, a popular spiritual director, taught Evagrius of Pontus, befriended St. John Chrysostom, and knew St. Melania the Elder.  Two of the brothers of St. Ammonius became priests.  A third brother, Dioscorus, became the Bishop of Hermopolis.  St. Ammonius, nearly drafted into the episcopate, protested so vehemently that he remained a monk.  He died circa 403, while visiting Chrysostom.

Evagrius of Pontus, born in Ibora, Asia Minor, in 345, struggled with vanity and lust.  He grew up in a Christian family and studied in Neocaesarea.  His teachers over time included Origen, St. Macarius of Alexandria, St. Macarius of Egypt, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nazianzus the Younger, St. Melania the Elder, and St. Ammonius of Skete.  St. Basil the Great ordained Evagrius a lector.  In Constantinople, in 380, St. Gregory of Nazainzus the Younger ordained our saint to the diaconate.  The following year, Evagrious participated in the First Council of Constantinople, which revised the Nicene Creed.  Evagrius, struggling with vanity and lust, visited St. Rufinus of Aquileia and St. Melania the Elder in Jerusalem; she advised him to become a monk.  He did, in Jerusalem in 383.  Two years later, Evagrius moved to the Nitrian Desert. Eventually he relocated to Kellia.  Our saint, who taught St. John Cassian and Palladius of Galatia, created a list of eight evils–the antecedent of the Seven Deadly Sins.  He died in Kellia, Egypt, in 399.

Palladius of Galatia (363/364-420/430) wrote of the Desert Fathers.  His Lausaic History (419-420), the archive of the Desert Fathers, has preserved their wisdom for posterity.  Palladius, a disciple of St. John Chrysostom, sided with his teacher in imperial disputes.  Our saint, a monk from 386, was a monk with Evagrius of Pontus and St. Macarius of Alexandria for nine years.  Later, for health-related reasons, Palladius moved to Palestine.  In 400 he became the Bishop of Helenopolis.  Political exile filled 406-412, but our saint returned to his see in 412/413.

St. Didymus the Blind (circa 313-398) was of the school of Origen in Alexandria, Egypt.  St. Didymus, orthodox (at least according tot he standards of his time; human theological orthodoxy shifts sometimes) wrote commentaries on the Bible and on the theology of his teacher, Origen.  The blind ascetic taught St. Rufinus of Aquileia and St. Jerome, who later had harsh words for Origen and Origenists.  St. Didymus also developed a system to help blind people read.

St. Rufinus of Aquileia, born near Aquileia in 344/345, became a monk.  He, raised in Christian family, was a monk in Aquileia in 370, wheen he met St. Jerome.  St. Rufinus studied under St. Didymus the Blind in Alexandria from 373 to 380.  St. Rufinus followed St. Melania the Elder to Jerusalem in 380.  She financed the founding of his new monastery, located on the Mount of Olives.  St. Rufinus studied Greek theology in that monastery.  He resumed his friendship with St. Jerome in 386.  Four years later, St. John II (circa 356-January 10, 417), the Bishop of Jerusalem, ordained St. Rufinus to the priesthood.

The renewed friendship with St. Jerome ended due to the Origenist dispute.  Origen was orthodox, according to the theological standards of his time, but theologians subsequently redefined orthodoxy.  This process made him a heretic ex post factoSt. Jerome, an argumentative individual, lambasted Origen, Origenists, and Origenism.  Two of his targets were St. Rufinus of Alexandria and St. John II of Jerusalem, starting in 394.

St. Rufinus, marginalized in ecclesiastical circles because of his defense of Origen, resided in Italy from 397 to 408.  He, St. Melania the Younger, and St. Pinian fled to Sicily, due to the invasion of Alaric, as the Western Roman Empire crumbled.  St. Rufinus died in Sicily in 411.

