Happy St. Bríghde Day!

Image by Jonas from Pixabay


Greetings! Happy St. Bríghde of Ireland’s Feast Day!

St. Bríghde is pronounced Breejya, in Gaelic. She is also known as St. Brigid or St. Bridget.

I saw a stranger yestereen;
I put food in the eating place,
drink in the drinking place,
music in the listening place,
and in the name of the Triune
he blessed myself and my house,
my cattle and my dear ones,
and the lark said in her song:
Often, often, often,
goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise…
often, often, often,
goes Christ in the stranger’s guise.

~ Irish Rune of St. Brigid’s Hospitality

Besides, founding a famous monastery that blessed and bettered her country, 5th century St. Brigid was instrumental in implementing educational, and artistic centres, enhancing her community through charity, hospitality and medical support.

With her great faith and pure heart, she humbly performed miracles, perceiving Christ in all.

St. Brigid continues to intercede for us, whenever we reach out to her as a heavenly friend. She is the patroness of dairy workers, infants, midwives, blacksmiths, poets, nuns, and students.

Let us praise St. Brigid, and emulate her in seeing Christ in others!

How to make St. Brigid Day green rush crosses… Instructions found on St. Sophia website via The Ark #8 (Youth Quarterly) on pages 25-27. 

Today is also St. Valentine the Presbyter’s Feast Day! (also celebrated on July 6th in the Eastern Church) ❤️

Tomorrow is one of the Great Twelve Feasts of our Lord – The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple.

Snowdrop Flowers also known as Candlemas Bells, are associated with this ancient Feast Day!

I composed my own (very rustic) simple folk-hymn of praise, honouring St. Brigid of Ireland, and set it to the tune of an ancient Irish melody of unknown origin, as heard below – accompanied by ukulele.

☘️


Holy St. Brigid, pray to God for us!

Gabhaim Molta Bríghde 

An Ancient Irish Chapel – Image by Josef Kotarba Pixabay

Gabhaim Molta Bríghde  (pronounced gaw-im molta breejya) means I Give Praise to St. Brigid.

Greetings on St. Brigid of Ireland’s Feast Day!

Along with St. Patrick, Holy St. Brigid is the Patroness and Protector of Ireland.

Here is a link to my simple folk song praising St. Brigid of Ireland.

The YouTube video below is a Gaelic Folk Song about St. Brigid, with an English Translation in the description section. The lineage of Gabhaim Molta Bríghde’s ancient, traditional melody and lyrics are from “unknown sources” however this arrangement of Sheet Music is sometimes attributed to Tomás Ó Flannghaile (Thomas Flannery), 1846-1916.

Gaelic with English Translation

Here is a fascinating article with excellent photos by Clare Monardo, describing An Exploration of the Holy Wells of St. Brigid. (What a wonderful pilgrimage this would make!)

A Gift of Hospitality – St. Brigid Abbess of Kildare.

On St. Brigid’s Day, it can be traditional to enjoy the Irish fare of oat bannocks, colcannon, barm brack, and perhaps a wee draught of beer.

How to make a St. Brigid Cross, woven from rushes. (Thank you for sharing your newly woven St. Brigid’s Rush Cross, Irena and Juliana!)

St. Brigid’s association with the miracles of fire and the closeness of her day to tomorrow’s Feast of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple (also known as Candlemas), are closely linked.

On St. Brigid’s day, we celebrate Christ, the Light unto all Nations – the Eternal Spring Who draws nigh to all.

Troparion of Venerable Mother Brigid, Enlightener of Ireland (Tone 4): Instructed by the discourses of the holy Patrick, thou didst arrive at the utmost west, heralding the Orient which hath visited us from on high. Wherefore, we bless thee, O venerable mother Brigid, and cry out to thee: Pray thou in behalf of souls.

Kontakion of Venerable Mother Brigid, Enlightener of Ireland (Tone 6): Rejecting thy noble rank, and loving the godly monastic life, from the wood of the oak didst thou raise up a convent, the first in thy land; and having there united a multitude of nuns to God, thou didst teach the surrounding lands to cry to the Lord: Have mercy on us!

St. Brigid continues to bestow blessings upon those who come to her with faith, interceding with Christ our God, that He may have mercy on our souls.

