Monday, April 23, 2018

St. George and the Dragon

But the knight, turning him about, bade her remain where she was, and went out to meet the dragon.
When it observed him approach, the beast was struck with amazement, and, having paused for but a moment, it ran toward the knight with a great swiftness, and beating its dark wings upon the ground as it ran.

When it drew near to him, it puffed out from its nostrils a smoke so dense that the knight was enveloped in it as in a cloud; and darted hot flames from its eyes. Rearing its horrid body, it beat against the knight, dealing him fearful blows; but he, bending, thrust his spear against it, and caught the blows upon his shield. 
~ Legend of St. George and the Dragon

The legend of St. George and the dragon was one of the most popular stories in the Middle Ages. St. George is generally believed to have lived in Asia Minor and to have suffered under the Emperor Diocletian. Ascalon, the sword of St. George, was celebrated by knights who took the martyred warrior as the patron of chivalry. While his name became the battle-cry of Merry Old England, St. George  was universally venerated in both the East and the West; in the Roman Church he was one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

While we know there was indeed a martyr named George, how true is the account of his battle with the dragon? According to New Advent:
This episode of the dragon is in fact a very late development, which cannot be traced further back than the twelfth or thirteenth century. It is found in the Golden Legend (Historia Lombardic of James de Voragine and to this circumstance it probably owes its wide diffusion. It may have been derived from an allegorization of the tyrant Diocletian or Dadianus, who is sometimes called a dragon (ho bythios drakon) in the older text, but despite the researches of Vetter (Reinbot von Durne, pp.lxxv-cix) the origin of the dragon story remains very obscure. In any case the late occurrence of this development refutes the attempts made to derive it from pagan sources....

The best known form of the legend of St. George and the Dragon is that made popular by the "Legenda Aurea", and translated into English by Caxton. According to this, a terrible dragon had ravaged all the country round a city of Libya, called Selena, making its lair in a marshy swamp. Its breath caused pestilence whenever it approached the town, so the people gave the monster two sheep every day to satisfy its hunger, but, when the sheep failed, a human victim was necessary and lots were drawn to determine the victim. On one occasion the lot fell to the king's little daughter. The king offered all his wealth to purchase a substitute, but the people had pledged themselves that no substitutes should be allowed, and so the maiden, dressed as a bride, was led to the marsh. There St. George chanced to ride by, and asked the maiden what she did, but she bade him leave her lest he also might perish. The good knight stayed, however, and, when the dragon appeared, St. George, making the sign of the cross, bravely attacked it and transfixed it with his lance. Then asking the maiden for her girdle (an incident in the story which may possibly have something to do with St. George's selection as patron of the Order of the Garter), he bound it round the neck of the monster, and thereupon the princess was able to lead it like a lamb. They then returned to the city, where St. George bade the people have no fear but only be baptized, after which he cut off the dragon's head and the townsfolk were all converted. The king would have given George half his kingdom, but the saint replied that he must ride on, bidding the king meanwhile take good care of God's churches, honour the clergy, and have pity on the poor. The earliest reference to any such episode in art is probably to be found in an old Roman tombstone at Conisborough in Yorkshire, considered to belong to the first half of the twelfth century. Here the princess is depicted as already in thedragon's clutches, while an abbot stands by and blesses the rescuer.
The key to the legend of St. George is that it epitomizes the spiritual combat in which all Christians are engaged, on one level or another. As Fr. Blake explains:
I love saints like St George, whose true story is lost in myth. In both stories George becomes a Christian "everyman". The first legend reminds us that despite every attempt to overcome him by God's grace George endures and survives all, and even in death is victorious.
The second story draws on apocalyptic imagery, the dragon is the symbol of evil, the power of sin, but here it is to be contrasted with the pure virgin. I am reminded of St Athanasius' struggle for twenty years in the tomb against demons. In all of us there is the pure virgin and the dragon. George, here takes on the attributes of St Michael (Michael means "Who is like God"), in his struggle he overcomes evil which then becomes subject to purity.

More HERE.
 

