St. Chrysostom Hymnal – 4th Edition Revised

Hymnal-2017-OneVol-Cover-FrontI’m very pleased to announce that initial problems with producing The St. Chrysostom Hymnal in a single volume are being resolved this month. The first effort resulted in a volume far to large to transmit to our printer unless the book was separated into two volumes.  The problem was resolved using file compression technology and by making the file compatible only with the most recent versions of Adobe Acrobat.

The 4th Edition Revised will be available in early December as a single volume offering lovers of traditional Christian music access not only to many of the best hymns from the venerable 1940 Hymnal but also an expanded collection of traditional and easily-sung hymns and carols from many denominations as a supplement for other hymnals.  The following is but a small sample of the contents.

The following are selected highlights of the contents.  For Advent there is one new song, Charles Coffin’s The Advent of Our King (1789).  Other music is set to tunes that are easier to sing.  These include Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates (which is Hymn 484 in the 1940 Hymnal, here set to Veni Emmanuel); O Word, That Goest Forth on High (7th C.); and While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night, set in the English style to Winchester Old..

For Christmas the selection is expanded to include two of Martin Luther’s hymns, Good News from Heaven the Angels Bring (in a different translation more easily sung) and All Praise to Thee, Eternal Lord; James Montgomery’s Bright and Joyful Is the Morn (1825); and John Simpson Cook’s Gentle Mary Laid Her Child (1919) (reset to Tempus Adest Floridum); and the German Christmas hymn, Rejoice, Rejoice, Ye Christians (1640).

For Epiphany I have added the renowned English cleric and music scholar John Mason Neale’s O Thou, Who By a Star Didst Guide (1842); Basil Woodds’ evangelical hymn Hail, Thou Source of Every Blessing (1810); plus the celebrated Catherine Winkworth’s 19th C. translation of O Christ, Thou True and Only Light (1630), the latter an inspiring interpretation of the literal meaning of the Greek word from which we get Epiphany: to shine forth.  [F.Y.I: I use a modern, Celtic-inspired string arrangement of Hail, Thou Source of Every Blessing as the introductory music in several of our video series and podcasts.]

For Lent the hymnal offers a new tune for St. Gregory the Great’s Kind Maker of the World (6th-7th C.) and several new songs, including Robert Grant’s Savior, When In Dust to Thee (1815) (revived from the 1933 Episcopal Hymnal and set to the lyrical Welsh tune, Aberystwyth) and the German hymn, O Faithful God, Thanks Be to Thee (1572), set to the familiar tune Old Hundredth (using a Lutheran arrangement which varies slightly from the more familiar version).

Many of the hymns for the Hours offices in the 1940 Hymnal are reset to more easily sung tunes, avoiding the more difficult plainsong arrangements.  There are entire sections of music directed separately to God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and to the Holy Trinity, including a personal favorite of mine, Bernard of Clairveaux’s stirring and worshipful 12th C. hymn, O Jesus, King Most Wonderful, inspired by the book which started a trend in the Church of England’s worship practices, Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) and set to Winchester Old.  There is also a selection of suitable Opening (Processional) and Closing (Recessional) hymns; hymns of praise, including Henry Baker’s hymn, Praise, O Praise, Our God and King (circa 1870), a paraphrase of Psalm 136 which also inspired John Milton’s Let Us With a Gladsome Mind, arranged to the simple tune Monkton; and a collection of hymns to the Church Universal.  Also included is Horatio Nelson’s For All the Saints in Warfare (1864) from the 1892 Episopal Hymnal, which includes a special 2nd verse for each of the eighteen saints with feast days in the Book of Common Prayer.  I use that song as the theme music to open and close episodes in the AIC Christian Education video series, The Lives of the Saints.

Sources of the music, which range from the 3rd through the 20th C., include the hymnals of many denominations, including the Church of England and older Episcopal Church hymnals going as far back as the late 18th C. as well as Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Moravian Brethren, Roman Catholic, Byzantine and other traditions.

The 494 traditional hymns, carols and canticles are set to tunes and arrangements intended to encourage full participation in congregational singing.  The cover includes a revealing quotation from St. Athanasius: “the act of singing affects harmony in the soul.”

Hymns and carols were selected for their use of traditional words, faithfulness to Scripture, and ease of singing by the average member of any congregation rather than for professional choral singing.  The selection of tunes was a compromise: retaining time-tested traditional music; encouraging greater participation by members of a congregation; and also avoiding any which might immediately bring to mind a commercial for a famous brand of hot dog or the opening theme of a television series.  All the tunes and songs were tested by the members of my former parish for ease of singing and for general appeal to a broad cross-section of people with backgrounds in several denominations other than Anglican/Episcopal.

