Notes on the liturgy for the week of 23 August 2010

Tuesday 24 August - St Bartholomew, Apostle, Class II

St Bartholomew (aka Nathaniel) is listed in the New Testament as one of the twelve, mentioned a few times in the company of Phillip, and is mentioned as a witness to the Ascension and the Resurrection.  The main biblical reference to him though is in John 1:45-51, where he is initially sceptical about Our Lord's claim to be the Messiah, but quickly convinced.

Early tradition, with strong supporting evidence recorded in Eusebius and by St Jerome, holds that he went to India as a missionary,working in the Bombay region, and taking with him the Gospel of St Matthew.

The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia entry notes that:

"Other traditions represent St. Bartholomew as preaching in Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Armenia, Lycaonia, Phrygia, and on the shores of the Black Sea; one legend, it is interesting to note, identifies him with Nathaniel. The manner of his death, said to have occurred at Albanopolis in Armenia, is equally uncertain; according to some, he was beheaded, according to others, flayed alive and crucified, head downward, by order of Astyages, for having converted his brother, Polymius, King of Armenia. On account of this latter legend, he is often represented in art (e.g. in Michelangelo's Last Judgment) as flayed and holding in his hand his own skin. His relics are thought by some to be preserved in the church of St. Bartholomew-in-the-Island, at Rome. His feast is celebrated on 24 August. An apocryphal gospel of Bartholomew existed in the early ages."

Saturday 28 August - St Augustine, Bp, Cf, D, 3cl with a Commemoration of St Hermes, M

St Augustine of Hippo is rightly the most famous of the Western Church doctors.  His Confessions continue to be wonderful spiritual reading, and his many works remain of great spiritual and theological importance.  It is also worth remembering that he was a monk, and his rule (the earliest surviving Western monastic rule) was major influence on that of St Benedict.  You can read more about him here.

St Hermes was martyred with companions in 120 under the judge Aurelian.  His cult is one of the victims of the 1969 cull of the novus ordo martyrology (restricted to local celebrations), on the basis of the paucity of information about him. 

Saturday 28 August  First Vespers/Sunday 29 – Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Class II

The Matins reading is Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) Chapter 5, but the Magnificat antiphon for I Vespers is actually from Proverbs (6:20).

The Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons for the Sunday refer to the Gospel for this Sunday, Matthew 6:24-33 (from the Sermon on the Mount).

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