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Prayer and Creed of Constantine

As we approach the New Year and an affirmation of the vow of the Order on the 1st or 3rd of January, I thought you might appreciate these excerpts, Constantine's prayer and creed. Good then - Good today

A prayer. “Not without cause, O holy God, do I prefer this prayer to Thee, the Lord of all. Under Thy guidance have I devised and accomplished measures fraught with blessing: preceded by Thy sacred sign, I have led Thy armies to victory: and still on each occasion of public danger, I follow the same symbol of Thy perfections while advancing to meet the foe. Therefore have I dedicated to Thy service a soul duly attempered by love and fear. For Thy name I truly love, while I regard with reverence that power of which Thou hast given abundant proofs, to the confirmation and increase of my faith” (Ad prov. Or.).

A confession of faith in God and in Christ. “This God I confess that I hold in unceasing honor and remembrance; this God I delight to contemplate with pure and guileless thoughts in the height of his glory.” “His pleasure is in works of moderation and gentleness. He loves the meek and hates the turbulent spirit, delighting in faith. He chastises unbelief” (Ad Sap.). 434“He is the supreme judge of all things, the prince of immortality, the giver of everlasting life” (S. C. 36).

Schaff History of the Church

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1st Sunday after Christmas - Faith of Joseph

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our
nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant
that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace,
may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord
Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit
ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

On Joseph....
What emanates from the figure of Saint Joseph is faith...Joseph of
Nazareth is a "just man" because he totally "lives by faith." He is
holy because his faith is truly heroic......

Read the the rest of this brief comment by John Paul II from Daily
Meditations, as well as the Lesson, and Gospel for this Sunday

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Christmas Day Homily - John Chrysostom

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace,may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
Homily by St. John Chrysostom ca. 400 AD
Merry Christmas

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Christmas Eve

GOD, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thine only Son Jesus Christ; Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our Judge, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Sermon by St. Cyril of Alexandria [ca. 430], readings and art here:

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Advent – 19 December – Prepare the Way

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheerour spirits by thine advent here;disperse the gloomy clouds of night,and death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice!Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

In this Sunday's Gospel, John the Baptist tells those who questioned him that Jesus, who was his junior cousin, was greater than he was. In fact, he was not even worthy to take off Jesus' sandals. Now in that age, a wealthy man normally had slaves who waited upon him "hand and foot", and dressed him to include putting on and taking off his sandals. John here states that his status compared to Jesus is not even that of slave to master. John said he came before the Lord to prepare the way for him.

Read the rest of the homily, lessons, and collects here

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Centurio Epistula - Ember Days - December

Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after December 13th mark December Ember Days. Ember days occur in the four seasons. They are first recorded in about 250AD, but may have been observed in apostolic times. Their roots may be traced to the fasts described in Zacharias 8:19

Christian Centurions would have paused on Ember Days for general prayer and fasting/abstinence and to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy.

An appropriate service for periods of fasts that you might like to use is The Litany or General Supplication. It may be used with the Devotional or alone. We have placed an adapted one in the Chapel in the Devotional under Intercessions - or you can access it directly by this link:

You may read more about Ember Days here:
* Holy Trinity Germ. Nat. Church
* New Advent
* Golden Legend

Some elements of the Church in later years focused on prayers for ministers. The Saturdays of the Ember Days were designated as a time for ordinations. Here you will find a collect, epistle, and Gospel reading that may be used, especially on Saturday, for ministers of the Church.

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Centurio Epistula – Advent 3 – John the Baptist

Jesus told the people that John the Baptist was someone very special. A man called by God to usher in the Kingdom of God. To prepare the way of the Lord. A man whose equal was not to be found, then, or now. John the Baptist stands in history as a beacon. He was an ascetic, denying himself creature comforts in order to dedicate himself to the Lord. He fasted often, his clothing were rough, his pious discipline strict, and his message unswerving -- Repent, turn from your sins and prepare your hearts for the coming of the Lord. Centurions may take heart in the words of John, for when asked by the soldiers what they must do to be saved, he did not reprove them of their occupation, but said, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

Read the collects, readings, and the entire homily here
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Centurio Epistula - Centurion's Song

Rudyard Kipling 1911

LEGATE, I had the news last night—my cohort ordered home
By ship to Portus Itius and thence by road to Rome.
I’ve marched the companies aboard, the arms are stowed below:
Now let another take my sword. Command me not to go!

I’ve served in Britain forty years, from Vectis to the Wall
I have none other home than this, nor any life at all.
Last night I did not understand, but, now the hour draws near
That calls me to my native land, I feel that land is here.

Here where men say my name was made, here where my work was done,
Here where my dearest dead are laid—my wife—my wife and son;
Here where time, custom, grief and toil, age, memory, service, love,
Have rooted me in British soil. Ah, how can I remove?

For me this land, that sea, these airs, those folk and fields suffice.
What purple Southern pomp can match our changeful Northern skies,
Black with December snows unshed or pearled with August haze—
The clanging arch of steel-grey March, or June’s long-lighted days?

You’ll follow widening Rhodanus till vine and olive lean
Aslant before the sunny breeze that sweeps Nemausus clean
To Arelate’s triple gate; but let me linger on,
Here where our stiff-necked British oaks confront Euroclydon !

You’ll take the old Aurelian Road through shore-descending pines
Where, blue as any peacock’s neck, the Tyrrhene Ocean shines.
You’ll go where laurel crowns are won, but—will you e’er forget
The scent of hawthorn in the sun, or bracken in the wet?

Let me work here for Britain’s sake—at any task you will—
A marsh to drain, a road to make or native troops to drill.
Some Western camp (I know the Pict) or granite Border keep,
Mid seas of heather derelict, where our old messmates sleep.

Legate, I come to you in tears—My cohort ordered home!
I’ve served in Britain forty years. What should I do in Rome?
Here is my heart, my soul, my mind—the only life I know.
I cannot leave it all behind. Command me not to go!