St. Macarius of Egypt

Above:  St. Macarius of Egypt

Image in the Public Domain

The two St. Macariuses were a team.  St. Macarius of Egypt/the Great/the Elder, born in Shabshear, Lower Egypt, circa 300, eventually found his vocation.  The erstwhile saltpeter smuggler had married because his parents wanted him to do so.  The union was brief; his wife died.  Then our saint’s parents  died.  St. Macarius the Elder gave his money to the poor and became a priest.  Later he visited St. Antony the Great in the desert, and became a monk.  At the age of 40 years, St. Macarius became the abbot at Skete.

St. Macarius the Younger/of Alexandria, born in Alexandria, Egypt, circa 300, found his vocation in mid-life.  He, a merchant until he was 40 years old, accepted baptism and became an ascetic in the desert.  He, ordained to the priesthood became the prior of a monastery between Nitria and Skete.  One influence on St. Macarius the Younger was St. Pachomius the Great (292-346/348), the Founder of Christian Communal Monasticism.

In the fourth century C.E., Roman imperial politics was, for a time, inseparable from the conflict between Arians and orthodox Christians.  The Emperor Valens (reigned 364-378), an Arian, exiled the two St. Macariuses to an island in the Nile River.  They evangelized the inhabitants.  Our saints returned to the Nitrian Desert when the political situation changed.  Two of the people who greeted them were St. John the Dwarf and St. Pishoy.

St. Macarius the Elder died in 391.

St. Macarius the Younger in 395.

St. Pishoy, born in Shansa, Egypt, in 320, was another disciple of St. Pambo of Nitria.  St. Pishoy, raised in a Christian home, became a monk under St. Pambo at the age of 20 years.  St. John the Dwarf ordained St. Pishoy, who became a hermit in 375, after St. Pambo died.  St. Pishoy, known for his wisdom, kindness, and orthodoxy, founded a monastery at Skete.  The Berber invasion forced him to move in 408.  St. Pishoy founded a new monastery on the Mountains of Ansena, in Egypt.  He died there on July 15, 417.

St. Melania the Elder

Above:  St. Melania the Elder

Image in the Public Domain

St. Melania the Elder (born in 325), whose life intersected with many other lives, came from an extremely wealthy family.  They owned estates throughout the Roman Empire.  Her father, Marcellinus, married her off when she was 14 years old.  St. Melania the Elder’s husband was Valerius Maximus Basilius (circa 330-after 364), the Proconsul of Achaea (361-363).  He and two of their three children died when St. Melania the Elder was 22 years old.  She and her remaining son, Valerius Publicola, moved to Rome.  St. Melania the Elder converted to Christianity and raised her son as a Christian.

St. Melania the Elder, aged 32 years, left her son in the care of a guardian and took servants with her to Nitria, where she visited for a few months.  She became a traveling student of theology and patron of monasticism.  In 373, for example, St. Melania the Elder provided financial support for the orthodox monks exiled to Diocaesarea.  She and St. Rufinus of Aquileia settled in Jerusalem in 380.  There St. Melania the Elder financed a convent, where she lived, as well as a monastery, for St. Rufinus.

St. Melania the Elder, a cousin of St. Paulinus of Nola, was also an Origenist.  St. Jerome did not spare her from his poison pen.

St. Melania the Younger

Above:  St. Melania the Younger

Image in the Public Domain

Valerius Publicus (died in 406) grew up and had a family in Rome.  He married Caeionia Albinus, daughter of a consul.  They had a daughter, St. Melania the Younger, born in 383.  At the age of 14 years she married a cousin, Valerius Pinanus, a.k.a. St. Pinian (died in 420).  They were an extremely wealthy couple.  After their two children died young, Sts. Melania the Younger and Pinian embarked on lives of celibacy.

St. Melania the Elder, visiting her family in Rome circa 400, influenced her granddaughter to follow her back to Jerusalem.  Sts. Melania the Younger and Pinian moved, donated generously to the Church and the poor, and eventually became monastics in Messina, Sicily, starting in 408.  As Sts. Melania the Younger, Pinian, and Rufinus of Aquileia had fled Itlay because of the invasion of Alaric, as the Western Roman Empire crumbled.  Sts. Melania the Younger and Pinian were on Sicily until 410.  That year they met and befriended St. Augustine of Hippo, and mutually founded a convent in northern Africa, with St. Melania the Younger serving as the Mother Superior.

