St George, Martyr, Patron of England; Comm. St Erkonwald of London, Confessor: Missa “Protexisti”
The feast of St. George is found in the Ethiopian, Coptic, Syriac, and Latin liturgies. The ancient “Georgia” is named after him. He is renowned as the armed defender of the Church, one who carried the trophies of victory over the enemy.
Saint George (c. 275/281 – 23 April 303 AD) was a Greek who became an officer in the Roman army. His father was the Greek Gerondios from Cappadocia Asia Minor and his mother was from the city Lydda. Lydda was a Greek city in Palestine from the times of the conquest of Alexander the Great (333 BC). Saint George became an officer in the Roman army in the Guard of Diocletian.
The Emperor Diocletian had at first favored this illustrious son of a noble family of Cappadocia, but when St. George reproached the Emperor with his cruelty to Christians, he was cast into prison and put to death with such great cruelty that in the Eastern Liturgy he is styled the “Great Martyr.”
St. George is the patron saint of England. His cross forms the national flag of England, and features within the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, and other national flags containing the Union Flag, such as those of Australia and New Zealand. Traces of the cult of Saint George in England pre-date the Norman Conquest in the eleventh century; by the fourteenth century the saint had been declared both the patron saint and the protector of the royal family.
St. Erkonwald is said to have belonged to the house of Offa or Uffa, progenitor of the East Anglian princes, but he becomes first known to us as the founder of two religious houses, that of the Isle of Chertsey, in the Thames, for monks, in the establishment of which he was aided by the munificence of Frithwald, under-King of Surrey; and that of Barking, in Essex, for religious women. Over the first he presided himself, and he named his sister, St Ethelburga, the first Abbess of Barking. Both houses were governed according to the most exact rules of monastic discipline. About the year 675, St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, one of whose chief merits was the choice of holy men for the episcopal Sees, appointed St Erkonwald Bisbop of London, at the time when St Sebbi and Seghere were kings of Essex. He ruled his flock with the reputation of great sanctity, which was attested by many miracles. It is particularly recorded that the litter in which he was borne during his sickness was, even many years after his death, the channel of frequent cures of fever and other maladies. The epitaph on the ancient shrine in old St Paul’s of St. Erkonwald states that he was Bishop during eleven years. The festival of his deposition was kept on the 30th April, and that of the solemn translation of his relics, which took place in the year 1148, on the 14th November. When the shrine was plundered, at the time of the change of religion, the body of the Saint is said to have been re-interred near the east end of the choir.
INTROIT Psalm 63:2
Thine to defend me, O God, from this malice, alleluia: the thronging enemies that are bent on my hurt, alleluia, alleluia. V. O God, listen to my prayer when I call for aid, save me from the threats of my mortal foe. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat Thine to defend me, O God…
O God, Who dost gladden us by the merits and inter-cession of blessed George, Thy Martyr, mercifully grant that we, who ask Thy favors through him, may obtain them by the gift of Thy grace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
For St Erkonwald
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that the august solemnity of Thy blessed confessor and pontiff, Erkonwald, may increase our devotion and promote our salvation. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
EPISTLE 2 Timothy 2: 8-10; 3,10-12
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to Timothy. Dearly beloved, be mindful that the Lord Jesus Christ is risen again from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel. Wherein I labor even unto bands, as an evil-doer: but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they may also obtain the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, love, patience, persecutions, afflictions, such as came upon me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured and out of them all the Lord delivered me. And all that will live godly in Jesus Christ shall suffer persecution.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. Ps. 88:6 The heavens, Lord, are witness of thy wonderful power, of thy faithfulness before the court of the holy ones. Alleluia. V. Lord, thou hast set a jewelled crown upon his head. Alleluia.
GOSPEL John 15:1-7
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
OFFERTORY Psalm 88:6
The heavens, Lord, are witnesses of thy wonderful power, of thy faithfulfulness before the court of the holy ones alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Sanctify the gifts we offer Thee, O Lord, and through the intercession of blessed George, Thy martyr, cleanse us by them from the stains of our sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
For St Erkonwald
By the offered gifts we beseech thee, O Lord, that thou kindly enlighten thy Church, so that thy flock may everywhere progress and prosper, and thy shepherds, under thy guidance may be pleasing to thy name. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION Psalm 63:11
The good man will rejoice and put his trust in the Lord; the upright heart will not boast in vain alleluia, alleluia.
We beseech Thee, O almighty God, that those whom Thou dost refresh with Thy sacrament, Thou also grant them, by the intercession of blessed George, Thy martyr, to serve Thee, as befits them, with behavior pleasing unto Thee. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
For St Erkonwald
Being appeased, O Lord, guide thy Church, which has been nourished by holy refreshment, that under thy direction and powerful rule it may receive increase of liberty and may continue in religious integrity. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.