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Centurio Epistula – Second Coming

BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

[the second collect is that from Advent 1, it is repeated each Sunday before Christmas and is very appropriate for today’s Gospel]

Romans xv. 4 & St. Luke xxi. 25

Today's collect reminds us that God gave us the Scripture for our great benefit. Our belief affirms this as the Creed is prefaced with the verse "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". The Psalms and Proverbs praise God that his people alone have been blessed with his Word. We are indeed blessed and our hope is found in today's Gospel. In this season of Advent, we hear our Lord prophesy of his return: then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. In Revelations, John records his vision of the Second Coming. This is the Order's vision as well.

see the rest of the homily, art, and readings here:

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Centurio Epistula - Advent

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. Advent begins on the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew [November 30]. It is an ancient period of preparation for the Feast of the Nativity. Ancient records show that Christians celebrated Christmas on the 25th of December in the middle of the third century in Antioch. In the forth century, under Emperor Constantine, the 25th was made the official celebration of the Nativity. In the Council of Trent in 567, the Church codified the Advent season as one of fasting in preparation of the Nativity, and the 12 days of Christmas up to the Epiphany as a festive season

see the collect, appointed lessons, art, and the rest of the homily here

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Centurio Epistula - CS Lewis

Today the Order remembers 2LT CS Lewis: Christian Apologist, 20th Century Knight. A lieutenant wounded in WWI, a scholar engaged as a spokesman for the Royal AF in WWII. Perhaps the most quoted religious writer of the modern era.

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Centurio Epistula – Faith, Healing, and Relics -- 24th Sunday after Trinity

The Gospel story today is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. There is a lesson in it about faith and healing. It gave the early Church a faith and hope in the efficacy of relics that continues to this day. The Jews beckoned our Lord to come and raise Jairus' daughter, the ruler of the synagogue in Capernaum, who was ill to the point of death. Along the way to Jairus' house, a woman who had suffered from continual menstrual bleeding for twelve years approached Jesus from behind in order to discretely touch the hem of his garment. As she did so, she thought to herself that even by just the touch the hem of his robe she would be miraculously healed. She did so and felt the healing power of Jesus deep within her. At that very moment her issue ceased. At the same moment, Jesus felt a force leave him. He turned asked who had touched him. His disciples were confounded that with so many pressing against them, Jesus could ask who touched him. However Jesus kept looking about him for the person who had touched him. The woman came and fell at his feet in fear and confessed her deed. Jesus had compassion on her and told her, "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole."

See the rest of the homily, readings, and art here (including other Biblical accounts and the story of the Spear of St. Longinus: 24th Sunday after Trinity

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Centurio Epistula - Prayers for the Persecuted Church

I bid your prayers for the Church:

O Almighty God, who did give to thy servants boldness to confess the Name of our Savior before the rulers of this world, and courage to suffer and die for our faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord. Guide, O Lord, thy Church in all godliness, and protect it from those who would persecute it, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, forever and ever. Amen

see more here:

Jesus said,

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

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Centurio Epistula – Service to the State and God

Jesus said, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

Our Lord: Jesus taught in today’s lesson two duties, to the state and to God. In meeting our obligations to the state, we must remember that our duty to God comes first – and is different. In the Order we remember early Christian military martyrs who put God first, refused to worship the Roman deities or Caesar, and made the ultimate sacrifice for their Lord.

See the readings and an homily here:

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Centurio Epistula - Veterans and Martin & Mennas [11 Nov]

A salute to all veterans and their families today. In the United States communities will be pausing to remember veterans, and I encourage you to attend a community event.

Today the Order remembers two Christians who wore the uniform of their nation and served Christ faithfully and with distinction

* Martin of Tours - November 11th

* Mennas, Legionary & Martyr November 11th

Several months ago I shared an article with the Order about Imprecatory prayer

I recalled General Patton's Third Army prayer as he went into theWWII Battle of the Bulge in France. Our Praefectus Castrorum forwarded this prayer to me recently. Please join with me in praying today forour veterans, especially those of the Order who are in harms way:

Almighty and most merciful Father, Lord of Hosts, founder of every righteous battle, the giver hope to David, even the slayer of the Philistines; we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great strength, to strike fear into the hearts of our immoderate foes, with which we lately do contend; speed our fingers to the fight and our arms to strike the enemy; send fair weather, clear heads, sharp thoughts, and humble hearts for Battle; Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee; that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies. And should, in the heat of battle, some are called to thy bosom, meet them at the cross and lift them up forever, as those who go on establish Thy justice among contentious, ancient, and falsely led nations. Amen

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Centurio Epistula - War and Peace – An Orthodox Chaplain’s Perspective

Highly commend this interview with Chaplain Webster of the Virginia National Guard and co-author of the book, The Virtue of War: Reclaiming the Classic Christian Traditions East and West. He speaks of the two orthodox paths, pacifism and just warrior.

Chaplain Webster is a priest, author, and educator. He quoted this verse from revelations as his epiphany:

"And they have conquered him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death." [Revelation 12:11]

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Centurio Epistula - Centurio Julius of the Augustan Cohort [8 Nov] ca 60

On November 8th, the Order pauses to remember the Centurion Julius of the Augustan Cohort. The officer who escorted Paul on his historic trip to Rome to appear before the Emperor. We have chosen this day as the estimated date of the shipwreck, when Julius interceded to prevent the murder of Paul by the legionaries. Jefferson White, who wrote a book on Paul's journeys, has placed this excellent extract his analysis ofthis voyage on the www. See it here

" they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named\Julius, a centurion of Augustus ' band ...And the soldiers ' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escapedall safe to land."

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Centurio Epistula – Keep Thy Church – 22 Trinity

Sunday’s collect is appropriate for our times. Please join with me in saying:

LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches about perfect forgiveness, and Paul prays for the strength and condition of the Church. See the readings and an homily here

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Centurio Epistula - JOANNICUS of Mount Olympus
[Nov 4] - 846

Joannicus, born in what is now Turkey, was a soldier who retired after20 years of service in the Roman (Byzantine) Empire. He became a famous monk on Mount Olympus. He was at first an Iconoclast, but later struggled to have the icons returned to the Church and prophesied that it would happen - it did in 842. See more here: or here

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Centurio Epistula – Centurio Marcellus – October 30 298

Today the Order remembers Marcellus, the Christian centurion martyred for Christ. He found that he could not continue to serve Rome with its pagan gods, and to serve Jesus Christ. Fully aware of the consequences, he laid aside his sign of authority – the vine staff. He was beheaded for his actions. See more here

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Centurio Epistula - Simon and Jude

