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The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

News of the Order and commentary appear after the Proper Collect, Epistle and Gospel

The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity
Ambrose - Chapter Three, Book Three, on the Holy Spirit as touching on 2 Cor iii.
Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Home

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving unto us that that our prayer dare not presume to ask, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source of Collect: Leo [460], revised by Gelasius [494].

2 Corinthians iii. 4   &  St. Mark vii. 31
Chapter 1 - Treatise of Ambrose

Not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life


2 Corinthians iii. 4

SUCH trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

St Mark vii. 31

JESUS, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; and were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.






Julian, Centurion of Brioude (Auvergne), Martyr - August 28th




 Interesting quotation here concerning Maximilias, the Roman Army recruit who in 295 refused service as a Christian Conscientious Objector in the face of sure execution.
The article mentions Dacius who was martyred on 23 November. I hope to add him to our calendar of military martyrs.



The appointed epistle is from the third chapter of 2nd Corinthians. Ambrose wrote three books on the Holy Spirit. Here he touches on today's epistle.   We are reminded that all canon Scripture is God breathed, and that he has written his law in the heart of every one of his chosen.


  With this Finger, as we read, God wrote on those tables of stone which Moses received. For God did not with a finger of flesh write the forms and portions of those letters which we read, but gave the law by His Spirit. And so the Apostle says: "For the Law is spiritual, which, indeed, is written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but on fleshy tables of the heart." For if the letter of the Apostle is written in the Spirit, what hinders us from believing that the Law of God was written not with ink, but with the Spirit of God, which certainly 


Bartholomew [24 August] and the Epistle of Gregory to Maricius Augustus against John the Faster, "Universal Pope"

Saint Bartholomew the Apostle
24 August

Epistle of Gregory to Maricius Augustus
Bartholomew Home

O ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church, to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary says this is the same Apostle as Nathaniel, whom is associated with Philip in the Gospel of John of whom Jesus said, "Behold, and Isrealite indeed, in whom is no guile" Ancient tradition has it that Bartholomew "Son of Tolmai" was flayed alive at Albanopolis in Armenia. Eusebius reported that when Pantaenus of Alexandria visited India between 150 and 200 he found there Matthew's Gospel that had been left by Bartholomew. His relics were translated to Rome on August 24th by Emporer Otho III.

Acts v. 12   &  St. Luke xxii. 24

Epistle of Gregory

He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger


Psalm 115

Acts v. 12

BY the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

St. Luke xxii. 24

AND there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Scripture from 1928 Book of Common Prayer

Gregory of Rome

"Far from Christian hearts be that name of blasphemy, in which the honour of all priests is taken away, while it is madly arrogated to himself by one."

Epistle XX. To Mauricius Augustus Against the Presumptions of John as "Universal Bishop"

Gregory to Mauricius, &c.

Our most pious and God-appointed lord, among his other august cares and burdens, watches also in the uprightness of spiritual zeal over the preservation of peace among the priesthood, inasmuch as he piously and truly considers that no one can govern earthly things aright unless he knows how to deal with divine things, and that the peace of the republic hangs on the peace of the universal Church. For, most serene Lord, what human power, and what strength of fleshly arm would presume to lift irreligious hands against the lofty height of your most Christian Empire, if the concordant hearts of priests were studious to implore their Redeemer for you with the tongue, and also, as they ought to do, by their deservings? Or what sword of a most savage race would advance with so great cruelty to the slaughter of the faithful, unless the life of us, who are called priests but are not, were weighed down by works most wicked. But while we neglect the things that concern us, and think of those that concern us not, we associate our sins with the barbaric forces and our fault, which weighs down the forces of the republic, sharpens the swords of the enemy. But what shall we say for ourselves, who press down the people of God which we are unworthily set over with the loads of our sins; who destroy by example what we preach with the tongue; who by our works teach unrighteous things, and with our voice only set forth the things that are righteous? Our bones are worn down by fasts, and in our mind we swell. Our body is covered with vile raiment, and in elation of heart we surpass the purple. We lie in ashes, and look down upon loftiness. Teachers of humility, we are chiefs of pride; behind the faces of sheep we hide the teeth of wolves. But what is the end of these things except that we persuade men, but are manifest to God? Wherefore most providently for restraining warlike movements does the most pious lord seek the peace of the Church, and, for compacting it, deigns to bring back the hearts of its priests to concord. And this indeed is what I wish; and, as far as I am concerned, I render obedience to his most serene commands. But since it is not my cause, but God's, since the pious laws, since the venerable synods, since the very commands of our Lord Jesus Christ are disturbed by the invention of a certain proud and pompous phrase, let the most pious lord cut the place of the sore, and bind the resisting patient in the chains of august authority. For in binding up these things tightly you relieve the republic; and while you cut off such things, you provide for the lengthening of your reign.

For to all who know the Gospel it is apparent that by the Lord's voice the care of the whole Church was committed to the holy Apostle and Prince of all the Apostles, Peter. For to him it is said, Peter, lovest thou Me? Feed My sheep (John xxi. 17). To him it is said, Behold Satan hath desired to sift you as wheat; and I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith fail not. And thou, when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (Luke xxii. 31). To him it is said, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatsoever thou shalt bind an earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven (Matth. xvi. 18).