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Your Culture is Toast

From The Maven:

Maybe it's time to start focus on teaching what happened in the past instead of Howard Zinn social activist history? I had just finished showing my history students the short, moving documentary Auschwitz: If You Cried, You Died that chronicles the return of two survivors, David Mandel and Mike Vogel, to the land of the dead, when I saw this story from the Washington Post:

Two-thirds of American millennials surveyed in a recent poll cannot identify what Auschwitz is, according to a study released on Holocaust Remembrance Day that found that knowledge of the genocide that killed 6 million Jews during World War II is not robust among American adults.
Twenty-two percent of millennials in the poll said they haven’t heard of the Holocaust or are not sure whether they’ve heard of it — twice the percentage of U.S. adults as a whole who said the same.
Asked to identify what Auschwitz is, 41 percent of respondents and 66 percent of millennials could not come up with a correct response identifying it as a concentration camp or extermination camp.
It makes me sick to my stomach to read that – not just because of my job as a history teacher, but more as a citizen who understands the truism that those who forget the injustices of the past are doomed to repeat them.I’m certainly conscious of the fact that not everyone gets into history and loves to read about and study it. I recognize that there is so much in the era of iPads and YouTube and social media to distract even the most well-intentioned among us. And I know that there is a great deal of misinformation that abounds in these “lessons from history.” (Read more.)
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A Lost Burial Site

From Royal Central:
The site of Christchurch Greyfriars, is a strange, haunting place, redolent of history. It is now a ruined, public garden and a popular place for Londoners to take their sandwiches for lunch. Long gone is the atmosphere of bells and prayer from the Middle Ages; although in an odd parallel to its previous use as a church, it manages to be a place of peace in the noise of the City and nearby Stock Exchange.

Greyfriars was historically unfortunate in suffering twice as a church both times that London burned; the first medieval, monastic church – which became a parish church following the Dissolution of the Monasteries – was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, the second, Wren church, erected on the old medieval foundations, fell victim to bomb damage during the Blitz. It is close to Wren’s magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral, in which the architect himself is eulogized by his own powerful tomb inscription: “Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you”.

Greyfriars was one of approximately fifty London churches which Wren did rebuild, whilst creating other splendid examples of his own, such as the great St. James’s Church in Piccadilly. History made circles, however, for on the night that Christchurch Greyfriars burned during the Blitz, eight other Wren churches were destroyed. One of the few objects that were recovered from the burning Christchurch Greyfriars was the lid of a wooden font, retrieved by an unnamed postman who ran in to save it. Fittingly, the ruins of Christchurch Greyfriars are near Postman’s Park. (Read more.)
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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Heart of Gold

Queen Anne with her patron saints
Of Anne of Brittany. From The Telegraph:
After Anne’s death in 1514, she was buried, as custom dictated, alongside other French royals in the Basilica of Saint Denis outside Paris. But to show that her heart belonged to Brittany, it was placed in her parents’ tomb at the chapel of the Carmelite friars in Nantes, in accordance with her wishes. As queen she defended the autonomy of Brittany, then a duchy linked by treaty to France and often referred to as “Little Britain”.

Reputed to be the richest woman in Europe, her hand was eagerly sought by many kings. In 1483, her father arranged for her to marry the Prince of Wales, Edward, but the young prince disappeared, presumed to have been killed by his uncle Richard III. She married Charles VIII of France in 1491, ascending the throne as queen consort at the age of 12. As he died without an heir in 1498, she married Louis XII a year later and became the only woman to be crowned queen of France twice. (Read more.)
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"If You Don't Agree With Me, You're a Racist"

From Townhall:
Yes, racism plays a central role in American history. Yes, there are still racists in America. But slandering white America in general for the crimes of a few bad apples is no better than slandering black America for the crimes of a few. If Yancy wants to deal with racist death threats, he could start by recognizing that we're all in this together -- and that we side with him against those who threaten him -- rather than pre-emptively characterizing us as the types of people who would write such vitriolic and evil screeds. (Read more.)
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In Jesus’ Time

From Aleteia:
In order for people to survive and flourish in the desert, they need water. Until the invention of the aqueduct, perfected by the Romans, but first used Minoans in ancient Crete as early as the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C., people had to live in near rivers and streams or in small groups close to wells and spring. An aqueduct uses the earth’s gravity to move water along a channel from its source to distant people, allowing for the growth of cities and the cultivation of agricultural lands.

