20 September 2021

The Greeks have a word
for it (31) Olympian

A reminder of Greek pride in the Olympian tradition … in Vergina Restaurant in Platanias in Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Patrick Comerford

I left Ireland for Greece with everyone showing great pride in our Olympians, both those who took part in the summer games and those who took part in the Paralympics. I returned from Greece to find a debate in Ireland over plans to rename the Olympia Theatre in Dublin.

In the English language we can use the word Olympian as an adjective relating to, or inhabiting Mount Olympus (Όλυμπος), near Thessaloniki in northern Greece, such as the ‘Olympian gods,’ of something that is befitting or characteristic of Mount Olympus, such as ‘Olympian detachment,’ ‘Olympian calm’ or even ‘Olympian arrogance,’ or of relating to, or constituting the Olympic Games.

We can also use the word Olympian to refer to one of the deities said to have lived atop Mount Olympus, to someone who is lofty and above it all, or to a participant in the Olympic Games.

The word Olympian was first used as an adjective in English in the 15th and 16th centuries, and as a noun in the early 17th century.

The original Olympic Games (Ὀλυμπιακοί Ἀγῶνες) were first held not on Mount Olympus but at Olympia (Ολυμπία), in the western Peloponnese, from the eighth to the fourth century BCE. The modern Olympic Games were revived in Athens in 1894.

If we are proud of our Olympians in Ireland, and if we are quick to defend the name of the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, then Greeks are equally proud of the traditions associated with Mount Olympus, Olympia, and the Olympic Games.

Mount Olympus seen from the Monument of Alexander the Great in Thessaloniki (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Yesterday: Monastery

Tomorrow: Hypocrite

Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
114, Saint Christopher-le-Stocks, Threadneedle Street

The Royal Exchange and Threadneedle Street … Saint Christopher le Stocks was demolished in 1781 for an extension for the Bank of England (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Before the day begins, I am taking a little time this morning for prayer, reflection and reading. Each morning in the time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

My theme for these few weeks is Wren churches and former Wren churches in London. My photographs this morning (20 September 2021) are from the site of Saint Christopher-le-Stocks, Threadneedle Street.

Saint Christopher le Stocks stood on the south side of Threadneedle Street in the Broad Street Ward of the City of London.

The church, of mediaeval origin, was severely damaged in the Great Fire in 1666, although the outer walls and tower survived. It was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren in 1671 using much of the surviving material, and was the first of his churches to be completed, at a cost of £2,098 12s 7d.

When the Church of Saint Christopher le Stocks was demolished in 1781 to make way for an extension for the Bank of England, the parish was united with Saint Margaret Lothbury.

The reredos was later moved to in Saint Vedast-alias-Foster. This is a sumptuous example from the 17th century. The texts of the Ten Commandments are on the two centre panels, while on each side are the words of the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed.

The reredos in Saint Vedast-alias-Foster came from Saint Christopher-le-Stock Parish Church in Threadneedle Street, demolished in 1781 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Luke 8: 16-18 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 16 ‘No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. 18 Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.’

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (20 September 2021) invites us to pray:

Let us pray for the Anglican Church of Melanesia, comprised of nine dioceses across the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org