Wednesday, 28 September 2022

medieval woman (10. 175)

Fรชted on this day on the occasion of her death in retirement on an estate in Schornsheim near Mainz in 782 (*710), Saint Leoba was a Anglo-Saxon nun (originally from Dorset), missionary and companion of Boniface in his quest to proselytise to the German people. Credited with multiple miracles and intercession through prayer, Leoba founded nunneries in Ochsenfurt and Kitzingen and was entrusted with a leading role in evangelizing in Franconia by Boniface and his apostles, first as abbess in Tauberbischofsheim and putting Leoba in charge in his absence whilst sojourning in Frisia (see above) and was the sole woman allowed to enter the monasteries in Fulda, where she was eventually entombed near Boniface. St Peter on the Petersberg contains her crypt, known as the Liobakirche, is a landmark rising above a relatively flat plain I pass on my weekly commute and will make a priority to visit soon.

Saturday, 24 September 2022

sub tuum praesidium (10. 163)

The veneration of the subject of art in late medieval Europe and other personalised in the form of a votive portrait—that is, when donors or patrons are included in the painting as with this work by Francisco de Zurbarรกn commissioned by a fraternity of monks, depicting a group of people sheltering under the outspread pallium of Mary, mother of Jesus (previously) is observed on this day in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. Our Lady of Mercy is known as Madonna della Misericordia in Italian, Virgen de la Merced in Spanish, Notre-Dame de la Merci in French and Schutzmantelmadonna in German with various local customs.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

septembertestament (10. 153)

Composed during his stay at the Wartburg, Martin Luther’s translation of the Greek bible into Early High German, published without attribution under the title Newe Testament Deลฏtzsch in a first printing of three thousand folio copies by a print-shop in Wittenberg, when on sale to the public on this day in 1522. Taking extensive liberties with the prose and heavily relying on Latin glosses as his Greek was not that strong, the original manuscript (later proofed and edited by scholars) is lost but ready for typesetting by July and illustrated, illuminated with woodcuts by Lucas Cranach out in time to for the Leipziger Herbstmesse (the Leipzig Autumn Fair) to achieve maximum exposure. Despite its relatively high cost—a half a guilder the weekly wage of a journeyman—and being banned in the Duchy of Saxony, it quickly sold out and a second edition (with corrections) came out in December. To counter the book’s popularity, Duke Georg commissioned a more orthodox translation rushed to publication, but it was soon apparent that it was highly plagiarised, repeating Luther’s errors and tone.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

san giuseppe da copertino (10. 145)

Patron of the town in Apulia and we suppose by extension, Apple headquarters in California, as well aviators and astronauts, Joseph of Cupertino, fรชted on this day on the occasion of his death in 1663 (*1603), was considered to be rather a dullard but was given to bouts of ecstatic visions and levitation. After years working as a stableboy at a Franciscan friary in his hometown and demonstrating his devotion and work ethic, the brothers who had previously rejected Joseph due to his lack of education admitted him into the Order. After taking his vows, Joseph’s visions increased significantly to the point where his floating (which may have been a demonstration of gymnastic skills rather or ergot-poisoning actual levitation) about during Mass became quite disruptive and lest his miraculous powers be taken for witchcraft, Joseph was confined to a small cell and ordered to avoid the public. Joseph lived a life of quiet aestheticism after briefly being quite a showman and a draw for the next thirty-five years before being readmitted back in as a part of worship services shortly before expiring.

Thursday, 15 September 2022

mater dolorosa (10. 135)

Formerly a movable feast like its other veneration a week before Good Friday until Pope Pius X fixed the date in 1913—possibly to suppress the idolatrous practise of the adoration of a miraculous portrait of Saint Dominic, later lost in an earthquake—Our Lady of Sorrows marks the seven hardships in the Life of Mary, mother of Jesus, which are: the Prophecy of Simeon, the Flight into Egypt, Losing Jesus in the Temple, her encounter with Jesus on Via Dolorosa, the Crucifixion, the Disposition and Burial. These devotions are counter-punctual to the Seven Joys: the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, the visit of the Magi, Finding Jesus in the Temple, the Resurrection and her Coronation as the Queen of Heaven.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

chapter and verse (10. 134)

Via Pasa Bon! we are treated to this automated, illustrated Bible by DALL· E 2 (previously) text to image, imago protocol. These initial compositions are prompted by Genesis but we wonder might what the fuller corpus might yield in terms of imagery and whether the earlier books influence the output. for the latter.  More at the links above.

