Mwanga, ruler of Uganda in 1886, became dissatisfied with the behaviour of Christians in his entourage (RC and Anglican) because they declined to satisfy his desires. Consequently he had his Christian pages put to death. James Hannington, Bishop of Uganda, was also murdered by Mwanga for his opposition to his moral turpitude. Less than a century later, Uganda was being ruled by the dictator Idi Amin, who also put many Christians to death, including Archbishop Janani Luwum (see 17 February). Today Roman Catholics and Anglicans unite to celebrate the steadfastness in the faith of Ugandan Christians in the face of oppression, and to remember Mwanga's pages, Janani Luwum, James Hannington and the other Ugandan martyrs.
Most merciful God, who strengthened your Church by the steadfast courage of the Ugandan martyrs; grant that we also, thankfully remembering their victory of faith, may overcome what is evil and glorify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Angelo Roncalli was elected Pope in 1958, a respected servant of the church who had held significant office over many years and shown great humanity in his dealings in his various posts. Now Pope at the age of 77, he was expected to be a safe pair of hands until a new Pope should emerge. Instead he astounded everyone by calling the Second Vatican Council, in the course of which the Roman Catholic church was significantly reformed, the Liturgy revised and offered in the vernacular, and windows of cooperation offered to other Christian bodies. He was Pope for only five years, but hius brief Papal ministry had an immense effect on the Church throughout the world.
Wynfrith was born around 675, and took the name Boniface on being professed as a monk in Exeter as a young man. He eventually went to Northern Europe as a missionary and evangelist, becoming Archbishop of Mainz. He was killed by the pagans in 754 buried in the monastery of Fulda.
Born in Syria around 306, was baptised in his early adulthood and ordained deacon. Celebrated as a great Christiian poet and hymn writer. His hymns, well known in the Eastern tradition, have found a place in Western Christian spirituality also.
Colum, born in Donegal around 521. Was trained at the monastic school of St Finnian at Clonard Abbey and eventually ordained priest. After a dispute about a Psalter he left Ireland and set sail for Scotland, where he arrived in 563 on the island of Iona. He founded a monastery there, from where evangelisation of much of Scotland and Northern England took place. He died in 567. In recent years, under the influence of a church of Scotland minister, Dr George Macleod, the Abbey of Iona has been restored and a Community established for the evangelisation and support of the underprivileged. From that has emerged also a renewal of liturgical practice and hymnody (especially under the influence of John Bell). Many Anglicans, impressed by the aims and activities of the Iona Community, have connections with it, and others are involved in the liturgical work of the Wild Goose resource group (with John Bell). One of those involved in this work was formerly a member of St Peter's Dalry in the North Ayrshire group of parishes, and since ordination has worked in St Peter's, Edinburgh and is now part of the clergy team of St John's Dumfries.
Most loving Father, who gave such grace to your servant Columba, that in his life and works he reflected the glory of your Son: Grant that those whom you call to serve you in the gospel may be radiant with love and cheerful in adversity, awaiting the redemption of all things in Christ; who with you lives and reigns, in the unity of the Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Companion of St Paul, and early evangelist of the Christian faith. He is described as a Levite from Cyprus, so therefore of Jewish origin; but accompanied St Paul in his mission to the Gentiles. He is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as one who sold his estate and gave the proceeds to the infant Church. He introduced Paul to the leaders of the Church in Jerusalem. Was sent to Antioch (where the early believers were first called 'Christians') to help the believers there in their relations with non-Jewish converts. Eventually returned to Cyprus. Tradition has it that he was martyred there in 61AD.
Merciful God, help us to follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well-being of your Church, gave generously of his life and sunstance for the relief of the poor and the spread of the gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Scottish Liturgy Part III, p13)
These are two of the most important Fathers of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and indeed of the Anglican Communion. Pictures of both are to be seen on the walls of St Peter's, Dalry, as patrons of Scottish Episcopalianism and examples of the faith for the faithful.
