Posts Tagged ‘Christian’
History of October 31: What’s Martin Luther got to do with it?
HISTORY OF OCTOBER 31 See my mini-series here on the life of Martin Luther. On October 31, 1517, the story goes, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, 95 propositions or theses and marked the beginning of the Reformation. Of course, the Reformation began long before that, but this date proves to be a convenient coat hanger for historians to mark the beginning of the Protestant* Reformation. However, the 95 Theses were not intended as a call to reformation, and it is the story behind this event that proves so fascinating and…Read More
History of St. Mark the Evangelist: Which Mark?
HISTORY OF ST. MARK Mark the Evangelist is the author of the earliest written gospel, the Gospel of Mark, which appeared about 30 years after the crucifixion of Jesus in the late AD ’60s. His feast day is April 25 for Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. He is significant historically both as the writer of the earliest Gospel and as the patron saint of Venice. Which Mark? The name Mark also appears elsewhere in the New Testament. One is John Mark, mentioned in The Book of Acts chapters 12, 13, and 15. The Pauline epistles of Colossians and Philemon…Read More
History of Pontius Pilate: his Background Before Good Friday
HISTORY OF PONTIUS PILATE The Roman governor who presided over the trial of Jesus and ordered his crucifixion had a complex background. The name Pontius Pilate provides two valuable clues to his background and ancestry. The family name, Pontius, was that of a prominent clan among the Samnites, hill cousins of the Latin Romans. They had almost conquered Rome in several fierce wars. The Pontii were of noble blood, but when Rome finally absorbed the Samnites, their aristocracy was demoted to the Roman equestrian or middle-class order rather than the higher senatorial order. Pilate’s praenomen, his personal name Pilatus, proves almost conclusively…Read More
History of the Feast of St. John
HISTORY OF THE FEAST OF ST. JOHN December 27, since the 5th century, has marked the day in the church calendar for celebrating the life of St. John the Evangelist and is known as the Feast of St. John. We’ve already mentioned that December 26 is the Feast of St. Stephen. December 28 is the Feast of The Holy Innocents, referring to those babies killed by King Herod the Great in Bethlehem. Which St. John is this? Not John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, rather the young disciple of Christ, known as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Tradition holds…Read More
History of Boxing Day: Feast of St. Stephen?
HISTORY OF BOXING DAY Boxing Day is a holiday unfamiliar to many Americans, but it it well known among the countries of the British Commonwealth. It is celebrated on December 26 as a public holiday in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand… as well as some parts of Europe and Africa. While some believe it has to do with the need to dispose of empty boxes on the day following Christmas, it has nothing to do with that, nor has it anything to do with pugilistic fisticuffs. In Britain, Boxing Day is also known by the name St. Stephen’s…Read More
History of the 12 Days of Christmas: they follow Christmas?
THE HISTORY OF THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS The Twelve Days of Christmas are the dozen days in the liturgical calendar of the Western Church between the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child (Christmas, December 25) and the coming of the Magi to visit at his house in Bethlehem (Epiphany, January 6). The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates during Epiphany rather than Christmas Day. In Hispanic and Latin American culture, January 6th is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the Day of the Kings. Question: Aren’t the Twelve Days of Christmas the days before Christmas, when you shop…Read More
History of the Christmas Creche: the Manger scene
HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS CRECHE One of the most beautiful Christmas traditions is setting up a creche during the Advent season. A creche is a model of the scene at the manger on the first Christmas in the stable at Bethlehem. A creche can be a small model, set up in the home or a large scene set up at a church or lawn. The word creche is from the French word for manger. The French word comes from the Italian word Greccio. Greccio was the town where the first manger scene was set up by St. Francis of Assisi…Read More
History of King Herod: Why was he called Great?
HISTORY OF HEROD THE KING When the wise men asked Herod the King "Where is he who is born king of the Jews?" their question was not really spoken in a vacuum, for even the Roman author Suetonius wrote, "There had spread all over the East an old and established belief that it was fated for men coming from Judea at that time to rule the world". But as wise as they were, their inquiry before the King showed no great tact. For instead of understanding the question to mean "Where is he who will someday succeed you?" Herod’s suspicious…Read More
History of the Players
What happened to our players AFTER the events in the Easter story?Read More
History of the Sanhedrin
SANHEDRIN The Greek word sunedrion, translated “council” is referred to in the New Testament as “the Great Law-Court”, “the Court of Seventy-One”, and “the rulers and elders and scribes”. It was the supreme theocratic court of the Jews and reflected the local autonomy which the Greek and Roman powers granted the Jewish nation. Its origin can be traced back as far as 200 B.C. The council had 70 members plus the ruling high priest. Three professional groups composed the council: High priests (the acting high priest and former high priests) and members of the chief-priestly families Elders (tribal and family…Read More
History of Pontius Pilate
PONTIUS PILATE His name provides two valuable clues to his background and ancestry. The family name, Pontius was that of a prominent clan among the Samnites, hill cousins of the Latin Romans. They had almost conquered Rome in several fierce wars. The Pontii were of noble blood, but when Rome finally absorbed the Samnites, their aristocracy was demoted to the Roman equestrian or middle-class order, rather than the senatorial order. It is Pilate’s personal name Pilatus that proves almost conclusively that he was of Samnite origin. Pilatus means “armed-with-a-javelin”. The pilum or javelin was six feet long, half wooden and…Read More
History of St. Patrick’s Day
ST. PATRICK’S DAY Although much of the life of the patron saint of Ireland is shrouded in legend, he was probably born around the year 389. What we do know about him comes from his book, “The Confession”, which he wrote near the end of his life. It begins, “I am Patrick, a sinner, most uncultivated and least of all the faithful…My father was Calpornius, a deacon, a son of Potitus, a presbyter, who was at the village of Bannavem Taberniea.” He was born it seems in the Severn Valley in England. He was British, not Irish. He was doubtless…Read More