A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
St Joseph of Arimathea with St Nicodemus (the Secret Disciple of Jesus and Defender of Christ Νικόδημος) (First Century). Western Christianity Feast Day for two contemporaries of Jesus, the important Jew who bravely took responsibility for His burial after His Crucifixion and the man who assisted him to prepare the body for burial. Joseph was a respected, wealthy civic leader who had become a Disciple of Jesus and, following the death of Jesus, he obtained His body from Pilate, wrapped it in fine linen and buried it. Most important is the courage Joseph showed in asking Pilate for Jesus’ body, as Jesus was a condemned criminal who had been publicly executed. According to some legends, Joseph was punished and imprisoned for such a bold act. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, like Joseph an important First-Century Jew. He went in secret to Jesus at night to better understand His teachings about the kingdom and he spoke up for Jesus at the time of His arrest. Both men played significant roles in Jesus’ life and their actions remind us of the humanity of Jesus and how He related to his fellow men and women. His gentleness to these two and His acceptance of their help remind us that He treats us in the same gentle way. The actions of the two men showed the charismatic power of Jesus and His teachings, and the risks of following Him. Medieval connections were made between St Joseph, Glastonbury and the Holy Grail legend. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Lutheran Churches, Anglican Communion. St Joseph’s major shrine is the 335 Syriac Orthodox Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Feast Day for St Joseph Orthodox Church Third Sunday of Holy Pascha (Easter), the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women, Eastern Rite Feast Day and Lutheran Commemoration 31 July. St Nicodemus is commemorated in the Episcopal Church on 1 August, Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches 2 August and Western Christianity 3 August. Patrons of funeral directors, pallbearers and undertakers and St Nicodemus of curiosity. Image: m.facebook.com.
Prayer We celebrate the contemporaries of Jesus who played significant roles in His life. They remind us of the humanity of Jesus and how He related to his fellow men and women. His gentleness to followers such as St Joseph of Arimathea and St Nicodemus and His acceptance of their help remind us that He treats us all in the same gentle way. Amen
St Cyprian (Cyprian von Karthago, Thaschus Caecilius Cyprianus) (c210-258). Eastern Orthodox Feast Day for rich, pagan early Christian writer of Berber descent who was born in in North Africa and of whom many notable Latin works are extant. Educated in Carthage, he then converted to Christianity and became Bishop of Carthage in 249. A controversial figure during his lifetime, his strong pastoral skills, firm conduct during the Novatianist heresy over the Church’s power to grant absolution, his actions during the outbreak of the Plague of Cyprian named after him due to his description of it, and his eventual martyrdom at Carthage on 14 September 258 established his reputation and proved his sanctity in the eyes of the Church. His skilful Latin rhetoric led to his being considered the pre-eminent Latin writer of Western Christianity until Sts Jerome and Augustine. Venerated in Oriental and Eastern Orthodox, Catholic Churches, Lutheranism, Anglicanism. Feast Day 13 or 15 September Anglicanism, 16 September Catholic Church, Western Orthodoxy, Lutheranism. Image: goodreads.com.
St Eanswythe of Folkestone (St Eanswida, Eanswiþ) (c630-50). Eastern Orthodox Feast for nun and Anglo-Saxon princess, the granddaughter of King Æðelberht (Ethelbert) of Kent. Near the fishing port of Folkestone on the south coast of England, she founded Folkestone Priory, the first convent in England and one of the first Christian monastic communities for women in Britain, later destroyed by invading Danes. Last year, osteoarchaeologists were given the opportunity to examine the remains of a skeleton long thought to be her remains and concluded that the remains were of a young female. Radiocarbon dating confirmed that they were from the mid-Seventh Century. DNA and isotope analysis results may prove them to be the earliest remains yet discovered of an English saint and relative of a British monarch. Venerated in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism with Feast 12 September. Major shrine St Mary and St Eanswythe Church, Folkestone. Image: roger-pearse.com.