31 August 2023

Byzantine/Eastern Catholic New Year

A more in-depth explanation of the Byzantine New Year, from 2016,  than in my short Happy New Year Post.

From New Liturgical Movement

By Gregory DiPippo

Although the First Sunday of Advent is generally considered the start of the liturgical year in the Roman Rite, this is purely a matter of logic and convention, and is in no way formally indicated in the liturgy itself. In point of fact, many ancient liturgical books of the Roman Rite, such as the early sacramentaries and lectionaries, began with Christmas Eve, and placed Advent at the end of the temporal cycle. The liturgical texts for the feast of the Circumcision on January 1st do not refer explicitly to the civil New Year, although there are some oblique references to the riotous pagan celebrations thereof. Many places in the Middle Ages kept the feast of the Annunciation as New Year’s Day, a custom which lasted in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until 1749, but this is also not mentioned in the liturgical texts of the feast.
This inscription records the abolition of the “Tuscan New Year”, as it was often called, by the Grand Duke of Tuscany Francesco II. (This is displayed in the famous Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, one of the many Italian monuments that seems to be eternally under restoration, so I had to take this photo from an odd angle.)
In the Byzantine Rite, on the other hand, the liturgical year has a formally designated beginning on September 1st, a custom which has its origin partly in an ancient Roman cycle of taxation known as the Indiction. I say “partly” for the following reason. The Byzantine tradition distinguishes twelve feasts, eight of Our Lord and four of Our Lady, as “Great Feasts”, with Easter in a category of its own as the Feast of Feasts. The first of these twelve to occur after the Indiction, and the first to occur in history, is the Nativity of the Virgin Mary on September 8th; the last to occur before the Indiction, and the last to occur in history, is the Assumption. It seems very unlikely that this arrangement is merely coincidental.

Medieval liturgical calendars from the West often note a variety of different historical events in March, with the beginning of the Creation frequently marked on March 18. Theologically, this indicates that the old Creation was completed on the same day that its renewal began in the Incarnation, and for the same reason, many calendars mark the Passion of Christ on that day, with the Resurrection on the 27th, even though the liturgical celebration of these events is movable. (This year was in fact the last time that any man now alive will see the coincidence of Good Friday and the Annunciation on the Gregorian Calendar, but on the Julian, it will next take place in 2034.)

The calendar of the Sarum Missal for March, from the 1882 critical edition of Francis Proctor and Christopher Wordsworth. Note the “Entrance of Noah in the Ark” on March 17, (one day before the anniversary of the beginning of Creation,) the creation of Adam on the 23rd, and the Resurrection on the 27th.
In the Byzantine tradition, however, the Creation of the world is considered to have taken place on the Indiction, a fact to which the liturgical texts of the day refer repeatedly. For example, the tropar at the Divine Liturgy reads as follows.
Maker of all creation, Who settest times and seasons in Thy power, bless the crown of the year of Thy goodness, o Lord, keeping in peace Thy kings and Thy city, by the prayers of the Mother of God, and save us.
And likewise these two kontakia:
Maker and Master of the ages, God of all things, and truly greater than all, bless this year, saving in Thy boundless mercy, o Compassionate One, all that serve Thee, the only Master, and cry out in reverence: o Redeemer, grant a bountiful year to all.
O Thou that created all things in unspoken wisdom, and settest the seasons in Thy power, grant victory to Thy people that loveth Christ, blessing the going and coming of the year, and guiding our works towards Thy will.
The connection between the Indiction and the Virgin Mary is highlighted by the addition of a second troparion to Her, with some common themes and vocabulary.
Rejoice, o full of grace, Mother of God and Virgin, safe harbor and defense of the race of men. For from Thee the Redeemer of the world was incarnate. For Thou alone art Mother and Virgin, ever blessed and glorified. Pray to Christ God to grant peace to all the world.
An 18th century Russian icon of the Creation of the World.
Many early Christians attempted to calculate the age of the world, as the Jews had before them, working from the relevant statements of the Bible, and, not surprisingly, coming up with varying results. According to the reckoning most commonly accepted in the Byzantine world, the creation began in 5509 B.C, making this Annus Mundi 7525. (The traditional Roman reckoning as stated in the Martyrology on Christmas Eve puts the Birth of Christ in the 5199st year from the creation of the world, making this year only 7305.) This reckoning is still used by some Orthodox Christians in conjunction with the Anno Domini system for things like ecclesiastical calendars and the inscription of dates on the cornerstone of a church. September 1st was celebrated as the civil New Year in the Byzantine Empire until the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and in Russia until in 1699, when it was changed by Peter the Great as part of his Westernizing reforms.

The Hollow Refrain

'“Never again” is the hollow refrain that echoes ... every time a genocide occurs—until it happens again.' Cambodia, Rwanda, ∞.

From The European Conservative 

By Fr Benedict Kiely

“Never again” is the hollow refrain that echoes from the mouths of politicians and pundits every time a genocide occurs—until it happens again.

Imagine, for a moment, that in a small enclave of a country made up of a sub-set of a much larger Canada (a country we might call Canadistan which, for the purpose of this analogy, was a country that had never really existed), a large group of Americans lived. They lived just across the border from Vermont—ethnic Americans, who had nothing in common with the Canadistanis. These Americans had lived in this area for thousands of years, as their architecture, language, religion, and culture proved.

Due to the vagaries of history, this area had been fought over many times, most recently with two wars—in the 1990s and the most recent in 2020. The Canadistanis claimed that this enclave belonged to them; moreover, they claimed that the Americans were not the native inhabitants of the area, despite all the historical evidence. In fact, the President of Canadistan, a brutal dictator, claimed that the entire United States was actually truly part of the broader Canada, and would soon be part of Canadistan. 

