Select Page

A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Bright Friday (Easter Friday). Bright Week (Pascha Week, Easter Week, Renewal Week, Διακαινήσιμος Ἑβδομάς) celebration in Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, which follow the Byzantine Rite. Bright Week is the period of 7 days beginning at Easter and continuing up to but not including the following Sunday (Thomas Sunday) and is considered to be one continuous day for the celebration of the Resurrection. All the services for Pascha (Easter) are repeated each day of Bright Week and, in addition to the Paschal hymns, there are chants in honour of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) as the Life-giving Spring and customarily there is a Lesser Blessing of Waters. The service was composed in the 14th Century  in commemoration of the renewal (consecration) of the temple known as the Life-giving Spring and is not found in the Typicon (Τυπικόν, Тvпико́нъ, prescribed form) liturgical guidance for the order of the Byzantine Rite office and the hymns of the Divine Liturgy. On Bright Friday, the Resurrection hymns are from Tone Six of the Octoechos (ἡ Ὀκτώηχος, Осмѡгласникъ) 9th Century repertoire of hymns ordered in 8 parts. The book with a similar function in the Western Church is the Gregorian chant tonary. At the end of the Divine Liturgy on Bright Friday, there is normally an outdoor procession 3 times around the church, at which the Icon of the Resurrection and the Artos loaf of leavened bread, impressed before baking with a seal of an icon of the Resurrection and blessed during the Paschal Vigil, are carried. On Bright Saturday, after the Divine Liturgy, the priest prays over the Artos and it is broken up and distributed to the faithful. Image:

Santa Rosa Venerini (St Rose Venerini MPV) (1656-1728). Feast Day commemorating death of aristocratic Lazian religious teacher who was born in Viterbo and was the pioneer in the education of women and girls in 17th-Century Italy. She was the foundress of the Religious Teachers Venerini (Maestre Pie Venerini), a Roman Catholic religious institute of women often simply called the Venerini Sisters. At 7, Rose made a vow to consecrate her life to God but at 20 had doubts about her future and intended to marry, although her fiancé died. She entered for a time the Dominican Monastery of St Catherine but returned home and at 24 began to gather girls and women from her area in her own home to recite the rosary. After Venerini’s first contacts with the Dominican friars, she chose to follow the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola under the direction of the Jesuits and saw the need to dedicate herself to the instruction and Christian formation of young girls and in 1685 founded the 1st public school in Italy to prepare poor girls for life in society. The clergy considered the teaching of the catechism as their private office and conformists were scandalised that a woman of the upper middle class was educating ignorant girls, but pastors recognised the moral improvement generated among the girls and their mothers. Between 1692 and 1694, Venerini opened 10 village schools and in 1713 she was able to open a school in the centre of Rome, followed by many more schools across Italy. Rose Venerini died in the community at the Basilica of San Marco in Rome, having opened more than 40 schools. Her remains were entombed in her nearby beloved Jesuit Church of the Gesù and in 1952, on the occasion of her beatification, they were transferred to the chapel of the General Motherhouse in Rome. The Sisters went to the USA in 1909, primarily to help Italian immigrants, and established the first day care centres in many cities in the North-eastern States. They served in Switzerland from 1971 to 1985 and the congregation has extended its apostolic activity to India, Brazil, Cameroon, Romania, Albania, Chile, Venezuela and Nigeria. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church (Venerini Sisters). Major shrine Maestre Pie Venerini, Rome. Image:

St John of Beverly (d721). Roman Catholic Church Feast Day commemorating death of noble Yorkshire student of St Adrian in Canterbury who became a monk under St Hilda at Whitby. He was named Bishop of Hexham in 687 and then transferred to York as Metropolitan in 705, where he was diligent in visitation, considerate towards the poor and attentive to the training of numerous devoted pupils whom he maintained under his personal charge. John was known for his holiness, understanding of the scriptures, preaching and preference for the contemplative life. Many of his miracles are described in Bede’s c731 Ecclesiastical History of the English People, the author of which John had ordained as a deacon and priest. John had founded the town of Beferlic (Beverley) c700 by building the first structure there, the Beverly Abbey monastery, and in ill health he resigned the bishopric of York in 717 and retired to the Abbey, remaining there until his death. Around 1066, a Life of John was written, followed by an 11th or 12th Century account of his miracles with the first mention of King Æthelstan’s visit to Beverley. St John of Beverley’s banner permitted Beverley to send only one man to the royal army and it was first flown in battle in 1138 and it was used to rally the troops at the victorious 1415 Battle of Agincourt. John’s shrine was for centuries one of the most popular pilgrim centres in England and his miracles of healing along with the popularity of his cult were a major factor in the prosperity of Medieval Beverley. In 1292, a new silver-gilt shrine was commissioned. Edward I was a devotee of John, flew his banner in battle, furthered John’s cult, in 1295 established a chantry in Beverley Minster in the saint’s honour, and in 1301 contributed to the cost of the shrine by ceding monies owed by the town for its building. Shortly after Edward’s death, John’s relics were translated to a new tomb. Julian of Norwich and St John Fisher were devotees of John of Beverley. In 1541, the shrine was destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII as part of the English Reformation, in 1664 the relics were rediscovered and in 1738 they were covered by a marble slab. Processions in honour of St John take place annually and primroses are gathered to place around his tomb. Image:

Prayer Thou didst receive from heaven divine grace, O holy father John, and wast truly a vessel of light; wherefore it is meet for us to honour thee, revered hierarch, who by a sweet fragrance hast been revealed to us who now venerate thy memory and cry: Glory to God Who hath sanctified thee. Holy Bishop John: pray to God for us! Amen