Monday, September 30, 2019

Happy Feast! - for the Saints of September

Celebrating some of the saints from the South’s Christian inheritance of various lands:


10th – Holy Martyrs of Numidia; many bishops and others confined to hard labor in mines, etc., but withstood the persecution heroically

11th – St Paphnutius, a bishop who suffered at the hands of the Arians

11th – St Theodora, a great picture of true repentance and humility


17th – St Lambert of Maastrict, a great light in the West


28th – St Wenceslas, a holy and virtuous prince, martyred by his own family (this is the ‘Good King Wenceslas’ that is sung about at Christmas time)
Shorter version
Longer version


6th – St Bega, a holy anchoress in Cumbria

16th – St Edith of Wilton, a holy nun greatly loved by all England

19th – St Theodore, one of the greatest bishops of English history

25th – St Ceolfrith, a great leader of the famous monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow

30th – St Honorius, Archbishop of Canterbury; the Faith made great progress in England under his guidance


6th – Sts Felix and Augebert, ransomed slaves, martyred on their way to be missionaries in England


28th – St Lioba, an important English abbess and missionary in Germany


1st – St Giles, a hermit whose influence has been felt from France to Poland

3rd – St Remaclus, a luminary of the West

5th – St Bertin, a great abbot and enlightener of France

7th – St Cloud, a prince who renounced worldly honors and became a spiritual father to his people

9th – St Omer, a great enlightener of northern France

11th – St Patiens, a highly-praised archbishop of Lyons

15th – St Aicard, a nobleman who renounced his title and became an abbot and spiritual father to many

21st – St Maura, a high-born youth who dedicated her whole life to God and lived it beautifully

23rd – St Paternus, a monk, abbot, and bishop who labored hard to enlighten northwestern France


9th – St Ciaran of Clonmacnoise, one of the 12 Apostles of Ireland

12th – St Ailbhe/Albeus (a variant of his name is Elvis), one of the early evangelists in Ireland

25th – St Finbarr of Cork, a luminary of southern Ireland

26th – St Colman Elo, a spiritual father to many in his land of Heath


7th – St Grimonia, of Irish nobility, she went to France and was martyred; highly venerated and a miracle-worker


29th – Dedication of the Church of St Michael the Archangel on Mt Gargano

Old Rome:

17th – Sts Sophia, Faith, Hope, and Love; a mother and her three daughters, all heroic martyrs

20th – Sts Eustathios, Theopistia, Agapius, and Theopistus; a family of holy martyrs; St Eustathios, a military commander, was converted in a miraculous manner, beholding a cross between the antlers of a stag he was hunting

28th – St Eustochium, a holy virgin who followed in the footsteps of her renowned mother St Paula

Old Rome/Palestine:

30th – Blessed Jerome, the prolific Western writer and commentator on the Holy Scriptures


29th – St Kyriakos, a monk who adorned the desert with his holy life, teachings, and miracles


15th – St Mirin, an Irish abbot of a Scottish monastery near Strathclyde; sought out by many pilgrims

23rd – St Adomnan, a renowned abbot of Iona Monastery; he wrote a famous biography of St Columba, the founder of Iona (‘Life of St Columba’).


11th – St Deiniol of Bangor, a great monastic father and enlightener of Wales


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

Friday, September 27, 2019

‘A Proven Job-Creator’

In the campaign to be Louisiana’s governor, one of the candidates has been touting himself as ‘a proven job creator’.  Folks in the States have been hearing words like these since FDR and the New Deal.  Now, we will admit that there are some flaws in the economic system (some of them quite bad) that need to be addressed.  However, it cannot be gainsaid that, contrasted with other countries around the world today or with peoples of the past, the physical standard of living of people in Louisiana is quite high.  Thus, the improvements to the Louisiana folk by increased manufacturing capacity, debt forgiveness, help for small farmers, etc. will only be improvements of degree.  For the real problems in Louisiana society are not physical but spiritual.  We ought, then, to yearn for a candidate for governor who would promote himself as ‘a proven saint creator’ rather than ‘a job creator’.

The true calling of man is not to have a six-figure salary but rather to clothe himself with Christ, to partake of the divine nature (Romans 13:14, II Peter 1:4), to see ‘the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (II Cor. 4:6,  But how can we attain this when some of the most powerful men in our State are pointing us away from this greatest goal, when they are drowning the soul in an overabundance of material pleasures?

Unfortunately, at present, we cannot expect otherwise; the idea of ‘religious freedom’ forbids it.  Donald Meyer writes of its consequences:

Separation of church and state never had meant seclusion of religion to purely private life.  More decisively, separation of church and state, with its ban on any establishment of religion, had carried the positive meaning that Americans were free to invent new theologies, new churches, new religions.  This fertility of invention was not some principle laid down in the Constitution but a fact of American life.

--The Positive Thinkers, 1965, revised 1988, p. 388; quoted in Harold Bloom, The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation, Simon & Schuster, 1992, p. 55

Religious freedom and a Christian culture cannot co-exist.  They are mutually exclusive; the one will push out the other.  Freedom of religion, for all the boasts of its supporters, has only given us the innovations and buffoonery on display throughout the history of the States:  Shakers, Mormons, Jimmy Swaggart, John Hagee, and so on.  Louisiana, and any other State desiring a Christian culture, must repeal disestablishment clauses from her constitution and formally declare Christianity to be the religion of the folk.  That recognition will make it much easier to defend the Church from her enemies and build a Christian culture.

