Francis of Assisi; William Tynedale & Vincent de Paul

A very productive week for the final days of summer.  To take advantage of the nice dry weather, I’ve been painting the outside of my house, but have worked in completion of three new episodes in The Lives of the Saints Second Series, celebrating two saints in the Roman Catholic tradition and one from the Anglican collective memory.

Francis of Assisi-Icon-Central Figure-13thC.jpgSt. Francis of Assisi, celebrated on October 4th (Episode Twenty-five),  is one of the most popular, or at least one whose name is widely recognized, among the Western Church saints.  No matter what you think about him, you can say without reservation that he was unique.  He anticipated by many centuries the environmentalist movement, wrote a poem which was turned into a hymn in the 20th C. in the Church of England tradition, (All Creatures of Our God and King. trans. William R. Draper, 1925 A.D.; and he can be found in many gardens, both public and private, in the form of a diminutive statue.  I’m unconvinced that he would have appreciated becoming a small garden ornament!  The illustration is the central detail I extracted from a larger work showing scenes in his life.  The source provided no details about either the artists, but I suspect it was not long after St. Francis’ lifetime, probably in the 13th C   St. Francis’ poem is the basis for Hymn No. 777 in the AIC Bookstore publication, The St. Chrysostom Hymnal, in which Draper’s translation is set to the arrangement of the German/Lutheran hymn, Lasst uns erfreuen.  He lives on in the memory of the Western Church in the Blessing of the Animals service, usually celebrated on his feast day in October each year.

Watch the Assisi Video
Listen to the Assisi Podcast

Learn more about the Hymnal.  Volume I.   Volume II

The Blessed William Tynedale, also celebrated on October 6th (Episode Twenty-six), deserves far more Tyndale_Bible_-_Gospel_of_John.jpgrecognition than he receives in the modern world.   He is called “the blessed” because the modern Anglican world no longer designates faithful Christians as “saints,” probably thinking it is too Roman Catholic.   Such denial of the right to celebrate the men and women who have done remarkable work in the service of the Lord and of the Church is one of those regrettable shortcomings of the modern Western Church.  William Tynedale, pursued all across Europe until he was betrayed by a friend, was strangled, then burned at the state in Belgium on October 6th, 1536 A.D. for producing his New Testament in the English language, a violation of edicts of the Bishop of Rome.    The identity of his persecutors and executioners is long gone from human memory, but the work of the Blessed William Tynedale lives on in the King James Version and New King James Versions of the Bible, which are largely based upon his pioneering translations of both the Old and New Testaments.  Rather than post the gruesome depiction of his death, which is in the video, I post here Page One from Chapter 1 of his Gospel of St. John from either the 1525 or 1526 A;D. edition of his New Testament.  Many people, myself included, believe he deserves the credit that William Shakespeare generally receives for the creation of the English language.  His pioneering translation was adapted by his associate Miles Coverdale for the Great Bible of 1539 A.D. the first complete Bible in the English language (with credit also due to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who purchased copies for placement in all the churches of the Church of England, a goal ever achieved in his lifetime) and, a half-century later, without a word of recognition, provides the vast majority of the wording in the King James Version and its successor, the New King James Version.  For more on which words and phrases were unique to the Blessed William Tynedale watch the video or listen to the Podcast.  You’ll probably be surprised to learn how much of the Bible you know is the result of the Blessed William Tynedale’s creation of English prose phrasing.

Watch the Tynedale Video       Listen to the Tynedale Podcast

Detail, Window No. 9.  Copyright Ronald E. Shibley.  All rights reserved.  From Paintings on Light: the Stained Glass Windows of St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel.

The third an final episode (Episode Twenty-seven) celebrates St. Vincent de Paul.  I’ve immodestly included my photograph of the stained glass window by Mayer of Munich at St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA (from the AIC Publication Paintings on Light: the Strained Glass Windows of St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel.).     St. Vincent’s memory lives on today, four centuries after his death, in the work of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and the other organizations which are dedicated to continuing his charitable work.

Watch the de Paul video

Listen to the de Paul podcast.

