Friday, November 30, 2012

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Apocrypha, Romans 10, Psalm 19, Matthew 4: 18-22, Saint Andrew, Patras Greece

Friday, November 30, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog:

Apocrypha, Romans 10, Psalm 19, Matthew 4: 18-22, Saint Andrew, Patras Greece

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!
Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


November 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

“Dear children! In this time of grace, I call all of you to renew prayer. Open yourselves to Holy Confession so that each of you may accept my call with the whole heart. I am with you and I protect you from the ruin of sin, but you must open yourselves to the way of conversion and holiness, that your heart may burn out of love for God. Give Him time and He will give Himself to you and thus, in the will of God you will discover the love and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call.” ~ Blessed Virgin Mary

November 02, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

"Dear children, as a mother I implore you to persevere as my apostles. I am praying to my Son to give you Divine wisdom and strength. I am praying that you may discern everything around you according to God’s truth and to strongly resist everything that wants to distance you from my Son. I am praying that you may witness the love of the Heavenly Father according to my Son. My children, great grace has been given to you to be witnesses of God’s love. Do not take the given responsibility lightly. Do not sadden my motherly heart. As a mother I desire to rely on my children, on my apostles. Through fasting and prayer you are opening the way for me to pray to my Son for Him to be beside you and for His name to be holy through you. Pray for the shepherds because none of this would be possible without them. Thank you."
~ Blessed Virgin Mary

October 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

"Dear children! Today I call you to pray for my intentions. Renew fasting and prayer because Satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition. I call you, little children, to holiness and to live in grace. Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love for which you yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call." ~ Blessed Virgin Mary


Today's Word:  apocrypha  a·poc·ry·pha  [uh-pok-ruh-fuh]

Origin:  1350–1400; Middle English  < Late Latin  < Greek,  neuter plural of apókryphos  hidden, unknown, spurious, equivalent to apokryph-  (base of apokrýptein  to hide away; see apo-, crypt) + -os  adj. suffix

noun, ( often used with a singular verb  )
1. ( initial capital letter  ) a group of 14 books, not considered canonical, included in the Septuagint and the Vulgate as part of the Old Testament, but usually omitted from Protestant editions of the Bible. See table under Bible.
2. various religious writings of uncertain origin regarded by some as inspired, but rejected by most authorities.
3. writings, statements, etc., of doubtful authorship or authenticity. Compare canon1 (  defs 6, 7, 9 )


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 19:2-5

2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the knowledge.
3 No utterance at all, no speech, not a sound to be heard,
4 but from the entire earth the design stands out, this message reaches the whole world. High above, he pitched a tent for the sun,
5 who comes forth from his pavilion like a bridegroom, delights like a champion in the course to be run.


Today's Epistle - Romans 10:9-18

9 that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved.
10 It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and by making the declaration with your lips that you are saved.
11 When scripture says: No one who relies on this will be brought to disgrace,
12 it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: the same Lord is the Lord of all, and his generosity is offered to all who appeal to him,
13 for all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
14 How then are they to call on him if they have not come to believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard of him? And how will they hear of him unless there is a preacher for them?
15 And how will there be preachers if they are not sent? As scripture says: How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of good news.
16 But in fact they have not all responded to the good news. As Isaiah says: Lord, who has given credence to what they have heard from us?
17 But it is in that way faith comes, from hearing, and that means hearing the word of Christ.
18 Well then, I say, is it possible that they have not heard? Indeed they have: in the entire earth their voice stands out, their message reaches the whole world.


Today's Gospel Reading - Matthew 4: 18-22

The call of Andrew and his brother
The first disciples fishers of men

O Father, you called St. Andrew from the net of the world to the wonderful fisher of men for the proclamation of the Gospel. Please also make us taste the sweetness of the heavenly Father and make us to be your beloved children. So that we can open our heart to you with full confidence in order to allow it to be made and be processed by the eyes and words of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus, and that together with Him, we bring the joyful news of your merciful love to our brothers and sisters, which makes, that our life more beautiful.

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.

19  He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
20  At once they left their nets and followed him.
21  He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them,
22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.


