Tag: Christianity

Shrove Tuesday

shrove-tuesday1Today is shrove Tuesday, which has now become better known as Pancake Day.

What is Shrove Tuesday about?  Has it become just a day of cooking and tossing pancakes?

Shrove Tuesday is the last day of merriment and feasting before Lent begins in earnest.

But in truth and in its history, today is about penitence.  Shrove Tuesday got its name from the ritual of shriving, which early Christians used to do.

The act of shriving meant that Christians would confess their sins and their shortcomings and in so doing will receive absolutions.

Absolution means the person will be forgiven of his sins and released from his guilt and pain that he had caused.

This tradition is very old.

Shrove Tuesday

It was a custom and tradition of the early Christians to confess their sins a week before the start of Lent to their priest/confessor, who shall so shrive them.

Today is not only about pancake but a time to think about the wrong deeds that we have done or have continued  doing.  We must be penitent of them.

On the happier side, Shrove Tuesday is also about partying and feasting.  Time to cook and serve all the foods that may have to be given up for the sober Lent to come. Barbecue the meat and fish and make pastas so no food are wasted for the coming Lent.  Today is like a Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday.

Pancake became the ideal food for Tuesday because it uses up all the fats, milk and eggs with the addition of flour.

Source:  BBC.co.uk




Celebrate St Andrew’s Day



St Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland.

St Andrew

St Andrew is also one of the four major saints of the UK.  The other three being, St George, Patron Saint of England, St Patrick of Ireland and St David of Wales.

St Andrew was born in Bethesda on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Both he and his brother Peter became disciples of Jesus. Andrew is said to have been martyred by being bound to an “X” shaped cross at Patras in Achea in Greece. This shape is now reflected in the Scottish flag, known as the Saltire. St Andrew has been recognized as the patron saint of Scotland since at least the ninth century.

St Andrew was a disciple of Jesus. Apparently, Scotland and England have always had a bit of rivalry.  So as England had St George as Patron saint, Scotland thought what better Patron Saint than a kosher disciple of Jesus! 😉

Anyway, let us all stop for a moment and give thanks and praise to St Andrew and celebrate him.

Jean & Peter


St Andrew, who was a fisherman and one of Jesus’ disciples, is credited with preaching the word of God across Greece and Asia Minor during the 1st century.

He was killed by Romans in the Greek city of Patras. He is said to have been crucified on an X-shaped cross, which would later become the Saltire symbol found in Scotland’s flag.

The Scottish flag with Saltire

St Andrew is also the patron saint of singers, spinsters, maidens, old maids, fishmongers and women seeking to become mothers.

Although mostly associated with Scotland St Andrew is also the patron saint of Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Greece. According to legend an angel supposedly told the Greek monk St Rule to take St Andrew’s remains to the “ends of the earth”.

Removing a tooth, arm, bone, kneecap and some fingers the monk left for Scotland. He was, however, shipwrecked off the east coast where he built a chapel to house the relics.

The settlement later became known as St Andrews.

St Andrew’s day is celebrated on the 30th November, and although it is a very old tradition – with national festivals dating back to the reign of Malcolm III (1034 – 1093) – it is only in recent times that the date was given the status of a national holiday.

St Andrew’s Day was first celebrated as an official bank holiday in Scotland in 2006.

The day is also marked in Barbados in celebration of the country’s independence.

The celebration of St Andrew’s day marks the beginning of the Scottish winter festivals. The celebrations culminate with Scottish poet Burns Night on January 25th.

Google has marked St Andrew’s day with a doodle since 2010.

An Hymn upon St. Bartholomew’s Day – Thomas Traherne

imagesTo celebrate All Saints’s Day  on 1st of November, GlobalGranary.Org will honour the saints in forms of music, poems, quotes, prayers, incantations, stories and arts throught November.

The first on our list is St Bartholomew, one of the apostles of Jesus, who is traditionally said to have brought Christianity to India and to Armenia.  He is the Patron Saint of Armenia, Gambatesa, Italy; Catbalogan, Sama; Gharghur, Malta; leather workers, neurological diseases, plasterers, shoemakers, curriers, tanners, trappers, twitching and whiteners.