Today the Church remembers the Apostles Simon and Jude

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head cornerstone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

see readings and entire homily here

The Church is not about bricks and mortar in a physical sense, for they can certainly be destroyed, but the mystical Church will never be destroyed for the gates of Hell cannot prevail against her. Our belief is the essential and crucial element that shapes us and holds us together. In the Order of Centurions this belief is central to our discipline and devotion. It is expressed in the ancient Forma Romana Vetus that was given to us by the Apostles. We can never be defeated as long as we hold the faith. Today the faith is under serious attack from an increasingly secular and intolerant world that hates the Apostolic world vision. The most serious attack, however, comes from within the Body of Christ itself, and especially those who are charged specifically with guarding the faith... her bishops. What these errant bishops intend to pervert we must protect. That was the purpose for founding the Order, "to guard the simple Apostolic faith." I invite you to rehearse the Credo today as we remember Simon and Jude and our Apostolic Church:

Forma Roma Vetus - here

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Centurio Epistula - IHSV - 27 October 312
Today the Order pauses to remember the story of our Battle Cry. It was related by Eusebius xxviii, from what Constantine told him.

Jesus Christ gave the battle cry IN HOC SIGNO VINCES to Emperor Constantine on 27 October 312. As Constantine moved his legions toward Rome, he had a vision of a "cross of light" and the Greek words TOUTO NIKA (conquer by this) in the sky. That evening as he considered this sign, the Lord Jesus Christ came to him and told him to be at peace and conquer under His sign. The next day he carried a Labarum with the chi-rho encircled in a wreath atop of a gold-covered spear with cross and the battle cry inscribed upon a banner hanging from the cross. He met the pagan force much larger than his, defeated them, liberated Rome, and ended the persecutions of Christians.

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Centurio Epistula - Few are Chosen

"For many are called but few are chosen"

The lesson for the 20th Sunday after Trinity is from St. Matthew xxii. 1. Jesus told a parable of a wedding feast. In the parable, one who was invited to the marriage banquet did not come in his wedding-garment. He was expelled from the fellowship by the lord. What are the implications of this story for us today?

See the Scriptures and an homily here

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Centurio Epistula – James, Bishop of Jerusalem & Martyr – October 23

Almighty God, whose servant James exercised leadership and courage in the early Church, grant that thy bishops might guide us to keep and guard the historic faith as given to us by the Apostles; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

On October 23rd, the Church remembers James, the “brother” of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the 15th Chapter of Acts, James headed the council to consider the pleas of Paul and Barnabas; they did not want the Gentiles to have to come under the Mosaic Law in order to be in fellowship with the Church. James spoke for the council about setting minimum requirements for inclusion in the communion. There could be diversity about some things, but not all things.

In thinking of James and of current events, I cannot help but think of the Windsor Report issued on just a few days ago on 18 October
and the role that the Archbishop of Canterbury must now play with this fractured communion. Ironically, James addressed one issue that now confronts the Anglican Communion in that meeting in Jerusalem in 60 AD. James said, “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication [Greek: PORNEIA] : from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”

Let us pray that all bishops, will display the same type of courage and leadership in doing what is right, and in disciplining the Church in charity, that James did. See Scripture and homily here

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Centurio Epistula - Spiritual Pilgrimage

Wednesdays and Fridays were days of fasting (abstinance) and special devotion at the time of the Centurions. The Church has continued this tradition in various forms.

One form of special devotion is Spiritual Pilgrimage. It was developed when Pilgrims could not visit the Holy Land. A fellow member of the Order of Centurions shared this web site of paitings with accompanying Scripture from the Cathedral of St. Luke. We have added a link to these Stations to our Chapel Devotion.

There are some stations that are based on tradition rather than
Scripture (# 6-Veronica, #3,7,9 Jesus falling three times, and #4-Jesus meeting his mother)

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land to visit the places where Jesus walked had its start in the Early Church. Later under Constantine it became very popular: Eusebius wrties,

That the Empress Helena, (1) Constantine's Mother, having visited this Locality for Devotional Purposes, built these Churches. For she, having resolved to discharge the duties of pious devotion to the God, the King of kings, and feeling it incumbent on her to render thanksgivings with prayers on behalf both of her own son, now so mighty an emperor, and of his sons, her own grandchildren, the divinely favored Caesars, though now advanced m years, yet gifted with no common degree of wisdom, had hastened with youthful alacrity to survey this venerable land; and at the same time to visit the eastern provinces, cities, and people, with a truly imperial solicitude. As soon, then, as she had rendered due reverence to the ground which the Saviour's feet had trodden, according to the prophetic word which says (2) "Let us worship at the place whereon his feet have stood," she immediately bequeathed the fruit of her piety to future generations. Eusebius: Life of Constantine CHAPTER XLII

There are alternate stations for devotion. One was said by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991 and is based on Scripture only

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Centurio Epistula - Just War Review

The article at the link gives a succinct review of the development of a theology of "Just War" through the ages.

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Centurio Epistula - St. Luke the Physician

ALMIGHTY God, who didst inspire thy servant Saint Luke the Physician, to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son; Manifest in thy Church the like power and love, to the healing of our bodies and our souls; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2 Timothy iv. 5 & St. Luke x. 1

If you are unable to celebrate this Feast day with a Eucharist among fellow Christians, you may like to visit the Chapel of the Centurion for Spiritual Communion.

Luke was an evangelist, physician, a Gentile and a companion of Paul. He wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts in Greek. Luke alone, in his Gospel, provides us with the story of the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity in the Manger & Angelic Host, Circumcision, Presentation, and visitation of the Magi. Many of these events are celebrated in the Church. From Luke we have the Song of Mary and the Song of Simeon that are sung daily in the Church, and the words of the rosary - Hail Mary. His Gospel contains six miracles and eighteen parables not recorded in the other three Gospels.

In the Book of Acts we have the major feast of Pentecost. We also have the stories of Centurion Cornelius the Italian Cohort, and Centurion Julius of the Augustan Cohort who emerge from the pages of Acts as virtuous men: Cornelius to become the first Baptized Christian and Julius to protect the life of Luke from the frightened soldiers during a storm at sea. Luke's writings give us the stories of all four of the Centurions.