    * "He was walking along the Sea of Galilee." Jesus is just out of the desert, after 40 days of great loneliness and struggle against the devil (Mt 4, 1-11). It 'emerged victorious, secure his love of the Father and came into Galilee, and despised distant land, a land border and irrelevance, bringing his great light, his salvation (Mt 4, 12-16). And here he began to shout his message of joy and liberation: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt 4, 17). There is no more loneliness, nor desert filled, there is no since the Lord Jesus has fallen on our land, Galilee of the Gentiles: in fact he is really close, it is God-with-us. It is not far away, does not stay still and hidden, but He "walks", walk along the sea, along the shores of our poor lives. Indeed, even more. Galilee, meaning "ring": this tells us that he, Love, is to marry, to join with Him forever. Then you just have to welcome him, as he walks by the sea. He already sees us, even from a distance, we already know ...

    * The verb "saw", repeated twice, first in reference to Andrew and his brother, then James and John, brings all the strength and intensity of a gaze that comes from the heart, from deep. Thus the Lord sees us: our readers in, with loving attention browse the pages of our lives, knows everything about us, everything he loves.

    * It is no accident that Matthew often uses the vocabulary to describe this episode of family vocation, encounter with the Lord Jesus we find four times the word "brother" and two times the word "father." We brought home our principle of life, where we discover that we too are sons and brothers. Jesus enters our reality in this most human, most us, more everyday, enters the flesh, in the heart, in my entire life. It is recovered, to make us be born again.

    * "Follow me." These are his words, simple and clear: he asks us to set out, to move, we, like him, "Come." It 'nice feeling to awaken from this voice that reaches us and is stronger, sweeter than the voice of the waters of the sea in the world, noisy and confused. When he speaks to the heart, becomes a great calm, calm returns. And then we also offer on course, marks the path to follow, does not let us lose, "Behind me," says the Lord. Just accept the invitation, just accept Him to know more, we just follow him, he is to open the road.

    "They left and followed." The two brothers, the first called Peter and Andrew, they become for us the beginning of this journey, as a clear, strong, sure. They teach us to do the moves, the movement, choices. "Release" and "Forward" became the key verbs, the words written in the heart. Yes, because maybe it will happen more often have to do these operations on the inside, in the secret soul, where only we can see. Where only the Lord is faithful, even for us it does this wonderful word of gospel, so bright and strong that changes your life.

    * "Now." Twice, Matthew shows us in welcoming the readiness of the disciples the Lord is passing by, his gaze, his voice for them. They do not put obstacles, no doubt, have no fear, but trust him blindly, respond immediately, saying yes to that Love.

    In a crescendo, Matthew sliding before our eyes all the elements that inspired the scene, on the shore of the sea: nets, boats, the father ... it slips away into the background, is left aside. There remains only the Lord who goes before and behind him, called the four, new men, that they carry our name, the story that God wrote for us.

Some questions
    * The horizon of this Gospel story, and then the grace that God still does for us is the sea, a clear sea, which has a name, its geography. I can, before the Word of God, at this moment, to give a precise face the horizon of my life? I have the inner peace to lay bare before the eyes of Christ, my life as it is, my Galilee, my sea? Did I fear that the water in my heart, like a menacing sea, dark, enemy? I can allow the Lord to walk through my bank? I can let myself look like Andrea, as Simon, James and John?

    * And if I'm silent at this moment, if I leave the steps of Jesus really are as close to me to leave my poor sand on his prints of love, friendship, then I have the courage to let me get by His eyes full of light? Or continue to hide a bit ', to escape, to hide somewhere in part, that I do not want to see or accept?
    And again, I let him talk to me, tell me, perhaps for the first time: "Come after me"? Or prefer to just keep listening to the sound of the sea, its waves of invading, broken?

    * This Gospel speaks to me very strongly of the company of brothers, I speak of my being son, lays bare the deepest part of the heart, enter the intimacy of home. Perhaps this is the place where there is more pain for me, where I do not feel understood, accepted and loved as I? For the Lord puts his finger in my wound? Brothers, father, mother, friends ... Jesus is all this for me, and much more. I feel it really so? There is room for Him in my house? And how is my relationship with him? As a brother, friend, son? Or do you only know from a distance, the surface of escape?

    * It seems very clear that this passage the Lord does great things in the life of the disciples: "I make you fishers of men," he tells them. How to react to this discovery? I let myself be touched by Him, truly, really? I want to let me change your life? With Him I want to start a new adventure, looking for brothers and sisters who need to meet, to know, to feel loved by his infinite love? I can be a fisher of men, like Andrew and his brothers.

