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Palm Sunday

This Sunday is known as Palm Sunday, in remembrance of the palm leaves that the people spread before the way of our Lord when he entered into Jerusalem with much rejoicing - the coming of the Messiah, the Son of David, "Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord". In some churches ministers will bless the palms this Sunday and give them to the people who will process in remembrance of our Lord's procession. . The earliest account we have of this day is in the life of Euthymius [473AD] as reported by Cyril of Alexandria. See a history here
Next Sunday is Easter! I encourage you to use this week as one of preparation for the most important observance of the year. Ever wonder where wearing of the Easter Sunday Best and Easter Parades came from? Well our centurions of old saw it. Constantine put out an order that all Christians were to wear their best clothing and attend Easter Services. With the lifting  of the persecutions by Constantine, the newly baptized Christians would walk through the streets in their white baptismal togas, and finally, Easter, along with Christmas and Pentecost were obligatory for attendance and reception of the communion as decided in a synod of about 508. 
 I've featured Chrysostom on his first homily on today's appointed proper epistle. John really lays it on the heretics in this passage I've excerpted. Take a look at the links if you would like more information into heresies of his day... we have  more than a few heresies brewing in the church now that could use a swift stroke of that double edged Sword of the Spirit... and some Centurions who have already invoked it, and are yet invoking it, I might add.  By the way, you can find strains of these heresies throughout the "Christian" world today... One gets the impression from John's impassioned sermon that he himself had been a first-hand witness to the legions in battle, as he describe the battle against heretics. As a brother centurion often says to me.... Lest we forget.

The Sunday next before Easter
Palm Sunday

The First Homily of Chrysostom on the Epistle to the Philippians ii. 5ff
Palm Sunday Home

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

To be said daily, after the Collect appointed for the day, until Good Friday

Source: Sacramentary of Galesius, Bishop of Rome [494 AD]. "Palms" were carried by people on this Sunday in remembrances of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem.

Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, Gustave Dore

Philippians ii. 5

He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross

Excerpt of John Chrysostom on Philippians.
For as a sharp two-edged sword, wheresoever it falls, though it be among ten thousand phalanxes, easily cuts through and destroys, because it is sharp on every side, and nought can bear its edge; so are the words of the Spirit. (Heb. iv. 12; Rev. i. 16.) For by these words he has laid low the followers of Arius of Alexandria, of Paul of Samosata, of Marcellus the Galatian , of Sabellius the Libyan, of Marcion that was of Pontus, of Valentinus , of Manes, of Apollinarius of Laodicea, of Photinus, of Sophronius, and, in one word, all the heresies. Rouse yourselves then to behold so great a spectacle, so many armies falling by one stroke, lest the pleasure of such a sight should escape you. For if when chariots contend in the horse race there is nothing so pleasing as when one of them dashes against and overthrows whole chariots with their drivers, and after throwing down many with the charioteers that stood thereon, drives by alone towards the goal, and the end of the course, and amid the applause and clamor which rises on all sides to heaven, with coursers winged as it were by that joy and that applause, sweeps over the whole ground; how much greater will the pleasure be here, when by the grace of God we overthrow at once and in a body the combinations and devilish machinations of all these heresies together with their charioteers?     
read it all at the link above.


"The Cry of the Centurion"

I commend this article by  Patrick Henry Reardon as he looks at the various Gospel accounts of the witness of the Centurion at Calvary.
We note that Reardon ascribes the Centurion's cry to God's inspiration and revelation, as we do also hold in the prayer of the Order.
from the article
"It is at the cross that the centurion, who thus becomes a symbol of Christian faith, addresses the Father's affirmation about His Son....Matthew's centurion illustrates, in addition, the principle that Jesus enunciated earlier with respect to the recognition of His own identity, namely, that "no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him" (11:27). As the recipient of this divine revelation, Matthew's centurion is a spokesman for the Church, sharing in Simon Peter's foundational confession: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (16:16).
and the Order's prayer

Almighty God, our sovereign Lord, who called Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles, who healed the servant at Capernaum in accordance with the Centurion's great faith, and who inspired the Centurion at Calvary to glorify Jesus; strengthen us in our faith that we might follow their example to love, serve, and glorify you as faithful members of the Church Militant, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Centurion at Calvary: - used with permission


Annunciation (Transferred)

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

[March 25.]