Lo, he received the keys of the heavenly kingdom, and power to bind and loose is given him, the care and principality of the whole Church is committed to him, and yet he is not called the universal apostle; while the most holy man, my fellow-priest John, attempts to be called universal bishop. I am compelled to cry out and say, O tempora, O mores!

Lo, all things in the regions of Europe are given up into the power of barbarians, cities are destroyed, camps overthrown, provinces depopulated, no cultivator inhabits the land, worshippers of idols rage and dominate daily for the slaughter of the faithful, and yet priests, who ought to lie weeping on the ground and in ashes, seek for themselves names of vanity, and glory in new and profane titles.

Do I in this matter, most pious lord, defend my own cause? Do I resent my own special wrong? Nay, the cause of Almighty God, the cause of the Universal Church.

Who is this that, against the evangelical ordinances, against the decrees of canons, presumes to usurp to himself a new name? Would indeed that one by himself he were, if he could be without any lessening of others,—he that covets to be universal.

And certainly we know that many priests of the Constantinopolitan Church have fallen into the whirlpool of heresy, and have become not only heretics, but even heresiarchs. For thence came Nestorius, who, thinking Jesus Christ, the Mediator of God and men, to be two persons, because he did not believe that God could be made man, broke out even into Jewish perfidy. Thence came Macedonius, who denied that God the Holy Spirit was consubstantial with the Father and the Son. If then any one in that Church takes to himself that name, whereby he makes himself the head of all the good, it follows that the Universal Church falls from its standing (which God forbid), when he who is called Universal falls. But far from Christian hearts be that name of blasphemy, in which the honour of all priests is taken away, while it is madly arrogated to himself by one.

Certainly, in honour of Peter, Prince of the apostles, it was offered by the venerable synod of Chalcedon to the Roman pontiff. But none of them has ever consented to use this name of singularity, lest, by something being given peculiarly to one, priests in general should be deprived of the honour due to them. How is it then that we do not seek the glory of this title even when offered, and another presumes to seize it for himself though not offered?

He, then, is rather to be bent by the mandate of our most pious Lords, who scorns to render obedience to canonical injunctions. He is to be coerced, who does wrong to the holy Universal Church, who swells in heart, who covets rejoicing in a name of singularity, who also puts himself above the dignity of your Empire through a title peculiar to himself.

Behold, we all suffer offence for this thing. Let then the author of the offence be brought back to a right way of life; and all quarrels of priests will cease. For I for my part am the servant of all priests, so long as they live as becomes priests. For whosoever, through the swelling of vain glory, lifts up his neck against Almighty God and against the statutes of the Fathers, I trust in Almighty God that he will not bend my neck to himself, not even with swords.

Moreover what has been done in this city on our hearing of this title, I have indicated in full to my deacon and responsalis Sabinianus. Let then the piety of my lords think of me as their own, whom they have always cherished and countenanced beyond others, and who desire to render obedience to you and yet fear to be found guilty in the heavenly and tremendous judgment, and, according to the petition of the aforesaid deacon Sabinianus, let my most pious lord either deign to judge this business, or to move the often before mentioned man to desist at length from this attempt. If then through the most just judgment of your Piety he should comply with your orders, even though they be mild ones, we shall return thanks to Almighty God, and rejoice for the peace granted through you to all the Church. But should he persist any longer in his present contention, we hold this sentence of the Truth to be already made good; Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled (Luke xiv. 11; xviii. 14). And again it is written, Before a fall the heart is lifted up (Prov. xvi. 18). I however, rendering obedience to the commands of my lords, have both written sweetly to my aforesaid fellow-priest, and humbly admonished him to amend himself of this coveting of empty glory. If therefore he be willing to hear me, he has a devoted brother. But, if he persists in pride, I already see what will follow:—that he will find Him as his adversary of whom it is written, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (Jam. iv. 6).

Order of Centurions

"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]



The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

News of the Order and commentary appear after the Proper Collect, Epistle and Gospel


The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

O GOD, who declarest thy almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Gelasius [492-496]. This is the original as Cranmer translated it faithfully, It it was altered in the 1662 update by adding the phrase " running the way of thy commandments" The Collect's emphasis on Grace, compliments the story of the Pharisee and the Publican praying in today's Gospel story from Luke.

Isaiah xxvi. 12, Psalm 125, 1 Corinthians xv. 1    St. Luke xviii. 9

Homily of Gregory of Rome

Standing afar off, smote upon his breast










Evgeny of Chechnya - August 20th

Centurio Luxurius, with Camerinus, and Cisellus - August 21th

Bartholomew the Apostle -- August 24th

We invite your prayers for the earthquake victims of Peru, and for the missionaries that minister to them



This week our calendar of saints includes Bartholomew the Apostle. His commemoration is a Holy Day and I will try to get out the appointed collect and readings for his day.  As we think of the continuing terrorism coming from the many Muslim groups, it is good to reflect on this latter-day martyr who refused to submit to a Muslim militant. He refused to deny his Lord, and thus faced death at the hands of his captors: I speak of Evgeny of Chechnya. Along side of this modern martyr, we have the legend of Centurio Luxurius along with Camerinus, and Cisellus this week. His story is moving and one of the best of the ancient recounts. Let us keep all our our Christian soldiers, and especially our brother centurions who face this threat, in our prayers.