After St. Melania the Elder died in 410/417, Sts. Melania the Younger and Pinian relocated to Palestine, where they founded another convent.  St. Pinian died in 420.  Afterward, St. Melania the Younger founded another monastery and church in Jerusalem.

She died in that city on December 31, 439.

Thank you, O reader, for taking his multi-saint journey through holiness with me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE

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O God, by whose grace your servants

Saint Pambo of Nitria,

Saint Ammonius of Skete,

Evagrius of Pontus,

Palladius of Galatia,

Saint Didymus the Blind,

Saint Rufinus of Aquileia,

Saint John II of Jerusalem,

Saint Macarius the Elder,

Saint Macarius the Younger,

Saint Pishoy,

Saint Melania the Elder,

Saint Melania the Younger,

and Saint Pinian,

became burning and shining lights 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

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 723

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Feast of St. Antony of Egypt (January 17)   2 comments

stanthony

Above:  Icon of St. Antony

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ANTONY OF EGYPT (251-356)

Roman Catholic Abbot and Father of Western Monasticism

Also known as St. Anthony of Egypt, St. Anthony of the Desert, St. Anthony the Great, et cetera

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Let us not look back upon the world and fancy we have given up great things.  For the whole earth is a very little thing compared with the whole of heaven.

–St. Antony, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 34

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Asceticism is a vocation from God.  It, like other divine vocations, is not universal.  Asceticism has helped many people deal effectively with their idolatry related to physical and psychological attachments and appetites.  For others, however, it has not proven proper or useful.  So be it.

Asceticism was among the vocations of St. Antony of Egypt.  He came from a wealthy Christian family at Heracleas, near Memphis, Egypt, in 251.  St. Antony’s parents died when he was 18 or 20 years old, leaving him as the heir to a fortune and as his sister’s guardian.  Eventually, in church, he heard the gospel story in which Jesus told the rich young ruler, “Go sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”  Our saint took this message to heart and acted on it, leaving just enough to meet his needs and those of his sister.  Years later he felt guilty for doing that much, given the biblical injunction not to be anxious about tomorrow.  At the age of 35 years St. Antony sold the rest of his possessions and gave himself to God.  His sister entered a convent (and eventually became an abbess) and he went off to live in the desert–to be precise, in a series of caves, huts, and cemeteries.  Our saint, a hermit for 20 years, survived the risks of wildlife and rejected temptations, such as wine, women, food, and indolence.  He remained healthy, living to the ripe old age of 105 years.

St. Antony ceased to be a hermit and became an abbot.  Not only did monks gather around him, but pilgrims came to him for spiritual guidance.  At Mount Kolzim, near the northwestern corner of the Red Sea, our saint was a magnet for those seeking to be near a holy man.  St. Antony, who encouraged Christians suffering under the persecution of Maximinus II Daia (reigned 305-313), was so removed from the priorities of the world that, when he received a letter from Constantine I “the Great” (reigned 306-337), he was not impressed.  In his final years St. Antony condemned the Arian heresy.

He died at Mount Kolzim in 356.  Our saint’s biography has come to us courtesy of St. Athanasius of Alexandria (296-373), author of the Life of Antony.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 20, 2016 COMMON ERA

PROPER 29:  THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING

THE FEAST OF RICHARD WATSON GILDER, U.S. POET, JOURNALIST, AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF HENRY FRANCIS LYTE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PRISCILLA LYDIA SELLON, A RESTORER OF RELIGIOUS LIFE IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

THE FEAST OF THEODORE CLAUDIUS PEASE, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, by your Holy Spirit you enabled your servant Antony

to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil:

Give us grace, with pure hearts and minds, to follow you, the only God;

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

and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 61:1-3

Psalm 139:1-9 or 139:1-17

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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Feast of Richard Meux Benson, Charles Chapman Grafton, and Charles Gore (January 16)   1 comment

Anglican Communion

Above:  The Flag of the Anglican Communion

Image in the Public Domain

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Benson

Image in the Public Domain

RICHARD MEUX BENSON (JULY 6, 1824-JANUARY 14, 1915)