WE beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts; that, as we have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by his cross and passion we may be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Isaiah vii. 10 St. Luke i. 26

thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son



Passion Sunday

This Sunday is known as Passion Sunday,  the first Sunday of the two-week  mini-season within Lent of Passiontide. Next week will be Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.  Here is a little history on Passion Sunday
 I've added an homily of John Chrysostom on the Epistle to the Hebrews appointed for this Sunday. As I've pointed out before, our lectionary is in most cases the same as that of the Early Church. In most instances you read the same bible passages in the Order's propers that were read in the 5th Century and before. Note in this excerpt from Chrysostom's homily today, that as he preaches on this passage from Hebrews, he reminds all that it is delivered in the season of Lent. In thinking on his words below and his admonishment to his cure, I am put in mind of the words and the charge of Paul to worship God with dignity and solemnity, and of this verse from Psalm 96, .
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness, let the whole earth stand in awe of him

Passion Sunday
John Chrysostom on the Epistle to the Hebrews
Passion Sunday Home

WE beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Sacramentary of Gregory, Bishop of Rome [600 AD]. The people here was familiain Latin. "Passion" had its roots in Medieval times

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hebrews ix. 11
Homily of Chrysostom on the Hebrews

but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

John Chrysostom
Extract of Homily XV
Hebrews ix

Everywhere the devil leads the dance, he has entered into all, is master of all. Christ is dishonored, is thrust aside; the Church is made no account of. Do ye not hear Paul saying, Let "filthiness and foolish talking and jesting" ( Eph. v. 4 ) be put away from you? He places "jesting" along with "filthiness," and dost thou laugh? What is "foolish talking"? that which has nothing profitable. And dost thou, a solitary, laugh at all and relax thy countenance? thou that art crucified? thou that art a mourner? tell me, dost thou laugh? Where dost thou hear of Christ doing this? Nowhere: but that He was sad indeed oftentimes. For even when He looked on Jerusalem, He wept; and when He thought on the Traitor He was troubled; and when He was about to raise Lazarus, He wept; and dost thou laugh? If he who grieves not over the sins of others deserves to be accused, of what consideration will he be worthy, who is without sorrow for his own sins, yea laughs at them? This is the season of grief and tribulation, of bruising and bringing matter [the body], of conflicts and sweatings, and dost thou laugh? Dost not thou see how Sarah was rebuked? dost thou not hear Christ saying, "Woe to them that laugh, for they shall weep"? ( Luke vi. 25 .) Thou chantest these things every day, for, tell me, what dost thou say? "I have laughed?" By no means; but what? "I labored in my groaning." ( Ps. vi. 6 .)
read it all at the link above.




Fourth Sunday in Lent and News

Greetings Friends on this Fourth Sunday inLent: 
News:  I have received a letter from our brother Centurion Simeon of Kenya. He sends pictures of his church building there and bids the prayers of the Order.
The last time I shared pictures of Simeon's ministry his congregation was gathered outside under trees. Note that the building lacks windows and doors. If anyone would like to correspond with Simeon and those of his cure, or to contribute to the ministry in Kenya;  please contact me for Simeon's email at .

Thomas Cranmer, Bishop, Soldier, Martyr -- 21 March

Nicholas von der Flue, Soldier and Hermit -- March 22nd

 For this Sunday's homily, I've added the homily of John Chrysostom on Matthew xiv. 13ff, the parallel Gospel story to the feeding of the 5,000 that is set for today in the propers from John. Chrysostom, after his exegesis of the miracle, takes opportunity to admonish his listeners to follow the example of our Lord and to avoid extravagance and artsy concerns. Seems like not too much has changed in 1600 years.

The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Homily of Chrysostom on the parallel Gospel story in Matthew xiv. 13
Named Mothering Sunday for this Epistle

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Gregory, Bishop of Rome [600 AD].

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Matthew xiv. 13
Homily of Chrysostom on the parallel Gospel Story in Matthew xiv. 13

They need not depart; give ye them to eat.

An excerpt of John Chysostom's homily on Matthew xiv. 13ff
7. What then can be worse than this unseemliness, this absurdity [i.e., an ornamented and glittering sandal]? For the thing marks a soul, in the first place effeminate, then unfeeling and cruel, then curious and idly busy. For when will he be able to attend to any necessary matter, who is taken up with these superfluous things? when will such a youth endure to take heed to his soul, or to consider so much as that he hath a soul? Yes, he surely will be a trifler who cannot help admiring such things; he cruel, who for their sake neglects the poor; he void of virtue, who spends all his diligence on them.

For he that is curious about the beauty of threads, and the bloom of colors, and the tendrils made of such woven work, when will he be able to look upon the heaven? when will he admire the beauty there, who is excited about a kind of beauty that belongs to pieces of leather, and who is bending to the earth? And whereas God hath stretched out the Heaven, and lighted up the sun, drawing thy looks upwards; thou constrainest thyself to look downwards, and to the earth, like the swine, and obeyest the devil. For indeed this wicked demon hath devised this unseemliness, to draw thee off from that beauty. For this intent hath he drawn thee this way; and God, showing Heaven, is outvied by a devil showing certain skins, or rather not even skins (for indeed these too are God's works), but effeminacy and a bad kind of skill.