Luke wrote in the first person in Acts. He was with Paul during the voyage to Rome, and endured the hardships with him on his missionary journeys. Acts closes with Paul in house-arrest at Rome and we hear no more of Luke. Tradition has it that he wrote his Gospel in Greece and died in Boeotia. Constantine had his relics brought from Boeotia to Constantinople so that pilgrims could venerate them.

Those interested in Christian healing might like to visit the Order of St. Luke.

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Centurio Epistula - Crusades History

Thomas Madden, Chair of the Department of History at St Louis University, offers here a brief history of the Crusades

Recently we have paused to remember several "centurions" who fought in the Crusades including Hugo and Gerard. It is helpful to understand the nature of these events in looking at these Christians who distinguished themselves.

Madden writes,

That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense

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Gérard Tonque Lagleder – 1120
Founder and Warden of the hospice at Jerusalem and the Order of St. John

Gerard founded the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John. Today the Order celebrates a commemorative feast for their founder. He provided care for wounded in Jarusalem during the first Crusade in 1099. The members promised to be “servants and slaves to our Lords, the sick”

Let us pray:
O God, who exalted blessed Gérard because of his care for the poor and the sick, and through him founded in Jerusalem the Order of St. John the Baptist, give us the grace of seeing, as he did, the image of your Son in our brothers and sisters. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Read more about Gérard here:

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Centurio Epistula - Compassion

Secularist compassion is not authentic compassion. It is merely theChristian understanding of compassion radically misapplied. Authentic compassion prohibits the killing of innocents [the unborn]; it cannotbe rightfully understood apart from the commandment not to kill. Infact, the violation of the sixth commandment reveals that most of the secularist vision is non-Christian.

See the entire article here:Casualties of the Culture War: Orthodoxy and Morality in the PublicArena

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Centurio Epistula - Hugh, Knight & Chaplain 8 October

Today the Church and Order remembers Hugo (Ugo), Knight & Chaplain to the Military Order of St. John

The Collect for the Order of Malta for Hugh is given here:

O God, who gave to St. Hugh power to heal the sick by the sign of the cross, give us the spirit of your own love, to serve you in our sick brothers and sisters. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The following site tells the full story with many illustrations

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Centurio Epistula - Centurions Sergius & Bacehus

Let us remember these Centurions who went before us, and were slain for their fidelity to Christ, and who will be raised up to rule with our Lord in the first resurrection [Rev 20:4-20:6]

Feastday: October 7 [303AD]

"Roman martyrs. According to legend, they were officers in the legions of co-Emperor Maximian in Syria who refused to enter the temple of Jupiter or to make sacrifices to the gods. For their crimes, they were dressed in women’s clothing and led through the streets of Arabissus before being sent to die in Mesopotamia. Bacehus was flogged to death, and Sergius was scourged and beheaded. ... "


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Centurio Epistula - Witness and Apology

In the Order's Purpose, we hope to emulate the Centurions in witnessing Christ. When challenged, sometimes the words fail us, and so it is good to equip ourselves with knowledge and tools to defend and explain on our beliefs and hope. Christian apology has been offered throughout the ages, and it is good that we may avail ourselves to contemporary writings.

Robert E. Meyer in this article entitled Atheism and Unalienable Rights explores the contradictions that arise when atheists claim "rights". I recommend it to you.

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Francis - Knight of Assisi

Today many in the Church pause to remember Francis of Assisi. He is one of the most popular saints. Many do not know of his desire for military glory. Here is an excerpt from a biograpy on St Francis by Ashley McFadden

Francis always felt he was destined for greatness. He thought at first it was through knighthood, chivalry and marching off to wars in a suit of armor too heavy for his fragile and slender body. He tried this approach, going to a war that broke out in Perugia in 1200. Leaving Assisi, he soon he found himself caught and thrown in prison along with other young men who only a few days before had thought life was for pleasure and fun. It was a harsh awakening in the cold and freezing bottom of a dungeon.

Francis had health problems since childhood and must have suffered greatly from the stinging cold, and yet he remained cheerful in spite of the chains around his ankles and wrists. The others became annoyed by his good humor under such horrible circumstances and asked him why he was so happy. Celano says his answer was this: "I rejoice because some day I shall be venerated as a saint all over the world." This from the lips of a man who to this point had not lived a saintly life, yet it shows the conversion coming upon him in sudden spurts and starts. After a year in prison, Francis, who had become extremely ill, was released and returned home at the age of twenty-two. His youth was gone.
Francis would not experience his conversion until the age of twenty-six and so he had a few years to keep God waiting. He recuperated from his captivity under constant care and when he was well, he dreamed still of military glory and chivalry. He managed to spend his father's money on the expensive armor, horse and all the paraphernalia necessary for a grand departure in honor of Christendom and the fourth crusade. Barely able to hold himself up under the heavy armor, he hit the road. It was a short journey. A voice came to him one night that told him to return home where he was born and that he would be told later what to do.

In the Order on our Purpose page we quote Francis who said, "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary use words."

Today would be a good time to sing Francis' Canticle to Brother Sun:
Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor, and all blessing. To You alone, Most High, do they belong, and no man is worthy to mention Your name.
Praised be You, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, Who is the day and through whom You give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor; and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, in heaven Your formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind, and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather through which You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be Your, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love and bear infirmity and tribulation. Blessed are those who endure in peace for You, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no living man can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will, for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.

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Web Site Back Up & Changes is working on line again
I don't expect any other problems. However, we'll keep a site at as well as an alternate.

We've added a Roman Catholic site to the Chapel Daily Devotions and Chapel Eucharist. The site has the daily readings from the Roman Catholic Lectionary plus a lot more. It has also been added to the links page.

We added a prayer link to the section for petitions and intercessions on the Chapel site. It will take you to the Jesuits in Ireland at Sacred Space. "Your request for prayer will be also transferred electronically to a group of five monks of the Benedictine Congregation of St. Mary of Monte-Oliveto, who have established a monastic presence in Rostrevor, Co.Down, Northern Ireland.During their times of silent prayer and meditation and their main liturgical celebrations of morning and evening prayer, the Monks have generously offered to pray for the intentions of those who make requests through this website. We thank them on your behalf. Please remember the monks in your prayers also."