Saturday, 27 August 2022

monica of hippo (10. 089)

Protector and patron of difficult marriages, disappointing children and alcoholics, the mother of Augustine—plus Navigus and ‘Perpetua,’ all of modern-day Annaba, Algeria—is venerated in the Catholic tradition on this day as a paragon of virtue and endurance, responsible for the redemption of her son and informing the Confessions of this Doctor of the Church. A sickly child, Monica beseeched her husband, the verbally abusive and adulterous Roman consul Patricius, but Augustine’s recovery led to a quite dissolute lifestyle and having gone off to school in Carthage and returning a convert to Manichaeism, a religion that believed the third century Parthian prophet Mani was the final one following Zoroaster, the Buddha and Jesus, Monica kicked him out until a vision came to her, instructing her to reconcile their relationship. Following him to Rome, Monica eventually prevailed and convinced Augustine to convert (fรชted on the following day) to Christianity.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

℣ / ℟ (10. 057)

Fra Benedetto Sinigardi di Arezzo, fรชted as a saint on this day, was a thirteenth century Franciscan friar who was send on religious missions in Greece, Romania, Tukey and the Holy Land and is credited with composing the Angelus prayer, the short-form name derived from its incipit—the first line of the devotion, Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariรฆ, traditionally recited thrice daily, morning, noon and night, accompanied by a bell and delivered in the form of a call (versicle) and response—notation above—that covers the mysteries of Mariology and her place in the so called Economy of Salvation in three Bible verses.

Friday, 12 August 2022

sea org (10. 053)

Observed on the anniversary of its founding on this day in 1967, the Sea Organization is a fraternal paramilitary order, a sort of space navy based on L Ron Hubbard’s (see previously) own wartime experiences and his collected science fiction short stories concerning the Galactic Confederation and the ousting of the tyrannical Xenu by an inside group known as the “Loyal Officers” who ruled the Earth (otherwise known as Teegeeack) tens of millions of years in the past. Keeping with maritime traditions, there is a hierarchy and rank structure Sea Org’s fleet of cruise vessels serve as religious retreats and training centres, the organisation having assumed an ecclesiastical developmental role of the church of Scientology in 1971. In exchange for free room and board plus a modest stipend, members sign a billion year contract.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

the disposition of christ (10. 033)

Celebrated in different traditions collectively either as the Feast of the Myrrhbearers, traditionally referring to the three Marys who came to the tomb and found it empty, or singularly for the Pharisee Nicodemus who discussed Jesus’ teachings with him and took down the crucified body of Christ (แผˆฯ€ฮฟฮบฮฑฮธฮฎฮปฯ‰ฯƒฮนฯ‚, the deposition scene) to prepare for burial—with the embalming ingredient myrrh and aloe—together with Joseph of Arimathea, the former was latter attributed with an non-canonical gospel (likely a medieval invention) that recounts Jesus’ trail, the salvation of Dismas plus the Harrowing of Hell from the point of view of two souls returned from the dead. The derived term Nicodemite is applied to a person publicly misrepresenting their religious convictions to conceal their true beliefs—generally confined to Christian internecine communities—like Catholics living in predominately Protestant areas and later to the unorthodox and suspected crypto-deists or atheists.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

west lothian (10. 023)

Though certainly the numerous landmarks we saw did not disappoint, quite a few places we visited were closed for access and undergoing repairs, including one of the final stops we made at the royal palace of Linlithgow. We had a nice time touring the grounds, the Peel, and learning about its residents of renown including the Steward line,

James V, his daughter Mary Queen of Scots—subject of royal intrigue and crisis of succession and the first target of the so called Rough Wooing, who found allies in France and the papacy coinciding with Henry VIII’s turning away from the Church in Rome and eventually forced to abdicate herself in favour of her infant son James VI & I, ruling a united England, Scotland and Ireland—but the inter court was closed pending repairs. From a safe distance, H tried launching his drone for a glimpse from above but the gulls tried to hunt it down and had to quickly abort the mission. Linlithgow was originally established as an English fort to disrupt the supply route between Edinburgh and Stirling castles (the baby Mary was spirited away to the more defencible latter), destroyed and rebuilt for the monarchy, embellished over generations until falling into disrepair from disuse as courtly life was now centred in The south. The palace lies on the banks of the eponymous loch in the city centre behind the church of Saint Michael with its modern steel steeple and has a gangway with the dates and reigns of all the Scottish kings and queens. Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, who kept Mary confined to various castles in England after she relinquished her title and claim and eventually had her beheaded—after eighteen years—for conspiring against her majesty, is not referred to by her ordinal designation and rather as Palatine Electoress as she never ruled over Scotland. To this end, after the coronation of the current monarch, some Royal Mail post boxes were vanalised, objecting to Elizabeth II because there never was a first.

