Thursday, November 1, 2007

Feast Of All Saints

The Burial of the Count of Orgaz - El Greco, 1586-1588 - oil on canvas Santo Tomé, Toledo, Spain.

Image from Wiki.

The Carmina Gadelica

The holy Apostles’ guarding,
The gentle martyrs’ guarding,
The nine angels’ guarding,
Be cherishing me, be aiding me.

The quiet Brigit’s guarding,
The gentle Mary’s guarding,
The warrior Michael’s guarding,
Be shielding me, be aiding me.

The God the elements’ guarding,
The loving Christ’s guarding,
The Holy Spirit’s guarding,
Be cherishing me, be aiding me.

From Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa:


Psalm 149;
Ecclesiasticus 44:1-10,13-14; Revelation 7:2-4,9-17; Matthew 5:1-12

Daily Office:
AM: Psalm 111, 112; 2 Esdras 2:42-47; Hebrews 11:32-10:2

PM: Psalm 148, 150; Wisdom 5:1-5, 14-16; Revelation 21:1-4, 22-22:


O Almighty God, who have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those indescribable joys which you have prepared for those who truly love you: through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.

James Kiefer at the Lectionary has the full reading from "Ecclesiasticus" which begins:

Let us now praise famous men,
and our fathers in their generations.
The LORD apportioned to them great glory,
his majesty from the beginning.

And then, ending with these words:

There are some of them who have left a name,
so that men declare their praise.
And there are some who have no memorial,
who have perished as though they had not lived;
they have become as though they had not been born,
and so have their children after them.

But these were men of mercy,
whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten.
Their posterity will continue for ever,
and their glory will not be blotted out.
Their bodies were buried in peace,
and their name lives to all generations.

Thanks be to God.

Kiefer includes the full text of "A Litany of All the Saints".

Viewing the painting itself must be an extraordinary experience. Wiki's article on the work seems quite good, and the story behind the painting is there, too. The link above takes you to it.

A Greek-turned-Spanish painter, a Gaelic prayer, the Bible, and prayers from services of the Episcopal Church are quite a mix in one post, but they're my offering to celebrate the feast day.

UPDATE: Of course, Padre Mickey has a beautiful post on the feast day, too.


  1. Lovely. Thank you, Grandmere.

  2. Love the Carmina, love the prayers, love the saints in heaven and on earth. You're among them, Mimi. Cyberhugs.

  3. Thank you, all.

    Paul, it depends what you mean by saint. Grandpère may have a few words to say about THAT.

  4. What a gorgeous post. I love the Count Orgaz painting and have been blessed to see it twice in my life. It is extraordinary.

    The poem on your post is so lovely.

    How I love the saints and have written about this day on my church blog myself.

    And yes- Padre did his usual outstanding post about a feast day. Got to love that Padre, he is great!

    And so are you!! I think Paul is correct. You may wish to go to the church blog and see what you think, you have the link!

  5. Fran, I read your church blog. We're all saints and sinners. That's true. and God loves us when we're sinners and when we're saints.

    The tapestries at the LA cathedral look lovely. If I ever get to LA, I will look them up and see the cathedral, too.

    I'm jealous that you saw the El Greco twice, and I haven't seen it once.

  6. thank you for Ecclesiasticus. I don't think of it often, and it is a wonderful text.

  7. and el greco is one of my husband's favorite painters

  8. Diane, El Greco is one of my favorites, too.

    There are good words in Ecclesiasticus.

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  10. It really is a striking painting, isn't it? The Wikipedia text does not mention that the angel directly below the BVM & John the Baptist is steering the wraith-like soul of the count upwards.

    Wiki also says that the then still-living (don't you love compound adjectives?) Philip II, of all people , is among the Blessed. I can't place him, can you?

  11. Is the white blob the soul? That's funny.

    I'd put my money on the bearded man at the point of the mitre as Philip II. OCICBW.

  12. I just don't see Philip II anywhere, but there is another, multi-saint El Greco called "The Dream of Philip II" which has a kneeling, very-recognizable king, surrounded by saints. Maybe the Wiki author confused the two?

    Did you notice that the bottom panel of St. Stephen's dalmatic shows his martyrdom?

  13. Lapin, I did not notice the martyrdom on the dalmatic until you called it to my attention. Now that we're scrutinizing, I wonder about the identity of all the figures on Augustine's vestment.

  14. I'm sure they are identifiable, but I can't make out any firmly-identifiable attributes from the scan. If the object held by the top saint is a sword, as it may well be, then it will be St. Paul. I own a rather the worse for wear hood from a Spanish cope of this period and it's interesting to make comparisons between it and the orphreys of the cope on the right hand side of the painting, which I have not done before.

    Also I suspect that Degas drew on the "stoning" scene on the dalmatic for his painting of the Spartan youths and girls. There are quite close affinities.

  15. Lapin, it's great to have my very own personal reference person to supply information. I mean that. Thank you.

    I see now, upon a closer look, that the white blob is in the shape of a person - or should I say the soul of a person?

    I love the way El Greco has painted the gauzy surplice on the figure on the right.

  16. One of those painters whose work always holds something new, isn't he? As I mentioned a couple of days ago, this painting first entranced me when I was four years old. Sixty years later, it's still at it.

  17. You must have been something of a prodigy, Lapin. I don't believe it would have resonated with me when I was four, except maybe to frighten me.

  18. Lots of imagery in there to fascinate a small child, tho' one of the things that most intrigued me then - the dour, ruffed images of the mourners - is now clearly the weakest point of the picture. Obviously El Greco cobbled together, not very successfully in terms of integration, a line of separate portraits of individuals identified in Wiki as prominent citizens - probably the guys who paid for the altarpiece.


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