21 April 2023
Morning prayers in Easter
with USPG: (13) 21 April 2023
This is the second week of Easter and Sunday (16 April 2023) was Easter Day in the calendar of the Orthodox Church. Today (21 April), the calendar of the Church of England commemorates Saint Anselm (1109), Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Teacher of the Faith.
Before this day begins, I am taking some time early this morning for prayer, reflection and reading. As this is Easter Week in the Orthodox Church, I am reflecting each morning this week in these ways:
1, Short reflections on an Orthodox church in Crete;
2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;
3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.
The Church of the Ascension and Saint George, Panormos:
I have been visiting Crete almost every year since the 1980s. My photographs this morning (21 April 2023) are from the Church of the Ascension and Saint George in Panormos, east of Rethymnon.
For some years, it was something of a tradition during holidays in Rethymnon to spend lazy, sunny Sunday afternoons in the small coastal village of Panormos, visiting the church dedicated to the Ascension and Saint George, and enjoying lingering lunches in the restaurants, including the Agkyra, Porto Parasiris and Captain’s House.
These lunches often turned to hours spent sipping coffee, reading books and watching life in the small harbour and beaches below.
The recently built church in Panormos is dedicated to the Ascension (Analipsi) and Saint George (Agios Georgios) and it has a splendid dome with a modern, majestic fresco of Christ the Pantocrator.
Behind the village are the remains of the Agia Sophia Basilica, once one of the largest basilicas in Crete. The site is fenced off and there are few signs indicating its importance. The basilica was built in the fifth and sixth centuries. According to archaeologists, this was the seat of the Diocese of Eleftherna, which transferred there after the destruction of the ancient city of Panormos. In time, the name Agia Sophia was given to the entire area around the basilica.
The Basilica of Agia Sofia was uncovered following research by the theologian Konstantinos Kalokiris, and the site was excavated in 1948-1955 by the archaeologist Professor N Platonas.
Luke 21: 9-15 (NRSVA):
[Jesus said:] 9 ‘When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.’ 10 Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.
12 ‘But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; 15 for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.’
The theme in this week’s prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is ‘Safeguarding the Integrity of Creation.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by USPG’s Regional Manager for East Asia, Oceania and Europe, Rebecca Boardman, who reflected on ways to get the climate justice conversation started, in the light of International Earth Day tomorrow (22 April 2023).
The prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (21 April 2023) invites us to pray:
Let us pray for communities around the world impacted by rising tides, drought, and famine. May we learn to safeguard, sustain, and renew the life of the earth.
who gave great gifts to your servant Anselm
as a pastor and teacher:
grant that we, like him, may desire you with our whole heart
and, so desiring, may seek you
and, seeking, may find you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with Anselm to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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
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