Friday, 22 July 2022

kirk-yard (10. 009)

Still in the region of the Highlands referred to as the Black Isle, we paid a visit to the ancient Kirkmichael overlooking the placid Udale estuary on the Firth of Cromarty.

The grave markers, many of the slate slabs featuring exquisite masonry and funereal art and span more than eight centuries of memorial and memory and many moments of upheaval and transition with plague, war and reformation. The site has views of the bird sanctuary and drilling platforms.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

and her name was veronica

Also known as Berenike (Greek for the Bearer of Victory) the non-canonical saint is feted on this day according to pious traditions. Patroness of launderers and photographers, Veronica (from the Latin and Greek portmanteau of true plus ฮตฮนฮบฯŒฮฝ, icon—image) was in the crowd witnessing a condemned Jesus bearing his cross to Calvary and moved with sympathy offered her veil for Jesus to wipe his brow. Accepting the small kindness, Jesus returned the piece of fabric which now bore a miraculous image of his face—a story celebrated in the Sixth Station of the Cross and revered as a relic, the Vernicle or Sudarium (Latin for Sweat-Cloth). Following the extra-biblical story, Veronica is said to have gone to Rome afterwards and presented the veil to Emperor Tiberius. Reputed to quench thirst, cure blindness and raise the dead, the image became part and parcel of the Arma Christi (the traditional instruments of the Passion) in the eleventh century, there are four contenders for the Veil, one in Saint Peter’s, one in the Hofburg and two held at separate monasteries in Spain.

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

santca zoe

Moved to speak again after being rendered mute for some six years after our friend Saint Sebastian made the sign of the cross over her whilst ministering to fellow imprisoned Christians, Zoe of Rome, wife of the imperial chancellor Nicostratus, under the reign of Diocletian, is feted on this day on the occasion of her martyrdom. Having her power of speech restored by witnessing said Sebastian imploring other inmates not to renounce their faith, Zoe and her retinue demanded instant conversion at the miracle, singing the praises of Jesus and Saint Peter. Fervently praying at the tomb of the latter, Zoe was arrested—along with her husband and other converts—and hung by her hair over a bonfire until stifled by the raising smoke, unceremoniously tossed in the Tiber.

Friday, 1 July 2022

creeping normality

Arrested on this day in 1937 accused of activities against the Nazi regime, theologian and Lutheran pastor Martin Niemรถller had initially supported the ascent of Adolf Hitler for his stance against communism and assurances of no interference in church matters (the Weimar Republic supposedly had a secularist agenda that including abolishing church subsidies, confiscating church property and banning mandatory religious education), embracing nationalism and acknowledged having harboured past prejudice and anti-Semitic views. Renouncing his old ways and narrowly escaping with his life after imprisonment in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps, Niemรถller was deeply remorseful that he was not able to do more to more to help victims of the Nazis and devoted the rest of his life towards championing peace and disarmament. The confessional poem “First they came…” was penned by Niemรถller and adapted from a sermon delivered in January of 1945 to speak to the collected inaction and silence of much of the clergy and general population—himself included. “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Friday, 24 June 2022

daytrip: bacharach am rhein

For a work-outing, we took a cruise on the Rhein from Rรผdesheim to the picturesque village dominated by the twelfth century fortified castle, Burg Stahleck, overlooking the Steeg gorge and Lorelei valley, and once residence to the advocatus (Vogt) of the archbishop of Kรถln but now a youth hostel. We spent the afternoon on the portico taking in the view, having hiked up from the river bank. Along the way we passed not so much as an architectural folly—though it looked the part and the castle itself was destroyed during the Thirty Years War, abandoned and not restored in its present form until 1927 (see also) and pointedly as a retreat for Hitler Youth and re-education centre, in the Gothic ruins of the Wernerkapelle, the unfinished chapel preserved in this state as a reminder of Germany’s and Christianity’s rampant, historical intolerance of other peoples and other faith traditions, the shell of a structure itself originally dedicated to the memory of a youth supposedly murdered by the region’s Jewish residents who were in turn expelled and their property seized—a common ploy and false excuse at time, and put into context with a dedication and prayer from Pope John XXIII, asking for forgiveness and reconciliation. It was a bright and glorious day out of the office by the privilege of the photogenic ought not sanitise the past but rather enhance our understanding of it. 