    * We have just one thing: the decision, the decision to follow the Lord, to walk behind him tried to stop a moment longer ... What I have to leave today to take this step important? What is holding me back, I silt, which does not allow me to move? What weight in my heart, soul? Perhaps born in me the need to confess, to open my heart. Porto now written into the look that he has laid on me, his words, stronger than the sound of the sea, I can not pretend nothing happened. The Lord is in the past has left a mark. I am no longer that of my first ... I mean yes, as Andrew. Amen.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:   Saint Andrew, the Apostle

Feast Day:  November 30
Patron Saint:  Fishermen

Saint Andrew (Greek: Ἀνδρέας, Andreas; from the early 1st century – mid to late 1st century AD), called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" (Greek: manly, brave, from ἀνδρεία, Andreia, "manhood, valour"), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews, Christians, and other Hellenized people of the region. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him. He is considered the founder and the first bishop of the Church of Byzantium and is consequently the patron saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The New Testament states that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter,by which it is inferred that he was likewise a son of John, or Jonah. He was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them "fishers of men" (Greek: ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων, halieĩs anthrōpōn). At the beginning of Jesus' public life, they were said to have occupied the same house at Capernaum.

The Gospel of John states that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him, and another unnamed disciple of John the Baptist to follow Jesus. Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and hastened to introduce him to his brother. Thenceforth, the two brothers were disciples of Christ. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the Apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus.

In the gospels, Andrew is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus, Andrew told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes (John 6:8), with Philip told Jesus about the Greeks seeking Him, and was one of four (the others being Peter, James, and John) to hear Jesus' teaching about what would soon happen.

Eusebius quotes Origen as saying Andrew preached along the Black Sea and the Dnieper and Volga rivers as far as Kiev and Novgorod Hence he became a patron saint of Ukraine, Romania and Russia. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium (Constantinople) in AD 38, installing Stachys as bishop. According to Hippolytus of Rome, he preached in Thrace, and his presence in Byzantium is also mentioned in the apocryphal Acts of Andrew, written in the 2nd century; Basil of Seleucia also knew of Apostle Andrew's mission in Thrace, as well as Scythia and Achaia. This diocese would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew is recognized as its patron saint.

Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras (Patræ) in Achaea, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. Early texts, such as the Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours, describe Andrew as bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Jesus is said to have been crucified; yet a tradition developed that Andrew had been crucified on a cross of the form called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross, or "saltire"), now commonly known as a "Saint Andrew's Cross" — supposedly at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been. "The familiar iconography of his martyrdom, showing the apostle bound to an X-shaped cross, does not seem to have been standardized before the later Middle Ages," Judith Calvert concluded after re-examining the materials studied by Louis Réau.

The Acts of Andrew

Crucifixion of St. Andrew.
The apocryphal Acts of Andrew, mentioned by Eusebius, Epiphanius and others, is among a disparate group of Acts of the Apostles that were traditionally attributed to Leucius Charinus. "These Acts (...) belong to the third century: ca. A.D. 260," was the opinion of M. R. James, who edited them in 1924.

The Acts, as well as a Gospel of St Andrew, appear among rejected books in the Decretum Gelasianum connected with the name of Pope Gelasius I. The Acts of Andrew was edited and published by Constantin von Tischendorf in the Acta Apostolorum apocrypha (Leipzig, 1821), putting it for the first time into the hands of a critical professional readership.

Another version of the Andrew legend is found in the Passio Andreae, published by Max Bonnet (Supplementum II Codicis apocryphi, Paris, 1895).


The statue of Saint Andrew in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City; the relic of his cross was kept directly above this.
Relics of the Apostle Andrew are kept at the Basilica of St Andrew in Patras, Greece; the Duomo di Sant'Andrea, Amalfi, Italy; St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland; and the Church of St Andrew and St Albert, Warsaw, Poland. There are also numerous smaller reliquaries throughout the world.