St Geneviève of Paris

January 16/3 (423 -512 AD)

Happy Feast Day!

St. Geneviève’s reliquary at the church of St. Étienne du Mont (St. Stephen the Protomartyr of the Mount) in Paris, France -2006

There’s a special reason St. Simeon the Stylite and St. Geneviève are portrayed together in the Icon on the far wall.

General knowledge of St. Geneviève’s lifelong holiness, care for the poor, and miracles, became so widespread, that news of it reached her Syrian contemporary, St. Simeon the Stylite. He was inspired to send a delegation to Paris with greetings, asking her prayers for his salvation.

Throughout her life and prayerful intercessions to God, St. Geneviève helped protect Paris from an invasion by Attila the Hun, starvation during a Frankish siege, and plagues.

St. Geneviève’s icon usually depicts her with a candle, as sometimes when holding an unlit candle, it would miraculously ignite, and stay lit… even if outside, during wind or rainstorms.

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St. Geneviève had a particular devotion to an earlier saint… St. Dionysius the Areopagite. He was baptized by the Holy Apostle Paul, became the first Bishop of Paris, and was later martyred. St. Geneviève often visited the place of his martyrdom to pray, and later motivated the Parisians to have a church built over St. Dionysius’ and his fellow martyrs’ relics.

St. Geneviève and St. Dionysius the Areopagite (St. Denis of Paris), are the patron saints of Paris.

We only need to open our eyes to see the gifts that abound around us. These are the simple joys of life. ~ St. Geneviève

If we open our hearts to give love we are immediately transported into the joy and blessings of love. ~ St. Geneviève

The footsteps of an Angel in your life are Love. ~ St. Geneviève

Congratulations to a dear friend, whose patron saint is St. Geneviève. God grant you many years!

Great-Martyr Barbara

December 17/4

Happy Feast and many years to all celebrating St. Barbara and St. Juliana today!

St. Barbara Icon seen above, in Hosios Loukas Monastery Church, Distomo, Greece – 2004. Reflections of the church’s ceiling arches above, are visible on the icon.

11th Century St. Barbara’s Church, Carved in Rock – Cappadocia, 2004

Great-Martyr Barbara and St. Juliana on Wall Fresco, Interior of 11th Century Church, Cappadocia – 2004

Interior of 11th Century St. Barbara’s Church, Cappadocia – 2004

Great-Martyr Barbara Troparion, Tone 8

Let us honour the holy Barbara; for the most honoured one broke the snares of the enemy// and was delivered from them like a bird, with the help and aid of the Cross.

St. Barbara is called upon for protection against sudden death, lightening, fire, and to aid soldiers, and firefighters.

St. Barbara was born in the Greek city of Heliopolis in Syria, now called Baalbek, in eastern Lebanon. St. Barbara’s feast day is known as Eid il-Burbara to Christians in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and there is a special St. Barbara’s Day dessert made to celebrate. Although the dish is traditionally prepared from boiled wheat hulls, rose water, cinnamon, anise and nuts, I like to use Cream of Wheat. This aromatic sweet recalls the tradition that freshly planted wheat fields miraculously sprung up behind St. Barbara covering her initial escape path to the mountains.

Here is my own festal and vegan (fasting-friendly) recipe for St. Barbara’s Day Dessert.

Holy Great-Martyr Barbara and St. Juliana, pray to God for us!

Great-Martyr Katherine of Alexandria

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day Katherine, and Catherine! Memory Eternal Ekaterina.

Greetings on Great-Martyr Katherine’s feast day!

St. Katherine was the daughter of Constas, the governor of Alexandria in Egypt. She was a brilliant and avid scholar in philosophy, rhetoric, poetry, music, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. 

During a visit by the Roman emperor, a huge pagan festival was held in his honour. However, Katherine protested the Christian persecutions and refused to offer sacrifice to the gods, declaring herself a bride of Christ, the One True God. The emperor decided that due to young Katherine’s societal status, intelligence and strong spirit, she should be ridiculed, being made an entertaining, public example, and proven wrong. His plans backfired.

Fifty of the region’s top orators and philosophers were summoned to mockingly debate the superiority of paganism versus Christianity. With her face glowing Divine Grace, and moved through the Power and Wisdom of the Holy Spirit, young Katherine eloquently defended the Christian faith. She victoriously converted hundreds in the audience… including all 50 orators, the emperor’s own wife, the emperor’s imperial advisor, and 200 soldiers. She and the group of new Christians were imprisoned and martyred around the year 305 AD.

