27 August 2012

Saint Fachanan

14 August, OS 
from Wikipedia:  

Fachtna mac Mongaig (Fachanan) was the founder of the monastery of Rosscarbery (Ros Ailithir), County Cork. He died around 600. His monastery became the principal monastery of west Cork, and later had a famous Scripture school known as the School of Ross; he appointed the famous St. Brendan as one of its first teachers. It flourished for three hundred years and survived in some form until the coming of the Normans to Ireland. It was the center from which the Diocese of Ross developed.

Fachtna was born at Tulachteann, and was one of the pupils of Saint Ita. Before establishing the monastic school of Ross, he founded the monastery of Molana on an island in the Blackwater, near Youghal. He suffered for a time from blindness, from which he recovered at the intercession of Saint Ita's sister, who was about to give birth to Saint Mochoemog. Fachtna was revered as a "wise and upright man", with a great gift for preaching; Saint Cuimin of Connor said of him that he was "generous and steadfast, fond of preaching to the people and saying nothing that was base or displeasing to God".

01 August 2012

The Holy Prince-Martyr Romanus of Ryazan

19 July, OS

 from The Synaxarion:

The Holy Prince-Martyr Romanus of Ryazan was from a line of princes, who, during the time of the Tatar (Mongol) Yoke, won glory as defenders of the Christian faith and of their Fatherland. Both his grandfathers perished for the Fatherland in the struggle with Batu. Raised in love for the Holy Faith (the prince lived in tears and prayers) and for his native land of Rodina, the prince with all his strength concerned himself with his devastated and oppressed subjects, and he defended them from the coercion and plundering of the khan's tax-collectors. The tax collectors hated the saint and they slandered him before the Tatar khan, Mengu-Timur.

Romanus Olegovich was summoned to the Horde, where khan Mengu-Timur declared that he had to choose either of two things: either a martyr's death or the Tatar faith. The noble prince answered that a Christian cannot change from the true faith to a false one. For his firmness in the confession of faith he was subjected to cruel torments: they cut out his tongue, gouged out his eyes, cut off his ears and lips, chopped off his hands and feet, tore off from his head the skin and, having chopped off his head, they impaled him upon a spear. This occurred in the year 1270.

The veneration of the prince-martyr began immediately with his death. The chronicle says about the saint: "Thou hast gained by thy suffering the Kingdom of Heaven and a crown bestown from the hand of the Lord together with thy kinsman Mikhail Vsevolodovich, co-sufferers with Christ for the Orthodox Christian faith."

From the year 1854 there was made at Ryazan a church procession and molieben on the day of memory of Saint Romanus. In 1861 at Ryazan was consecrated a church in honour of holy Prince Romanus.

30 July 2012

Newly Added to the Blog Roll: Blue Jean Theosis

If you direct your attention stage right, you'll see there is a new link among the Orthodox blog rolls. I would like to introduce the Codex's readers to Blue Jean Theosis, the blog of a new convert to Orthodoxy, the servant of God Christopher. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Oh boy, another new convert blog." True enough, new convert blogs are almost as ubiquitous as conversion books. However, Christopher's conversion is not the typical "I used to be RC/Protestant until I learned about Church history" sort of story. Christopher was, for many years, a practicing Buddhist. Having deeply penetrated the Far Eastern mysteries, Christopher found himself shocked to discover personhood behind the supposedly transpersonal eastern divinity. This ultimate led him on a quest for the personal God that landed him squarely into the Orthodox Catholic Faith.

Blue Jean Theosis is down to earth, mystical, and a fascinating insight into the mind of someone who has explored the (now fashionable) trip through Far Eastern spirituality and found that the search for truth within it led him home to Orthodox Christianity. I am looking very forward to reading more of Chris' meditations on the intersection of the Far East and Eastern Orthodoxy

Saint Kenelm, the King-Martyr of Mercia

17 July, OS

Reprinted from Brittania Biographies:

In AD 821, King Cenwulf of Mercia died at Basingwerk, while campaigning against the Welsh of Powys. He left two daughters, Cwendreda and Burgenhilda, and a son, a child of seven years old, named Kenelm or, more properly, Cenelm, who was chosen to succeed him. Cwendreda envied her little brother and thought that, if he were killed, she might reign as Queen. She therefore conspired with her lover, Askbert, who was her brother's tutor and guardian, and gave him money, saying, "Slay my brother for me, that I may reign." Burgenilda was not privy to this wicked deed, however, for she loved her little brother.

So Askbert took Kenelm out into the Forests of Worcestershire on a hunting trip. After the exertions of the chase, the young lad soon tired with the heat, and decided to lay down under a tree for a nap. Askbert, meanwhile, began to dig a grave; but the boy suddenly awoke and admonished him, "You think to kill me here in vain, for I shall be slain in another spot. In token, thereof, see this rod blos-som." And he thrust a stick into the ground, which instantly took root and began to flower. It grew, in years after, to be a great ash tree, which was known as St. Kenelm's Ash. Unperturbed, Askbert took the little King further into the forest and up to the Clent Hills, near Halesowen, where the child began to sing the "Te Deum," the assassin smote his head clean off; and then he buried him in the thicket.

Now, at the same time, a white dove is said to have flown into the church of St. Peter in Rome, with a letter in its beak which it deposited on the high altar. And men took the letter and tried to read, but they could not make it out, for it was written in English. At last, an Englishman was found, however, and he read the letter. It stated that Kenelm, the little King of the Mercians, had been cruelly murdered and his body hidden in a thicket.

So the Pope wrote letters to the kings of the English and told them what an evil deed had been done in their land, and men went forth to seek the body. As they went, they saw a pillar of light shining over a thicket in Worcestershire and, there, they found the body of Kenelm. They carried him to the Royal Mercian Abbey at Winchcombe, in Gloucestershire, where he was buried with all honour and reverred as a martyr. But over the place where they found his body, they built a little chapel. Today it is the Church of St. Kenelm at Romsley in the Clent Hills.