An additional bonus is the wide selection of doxologies, which are set to six traditional and familiar tunes.  Indexes are include a combined Author-Composer-Translator-Arranger-Sources list, plus indexes by Tune, Metric, Church Season, Liturgical Purpose, First Line or Common Title, and, if known, Scriptural Source.

Readers can use the Virtual Bookstore links on the Home page to access additional information, pricing and ordering your own copies.  100% of all book royalties are contributed to the AIC and help us offset the cost of the royalty-free art which is used in all our video series and for the royalty-free music used for both the videos and podcasts.

Thank you for your interest in and support for The Anglican Internet Church.  May God bless you in all that you do in His Name.

Glory be to God for all things! Amen!

Stir-Up Sunday & the War on Christianity (continued)

My wife and I have just returned from a week’s vacation on Hatteras Island, so I thought to catch up with the various AIC web presences, including reading all the many email messages.

WOC-Title1-RevOne viewer raised a question concerning the current episode, Episode Five, in AIC’s Christian Education video series, The War on Christianity.   The question indicates the need for a clarification for those who my have not seen Episode One through Episode Four.   For those who have just joined in watching series, let me repeat some of the points I made in that first episode.

First, there is a vigorous War on Christianity that is literally going on each and every day all around the world.  In Episode One I included data about how many physical assaults there have been and highlighted five such events in 2016 and 2017 A.D.

Second, the ultimate objective of those leading, and/or encouraging, the War on Christianity is to eliminate Christianity from the public and private sphere.   The War on Christianity has nothing to do with fairness doctrines or equal treatment of all religions or cultural prejudices.   It is a fight for the survival of Christian belief, although many modern Christians are in a state of denial.  The objective is, just as it was for those who successfully suppressed the Church in the 2nd through the 15th C, is to make Christianity irrelevant in public, and, in my opinion, in private worship.

Third, the five incidents are a warning sign that, in spite of those who deny reality, the loss of majority status “can’t happen here,” such a loss has happened before and is happening now right before our eyes.

Self-imposed Limitations on the Format:  Because AIC video series usually are presented in episodes of under 25 minutes. I cannot summarize in each episode all that has been said in previous episodes.  The first effort to produce such a summary caused the initial version of Episode Two, the Summary History of the Church from Pentecost Until Nowto run about 34 minutes.  I retreated and instead presented the subject matter in two episodes.   The same problem reappeared in the first version of Episode Four, which ran even longer, with all three case studies of regional declines in a single episode.  As with the previous example, I retreated and rewrote the material into two episodes, with important events in the Holy Land and North Africa treated in one episode, leaving Asia Minor to be treated in its own separate episode.

I made many of the same points that I made in Episode One in Episode Five, but perhaps I did not make the following point strongly enough in the section on Lessons Learned.  Let me make it clearer now:  many of the players in the decline of Christianity in the Holy Land, North Africa, and Asia Minor still exist today.  They are Islamic fundamentalism plus international and Church politics. Additionally, in place of the greedy merchants of the Republic of Venice in the 13th through 15th C., whose objective was to destroy the Byzantine Empire and reap the benefits for themselves, are the international corporations and rich individuals with limitless wallets and atheistic values.

In future episodes I will offer ideas and practices which I think will make any Christian more able to defend the Christian Faith.  In Episode Six, subtitled The First Line of Defense, I will discuss how important it is for any Christian to understand traditional Christian doctrine.  Currently, I anticipate a total of 12 to 15 episodes.

All episodes of The War on Christianity series are linked from the Digital Library page (for the videos) and the Podcast Archive page (for the MP3 podcast versions.  Use the appropriate tabs above and below to reach these pages.

Sunday Next Before Advent:  On another topic of current interest:  If you attended Church today and did not hear a homily/sermon on what the concept of “stir-up” means, where it came from, and how important it is to the coming Advent celebration, you can listen to a my Homily for Sunday Next Before Advent on the Podcast Homilies page of this site.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.  You can help make our material more widely available by subscribing to this Blog or to our YouTube or Podbean pages.

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

 

 

The War on Christianity: Episode Five

I’ve just uploaded Episode Five in The War on Christianity to both our Podbean and YouTube channels.  Episode Five, focused on Asia Minor, completes the three case studies on areas of the world where Christianity has lost its majority status: Holy Land, North Africa and Asia Minor.   I offer Episodes Four and Five as a cautionary tale about overconfidence that the current anti-Christian campaign in Europe can’t lead to long-term consequences, or, in popular language, the idea the “it can’t happen here.”

Watch Episode Five.     Listen to Episode Five

Battle of Manzikert-1071-15th CTo Western minds, so filled with confidence that the whole world constantly progresses, this episode demonstrates how three pivotal events which happened up to a millennium ago had consequence that are still being felt in the second decade of the 21st C.  The three events are the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 A.D.; the capture of Constantinople by misguided Crusaders, led astray by the ambitions of the Venetian Republic, in 1204 A.D.; and the Fall of Constantinople in the Spring of 1453 A.D.   The illustration is a 15th C. a miniature of the Battle of Manzikert in the National Library of France.

