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.
St. 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.
The Blessed William Tynedale, also celebrated on October 6th (Episode Twenty-six), deserves far more recognition 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.
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.
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!