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Centurio Epistula – Inclusive Language

A little over twenty years ago Father Paul Tarazi wrote "An Orthodox Christian Response to the Inclusive Language Lectionary " at this link at the Orthodox Research Institute.

In the Order of Centurions we use the ancient liturgies to model our Chapel Eucharist and Daily Devotional and they are as they were written [translated], with the male gender used in referring to all of mankind, and always for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Father Tarazi warned readers then how the new inclusive language could affect the Church. He disapproved strongly of rewriting the Scripture to accommodate the feminist political and social movement. In his paper, he also spoke of the debates at that time concerning homosexuality. Today most national churches of the Anglican Communion and all of Orthodoxy and Catholicism are out of sorts with the Episcopal Church of the United States over the ordination of a homosexual bishop, and the blessing of same-sex unions. The ECUSA adopted the inclusive-language NRSV about 20 years ago. I attended several services where an ECUSA priest or priestess would use inclusive language in the liturgies and sermons. One must wonder if the feminization, or neutering, of liturgies, the Scripture, and the proclamation from the pulpit affected Christians. Has it led to some sort of blurring of the understanding of sexuality in God’s creation and our understanding of God? Father Tarazi’s paper appears prophetic today, and I commend it to you.


Centurio Epistula - Humble Access

In the Gospel lesson for the 17th Sunday after Trinity Jesus said, "whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" [Luke 14:11]

In these words we are reminded of the Centurion of Capernaum when he
said to the Lord that he was not worthy to have him come under his roof, but that if Jesus would only say the word, the Centurion's servant, who was near death, would be healed. Jesus marveled at the faith of the Centurion.

We also recognize that the Centurion knew who Jesus was, and rightly humbled himself before him. Just as we wish to emulate the faith of the Centurion of Capernaum, we should also emulate his humbleness before our God. Jesus said in today's gospel that the host of the feast would call the humble guest forward to a seat of honor. That day in Capernaum, Jesus implied that the Centurion would feast with Abraham at his Father's table when he said, "Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven".

In the Anglican traditon there is a prayer of Humble Access that
captures these ideas and traditons,

"We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen. "

Visit the Internet Chapel of the Centurions to see the entire homily
from the Order of Centurions.

Primary Web Site is down, Visit the Order at


Alternate Order Website
Our primary site has been down for a couple of days. Until we return to full service you may access most features of the Order's alternate site at



1. MEMORIAL: As we come to the end of September, let us pause a moment and remember these martyred Centurions who went before us:

Eustachius - September 20 AD188

Maurice & Theban Legion - Sep 22 AD 286

2. LIST SERVER We are working to set up a mail group/list server for the Order through Google. You should receive a notice shortly that you've been added to the group, and future missives may come through the mail group. We have put a sign-up block for the group at the bottom of our Order's home page to encourage visitors to subscribe. We can explore the best options to serve the Order as we go along. Currently I've set the group options to require approval of membership, and moderate posts, however, all may post. Certain members may be appointed as moderators. Currently registered members of the group should not have to do anything.

3. WEB SITE Recent enhancements to your Order's site include quick link from any page to the home page by clicking on the Labarum symbol, and to a site map and site search by clicking on the Gladius-Vitis. You may wish to look there as there may be some features on your Order's site that you've not yet seen. Also we have added an on-line Chapel with a link on the front page (I pray this will be a place you feel comfortable and drawn to visit frequently, there is a link to Sacred Space that is a truly inspired and a valuable site for the busy person to use for their meditation on Holy Scripture and prayer.) There is a new page on our Battle Cry: "In hoc signo vinces"

4. USAGE - PARTICIPATION Site Stats: There has been a steady increase in hits on the Order's web pages. In August there were 5,725 hits and as of last night, 29 September we were at 5,592 for this month. In one day there were 536 hits with 367 hours of viewing time. Please continue to promote the site with your friends and associates.

5. MEMBERSHIP Auxillia may now be in the general membership and do not need to be associated with a cohort. Auxillia are those members who have not yet been baptized but have said the vow and follow the rule. We encourage all to become baptized into the Church Militant in accordance with our Lord's command.

I invite your thoughts, comments, and recommendations concerning your Order and its website. Thank you for your participation and fidelity.

Please pray for the safety and health of our members - especially those deployed in hostile areas, for those of the Order in military service, and for our Chaplains and othere ministers.

Pax Christi

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Centurio Epistula – Chapel Consecration & Feast of St. Michael

Please join me today in saying this prayer of dedication for the Internet Chapel of the Centurions.

MOST glorious God, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain; graciously accept the Dedication of this Internet Chapel to your service; and grant that all who shall call upon you here may worship you in spirit and in truth, and may in their lives show forth your praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

At this site you may read the entire Consecration service

The 29th of September marks the Feast of St. Michael & All Angels. It also marks the anniversary of the Order of Centurions. In 2003 on this feast day, we “opened the doors” to on the Internet. This year, we consecrate and dedicate the Internet Chapel of the Centurions. We pray this Chapel will provide a place for members and visitors to come for daily prayer where they may be refreshed and renewed.

One hundred years ago, most worshippers might find a church or chapel that said the daily office or offered daily communion and whose doors were never locked. That is not the case today. However, the Chapel of the Centurions offers a place where worshippers gather through the Internet and may read the collects and lessons every day at any hour. A place of rest from the busy world and a place to reflect on God’s word. The worshippers are not alone, but offer praise and thanksgiving with thousands of worshippers from around the globe around the clock who visit the Internet sites of Sacred Space for the Daily Holy Reading (Lectio Divina), or Oremus for the daily office, and Vanderbilt Divinity Library for the Sunday collects and readings. Cohorts that meet together in worship in their local chapels may use this Internet Chapel as a resource for worship, and those who cannot physically attend a church or chapel to take Communion on Sundays and Holy Days may participate in a Spiritual Communion at this Chapel.

It is fitting that both the Order’s establishment and the Chapel’s consecration are remembered on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angles. Michael means “Who is like God.” Michael is seen in both the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelations as the armed angel fighting against and vanquishing Evil. Michael is the commander of all the angels. His militant and vigilant spirit serves as an example for the Centurion in Christ’s Legion. He guards the faith and fights against the powers that wage war against the Church Militant and God’s Good in the world.

