A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Chaitra Navapada Oli. Start of 9-day Jain festival to 27 April, from the 7th day of the lunar month to the full moon day of the Chaitra and Ashwina months, celebrating and paying homage to the 9 supreme posts of the universe, the Navpad (Navapada from Nava 9, Pada post; Siddha Chakra): Arihant; Siddha; Acharya; Upadhyaya; Sadhu; Samyak; Darshan; Samyak Gnan; Samyak Charitra; and Samyak Tapa. The associated Yantra (यन्त्र, device), a mystical diagram mainly from the Tantric traditions of the Indian religions, is circular with: Siddha at the top; Arihant in the centre; Acharya to the right of Arihant. Upadhyaya in the lower part and Sadhu to the left of Arihant; and Samyag Darshan, Samyag Gyan, Samyag Charitra and Samyag Tapa in the 4 corners, starting from the upper right and moving clockwise. During Navpada Oli, Jains also perform a biannual spiritually uplifting Ayambil Tap detoxifying low carbon penance, eating once a day, drinking boiled water and avoiding appetising foods by cooking without milk, curd, ghee, oil, sugar and frying. During the 9 days, there are puja worship rituals, sacred oration, meditation and other rituals in honour of Navapad. Image: youtube.com

Prayer Jai Jinendra. Sincere auspicious wishes we wish. Sincere donations we give. Sincerely we practise Jainism. Thus we shall obtain Omniscience by inner purity. May we conquer the internal karmic enemy, eliminate all sins and be in spiritual touch with our inner selves. Jainam jayati Shashanam

St Alphege (Ælfheah) (c953-1012). Feast Day commemorating death of Anglo-Saxon monk who was born in Weston, Bath, became a monk in the monastery of Deerhurst, an anchorite in Bath Abbey and a monk and Prior in Glastonbury Abbey. In 977, he was elected Abbot of Bath and in 984 Bishop of Winchester, where he was largely responsible for the building of a large Cathedral organ audible over a mile away and said to require more than 24 men to play. Whilst building and enlarging the city’s churches, he promoted the cults of St Swithun and his own predecessor St Æthelwold of Winchester. Following a 994 Danish raid, Ælfheah converted the leader of the raiders, although Danegeld protection money was paid. Alphege’s reputation for austerity, piety and sanctity led to his 1006 promotion to Archbishop of Canterbury, where he furthered the cult of St Dunstan by ordering the writing of the 2nd Life of Dunstan by Adelard of Ghent. Alphege introduced new practices into the liturgy and encouraged learning. He had taken St Swithun’s head to Canterbury with him as a relic. When he went to Rome for consecration in 1007, his pallium (the woollen vestment conferred by the Pope on an Archbishop) was robbed from him during his return journey. Alphege was imprisoned by Danish raiders during the 1011 siege and sacking of Canterbury when the Cathedral was plundered and burnt. Alphege became the 1st Martyr of Canterbury when he was killed in Greenwich the following year for refusing to allow himself to be ransomed. He was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral but in 1023 his body was moved to Canterbury by King Cnut, with great ceremony. Thomas Becket, a later Archbishop of Canterbury, prayed to Alphege just before his own 1170 murder in Canterbury Cathedral. Because of his connection to Cnut, in the late-medieval period Ælfheah’s Feast Day was celebrated in Scandinavia. The 1277 Solihull St Alphege Church is dedicated to Ælfheah and in 1929 a new church in Bath was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott in homage to the ancient Roman church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin and dedicated to Ælfheah under the name of Alphege. Shrine in Canterbury Cathedral. Venerated in Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Anglican Communion. Patron of Greenwich, Solihull, kidnap victims. Image: catholicsaints.info

Venerable Olaus Petri and The Most Reverend Laurentius Petri (1493-1552 and 1499-1573). Evangelical Lutheran Church in America joint liturgical Commemorations of brothers who were renewers of the church, on Feast Day of death of Olof Persson, the Swedish religious and confessor, clergyman, writer, judge and major contributor to the Protestant Reformation in Sweden. While the brothers were in Wittenberg in 1518, Olaus met with and was influenced by the main characters of the German Reformation, Philipp Melanchthon and Martin Luther. In 1522, Olaus was appointed Stockholm’s town secretary and also served as a judge and town councillor. He became known for his advocacy of Lutheranism and his criticism of the prevailing Roman Catholicism, being excommunicated with his brother on grounds of heresy. Olaus translated Lutheran works into Swedish, had the mass sung in Swedish and, in 1526,  published a catechism in Swedish. He published the 1st Swedish translation of the New Testament and played an important part in translating the whole Bible into the vernacular, the Gustav Vasa Bible being completed c1541. Lars was ordained a priest in 1527 and Olaus in 1539, before being arrested and sentenced to death for treason, as the King wanted to control the church, before receiving a royal pardon in 1542 as a reward for his biblical translations. Appointed inspector of Stockholm’s schools, he served as a priest for the last 9 years of his life. Olaus Petri was buried at Storkyrkan, Stockholm, which is his major shrine in what became the national Cathedral to supplant Uppsala Cathedral 2 centuries later. His clergyman younger brother Lars survived him by over 2 decades, having in 1531 become the first Evangelical Lutheran Swedish Metropolitan Archbishop of Uppsala and Primate of Sweden in the Church of Sweden in the final step to breaking with the Roman Catholic Church whilst retaining the apostolic succession. Later that year, Lars became the 1st Swedish archbishop to marry, his brother Olaus having in 1525 become the 1st Swedish priest to marry. Lars was archbishop for 42 years and headed the negotiation of the 1557 Treaty of Novgorod that ended the Russo-Swedish War. In the 1560s, Calvinist ideas gained in influence but Lars completed the Swedish church’s alignment with Lutheranism before dying in Uppsala. Image of the brothers submitting the Swedish translation of the Bible to the King, credit imsvintagephotos.com.