19 July 2023
Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (52) 19 July 2023
We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and this week began with the Sixth Sunday after Trinity (16 July 2023).
Today (19 July 2023), the Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship celebrates the lives of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa (ca 394), and his sister Macrina (ca 379), Deaconess, Teachers of the Faith.
Before this day begins, I am taking some time this morning for prayer, reading and reflection.
Over these weeks after Trinity Sunday, I have been reflecting each morning in these ways:
1, Looking at relevant images or stained glass windows in a church, chapel or cathedral I know;
2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;
3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.
Holy Trinity Church, Bratislava:
Holy Trinity Church, Bratislava, is an 18th century baroque church near the Old Town in the capital of Slovakia. The official name of the church is the Church of Saint John of Matha and Saint Felix of Valois. However, because of its association with the Trinitarian Order, the church is commonly known as the Holy Trinity Church.
The church was built on the site of the older church of Saint Michael. But the older church and the settlement of Saint Michael were demolished in 1529 during the Ottoman wars as a defensive measure.
The Trinitarian Order started building the present church in 1717, and it was consecrated in 1727. At the same time, a Trinitarian monastery was built on the site.
The Trinitarian Order was dissolved in the Austro-Hungarian Empire by Emperor Joseph II in 1782 in his ‘storm against the monasteries’ (Klostersturm) and the city council took possession of the building. However, it did not suit the needs of the city and the monastery portion was almost completely demolished.
The design of the church reflects the new thinking in the 18th century on the function and form of baroque churches, emphasising space and light. The design may have been influenced by Saint Peter’s Church in Vienna, with the architect of Saint Peter’s possibly having a hand in the blueprint.
Outside, the main portal is richly decorated in rococo style, celebrating the Holy Trinity. Inside, the arch of the church is dominated by a cupola with trompe-l’œil frescoes by the Italian baroque painter Antonio Galli da Bibiena (1744). In the inner cupola is a blue and red cross, the symbol of the Trinitarian Order.
The church has a massive main altar and several side altars. The main work of art is the large altar painting depicting Saint John of Matha and Saint Felix of Valois – the two founders of the Trinitarian Order – ransoming Christian prisoners. This masterpiece was painted by Franz Xaver Palkó in 1745, and the artist painted himself into the picture as the boy on the far right.
On either side of the main altar are large statues of Saint Agnes (left) and Saint Catherine of Alexandria (right) by the Bavarian sculptor Johann Baptist Straub.
An elaborate side altar on the far right of the main altar was commissioned by Count Zichy in 1736. Above it is a copy of the miraculous Regensburg icon of the Virgin Mary.
The other six side altars are dedicated to Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary; the Holy Angels, with an image of the Pietà; Saint John Nepomuk, a Czech national saint; Saint Michael the Archangel, victorious over the Devil; Saint Mary Magdalene; and Saint John the Evangelist.
Today Holy Trinity Church is a parish church in the Catholic Archdiocese of Bratislava.
Matthew 11: 25-27 (NRSVA):
25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘Abundant life – A human right.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday.
The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (19 July 2023) invites us to pray in these words:
We pray for the people of the Philippines as they face uncertainty and unrest in their country. Lord bring peace and stability.
Lord of eternity, creator of all things,
in your Son Jesus Christ you open for us the way to resurrection
that we may enjoy your bountiful goodness:
may we who celebrate your servants Gregory and Macrina
press onwards in faith to your boundless love
and ever wonder at the miracle of your presence among us;
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 Gregory and Macrina 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