Christmas: The Nativity of Our Lord – Episode One

Christ-Nativity & Annun-Egbert_codex-Detail1-PCAI’ve completed and uploaded Episode One in Christmas: The Nativity of Our Lord, part of the final link in our chain of teaching videos for all the seasons in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  The series will have two episodes.  Episode One offers discussion of the evolution of the Christmas tradition; Anglican traditions of Christmas; and discussion and reading of both the first and second set of Collect, Epistle and Gospel readings for Christmas Day.   The series is illustrated with material from the 10th through the 20th C.  The oldest is a Byzantine-style illumination of the Nativity and the Annunciation to the Shepherds from the Codex Egberti, a Gospel book prepared in the Scriptorium of the Reichenau Monastery, Reichenau, Germany, between 980 and 993 A.D. for the incumbent bishop of Trier.  I applied perspective correction to the original file.  The Codex is part of the collection at the Trier Library, Trier, Germany.

Watch the video.     Listen to the Podcast.

Other illustrations include an early 11th C. illumination from the Bamberg Apocalypse; a 14th C. French depiction of the coronation of Charlesmagne at Rome in 800 A.D.; a 14th C. oil on panel of Malachi by Duccio di Buoninsegna; a 10th C. depiction of St. John writing his Gospel from the Ottonian era of the Holy Roman Empire; a 13th C. mosaic at the Basilica of St. Mark, Venice; a circa 1420 A.D. Nativity scene in colored inks on parchment made in the Netherlands; F. X. Zettler’s elegant and beautiful stained glass window of the Nativity at St. Gertrude’s Church, Stockholm, Sweden; and Nativity murals from St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, Va from the AIC Bookstore publication, Paintings on Light.

Episode Two has been recorded but not yet place into video format.  It is focused on First Sunday after Christmas Day, Second Sunday after Christmas Day; the AIC Seasonal Video series, The Twelve Days of Christmas, soon to be available in a new edition; and, finally, the fourteen hymns in The St. Chrysostom Hymnal that are either not in the venerable 1940 Hymnal or are used by different, more easily-sung tunes.

I will also be recording new versions of The Great “O” Antiphons and Lessons and Carols for Christmas Eve in late October and early November.  I spoke yesterday at a Clericus of the Orthodox Anglican Church, meeting at St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, on the topic, The Mistaken Quest for Relevance.

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Trinitytide: The Teaching Season – Episode Six

GoodSamaritan-RossanoGospels-Folio007-Detail1
Detail, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, an illumination in colored inks and gilt on parchment,the Rossano Gospels, Cathedral of Rossano, Rossano, Italy, 6th C.  Public Domain.

I just finished uploading Episode Six in our Seasonal Video series Trinitytide: The Teaching Season.  The focus this time is on the Collect, Epistle and Gospel readings for Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Sundays after Trinity.  There are sixteen illustrations, ranging from a 6th C. illumination from Byzantine-controlled Italy to an early 20th C. oil on canvas of Mammon depicted as a sitting deity.   The four Gospel pericopes include the Healing of the Deaf Man, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Healing of the Ten Lepers, and God vs. Mammon (or Two Masters).  Of course, there are four new readings from the pen of St. Paul, of whom I have included four images which I have not used previously: two 19th C. stained glass windows in England (one in East Anglia, the other in Kensington/London); and two oil on canvas works in the European tradition.

Watch the video.               Listen to the Podcast.

My favorite this week, shown above left, is a detail of the Parable of the Good Samaritan which I extracted from the Rossano Gospels,  a colored ink and gilt illumination on purple-dyed parchment, one of oldest to survive to the present day.  It was made in Italy in the 6th C., after the army of the Byzantine Empire at Constantinople conquered much of Italy.  Of course, its style is clearly Byzantine.  The Byzantine artist inserted an angel as a suggestion of the presence of Christ in the heart of the Good Samaritan.  The dying of parchment in purple was a very popular thing in the first Millennium and into the early part of the second.

In my research for these episodes I’ve discovered some new archives I had not known about and who resources I will be mining in future months, especially for images of St. Paul and the four Gospel authors, plus individual page illuminations from Gospels, Lectionaries and other works intended for personal devotions.  I think the lives of Christians would be immensely enriched if these were currently available for home devotions.  Perhaps the AIC will produce one in 2019 A.D.  I was thinking along the lines of introducing color introductions into Hear Us, O Lord: Daily Prayers for the Laity.  Unfortunately, the price would have to double if not triple (more color, more pages equals higher printing costs).

The slides and script for Episode Seven, covering the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Sundays after Trinity, are nearly complete.  I hope viewers will be as amazed as I am at the illustrations for Episode Seven and pleased with the longer treatment of several of the Gospel lessons.  The episode probably will not be finished until the following week owing to some personal obligations next week and the 4th of July holiday.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.  Adding yourself to the list of followers either on the AIC web site, especially the Fr. Ron’s blog page; our Podbean channel and our YouTube channel, is very helpful in assisting me in reaching more people with the traditional Christian message and interpretation.

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

Trinitytide: the Teaching Season – Episode Five

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The Vision of the Destruction of Jerusalem, Gospels of Otto III. 11th C., Bavarian State Library, Munich, Germany. Public Domain.