Stretching the imagination, as the analogy might do, if we were to speak of Azerbaijan instead of Canadistan, and Armenia instead of the United States, we would have an accurate picture of what is happening at this moment in Europe, as the Turkic State of Azerbaijan—no more than branch of a broader Turkey—attempts to starve to death the enclave of Nagorno-Karabagh, or Artsakh, made up of 120,000 ethnic Armenians.

The wars for this area, and the creation of a fictitious State of Azerbaijan by Joseph Stalin, began in earnest with the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Armenia became the first Christian nation on earth when, in 301, King  Tiridates III, or ‘the Great,’ as he is known in Armenia, proclaimed it the national religion, 36 years before the baptism of Constantine. The heritage, extraordinary culture, language, and history of Armenia is undisputed, except, of course, by the Turks and those who share their ethnic similarity.

Map by Emreculha, CC BY-SA 4.0

It was Turkey, in its guise as the Ottoman Empire, which attempted the first officially recognised genocide, when, between 1915 and 1917, more than 1.5 million Armenians, Assyrians, and Greek Orthodox, were murdered. This genocide, recognised by most civilized nations today, is still denied by the nation of Turkey—more vociferously than ever under the new Ottoman regime of President Erdogan. Those who speak of the genocide, as Pope Francis did during his visit to Armenia in 2016, draw the wrath of the Turkish government, who said the Pope’s words bore the hallmarks of the “mentality of the Crusades.”

We are reminded of the saying, allegedly first used by George Santayana, that those “who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Adolf Hitler, when speaking of the need for utter ruthlessness in Nazi racial policies, said in a speech in Obersalzburg in August 1939, “who after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”—in other words, who remembers, and who cares?

Not, it seems, the European Union, happily receiving much-needed gas and oil from Azerbaijan and pretending that, somehow, they are not taking Russian fuel; not the United Kingdom, Azerbaijan’s largest trading partner, and not, sadly, the United States, a major trader with Azerbaijan.

Since December last year, the only access road between Armenia and the 120,000 Armenian men, women, and children living in the enclave of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabagh has been blockaded by Azerbaijan. No food, medicine, fuel or supplies have been allowed through. In early August, Luis Ocampo, the first prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, declared that a genocide was already occurring due to the blockade.  A few weeks later, UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Juan Mendez warned that the world needed to “mobilize to prevent a genocide in Nagorno-Karabagh.”

“Never again” is the hollow refrain that echoes from the mouths of politicians and pundits every time a genocide occurs—until it happens again. Guilty by inaction, self-interest, and often the pursuit of profit, the call not to forget and not repeat dies as each petro-dollar is paid and the wheels of big business and big government move inexorably forward.  

A genocide is occurring in a region that identifies more with Europe than the East. The starvation of a population, with the clear intent to ethnically cleanse them from their land in order to replace them with an alien population, is an entirely preventable genocide. It merely takes the application of trading barriers to prevent it. There will be no need of armed forces, no European or U.S. troops will need to shed their blood in a far-off land: but profit and trade will need to be replaced by the force of right action.

It is not only the protection of the 120,000 citizens of Artsakh at stake: it is the threat to the entire country of Armenia. The neanderthal dictator of the Turkic ‘State’ of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who, as in the great tradition of democratic North Korea, was ‘elected’ in October 2003 after his father’s resignation and subsequent death, stated in December of last year that “present-day Armenia is our land.” That is a threat to the existence of a nation state, a threat of war, and the promise of a far greater genocide than the Ottoman slaughter of this Christian people. A wise expert once said, speaking of relations with unsavoury characters and governments, “they are all monsters, we just have to decide which monsters to deal with.” That amoral, or immoral ‘realpolitik’ may be the way the world turns, but is it possible, for once, that not only will “never again” take the place of realpolitik, that good actions replace self-interest and that, unlike Hitler, someone remembers the “annihilation of the Armenians,” and stops the next genocide.

Royal News Roundup

As he often does whenever it's possible, he begins with news from his beloved Empire of War Criminals.

From The Mad Monarchist (24 March 2012)

The news out of the Imperial Household in Japan remains troubling. Since undergoing heart surgery HM the Emperor has had to return to the hospital twice to drain fluid from his chest. Doctors have advised him to take it easy and get as much rest as possible but the Emperor has found it difficult, recently attending the special prayer service on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami disaster after which the Imperial Household Agency reported that the Emperor was experiencing shortness of breath. Nonetheless, this week he received in audience His Highness the Emir of Kuwait though he did delegate the hosting of the state banquet to HIH Crown Prince Naruhito. The banquet was cut short, nonetheless, because of the ill health of the Emir who, at 82, is some four years older than the Emperor. His Majesty’s father and predecessor, the Showa Emperor, lived to the age of 87 before his death due to complications from cancer and trouble with his pancreas and digestive system. Of course we hope and pray that the Emperor will have many more years on the Chrysanthemum Throne, providing moral and spiritual guidance for the Japanese people.

Although it was last week, I cannot help but to comment on another royal visit to the Far East. TRH Crown Prince Philippe and Crown Princess Mathilde of Belgium spent most of the week in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, along with a Belgian delegation, to strengthen economic ties between the two countries. The couple are two of my favorite royals on the scene today but I will admit -this one was painful: watching them lay a commemorative wreath at the tomb of the vicious communist dictator Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi on the first day of their visit. I feel sorry for them having to participate in such a display of “tribute” to a brutal dictator but such is life I suppose. Later at the Presidential Palace the Crown Prince met with President Truong Tan Sangat and Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan. Crown Princess Mathilde visited a health center and met with some Belgian businesswomen. Later both attended a special state banquet in their honor. It pains me to no end to see the smug, farcical band of criminals squatting in the French colonial palaces of Hanoi, holding the Land of the Ascending Dragon in their graft-prone fingers, and likewise pulling the strings of Laos and Cambodia (make no mistake about it, both regimes take their marching orders from Hanoi) and it pains me just as much to see royals of the illustrious House of Coburg compelled by heartless international business interests to bow and scrape to the puffed up heirs of Ho Chi Minh who have never even acknowledged the blood of the millions of people they have spilled, the nations they have ruined and the noble dynasties of ancient lineage they pulled down. Please indulge my particular fury on that count, I cannot help but take this case personally.