In other news, I have completed the slides, script and recorded the sound track for Episodes Twenty-eight and Twenty-nine (The English Martyr: Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer & St. Leo the Great, respectively) and the script and slides for Episode Thirty (St. Clement of Rome) and Episode Thirty-one (St. Catherine of Alexandria), the latter the final episode in the series.  Episode Twenty-eight will be released next week in time for the Feast Day of the English Martyrs, October 16th.   The recording of the remaining two episodes will be done on Monday, October 2nd, but will not be released until early November.

I’ve found some good sources of data on the history of the early Church and the story of the decline of Christianity in regions where it once was dominant, including the Holy Land, Asia Minor, and North Africa.  The material will appear in slide and script form in Episode Two and Episode Three of The War on Christianity, to be released late in October.

As always, thank you for your interest in and support of the Anglican Internet Church.  Glory be to God for all things!  Amen!

Jerome of Jerusalem

Public domain

The entire Second Series of The Lives of the Saints is drawing closer to its final episode.  Early on Thursday, Sep 21, I uploaded Episode Twenty-four, focused on St. Jerome of Jerusalem, whose Feast Day is Sep 30.

Watch the Video

Listen to the Podcast

It was difficult to find good illustrations for St. Jerome.  Nearly everything, including the photographs of statues, is from the artistic traditions of the Western Church.  Most of these tend to show historical figures like St. Jerome dressed in papal outfits that did not exist until well into the 2nd millennium.   For this episode I used a public domain work, a circa 1480 A.D. fresco from Chiesa Ognissanti (Church of All Saints), Venice, by Italian artist Domenico Ghirlandaio, from which I extracted the detail shown at above left.

St. Jerome is nearly always depicted in a scholarly setting.  In this case, he is seated, looking straight at the viewer, working, pen in hand, at his writing desk.  Among the interesting details are his glasses, set aside for the occasion, scissors, a Bible manuscript, and, on the shelf above his head a Cardinal’s hat.  The position of Cardinal was not actually created in the Roman Church until the 13th C., just a hundred years before the fresco was completed.   Alas, artistic license at work.  The rendering is vivid, clear in its detail.  So clear that I think it suggests a St Jerome annoyed at the interruption to his work.

As always, I don’t comment on the relative value of each saint’s work, in this case St. Jerome’s primary accomplishment, the Vulgate Bible.  Viewers will get the opportunity to learn about an alternative version in Episode Twenty-six, which celebrates the work of the Blessed William Tynedale, who produced a quite different version of the New Testament in 1524, 1525 and 1534 A.D., and for his effort was garroted, then burned at the stake, in 1536 A.D.  Tynedale’s Feast Day is Oct 6.  That episode is complete and ready for uploading.

All remaining episodes in the series are finished.  Episodes Twenty-five (St. Francis of Assisi) and Twenty-six (Blessed William Tynedale) have been recorded and transferred to my Mac, ready for uploading to You Tube..  Episodes Twenty-seven through Episode Thirty-one (St. Vincent de Paul, The English Martyrs (Latimer, Ridley & Cranmer), St. Leo the Great, St. Clement of Rome, & St. Catherine of Alexandria, respectively) are finished and need only the voice and music track and correlation of voice to picture.  I expect to get two of those five recorded later this today.

Two projects like ahead.  First, The War on Christianity, with Episode Two scheduled for completion following the wrap-up of The Lives of the Saints.  Second, development of a marketing plan using Google, Facebook and Amazon resources to increase public exposure to the AIC Bookstore.  You might be seeing something of it sooner than you think when you search the Web.

As always, thank you for your support and your interest in this Internet-based ministry.  May the Lord bless you in all that you do in his name.

Glory be to God for all things!  Amen!


Gabriel, Michael & Raphael

Wikipedia Commons

Earlier this week I uploaded a new video in The Lives of the Saints – Second Series.  Episode Twenty-three pays tribute to the three Archangels: Gabriel, Michael and Raphael using some of the most strikingly beautiful art work I could find from both the Western and Eastern Church traditions.   The episode is among the longest in the series, running around 26 minutes.

