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Conversion of St. Paul [25 Jan]

O GOD, who, through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Saint Paul,
hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world;
Grant, we beseech thee, that we, having his wonderful conversion in
remembrance, may show forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same,
by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.


Paul's question today is one we should all ask, "Lord, what wilt thou
have me to do?" Few of us will ever have any experience to match that
of Paul's. Among those we honor in the Order of Centurions, perhaps
Constantine was the only one to experience a manifestation of God that
included both a visual appearance and a conversation with Jesus
including a specific command. Paul was physically blinded and knocked
down when a light from heaven shown upon him, and Jesus spoke to him
in voice that his companions heard. Constantine and his men beheld a
Cross of Light in the sky with symbol IHSV (meaning "in hoc signo
vinces" (by this sign, conquer!).) Later that night, Jesus personally
appeared to Constantine to explain the symbol, and commanded him to
carry it forward in the battle the next day. These experiences changed
both Paul and Constantine forever. They both in their own way went on
to make significant conquests for the Cross in obedience to the
commands of Jesus, and as a result had a most a profound effect on the
spread of Christianity.

See the readings, collect and rest of the homily
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Octave of the Epiphany - Judeo Christian Values

I commend the articles by Dennis Prager: The case for Judeo-Christian values: I’ve enjoyed reading his posts and he has constantly made a case for the shared values of conservative Christians and Jews based on the Old Testament Scriptures. His arguments in these articles are compelling and ones to which I think we all can subscribe. I think you will find both articles interesting and refreshing.

Prager says, "As a Jew, by "biblical" I am referring to the Old Testament, but this should pose no problem to Christian readers, since this is the first part of their Bible as well. Indeed, as the greatest Jewish thinker, Maimonides, pointed out over 800 years ago, it is primarily Christians who have spread knowledge of the Jews' Bible to the human race"

On this Octave of the Epiphany, it does us well to remember the promises of God to the patriarchs, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: that all men would be blessed through their seed. This blessing has been realized through Christ Jesus in the form of the Light to those who sat in darkness. It has been carried to the world by the Body of Christ, the Church Militant, in the Word of God, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, first by the Apostles, then by the evangelists throughout the ages, and now by us.

Part I

Part II

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1st Sunday after the Epiphany & Ambrose Homily

(Latin: The Feast of the Holy Family)

Let us pray:O LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people who call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Romans xii. 1 & St. Luke ii. 41 - Psalm 72

The selected homily from St Amborse [ca. 380 AD] is to be found here with art and lessons.

St Ambrose's homily concludes with this statement targeted at Arian heretics."The heretics say that, as the Son was sent by the Father, therefore the Father is greater than the Son; and, if the Father be greater than the Son, there is then somewhat in which the Son is less than the Father; yea, and that he, since he was as one sent, hath of necessity, need of some strengthening from outside himself, But was he subject to his Mother? Was he less than she? God forbid!"

As in the time of Ambrose, today the Church faces many heretical clerics who desire to mislead the faithful in doctrines and practices are unorthodox – indeed dangerous for their salvation. How shall we answer these voices? The Rev Mills speaks to this. It is long, but very worthwhile. Jesus brought into this world a Light. May we, his Church, be vigilant to keep it shinning by defending it from all of those who would snuff it out.

Recovering the Art of Christian Polemics by David Mills

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Epiphany & Homily by St. Gregory the Great

Let us pray:

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begottenSon to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now byfaith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead;through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ephesians iii. 1. St. Matthew ii. 1.

A Homily by St. Gregory the Great

Dearly beloved brethren, ye have heard from the Gospel how, when theKing of heaven was born, an earthly king was troubled. For earthlygreatness is brought to confusion when the might of heaven is mademanifest. But let us ask a question: When the Redeemer was born, whywas it that, to the shepherds of Judaea, an Angel was sent to bringtidings thereof, whereas it was a star that led the Wise Men of theEast to worship him?

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

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Crimson - Compassion and Charity on the Battlefield


You may appreciate the account, and a poem, written recently by my friend and compatriot Chaplain David Chaltas about an act of charity on the battlefield during America's War Between the States in 1864. The act saved lives, prevented awful suffering, and stilled the battle for a moment of respect. This is an example of chvalry that men of honor can appreciate and is worthy of emulation.

See it here
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In the past few days members have be affirming their Christian vow in the Order as did the soldiers of the legions in the Roman army on 3 January each year.

Yesterday too we looked at the story of the martyr Theagenes, a soldier who refused to take the pagan vow of loyalty to a deified emporer against God.... here is that story and a reflection on its meaning for us today.

"Theagenes, the son of a bishop,was conscripted in Phrygia and sent to the legion entitled the SecondTrajan under the tribune Zelicinthius and the praepositus Posidonius.This legion was stationed in Parium in the Hellespontus, which city issuperior to Cyzicus. Brought before the tribune and the praepositus,blessed Theagenes was being forced to serve as a soldier. But beingfaithful and accomplished in the eyes of God, filled with the HolySpirit, he declared in the middle of the legion, "I am a Christian, andI serve the Immortal King who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.His soldier and servant am I, and I cannot serve another king.
See the rest here:


In reflection on the story of Theagenes, it came to my mind that the pagan vow that Theagenes had to take was a critical part of this story.

Theagenes refused to serve under the pagan Emperor Lucinius. The men had to swear a vow to the Emperor as a deity. They were forced to make sacrifices to him and his chosen deities. Theagenes felt he would have had to break his vow to God to accept the military service and the pagan vow.

After Constantine's victory at Milvan Bridge, he made an agreement with Co-emperor Lucinius in the Edict of Milan under which Christianity was tolerated. However, soon afterwards, Lucinius renewed persecutions of the Christians. Constantine conquered Lucinius and united the empire in 324 and then held the historic first Ecumenical council at Nicea which supported Christianity across the Empire.

The Army was given a new vow - a Sacramentum for Christians. It began: "I swear by God, by Christ and by the Holy Spirit; and by the majesty of the emperor, which, next to God, should be loved ... "

The new vow placed God first, and the state second. Christians could now serve in a tolerant if not supportive army atmosphere.

It is good to reflect on this story as we consider events of today. In the US a debate rages over the use of God in the pledge of allegiance. The inclusion of this phrase essentially subordinates loyalty to country to loyalty to God -- it says "one nation under God". The alternative is frightening. I for one pray that the US retains God in their pledge.

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The Circumcision of Christ [January 1] - Ambrose Homily

ALMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Scripture: Philippians ii. 9. St. Luke ii. 15

Ancient Homily by Bishop Ambrose :
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, his Name was called JESUS: This is the Child of whom it is said: Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: or again: Made under the Law to redeem them that were under the Law: or again: To present him to the Lord. .....

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

My many thanks to ++Paul, the Order's Praefectus Castrorum, whose gift of "The Anglican Breviary" made the publication of this ancient homily possible. I hope to use the Breviary to provide you with many ancient homilies such as Centurions certainly heard in their day.

Ancient homilies will be provided with Sunday and Holy Day collects, lessons, and art -- verbatim. The reader should place himself mentally in the time the homilies were written and consider the attitudes and beliefs of the Fathers of the Early Church to more fully appreciate their writings. I hope to provide a biographical link to for each homily.

May you have a blessed and happy New Year!


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