In hoc signo vinces. Amen

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Centurio Epistula – Compassion

In the Gospel appointed for the 16th Sunday after Trinity, Jesus showed compassion on the window of Nain. He consoled her, and brought her son back to life. In the epistle, Paul speaks of the Love of Christ that passes understanding.

In the Order of Centurions we remember the compassion of Cornelius the Centurion, a member of the Italian Cohort, who "gave much alms to the people"

Today we have the opportunity to follow in Jesus’ footsteps in showing compassion to complete strangers. In my hemisphere I think of the many efforts, faith-based and secular, that are going on to provide relief to the peoples of the Caribbean who have been devastated by tropical storms. Let us follow the example of our Lord and Cornelius in compassion, and take the time to do what we can to comfort and help our neighbor who is in need. Red Cross Donation

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Centurio Epistula – Law and Morality

A few days ago I wrote about putting God first. Jesus said, But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. [Matt vi. 33]. This week I came across two articles with a similar theme:

The left thinks legally, the right thinks morally. The author argues that Europe and the American Left respect secular law, rather than morality, in determining what is right and good. An example of this tension that comes to my mind is the type of argument that says, “I believe life starts at conception, but I believe in the right of a woman to terminate that life [because the Supreme Court said so?]”

Caesar and Conscious addresses the relationship between law and morality. Mr. Reardon says, “It is high time, in short, for Caesar to reassess and rise to his moral responsibilities.”

We remember the Centurions not only for their relationship to God, but also for their standing in the Roman secular society evidenced by their “deliberation, constancy, and strength of mind." Emperor Constantine [IV Century] was very concerned with the state of morality in the Roman Empire, and he recognized in Christianity the moral fiber that would serve the people and the Government. He not only believed in the tenets of Christianity, he saw their practical application in the Empire. For that reason Constantine implemented legal policies like those Mr. Readon suggests : “It is certainly a function of government to “legislate morality,” not in the sense of establishing the moral law by its legislation (for that would put Caesar in the place of God), but by consulting moral principles in the crafting of that legislation

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Centurio Epistula –St. Matthew

St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist [September 21]

O ALMIGHTY God, who by thy blessed Son didst call Matthew from the receipt of custom to be an Apostle and Evangelist; Grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires, and inordinate love of riches, and to follow the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Matthew, whose name was Levi, was a tax collector in Capernaum. Jesus may have given him the name Matthew, which means, "gift of the Lord." Jesus called Matthew to follow him, and he did. It appears that Matthew was so happy that he called his friends to join him in a banquet. The Pharisees outside were critical of Jesus for eating with sinners, and Jesus answered by saying he came to call the sinners to righteousness.

One of the Gospels is named for Matthew, and it is generally accepted that his sayings about Jesus are included in that Gospel. The Gospel was written in Greek, probably for Jews, to prove that Jesus was the Messiah.
Traditionally, it was believed that after working as an evangelist in Judea, Matthew traveled to the east and was there martyred.

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Centurio Epistula – Putting God First

In the appointed Gospel for the 15th Sunday after Trinity , Jesus tells us we cannot have two masters. We cannot serve both God and mammon (money). Jesus then gives us wonderful examples of how God provides for his creation. He concludes by saying,

But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Four years ago during a presidential campaign debate, George W. Bush said that Jesus Christ was the most important philosopher in his life. He received quite a bit of criticism for saying that. He said the same sort of thing in his book, A Charge to Keep. Since becoming President he has stated time and again that his faith and relation with Jesus guide his decisions. That bothers a great many people. I think that is because they do not know Jesus, or understand His promise, or the way in which He, through the Holy Spirit, guides Christians.

In the Order of Centurions we salute Cornelius. God chose him to be the first baptized Christian because Cornelius put God first. God added to him eternal honor as a devout and righteous man. What more could one ask?

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Centurio Epistula - CBS News … Do the Right Thing

Have you ever heard the old saying, “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably isn’t” Dan Rather and CBS News should have been reciting that saying last week when they presented certain documents that impinged the dignity and honor of Lt. George W. Bush. Perhaps their bias got in the way of their better judgement. By everything I see now, it appears the alleged memoranda of Lt. Col. Killian were fraudulent. CBS was duped; and they know it.

So, Centurions, what is the right thing to do?

My opinion: to begin with, based on the overwhelming evidence against these documents, CBS ought to lead the investigation into their source and get the affair out in the open where a good airing can heal it. If they are fraudulent, then a retraction and apology are in order. At the very least now, there should be an admission that the allegations are not founded because of the doubt behind the witnesses’ credibility. That isn’t what we got, however. What we got instead was self-righteous justification..

By Wednesday, Rather was inhaling smoke from his own fogging machine, claiming that if the documents were forgeries, "I want to break the story." Really, folks, he actually said that. And then he went on to say that the authenticity of the documents didn't matter, only that what was in them was true. Really, he actually said that, too. [Federalist Journal]

I am doing a detailed study of Exodus these days, and the IX Commandment comes to mind:

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”

Now the IX Commandment concerns giving testimony, but the spirit goes much beyond that. Whenever a person utters something about his neighbor that causes people to believe bad things, and that something is not true, then he has indeed born false witness. We are all subject to commit this sin from time to time if we pass along information. Last year I was caught twice on this very thing when I forwarded stories in the form of emails {I don’t know why I gave them credibility – probably because of bias an I wanted to believe the worst was true).. Benevolent friends on my mailing list referred me to and a site called where one can see if the story has been investigated. I ended up publishing two retractions to almost my whole mailing list. In the age of the Internet, when news travels “faster than a speeding bullet”, if behooves all of us to take care in what we might forward to others as “news” when it defames a neighbor.

One of the good things to be appearing on the Internet these days are blogs from some very wise and inquiring folk. It was the bloggers who quickly saw this "witness" for what it was and blew the whistle on CBS.


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Centurio Epistula - Holy Cross Day

Today is Holy Cross Day, please pause to recite today's collect:

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world unto himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen +

I commend this site for a very good discussion on this feast day

This is an special day in the calendar of the Order of the Centurions. It was first celebrated as a feast day in 335 on 14 September when the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was dedicated. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, went to the Holy Land to find the ancient places of the Bible and located Golgatha, the tomb, and the remains of the Cross. She set the practice for later pilgrimages that continue to this day. Her faith was important to Constantine's, who we recognize in the Order, and the entire Orthodox and Catholic Church as we know it today.