Anglican Priest and Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Evangelist

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Grafton

Image in the Public Domain

CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON (APRIL 12, 1830-AUGUST 30, 1912)

Episcopal Priest, Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Baptist, and Bishop of Fond du Lac

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Gore

Image in the Public Domain

CHARLES GORE (JANUARY 22, 1853-JANUARY 17, 1932)

Anglican Bishop of Worcester, Birmingham, and Oxford; Founder of the Community of the Resurrection; Theologian; and Advocate for Social Justice and World Peace

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PROLOGUE

January 16  and 17 seem to be auspicious days for celebrating founders of monastic orders.  So far the list has consisted of St. Antony of Egypt and St. Pachomius the Great.  With this post I remain within the theme yet depart antiquity for the 1800s.  Richard Meux Benson, Charles Chapman Grafton, and Charles Gore join the company of saints at this weblog.  The Church of England celebrates Gore’s life on January 17.  The Episcopal Church celebrates the lives of Gore and Benson on January 16 and the life of Grafton on August 30.  I have decided to follow the Episcopalian practice of joining Benson and Gore on January 16 and to depart from the Episcopalian practice of commemorating Grafton on August 30.  A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is my project–one of my hobbies–so I have full authority with regard to it.

RICHARD MEUX BENSON, PART I

This composite account begins with Richard Meux Benson, born to a wealthy family in London, England, the United Kingdom, on July 6, 1824.  He, tutored privately at home for years, went on to attend Christ Church, Oxford, where he met to major influences, the Tractarians Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882) and John Henry Newman (1801-1890).  Our saint graduated with his B.A. in 1847 and his M.A. two years later.  Benson took Anglican Holy Orders in 1849, served briefly as the Curate of St. Mark’s, Surbiton (1849-1850), then became the Vicar of Cowley, Oxford (1850-1886).  In 1865, at Cowley, he, along with two other priests, founded the Mission Priests of St. John the Evangelist, which became the Society of St. John the Evangelist (S.S.J.E.) the following year.  The S.S.J.E. became the first stable Anglican religious order for men founded since the English Reformation.  Members, who were active in the outside world, lived communally, recited the Divine Office together daily, meditated privately at least one hour daily when possible, and spent designated days on spiritual retreats and in silence.

CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON, PART I

The two cofounders of the S.S.J.E. were Father Simeon Wilberforce O’Neill and Father Charles Chapman Grafton.  The latter, a native of the United States, had started his sojourn in England.  Grafton, born to a wealthy family in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 12, 1830, had entered the ordained life after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1853.  He, after studying with the Right Reverend William Rollinson Whittingham, the Bishop of Maryland from 1840 to 1879, entered the Sacred Order of Deacons on December 23, 1855.  Grafton served at Reisterstown, Maryland, for a few years.  He became a priest on May 30, 1858.  Next he served as the Curate of St. Paul’s Church, Baltimore, and as the Chaplain of Deaconesses in the Diocese of Maryland.  Our saint lived in England from 1865 to 1872.

RICHARD MEUX BENSON, PART II

Benson served at Cowley until 1886, when he resigned to devote his full attention to the S.S.J.E.  From 1870 to 1883 the order spread to the United States, India, and South Africa.  Our saint wrote the rule for the order, the Superior of which he remained until 1890.  Afterward he traveled the world for a few years.  Benson spent a year in India then eight years in Boston.  He spent the Lent of 1895 preaching and teaching in parishes in Baltimore, despite the fact that his high churchmanship  had prompted critical comments by William Paret, the Bishop of Maryland from 1884 to 1911.  Benson returned to England, where he remained for the last 16 years of his life.  He took communion every morning.  When he could no longer walk to take communion, someone pushed him in a wheelchair.  Benson died on January 14, 1915.

Benson wrote much.  Searches at archive.org yielded the following results:

CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON, PART II

Grafton returned to the United States in 1872.  He became the Rector of the Church of the Advent, Boston, Massachusetts, an Anglo-Catholic parish.  Grafton also left the S.S.J.E. due to a jurisdictional dispute regarding Benson.  Grafton did, however, help to found the American Congregation of St. Benedict, now the Benedictine Order of St. John the Beloved.  Then, in 1888, he, with Mother Ruth Margaret, founded the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity.