He is also highly regarding in medicine.  A lot of hospitals are associated with him, but the most famous and renowned worldwide is the one located in London, The St Bartholomew’s Hospital better known as St Barts a leading teaching hospital.

His feast days are 24 August, celebrated by the Western Christianity
and 11 June for Eastern Christianity.

Below is a poem by Thomas Traherne

A Hymn Upon St Bartholomew’s Day

~ Thomas Traherne

What powerful Spirit lives within!
What active Angel doth inhabit here!
What heavenly light inspires my skin,
Which doth so like a Deity appear!
A living Temple of all ages, I
Within me see
A Temple of Eternity!
All Kingdoms I descry
In me.

An inward Omnipresence here
Mysteriously like His within me stands,
Whose knowledge is a Sacred Sphere
That in itself at once includes all lands.
There is some Angel that within me can
Both talk and move,
And walk and fly and see and love,
A man on earth, a man

Dull walls of clay my Spirit leaves,
And in a foreign Kingdom doth appear,
This great Apostle it receives,
Admires His works and sees them, standing here,
Within myself from East to West I move
As if I were
At once a Cherubim and Sphere,
Or was at once above
And here.

The Soul’s a messenger whereby
Within our inward Temple we may be
Even like the very Deity
In all the parts of His Eternity.
O live within and leave unwieldy dross!
Flesh is but clay!
O fly my Soul and haste away
To Jesus’ Throne or Cross!

Thomas Traherne


Archbishop Justin Welby and Pope Francis Similarities

Interesting that as the new Pope is inaugurated at the Vatican, the Church of England is also installing the Primate of all England.  What a synchronicity!!!

I hope both these men will be able to reach all the people in the world, especially all Christians, and remind us the TRUE teaching and message of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As the religious world comes to terms with the two men at the top of the Church, Yahoo! takes a look at their contrasting styles and backgrounds.
By Chris Parsons | Yahoo! News – 18 hours ago

New roles: Pope Francis (left), and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (right)

PA – New roles: Pope Francis (left), and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (right)

Archbishop Justin Welby and Pope Francis Similarities

As the fanfare continued this week for the inauguration of Pope Francis, on these shores another key Church figure is starting a high-profile new role.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, went on his own pilgrimage around five English cities this month before his enthronement as leader of the Church of England.

The Archbishop, who chose a visit to West Sussex yesterday in favour of the Vatican for Pope Francis’s inauguration, will lead 80 million Christians in more than 160 countries.

As the religious world comes to terms with the two men at the top of the Church, Yahoo! takes a look at their contrasting styles and backgrounds.


Justin Welby famously turned his back on a successful oil industry career to train as an Anglican priest.

The Cambridge-educated former oil executive spent 11 years in the industry, and was earning a six-figure salary as group treasurer for Enterprise Oil Inc before the dramatic career change in the late 1980s.

He studied theology at Durham before working at Coventry Cathedral and later working his way to become Bishop of Durham, one of the most senior church roles in England.

By contrast, Pope Francis, aged 76, has had a longer career in the Church, having studied in Argentina, Chile and Germany before being ordained for the Jesuits in 1969.

According to his official Vatican biography, he was Provincial for Argentina from 1973 to 1979, then later rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel.

After becoming Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1997, more high-profile positions saw him eventually named President of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina in 2005.

It was at this time that he was seen was seen as a contender for the papacy, but he lost out to Pope Benedict XVI in the 2005 conclave.

Pope Francis meets crowds outside the Vatican this week (PA)


Both the Archbishop and Pope Francis have faced challenges to their long-held forthright views on controversial subjects.

Justin Welby has rigorously defended the Church’s right to oppose gay marriage, but has also insisted he is keen to accommodate opposing views.

Argentinian Pope Francis, who also opposes gay marriage, faced challenges when his home country became the first Latin American country to legalise same-sex marriage.

He responded by saying: “This isn’t a simple political fight, it’s an attempt to destroy God’s plan.”

Pope Francis is described as being ‘as uncompromising as Pope John Paul II, in terms of the principles of the Church – everything it has defended regarding euthanasia, the death penalty, abortion, the right to life, human rights, celibacy of priests’.

The new Archbishop has vowed to speak up on views he feels strongly about, and has spoken about how he plans to address declining congregation numbers in the Church.

In a similar vein, Pope Francis has acknowledged that the Church is ‘wrapped up in its own world’.

He has stated that he plans to go out, meet Catholics and evangelise, adding: “If I had to choose between a wounded church that goes out on to the streets and a sick, withdrawn church, I would definitely choose the first one.”

Bishop Welby has been described as ‘hands-on and energetic’ (PA)


Seen as a ‘Pope of the People’ by some, Pope Francis surprised onlookers this week with his informal, simple approach during his inauguration.

The new pontiff met the crowds in St Peter’s Square in an open-top ‘Popemobile’ Jeep, kissed sick men
and young children, and was generally seen to have a hands-on, friendlier approach.

He is known for having a scaled-down security presence, often flies economy class when travelling to Rome, and in Argentina he lived in a simple Buenos Aires flat in the building of the Archdiocese.

Bishop Welby, meanwhile, is seen as having the key conflict resolution skills needed to deal with the various warring factions of the Church.

Former colleagues of the Archbishop recall a man who was an ‘enthusiastic, hands-on vicar’, who was ‘great fun and very energetic’.

His communication skills from his time in the oil industry are seen as key to his new role.

Rev John Armstrong, who took over when Dr Welby left one of his earliest church posts in Southam, Warks, told Yahoo!: He is good at communicating with people and getting them to communicate with each other, and that will work in his favour in his new role.

“He certainly did a good job here and was instrumental in bringing this Church a lot more alive than it was before.”

St John the Evangelist

Today the 27th December is the commemoration and feast day of Saint John. The Roman Catholic Church calls him “Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist”, and in the Anglican Communion, which calls him “John, Apostle and Evangelist”. In the Tridentine Calendar he was commemorated also on each of the following days up to and including 3 January.

From wikipedia

St John the Evangelist, painting by Jacopo Pontormo 1525

St John the Evangelist, painting by Jacopo Pontormo 1525

John the Evangelist (יוחנן Standard Hebrew Yoḥanan, Tiberian Hebrew Yôḥānān meaning “Yahweh is gracious”, Greek: Εὐαγγελιστής Ἰωάννης) (c. AD 1 – c. 100) is the conventional name for the author of the Gospel of John. Traditionally he has been identified with the author of the other Johannine works in the New Testament—the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation, written by a John of Patmos—as well as with John the Apostle and the Beloved Disciple mentioned in the Gospel of John. However, at least some of these connections have been debated since about 200.

The Gospel of John refers to an unnamed “Beloved Disciple” of Jesus who bore witness to the gospel’s message.The composer of the Gospel of John seemed interested in maintaining the internal anonymity of the author’s identity.
The apostle John was a historical figure, one of the “pillars” of the Jerusalem church after Jesus’ death.Some scholars believe that John was martyred along with his brother (Acts 12:1-2), although many other scholars doubt this. Harris believes that the tradition that John lived to old age in Ephesus developed in the late 2nd century, although the tradition does appear in the last chapter of the gospel, though this debatable tradition assumes that John the Evangelist, John the Apostle, the Beloved Disciple mentioned in John 21 and sometimes also John the Presbyter are the same person.

Of the other New-Testament writings, it is only from the three Epistles of John and the Apocalypse that anything further is learned concerning the person of the Apostle. We may be permitted here to take as proven the unity of the author of these three writings handed down under the name of John and his identity with the Evangelist. Both the Epistles and the Apocalypse, however, presuppose that their author John belonged to the multitude of personal eyewitnesses of the life and work of Christ (cf. especially 1 John 1:1-5; 4:14), that he had lived for a long time in Asia Minor, was thoroughly acquainted with the conditions existing in the various Christian communities there, and that he had a position of authority recognized by all Christian communities as leader of this part of the Church. Moreover, the Apocalypse tells us that its author was on the  scenic island of Patmos a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea and one of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese group. John was there waiting “for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus”, when he was honoured with the heavenly Revelation contained in the Apocalypse (Revelation 1:9).

The Coptic church states that St. John the Evangelist lived over 90 years, and they used to carry him to the gatherings of the believers. Because of his old age, he only gave very short sermons saying, “My children love one another.” It states that he wrote the gospel known after him, the Book of Revelation, and the three epistles ascribed to him. It confirms that he did not suffer martyrdom and died of old age in Ephesus,near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.
– St John

The Day of St Stephen

Today, 26 December, is St Stephen’s Day.

St Stephen or San Esteban, was the first martyred (proto martyr) Christian.

Stoning & Martyrdom of Stephen - Saint Stephen

Stoning & Martyrdom of Stephen – Saint Stephen, painting by Giorgio Vasari

Stephen’s name is derived from the Greek language Stephanos, meaning “crown”. Paul of Tarsus apparently was present when St Stephen was stoned to death. Paul later converted to the proto Christian religion and because of his new belief was also martyred becoming St Paul.
Stephen was martyred because he refused to denounce his new religion.

While on trial, St Stephen experienced a theophany (vision) in which he saw both God the Father and God the Son and uttered.
“Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing sits on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:56)
His vision of Christ standing differs from other Scripture which indicates Jesus
sits at the right hand of God – perhaps implying that Christ stood in honor of Stephen whose martyrdom was near. 26 December is called “St. Stephen’s Day” in Western Christianity.

The Day of St Stephen

More about St Stephen:

St Stephen was one of the first seven deacons of the early Christian Church.
He was a Jew, who converted to Christianity. He loved nothing better than dialogue with other Jews about Christianity.
It was his conviction that finally got him into trouble. He was charged with blasphemy and taken before the high priests.
Ultimately he was run out of town and pelted to death with stone. To his last dying breath, he only had forgiveness against his aggressors.


This is a brief summary of  how Christianity is interwoven with the history of England


  • Augustine became the first archbishop of Canterbury in AD 597 – Justin Welby will be the 105th. The English Church became a full member of the Roman Catholic Church after the Synod of Whitby in AD 664
  • In 1170 Thomas Beckett is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by knights who believed Henry II wanted his death. He is made a saint shortly afterwards
  • Richard I – the Lionheart – gained acclaim for his role as a military leader during the crusades of the 12th Century
  • In 1534 Henry passed the Act of Succession and then the Act of Supremacy. These recognised that the King was “the only supreme head” of the Church of England.
  • 1553: Mary I – known as bloody Mary, reintroduces Catholicism to England. Many Protestants are executed.
  • 1558: Elizabeth I is crowned. She reintroduces Protestant reforms to the Church. During her reign there are a number of Catholic assassination attempts – the most famous is the 1586 Babington plot which sought to place Mary Queen of Scots on the throne. Mary was executed for her part in the plot in 1587
  • In 1588 The Spanish Armada, a force sent by Mary I’s Catholic widower Philip II of Spain, is defeated
  • November 5 1605: Catholic plotters try to kill James I by blowing up parliament. The failed coup is known as the Gunpowder Plot.
  • 1642-1651 Religious and political tensions reach a high during the English Civil War. England becomes a republic under puritan Oliver Cromwell after the execution of Charles I in 1649. The monarchy is restored in 1660
  • William of Orange deposed the Catholic king James II
  • The popularity of non-conformist churches grew under the reign of Victoria (1837-1901) prompting calls for the disestablishment of the Church of England

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you and against our fellow men,
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry,
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us,
forgive us all that is past;
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.

From the Book of Common Prayer

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