It was no mean technological feat for the Assyrians in 691 B.C. to bring water to Nineveh – two millions blocks of stone were used to build a 30-foot high and 900-foot long channel. In 2015, archaeologists discovered a 2,000-year-old 13-mile long aqueduct in Jerusalem. It was built by kings in the Hasmonean dynasty, who ruled Judea and its surrounding regions from about 140 B.C. to 37 B.C., and was still in use until only 100 years ago. The Roman Empire wouldn’t have been possible without the technological advances in water management it invented. Throughout the city of Rome, and running from Germany to Africa, elaborate, highly sophisticated Roman aqueducts that involved underground plumbing supplied water to millions of people. (Read more.)
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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Lakeside Splendor



From Southern Lady:
When the Anderson family stumbled upon this 1970s cottage on North Carolina’s scenic Lake Norman, about an hour from their Wilkesboro home, there was an instant connection. “The view is absolutely priceless,” homeowner and designer Erin Anderson says. The Andersons went years without changing a thing, but eventually decided on a remodel to gain space to entertain. They doubled the footprint of the kitchen and converted a screened porch into a bunkroom for their three daughters, freeing up bedrooms for visitors. Since it was a vacation home, Erin chose bright, whimsical patterns and fresh colors that blend with with chinoiserie accents as well as distinctive artwork—all by Southern female artists. “Filling our spaces with art we love is always a priority,” she says. (Read more.)
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Winning

From The Washington Times:
President Donald Trump rode into office on the wings, in part, of a promise to clean up the Deep State, drain the swamp and boot from places of influence those who’ve worked behind the scenes to undo America’s greatness, one unconstitutional usurpation at a time.

It must be working. How else to explain how nuts the left’s been acting of late?

Just look at James Comey and his “A Higher Loyalty” book. In it, he paints Trump as a liar, a mafia-esque leader — a man of small hands, a president who’s brought the country to “a dangerous time,” to an era “where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded,” he wrote, according to published excerpts. But peer past the words into the mind of the writer and it’s obvious: Here’s a guy who’s so ticked, who’s so pissed, who’s so filled with hate that he doesn’t even bother to filter. The rhetoric is unbefitting for a man of his supposed esteem — but apparently, he can’t help himself.

The tizzy doesn’t stop there. (Read more.)
From The Washington Examiner:
Harvard law professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz argued Wednesday night that President Trump was well within his legal rights to fire former FBI Director James Comey last year, and said that move can't be used as a basis for charging Trump with obstruction of justice. Speaking on CNN, Dershowitz said it's "obvious" Trump fired Comey to put an end to the Russia investigation. But he said while that may not sit well with people, it's still a legal act. "It's not OK, I think it's not illegal," he said. (Read more.)
 From Townhall:
Eleven House Republicans have sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray officially referring Hillary Clinton, fired FBI Director James Comey, fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for criminal investigation. FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were caught sending hundreds of anti-Trump text messages during the Clinton investigation, have also been referred for criminal investigation. U.S. Attorney John Huber, who was tapped by Sessions a few weeks ago to investigate the FBI's handling of the Clinton email probe, was copied on the request.

“Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately,” lawmakers wrote.

As the letter outlines, Comey is under fire for allegedly giving false testimony to Congress last summer about the FBI's criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's repeated mishandling of classified information. Specifically, lawmakers cite Comey's decision to draft an exoneration memo of Clinton months before FBI agents were done with their work and before Clinton and key staffers were interviewed for the probe. They're also going after him for leaking classified information to a friend, which Comey admitted to under oath.

"It would appear that former Director Comey leaked classified information when sharing these memos with Professor Richman. Accordingly, we refer James Comey to DOJ for potential violation(s) if: 18 USC 641, 18 USC 793, and 18USC 1924 (a)," the letter states. (Read more.)
 From Mike Huckabee:
 Dominating the national conversation for the next few days will no doubt be the interview between ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and fired FBI Director James Sanctimonious --- I mean Comey. This exchange of softball questions and self-serving answers, edited down to one hour (minus commercials) from five hours of conversation, was perhaps the most sickening piece of political propaganda I’ve ever seen on a major network. And that’s saying something.

It’s a mystery how Comey even functions –- his mind, I mean. He wraps himself in “truth” while misrepresenting it numerous times in this interview. He seems to be in such denial that he’s oblivious to the irony of what he’s doing: chiding others for politicizing investigations WHILE APPEARING ON AN AGENDA-DRIVEN SHOW THAT IS POLITICIZING INVESTIGATIONS. The last 15 minutes or so of the interview are as political as it gets, with Comey actually saying in response to some conveniently leading questions that the President is morally unfit for office and calling on Americans to stop him at the ballot box. (Read more.)
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