Alas, also in an eastern direction, in the Pacific Ocean, as we reported earlier, this week saw the passing of HM King Siaosi Tupou V of the island Kingdom of Tonga who died in hospital in the former Crown Colony of Hong Kong at the age of 63. While other members of the family, including his heir and brother, were at his bedside the Tongan Queen Mother held a special prayer service in Nuku’alofa. The King came to the throne in 2006 amidst a great deal of turmoil between the supporters of the monarchy and those who wished to see it shorn of its powers, and it was because of that trouble that his formal coronation was not held until 2008. Even then it was only after the King had agreed to defer many of his key privileges to the Prime Minister. Later economic troubles and continued agitation by “pro-democracy” groups obliged the King to give up most of his sources of income, and make no mistake about it -that matters a great deal. Look at the British monarchs after King George III or the penultimate King of Italy; when monarchs lose their economic independence from the government, they frequently become sidelined. Hopefully, slim as that hope may be, the new King of Tonga will reduce this trend and continue to provide real leadership for his people and country.

In Europe it is the House of Windsor that has caught the lion’s share of the headlines. On Wednesday HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh attended a special prayer service at St Paul’s Cathedral for the members of the Order of the British Empire, of which Prince Philip is the Grand Master. At Westminster Hall the Queen addressed both Houses of Parliament, paying tribute to Prince Philip for his steady support and assistance over the years, “a constant strength and guide” as Her Majesty called him. The Queen spoke of the glories of British history and said, “I have been privileged to witness some of that history and, with the support of my family, rededicate myself to the service of our great country and its people now and in the years to come”. Of course, there was also a small group of republican protestors outside the hall, doing their best to get noticed, including some Labour Party MP’s who should be dragged off to the Tower for even associating with such traitors. Their arguments were predictably pathetic, moaning over how “the people” should “have a say” in the choice of their Head of State. One cannot help but wonder why. They have no say whatever in the leadership of the European Union which has far more actual control over their lives than the Queen does and they all seem perfectly fine with that.

Just imagine, if these people had their way, the U.K. could be just like the Federal Republic of Germany with their disgraced, scandal-ridden President or perhaps the Italian Republic where an elected President with no power appoints a Prime Minister with extensive powers who no one in the country ever voted for at all. Maybe they would be lucky enough to have someone as powerful and democratic as the President of France whose only reaction to a bloody rampage by the terrorist Mohamed Merah was to crack down on what people do on the internet -and lawyers doubt he can even do that. Or, maybe the U.K. would be as fortunate as the United States where every four years people go into hysterics about how the entire fate of the universe hangs on “this” election and people get divided up into warring camps that always seem on the verge of open violence against each other and with every election ending with roughly half of the country positively hating the leader of their country. And remember, that’s the republic with the “best” track record. Still, as a friend of Britain, I should also give a word of friendly warning to the British people, if they ever become so separated from their senses as to embrace republicanism, you should be prepared for an absolutely monumental tidal wave of arrogant, self-satisfied smugness as such the world has never seen from the shores of the United States that though it may have taken a couple hundred years, you have finally admitted that “America was right” all along. Just be prepared for it.

In other news of interest, HH Pope Benedict XVI is arriving in Mexico today to be greeted by President Felipe Calderon in a historic visit that has already attracted millions of pilgrims in anticipation. This is the first visit by the Pontiff to Spanish-Latin America and his outdoor mass in Guanajuato is expected to have over 300,000 people attending. After completing his visit to Mexico the Pontiff will go on to Cuba where the communist authorities have already arrested 13 dissidents who have been occupying a Church in Havana, demanding that the Pope publicly read a list of grievances against the state. Catholic officials were upset by the occupation, though they have acted as mediators in the past between the state and unhappy citizens, regarding their occupation of the Church as “disrespectful”. Even other known Cuban dissidents stated that disrupting a place of worship was the wrong way to try to bring grievances to light. Needless to say, the Communist authorities were only too happy to publicize the condemnation of Church officials of the group. Officially atheist though they may be, they would not pass up the opportunity to portray the enemies of the Communist regime as defying God as well as the government. For this reason some dissidents, though critical of the occupation of the Church, said that the clerics had overreacted in their response and played into the hands of the Communist Party. The Pontiff is expected to arrive in Cuba on Monday.

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - September 1st


Consider first, how the Son of God, the eternal wisdom of the father, being come down from heaven to be our father, our light, and our guide, in order to reclaim us from all our errors, to dispel our darkness, to redress all our evils, and to conduct us into the way of truth and everlasting happiness, opened his heavenly school for these purposes by his divine sermon upon the mount; in the beginning of which he has laid down in a few words the principal maxims of true wisdom and all the fundamentals of Christian morality comprised in what we commonly call the eight beatitudes. Christians, we all desire to be happy for ever; and behold here the wisdom of God, which can neither deceive nor be deceived, declares to us in clear and distinct terms what it is that is to make us happy here and to conduct us safe to a happiness that shall never end. O let us embrace, then, these blessed lessons! Who would not study them well since the learning of them is to make us wise indeed, and to bring us infallibly to the very source of all wisdom and happiness - even to an eternal union with God himself? O heavenly master, who would not frequent thy divine school since, in the very first entrance into it, thou thus directest us into a plain and easy way to eternal bliss?

Consider 2ndly, that the ancient philosophers, with all their pretensions to wisdom, were strangely in the dark with regard to man's true happiness, his last end, and his sovereign good, about which they ran into many errors; and not one of them all ever came near the truth. And, as they knew not the end, so were they also strangers to the true means that were to bring us to this end. They never once imagined that to be poor in spirit, to be meek, to morn, to suffer persecution, & c., was the way to happiness, much less did they suspect that such as these alone were actually happy. This was a doctrine never heard of in their schools. This was a lesson that was to be taught by the Son of God. This truth he brought down with him from heaven, and delivered to his disciples in his first divine sermon. O my soul, let us embrace with all our affections these divine truths, taught us by so great a master; let us be practically convinced of them, and conform ourselves to them in the whole conduct of our lives.

