Although we cannot officially substantiate the following claim, we consider St. Photius the Great, a ninth-century Patriarch of Constantinople, the patron saint of blurbs. Fulfilling a request from his brother Tarasius, St. Photius composed a work in which he reviewed 279 books. These books included both Christian and pagan works. Most of the Christian works were patristic theology and the pagan works were mostly history and literature. Arranged in no systematic order, Photius titled his work The Bibliotheca, a Greek word that carries a double connotation, meaning both a list of books, such as a catalog, and a collection of books, like a library.
We’re also claiming St. Photius as the patron saint for our Eighth Day Blog. And in his honor, we’re calling it The Bibliotheca. Like Photius, we’ll be reviewing books on a regular basis. But we’ll also be building a library. In addition to weekly Eighth Day Blurbs, we’ll be posting The Daily Word, a brief passage from the the Fathers of the Church—East and West, ancient and contemporary—with a title in the form of a question to stimulate a dialogue of love for the renewal of our culture. Finally, we’ll be making regular blog posts. We’re calling the shorter posts Reflections (limited to 500 words) and the longer posts Essays (up to 1500 words). We might even occasionally post an Article (3000 – 5000 words).
We are gathering a highly esteemed team of contributors to begin building this library. So you can expect our list of contributors to grow. The goal for this team is both simple and lofty: to build a library of splendorous letters that immerses us in the sounds, rhythms, idioms, and images of the Church—what St Augustine called “dominico eloquio,” the Lord’s style of language. We’ll elaborate on this goal in a future post.