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Current Feasts, Saints and other Holy Days

St George - April 23

Martyr, Patron Saint of England

St George of England

The beginnings of the story of St George appear to lie in the region of Lydda, a town on the coast of Palestine, where a certain George was martyred about 304. That would make him one of the victims of the attack upon Christians made by the emperor Diocletian in the last and most severe period of persecution before the Christian faith was recognised by the state. Little else is known for sure about George. He was possibly a soldier. His name occurs in many of the early lists of martyrs, and his cult became widespread in the church. He was known in England by the seventh and eighth centuries, though the process by which he became patron saint of England is by no means clear.

The enormous popularity of St George in England seems to have grown up during the crusades. A vision of St George and St Demetrius preceded the fall of Antioch on the First Crusade, and Richard I placed himself and his army under the saint’s protection. According to tradition it was King Edward III who made St George patron of the Order of the Garter in 1348, and whose soldiers first raised the cry, “For England and St George”. Soldiers and sailors began to wear his red cross on a white ground as a sort of uniform. With Caxton’s printing of the Golden Legend in the next century, the saint’s story was widely read, in particular the famous episode of his vanquishing the dragon, a story that is probably no older than the twelfth century and possibly derived from the ancient story of Perseus slaying the sea monster.

Source: https://www.anglican.org.nz/Resources/Worship-Resources-Karakia-ANZPB-HKMOA/For-All-the-Saints-A-Resource-for-the-Commemorations-of-the-Calendar/For-All-the-Saints

St Anselm - April 21

Archbishop of Canterbury & Teacher of the Faith

St Anselm

Anselm was born in 1033. After some years of undisciplined life he entered a monastic school in Normandy. In 1060, influenced by Lanfranc, prior of the abbey of Bec, Anselm took monastic vows. Three years later he succeeded Lanfranc as prior and in 1078 became the abbot of the monastery.

On a visit to England Anselm renewed his acquaintance with Lanfranc, who had become Archbishop of Canterbury. On Lanfranc’s death in 1089, Anselm was proposed to succeed him, but King William II would not at first consent. There was considerable conflict at the time over the respective powers of the monarch and the church with regard to appointments, responsibilities and accountability. Not only did it take until 1093 before Anselm was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, but he spent much of his episcopate in exile from England because of the strife first with King William II and then with Henry I over the issue. Despite the time and energy taken up by this conflict, Anselm succeeded in initiating far-reaching reforms in the church in England, including the holding of regular synods and a renewed emphasis on the celibacy of the clergy.

Anselm was by nature a scholar and a monk and devoted to prayer. He is best remembered for his theological work. He made a significant contribution to theology through his development of the so-called “ontological argument” for the existence of God: “God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived.” A thing existing in reality is greater than that same thing conceived of only in the mind; therefore God must truly exist.

Anselm also, in his most famous work, Cur Deus homo (Why God became human), gave classic expression to the “satisfaction theory” of Christ’s work. He explains it in terms of feudal society: when a vassal breaks his bond with his lord, satisfaction must be made. In our relation to God, we cannot make satisfaction because of our sinfulness, therefore God, in human perfection in Christ, offered satisfaction for our sin.

Behind Anselm’s scholarly theology lay a profound piety. He was less interested in “proving” God’s existence or explaining Christ’s work than in helping Christians give a coherent account of the faith by which they live. Faith and prayer always came first. In one of his early theological works he wrote:

I do not try, Lord, to attain your lofty heights, because my understanding is in no way equal to it. But I do desire to understand your truth a little, that truth that my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand so that I may believe, but I believe so that I may understand. For I believe this also, that “unless I believe, I shall not understand.”

Anselm died in 1109.

Source: https://www.anglican.org.nz/Resources/Worship-Resources-Karakia-ANZPB-HKMOA/For-All-the-Saints-A-Resource-for-the-Commemorations-of-the-Calendar/For-All-the-Saints

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Palmerston North
Email: stpeters@inspire.net.nz
Phone: (06) 358 5403

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229 Ruahine Street,
Palmerston North
Email: stpeters@inspire.net.nz
Phone: (06) 358 5403

Office Hours

Tuesday to Friday
9:00am to 12:00pm

Closed on Public Holidays

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