A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Commemoration of St Paul. Tridentine Traditional Mass celebrated on the day after the ancient Roman Church’s joint commemoration of the Apostles Peter and Paul in St Ambrose’s 336 Depositio martyrum, the oldest surviving Roman liturgical calendar. By 750, the double feast had been divided, the proper Mass of St Paul being on 30 June and the Feast of St Peter on 29 June. Thus, the Pope did not have to say a Mass at the Basilica of St Peter, hasten to say another at the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls and then visit to the Catacombs of San Sebastiano on the Via Appia, originally thought to be the temporary resting place of Sts Peter and Paul, on the way back to the Papal residence at the Lateran, a total distance of nearly nine-and-half miles at the height of summer. Each Mass is clearly distinct but contains references to the other Apostle and by 800 the bifestum (double feast) had become a two-day Feast. The 30 June liturgy is now dedicated to St Paul, with a commemoration of St Peter added, and is not a day within the Octave of the Apostles, but rather the Commemoration of St Paul. Tridentine is from the Latin Tridentinus (related to the city of Tridentum, now Trent, Trento), where the 1545-63 Council of Trent (Concilium Tridentinum) was held at the height of the Counter-Reformation, leading to the 1570 Roman Missal being made mandatory throughout much of the Latin Church. The Tridentine Mass is often described as the Latin Mass as its official text is in Latin and it is sometimes celebrated in that language ad orientem (to the east), as in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, the Assyrian Church of the East and various Eastern Catholic churches. Ad orientem was normal in the Roman Catholic Church until the 1960s and the current Tridentine Mass may still be said with the priestly celebrant facing the altar with his back to the congregants, so they all face the same direction, as opposed to versus populum (facing the people). Image: catholicamericanthinker.com.
Leavetaking of the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Byzantine Rite Churches’ Afterfeast of the 29 June Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, the Preeminent Apostles, one of five great feasts not numbered among the Twelve Great Feasts. The leave-taking is a giving-back when most of the hymns that were chanted on the previous day are repeated. The Church provides an Afterfeast to once again give the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of the Feast. This is a day of fasting when the faithful are asked to abstain from meat, fish, dairy, eggs, wine and olive oil. Image: ssppoc.org.
St Walstan (the Generous, of Bawburgh, of Taverham) (c975-c1016). Celtic and Old English commemoration of noble Wessex Prince born in Norwich, who vowed to devote himself to God in humility and anonymity, forsaking the material security of his home and his nobility. At 13, he took to the road, giving his rich garments to two beggars and becoming a farm a labourer. He gained a reputation for hard work and piety and developed empathy for the poor, being charitable in the extreme and giving his food and clothing to those less fortunate than himself. Over the years, Walstan became known and loved for his prayer and fasting, hard work, chastity and love for all. As a sign of His approval, God allowed miracles to occur through His servant and animals were brought to him to be healed and people too claimed cures through his prayers and ministrations. Finally, during haymaking an angel appeared to him saying: “Brother Walstan, on the third day after this thou shalt depart this life in peace and enter Paradise.” The next day being a Saturday, Walstan stopped work at midday in accordance with the laws of the Church on the eve of the Sabbath Day, and the ringing of heavenly bells was heard with an indescribable unearthly music, the heavens opening and angels appearing ringing to the glory and praise of the Undivided Trinity. In the Saturday market in Norwich, it was announced that the Danish King Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great) was seeking Walstan, as he was the kinsman of the English King Edmund of the House of Wessex and heir to the Kingdom of England that Cnut intended to conquer. On the Monday, Walstan took communion in the field where he was working and asked God that every sick labourer and beast should obtain healing of their infirmity, provided that they asked with reverent devotion. At that, a voice was heard from heaven, saying: “O Holy Walstan, that which thou hast asked is granted. Come from thy labours and rest.” With that, Walstan gave up the ghost and a white dove was seen flying upwards. His body was laid on a waggon drawn by two white calves that an angel had commanded him to accept as a gift and a large procession followed him to the church at Walstan’s birthplace in Bawburgh for his funeral and for his relics to be venerated as those of a Saint. The body was enshrined in a chapel in the north transept of the church and the site and Walstan’s nearby springs became places of pilgrimage. In 1047, the church and shrine chapel were rededicated to Mary the Mother of God and St Walstan. The veneration of St Walstan survived until the Reformation of the English Church in 1538, when the holy relics were burned and the shrine chapel destroyed. Annual pilgrimages were revived at the beginning of the Twentieth Century and have continued, in 1989 St Walstan being declared Patron-Saint of British Food and Farming. In 1998, the first Orthodox pilgrimage to Bawburgh took place. Orthodox Feast Day commemorating death 30 May. Patron of farmers, farm labourers, farmhands, husbandrymen, mowers, haymakers, reapers, herdsmen, villagers, farms and farm animals in Norfolk and all East Anglia. Image: blessedmart.com.
Prayer O Righteous Walstan, thou didst leave thy privileged home to labour for Christ in the fields of Taverham. Through fasting, prayer and great humility thou hast over the millennium gathered many for the harvest of Christ. The Lord crowned thee as a saint and bestowed upon thee the gift of miracles. Pray then that our souls may be saved. Holy Righteous Walstan, pray to God for all sinners now and at the hour of their death! Amen