St Alfred the Great, King of England (+899), is a wonderful ensample for us to follow.  His efforts to re-establish Orthodox Christianity amongst his people after the heathen Danes had decimated the land are described in part as follows:


Always the deep thinker, Alfred considered that the source of all the problems of England was not political, civil and military, but spiritual and moral. He believed that the heathen invasions had happened because of Christian England's spiritual decline during the late eighth and ninth centuries. The heathen men had come as a punishment for English decadence and unworthiness, ignorance and materialism. Alfred therefore struck at the heart of the problem and instituted a rebirth of religion and learning, which was to be enshrined in the revival of monasticism, culture and the law. Only this spiritual rebirth and cultural renaissance could ensure peace, respect for authority, morality and prosperity in the future.

Just as he had saved Christian England militarily, Alfred now set about saving English Christendom through piety and learning. Thus Alfred personally directed and set an example for the affairs of his Kingdom. He went to the divine services and the communion service every day. He took part in the reading of certain psalms and prayers in the daytime and at night. He listened while the Scriptures and other books were read aloud and learned by heart. Later he was to begin a translation of the psalms, which survives. He continued his habits of almsgiving and charity to the poor and showed immense generosity and hospitality to native people and foreign visitors. He cherished his bishops and clergy, his nobles and servants.

 . . .

Showing great curiosity in the acquisition of new religious knowledge, Alfred wished to restore learning in general. He set an example by personally learning Latin over a period of about five years between 887 and 892. This began on St Martin's Day, 11 November 887. Then aged thirty-nine, Alfred was beginning an apprenticeship. As we shall see, eventually aided by his scholars, he was to become a translator from Latin into English of essential works from the early Church for the benefit of the faithful. This idea started from Alfred's handbook of quotations, which he had kept from his youth.

Alfred also gave instructions to the sons of the people who spent time with the King, loving them no less than his own children. Of this he later wrote in his foreword to 'Pastoral Care': 'Let all the free-born youth now in England and who are able be set to learning'. The importance of his cathedral-schools he set up for this purpose should not be underestimated in shaping the next generation of the English elite.

Alfred encouraged craftsmen who designed new treasures and paid much attention to the adornment of churches with gold and silver. Alfred was also, it seems, something of a church architect. He began a programme of building in stone, importing builders and craftsmen from Europe. One historian of church architecture, E. A. Fisher, has pointed out that the result was a new beginning in English church architecture. Although based on European motifs, it was by no means a copy of a foreign style, but a truly national development, which continued right until the Norman Conquest.

 . . .


In thanksgiving for his victory planned on the isle of Athelney, from where England had been saved, Alfred built his first monastery. Linked by a bridge with two towers to the mainland, it was square in plan with four rounded arches. It appears to have followed the plan of a Greek cross and was inspired perhaps by the church at Germigny on the Loire in France. Here Alfred brought artists and craftsmen from overseas and gathered priests, deacons and monks of several nationalities, so that his own people could relearn the traditions of monastic life. Although his attempt to restore monastic life was to be unsuccessful here, it was at least to sow great seeds for the future.

From the far north of France, in about 886 there came the elderly but learned priest, Grimbald, and then from Saxony the priest John who became Abbot of Athelney. Both John and Grimbald were later esteemed to be saints. Other clergy also came from France, and even one convert from among the Vikings. At that time, in about 887, there also appeared the priest, or possibly bishop, Asser, from St David's in Wales, under whose name was written an unfinished life of King Alfred. This life survives to this day and regardless of when, where and by whom the version with its interpolations which we now have, was actually written, it is one of the main sources for the life of Alfred.

Alfred's second foundation, a convent, begun in 880, was established at Shaftesbury. It was here that his own daughter, Ethelgifu, became Abbess. Many other noble nuns lived with her. Alfred endowed both monasteries, and many others already existing, abundantly. In his love for the English character and English life, his vision and his care were to restore Christian England to something of the glory that she had held before the heathen wars.

Alfred also planned two more foundations, a monastery and a convent, in the main city of Wessex Christendom, Winchester. Although these were not to be completed until after his death, Alfred was to be buried and for over 500 years honoured in Winchester, and his widow was to retire to the convent, the Nunnaminster. Such facts make the much later medieval accusation that Alfred 'despoiled' the monastery of Abingdon sound strange indeed.

Such was Alfred's faith that he resolved to devote to God one half of his service, both by day and by night, and one half of his riches. His time was measured accurately by a candle, which burned inside an ox-horn lantern, so that he actually consecrated exactly half of all his energies to God.

 . . .

--Fr Andrew Phillips, from his life of St Alfred,

St Alfred is an extraordinary man.  It would be difficult in any age for someone in government to do again all his many great accomplishments for the Faith.  But that does not excuse us from the work of baptizing the government and using it in all appropriate ways to promote Christianity among Louisiana’s folk, as we see that it was done in the lives of St Alfred, St Tamar of Georgia, St Stephen Nemanja of Serbia, St Vladimir of Russia, and many other kings and queens besides.

Louisiana’s only other option is to maintain a ‘religiously neutral’ government (an impossibility; it will promote some kind of faith.  And if it is not avowedly Christian, then it is likely that at least some heathen doctrines are being promoted.) and watch our political candidates blunder about like the Three Stooges while they promise us an iPhone in every pot.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!