John Skinner the Elder was born in Aberdeenshire in 1721. After an early career as a schoolmaster he was ordained in the Scottish Episcopal church in 1742 and was priest at Longside for 65 years. In 1753 he was imprisoned under the Penal laws, which followed the Episcopalian support of the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 1745 rebellion. According to these laws, any clergyman who officiated at public worship (that was defined as worship involving more than five persons) who did not 'qualify' under the laws, that is to say swear allegiance to the Hanoverian King, was subject to six months' imprisonment for the first offence and transportation to the colonies for any subsequent offence. The picture on the wall of St Peter's shows John Skinner the Elder baptising a child from his prison cell.
John Skinner Junior was the son of the above, and at the age of 9 he was condemned to share the imprisonment of his father. He was made coadjutor bishop of Aberdeen in 1782, and succeeded to the see in 1786, elected primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1788. However, his principal call to fame, and his principal importance to the Anglican communion is his presiding, in 1784, at the consecration of the first Bishop for the Episcopal church of the United States of America, in an upper room in Aberdeen. This great event is also commemorated on the wall in St Peter's. It is in fact the beginning of the world-wide Anglican Communion, a new concept at the time, and no longer to be associated with the Church of England, which declined to consecrate a bishop who did not swear allegiance to King George III, an oath impossible for a citizen of the newly created United States. He was also, due to his wisdom and statesmanship, a guiding force in the repeal of the Penal Laws in 1792, and took a leading role in guiding the Scottish Episcopal Church through the difficult following years.
John Skinner Senior died in 1807, his son in 1816.
God of love, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servants John Skinner the elder and John Skinner junior, who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock and in the mission and development of your Church in Scotland and beyond. Taught by the example of their holy lives and aided by their prayers, may we by grace grow into the full stature of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Scottish Liturgy part III, p55 adapted).
Of Irish birth, Fillan travelled to Scotland and was a hermit at Pittenweem, where he was later chosen as Abbot. He later resigned, and carried out missionary work in various parts of Scotland, , including Lochalsh, Renfrewshire and Strathfillan.
Almighty God, by whose grace St Fillan, kindled by the fire of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: inflame us with the same spirit of discipline and love, that we may ever walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(Scottish Liturgy, Part III, p57)
A citizen of the Roman city of Verualamium (now known as St Alban's), Alban gave shelter to a Christian priest. He was so impressed by this priest and his prayerful demeanour that he was converted to Christianity. When the Roman authorities came in search of this priest, who had been hidden in Alban's house, Alban substituted himself for him and was beheaded in 250.
O God, who hallowed the Church in this land by the blood of its first martyr St Alban: Grant that we who venerate his memory on earth may, when our earthly course is run, be made fellow-citizens with him in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Cloud of Witnesses p105)
This is one of the principal feasts of the Church. Only three births are commemorated: those of John the Baptist, of Jesus of Nazareth himself, and of Mary the mother of Jesus.
John seems to have been connected in some way with the Essenes (of the Dead Sea Scrolls). He proclaimed the necessity of repentance, as did the Old Testament Prophets, and drew crowds to his baptism of repentance. His work foreshadowed that of him of whom, John admitted, he was unworthy to undo the sandal-strap, but of whose mission he was the forerunner, who offered himself for John's baptism, and of whose cause he was to an extent the first martyr.
Almighty God, you called St John the Baptist to give witness to the coming of your Son and to prepare his way. Give your people the wisdom to see your purpose, and the openness to hear your will, that we too may witness to christ's coming and so prepare his way; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(Scottish Liturgy Part II p14
Appointed Bishop of Dunblane by King Charles II in 1661, and translated to Glasgow as Archbishop in 1670. His library, part of which was housed at Newbattle abbey, is now all housed at The Cross, Dunblane.
A pillar of the Scottish Episcopal Church in the second part of the seventeenth century, and a Father of our tradition.
God of love, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Archbishop Robert Leighton, who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock. Taught by the example of his learning and of his holy life, may we by grace grow into the full stature of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, now and for ever. Amen. (Scottish Liturgy Part III p55)
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