Feast of St Spyridon the Wonderworker of Trymithous
Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cupboard boxes -
Some have got broken - and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week -
Not that we...
Feast of St Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra
SAD AS it is to see Saint Nicholas transformed into the red-suited Santa Claus of the secular winter ‘holidays’, it is easy to understand why the holy bishop has become so closely connected with the festival of Christ’s birth. The stories about the saint, fabricated and embroidered in Christian imagination over the ages, in various times and places, all tell...
Feast of St Catherine the Great Martyr of Alexandria
Christianity as the Difficult Way of Discipline and Asceticism
In the section on Youth, we may find some wise and true sayings, if we have the patience to look for them. “The best of the younger generation in every section of the community,” we are told, “and in every country of the world, are not seeking a religion that is watered...
Synaxis of the Archangel Michael & the other Bodiless Powers: Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salaphiel, Jegudiel, & Barachiel
AS THE TITLE of this piece suggests, and as the opening paragraph of Part 1 intimates, I want to suggest that the commemoration of saints is relevant to our secular age. In fact, I believe that telling the stories of holy people promotes the renewal of culture. Before suggesting some ways...
Feast of St Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople
G. K. CHESTERTON once said there are only two things that never get boring: stories and persons. Averil Cameron, Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine History, takes Chesterton’s assertion a step further. In her book, Christianity and the Rhetoric of Empire: The Development of Christian Discourse, Cameron argues that the development of a ‘totalizing discourse’ or a ‘Christian rhetoric’ was...
Feast of St Anastasia the Martyr of Rome
THE MEETING is about to come to order here at the Hall of Men, where heroism is celebrated and masculinity is encouraged. The men, seated at an oak table that nearly fills the room, push away their soup bowls.
“Gentlemen,” says George Elder, raising his glass at the head of the table.
He offers a toast, drawn from a tale from...
Feast of the Great Martyr Artemius
BEFORE THE Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.
I knew no...
Feast of St Joel the Prophet
I HAVE always enjoyed Chesterton’s poetry and fiction, but I must admit that, until I started work on a selection for a publisher, it was many years since I had read any of his non-fictional prose.
The reasons for my neglect were, I think, two. Firstly, his reputation as an anti-Semite. Though he denied the charge and did, certainly, denounce Hitler’s persecution, he...
Feast of St Luke the Evangelist and Physician
I SUPPOSE that there will be some wigs on the green in connection with the recent manifesto signed by a string of very eminent doctors on the subject of what is called ‘alcohol’. ‘Alcohol’ is, to judge by the sound of it, an Arabic word, like ‘algebra’ and ‘Alhambra’, those two other unpleasant things. The Alhambra in Spain I have never...
Feast of St Hosea the Prophet
MY FORTHCOMING work in five volumes, “The Neglect of Cheese in European Literature,” is a work of such unprecedented and laborious detail that it is doubtful whether I shall live to finish it. Some overflowings from such a fountain of information may therefore be permitted to sprinkle these pages. I cannot yet wholly explain the neglect to which I refer. Poets have been...