In 1888 the Diocese of Fond du Lac elected Grafton to become its bishop.  The consecration occurred on August 25, 1889.  Bishop Grafton expanded the diocese.  He did this via two financial channels–his wealth and the wealth of people in the East whom he persuaded to contribute.  Nevertheless, perhaps Grafton’s most memorable moment occurred in 1900, at the consecration of Bishop Coadjutor Reginald Heber Weller.  Grafton, an ecumenist with strong interest in ties to Old Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, invited distinguished guests to participate in the consecration of Bishop Weller.  Bishop Antoni Kazlowski of the Polish National Catholic Church and Bishop Tikhon (now St. Tikhon) of the Russian Orthodox Church joined Episcopal bishops in the conscration of Weller.  The ecumenical breadth of bishops offended many Protestant-minded Episcopalians, who also objected to the photograph of all the bishops in full episcopal regalia.  The sight of Episcopal bishops in copes and mitres was a cause of much ecclesiastical controversy.  In time the scandal of the “Fond du Lac Circus” died down.

Grafton died on August 30, 1912.  Two years later Cathedral Editions of his complete works (Volumes I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII) debuted in print.

CHARLES GORE

Charles Gore was sui generis–of his own kind.  He was a liberal–a social radical, even–yet many theological radicals considered him to be too conservative.  Gore valued tradition yet many traditionalists thought he was too liberal.  He was an Anglo-Catholic yet many Anglo-Catholics considered him to be insufficiently Anglo-Catholic.  Others expected him to fit into a round hole, but he was a gloriously square peg.

Gore, a native of Wimbledon, London, the United Kingdom, came from a privileged family.  His privilege continued as he studied at Harrow then at Baillol College, Oxford.  In 1875 he became a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford.  He, a deacon in 1876 and a priest in 1878, served as the Vice Principal of the theological school at Cuddesdon from 1880 to 1883.  Next he was the first Principal of Pusey House, Oxford, from 1884 to 1893.

Gore was a popular preacher.  He served as the Incumbent of Radley from 1893 to 1894 before becoming the Canon of Westminster in 1894.  Sundays on which he preached were much-anticipated days for many people.

In 1887 Gore founded the Society of the Resurrection, which became the Community of the Resurrection five years later.  The new order started with six priests, and our saint served as the first Superior (1892-1901).

Gore became a bishop in 1902.  He served as the Bishop of Worcester (1902-1905), the Bishop of Birmingham (1895-1911), and the Bishop of Oxford (1911-1919).  He retired to London in 1919.  Our saint wrote and preached a great deal, lectured at King’s College, and served as the Dean of the theological faculty of London University (1924-1928).  He died of pneumonia on January 17, 1932, after returning from a trip to India.  Gore was 78 years old.

Gore’s theology included much room for ambiguity.  He embraced higher criticism of the Bible, allowing for the realities of science and history, yet he insisted on the veracity of biblical miracles and the truth of the Church’s ancient creeds.  Nevertheless, some traditionalists questioned our saint’s Christology, especially when he argued that Jesus, as God incarnate, had taken on human limitations to his knowledge.

Gore favored a reasoning faith, a synthesis of critical reason and Christian faith.  He called this synthesis liberal Catholicism.  (Note the lowercase “l” in “liberal,” O reader, for that is crucial.  There is such a thing as Liberal Catholicism, with strong Theosophical influences.  Gore was hardly a Theosophist.)  Gore’s liberal Catholicism included defenses of apostolic succession and support for tradition.  It did not, however, follow tradition blindly, for it accommodated reason, science, and history.  As Ross Mackenzie wrote of our saint in the Christian Passages section of The Episcopal Church’s Education for Ministry, Year Three (1991),

Catholicism meant for him the establishment of a visible society that is the home of salvation.  But it must be a liberal Catholicism, appealing to scripture, antiquity, and reason in its concern for liberty, equality, and fraternity, “real expressions,” he said, “of the divine wisdom for today.”