Consider 3rdly, how miserable are all the children of Babylon, that is, all poor deluded worldlings, who under the name of Christians, whilst they profess themselves followers and disciples of this divine master, take no notice of these lessons which he came from heaven to teach, but live on in an affected ignorance of them; so as to apprehend all those to be miserable whom he pronounces blessed, and those alone to be happy, who wallow in riches and sensual pleasures, whom he declares to be miserable, and against whom he pronounces his woe. And do such people as these believe the gospel indeed? whilst they pretend to seek for happiness in the very way which (if the gospel be true) must needs betray them into many errors, labours, and sorrows here, and shortly conduct them into endless misery. O let us at least be more wise! Let us open our eyes to this great light, which is come down from heaven, to shine upon them that before sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. Let us believe and adhere to this great teacher, who has the words of eternal life. Let us follow him and we shall not fail, under his conduct, to find the true way to solid happiness and eternal life.

Conclude to be ever thankful to the Son of God for all these great gospel truths which he has brought us down from heaven, in order to set loose our souls from the earth, and so to carry us up to heaven. O! if we

1 September, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

The Problem of Evil

1. In his second letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul speaks of the Anti-Christ, “the man of sin… the son of perdition, who opposes and is exalted above all that is called God…” “Already,” he says, “the mystery of iniquity is at work.” (Cf. 2 Thess. 2:3-7) From the beginning of the Church’s history until the present time it has always been the same.

There always have been and always will be men who do evil not from human weakness, but from motives of malice so diabolical as to present something of a mystery to us. These can be called Anti-Christ because they seem to be incarnations of the devil, the spirit of iniquity. They delight in spreading error, in corrupting minds, and in persecuting the Church. They are steeped in all kinds of baseness and nothing pleases them better than to succeed in inducing the young and the innocent to follow them in their sinful ways. For this purpose they employ all the advantages which modern technical progress has to offer – the press, the cinema, the radio, and television. In short, they use God’s gifts in their commercialisation of sin in order to draw souls away from Him.

The realisation of this terrifying fact provokes two questions. (1) How can such evil be permitted by God, Who made man for Himself and redeemed him with the Blood of His only-begotten Son? (2) What steps can we take to control this alarming and universal deluge of evil?

2. St. Augustine answers the first question by pointing out that the infinite and good God created us without any assistance from ourselves, but does not will to save us without our cooperation since He has endowed us with the gift of liberty. Moreover, He prefers to draw good from evil rather than to prevent the evil itself. We must answer the second question ourselves, remembering that we have a serious obligation to combat evil in ourselves and in our fellow-men. What have we done up to now and what do we propose to do in the future?

3. According to St. Augustine, great good can come from the evil which God permits. In the first place, God displays His infinite goodness and mercy. Even though He permits us to offend Him out of respect for our human liberty, He is always ready to forgive us, even as He forgave the penitent thief. In the second place, by permitting evil God gives the good an opportunity of practicing virtue, especially the virtue of patience. If there were no persecutors, there would be no martyrs and the Church would be deprived of the glory which makes her most like her founder, Jesus Christ. Finally, each of us has a particular duty to fulfil in resisting the onslaught of evil. As followers and soldiers of Christ, we cannot remain passive. The invasion by the forces of evil demands a counter-attack by the forces of good in defense of the faith and of the Church. As Christians, we are the sons of martyrs. We must not refuse, therefore, to make our lives a continuous martyrdom for the triumph of goodness in ourselves and in others. The faithful exercise of virtue and of the apostolate is often a form of martyrdom.

Eastern Rite - Feasts of 1 September AM 7532

Today is the Beginning of the Indiction, that is, the New Year and the Feasts of the Commemoration of Our Holy Father Symeon the Stylite and His Mother Martha and the Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God of Miasena.

The first day of the Church New Year is also called the beginning of the Indiction. The term Indiction comes from a Latin word meaning, “to impose.” It was originally applied to the imposition of taxes in Egypt. The first worldwide Indiction was in 312 when the Emperor Constantine (May 21) saw a miraculous vision of the Cross in the sky. Before the introduction of the Julian calendar, Rome began the New Year on September 1.

According to Holy Tradition, Christ entered the synagogue on September 1 to announce His mission to mankind (Luke 4:16-22). Quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, the Savior proclaimed, “The spirit of the Lord is upon Me; because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to proclaim release to captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord...” This scene is depicted in a Vatican manuscript (Vatican, Biblioteca. Cod. Gr. 1613, p.1).

Tradition says that the Hebrews entered the Promised Land in September.

Troparion — Tone 2

O Creator of the universe, / Thou didst appoint times by Thy power; / bless the crown of this year with Thy goodness, O Lord. / Preserve in safety Thy rulers and cities: / and through the intercessions of the Theotokos, save us!

Kontakion — Tone 4

O Creator and Master of time and the ages, / Triune and Merciful God of all: / grant blessings for the course of this year, / and in Thy boundless mercy save those who worship Thee and cry out in fear: / “O Savior, grant blessings to all mankind!”


Saint Simeon the Stylite was born in the Cappadocian village of Sisan of Christian parents, Sisotian and Martha. At thirteen years of age, he began to tend his father’s flock of sheep. He devoted himself attentively and with love to this, his first obedience.

Once, after he heard the Beatitudes in church, he was struck by their profundity. Not trusting to his own immature judgment, he turned therefore with his questions to an experienced Elder. The Elder readily explained to the boy the meaning of what he had heard. The seed fell on good soil, and it strengthened his resolve to serve God.

