Faithful Friday: John Chrysostom

Saint John Chrysostom is a figure in ecclesial history with a stunning breadth of influence. As a writer, preacher, and archbishop, his life was scored with a generative fervor in bolstering and guiding the church.

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A Very Brief Review of When Books Went to War

…tyrants don’t want people thinking for themselves. Books are dangerous to bullies, whether they are Hitler, Stalin, Ho Chi Minh, Vlad the Bad Putin, Chairman Xi, or the Ms. Grundy down the street.

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The Huns & Goths Part 3: Goth Before It was Cool

When you say “Gothic” nowadays, most people tend to think of a style of literature, or music, or aesthetic, or more rarely, architecture. These things, however, have little to do with the historical Goths. 

Historians often separate Goths in two subgroups: Visigoths (western Goths) and Ostrogoths (Eastern Goths) but this is only for convenience’s sake. The Goths themselves recognized no such distinction, nor did the Romans at the time.

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Faithful Friday: Pope Fabian

Little is known about Pope Fabian, including when he was born. He became Pope in 236AD, following the death of Pope Anterus. The early Church historian Eusebius relates that Fabian was not one of the original candidates for the office, but a dove descended upon him during the election process and those present decided this was a sign from the Holy Spirit and thus duly elected him.

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Christian Mastery of the Mind 

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” While this command does imply that we should not think about that which is opposite to the characteristics listed here, Paul gave this command in this way for a reason. 

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The Huns & Goths Part 2: Hun, I’m Home!

To Jordanes, the struggle against the Huns was a holy war against the demoniac forces of chaos. The Huns weren’t just savage, they were inhuman. The Huns, like many Asian steppe people, were adept on mounted warfare and deadly with the re-curve bow. They wore armor of leather treated with animal fat to make it more flexible and rain resistant. Their helmets were also of leather, but lined with steel and mail to protect their heads and necks. In close combat, they were skilled with the blade. They were renowned for their cruelty and cunning by all those who had this misfortune of encountering them. 

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Faithful Friday: St. Mungo

St. Mungo was born Kentigern, son of Princess Teneu of Lothian. He was the result of his mother being attacked by Owain mab Urien, for which her father, King Lot (also called Lleuddun) had Teneu thrown from a cliff. She miraculously survived and came to an area inhabited by a man called Saint Serf, and was cared for by him.

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The Huns & Goths Part 1: Setting the Stage

For those who do not know, the Goths and the Huns were two tribes living on the outskirts of the Roman Empire. The clash of these three cultures contributed greatly to the fall of Rome, and affected modern society in a few important ways. By the 4th century, the Roman Empire had grown so large that it had divided itself into two regions: the West and the East. Each had their own Emperor, and had developed their own subcultures though on paper they were still one empire.

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Faithful Friday: St. Andre Bessette 

Through trials, rigors and the initial skepticism of the brethren, Alfred persevered, joining the religious order known as the Congregation of the Holy Cross. As a novice, he learned to read (a skill he had not learned as a child) and memorized many portions of Scripture and of the writings of the saints. He received Holy Orders on August 22, 1872, taking the name Brother Andre. He was then assigned to serve as a porter at the College of Notre Dame, which he served admirably, despite ill-treatment by his superior. Once again, he persevered without the slightest complaint as he always had before.

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All Children by Nature Have a Desire to Learn

Once upon a time, I was sitting in the car, reading and waiting for the spouse-person who was yakking with some other women after Mass. Suddenly, I noticed a little boy standing next to me at the window. He said, “You look like Father Brown.”

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Faithful Friday: Gregory of Nazianzus

Gregory of Nazianzus (also called Gregory Nazianzen) was born around 330 AD in Cappadocia, now modern Turkey. Gregory was given a classical education in the cities of Caesarea, Alexandria, and Athens. Among his schoolmates were St. Basil the Great and future Roman emperor Julian the Apostate.

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Faithful Friday: St. John Cantius

In many ways, St. John Cantius lived an unassuming life. As a young man, he applied himself to academics, with a particular focus on philosophy and theology.

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Kyrie Eleison

“One of the engines ingested a chunk of ice during the de-icing procedure in Philadelphia,” explains the pilot in a calm, even voice. “We shut down that engine and are returning to Philadelphia. We will be landing in about 30 minutes.”

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The Man Who Popularized the Modern Christmas

“The Man Who Popularized the Modern Christmas”, or something along the lines of “The Man Who Defined Christmas Traditions”, would have been better a better title than The Man Who Invented Christmas. I mean, it’s not a bad title, but there are implications that can be, shall we say, that becomes kinda problematic. But besides that and the fact that this is obviously a fictionalized account of Charles Dickens writing the book of A Christmas Carol, the movie was actually pretty well done. 

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The Grinches Who Steal Childhood

I’ve always thought that the best reading lesson is predicated on a child, a fishing pole, a pond, and an old copy of Howard Pyle’s Robin Hood on a quiet summer afternoon before it’s time to get the cows up for the evening milking.

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Faithful Friday: Juan Diego

St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin was born in Mexico in 1474. At that time, the Spanish governed Mexico, and often looked down on their native citizens, not least because the natives largely still worshiped their old gods rather than the Christian God.

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The Poets of Rapallo, a Review

The Poets of Rapallo by Lauren Arrington (Oxford University Press) is a brilliant first draft; one looks forward to reading the completed work.

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Faithful Friday: Channing Moore Williams

Reverend Channing Moore Williams, Episcopal missionary and bishop, was born in Richmand, Virginia on July 18, 1829 to Mary and John Green Williams, who named him after the zealous second Episcopal bishop of Virginia, Richard Channing Moore. When Channing Moore Williams was only three years old, his father died, leaving Mary to raise their six children alone, which she proved quite capable of doing, raising her children in the Episcopal church.

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How Far Is Too Far?

One of the most difficult things about being a Christian film critic (and a Christian film fan for that matter) is determining how badly a movie has to stray away from a biblical view of philosophy or ethics before it cannot be commendable to the Christian.

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