The Second Sunday After The Epiphany

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

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: Romans 12:6-16
The Gospel: St. John 2:1-11

Preti, Wedding at CanaArtwork: Mattia Preti, Wedding at Cana, c. 1655-60. Oil on canvas, National Gallery, London.

Hilary, Doctor and Bishop

The collect for today, the Feast of St. Hilary (c. 315-368), Bishop of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church (source):

Parmigianino, Saint HilaryEverlasting God,
whose servant Hilary
steadfastly confessed thy Son Jesus Christ
to be both human and divine:
grant us his gentle courtesy
to bring to all the message of redemption
in the incarnate Christ,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Epistle: 1 St. John 2:18-25
The Gospel: St. Luke 12:8-12

Hilary was born in Poitiers, Gaul, of wealthy pagan parents. After receiving a thorough education in Latin classics, he became an orator. He also married and had a daughter. At the age of about 35, he rejected his former paganism and became a Christian through a long process of study and thought. Robert Louis Wilken describes his path to conversion in The Spirit of Early Christian Thought (p. 86):

[Hilary] found himself turning to more spiritual pursuits. In his words he wished to pursue a life that was “worthy of the understanding that had been given us by God.” Like Justin [Martyr] he began to read the Bible, and one passage that touched his soul was Exodus 3:14, where God the creator, “testifying about himself,” said, “I am who I am.” For Hilary this brief utterance penetrated more deeply into the mystery of the divine nature than anything he had heard or read from the philosophers. Shortly thereafter he was baptized and received into the church.

Around 353 he was chosen bishop of Poitiers and became an outspoken champion of orthodoxy against the Arians. St. Augustine praised him as “the illustrious teacher of the churches”. St. Jerome wrote that Hilary was “a most eloquent man, and the trumpet of the Latins against the Arians”. Hilary became known as “Athanasius of the West”.

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John Horden, Missionary and Bishop

The collect for today, the commemoration of the Right Rev John Horden (1828-1893), first Bishop of Moosonee, Missionary to the First Nations of Canada:

The Right Rev. John HordenO God,
the Desire of all the nations,
you chose your servant John Horden
to open the treasury of your Word
among the native peoples of Canada.
Grant us, after his example,
to be constant in our purpose and care
for the enlargement of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Source of collect: Give Us Grace: An Anthology of Anglican Prayers, compiled by Christopher L. Webber. Anglican Book Centre, Toronto, 2004, p. 456.

Born in Exeter, England, to humble Christian parents, John Horden resolved to be a missionary while a young boy at school and, when he was 23, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) offered him a post as a teacher and missionary at Moose Factory on James’ Bay. He and his young wife set sail on 8 June 1851, arriving at Moose Factory on 26 July.

Horden gave himself whole-heartedly to his task. Within eight months he was able to teach and preach to the indigenous people in the Cree language. In the summer of 1852, Bishop David Anderson of Rupert’s Land travelled 1500 miles to visit his new minister, initially planning to bring him to Red River for theological training. The young man’s conscientiousness and maturity were so impressive, however, that Bishop Anderson changed his plans, ordaining John Horden priest on 24 August.

Rev. Horden ministered to the James Bay Cree and Hudson Bay Company employees for many years, visiting indigenous peoples all around the James Bay region. He translated the Gospels, a hymnal, and a prayer book into Cree, and sent them to England for printing. Because no one was competent to proof-read the master copies, the CMS sent him a printing press and told him to print the books himself. Horden needed many long, frustrating days to teach himself how to assemble and operate the press. His printing press was soon producing other Christian literature in Cree. He also wrote a grammar of the Cree language.

In 1872, Bishop Robert Machray of Rupert’s Land decided that his diocese had grown too large and should be sub-divided. Thus, at Westminster Abbey on 15 December 1872, the Archbishop of Canterbury consecrated John Horden the first Bishop of the Diocese of Moosonee.

Bishop Horden continued to travel across his vast diocese. By the end of his life, most of the Cree of James Bay had been converted, as well as many Ojibwa, Chipewyan, and Inuit. Also, he laboured on translating the Bible into Cree until he died unexpectedly on 12 January 1893. He is buried at Moose Factory.

Biographies of John Horden are posted here and here.

Benedict Biscop, Abbot and Scholar

The collect for a Doctor of the Church, Poet, or Scholar, on the Feast of Saint Benedict Biscop (c. 628-89), Founder of the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, Scholar, Patron of the Arts, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962);

O GOD, who by thy Holy Spirit hast given unto one man a word of wisdom, and to another a word of knowledge, and to another the gift of tongues: We praise thy Name for the gifts of grace manifested in thy servant Benedict Biscop, and we pray that thy Church may never be destitute of the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lesson: Daniel 2:17-24
The Gospel: St. Matthew 13:9-17

Norwich Cathedral, St. Benedict BiscopSaint Benedict Biscop is remembered as a church leader instrumental in preserving and disseminating Western civilisation during the so-called “Dark Ages”.

Born into a noble Northumbrian family, Benedict spent many years in Frankish monasteries, becoming a monk at the Abbey of Lérins, off the southern coast of France. He also travelled to Rome six times. At the conclusion of his third visit in 668, he accompanied St. Theodore of Tarsus, the Greek monk newly commissioned as Archbishop of Canterbury, to England. For two years, Benedict served as abbot of the monastery of St. Peter & St. Paul (later St. Augustine’s), Canterbury, but soon wanted to establish his own foundation.

Receiving papal approval to establish monasteries in Northumbria, Benedict founded the twin monasteries of St. Peter’s at Wearmouth in 674 and St. Paul’s at Jarrow in 681. He travelled to Rome and returned with an “innumerable collection of books of all kinds”. He also brought with him John the Chanter, Archcantor of St. Peter’s, Rome, who taught the monks the Roman liturgy and Gregorian chant.

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William Laud, Archbishop and Martyr

The collect for today, the commemoration of William Laud (1573-1645), Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr (source):

Southwark Cathedral, William LaudKeep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like thy servant William Laud, we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The Epistle: Hebrews 12:5-7,11-14
The Gospel: St. Matthew 10:32-39

A Prayer for the Church by William Laud:

Gracious Father, I humbly beseech thee for Thy holy Catholic Church, fill it with all truth; in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purge it; where it is in error, direct it; where it is superstitious, rectify it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it; where it is right strengthen and confirm it, where it is in want, furnish it; where it is divided and rent asunder, make up the breaches of it; O Thou Holy One of Israel. Amen.

Source: Give Us Grace: An Anthology of Anglican Prayers, compiled by Christopher L. Webber. (Anglican Book Centre, Toronto, 2004), p. 55.

Artwork: William Laud, stained glass, Southwark Cathedral, London. Photograph taken by admin, 20 October 2014.