St Jerome wrote that the relics of St Andrew were taken from Patras to Constantinople by order of the Roman emperor Constantius II around 357 and deposited in the Church of the Holy Apostles. The head of Andrew was given by the Byzantine despot Thomas Palaeologus to Pope Pius II in 1461. It was enshrined in one of the four central piers of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

In September 1964, Pope Paul VI, as a gesture of goodwill toward the Greek Orthodox Church, ordered that all of the relics of St Andrew that were in Vatican City be sent back to Patras. The relics, which consist of the small finger, part of the top of the cranium of Andrew, and small portions of the cross on which he was martyred, have since that time been kept in the Church of St Andrew at Patras in a special shrine and are revered in a special ceremony every November 30, his feast day.


In 1208, following the sack of Constantinople, those relics of St Andrew and St Peter which remained in the imperial city were taken to Amalfi, Italy, by Cardinal Peter of Capua, a native of Amalfi. The Amalfi cathedral (Duomo), dedicated to St Andrew (as is the town itself), contains a tomb in its crypt that it maintains still contains the rest of the relics of the apostle. On 8 May 2008 the relic believed to be Andrew's head was returned to Amalfi Cathedral.

Traditions and legends


The church tradition of Georgia regards St. Andrew as the first preacher of Christianity in the territory of Georgia and as the founder of the Georgian church. This tradition was apparently derived from the Byzantine sources, particularly Nicetas of Paphlagonia (died c. 890) who asserts that "Andrew preached to the Iberians, Sauromatians, Taurians, and Scythians and to every region and city, on the Black Sea, both north and south." The version was adopted by the 10th-11th-century Georgian ecclesiastics and, refurbished with more details, was inserted in the Georgian Chronicles. The story of St. Andrew’s mission in the Georgian lands endowed the Georgian church with apostolic origin and served as a defense argument to George the Hagiorite against the encroachments from the Antiochian church authorities on autocephaly of the Georgian church. Another Georgian monk, Ephraim the Minor, produced a thesis, reconciling St. Andrew’s story with an earlier evidence of the 4th-century conversion of Georgians by St. Nino and explaining the necessity of the “second Christening” by Nino. The thesis was made canonical by the Georgian church council in 1103.


Cypriot tradition holds that a ship which was transporting Saint Andrew went off course and ran aground. Upon coming ashore, Andrew struck the rocks with his staff at which point a spring of healing waters gushed forth. Using it, the sight of the ship's captain, who had been blind in one eye, was restored. Thereafter, the site became a place of pilgrimage and a fortified monastery stood there in the 12th century, from which Isaac Comnenus negotiated his surrender to Richard the Lionheart. In the 15th century, a small chapel was built close to the shore. The main monastery of the current church dates to the 18th century.

Other pilgrimages are more recent. The story is told that in 1895, the son of a Maria Georgiou was kidnapped. Seventeen years later, Saint Andrew appeared to her in a dream, telling her to pray for her son's return at the monastery. Living in Anatolia, she embarked on the crossing to Cyprus on a very crowded boat. Telling her story during the journey, one of the passengers, a young Dervish priest became more and more interested. Asking if her son had any distinguishing marks, he stripped off his cloths to reveal the same marks and mother and son were thus reunited.

Apostolos Andreas Monastery (Greek: Απόστολος Ανδρέας) is a monastery dedicated to Saint Andrew situated just south of Cape Apostolos Andreas, which is the north-eastern most point of the island of Cyprus,in Rizokarpason in the Karpass Peninsula. The monastery is an important site to the Cypriot Orthodox Church. It was once known as 'the Lourdes of Cyprus', served not by an organized community of monks but by a changing group of volunteer priests and laymen. Both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities consider the monastery a holy place. As such it is visited by many people for votive prayers.


The first reference regarding the first small chapel at Luqa dedicated to Andrew dates to 1497. This chapel contained three altars, one of them dedicated to Andrew. The painting showing "Mary with Saints Andrew and Paul" was painted by the Maltese artist Filippo Dingli. At one time, many fishermen lived in the village of Luqa, and this may be the main reason behind choosing Andrew as patron saint. The statue of Andrew was sculpted in wood by Giuseppe Scolaro in 1779. This statue underwent several restoration works including that of 1913 performed by the Maltese artist Abraham Gatt. The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew on the main altar of the church was painted by Mattia Preti in 1687.