St. Katherine’s body was taken by Angels to the highest peak of Mount Sinai, near where God appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush. Her holy relics are enshrined in the world’s oldest and continuously inhabited Christian monastery, which is over seventeen hundred years old.

Our St. Katherine Ring

Pilgrims to St. Katherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai are given remembrance rings that have been reverently placed on her holy relics, as a blessing. They are copied from the ring she still has on her hand, from Christ.

St. Katherine is a patron saint of students, scholars, philosophers, teachers, public speakers and librarians.

By the prayers of the most wise martyr Katherine, O Christ, enlighten the darkened eye of my soul, granting me a ray of thy splendour~ Excerpt from Canon to Great-Martyr Katherine

St. Brigid of Ireland

St. Brigid’s Cross woven with Rushes and photo by Irena

On February 14th/1st we celebrate St. Brigid of Ireland and St. Valentine.

Born in 451, St. Brigid (pronounced Bree-jyah in Gaelic) was the daughter of Dubtach, a pagan king. Brocca, her mother, was a Christian Pictish slave, baptized by St. Patrick himself.

Even as a child, Brigid noticed poverty and destitution. She responded by giving away her own and her family’s considerable possessions to people in need. This generosity did not meet with her father’s approval, who complained to a friend that his daughter was bankrupting the household. His friend answered, “Let her be… She has more virtue before God, than either you or I.”

Brigid followed her desire to be a nun and was tonsured by St. Mael, Bishop of Armagh, who was a nephew of St. Patrick.

She established a monastic community with several other young women, located under a large oak tree. It became known as the Church of the Oak (in Gaelic Cill-Dara)… sometimes she is called Brigid of Kildare.

The community grew in numbers, reputation and achievement. Brigid was the abbess, and continued her care for the poor, selling whatever she had to give them what they needed. People who lived in the area flocked to the monastery to receive medical help, food, and to pray with the nuns. They would often see the abbess out in the fields, tending to the community’s cattle. Brigid and the sisters cared for the local children and established schools for them. Others heard of these efforts, and before long, the abbess travelled Ireland to start schools, to oversee the building of hospitals, and encourage people in their faith… by her own steadfast, cheerful example. 

Under Brigid’s direction, the monastery itself became an art school, where metal work and manuscript illumination (decoration of manuscript pages with coloured figures and designs) were taught. The products of this school included a Gospel book, famously beautiful for its harmony of colors and intricate designs. To some it almost seemed that this Book of Kildare must have been the work of angels… with humans merely copying the figures shown to them by the angels. Unfortunately, this book and many other Christian relics throughout the land were lost during King Henry VIII’s destruction and pillaging of holy sites.

When St. Brigid died in 525 AD, the nuns kept a fire burning in an enclosure at her Kildare convent. This fire burned for centuries, tended by the Sisters and did not burn out until 1220 AD. It was re-lit and burned for another 400 years.

St. Brigid’s association with fire and the closeness of her feast day to the Feast of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple (also known as Candlemas), a day celebrating Christ as the Light Unto the Nations, links the two Feasts. 

St. Brigid is also affectionately known as Bride, Bridey, or the Mary of the Gael. She is patroness of dairy maids, infants, midwives, blacksmiths, poets, nuns, and students.

Along with Saints Patrick and Columba (Columcille), she is also the patroness of Ireland. St. Brigid is usually depicted in icons as a nun with a Cross woven from rushes and with fire (a candle, lamp, or bowl of fire).

Here is a link to my simple folk song praising St. Brigid of Ireland.

It is said the origin of the St. Brigid’s cross came when she was called to the bedside of a dying pagan chieftain. While sitting with the dying man, St. Brigid picked up some rushes from the floor and began to weave them into a cross. The sick man asked her what she was doing, and St. Brigid told him of Jesus Christ. Before he died, the chieftain become a Christian.

How to make a St. Brigid Cross, woven from rushes.

As Christians, we are called to help provide for the poor and needy (not just during spells of cold weather).

May we acquire the gift to see Christ in every person, as St. Brigid did.

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