Episode Five in our Trinitytide series was uploaded to our YouTube and Podbean channels earlier this morning.  The focus of Episode Five is the Collects, Epistle and Gospel readings for Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Sunday after Trinity.  There are three more readings from the epistles of St. Paul and the final two of the eleven traditional hymns to the Holy Trinity in The St. Chrysostom Hymnal and not in the venerable 1940 Hymnal.  There are three more accounts from the Gospel of St. Luke.  I’ve included 12 examples of historic art, 1 from the 11th C.; 1 from the 14th C.; 2 from the 15th C.; 1 from the 17th C.; 2 from the 18th C., and, four from the 19th C.  The art comes from both the Western Church and the Eastern Church traditions, including icons, statuary, watercolors, oils on canvas (a Western Church innovation), illuminations on Scripture, and one fresco (by Giotto).

Watch the video.       Listen to the Podcast

The oldest illustration, shown nearby, is an illumination in tempera and gilt on parchment of Jesus’ vision of the destruction of Jerusalem from the Gospels of Otto III, with art in the Byzantine-style produced at the Benedictine Monastery on Reichenau island in Lake Constance in southern Germany.  The account is unique to the Gospel of St. Luke.  Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, an Ottoman inheritor of the mantle of the Holy Roman Empire following from the revival of it in Western Europe by Charlesmagne, was also responsible for commissioning the Bamberg Apocalypse, from which I used 51 illuminations through the cooperation of the Bamberg State Library, Bamberg, Germany.  Otto’s mother was a princess of the Byzantine Empire.  He brought artists from Constantinople to Germany to teach Eastern Church techniques to the local artistic community in the Scriptorium at the monastery on Lake Constance.  These are among the many Byzantine-style works of Church art from before the catastrophic rift between Rome and Constantinople, most of them before the emergence of uniquely Western art during the Renaissance and later.

I’ve been trying out some changes to the model for these Seasonal Videos.  Since the intent of these videos and related podcast is to help Christians understand and better appreciate the historic traditions of Christianity, I’ve put more focus on explaining the evolution of the Prayer Book Collects and the Scripture readings derived from them.  These modification are not isolated to just the Collects but also extend to the commentaries on the Epistle and Gospel readings.  The breadth of the artistic content has also been improved, with a broader selection of Church art, many of which, except for scholars both of the Church and of the art world, are not commonly seen in Western Church teaching.  These are included not just for the sake of breadth but also as teaching tools.  The art works are chosen not just for availability (some public domain and some purchased from several vendors), but also for the subject matter and, whenever relevant, how the artist conveyed the theological meaning of the events displayed.

The script and slides for Episode Six, focused on the next four Sundays after Trinity (12th through 15th) is complete and ready for recording of the soundtrack and putting together the video sequences, coordinating the sound with the pictures.  Barring technical and other glitches, I expect to have it ready by next Friday. There will be a total of nine episodes in the series, with the final episode covering the extra Sundays needed when Trinity season goes beyond the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity and also the Sunday Next before Advent, which finishes the season.  I will also discuss the several alternative readings, most of which are no longer used.

As always, I thank you for your interest and support of this Internet ministry.   I hope you will considering becoming a follower of this site by clicking the Follow Anglican Internet Church tab found below my picture in the right column and also following both our YouTube and Podbean channels.

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

Images of St. Paul

In working on Trinitytide: The Teaching Season I realized that readings from St. Paul’s work occupy 80+% of all the Epistle/For the Epistle readings for Trinity Season.  My inventory of historical images had only 4 or 5 representations of St. Paul and I had often fallen back to Andrei Rublev’s tempera and silver on panel unfinished icon, which dates to the 1st decade of the 15th C.   The search for more images took me through a lot of terrible art but, in the end, I found about 15 additional images of the prolific Evangelist to the Gentiles and who is often substituted for Matthias in imagery of the Twelve. especially in the Eastern Church tradition.

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St.Paul, 11th C. mosaic at Chora Church (Church of the Holy Savior), Istanbul, Turkey, now a museum.  Image copyright Andrey Andronov|Dreamstime.com).  Perspective correction applied.

Not wanting to give away too much, I have included here only one of the new impressions.  As Trinity season progresses, and I release more episodes in the Trinitytide series, all 15 of the new images will appear in slides.

In the example at left the 11th C. artist captured three historical understandings about images of St. Paul:  receding hair line, full bear, intense facial expression.   He hold a book, representing either the Gospels or, more likely, the Pauline Epistles.  Since this is a Byzantine image and not one from the Western Church tradition, he does not hold an object which symbolizes the manner of his martyrdom.  In nearly all Western Church icon, painting, mosaic or statue  St. Paul holds a sword or a broken sword.  I applied perspective correction to the original image to make it more closely resemble the frontal view of the same mosaic by another photographer.  Apologies to the Dreamstime photographer.  As always, I am impressed by the way the Byzantine mosaic-maker managed to give the sense of flowing robes with lapis blue and the suggestion of indirect light.  Based on the colors and the pose, I wonder whether this mosaic was the inspiration for Rublev’s unfinished work.  Perhaps, but perhaps not, since other sources date the mosaic to a later century, before the Moslem conquest of Constantinople.

Next week I will upload Episode Four in the series, which covers the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Sundays after Trinity, plus three more of the eleven Trinitarian hymns in the AIC Bookstore publication, The St. Chrysostom Hymnal.  To learn more about the Hymnal, visit my Amazon Author Central page.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.

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