The official stance of the Romanian Orthodox Church is that Andrew preached the Gospel to the Daco-Romans in the province of Dobrogea (Scythia Minor), whom he is said to have converted to Christianity. There have been some ancient Christian symbols found carved in a cave called Basarabi, near Constanţa harbor. This have been used for propaganda purposes in the communist era as part of the protochronism ideology, which purports that the Orthodox Church has been a companion and defender of the Romanian people for all of its history. This theory is largely dismissed by scholars and researchers including George Alexandrou

According to Alexandrou research, St. Andrew spent 20 years on the Dacian territories preaching and teaching. Alexandrou also supposed that St. Andrews felt very close to the Dacians because they were monotheists. During that period St.Andrews traveled around the Danube territories and along the coast of the Black Sea, but mostly he was in and around his cave in Dobrogea, in South East Romania. St. Andrew’s cave is still kept as a holy place. Later, John Cassian (360-435), Dionysius Exiguus(470-574) and Joannes Maxentius (leader of the so-called Scythian monks) lived in the same area known as Scythia Minor or Dobrogea, in South East Romania

There are many traditions without religious meaning connected to St. Andrew day, some of them having their origin on the Roman celebrations of Saturn. The Dacian New Year took place from the 14th of November until the 7th of December, this was the interval when time began its course. One of the elements that came from the Roman and Thracian celebrations was one about wolves. During this night, the wolves are allowed to eat all the animals they want. It is said that they can speak, too, but anyone that hears them will die soon. Early on St. Andrew’s day, the mothers go into the garden and pick tree branches, especially from apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees, but also rosebush branches. They make a bunch of branches for each family member. The one whose bunch will bloom by New Years day will be lucky and healthy next year. The best known tradition connected to this night is the one about matrimony and premonitory dreams. Single girls must put under their pillow a branch of sweet basil. If someone takes the plants in their dreams, that means the girl will marry soon. They can also plant wheat in a dish and water it until New Year’s day. The nicer the wheat looks that day, the better the year to come. All these traditions have no religious meaning, but they are approached during St.Andrew day.,

Ukraine, Romania, and Russia

St Andrew's prophecy of Kiev depicted in Radzivill Chronicle.
Early Christian History in Ukraine holds that the apostle Andrew is said to have preached on the southern borders of modern-day Ukraine, along the Black Sea. Legend has it that he travelled up the Dnieper River and reached the future location of Kiev, where he erected a cross on the site where the St. Andrew's Church of Kiev currently stands, and prophesied the foundation of a great Christian city, Jerusalem of the Russian/Ukrainian land.

It was in the obvious interest of Kievan Rus' and its later Russian and Ukraninian successors, striving in numerous ways to link themselves with the political and religious heritage of Byzantium, to claim such a direct visit from the famous. Claiming direct lineage from St. Andrew also had the effect of disregarding any theological leanings of Greek Orthodoxy over which disagreement arose, since the actual "indirect" proselytising via Byzantium was bypassed altogether. Still, as the same source quotes, Andrew only preached to the southern shore of the Black Sea (current Turkey).


St. Andrew carving c.1500 in the National Museum of Scotland
About the middle of the 10th century, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. Several legends state that the relics of Andrew were brought by divine guidance from Constantinople to the place where the modern town of St Andrews stands today (Gaelic, Cill Rìmhinn).

The oldest surviving manuscripts are two: one is among the manuscripts collected by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and willed to Louis XIV of France, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, the other in the Harleian Mss in the British Library, London. They state that the relics of Andrew were brought by one Regulus to the Pictish king Óengus mac Fergusa (729–761). The only historical Regulus (Riagail or Rule) (whose name is preserved in the tower of St Rule was an Irish monk expelled from Ireland with Saint Columba; his dates, however, are c 573 – 600. There are good reasons for supposing that the relics were originally in the collection of Acca, bishop of Hexham, who took them into Pictish country when he was driven from Hexham (c. 732), and founded a see, not, according to tradition, in Galloway, but on the site of St Andrews. The connection made with Regulus is, therefore, due in all probability to the desire to date the foundation of the church at St Andrews as early as possible.

According to legend, in 832 AD, Óengus II led an army of Picts and Scots into battle against the Angles, led by Æthelstan, near modern-day Athelstaneford, East Lothian. The legend states that he was heavily outnumbered and hence whilst engaged in prayer on the eve of battle, Óengus vowed that if granted victory he would appoint Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. On the morning of battle white clouds forming an X shape in the sky were said to have appeared. Óengus and his combined force, emboldened by this apparent divine intervention, took to the field and despite being inferior in numbers were victorious. Having interpreted the cloud phenomenon as representing the crux decussata upon which Saint Andrew was crucified, Óengus honoured his pre-battle pledge and duly appointed Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. The white saltire set against a celestial blue background is said to have been adopted as the design of the flag of Scotland on the basis of this legend. However, there is evidence Andrew was venerated in Scotland before this.