And the young man goes about bending down towards the earth, he that is required to seek wisdom concerning the things in Heaven; priding himself more on these trifles than if he had accomplished some great and good work, and walking on tiptoe in the forum, and hereby begetting to himself superfluous sorrows and distresses, lest he should stain them with the mud when it is winter; lest he should cover them with the dust, when summer is come.

What sayest thou, O man? Hast thou cast thy whole soul into the mire through this extravagance, and dost thou overlook it trailing on the ground, and art thou so anxious about a pair of shoes? Mark their use, and respect the verdict thou passest on them. For to tread on mud and mire, and all the spots on the pavement, for this were thy shoes made. Or if thou canst not bear this, take and hang them from thy neck, or put them on thy head.

And ye indeed laugh at hearing this. But I am inclined to weep for these men's madness, and their earnest care about these matters. For in truth they would rather stain their body with mud, than those pieces of leather.

Triflers then they become in this way, and fond of money again in another way. For he that has been used to be frantic and eager upon such matters, requires also for his clothes and for all other things much expense, and a large income.

And if he have a munificent father, his thraldom becomes worse, his absurd fancy more intense; but if a parsimonious one, he is driven to other unseemliness, by way of getting together a little money for such expenses.

Hence many young men have even sold their manhood, and have become parasites to the rich, and have undertaken other servile offices, purchasing thereby the fulfillment of such desires.

So then, that this man is sure to be at once fond of money, and a trifler, and about important things the most indolent of all men, and that he will be forced to commit many sins, is hereby evident. And that he is cruel and vainglorious, neither this will any one gainsay: cruel, in that when he sees a poor man, through the love of finery he makes as though he did not even see him, but while he is decking out these things with gold, overlooks him perishing of hunger; vainglorious, since even in such little matters he trains himself to hunt after the admiration of the beholders. For I suppose no general prides himself so much on his legions and trophies, as our profligate youths on the decking out of their shoes, on their trailing garments, on the dressing of their hair; yet surely all these are works of other persons, in their trades. But if men do not cease from vain boasting in the works of others, when will they cease from it in their own?
 See more at the homily link above.

Patrick's Breastplate

Today, the 17th, marks the date the church in many places commemorate a very famous Christian Roman.. Patrick, first bishop of Ireland.
I've always admired Patrick's Breastplate. Its verses remind me of a litany of prayers. I encourage you to listen to or sing along with the beautiful version written at the end of the 19th century based on an old Gaelic poem called Lorica. It is one I've enjoyed for years.
Dr Toon of the Prayer Book Society says the version at the following link is a literal translation of the poem. The last verses follow which I will often use after morning prayer.  You can see the entire thing here.. quite good!

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone
who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
Although Patrick has no place on our centurion roster as a soldier, he was captured by a raiding party from Ireland and enslaved, so he is in kind a prisoner of war in that on-going conflict between the Celts and Romans in the late 5th Century. This page gives a good history of Patrick including two letters dated from the 5th century ascribed to Patrick
Patrick's blessing is hard to beat for this special day in the church
in fide et in bello fortis 
ps. our military historians may enjoy this nice little two-page site on the wars between Romans and the Celts  . Some good reenactment pictures of the Celtic warriors.


Third Sunday in Lent




Maximilian, Legionary, Martyr - March 12th

Longinus, Centurion at Calvary, Martyr - March 15th

Marinus, Optio, Martyr -- March 17



This homily for this week comes from John Chrysostom on the parallel passages of Matthew on the accusation of Jesus had cast out evil spirits by the power of Satan. I've placed an excerpt, his bottom line, below the artwork. It is a message that all Christians need to take to heart, especially in this period of Lent.   


The Third Sunday in Lent
Homily of John Chrysostom on the parallel Gospel in Matthew xii. 22-32
Third Sunday in Lent Home

WE beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
[Collect of Ash Wednesday said daily until Palm Sunday]

Matthew xii. 22-32

And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come .



An Excerpt from Chrysostom's homily on Matthew 12:22-32


6. But if thou desire not to be punished even here, pass judgment on thyself, exact thine own penalty. Listen to Paul, when he saith, "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." If thou do this, proceeding in order thou shalt even arrive at a crown.


But how are we to exact our own penalty? one may ask.