When Simeon was eighteen, he received monastic tonsure and devoted himself to feats of the strictest abstinence and unceasing prayer. His zeal, beyond the strength of the other monastic brethren, so alarmed the igumen that he told Simeon that to either moderate his ascetic deeds or leave the monastery.

Saint Simeon then withdrew from the monastery and lived in an empty well in the nearby mountains, where he was able to carry out his austere struggles unhindered. After some time, angels appeared in a dream to the igumen, who commanded him to bring back Simeon to the monastery.

The monk, however, did not long remain at the monastery. After a short while he settled into a stony cave, situated not far from the village of Galanissa, and he dwelt there for three years, all the while perfecting himself in monastic feats. Once, he decided to spend the entire forty days of Great Lent without food or drink. With the help of God, the monk endured this strict fast. From that time he abstained from food completely during the entire period of the Great Lent, even from bread and water. For twenty days he prayed while standing, and for twenty days while sitting, so as not to permit the corporeal powers to relax.

A whole crowd of people began to throng to the place of his efforts, wanting to receive healing from sickness and to hear a word of Christian edification. Shunning worldly glory and striving again to find his lost solitude, the monk chose a previously unknown mode of asceticism. He went up a pillar six to eight feet high, and settled upon it in a little cell, devoting himself to intense prayer and fasting.

Reports of Saint Simeon reached the highest church hierarchy and the imperial court. Patriarch Domninos II (441-448) of Antioch visited the monk, celebrated Divine Liturgy on the pillar and communed the ascetic with the Holy Mysteries.

Elders living in the desert heard about Saint Simeon, who had chosen a new and strange form of ascetic striving. Wanting to test the new ascetic and determine whether his extreme ascetic feats were pleasing to God, they sent messengers to him, who in the name of these desert fathers were to bid Saint Simeon to come down from the pillar.

In the case of disobedience, they were to forcibly drag him to the ground. But if he was willing to submit, they were to leave him on his pillar. Saint Simeon displayed complete obedience and deep Christian humility. The monks told him to stay where he was, asking God to be his helper.

Saint Simeon endured many temptations, and he invariably gained victory over them. He relied not on his own weak powers, but on the Lord Himself, Who always came to help him. The monk gradually increased the height of the pillar on which he stood. His final pillar was 80 feet in height. Around him a double wall was raised, which hindered the unruly crowd of people from coming too close and disturbing his prayerful concentration.

Women, in general, were not permitted beyond the wall. The saint did not make an exception even for his own mother, who after long and unsuccessful searches finally succeeded in finding her lost son. He would not see her, saying, “If we are worthy, we shall see one another in the life to come.” Saint Martha submitted to this, remaining at the foot of the pillar in silence and prayer, where she finally died. Saint Simeon asked that her coffin be brought to him. He reverently bid farewell to his dead mother, and a joyful smile appeared on her face.

Saint Simeon spent 80 years in arduous monastic feats, 47 years of which he stood upon the pillar. Many pagans accepted Baptism, struck by the moral staunchness and bodily strength which the Lord bestowed upon His servant.

The first one to learn of the death of the saint was his close disciple Anthony. Concerned that his teacher had not appeared to the people for three days, he went up on the pillar and found the dead body stooped over at prayer. Patriarch Martyrius of Antioch performed the funeral before a huge throng of clergy and people. They buried him near his pillar. At the place of his ascetic deeds, Anthony established a monastery, upon which rested the special blessing of Saint Simeon.

We pray to Saint Simeon for the return to the Church of those who have forsaken Her, or have been separated from Her.

Troparion — Tone 1

You were a pillar of patient endurance, / having imitated the forefathers, O Venerable One: / Job in suffering, and Joseph in temptations. / You lived like the bodiless ones while yet in the flesh, O Simeon, our Father. / Beseech Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion — Tone 2

Seeking the things of the Highest, / and having made your pillar a fiery chariot, you were joined to the heights. / Therefore, you have become a companion to the angels, O Venerable One, / and with them you are praying incessantly to Christ God for us all.

(No icon available.)

Saint Martha lived in Cilicia of Asia Minor during the fourth and fifth centuries and came from a poor family. She and her husband Sisotion were the parents of Saint Simeon the Stylite.

At the age of eighteen, Simeon received the monastic tonsure without his parents’ knowledge. Many years later, Martha came to the saint’s pillar in order to see him. Simeon sent word to her not to come, for if they were worthy, they would see each other in the life to come. Martha insisted on seeing him, and he had someone tell her to wait for a while in silence. Saint Martha agreed to this and waited at the foot of the hill where her son’s pillar stood. There she departed to the Lord.

When he heard that his mother had died, Saint Simeon ordered that her body be brought to the foot of his pillar. He prayed over his mother’s body for some time shedding many tears, and witnesses said that a smile appeared on Saint Martha’s face.

Troparion — Tone 8

By a flood of tears, you made the desert fertile, / and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. / By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe! / Our Mother Martha, pray to Christ God to save our souls!
The Miasena Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos was thrown into Lake Zagura in the ninth century in an effort to save it from the iconoclasts. After a long time, the wonderworking icon emerged from the water unharmed and was brought to the Miasena Monastery.


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 1 SEPTEMBER – SAINT GILES (Abbot and Confessor): Giles (Aedigius) was born in Athens in the middle of the seventh century to an illustrious family. From his childhood Giles applied him...


IN LUMINE FIDEI: SEPTEMBER – THE MONTH OF THE SEVEN SORROWS OF THE ...: The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a devotion which dates back to the thirteenth century when the first altar to the Mater...