Centurio Epistula 9/11 Lord have mercyÂ…

Today as I watched the scene at Ground Zero, and saw the survivors of the Attack on America, I was mindful of the Gospel account for this Sunday, the

14th Sunday after Trinity

. The ten lepers called out to Jesus for help saying, Master, have mercy on us. At Ground Zero, three years after the fact, the people are still in mourning. I could not hear their cry, but I imagined that they too were crying out to the Lord, asking that He would heal them, protect them, and comfort them in their loss.

In the Gospel story, Jesus answered the call of the lepers; he healed them with his word. Jesus continues to heal by his word and command today; He said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid [Jn 14:27]

The collect for this Sunday is quite appropriate for the times:

Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Centurio Epistula - Choosing the Lesser Evil

America's Responsibility in the Present Crisis - "When men or nations must choose between two evils, the choice of the lesser evil becomes Christian duty ... That is the alternative confronting the American people now."

This was written in 1940 concerning the Axis powers by the Christian realists. I invite you to read this commentary entitled Onward, Christian Pacifists

The author compares the pacifists of the 30's and 40's with today in reminding us of our need to meet international tyranny head on. There are times when "doing the right thing" will require us to take action to prevent the wrong thing... and so it is with international terrorism that strikes the young, defenseless, and innocent to shock the powerful - Remember the school children in Russia - Remember 9/11 - Remember the trains in Spain - Remember WWII - REMEMBER.

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Centurio Epistula - Arab Self Critical Commentary

The recent terrorist strikes in Russia have prompted the article below from Abdel Rahman al-Rashed. The article is preceded with an analysis by Steven Emreson. I commend both to you.

I am thankful that he has spoken out against the violence and has called faithful Arabs to action to do the right thing.

I bid your prayers for peace and safety.


Investigative Project
Steven Emerson
Executive Director

5505 Connecticut Ave NW No. 341
Washington, DC 20015

202-363-8602 202-966-5191 fax

Given the particularly horrific attacks by Islamic terrorists in the past week in Russia, Israel and Iraq, I am sending you an extraordinary piece of self-critical commentary by a prestigious Arab journalist that is almost unprecedented. The commentary is right on target. It is sober reading. It faults mainstream Islamic leaders and clergy for fostering a religious culture that sanctions violence.

The piece should be required reading for the editorial apologists of militant Islam at the New York Times, the LA Times, and the Chicago Tribune who have recently criticized the decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deny Islamic "scholar" Tariq Ramadan a visa to the United States to teach at Notre Dame. DHS did the right thing in stopping Ramadan--who professes moderation but is in fact a savvy purveyor of Islamic extremism -- from getting a visa to pollute the minds of young Americans.

Similarly, the attached piece comes only two days after the Associated Press filed a story on September 3 on radical cleric Yousef Al-Qaradawi, who, as the author noted below, just issued a fatwa calling for the killing of Americans. The AP story however characterized Al-Qaradawi as someone "whose voice carries considerable weight in the Islamic world [and] is considered a moderate figure who has condemned violence." Nothing could be further from the truth; Qaradawai has been justifying suicide bombings against "infidels" for years.

One of the reasons why Islamic terrorism continues to fester is that we in the West have indulged extremists or fallen for their deception. That is the real lesson of 9-11. Not flow-charts. Not redesigned bureaucracies. But the pervasiveness of Islamic militancy within the Islamic world, a fact that some in the United States continue to deny with the connivance of "mainstream" Islamic leaders who live here and who, in a twist of reality, assert that "Islam is under assault" or that anti-terror policies of the US is "anti-Muslim." No, the spread of Islamic extremism is the problem. And those who contend otherwise are wittingly and unwittingly allowing the purveyors of Islamic extremism to effectively deny any culpability in this murderous ideology.

Steve Emerson
Executive Director
The Investigative Project

'Innocent religion is now a message of hate'
(Filed: 05/09/2004) The Sunday Telegraph (London
September 5, 2004

Abdel Rahman al-Rashed is general manager of Al- Arabiya news channel. Yesterday, his article appeared in the pan-Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.

It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims.

The hostage-takers of children in Beslan, North Ossetia, were Muslims. The other hostage-takers and subsequent murderers of the Nepalese chefs and workers in Iraq were also Muslims. Those involved in rape and murder in Darfur, Sudan, are Muslims, with other Muslims chosen to be their victims.

Those responsible for the attacks on residential towers in Riyadh and Khobar were Muslims. The two women who crashed two airliners last week were also Muslims.

Bin Laden is a Muslim. The majority of those who manned the suicide bombings against buses, vehicles, schools, houses and buildings, all over the world, were Muslim.

What a pathetic record. What an abominable "achievement". Does all this tell us anything about ourselves, our societies and our culture?

These images, when put together, or taken separately, are shameful and degrading. But let us start with putting an end to a history of denial. Let us acknowledge their reality, instead of denying them and seeking to justify them with sound and fury signifying nothing.

For it would be easy to cure ourselves if we realise the seriousness of our sickness. Self-cure starts with self-realisation and confession. We should then run after our terrorist sons, in the full knowledge that they are the sour grapes of a deformed culture.

Let us listen to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Sheikh - the Qatar-based radical Egyptian cleric - and hear him recite his "fatwa" about the religious permissibility of killing civilian Americans in Iraq. Let us contemplate the incident of this religious Sheikh allowing, nay even calling for, the murder of civilians.

This ailing Sheikh, in his last days, with two daughters studying in "infidel" Britain, soliciting children to kill innocent civilians.

How could this Sheikh face the mother of the youthful Nick Berg, who was slaughtered in Iraq because he wanted to build communication towers in that ravished country? How can we believe him when he tells us that Islam is the religion of mercy and peace while he is turning it into a religion of blood and slaughter?

In a different era, we used to consider the extremists, with nationalist or Leftist leanings, a menace and a source of corruption because of their adoption of violence as a means of discourse and their involvement in murder as an easy shortcut to their objectives.

At that time, the mosque used to be a haven, and the voice of religion used to be that of peace and reconciliation. Religious sermons were warm behests for a moral order and an ethical life.

