A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Fravardin Mah Parab. Annual celebration on the day of the Fravashis (guardian spirits and souls of the community) Fravardin, the 19th day of the month of Farvardin (فروردین), the first month of the year 3759 in the Shahanshahi calendar. Zoroastrian Parsees visit a dakhma (دخمه) Tower of Silence circular, raised ossuary built in India for excarnation, or the Zoroastrian Cemetery in Brookwood, Surrey. The latter also has landscaped areas with burial plots for other faiths, including the Ahmadiyya, Ismailis and other Shi’as. The 2,000-acre Brookwood London metropolitan cemetery was established for the London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company and the London and South Western Railway made daily burial trips from a private Westminster Bridge Road, Waterloo station from 1854 until 1941, when both the special train and the station were hit during an air raid. Zoroastrians participate in a jashan worship ceremony in memory of the departed fravashis in this month of good fortune. Sacred food is prepared as an offering to the departed during the jashan, for sharing with the participants. Image: zorastrians.net.
Beato Bartolomé Gutiérrez Rodríguez (Blessed Bartolomé Gutiérrez Rodríguez) (1580-1632). Roman Catholic Feast Day commemorating the death of one of 205 martyrs of Japan and five companions. Gutiérrez was a Mexico City member of the Order of St Augustine and his 1605 mission took him to Manila as master of novices and then in 1612 to Japan, where he was a Superior for his order in Osaka. After two years, he and other missionaries were expelled from the country but he returned to Japan with Peter Zuniga and resumed his ministry whilst avoiding for twelve years the persecutions of Christians by priest hunters. He was arrested in 1629 and imprisoned in Omura, as one of 205 Martyrs of Japan, scalded in boiling water for 33 days and then burnt alive in Nagasaki with his five companion martyrs on 3 September 1632. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church. Image: aciprensa.com.
St Gregory the Great (Gregorius I, Pope Gregory I, Gregorius Anicius, Saint Gregory the Dialogist) (c540-604). Latin Church Feast Day, Church of England Lesser Festival, Lutheran commemoration and Anglican Church of Canada remembrance of the wealthy Roman senator’s Christian son who was a Prefect of Rome at 33, on the anniversary of his 590 episcopal consecration as Bishop of Rome at a time of Germanic pagan and Arian Christian Lombard occupation of most of Italy. The first Pope from a monastic background, he cared for the poor and refugees and made contact with the invaders. He proved to be a capable shepherd, addressing many ecclesial and civil issues with a firm, steady resolve. Gregory instigated the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome, the Gregorian Mission, sending Augustine of Canterbury and Paulinus of York to convert the pagan Anglo-Saxons in England to Christianity. Gregory regained papal authority in Spain and France, realigned the allegiance of the barbarian Franks, Lombards and Visigoths from their Arian Christian alliances, and combatted the Donatist heresy in North Africa. Gregory died in Rome on 12 March 604 and his relics were enshrined in 1606 in St Peter’s Basilica. In Britain, appreciation for Gregory as Gregorius noster (our Gregory) remained strong even after his death and at the monastery in Whitby the first full-length vita (life) of Gregory was written c713. Appreciation of Gregory in Rome and Italy came later, with the first vita being produced there in the Ninth Century. Throughout the Middle Ages, he was known as the Father of Christian Worship because of his exceptional efforts in revising the Roman worship of his day. His contributions to the development of the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, still in use in the Byzantine Rite, were so significant that he is generally recognised as its de facto author. The mainstream form of monophonic Western plainchant (cantus planus), standardised in the late-Ninth Century, was attributed to him as the Gregorian chant. Venerated in Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Anglicanism, Lutheranism and other Protestant denominations. Gregory is one of the Latin Fathers and a Doctor of the Church. In England he, along with Augustine of Canterbury, is revered as the apostle of the land and the source of the nation’s conversion. The Feast Day of Saint Gregory serves as a commemorative day for the former pupils of Downside School, the Old Gregorians. The Protestant reformer John Calvin admired Gregory greatly and declared in his Institutes that Gregory was the last good Pope. A traditional procession is held in Żejtun, Malta, in honour of Saint Gregory (San Girgor) on Easter Wednesday. Feast Day commemorating Gregory’s death 12 March in Eastern Churches, Anglicanism, Lutheranism. Episcopal Church in the United States minor feast 12 September. Patron of musicians, singers, students, teachers. Image: catholicnewsagency.com.
Prayer Father, You guide Your people with kindness and govern us with love. By the prayers of Saint Gregory give the spirit of wisdom to those You have called to lead Your Church. May the growth of Your people in holiness be the eternal joy of Your shepherds. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen