Aidan, Missionary and Bishop

St. Aidan stained glass, St. Oswald's, DeanThe collect for today, the Feast of Saint Aidan (d. 651), Monk of Iona, Missionary, first Bishop and Abbot of Lindisfarne (source):

O loving God, who didst call thy servant Aidan from the Peace of a cloister to re-establish the Christian mission in northern England, and didst endow him with gentleness, simplicity, and strength: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, following his example, may use what thou hast given us for the relief of human need, and may persevere in commending the saving Gospel of our Redeemer Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle: 1 Corinthians 9:16-23
The Gospel: St. Matthew 19:27-30

Artwork: Saint Aidan, stained glass, St. Oswald’s Church, Dean, Cumbria. Photograph taken by admin, 7 August 2004.

Beheading of St. John the Baptist

The collect for today, the Feast of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):

O God, who didst send thy messenger, John the Baptist, to be the forerunner of the Lord, and to glorify thee by his death: Grant that we, who have received the truth of thy most holy Gospel, may bear our witness thereunto, and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lesson: Jeremiah 1:17-19
The Gospel: St. Mark 6:17-29

Luini, Salome Receiving the Head of St. John the BaptistArtwork: Bernardino Luini, Salome Receiving the Head of St. John the Baptist, 1527-30. Tempera on wood, Uffizi, Florence.

Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor

The collect for today, the Feast of St Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo, Doctor of the Church (source):

O merciful Lord,
who didst turn Augustine from his sins to be a faithful bishop and teacher:
grant that we may follow him in penitence and godly discipline,
till our restless hearts find their rest in thee;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Epistle: 2 Timothy 4:1-8
The Gospel: St. Matthew 5:13-20

The mortal remains of St. Augustine rest in the church of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro (St. Peter in the Sky of Gold), Pavia, Italy. Liutprand, King of the Lombards, founded the church in the early eighth century on the site of an older church of St. Peter for the purpose of housing Augustine’s relics, which had been translated from Sardinia to Pavia, capital of the Lombard Kingdom. In the 12th century, the church was re-constructed in the Romanesque style and consecrated by Pope Innocent III in 1132. It inherited the name “ciel d’oro” because the wooden ceiling of the early Christian church was decorated with gold-coloured paint.

San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro was renowned in the Middle Ages and is referenced in works by Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. The tombs of several important church figures are located there, including the philosopher Severino Boezio (Boethius), King Liutprand and, of course, Saint Augustine. Augustine’s magnificent marble ark was built in the second half of the fourteenth century and today dominates the presbytery, sitting above the saint’s crypt.

Augustine’s ark stands five metres high and is decorated with 95 statues and 50 bas-reliefs. Many scenes from the great doctor’s life are shown, including his conversion, his baptism administered by St. Ambrose, the burial of his mother St. Monica, the miracles after his death, and the transfer of his relics to Pavia.

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Robert McDonald, Missionary

The collect for a Missionary, in commemoration of The Venerable Robert McDonald (1829-1913), Archdeacon, Missionary to the Western Arctic, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):

O GOD, our heavenly Father, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst call thy blessed Apostles and send them forth to preach thy Gospel of salvation unto all the nations: We bless thy holy Name for thy servant Robert McDonald, whose labours we commemorate this day, and we pray thee, according to thy holy Word, to send forth many labourers into thy harvest; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lesson: Acts 12:24-13:5
The Gospel: St Matthew 4:13-24a

Robert McDonald was born in Point Douglas, Red River Colony (in present-day Winnipeg, Manitoba). He was the second of ten children born to a Scottish immigrant and his Ojibway wife. Ordained a Church of England priest in 1852, he ministered among the Ojibway people for almost ten years, mastering the Ojibway language and translating parts of the Bible.

McDonald, Tukudh HymnalHe was chosen to establish a Church Missionary Society mission at Fort Yukon, a settlement then believed to be in British territory but now located within Alaska. Reaching Yukon in October 1862, Robert McDonald was the first Protestant missionary designated for mission work in that territory. He ministered to the Gwitch’in and other aboriginal peoples in northwestern parts of North America for over forty years, during which time he baptised 2000 adults and children.

In 1870, he worked among peoples along the Porcupine River (Old Crow) and later settled in Fort MacPherson on the Peel River, in present-day Northwest Territories. He married Julia Kutuq, a local Gwitch’in woman, in 1876; together they had nine children. He was appointed Archdeacon of the Mackenzie Diocese in 1875.

Archdeacon McDonald developed the first writing system for the Gwitch’in language. (The Gwitch’in Athapaskan language is also known as Tukudh). With the help of Gwitch’in people, including his wife Julia, he translated the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, and compiled a Tukudh hymnal. Finally, in 1911, he published a dictionary and grammar of Tukudh.

Soon after retiring in 1904, he returned to Winnipeg where he died in 1913. He is buried in the cemetery of St John’s Cathedral.

McDonald’s translation of the Book of Common Prayer is posted online here and his grammar and dictionary here.

More biographical information on The Ven. Robert McDonald may be found online at these sites:

The Twelfth Sunday After Trinity

The collect for today, the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve: Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: 2 Corinthians 3:4-9
The Gospel: St. Mark 7:31-37

Christ heals the deaf manArtwork: Christ heals the deaf man, 14th-century mosaic, Kariye Camii, Istanbul (Church of the Holy Saviour, Chora).