A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
St Joseph of Arimathea (First Century). Eastern Rite Feast Day and Lutheran Commemoration for important Jew, a wealthy Disciple of Christ who bravely took responsibility for the preparation for burial of the Body of Jesus after the Crucifixion. Joseph offering in his own tomb, which showed the charismatic power of Jesus and his teachings. Joseph was a respected civic leader who obtained Jesus’ body from Pilate, wrapped it in fine linen and buried it. Considering the risks involved in following Jesus, the courage Joseph showed in asking Pilate for Jesus’ body was exceptional, and Jesus was a condemned criminal who had been publicly executed. According to some legends, Joseph was punished and imprisoned for such a bold act. Many Glastonbury legends surround Joseph, including his coming from the Holy Land to Wearyall Hill after navigating the River Brue from the Bristol Channel. Exhausted, he thrust his staff into the ground to rest and by morning it had taken root as what became the Holy Thorn. With his twelve followers, Joseph is said to have established the first monastery at Glastonbury and built the first wattle church, with Christ himself helping with the building when he arrived with Joseph. William Blake’s 1810 poem Jerusalem, best known as the Hubert Parry 1916 inspirational hymn requested by the Poet Laureate Robert Bridges, draws on Christ’s visit as a young man with Joseph, many traders from the Middle East having come to the area during Roman times due to its wealth of mineral deposits. It was believed that Joseph was buried somewhere at the Abbey on his last visit, possibly in the 63 Old Church by the first community at Glastonbury. In Medieval times, the Abbey’s foundation by Joseph was of great significance as it was the basis of its claim to be the oldest religious community and Abbey in the country. In the Twelfth Century, Joseph became connected with the Arthurian legend as Joseph d’Arimathie, the Keeper of the Holy Grail, having during a vision after Christ’s Ascension received the Cup used by Christ at the Last Supper and travelled to Britain with it before burying it in a secret place, said to have been just below the Tor at the entrance to the underworld. The spring at the Chalice Well is believed to flow from there and, in their quests, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table searched for the Grail. Although these may now be seen as legends, they meant that Glastonbury Abbey at the time of the 1086 Domesday Book was the wealthiest monastic house recorded in the land. After an 1184 Great Fire that destroyed the Old Church, the 1186 Lady Chapel was completed on the same site and the Abbey benefited from the 1191 discovery by the monks of the grave of King Arthur and his Queen Guinevere in the Abbey grounds before the 1213 Great Church is consecrated. Joseph’s cult was promoted from the Fourteenth Century and many pilgrims came to the Abbey, a great crypt being excavated below the Lady Chapel and Galilee at the of the next century, incorporating the older well that stood on the south side of the Lady Chapel and providing an entire new church where pilgrims could worship and where Kings could be buried. In the vault ribs of the crypt can still be seen numerous holes that held the votive offerings made by the pilgrims to the altar of St Joseph. By the Sixteenth Century, the Abbey’s power and wealth had peaked, with the final development of the centuries of the legend that Joseph of Arimathea was the Abbey’s first founder. The 1534 Act of Supremacy made Henry VIII the head of the Church of England and Glastonbury was suppressed in 1539, marking the end for Joseph’s monastery. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Lutheran Churches, Anglican Communion. Major shrine 335 Syriac Orthodox Chapel of Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Feast Day 1 August Episcopal Church, 31 August Roman Catholic Church, Third Sunday of Holy Pascha, Orthodox Church on the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing women. Patron of funeral directors, pallbearers and undertakers. Image: pinterest.com.
Prayer As in ancient times, may those who walk upon England’s mountains green still follow the holy Lamb of God Who on England’s pleasant pastures was seen. His Countenance Divine still shines upon our clouded hills and with arrows of desire as the clouds unfold may we never cease from mental fight and may our faith never sleep in our souls ‘till we have built our New Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant Land. Amen
San Ignacio de Loyola (St Ignatius of Loyola SJ, Ignazio Loiolakoa, Iñigo López de Oñaz y Loyola, Ignatius de Loyola) (c1491-1556). Roman Catholic Feast Day and Church of England commemoration of the death of the noble Castilian Basque Catholic priest. Iñigo became a page to the treasurer (contador mayor) of the kingdom of Castile but was keen on military exercises, framing his life around the stories of El Cid, the knights of Camelot and other tales of romantic chivalry. He joined the army at seventeen and led a dissolute life, participating in several battles without injury until he was gravely wounded by a cannonball in the 1521 Battle of Pamplona. Whilst recovering from surgery performed without anaesthetics, Iñigo underwent a spiritual conversion and felt a call to the religious life, resolving to begin a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to kiss the earth where Our Lord had walked. Iñigo went to the Benedictine monastery of Santa María de Montserrat north of Barcelona, gave his fine clothes to the poor to wear sackcloth and hung his sword and dagger at the Black Madonna’s altar during an overnight vigil at the shrine. Walking to a nearby town to live for a year as a beggar, he did the chores at a local hospital in exchange for food and lodging. In 1523, Iñigo made his pilgrimage to the Holy Land but the Franciscans sent him back to Europe to study. Preaching without a degree in theology, he was interrogated