The first event, which I call the beginning of the end, led inevitably toward  the third and final event, the aftermath of which meant the end of Christianity as a significant force in Asia Minor.  As I show in the text, Christians in Asia Minor are still living with the very real cost of the loss of Constantinople in the 15th C.

In the next episode, Episode Six: The First Line of Defense, I begin a multi-episode discussion of techniques and strategies which any Christian can, and should, employ in their daily lives to protect both themselves and the Church from the anti-Christian ravages of governments, wealthy and powerful individuals and corporations, and other religions determined to eliminate Christian influence in the modern (or no-so-modern after all) world.

In next week’s Blog I hope to have positive news about a new development at the AIC Bookstore.

As always, thank you for your interest in and support for the Anglican Internet Church’s online ministry.  You can help by spreading the word to friends, neighbors and family about the resources available through links on our Web Site.

Glory be to God for all things! Amen!

The War on Christianity – Episode Four

Earlier this week I completed and uploaded Episode Four in The War on Christianity series.  Episode Four is Part 1 of 2 in Three Case Studies, an account of the decline of Christianity in regions of the world where it had once been the dominant religion.  To keep the episodes under 25 minutes, Episode Four is focused on two regions only, the Holy Land (Middle East to the secular world) and North Africa.  Next week I will upload Episode Five, which carries the story into the decline of Christianity in Asia Minor.

Watch the Video of Episode Four       Listen to the Podcast of Episode Four

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By This Sign Conquer, Statue of Constantine the Great by sculptor Philip Jackson installed in 1998 A.D. at York Minster, England.

Because the story traces the Church over 19 centuries, in Episode Four, and later in Episode Five, I have used the Pivotal Events device to explain only the most critical moments in the Church’s transition from majority to minority status, with applicable and, I hope, interesting illustrations from the religious art of both the Eastern and Western Christian traditions.  The fate of Christianity in both areas is intricately and inseparably intertwined with the rise and decline of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of a new religion, Islam, in the 7th C. A.D.   The first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great, and his mother, St. Helen, played major parts in the story.   He for his bold decisions and her for her patronage of the Church in the Holy Land.  The illustration is statue of Constantine the Great, bearing the legend “by this sign conquer,” in front of York Minister, England, where Constantine declared himself emperor in 306 A.D.  The interconnection with the fate of the Byzantine Empire comes back into focus in Episode Five, with my account of the decline of Christianity in Asia Minor (now generally known as Anatolia, part of eastern Turkey), between the 11th C. and the present day.

Even though Christianity lost its influence over civil government in the Holy Land and North Africa in the spread of Islam in the 7th C., culminating in absolute control over North Africa by the time of the Ummayad Moslem conquest of Algeria in 698 A.D., Christians were allowed to practice their religion, albeit under stringent controls, between the end of the 7th C. and the 14th C.  In fact, they remained the majority religion in Egypt all the way to the 14th C.   The final decline to under 10% of the population of Egypt is owed to the rise of a political side of Islam after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 A.D.

Cyprian of Carthage-Basilica-ruins3-1915
Remains of Basilica of St. Cyprian of Carthage, 6th C., in the early 20th C.  Public domain.

Silent testimony to the absolute decline of Christianity in North Africa is the early 20th C. photograph of the remains of the Basilica of St. Cyprian of Carthage, built in the 6th C. under the patronage of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, who also sponsored the Monastery of St. Catherine at Sinai and commissioned the monastery’s Christ Pantokrator icon, the oldest known icon of Jesus Christ.  In the 4th C., the height of Christian influence in Algeria and the rest of North Africa, there were said to be over 160 Christian churches near Carthage.  Today, there are only a handful in the whole country and the former Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Louis, built by France in the late 1880s A.D., is now a “cultural center,” featuring live performances where devout Catholics once prayed.  Will Christianity become a quaint reminder of cultural history in Europe at the end of the 21st C., like the remains of the Basilica of St. Cyprian of Carthage were in the early 20th C.?

Next week, I will upload Episode Five, completing the Three Case Studies, and also bring you news of a new development in the AIC Bookstore publications, just in time for Christmas.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.  Please help spread the word of the availability of the AIC’s videos, podcasts and publications by clicking the “Follow Anglican Internet Church” tab in the right column and letting friends, family and others know where to find the AIC.

Glory be to God for all things! Amen!