Then came the Neo-Muslims. An innocent and benevolent religion, whose verses prohibit the felling of trees in the absence of urgent necessity, that calls murder the most heinous of crimes, that says explicitly that if you kill one person you have killed humanity as a whole, has been turned into a global message of hate and a universal war cry.

We can't call those who take schoolchildren as hostages our own.

We cannot tolerate in our midst those who abduct journalists, murder civilians, explode buses; we cannot accept them as related to us, whatever the sufferings they claim to justify their criminal deeds. These are the people who have smeared Islam and stained its image.

We cannot clear our names unless we own up to the shameful fact that terrorism has become an Islamic enterprise; an almost exclusive monopoly, implemented by Muslim men and women.

We cannot redeem our extremist youths, who commit all these heinous crimes, without confronting the Sheikhs who thought it ennobling to re-invent themselves as revolutionary ideologues, sending other people's sons and daughters to certain death, while sending their own children to European and American schools and colleges.


Centurio Epistual - Inspirational Web Sites


A salute to Brother Floyd, a fellow centurion who shares this "Interview with God" inspirational web site with the order. The site features beautiful photographs, serene music, and a poem in the form of an interview with God. The presentation requires a little time to download before playing.

A related site is Pathways to Peace .

Both sites also offer for sale screensavers, calendars, etc.


Centurio Epistula - Summary of the Law

The Rule of the Order of Centurions, and the Vow of the Order ,include the Summary of the Law. The Gospel lesson for the 13th Sunday after Trinity begins at Luke x. 23. In the passage, a lawyer temps Jesus by asking, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus responds with a question, "What is written in the law? how readest thou? " The lawyer answered with what we know as the Summary of the Law,

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."

Jesus said he was right and then told him,

"this do, and thou shalt live"


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Centurio Epistula – Natural Law and Homosexuality is back publishing and I commend this article entitled:
Homosexuality and the Corruption of a Culture: San Francisco is only the beginning
by John Mark Reynolds that was posted yesterday 9/02/04.
Mr. Reynolds makes a secular and religious case against any culture "approving" homosexual marriage - he makes a distinction between approval and endorsement as opposed to toleration.
His first argument looks to what everyone knows without having to look to any particular religion: Natural Law if you will (physical as well). He writes:

Homosexuality is not natural. Sexual relations, and the body parts that go with them, are designed for reproduction and for pleasure. The two functions are joined. Males and females are quite literally made for each other. Any other form of sexuality is deviant in the sense that it is not natural, not part of God's design plan for human beings. Humans are bi-sexual.

He then argues from a religious perspective. He says that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as well as most all other religions have always taught that homosexuality is wicked and warns that

"God judges wicked nations as well as wicked men."

Centurio Epistula - Contemplative Rudder


One of the rules for the Order of Centurions is to Pray "without ceasing". Bishop John+ has written to us and shared this site that you may find resourceful

Between the Clouds: A Rudder for the Contemplative

located at:

The site suggests a framework for daily prayer based on the ancient hours of Matins and Lauds for Morning Prayer and Vespers and Compline for Evening Prayer. The site offers a selection of readings for these divine hours.


Centurio Epistula - Natural Law and Doing What is Right


The Natural Law is what all men know to be right and wrong. My first exposure to this concept was in the CS Lewis book, The Abolition of Man. I was delighted to have found this excellent book on the web and encourage all to read it. At the very least, please pause to briefly take a look at the Appendix where Lewis speaks of the codification of the Natural Law, which he calls Tao, in many of the religious writings from around the world. The acknowledged source of the Natural Law is of course God.  When man teaches that the Natural Law is wrong - and substitues other things as right, he is on the slope to the abolition of man. (e.g. Episocpal Church USA and  homosexuality).

On the Acton web site there is an excellent interview by Religion and Liberty Journal with Dr. J. Budziszewski entitled The Natural Law Is What We Naturally Know that looks at his new book, What We Can't Not Know-A Guide. His testimony at the end of the interview about his movement from atheism to Christianity is very interesting. Budziszewski, like Lewis, is an Anglican, and his emphasis on Reason is in the Anglican tradition. He also makes the point that there is no conflict between Scripture and the Natural Law.

An awareness of the Natural Law is important for Centurions seeking to Fear God and do what is right. The Scriptures speak of following the Spirit of the Law that gives life and not the letter of the law that kills [2Cor 3:6] and the Natural Law does indeed exist for all [Rom 2:14-15] Certainly, God is the author of the Natural Law. The Law that God has written on our hearts must guide us in our day-to-day encounters as we endeavor to live in this world and do what is right.

If you are interested in exploring Natural Law further, and would like to read from works throughout the ages, you may find this Natural Law/Natural Right Page resourceful.


Centurio Epistula - Voting Guide

In the Gospel appointed for the 12th Sunday after Trinity, the people observing Jesus healing the deaf mute said of him, "he hath done all things well" [Mk 7:37]. Jesus set the standard for us in doing Good for he alone was "Good" [Mt 19:17]. Over a century ago, Charles M. Sheldon wrote a novel "In His Steps" encouraging Christians to follow Jesus bearing good fruit after the model of Jesus. The question posed is, "What would Jesus do?, and What would Jesus have me do?"

As the elections in the United States approach, U.S. Centurions will have the opportunity to ask these questions when they go to vote. St. Paul encouraged us to exercise good citizenship, and Jesus told us to "let your light so shine before men, that they may see you good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." [Mt 5:16]. Our vote is secret so that no one may see the work in the ballot; however Jesus sees not only the vote, but what is in our hearts. All can see the result of the collective work by the people in election of a certain candidate.

Catholic Answers, has published a Voters Guide. Although not approved by the American Roman Catholic bishops, it is being widely distributed. In it they list five areas of concern that are related to the sanctity of life and the sacrament of marriage. I believe all orthodox Christians should be concerned with these issues. The guide says, "Catholics have a moral obligation to promote the common good through the exercise of their voting privileges. It is not just civil authorities who have responsibility for a country. Service of the common good requires citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community . This means citizens should participate in the political process at the ballot box.

I encourage all Centurions to vote in their local and national elections, and to consider each candidate's stand on all issues that are important to the Church Militant. In voting, keep in mind our motto: Fear God and do what is right, and the words of St. James, "faith, if it hath no works is dead [and] him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" [James 2:17 and 4:17].