1 September, The Chesterton Calendar


If a modern philanthropist came to Dotheboys Hall I fear he would not employ the simple, sacred and truly Christian solution of beating Mr. Squeers with a stick. I fancy he would petition the Government to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into Mr. Squeers. I think he would every now and then write letters to the newspapers reminding people that, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, there was a Royal Commission to inquire into Mr. Squeers. I agree that he might even go the length of calling a crowded meeting in St. James's Hall on the subject of the best policy with regard to Mr. Squeers. At this meeting some very heated and daring speakers might even go the length of alluding sternly to Mr. Squeers. Occasionally even hoarse voices from the back of the hall might ask (in vain) what was going to be done with Mr. Squeers. The Royal Commission would report about three years afterwards and would say that many things had happened which were certainly most regrettable, that Mr. Squeers was the victim of a bad system; that Mrs. Squeers was also the victim of a bad system; but that the man who sold Squeers' cane had really acted with great indiscretion and ought to be spoken to kindly. Something like this would be what, after four years, the Royal Commission would have said; but it would not matter in the least what the Royal Commission had said, for by that time the philanthropists would be off on a new tack and the world would have forgotten all about Dotheboys Hall and everything connected with it. By that time the philanthropists would be petitioning Parliament for another Royal Commission; perhaps a Royal Commission to inquire into whether Mr. Mantalini was extravagant with his wife's money; perhaps a commission to inquire into whether Mr. Vincent Crummies kept the Infant Phenomenon short by means of gin.

Introduction to 'Nicholas Nickleby.'

1 September, The Holy Rule of St Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism


1 Jan. 2 May. 1 Sept

Hearken, O my son, to the precepts of thy Master, and incline the ear of thine heart; willingly receive and faithfully fulfil the admonition of thy loving Father, that thou mayest return by the labour of obedience to Him from Whom thou hadst departed through the sloth of disobedience. To thee, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever thou art that, renouncing thine own will, dost take up the strong and bright weapons of obedience, in order to fight for the Lord Christ, our true king. In the first place, whatever good work thou beginnest to do, beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect; that He Who hath now vouchsafed to count us in the number of His children may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds. For we must always so serve Him with the good things He hath given us, that not only may He never, as an angry father, disinherit his children, but may never, as a dreadful Lord, incensed by our sins, deliver us to everlasting punishment, as most wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory.

2 September, The Roman Martyrology

Quarto Nonas Septémbris Luna décima séptima Anno Dómini 2023

On the morrow we keep the feast of holy Stephen, King of Hungary, adorned with many graces from God, who was the first to turn the Hungarians to believe in Christ, and who was received by the Virgin Mother of God into heaven upon the very day of her Assumption, but by the appointment of Pope Innocent XI, his feast is rather kept upon the 2nd day of September, whereon the Christian army, by the help of this holy King, wrested the strong fortress of Buda (from the Turks.)
September 2nd 2023, the 17th day of the Moon, were born into the better life:

At Rome, the holy martyr Maxima, who confessed Christ along with holy Ansanus, in the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian, and was beaten to death with cudgels.
At Pamiers, in Gaul, (in the second century,) the holy martyr Antonine, whose relics are kept with great reverence in the church of Palencia in Spain.
Likewise the holy martyrs Diomede, Julian, Philip, Eutychian, Hesychius, Leonides, Philadelphus, Menalippus, and Pantagapa, whereof some finished their testimony by fire, some by water, some by the sword, and some by the cross.
At Nicomedia, (in the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian,) the holy martyrs Zeno and his sons, Concordius and Theodore.
On the same day, (at Syracuse,) the holy brethren Evodius and Hermogenes and their sister Callista, all martyrs.
Upon the same day is commemorated at Lyon, in Gaul, (in the fourth century,) the holy Confessor Justus, Bishop (of that see,) a man of wonderful holiness of life, gifted with the spirit of prophecy he resigned his Bishopric, and withdrew himself into the desert of Egypt, along with Viator his Reader. There he led for some years a life bordering upon the life of Angels, and, when the worthy end of his labours came, departed hence to receive a crown of righteousness from the Lord. It was the 14th day of October, but it was upon the 2nd of September that his sacred body was brought to Lyon, along with the bones of his blessed servant Viator.
Also at Lyon, (in the fifth century,) was born into the better life the holy Confessor Elpidius, Bishop (of that see.)
In the March of Ancona, (in the fifth century,) at the town called by his name, which rejoices to own his sacred body, the holy Abbot Elpidius.
On Mount Soracte, the holy Abbot Nonnosus, who by his prayer moved a stone of great weight, and was famous.
℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
℟. Thanks be to God.

Happy New Year AM 7532!!! Срећна Нова Година AM 7532!!!

Happy New Year's Day, A.M. 7532!!!

No, I haven't gone mad. In the Byzantine Calendar, used liturgically in the Catholic Churches of the Byzantine Rite and the Eastern Orthodox (except for the Old Calendarists) today is the anniversary of the Creation 7532 years ago.

Whilst the West uses A.D., anno Domini, In the Year of Our Lord, the East uses A.M., anno mundi, In the Year of the World.

The Byzantine Catholic Troparion and Kontakion for the New Year:

Troparion — Tone 2

O Creator of the universe, / Thou didst appoint times by Thy power; / bless the crown of this year with Thy goodness, O Lord. / Preserve in safety Thy rulers and cities: / and through the intercessions of the Theotokos, save us!

Kontakion — Tone 4

O Creator and Master of time and the ages, / Triune and Merciful God of all: / grant blessings for the course of this year, / and in Thy boundless mercy save those who worship Thee and cry out in fear: / “O Savior, grant blessings to all mankind!”

Let the festivities begin!

Meme of the Moment


From St Thomas Aquinas Seminary. You may follow the Office at Divinum Officium.  

Is YouTube Worse than TikTok?

Whilst they may not be directly controlled by the CCP like TikTok is, they definitely cooperate closely with the Red Slave Masters.

From The European Conservative

By John Mac Ghlionn

YouTube is owned by Google, a company that removed the “don’t be evil” clause from its code of conduct—which helps explain its current algorithmic setup, best described as evil.

With all the focus on TikTok, an undoubtedly dangerous app, it’s easy to forget that other problematic apps and social media platforms exist. Take YouTube, for example. On close inspection, YouTube actually appears to be worse than TikTok. 