–Page 493

This Social Gospel aspect of Gore’s theology found expression regarding many issues.  Sound theology, he insisted, must translate into positive social action.  In 1889 he helped to found the Christian Social Union, an outgrowth of Tractarian social concern.  Gore criticized imperialism, including that of his own nation-state.  He also advocated for international reconciliation after World War I.  The passage of time has confirmed that Germany suffered due to the ravages of the Great War and to vengeful treaty provisions, leading to high levels of resentment.  Nazis fed off that sense of grievance as well as other factors.  The article of the article on Gore in Volume 10 of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1968) noted our saint’s concern with social issues such as housing, education, world peace, and industrial relations.  That author wrote that this concern flowed from Gore’s

fundamental theological conviction of the unity of grace and nature in the divine purpose.  From this premise he concluded that his pastoral office demanded the broadest concern for human welfare as well as watchful care for the good order of the church.

–Page 583

Many works by Gore and some about him came to my attention when I searched at archive.org, my favorite website.  I have divided these works into categories, the first of which is original works by Gore:

The second category is works to which Gore contributed:

The third category is books Gore edited:

The fourth category is works in which another person edited Gore’s words:

Finally, in its own category is a response to Gore:

EPILOGUE

The Synoptic Gospels tell a story about a wealthy young man.  In Mark 10:17-3, Matthew 19:16-30, and Luke 18:18-30, a rich young man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.  According to our Lord and Savior, this young man, who has kept certain commandments religiously, lacks one thing:

Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.

–Luke 18:22b, Revised Standard Version–Catholic Edition (1966)

The young man leaves a sorrowful person, for he trusts in his wealth, not in God.

Richard Meux Benson, Charles Chapman Grafton, and Charles Gore came from backgrounds of economic privilege, but did not trust in that privilege.  No, they trusted in God.  They cared about the problems of the less fortunate and of those near and far, and acted accordingly.  They built up the Church, for the glory of God.  They were trees which produced good fruit.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 11, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAPHNUTIUS THE GREAT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF UPPER THEBAID

THE FEAST OF NARAYAN SESHADRI OF JALNA, INDIAN PRESBYTERIAN EVANGELIST AND “APOSTLE TO THE MANGS”

THE FEAST OF SAINT PATIENS OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

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Gracious God, you have inspired a rich variety of ministries in your Church:

We give you thanks for Richard Meux Benson, Charles Chapman Grafton, and Charles Gore,

instruments in the revival of Anglican monasticism.

Grant that we, following their example,

may call for perennial renewal in your Church through conscious union with Christ,

witnessing to the social justice that is a mark of the reign of our Savior Jesus,

who is the light of the world; and who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Kings 19:9-12

Psalm 27:5-11

1 John 4:7-12

John 17:6-11

–Altered from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 171

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Feast of St. Pachomius the Great (January 16)   1 comment

Pachomius

Above:  St. Pachomius the Great

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT PACHOMIUS THE GREAT (292-MAY 14, 346/348)

Founder of Christian Communal Monasticism

St. Pachomius the Great has several feast days–May 15 in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, May 9 in the Roman Catholic Church, and January 17 in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.  The January 16 date seems to pertain to St. Antony of Egypt (died in 356), whose feast falls on January 17.  He founded the hermetic form of Christian monasticism, but his contemporary, St. Pachomius, founded communal Christian monasticism. I have transferred his the Feast of St. Pachomius the Great to January 16, for I have booked January 17 fully.

St. Pachomius converted to Christianity.  The native of Upper Thebaid, Egypt, grew up a pagan.  At the age of 20 or 21 years he entered the Roman Army quite unhappily.  Military life was not our saint’s vocation.  During his time in the Army, however, he spent time in Thebes, where some Christians extended kindness to him.  After his discharge from the military (about 314) our saint became a baptized Christian.

