Sunday, December 03, 2006

The New Martyrs of Cordoba

The photo at left is of the sanctuary of St. Hilda of Whitby Anglican Catholic Church in Atlanta, Georgia on June 14th, 2004. The church is vested for the celebration of the feast of a martyr bishop, Blessed Leonidas Polk. June 14th is also the feast of Ss.Anastasius, Felix, and Dignii. They constitute a part of those saints known as the New Martyrs of Cordoba.

Martyed by the Moors at Cordoba about 852. Anastasius was an old priest of Cordoba, Felix was a monk originally out of North Africa, Dignii was a fiery young nun who was ordered killed after she upbraided the Judge in open court for the injustice of the sentences against Father Anastasius and Brother Felix

Another New Martyr of Cordoba is St. Columbii another nun who confronted the authorities directly about the Islamic prohibition on preaching Jesus.

I have in my possession first class relics of Anastasius, Dignii and Columbii.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Favorite Anglican Layman

President Dwight Eisenhower wrote the following letter in response to one he received dated August 1, 1960, from Leon W. Scott, a dentist in New Rochelle, New York. Scott's letter reads:

Dear Mr. President:

At the Republican Convention I heard you mention that you have the pictures of four (4) great Americans in your office, and that included in these is a picture of Robert E. Lee.

I do not understand how any American can include Robert E. Lee as a
person to be emulated, and why the President of the United States of
America should do so is certainly beyond me.

The most outstanding thing that Robert E. Lee did was to devote his
best efforts to the destruction of the United States Government, and
I am sure that you do not say that a person who tries to destroy our
Government is worthy of being hailed as one of our heroes.

Will you please tell me just why you hold him in such high esteem?

Sincerely yours,

Leon W. Scott

Eisenhower's response, written on White House letterhead, reads as follows:

August 9, 1960

Dear Dr. Scott:

Respecting your August 1 inquiry calling attention to my often
expressed admiration for General Robert E. Lee, I would say, first,
that we need to understand that at the time of the War Between the
States the issue of Secession had remained unresolved for more than
70 years. Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned
loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a
matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.

General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely
gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the
Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an
arguable question in America; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his
officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious,
unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never
disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials,
he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his belief in
God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and
unsullied as I read the pages of our history.

From deep conviction I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee's
caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the
degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his
rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in
his painstaking efforts to help heal the nation's wounds once the
bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided
world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.

Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great
American on my office wall.


Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Last Mass in Hagia Sophia

Ruins of church of St. Euphemia looking toward Hagia Sophia (click on photo to enlarge)

The Last Mass in Hagia Sophia

Anonymous Song of Lamentation

for the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Translated by Richard Stoneman

God rings the bells, earth rings the bells, the sky itself is ringing,

The Holy Wisdom, the great church, is ringing out the message,

Four hundred sounding boards sound out, and two and sixty bells,

For every bell there is a priest, for every priest a deacon.

To the left the emperor is singing, to the right the patriarch,

And all the columns tremble with the thunder of the chant.

And as the emperor began the hymns to the Cherubim,

A voice came down to them from the sky, from the archangel’s mouth:

"Cease the Cherubic hymn, and let the sacred objects bow;

Priests, take the holy things away, extinguish all the candles:

God’s Will has made our city now into a Turkish city.

But send a message to the West, and let them send three ships:

The first to take the cross, the second to remove the Gospel,

The third, the finest shall rescue for us our holy altar.

Lest it all to those dogs, and they defile it and dishonour it."

The Holy Virgin was distressed, the very icons wept.

"Be calm, beloved lady, be calm and do not weep for them

Though years, though centuries shall pass, they shall be yours again."

Excerpted from:

Greece in Poetry

Simoni Zafiropoulos, ed.

New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1993, p 70.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Egyptians Persecuted for Turning to Christ

By Gary Lane

For thousands of years, Egyptians have looked to the Nile River for their sustenance. It has provided them with fish to eat and water to irrigate their crops.
Now, in the 21st century, a growing number of Egyptians are searching for living water and a different type of bread.

Many non-believers are coming to Christ by means as diverse as dreams and visions and Christian television broadcasts. As their numbers have increased, so has the persecution against them. And Christians throughout the Middle East are on edge, worried that the violent reaction to the recent words of Pope Benedict may worsen during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Here in Egypt, some fear Christians may fall victim to attacks like the one that occurred last April in Alexandria.

Fakiha Atta tearfully recalls the incident that took the life of her 78-year-old husband Noshi. He failed to return home after a Friday morning church service. She sent her youngest son, Maher, back to the church to fetch him.

When Maher arrived at the church, he noticed a pool of blood at the entrance and a trail of blood leading from the church up the hospital steps next door.