Lament, groan bitterly, humble, afflict thyself, call to remembrance thy sins in their particulars. This thing is no small torture to a man's soul. If any man hath been in a state of contrition, he knows that the soul is punished by this more than anything. If any hath been living in remembrance of sins, he knows the anguish thence arising. Therefore doth God appoint righteousness as a reward for such repentance, saying, "Be thou first to tell thy sins, that thou mayest be justified." For it is not, it is not indeed, a small step towards amendment, to lay together all our sins, and to be continually revolving and reckoning them up with their particulars. For he that is doing this will be so heart-broken, as not to think himself worthy so much as to live; and he that thinks thus, will be tenderer than any wax. For tell me not of acts of fornication only, nor of adulteries, nor of these things that are manifest, and acknowledged amongst all men: but lay together also thy secret crafts, and thy false accusations, and thine evil speakings, and thy vain gloryings, and thine envy, and all such things. For neither will these bring a trifling punishment. For the reviler too shall fall into hell; and the drunkard hath no part in the kingdom; and he that lovest not his neighbor so offends God, as to find no help even in his own martyrdom; and he that neglects his own hath denied the faith, and he who overlooks the poor is sent into the fire.


Account not then these things to be little, but put all together, and write them as in a book. For if thou write them down, God blots them out; even as on the other hand, if thou omit writing them, God both inscribes them, and exacts their penalty. It were then far better for them to be written by us, and blotted out above, than on the contrary, when we have forgotten them, for God to bring them before our eyes in that day.


Therefore that this may not be so, let us reckon up all with strictness, and we shall find ourselves answerable for much. For who is clear from covetousness? Nay, tell me not of the quantity, but since even in a small amount we shall pay the same penalty, consider this and repent. Who is rid of all insolence? Yet this casts into hell. Who hath not secretly spoken evil of his neighbor? Yet this deprives one of the Kingdom. Who hath not been self-willed? Yet this man is more unclean than all. Who hath not looked with unchaste eyes? Yet this is a complete adulterer. Who hath not been "angry with his brother without a cause"? Yet such an one is "in danger of the council." Who hath not sworn? Yet this thing is of the evil one. Who hath not forsworn himself? but this man is something more than of the evil one. Who hath not served mammon? but this man is fallen away from the genuine service of Christ.


I have also other things greater than these to mention: but even these are enough, and able, if a man be not made of stone, nor utterly past feeling, to bring him to compunction. For if each one of them casts into hell, what will they not bring to pass when all are met together?


How then can one be saved? it may be asked. By application of the countervailing remedies: alms, prayers, compunction, repentance, humility, a contrite heart, contempt of possessions. For God hath marked out for us innumerable ways of salvation, if we be willing to attend. Let us then attend, and let us every way cleanse out our wounds, showing mercy, remitting our anger against them that have displeased us, giving thanks for all things to God, fasting according to our power, praying sincerely, "making unto ourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness." For so shall we be able to obtain pardon for our offenses, and to win the promised good things; whereof may we all be counted worthy, by the grace and love toward man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.


"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]



Second Sunday in Lent


The Second Sunday in Lent
Chrysostom on Thessalonians iv

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Augustine of Hippo fought against the heretic Pelagius, who preached that men had the capability to do good, and thus earn their justification, within themselves, if they just would do so. Later the Synod of Orange issued canons against pelagianism... and although original sin and the fallen state of man has been dogma since then, pelagianism and its daughter semi pelagianism are alive and well amongst some.  I mention this  because of the collect appointed for this day.. Please read it closely.  I think you will see how it reflects the very doctrine that Paul gave us in Romans, and Augustine articulated in his writings.

Proverbs v., Psalm 51, 1 Thessalonians iv. 1. 21

The Whore of Babolon by William Blake 1809
"For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification."
 The artwork is by William Blake , entitled The Whore of Babylon, a Pen and watercolour over pencil, 266 x 223 mm, 1809, London, British Museum 1847-3-18-123. I encourage you to read of him -- a contemporary of Wilberforce and fellow advocate of abolition. CS Lewis called him a "great genius". He was a mystic and a visionary.  And now for this Sunday's collect, lessons, and homily.
He says, "That each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel." It is, then, a matter to be learnt, and that diligently, not to be wanton. But we possess our vessel, when it is pure; when it is impure, sin possesses it. And reasonably. For it does not do the things which we wish, but what sin commands. "Not in the passion of lust," he says. Here he shows also the manner, according to which one ought to be temperate; that we should cut off the passions of lust. For luxury, and wealth, and idleness, and sloth, and ease, and all such things, lead us on to irregular lust. "Even as the Gentiles," he says, "which know not God." For such are they who do not expect that they shall suffer punishment..... see more here