The War on Christianity – Episode Three

Early this week I uploaded Episode Three in the AIC Christian Education video series, The War on Christianity.  Episode Three is Part Two (of Two) in A Summary History of the Church from Pentecost Until Now.  The episode takes up the narrative with the story of the Church in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Western Hemisphere, plus Asia and the Pacific Islands; a quick summary of the impact of the Protestant Reformation, English Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation; and the growth of new denominations around the world.  The final one-third of the episode is focused on a census of the Christian population worldwide, as of 2010 A.D., and discussion of that population, region-by-region, with emphasis on where the largest concentrations of Christian populations exist.

Augustine_Lateran
Late 6th C. fresco of St. Augustine of Hippo, Lateran Palace, Rome.  Public Domain.

Given the media’s lack of attention to actual facts versus opinions, two such actual facts pointed out in Episode Three may surprise many readers.

First, if we exclude Russia, which is not really European, from the census for Europe, there are far more Christians, by a large margin, in the United States (246,780,000), Brazil (175,770,000), Mexico (107,780,000), the Philippines (89,790,000) and Nigeria (80,510,000) than in any country in Europe.  To be fair, the census estimate says that Russia is home to 105,220,000 Christians.

Second, a fact extrapolated from the data, there are almost twice as many Christians in Nigeria as there are in the United Kingdom, the home country of the Church of England, and the Protestant population in the home country of Martin Luther has declined, in percentage terms, by approximately 30% since the start of World War II, while the Roman Catholic population (again, as a percentage) has remained largely unchanged during the same time frame.  During the balance of the series I intend to discuss the implications of this data.

[Data Source: Regional Distribution of Christians, Pew Research Center, December 19, 2011 A.D.  http://www.PewForum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-regions]

Watch Episode Four          Listen to the Podcast version

Next time, in Episode Four, I will discuss Three Case Studies of regions in which Christianity has been marginalized in both absolute and percentage terms: the Holy Land (or Middle East), North Africa, and Asia Minor, the latter being the region in which the greatest growth of the early Church happened.

Please help us spread the news of the availability of the prayer, teaching, Bible Study and historical resources made available on-demand via the AIC Web site, and through our Virtual Bookstores (accessed using links at the bottom of our Home Page).  Further, you can “follow” this blog by clicking the “Follow Anglican Internet Church” tab in the right hand column.  And you can similarly subscribe to our YouTube videos and the Podcast versions (via our PodBean channel).

As always, thank you for your interest in and support of the Internet-based ministry of The Anglican Internet Church.  May God bless you in all that you do in His Name.  Amen.  Glory be to God for all things! Amen!

 

 

The War on Christianity – Episode Two

Early this week I uploaded Episode Two in our new video and podcast series, The War on Christianity.   This episode is part one (of 2) in A Summary History of the Church from the Day of Pentecost Until Now, in which I review the growth of the Church from its birthday at Pentecost (Acts 2) through its spread into Northern Europe in the 12th C.  There are 17 illustrations from the 6th to the 20th C.   The episode attempts to put the expansion of Christianity into context, giving credit to the major saints along the way, including the original Apostles and the bishops, archbishops, clergy and scholars who were the driving force, even in the face of the risk of death.

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Public domain

One of the most interesting illustrations is a 19th C. fresco depicting the martyr’s death of St. Ignatius of Antioch from the Monastery of Elijah in Melnica, Republic of Macedonia.  It is attributed to artist Avram Dichov and was created in 1872 A.D. following the two-year-long construction of the building.   Viewers also get glimpses of later saints, such as Cyril and Methodius (7th C.) and the Venerable Bede (8th C.), plus a recent photograph of the Monastery of St. Michael, Kiev, Ukraine, opened in 1999 A.D. to replace the early 12th C. original building which was destroyed by the Soviet Union under Stalin’s rule in the late 1930s.  Both the Elijah Monastery and the rebuilt St. Michael’s are a tribute to Eastern Church Christians who maintained their faith through the terrible anti-Christian persecution after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 A.D. and the spread of Soviet-style Communism across eastern and southeastern Europe.   The survival or restoration of both buildings demonstrates the benefits derived when modern Christians stand up to the anti-religious forces from within and from outside their communities, a message which underpins The War on Christianity series.

Watch Episode Two      Listen to Episode Two

Early next week I will upload the completed Episode Three in which the Summary History is carried from the spread of the Church across North Africa, into Africa below the Sahara, across the Atlantic into the Western Hemisphere, and, since the 17th C. across the Pacific, extending the reach of Christianity to an estimated 2 billion-plus people worldwide (as of 2010 A.D.).

I thank those who have subscribed to this Blog and who follow the AIC on our YouTube and Podbean channels (links to which are always found on the Home page at http://www.AnglicanInternetChurch.net.  You can help us reach more people by letting others know how to find us on the Web.

As always, thank you for your interest in and support for The Anglican Internet Church electronic ministry.  May God bless you in all that you do in His Name.  Glory be to God for all things! Amen!