Friday, December 27, 2013

FEAST OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST


Today is the feast of St John the Evangelist, the patron of my church. The Fathers of the Church believed John the Evangelist was the author of the Gospel, three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation, and the same person as John the Apostle and John of Patmos.  Later scholars suggest rather that a disciple of John the Apostle wrote the Gospel and three Epistles and that John of Patmos was a different person, because the writing style of the Book of Revelation is too different from the Gospel and Epistles.

Pictured above is the stained glass window at St. John's Episcopal Church in Thibodaux. The detail in the glass shows a snake coming out of the goblet in John's hand. According to legend, the emperor Domitian offered poisoned wine to John, but he blessed the wine and the poison came out of the goblet in the form of a snake.  A painting by El Greco illustrates the same legend.

Collect of the day
Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light; that we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The photo appears to have been takes during the Easter season rather than during the Christmas season near the feast day.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the El Greco. I'd never heard of it.

    What an insanely great painter.

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    1. El Greco was the first painter I fell in love with. Rembrandt was the second. His paintings always seemed way ahead of his time - more like - well, he's one of a kind, but he seemed not to fit in the Renaissance.

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  2. I grew up going to St. John's, but no one ever mentioned the snake in the goblet! Something lacking there in childhood formation.

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    1. The snake in the goblet caught my interest, and I must have asked about it early on. Perhaps George Walker, the rector when I first attended St John, told me the story.

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  3. Great painting!

    Happy Feast Day to you and your church community!

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  4. Lovely window. And I love the El Greco too. I'd never heard that legend.

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    1. I don't know the name of the person who created the window, but I have heard that he was held in high regard and worked at the same time as Louis Comfort Tiffany, though the style is quite different.

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  5. Isn't there a similar legend about St Benedict? I could swear I've seen similar imagery in a statue at (my old haunt/home of Prior Aelred) St Gregory's monastery...

    Happy patron feast day to you and your church, Mimi! (Remembering a former parish of mine, St John's, Huntingdon PA)

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    1. Thanks, JCF. About St Benedict, I have no idea. Prior Aelred could tell you.

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