The Homily for this Sunday is from Gregory (the Great) of Rome. Gregory's lesson comes from a book he wrote for presbyters... how they should attend to ministering to the people of the church, and the chapter is entitled " How the humble and the haughty are to be admonished." Gregory speaks wisely here:
Let the humble, then, be told that, when they abase themselves, they ascend to the likeness of God; let the haughty be told that, when they exalt themselves, they fall into imitation of the apostate angel. What, then, is more debased than haughtiness, which, while it stretches itself above itself, is lengthened out beyond the stature of true loftiness? And what is more sublime than humility, which, while it depresses itself to the lowest, conjoins itself to its Maker who remains above the highest?


The Tenth Sunday after Trinity


News of the Order and commentary appear after the Proper Collect, Epistle and Gospel


The Tenth Sunday after Trinity
LET thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and, that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Seige of Jerusalem
Destruction of Jerusalem

They shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Athanasius on the Destruction of Jerusalem from his Book, Incarnation of the Word


Florence Nightingale, Nurse to Combatants - August 13
Ursakios, Tribune, Martyr -- August 14 [286-305]
Andrew Stratilatus, Martyr -- August 19 [286-305]


A Tribune of the Order sent me a copy of a note to his comrade and the men in Afghanistan with the term Duty, Honor, Country. It made me mindful of the speech by General Douglas MacArthur when he received an award at West Point Military Academy in his twilight years. This speech is counted amongst the best 100 speeches of America, and is refreshing for any centurion who holds these virtues as important to read. One might wonder about the absences of "God" in the title. Although not there, MacArthur calls upon God to embolden the men to whom he spoke. Here are some quotations from the speech. We are reminded in these word of our centurions of yesteryear and today who stand in the breach.

The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training -- sacrifice.

In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him...

You may hear the speech, which is regarded as one of the best 100 speeches in American history at the link above.. might do for a devotional this Sunday.


This week on the calendar we see Florence Nightingale, not a soldier, but in every since served as do our modern female nurses in uniform, and brought to the suffering of innumerable men a measure of mercy and care through her personal service, and much more through her organization. I offer here a salute to the nurses and caretakers of our forces who champion Florence Nightingale. I was reminded of such recently in a trip to Washington, DC, where a memorial to service nurses stands.
I commend The Ode to Andrew and his Men at the link above. Andrew the Roman General, as a "Great Martyr", is highly esteemed along with the Apostles in the Eastern Church.
The scriptures featured this week, I have found, are not from the Traditional Western Liturgy, but were changed in the United States in 1928. Next year we will endeavor to return to the traditional lessons. Here is quotation from Athanasius from his book, Incarnation of the Word written in about 400AD. In Luke, our Lord foretold the fall of Jerusalem in military terms, and that it would be leveled. Then, 40 years later, Titus of Rome plowed the city level.
For it is a sign, and an important proof, of the coming of the Word of God, that Jerusalem no longer stands, nor is any prophet raised up nor vision revealed to them,—and that very naturally… For what more is there for him whom they expect to do, when he is come? To call the heathen? But they are called already. To make prophecy, and king, and vision to cease? This too has already come to pass. To expose the godlessness of idolatry? It is already exposed and condemned. Or to destroy death? He is already destroyed… What then has not come to pass, that the Christ must do? What is left unfulfilled…
Read the entire chapter at the link above.



Ninth Sunday after Trinity


The Ninth Sunday after Trinity
Homily of Clement of Alexandria

GRANT to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
[1552 BCP]

1 Corinthians x. 1   &   St. Luke xv. 11


His father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him






King Oswald & Aidan August 5 [642]

Transfiguration -- August 6th





The Homily for this Sunday is from the Clement of Alexandria. It is published on the Order's site for the first time and concerns the appointed Gospel of the Prodigal Son. The conclusion to this fragment is a powerful call to Christians who have "fallen away" from the devout life:

But whom Christ finds lost, after sin committed since baptism, those Novatus, enemy of God, resigns to destruction. Do not let us then reckon any fault if we repent; guarding against falling, let us, if we have fallen, retrace our steps. And while dreading to offend, let us, after offending, avoid despair, and be eager to be confirmed; and on sinking, let us haste to rise up again. Let us obey the Lord, who calls to us, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour, and I will give you rest," [Mt. 11:28]. Let us employ the gift of reason for actions of prudence. Let us learn now abstinence from what is wicked, that we may not be forced to learn in the future. Let us employ life as a training school for what is good; and let us be roused to the hatred of sin. Let us bear about a deep love for the Creator; let us cleave to Him with our whole heart; let us not wickedly waste the substance of reason, like the prodigal. Let us obtain the joy laid up, in which Paul exulting, exclaimed, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? " [Rm. 8:35]. To Him belongs glory and honour, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.