After thirteen months of research, including the often-frustrating search for suitable illustrations, I have come to the end of The Lives of the Saints – Second Series. Earlier this week I uploaded the final three episodes to You Tube and this morning approved their release to the public and uploaded the podcast versions to our PodBean channel. Purchase of images used here and in the AIC Bookstore publications is made possible by donations and from royalties generated by sale of our twelve books.
Episode Twenty-nine celebrates St. Leo the Great, the first Roman Catholic pope of the many who took the name Leo to be called “Great.” He presided at Rome from 440 A.D., when he was elected by acclamation. until his death in 460 A.D. A very strong supporter of the decisions of the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople (First meeting), he regarded the doctrinal rulings of the Councils as having equality with Scripture, since they were based upon Scripture. He did not attend, but did write a letter which was read at Chalcedon supporting the dual nature of Christ decision of that Ecumenical Council. His remains are enshrined in an altar inside St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
Episode Thirty celebrates St. Clement of Rome, claimed by the Roman Catholic Church as the second Pope. Other accounts place two, and in some cases, three, men between St. Peter and St. Clement. St. Clement enjoys the distinction of having had his Epistle to the Corinthians (late 1st C.) considered in the first five centuries of the Church Universal as canonical, that is, equivalent to Scripture. I quote from the his epistle several times in hopes to helping bring his work to the attention of modern listeners and readers, most of whom have never heard of Clement of Rome (or Clement I). He presided at Rome from about 88 A.D. to around 99 A.D., when he died a martyr’s death on the Black Sea near southern tip of present-day Crimea. The episode includes a 6th C. image of St. Clement which I extracted from a much larger frieze at the Basilica of St. Apollinare at Ravenna, Italy, one of the finest surviving examples of Byzantine art and architecture in the Western Church. St. Clement is the Patron Saint of mariners and is often depicted with an anchor.
Episode Thirty-one, the last episode in the Second Series, celebrates St. Catherine of Alexandria, formerly a favorite saint but in the last 300 or so years relegated to near fictional status. Among the saints of the early 2nd millennium, largely as the result of the Crusades in the Holy Land and the Western discovery of her story, she was widely popular. Her name endures today in various colleges, islands, and mountain ranges named in her honor. A strong tradition in the Eastern Church is that her remains are interred at the Monastery of St. Catherine, Sinai, built in the 6th C. under orders by, and sponsorship of, Emperor Justinian. There are many schools named after her, including St. Catherine’s here in Richmond, Va. She is the Patron Saint of Virgins and all young women. She met her death by beheading around 305 A.D. The illustration is a detail in tempera and gilt on velum of the death of St. Catherine which I extracted from a larger work from the Menologion of Basil II, a form of service book with a Synaxarion of over 400 martyrs prepared for the incumbent Archbishop of Constantinople in the late 10th C. The original is in the Vatican Library. The illustration and the larger work from which it was extracted are included in the video.
Now that The Lives of the Saints series is over, I turn my attention to The War on Christianity series of videos and podcasts. I have reformatted the series to include at least two transition episodes between the opening video and the more teaching-oriented episodes which will follow. The new material offers a summary history of the Church from the Day of Pentecost to Now, with data on Church enrollment around the world (Episode Two) and a separate episode (Episode Three) on three parts of the world where the Christian Faith was once the predominant religion: the Holy Land; Asia Minor; North Africa.
As regular viewers of this Blog and the AIC Web Site will have noticed, I have introduced a number of changes at the Web Site. These are intended to improve the ease of use of the site’s unique video, print and podcast resources. The changes include
- New messages on the two pages at the original host site at WordPress, referring all visitors to the Home Page at our official Web Site, also hosted by WordPress.com.
- Resetting and rewording of type and text for the Video, Podcast, and Virtual Library sections at the bottom of the Home Page.
- Visual changes in the links pages on the Digital Library page (host to Christian Education and Seasonal Videos) and to the new Podcast Archive page (host to the podcast versions of all three video series).
As always, I thank viewers for their interest in the site and encourage them to click the “Follow Anglican Internet Church” link, which will give notice of all new postings on Fr. Ron’s Blog.
Glory be to God for all things! Amen!