A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Xiǎomǎn (Xiao Man, Shōman, Tiểu mãn, Lesser Fullness of Grains, Fullness of Rivers). The traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms (Jieqi) and Xiao Man is the 8th of these, between the celestial longitudes of 60° and 75° and to 5 June GMT on the Gregorian calendar. The 2nd term of summer, it has different definitions in different parts of China. North China interprets Lesser Fullness of Grains as describing the kernels of summer grains and crops that have started to plump, but have not yet matured. In South China, Fullness of Rivers usually refers to the increasing flow in rivers and waterfalls, as the weather during Xiao Man is humid with heavy rainfall. Each solar term is associated with 3 pentads (groups of 5) and those for Xiao Man describe 3 plant conditions. During Xiao Man, the Chinese bitter-sweet seasonal vegetable ixeris is eaten and some vines and grasses that prefer cool weather begin to wither in the intense sunlight as summer crops mature. Image: travelchinaguide.com.
St Helena (Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta) (c248-c328). Eastern Orthodox Feast Day for and Lutheran Commemoration of noble Turkish Christian convert who was the mother of the Emperor Constantine the Great. In 327, Helena travelled to Palestine on an official inspection for her son of the construction of churches that he had ordered and she discovered the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified, which became a famous relic. Other relics she found were nails from the crucifixion and a tunic worn by Jesus before His crucifixion. Helena had the Roman temple in Jerusalem where the Cross was found demolished and replaced by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. She also ordered the building of a church at the location identified as that of Moses’ burning bush. Her palace in Rome was converted into the Basilica of the Holy Cross Jerusalem, one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome, to house the relics of the Passion of Jesus Christ brought to Rome from the Holy Land by Empress Helena. At that time, the Basilica’s floor was covered with soil from Jerusalem, thus acquiring for it the dedication of in Hierusalem. Helena died in Trier and was buried in a mausoleum near the Basilica of St Peter and St Marcellinus near Rome, built on land granted to Helena before Constantine was Emperor. Some of her bones were sent as relics to other locations. St Helena was a popular saint in medieval Europe, with many legends told about her life, and she was considered a model for a good Christian woman ruler. Venerated in Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. Feast Day in Roman Catholic Church 19 August. Image: santosepolcro.va.
St Godric (Godric of Finchale) (c1065-1170). Feast Day commemorating the death of the humble Norfolk merchant who, after years at sea, went to the island of Lindisfarne and there had a vision of St Cuthbert that changed his life and led to him devoting himself to Christianity and the service of God. After many pilgrimages around the Mediterranean, Godric returned to England and lived with an elderly hermit for 2 years. After making one last pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Godric returned home and served as doorkeeper, the lowest of the minor orders, at the church of St Giles’ Hospital in Durham. He was then granted by the Bishop of Durham a place to live as a hermit at Finchale, County Durham, for the final 60 years of his life, occasionally meeting with visitors approved by the local Prior. As the years passed, Godric’s reputation grew, and many sought his advice as a wise and holy man. St Godric is best remembered for his kindness toward animals, and many stories recall his protection of the creatures that lived near to his forest home. 4 songs of St Godric’s are the oldest in English for which the original musical settings survive. Godric died at Finchale. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church. Image: twitter.com.