Andrew's connection with Scotland may have been reinforced following the Synod of Whitby, when the Celtic Church felt that Columba had been "outranked" by Peter and that Peter's brother would make a higher ranking patron. The 1320 Declaration of Arbroath cites Scotland's conversion to Christianity by Andrew, "the first to be an Apostle". Numerous parish churches in the Church of Scotland and congregations of other Christian churches in Scotland are named after Andrew. The national church of the Scottish people in Rome, Sant'Andrea degli Scozzesi is dedicated to St Andrew.

St. Andrew's cross carved in fireplace to prevent witches from entering a house
A local superstition uses the cross of Saint Andrew as a hex sign on the fireplaces in northern England and Scotland to prevent witches from flying down the chimney and entering the house to do mischief. By placing the St Andrew's cross on one of the fireplace posts or lintels, witches are prevented from entering through this opening. In this case, it is similar to the use of a witch ball, although the cross will activily prevent witches from entering, and the witch ball will passively delay or entice the witch, and perhaps entrap it.



Andrew is the patron saint of Barbados, Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Patras in Greece, Amalfi in Italy, Luqa in Malta, and Esgueira in Portugal. He was also the patron saint of Prussia and of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The flag of Scotland (and consequently the Union Flag which also features on the flags of Australia, New Zealand and the arms and flag of Nova Scotia) feature St Andrew's saltire cross. The saltire is also the flag of Tenerife, the flag of Galicia and the naval jack of Russia. The Confederate flag also features a saltire commonly referred to as a St Andrew's cross, although its designer, William Porcher Miles, said he changed it from an upright cross to a saltire so that it would not be a religious symbol but merely a heraldic device. The Florida and Alabama flags also show that device. Andrew is also the patron saint of the U.S. Army Rangers.

The feast of Andrew is observed on November 30 in both the Eastern and Western churches, and is the national day of Scotland. In the traditional liturgical books of the Catholic Church, the feast of St. Andrew is the first feast day in the Proper of Saints.


        • Metzger, Bruce M. (ed); , Michael D. Coogan (ed) (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504645-5.
        • Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-14-051312-4.
        • The Life and Miracles of St. Andrew The Apostle
        • Andreas: The Legend of St. Andrew translated by Robert Kilburn Root, 1899, from Project Gutenberg
        • Paintings and Statues of Saint Andrew in Malta and around the world
        • National Shrine to St Andrew in Edinburgh Scotland
        • Scottish Government Celebrations of St. Andrew's Day
        • Grimm's Saga No. 150 about St. Andrew
        • St. Andrew page at Christian Iconography
        • "The Life of St. Andrew" from Caxton's translation of the Golden Legend


            Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


            Today's  Snippet  I:  Patras, Greece

            Patras  is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 km (134 mi) west of Athens. The city is built at the foothills of Mount Panachaikon, overlooking the Gulf of Patras.

            The Patras City Area is a conurbation of 160.400 inhabitants, while its wider urban area, that forms within the new Patras municipality according to kallikrates plan, had a population of 214.580 (in 2011). The core settlement has a history spanning four millennia. In the Roman period it had become a cosmopolitan centre of the eastern Mediterranean whilst, according to Christian tradition, it was also the place of Saint Andrew's martyrdom.

            Dubbed Greece's Gate to the West, Patras is a commercial hub, while its busy port is a nodal point for trade and communication with Italy and the rest of Western Europe. The city has two public universities and one Technological Institute, hosting a large student population and rendering Patras a major scientific centre with a field of excellence in technological education. The Rio-Antirio bridge connects Patras' easternmost suburb of Rio to the town of Antirrio, connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with mainland Greece.

            Every year, in February, the city hosts one of Europe's largest and most colourful carnivals ; notable features of the Patras Carnival include its mammoth-sized satirical floats and extravagant balls and parades, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors in a pleasant Mediterranean climate. Patras is also famous for supporting an indigenous cultural scene active mainly in the performing arts and modern urban literature. It was European Capital of Culture 2006.