Our saint’s life as a monk filled most of his life.  Immediately he became a disciple of Palemon, an anchorite in the tradition of St. Antony of Egypt.  Palemon and St. Antony of Egypt lived austerely at Tabennisi, on the banks of the Nile River, performing manual labor and praying ceaselessly.  After several years our saint perceived a vocation to found a monastery.  Palemon helped our saint to build the first cell at Tabennisi in 318.  Soon about 100 monks (including John, a brother of our saint) and a number of nuns (including a sister of our saint) joined the new order.  When St. Pachomius died on May 14, 346, the order had eleven monasteries and two convents.  He had written an influential monastic rule, one from which St. Basil the Great (died in 379) and St. Benedict of Nursia (died circa 540) incorporated much of that rule into their rules.

Our saint’s order survived into the eleventh century.  Members of the order lived austerely, fasting and obeying a rule of silence much of the time.  (They were excellent mimes.)   They also sang psalms often while working.  Among their duties were caring for the sick.

Thus monasticism, which has contributed to Western civilization, began.  For centuries monks and nuns have devoted themselves to devoted themselves to seek worthy pursuits such as education, scholarship, health care, child care, and intercessory prayer.  May nobody doubt the value of the monastic life.  Even hermits, such as St. Antony of Egypt, have become magnets for people seeking spiritual advice.  The world would be much worse off without the contributions of monks and nuns.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 8, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SHEPHERD KNAPP, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GOTTFRIED WILHELM SACER, GERMAN LUTHERAN ATTORNEY AND HYMN WRITER; AND FRANCES ELIZABETH COX, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN DUCKETT AND RALPH CORBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS IN ENGLAND

THE FEAST OF NIKOLAI GRUNDTVIG, HYMN WRITER

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O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant, St. Pachomius the Great,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

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.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

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Feast of St. Paphnutius the Great (September 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Trinitarian Symbol

SAINT PAPHNUTIUS THE GREAT (DIED CIRCA 350)

Also known as Saint Paphnutius the Confessor and Saint Paphnutius of Thebes

Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Thebaid

Diocletian‘s Tetrarchy was still in effect in 306, when Constantine I “the Great” (reigned 306-337) became Augustus of the West.  From 310 to 313 his eastern counterpart was Mamiminus II Daia.  Reports of Constantine’s Christianity were greatly exaggerated, but Maximinus Daia was an unapologetic pagan and a severe persecutor of Christianity.  He, for example, required everyone in the eastern part of the Roman Empire to attend public sacrifices and to eat flesh of the sacrificial beasts.  And if one refused….Eusebius, in his great Ecclesiastical History, wrote of some of the faithful who became martyrs.  And others did not die yet suffered severely.  St. Paphnutius, for example was an Egyptian monk (under St. Anthony/Antony) who had become Bishop of Upper Thebaid.  His sentence was blinding in the right eye followed by hard labor in a mine.

In 313 Constantine I, as senior Augustus, pulled rank and ordered Maximinus II Daia to cease the persecution of Christians.  The junior Augustus obeyed reluctantly.  He knew what Constantine I did:  the future lay with the Church.  And although Constantine I was an opportunist who hitched the wagon of the Roman Empire to that star, Maximinus II Daia tried to resist the future.  That same year the junior Augustus died.  And his successor, Licinius, granted religious freedom to Christians in the East.

St. Paphnutius, released from the mine, became an ardent opponent of Arianism.  He also attended the Council of Nicaea (325), persuading the majority of his fellow bishops to permit married men to receive Holy Orders as priests and bishops although he opposed any post-ordination weddings.

Aside:  Follow this link to read my thoughts on sexual continence among the clergy.

I read accounts of saints such as St. Paphnutius and wonder how much I would be willing to suffer for Christ.  I am not nearly as courageous, I suspect.  Yet I have been fortunate, for nobody has put me to the test.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 20, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN II OF ANTIOCH AND ELIAS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCHS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANSEGIUS OF FONTANELLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, AMELIA BLOOMER, SOJOURNER TRUTH, AND HARRIET ROSS TUBMAN, WITNESSES TO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS AND WOMEN

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Saint Paphnutius the Great,

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. Serapion of Thmuis (March 21)   1 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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