One of the images of St. Gabriel (left) is a fresco from the early 14th C. found at the Georgian Orthodox Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, Tsalenjikha, Republic of Georgia.  The artist was Cyrus Emanuel Eugenicus, who was brought to Georgia from the imperial capital of Constantinople by the country’s royal family.  The style is described as late Byzantine, representing the beginning of the introduction of Western Church artistic styles into the Byzantine manner.     WATCH THE VIDEO         LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

Apse Mosaic, 1191 A.D., Church of St. George, Kurbinovo, Macedonia. Image Copyright Can Stock Photo/Nehru

But the best, to my untrained but appreciate eye, is an apse mosaic of St. Gabriel, the most famous of the three Archangels, by an unknown group of artists working in the Ohrid bishopric, one noted for the exceptional quality of its frescoes and icons, in what is now the Republic of Macedonia.  The location is the little stone Church of St. George, Kurbinovo, Macedonia.  I suspect that these traditional Christians could use some outside help in the restoration of the building, which was completed around 1191 A.D.    The celestial blues and whites are, pardon the pun, stellar.  In the original, St. Gabriel is at the left side of the image.  He leans toward the central figure, a seated Blessed Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus Christ.

I find this picture so intriguing because it shows us the high spirituality found in the Eastern Church tradition of that era, and to a lesser extent today, to fill virtually every inch of a Church building wit with art which is not only beautiful but emotionally and spiritually uplifting.  This stands in very sharp contrast to today’s Church buildings which, to my eye, look more like auto showrooms without the auto.  The building in which this astonishing work is found is a small stone chapel, not a great cathedral as you might imagine.  It is this kind of confident spirituality, representing unwavering faith in the face of adversity as well as prosperity, that the Western Church so badly needs today.

I can also report that The Writing Prophets of the Old Testament, published earlier this year, is now available in Kindle format at $9.99 from my Amazon Author Central page.  Those who purchase the print edition can purchase the electronic version for $2.99.  For pricing and ordering Kindle Editions and Paperbacks visit Fr. Ron’s Amazon Author page,

As always, thank you for your interest in and support of the Anglican Internet Church’s online ministry.

Cyprian of Carthage/Lancelot Andrewes

Two new episodes are now available on our You Tube channel.  Episode Twenty-one celebrates the life of Cyprian of Carthage, whose Feast Day is September 13th.  I wrote about St. Cyprian in the previous blog post.  I’ve fixed the You Tube link so it should be available as of this morning.    Watch the video.   Listen to the Podcast

Lancelot_Andrewes_(Stained_glass,_Chester_Cathedral).jpgEpisode Twenty-two, also published today, celebrates the life and contributions of one of the greatest of the 16th-17th Anglican divines, the Blessed Lancelot Andrewes, whose Feast Day is September 25th.  Andrewes is one of my personal favorites.  I suspect that he was one of those rumored to have desired placing the Church of England under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch/Archbishop of Constantinople.    The illustration is a memorial window in the Cloister at Chester Cathedral, Chester, England.  The picture is public domain through Wikipedia Commons.  I applied perspective correction using Photoshop to the original file.

Watch the Video

Listen to the Podcast

Andrewes is little-known outside the world’s small circle of Anglicans interested in the history of the Church.  He was a remarkable man in many respects.  He could speak and write in the ancient languages of the Holy Land:  Aramaic, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, and Syriac.  He served on the committee which supervised the production of the Histories in the Hebrew Old Testament.  He was Chaplain to both Queen Elizabeth I and King James I.  During his lifetime he wrote a series of devotions, commonly called catenae, which are prayers based on Scriptural verses.  His placed a restriction that this collection could not be published until after his death, I suspect it was out of a desire not to introduce another potential form of worship into an already troubled Church environment that was not too far relieved from the memory of the terror of Bloody Mary and the death of the three Oxford Martyrs, Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer (the subject of Episode Twenty-three in this series.  I wrote about him in Christian Spirituality: An Anglican Perspective


I’ve finished both the slides and script for the next several episodes in the Saints2 series, including No. 23-Gabriel, Michael and Raphael; No. 24-Jerome of Jerusalem; No. 25-Francis of Assisi; No. 26-Vincent De Paul and am currently completing No. 27-The English Martyrs (mentioned above).

In book news, the Kindle version of The Writing Prophets of the Old Testament should be available on or before September 22nd.  I’m awaiting the final proof of the file around the 18th of the month.   Until two weeks ago, I had not been aware that it was not already converted and available.

As always, thanks to viewers for your interest in this internet ministry.  Book sales and contributions are our only sources of financial support.

May God bless you in all that you do in His Name!  Amen.  Glory be to God for all things!  Amen!