            The city of Patras has an important history of four thousand years. Patras has been inhabited since the prehistoric age and constituted an important centre of the Mycenean era. In the antiquity it was a leading member of the Achaean League. Patras reached the peak of its power in the Roman era, when an imperial colony was founded there by Augustus. In the Byzantine period it remained a commercial city. The town experienced repeated conquests from Latins, Venice, Francs, Byzantines and Ottomans. Later on, it played a leading part in the Greek revolution of 1821, the first revolt of which in Greece, broke out in Patras. In 19th century Greece, it was the second city of the country, the indisputable centre of the Peloponnese, an important export harbour and a cradle of the emerging Greek middle class. In the 20th century the city developed as a commercial and industrial hub and in spite of its overshadowing by Athens, it is now the third city of Greece and the most significant economic pole of Peloponnese and West Greece.


            Patras, the Roman Odeum
            The first traces of settlement in Patras date to the 3rd millennium BC, in modern Aroe. During the Middle Helladic period (the first half of the 2nd millennium BC) another settlement was founded in the region. Patras flourished for the first time during the Post-Helladic or Mycenean period (1580–1100 BC). Ancient Patras was formed by the unification of three Mycenaean villages located in modern Aroe, Antheia and Mesatis. The foundation of Patras goes back to prehistoric times, the legendary account being that Eumelus, having been taught by Triptolemus how to grow grain in the rich soil of the Glaucus valley, established three townships, Aroe (i.e. "ploughland"), Antheia ("the flowery"), and Mesatis ("the middle settlement") united by the common worship of Artemis Triclaria at her shrine on the river Meilichus.

            Mythology further tells us that after the Dorian invasion, a group of Achaeans from Laconia, led by the eponymous Patreus, established a colony. The Achaeans, having strengthened and enlarged Aroe, called it Patrae, as the exclusive residence of the ruling families, and it was recognized as one of the twelve Achaean cities. During antiquity, Patras remained a farming region but in Classical times it became an important port. In 419 BC the town was, on the advice of Alcibiades, connected with its harbour by long walls in imitation of those at Athens.

            A bust of Antinous found in Patras (130-138 CE). It is kept in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens

            Roman Era

            After 280 BC, and prior to the Roman occupation of Greece, Patras played a significant role in the foundation of the second "Achaean League" (Achaike Sympoliteia) together with the cities Dyme, Triteia and Pharai. As a consequence, the initiative of political developments was transferred for the first time to western Achaea. However, the League's armed force was destroyed by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus after the defeat of the Achaeans at Scarpheia in 146 BC, and many of the remaining inhabitants forsook the city; but after the Battle of Actium Augustus restored the ancient name Aroe, established a military colony of veterans from the 10th and 12th legions (not, as is usually said, the 22nd), and bestowed the rights of colonists on the inhabitants of Rhypae and Dyme, and all the Locri Ozolae except those of Amphissa.

            Colonia Augusta Achaica Patrensis (CAAP) became one of the most populous of all the towns of Greece; its colonial coinage extends from Augustus to Gordian III. A cadastral map was drawn up, privileges were granted, crafts were created, the most important being that of earthen oil lamps which were exported almost to the whole world of that time, two industrial zones were created, temples were built, roads that rendered Patras a communication center were opened, streets were paved with flagstones, foreign religions were introduced. Patras was by then a cosmopolitan city.

            The Golden Ass of Lucius Apuleius, one of the most well-known works of Latin literature, was said to be adapted from a lost Greek original by a Lucius of Patrae - of whom little is known, but who presumably lived at the city in this period.  At the end of the 3rd century AD, the city fell into decline, probably because of a strong earthquake that struck the whole of northeastern Peloponnese in AD 300.

            Saint Andrew

            According to the Christian tradition, Saint Andrew came to Patras to preach Christianity during the reign of Emperor Nero and was crucified as a martyr. He is ever since considered to be the patron saint of the city. Two temples built in his honor, an old Byzantine-style basilica and a new monumental church, completed in the 1970s, mark the traditional place of his crucifixion. Like Corinth, it was an early and effective centre of Christianity; its archbishop is mentioned in the lists of the Council of Sardica in 347.

