Mass Schedule – Week of Lent III (March 8, 2015)
10, Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, 320 A.D.
12, St. Gregory the Great, 604 A.D.
14, St. Valentine 270 A.D.
+ In the year 320, Constantine was Emperor of the West and Licinius of the East. Licinius, under pressure from Constantine, had agreed to legalize Christianity in his territory, and the two made an alliance (cemented by the marriage of Licinius to Constantia the sister of Constantine), but now Licinius broke the alliance and made a new attempt to suppress Christianity. He ordered his soldiers to repudiate it on pain of death. In the “Thundering Legion,” stationed near Sebaste in Armenia (now Sivas in Turkey), forty soldiers refused, and when promises, threats, and beatings failed to shake them, they were stripped naked one evening and herded onto the middle of a frozen lake, and told, “You may come ashore when you are ready to deny your faith.” To tempt them, fires were built on shore, with warm baths, blankets, clothing, and hot food and drink close by. As night deepened, thirty-nine men stood firm, while one broke and ran to the shore. However, one of the soldiers standing guard on shore was so moved by the steadfastness of the Christians that he stripped off his clothes and ran out to join them. They welcomed him into their company, and so the number of the martyrs remained at forty, and by morning, all were dead of exposure.
+ Only two popes, Leo I and Gregory I, have been given the popular title of “the Great.” Both served during difficult times of barbarian invasions in Italy; and during Gregory’s term of office, Rome was also faced with famine and epidemics.Gregory was born around 540, of a politically influential family, and in 573 he became Prefect of Rome; but shortly afterwards he resigned his office and began to live as a monk. In 579 he was made apocrisiarius (representative of the Pope to the Patriarch of Constantinople). Shortly after his return home, the Pope died of the plague, and in 590 Gregory was elected Pope.Like Leo before him, he became practical governor of central Italy, because the job needed to be done and there was no one else to do it. When the Lombards invaded, he organized the defense of Rome against them, and the eventual signing of a treaty with them. When there was a shortage of food, he organized the importation and distribution of grain from Sicily.
His influence on the forms of public worship throughout Western Europe was enormous. He founded a school for the training of church musicians, and Gregorian chant (plainchant) is named for him. The schedule of Scripture readings for the various Sundays of the year, and the accompanying prayers (many of them written by him), in use throughout most of Western Christendom for the next thirteen centuries, is largely due to his passion for organization. His treatise, On Pastoral Care, while not a work of creative imagination, shows a dedication to duty, and an understanding of what is required of a minister in charge of a Christian congregation.
English-speaking Christians will remember Gregory for sending a party of missionaries headed Augustine of Canterbury to preach the Gospel to the pagan Anglo-Saxon tribes that had invaded England and largely conquered or displaced the Celtic Christians previously living there. Gregory had originally hoped to go to England as a missionary himself, but was pressed into service elsewhere, first as apocrisiarius and then as bishop of Rome. He accordingly sent others, but took an active interest in their work, writing numerous letters both to Augustine and his monks and to their English converts.
It was in Gregory’s lifetime that Rome, and with it the Western Empire, with astonishing suddenness became monolingual. For more than six centuries previously Greek had been spoken at Rome along with Latin and every educated Roman spoke, read, and wrote in both languages. Paul’s epistle to the Romans and indeed the whole New Testament was written in Greek. Everyone involved in shipping and commerce, from banker to stevedore, spoke Greek. The list of the early Bishops of Rome has a fair proportion of Greek names. But in Gregory’s lifetime this changed. Gregory was ambassador to the Eastern Patriarch at Constantinople for six years, but he never bothered to learn Greek. And in his day it seems that most other Latin-speakers did not trouble to learn Greek either. The already existing difficulties of communication between Latin and Greek theologians were greatly exacerbated by this development. Increasingly, Latins did not read the commentaries and other writings of Greek Christians, and vice versa. Thus differences between the two that dialogue might have resolved were left to accumulate, culminating in the formal split between Latin and Greek Christendom in 1054.
+ The Monday Morning Bible Study is working through 40 Minute Bible Study Series by Precept entitled “The Essentials of Effective Prayer”, by Kay Arthur and David and BJ Lawson will be started. As we prepare to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, we take the time during Lent to examine ourselves and ask the Lord, as did David in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Going back to the essentials of our prayer life is key to our preparation for Jesus’ Passion and His glorious resurrection. The study will last six weeks. For further information contact Priscilla King at [email protected].
+ We need some volunteers to cook for the Wednesday Agape.
+ This coming Wednesday is Agape & Christian Education and I hope you all can come out as well as bring a friend. Thanks goes out to all our cooks, teachers, and helpers and especially to Jackie Jamison for her leadership in organizing and developing our Wednesday Agape. Jackie says, “Things will proceed similarly to last year with three classes led by the same teachers (Sr. Lynda for the preschoolers, me for the elementary kids, and Charlie for upper elementary and middle school). All teachers please remember that class is over at 7:15.
+ All Saints Men’s Group will meets each Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. in undercroft.
+ The Holy Communion is celebrated Monday through Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
+ All Saints parishioner may obtain a Mass card from the Church office. A Mass card is a greeting card given to someone to inform him or her that a deceased loved one or friend was remembered and prayed for at a weekly Mass. It is a specifically Christian way to express one’s love. Call Julie McDermott at the Church office (434-979-2842) and she will help you fill out the form. The celebrant will sign the card and we will mail it from the Church to the family of the loved one.