Church History

October 4: Francis of Assisi

“Saint Francis in the Desert,” Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430-1516)

The following is taken from the Prayer Book Society of Canada’s “622” study lesson on Francis of Assisi (#29). You can see the complete lesson series here. Francis of Assisi: Setting Aside Every Distraction: “You were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) The Christian world had never forgotten the Islamic attacks of the seventh and eighth centuries which had laid claim toRead more

Leaving the Bunker

A bunker interior with ladder ascending into open air and blue sky

A time to flee: In the times when we feel most threatened by a hostile world, retreat is a natural, even necessary, response. We seek a place of safety: a place where we can think, speak and live in accordance with our beliefs. We may even conclude that this can only be done by removing ourselves from, and shutting out, the hostility of the culture around us. So we surround ourselves with those things and people that are healthful toRead more

September 29: Michael and All Angels

“St. Michael,” by Raphael, c. 1505

Michaelmas: Spiritual corrective for the modern world: If you didn’t grow up in a liturgical tradition you may have heard of “Michaelmas” but never known to what it referred. It is, of course, the day in the Christian calendar on which we celebrate “Michael and All Angels”: September 29. C. S. Lewis once wrote that, “there are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other isRead more

August 31: Aidan of Lindisfarne

Detail of a painting showing an injured missionary being cared for by peasants

Wisdom and Grace: Much of what we know about the Church in the Middle Ages comes to us from the pen of “The Venerable” Bede, a medieval monk and historian, who wrote a book called “Ecclesiastical History of the English People.” And this is true of Aidan. Aidan was a monk of Iona and missionary to Northumbria in the seventh century. The story goes that the monk who was first sent as a missionary (a man named Corman), came backRead more

August 28: Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo, as depicted in the 17th century by Gerard Segers

A Restless Saint: “You (O Lord) have made man for Yourself and restless is the human heart until it comes to rest in You”. Chances are, you’ve heard these words before. They were written by Augustine (354-430) sixteen centuries ago – a man who knew all about the restlessness of the human heart. Augustine is one of the best-known saints of Church history, but he did a lot of wandering – and a lot of sinning – before he cameRead more

August 24: Bartholomew the Apostle

Bartholomew

Little is known: Bartholomew was one of the twelve identified in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Some believe that he is the same man who is called “Nathanael” in the Gospel of John. If that’s the case, it would tell us a lot more about this disciple than we otherwise can confidently know. Like most of the other apostles, Bartholomew carried the Gospel with him while he lived and eventually was martyred by cruel means. But Foxe’s BookRead more

A Pocketful of Puritans

Illustration from Pilgrim's Progress

A rediscovery underway: Puritans get a bad rap. When someone is casually referred to as a “puritan” these days the insinuation is not meant to be kind. And yet, the actual 16th and 17th century puritans were not pleasure-haters, but rather men and women of sincere faith, with much insight to offer to modern believers. And it seems many of us are waking up to this fact, rediscovering with pleasure writers that have been long out of print.   SeekingRead more