three times by the Inquisition due to concerns about heresy but always exonerated. In 1525, Iñigo’s fellow-Basque Francis Xavier left Pamplona to study in Paris and Iñigo arrived there in 1529 at the time of the anti-Protestant turmoil that in 1533 forced John Calvin to flee. They decided to go to Rome with four companions to found the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) that the Pope approved as an official religious order in 1540, to serve as Papal missionaries during the Counter-Reformation and Spanish Inquisition. Ignatius became the first Superior General at Paris in 1541 and the Jesuits found their niche in teaching and missionary work, its members being bound by a special fourth vow of obedience to the sovereign pontiff to be ready to fulfil special papal missions. As a theologian and inspired spiritual director, Ignatius sent his companions on missions across Europe to create schools, colleges and seminaries. His Latin instruction Ite, inflammate omnia (Go, set the world on fire) is used in the Jesuit order to this day. In 1548, Ignatius was summoned before the Roman Inquisition to have his book of Spiritual Exercises examined and he was eventually released and the book was given papal permission to print. With the assistance of his personal secretary, Ignatius wrote the 1553 Jesuit Constitutions. He then dictated his Autobiografía de San Ignacio de Loyola, a companion volume to his Spiritual Exercises that was kept in the archives of the Jesuit order for about 150 years, before the Bollandists published the text in their Acta Sanctorum. Before Ignatius died in Rome in 1556, the Jesuits had established 35 schools and membership numbered 1,000, who were responsible for much of the work of stopping the spread of the Protestant Reformation. The Society advocated the use of reason to persuade others and combat heresy. After his death, Ignatius’ body was dressed in his priestly robes and placed in a wooden coffin to be buried in the crypt of the Maria della Strada Church that was demolished in 1568 and replaced by the 1584 Church of the Gesù mother church of the Jesuits, Ignatius’ remains being reinterred in the new church. Numerous institutions across the world are named for St Ignatius, including many educational establishments. The Basilica of St Ignatius Loyola was built next to the house where he was born in the Basque Country, the house itself now being a museum in part of the basilica complex. Venerated in Catholic Church, Anglican Communion. Patron of Society of Jesus, all spiritual retreats, the Basque Country, Diocese of San Sebastián, Bilbao, Biscay, Baltimore, Gipuzkoa, Sulat, Eastern Samar, Philippines, Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, Junín, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Antwerp, Bruges, Catholic soldiers. Image: youtube.com.
Saint Germain l’Auxerrois (St Germanus of Auxerre, Garmon Sant) (c378-446) Roman Catholic and Orthodox celebration of noble Burgundian who, as the 418 Bishop of Auxerre, abandoned a career as a high-ranking government official to devote his formidable energy to the promotion of the Church and the protection of his flock in dangerous times. Germanus distributed his goods among the poor, practised great austerities and built a large monastery dedicated to Saints Cosmas and Damian on the banks of the River Yonne. Around 429, after the Romans had withdrawn from Britain, a Gaulish assembly of bishops chose Germanus and Lupus, Bishop of Troyes, to visit the island. It was alleged that Pelagianism was rife among the British clergy and they were to combat the threat and satisfy the Pope that the British church would not break away from the Augustinian teachings of divine grace. Germanus and Lupus confronted the British clergy at a crowded public meeting, the Pelagians being described as being conspicuous for riches, brilliant in dress and surrounded by a fawning multitude. Despite having no popular support, Germanus was able to defeat the Pelagians by his superior rhetorical skills. Immediately after the debate, Germanus gave thanks for his victory at the grave of Saint Alban, the Saint coming to him in a vision to reveal the details of his c304 martyrdom, and Germanus then played an important part in the promotion of the Cult of Saint Alban. Germanus made a second visit to Britain before his death and during one of his journeys he directed the native Britons in the Mold confrontation without bloodshed that they won against a group of Pictish barbarians and Saxon pirates that became known as the “Alleluia” victory, as the Britons cried out this word thrice, the sound echoing from the hills with a noise so loud that the barbarians, judging from the shout that they were facing a mighty army, flung down their arms and ran away, leaving behind their baggage and booty. Germanus is traditionally credited with the establishment of the Diocese of Sodor and Man on the Isle of Man. He died in Ravenna whilst petitioning the Roman government for leniency for the citizens of Armorica, against whom the Alans had been sent on a punitive expedition, Germanus having confronted Goar, the king of the barbarian Alans. St Germanus was buried in the Fifth-Century Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Germain d’Auxerre east of Orléans, where his tomb continues to be venerated, although now in part of a museum that is open for worship. The cult of Saint Germanus of Auxerre spread in northern France and is clearly distinguished from that of the homonymous Saint Germanus of Paris. The former priory church at St Germans in Cornwall bears his name and was in late-Saxon times the seat of a bishop. In Adamsdown, Cardiff, the 1857 Anglican Church was dedicated to St German. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Anglican Communion. In Wales, Germanus is remembered as an early Celtic Church influence and in the current Roman Catholic liturgical calendar for Wales his Feast Day is 3 August, a Welsh celebration of his “Three Alleluias” victory. Image: blog.obitel-minsk.com.