One-third of the world’s population uses YouTube, the most popular streaming platform in the world. According to researchers from the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP), frequent users of YouTube report higher levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness than those who rarely or never use the popular platform. The researchers Dr. Luke Balcombe and Dr. Diego De Leo found that the most negatively affected individuals were those under the age of 29 years. In the U.S., 96% of Gen Z users (born between 1997 and 2012) have a YouTube account.

Worryingly, the researchers also found that YouTube was doing nowhere near enough to prevent the promotion of suicide-related content. The YouTube algorithm, according to the authors of the study, pushes recommendations and suggestions based on previous searches, which can send users down an endless path full of gory content and videos describing the best methods of committing suicide.

More recently, researchers at the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), a research initiative of Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization, found YouTube algorithms regularly steer accounts for young users toward content on guns, mass murderers, and individuals like Jeffrey Dahmer, the notorious serial killer and sexual deviant. Specifically, according to the researchers, YouTube recommends “hundreds of videos about guns and gun violence to accounts for boys interested in video games.” Some of the recommended videos give explicit instructions on how to convert guns into automatic weapons; other videos depict graphic school shootings. Not surprisingly, the gamer accounts that viewed the YouTube-recommended videos were served a considerably higher volume of gun- and shooting-related content than those who didn’t view the recommended videos. The authors highlighted the fact that many of the videos actually violated YouTube’s own policies on firearms, violence, and child protection. Moreover, YouTube failed to take any apparent steps to age-restrict them.

YouTube also operates YouTube Kids, a video app and website for children that, according to its website, offers “a more contained environment for kids to explore.” However, another TTP study found this “contained environment” to be incredibly dangerous. Boasting 35 million weekly users, YouTube Kids regularly recommends videos on cocaine and crystal meth to children as young as 3, according to the study. References to both drug making and drug dealing are common. Furthermore, YouTube Kids also provides content on dangerous diets, firearms, and skin bleaching—again, to children as young as 3. 

Some readers will be shocked by the findings. Don’t be. After all, YouTube is owned by Google, a company that actually removed the “don’t be evil” clause from its code of conduct—which helps explain its current algorithmic setup, best described as evil. 

One of the authors of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention study, Dr. Luke Balcombe, told me that YouTube is actually worse than TikTok, “because it has a larger and more diverse user base, a longer history and more legacy content.” Additionally, he added, it possesses “a more influential and personalized recommendation algorithm, and a more complex and opaque content moderation system.” Although TikTok also has its own challenges and controversies regarding its content and algorithms, it is geared more to short videos between 1 and a half to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, YouTube allows videos to run for up to 12 hours. YouTube isn’t just the most popular streaming platform in the world, it’s also the second most used search engine (after Google), and host to numerous social media communities. Videos are more likely to go viral on YouTube than TikTok, and many of these videos tend to contain very questionable content. Although TikTok is guilty of promoting dangerous content, Dr. Balcombe doesn’t think the Chinese app possesses “the same scale and scope of impact as YouTube on mental health and social issues.”Unless urgent action is taken by governments around the world, Dr. Balcombe believes that the “YouTube problem” will only get worse. 

Which brings us back to the title of this piece: Is YouTube worse than TikTok? The answer appears to be yes. As bad as TikTok is, it does at least possess a 12+ rating (although children younger than 12 find ways of accessing it). However, YouTube, via the aforementioned Kids, snares children from a young age. After spending a few years digesting questionable content on YouTube Kids, children then “graduate” to arguably the most dangerous platform in the world, YouTube. To make matters worse, in the U.S., Google and other Big Tech companies are actively trying to kill legislation in multiple states designed to make online environments safer for children. YouTube, a “Made in America” platform, is causing real damage to children of all ages. It’s time for lawmakers in the U.S. and beyond to push back. Time is of the essence.

Cardinal Burke Denounces the Risk of Schism in the Synod

Even secular journals like this are beginning to take notice of what Francis is trying to do, make his decisions as irreversible as possible.

From The European Conservative 

By Hélène De Lauzun

As a new phase of the ‘Synod on Synodality,’ launched in 2021 by Pope Francis, is being prepared for October 2023, many voices within the Church are denouncing the risks and abuses in the project. A new book in the form of questions and answers, with a foreword by Cardinal Burke, takes a critical look at this initiative, warning that it will bring about a number of upheavals for the Catholic Church, with potential consequences that are clearly uncontrolled—and uncontrollable.

In his preface to the book co-authored by José Antonio Ureta and Julio Loredo de Izcue published in 8 languages on 22 August entitled The Synodal Process is a Pandora’s Box, Cardinal Burke attacks head-on this project which is supposed to reshape the face of the 2,000-year-old Catholic Church from top to bottom. The conservative Cardinal, who in recent years has repeatedly denounced what he considers to be Pope Francis’ errors, begins by taking issue with the very term ‘synodality,’ calling it “a term which has no history in the doctrine of the Church and for which there is no reasonable definition.” 

Pointing to what has been happening in Germany for several years, placing Luther’s country once again in a situation of schism, he fears that the phenomenon will extend to the universal Church: “it is rightly to be feared that the same confusion and error and division will be visited upon the universal Church,” he says. In fact, he notes that division already reigns at the local level and that the worm already is in the fruit. 

The ‘Synod on Synodality’ is meant to take place over several successive phases: a local phase, a national phase, and finally a ‘universal’ phase. In October 2023 we will enter the universal phase with the general assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will bring together bishops and lay people in the Vatican. For the first time, equal voting rights have been granted to bishops and other members. A new assembly is then due to be held in 2024.