He ran to the hospital emergency room, where he saw doctors and nurses treating a number of church members in blood-soaked clothes. A doctor told Maher that the injured Christians had been stabbed during an attack at the church. Maher says he was shocked after the doctor led him to his deceased father’s bedside.
He told this reporter that no one could possibly know how he felt after seeing his father’s wounds. He says he suffered a mix of emotions—astonishment, sorrow and pain.

Maher wept uncontrollably and wondered how anyone could have murdered his father. His father had no enemies and was loved by everyone.
The Atta Girgis family learned a Muslim radical wielding two long knives stormed into the entrance of the church and stabbed several people while shouting, “god is great!” and “death to infidels!”

Fakiha had been married to Noshi for more than 50 years. How did his murder affect her faith?

“It hasn’t hurt my faith... but, it has affected my life. I feel lonely all the time without my husband and that’s the most difficult part,” Fakiha said.

Christianity has existed in Egypt six centuries longer than Islam, yet Christians are only about 12 percent of the total population. Muslims are about 87 percent.
The country’s constitution gives preference to the Muslim majority, and Christians are often treated as second-class citizens.

Some Christian female teens have been abducted and forced to convert to Islam. Others have been lured or enticed into renouncing their Christian faith by promises of wealth and a more prosperous life as Muslims.

Such was the case for the daughter of peasant farmer Saber Sabeh Gadallah.
As the late autumn sun set over the fields of El Minya, Egypt, farmer Gadallah placed his last few handfuls of hay onto a donkey cart and walked slowly back to his house. The teenage son of his Muslim neighbor asked to purchase some hay. A fatigued Saber instructed his 16-year-old daughter Suzanne to go and fetch the hay from the backyard. She never returned.

Saber explains how an official responded when he went to the police station to file a missing person report. “He slapped my face”, Saber said. “And he yelled, what do you want us to do, put a guard at your house 24 hours per day?”

Saber believes Suzanne was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and married. Though police may know Suzanne’s location, they have refused to reveal her whereabouts to her parents.

“She’d never do anything like this willingly. She’s very kind, innocent and respectful of her parents,” explained Saber. “If she did this willingly, why will they not let me ask her in person?” Saber says his family has been torn apart. All he wants is for the truth to be revealed.

This former Muslim, we will call her Rachel, says she came to Christ after she fell in love and married a Christian man. We’ve hidden her identity to protect her from attack.

Her family doesn’t know she married a Christian or that she has left the Islamic faith. She is now in hiding because she says family members will murder her if they find out.

It is written in the Koran that they must kill me and take my child,” Rachel said. “They would do it.”

While Egyptian Christians say they expect many trials in the days ahead, their faith is strengthened through sorrow and tears. And some like Rachel say they know God is with them in the midst of their suffering.

Rachel said, “The Lord tells us He cares for the sparrows… just think how much more He cares for us!”

Friday, August 18, 2006

Novena Prayers

Novena of St. Hilda

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray:

O almighty God who in thy unspeakable providence didst choose Blessed Hilda to be thy instrument in bringing together diverse elements, that where there was discord and division her labours brought harmony and unity, grant we beeseech thee that she, whom we venerate as our patroness, may be our intercessor in Heaven.


Litany of St. Hilda

V. Lord have mercy upon us.

R. Christ have mercy upon us.

V. Lord have mercy upon us; Christ hear us.

R. Christ graciously hear us.

V. God the Father of Heaven.

R. have mercy upon us.

V. God the Son Redeemer of the world.

R. have mercy upon us.

V. God the Holy Ghost.

R. have mercy upon us.

V. Holy Trinity, One God.

R. have mercy upon us.

V. Holy Mary.

R. Pray for us.

V. Holy Mother of God.

R. Pray for us.

V. Mother of Christ.

R. Pray for us.

V. Holy Virgin of Virgins.

R. Pray for us.

V. Mother of good counsel.

R. Pray for us.

V. Queen of Virgins.

R. Pray for us.

V. Saint Hilda.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda most prudent.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda most renowned.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda faithful Virgin.

R. Pray for us.

. Hilda just leader of her flock.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda venerable counselor.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda comforter of those in need.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda honoured by her peers.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda Chaste vessel of unity.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda courageous in time of distress.

Pray for us.

V. Hilda obedient to the Holy Rule.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda patient in time of affliction.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda labourer for harmony.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda filled with love of Holy Church.

R. Pray for us.

V. Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.

R. Spare us O Lord.

V. Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.

R. Graciously hear us O Lord.

V. Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.

R. Have mercy upon us.

V. He hath made her mistress of His house.

R. And ruler of all His possessions.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Grant we beeseech thee, Almighty God, that we who are afflicted by the burden of discord may by the glorious intercession of thy Abbess, the Virgin Hilda, who through the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit was instrumental in unifying thy Church in England,be brought to the safe harbour of unity and peace and delivered from all adversities and attain to everlasting salvation, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and God.

