Happy Saint Andrew’s Day

Good news, everyone!  It’s a Friday, but you shouldn’t be fasting today because today’s the Major Feast Day commemorating Saint Andrew the Apostle.  We already looked at some thoughts about this holiday last week, so let’s just think about some other angles of observing this day.

This is one of the feast days listed in the 1662 Prayer Book as being a day for using the Athanasian Creed instead of the Apostles Creed at Morning Prayer.

Also, there is an ancient custom of churches, both local and regional, having “patron saints”.  Sometimes this was for historic reasons – the saint was said to have lived, ministered, or died in that area.  Sometimes this was for devotional reasons – the story of a particular saint was special to a particular founder or community.  In most cases, the memory of the origin of regional patron saints is probably long lost to history.  That being as it may, there are a number of places that bear the patronal name of Andrew, most notably the countries of Scotland, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania.  I know of a church that celebrates Saint Andrew’s Day every year with a bagpipe leading the procession, celebrating the Scottish heritage of several members of the congregation.  They then go on to celebrate and bless all manner of cultural heritages, using the Scottish patronage of St. Andrew as a starting point to highlight and rejoice in the “many tribes and nations” that are brought into Christ’s Church.

Perhaps you can find elements of your own family’s culture to “do up” this feast day, too?  A special food, a special activity, certain music, songs, or other arts…

Sts. Simon & Jude Tomorrow

Although the American Prayer Book tradition has (inexplicably, to me) pretended the Athanasian Creed (or, Quicunque Vult) doesn’t exist, the 1662 Prayer Book ordered for it to be read on various holy days throughout the year, averaging about once a month.  The feast of Saints Simon and Jude, which is tomorrow, October 28th, is one of the days that it was appointed to be read.  The practice was to read it in the Morning Office in place of the Apostles’ Creed.

Especially now that the ACNA has recognized the original form of the 39 Articles among our formularies, rather than the Episcopalian version of them from circa 1801, the Athanasian Creed is back with us, and there’s even a draft contemporary translation of it to be included in our Prayer Book.  So consider printing out yourself a copy of that Creed today so when you’re saying Morning Prayer tomorrow morning, it’ll be ready.  Sure, it’s long, but it’s very useful.  And considering how poorly American evangelicals have scored in basic Christian dogma in recent years, this is probably the sort of liturgical teaching tool we need to bring back in our congregations too.