The chaotic tone was set by the Instrumentum laborisa working document published in June 2023 on the directions to be taken by the next Synod of Bishops: the traditional hierarchy of the Church is turned upside down, to the benefit in particular of women and lay people. The text recommends collective and standardised decision-making within the Church, in contrast to all its former practices. The document also asks the Church to consider the ordination of married men to the priesthood and the ordination of women to the diaconate. Finally, it envisages the dilution of the Roman See, proposing that groupings of local churches in major regions of the world should have as much influence as Rome on major decisions. Alongside these systemic reforms, we also find a whole range of concerns that are very much in tune with the times: the planet as a victim of climate change, migrants, rejected minorities such as divorcees and LGBT people, and the place of women.

The Synodal Process is a Pandora’s Box is presented in the form of a traditional catechism, with one hundred questions and answers to help us understand the ‘synodal approach,’ how it works, its proposals, and its dangers. The tone is clear and precise, without cultivating polemics for polemics’ sake; the bare facts speak for themselves. Question 9 rightly puts the finger on the root of the problem: how can we accept the very principle of ‘synodality’ without opening the door to chaos in the event of disagreement? 

What Would Happen if a Significant Number of the Faithful Disagreed With and Rejected the Decisions of the Synod or the Pope?

[The Synod implementation] says nothing about what would happen if a disagreement arose between the People of God and the pastors regarding concrete applications of synodal orientations. If the pastors’ will prevailed, the whole listening process would appear vain, and the rhetoric of synodality could appear largely insincere. If the will of the People of God prevailed, the Church would have been transformed into a de facto democracy.

Cardinal Burke is not the first to mount an assault on this infamous synod, described as worrying and “throwing up trouble,” in the words of French Vatican expert Jean-Marie Guénois from Le Figaro. There is no shortage of critical expressions from eminent figures in the ecclesiastical hierarchy to express the mistrust inspired by the Synod on Synodality. Cardinal Müller spoke of a “hostile takeover” of the Church. The late Cardinal Pell described it as a “toxic nightmare.” Guénois now fears an “autumnal shock,” after the “sweet summer consolation” of the World Youth Days in Lisbon.

The Synod comes at the end of a path that Pope Francis has been carefully marking out for a long time now, to reform not only the governance of the Church, which he wants to be more democratic and decentralised, but also its doctrine, which must adapt to the changing times and therefore become in essentia progressive rather than conservative, and finally his succession—prepared by massive appointments of cardinals who will be responsible for continuing to work in the spirit of Pope Francis. 

All observers agree that, since the death of the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis’ work has accelerated, with the aim of making his decisions as irreversible as possible. According to Guénois, “the adjective ‘irreversible’ even comes up a lot in his speech, according to several people close to him.” So there is nothing ‘conspiratorial’ about considering that this is, indeed, his intention in carrying out the reforms he has in mind. 

Although Pope Francis knows how to place his pawns, control his collaborators, and push through his decisions with formidable efficiency, he does not have complete control over the consequences of the process that he himself launched. There is growing discontent and dismay, not only among the most conservative, but also—and this is a new development—among a whole section of the faithful and the clergy who could be described as ‘moderate’ and who find themselves bewildered by the whirlwind upheavals promised by the Synod on Synodality. Guénois quotes the testimony of a moderate priest, whose anxiety is growing:

This synod is generating a great deal of anxiety among people who are interested in the Church, and profound indifference among others. While there should be no debate about the participation of lay people—they should have their place—Catholic ecclesiology is based on ministries, with the priest’s ministry at the heart of it. But what is in the offing is a disarticulation of this backbone of the Church.

Another younger priest made the same observation:

Many people are overwhelmed when they read the synod’s working document. They see in it not the strengthening of the faith but the catastrophe of the deconstruction of the Church. As for the living forces of Catholicism, whether of classical or traditional sensibility, or of African origin or from overseas regions, they don’t feel concerned by this synod whose orientations they won’t follow.

Under these conditions, the Pope’s vigorous exhortation to openness in Lisbon, with its striking slogan “todostodostodos,” is likely to ring hollow for many believers, who are suspicious that the forthcoming synod will deprive them of the very Church to which they are attached.

Holy Hour

From St Thomas Aquinas Seminary. 

August 31st: The Day St. Eudes Lit the Flame of the Sacred Heart’s First Feast!

St John Eudes, Apostle of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, wrote The Sacred Heart of Jesus and many prayers in honour of the Two Hearts.

From uCatholic

By George Ryan

Today marks a special occasion in the Catholic faith – the anniversary of the very first feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrated on August 31st. There’s even a beautiful prayer dedicated just for it!

This devotion, symbolizing Jesus’ boundless love for humanity, has roots that go back centuries. Though its origins trace back to the 11th and 12th-century monasteries, the public celebration took flight thanks to St. Eudes in the 17th century. He not only amplified this devotion but anchored August 31st as a day of reverence.

St. Eudes had a fascinating perspective. He beautifully tied the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, stating, “Whoever beholds Jesus sees Mary; whoever loves Jesus, loves Mary.”

The imagery of the heart, burning and encircled with thorns, speaks volumes. It conveys Jesus’ enduring love and the sacrifices he made for us. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a visionary nun, further deepened the devotion by sharing her encounters with Jesus, who expressed a profound desire for its wider embrace.

So, on this day, let’s honor the Sacred Heart’s message of unwavering love and get closer to Jesus. With St. Eudes’ emphasis on this special feast, we are reminded of the ever-present divine affection for us all.

“O Heart all loveable and all loving of my Saviour, be the Heart of my heart, the Soul of my soul, the Spirit of my spirit, the Life of my life and the sole principle of all my thoughts, words and actions, of all the faculties of my soul and of all my senses, both interior and exterior. Amen. – St. John Eudes”

The Holy Rosary

Thursday, the Joyful Mysteries, in Latin with Cardinal Burke.

Charles II Of Spain - The BEWITCHED

Charles II Of Spain - The BEWITCHED: Charles II was the last king of the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs and the deformed fruit of the inbreeding that was rampant among the members of a family that had shaped European relations for centuries. In his time, Charles II's aberrations were attributed to the work of the devil, hence his nickname El Hechizado (the bewitched).