R. Amen

This Novena is for Church unity. St. Hilda's in Atlanta has become an expression of that unity in her communicants. They are drawn from the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and Eastern Orthodox Churches with some Methodists and Presbyterians thrown in for good measure.

Friday, May 12, 2006

St. Wilfred of York

St. Wilfred of York (pictured at left) is one of the truly outstanding saints of Northumbria. Along with St. Hilda of Whitby he personifies the ancient Celtic Church as described by the Venerable Bede.

He and St. Hilda were on opposite sides of the debate that took place at the synod of Whitby that met to decide what the relationship was to be between the native Celtic Church and the Roman one. Hilda held out for continued independence from Rome while Wilfrid argued for entering into communion with the pope. They agreed completely however in their love of the Celtic Church and the true Gospel.

The compromise that was reached at Whitby was that England would be a dual primacy with the archbishop of Canterbury representing the interests of the pope, and the archbishop of York representing the interests of the native Celtic Church. Wilfrid was chosen to be the first archbishop of York under this arrangement. However it was not long in coming that Wilfrid had to go to Rome to appeal the attempted diminuation of his authority.

The arrangement of dual primacy was preserved until the Norman invasion, sanctioned by the Pope, after which the Duke of Normandy replaced all of the native bishops save one with imported Frankish bishops thus ending by military force the legal arrangement of being in communion with, but not under the direct supervision of the Roman Pontiff.

The See of Rome has through the centuries increased its claims to supremacy. At first claiming authority through Peter and bestowing such titles to the papacy that contained the name of that apostle such as "Throne, or Chair of Peter", "Barque of Peter" etc. But as the centuries passed and the wider Church came to understand that the true head of the Church is Christ, the titles began to change as well. "Vicar of Christ on Earth" was the ultimate appellation self awarded to the office of the pope.

This tactic continues to this day with our new Pope Benedict XVI (I do consider him our Pope even if we are not in communion) jettisoning the title of "Patriarch of the West." This is almost certainly a move designed to set the bishop of Rome apart from the other patriarchs of the ancient Christian Church.

The question of papal authority is the central sticking point in the reunion of orthodox Christendom. The unique claims of the papacy have always been suspect, and like St. Wilfrid and St. Hilda we need to be cautious if and when we enter into arrangements with the Vatican.

The Anglican Use Roman Catholics, for example, have realized too late that there is no mechanism for them to maintain a married clergy except by conversion of already married Anglican clerics. This is why they are desperate to bring over the Continuing Churches to Rome in hope that an Anglican Rite may be created and the deal they have struck with the Roman Church modified. The Anglican Use chapels are slated for absorption into the Roman Communion, destined ultimately to disappear altogether.

Additionally the American, English, Dutch , and German branches of the Roman Catholic Church are hungering and thirsting to go down the same road as the Episcopal Church. In my on line debates with Anglican Use and other Roman Catholics they cannot deny the examples of heresy and apostasy manifested by the Roman Church, they can only claim that they are isolated incidents and the "situation is improving" without citing statistics or trends and certainly not any papal disciplinary actions against the offenders. They are whistling past the graveyard.

So what is the point of this essay? The point is that the Anglican Catholic Church may come to be one of the last repositories of orthodoxy on the planet. That unless the ecumenism we all desire is a positive one, it might kill us. Let us all ask St. Hilda and St. Wilfred to pray that Christ's Church be one in truth and orthodoxy, and that all phony ecumenical efforts be rejected. Heresy is worse than schism.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Confraternity of St. Hilda

By authority of His Grace, Archbishop Brother John-Charles, the Confraternity of St. Hilda is a Franciscan association of Anglican Catholics who pray for Church unity and the special ministry of women in the Church.

The Confraternity is rooted in the the three Anglican Catholic parishes who have St. Hilda as their patroness. The three parishes are: St. Hilda of Whitby Parish in Atlanta, Georgia, St. Hilda of Whitby Parish in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and St. Hilda of Whitby Parish in Teralba, New South Wales, Australia.

Membership is open to Christians outside of the Anglican Catholic Church as well.

If you want to be enrolled in the Confraternity contact me via this blog, or via the St. Hilda's website at .

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Many Thanks

Many thanks to all who have prayed for me and my son during our recent kidney transplant surgery. We are doing fine thus far and my son's health seems greatly improved.

Please continue to pray for us.

Also let me know your own prayer intentions, especially those that ask for a healing.

In Christ,
Fr. John

Monday, May 01, 2006



Please visit our web pages at I am interested in hearing your comments on the Anglican Catholic Church.