Sunday, 19 June 2022

ss gervasius and protasius

Martyred second century twins venerated on this day on the occasion of the translation of their relics to their major shrine of Milan are also the patron saints of haymakers and called upon for the discovery of thieves. Dioscuri like Castor and Pollux (fรชted on 15 July), their iconography and rituals maybe a conflation of the mythological heroes and followed the former in their popularity and the spread of their cult. Church authorities in Milan reject the claim that Friedrich Barbarossa pilfered their remains from the city after its destruction, the feast of Gerasius and Protasius gained a reputation among German harvesters as weather prognostication (see also): “Wenn’s regnet auf Gervasius es veirzig Tage regnen muss,” that is—forty days of rain will follow when it rains on St Gervasius’ Day.

Saturday, 4 June 2022


2slgbtqia+: a calendar of Native American and First Nations’ Pride events—the 2S is for “Two-Spirits”  

about the damn end: DJ Cummerbund (previously) mixes Lizzo and Linkin Park—via Waxy  

sacred modernity: McGregor Smith explores Europe’s superlative post-war churches—via Things magazine

why ernest saves christmas: wholly machine-generated articles on any number of topics—the logorrhoea of infinite neural networks producing infinite copy, via Web Curios  

signature sound: a 1957 musical horoscope album (see also here and here) orchestrated by Hal Mooney  

the endangered california bumbletrout: court declares bees are fish to afford them better defence under the state’s species protection act  

night of a thousand judys: a tribute concert for charity on what would have been Garland’s one-hundredth birthday

Monday, 30 May 2022

in god’s name—let us go on bravely

Compelled by visions of Saints Michael, Margaret and Catherine to seek audience with the nominal heir to the throne of France, an unlikely ask for a sixteen-year-old girl from a peasant family yet she persisted, our Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) laid out her plan to end English domination over France, a state of affairs dragged out over the Hundred Years’ War, who was then field-promoted and sent as part of a relief battalion for the besieged city of Orlรฉans. Victory there was followed by several other successful campaigns under Joan’s leadership in the Loire Valley and and decisive defeats for the English in Patay and Reims—where Charles VII was re-crowned as king of France. Captured in Compiรจgne by the enemy allies the Burgundians while advancing to Paris, Joan was put on trial not as an enemy combatant nor as traitor but rather in an ecclesiastic court sympathetic to its occupiers for the heresy of presenting herself as a man and not being deemed sufficiently repentant about it. Over and above all other considerations about what a female suit of armour or other soldier’s uniform might have even been, it was surely more practical for Joan to carry herself this way and it was added protective measure against abduction and assault by other soldiers. Suffering these fools and sham proceedings, Joan maintained a brave bearing and was executed, burnt at the stake, on this day in Rouen, Normandy (then part of England) in 1431, aged nineteen—canonised finally in 1920 and venerated as the protector and patroness of martyrs, military personnel and political prisoners.

Friday, 20 May 2022


Poet, academic, Abbot of Tours and recruited into the court of Charlemagne who wanted to retain “the most learned man anywhere to be found,” Alcuin of York (previously) is feted as a blessed man on this day on the occasion of the anniversary of his death in 804 (*735, actually a day prior but upstaged by the veneration of Dunstan). A prolific writer and scholar, Alcuin, styled in Latin Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus, contributed to the creation of and standardisation of Carolingian minuscule—that is, mixed case script, credited with the invention of the question mark and among his teaching materials is a collection of maths word problems and logic puzzles called Propositiones ad acuendos juvenes (Problems to Sharpen Youths—see also) which includes the first written mention of the wolf, goat and cabbage problem wherein a farmer is challenged to get himself and his purchases to the opposite bank of a river with everything intact.