            Byzantine Era

            During the Byzantine times Patras continued to be an important port as well as an industrial center. In 551 AD it was laid in ruins by an earthquake. In 807 AD it was able without external assistance to repulse a Slavonian siege, though most of the credit of the victory was assigned to St Andrew, whose church was enriched by the imperial share of the spoils, and whose archbishop was made superior of the bishops of Methone, Lacedaemon and Corone. Besides, one of the most scholarly philosophers and theologians of the time, Arethas of Caesarea was born at Patrae, at around 860. In the 9th century there is a sign that the city was prosperous: the widow Danielis from Patras had accumulated immense wealth in land ownership, carpet and textile industry and offered critical support in the ascent of Basil I to the Byzantine throne.

            Latin Era

            In 1204 Patras was conquered by the Fourth Crusade, and became the seat of the Latin Duchy of Achaea within the Principality of Achaea. Captured in 1205 by William of Champlitte and Geoffrey I of Villehardouin, the city became part of the principality of Achaea and its archbishop the primate. In 1387 Juan Fernández de Heredia, Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes, endeavoured to make himself master of Achaea and took Patras by storm. In 1408, the city became Venetian. At the close of the 15th century the city was governed by the Latin archbishop in the name of the Pope; in 1428 the joint despots of the Morea, Constantine and Theodore, sons of Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, managed to get possession of it for a time. It was seized again by the Despotate of the Morea in 1430, which was immediately contested by the Ottoman Empire.

            Ottoman Era

            The church of Pantocrator, as a mosque during the Ottoman rule, engraving after Edward Finden.
            In 1458 Patras was conquered by Sultan Mehmed II. Under the Ottomans, it was called Baliabadra (Greek: Παλαιά Πάτρα, the old town, as opposed to Νέα Πάτρα, the fortress). Though Mehmet granted the city special privileges and tax reductions, it never became a major center of commerce. Venice and Genoa attacked and captured Patras several times during the 15th and 16th centuries, but never re-established their rule effectively.

            On 7 October 1571, the Ottoman fleet on the one side, and the fleet of the Christian Holy League on the other, clashed in the Gulf of Patras in the Battle of Lepanto. The Ottomans were defeated, but the Holy League did not seize the city of Patras. The news of the Ottoman defeat were celebrated in Patras, but a revolt organized by five of the elders of the town and metropolitan Germanos I of Old Patras (1561–1572) was put down and its instigators were executed. The Venetians captured Patras from the Turks in 1687 during the Morean War and made it the seat of one of the seven fiscal boards into which they divided the Morea, but the Turks recaptured it, with the rest of the Morea in a swift campaign in 1715. Generally, the first period of Turkish rule (1460–1687) was miserable, but from 1715 and on there was a revival of commerce, and so in the 18th century Patras became again an economically prosperous town, based on agriculture and trade.

            Greek War of Independence

            Patras played a crucial role in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottomans (1821–29). The town was the first seat of the revolution along with the rest of Achaea and Mani. Patras was at the time the biggest and most prosperous town of the Peloponnese. An overwhelming, 2/3 majority of the town's 18.000 inhabitants where Greeks, and a small number of them was engaged in commerce, constituting the precursors of a middle class. Moreover, due to the town's commercial importance, some wealthy merhants of Patras had been appointed consuls of the major European states. The consul of Russia Vlassopoulos was also a member of the Filiki Eteria. The atmosphere in Patras had been tense since the mid-February 1821, when the Greeks refused to pay heavy taxes for the equipment of the Ottoman Army who was fighting against Ali Pasha. In the same period, members of the Filiki Etairia were preparing the field for a revolt in Patras, accumulating munition, money and equipment for their struggle. Odysseas Androutsos was hiding in Patras and Makryiannis arrived there trying to bring in contact the protagonists of the incoming revolts and coordinate the revolutionary effort. The Turks, who grew suspicious of these movements, transferred their belongings to the fortress on February 28, and their families on March 18 and fortified themselves in it. On March 23 the Turks launched sporadic attacks towards the town, trying to set certain houses on fire, which resulted on the destruction of some districts, while the revolutionaries, led by the freedom warrior Panagiotis Karatzas and using guns drove them back to the fortress. Makryiannis referred to the scene in his memoirs:
            Σε δυο ημέρες χτύπησε ντουφέκι ’στην Πάτρα. Οι Tούρκοι κάμαν κατά το κάστρο και οι Ρωμαίγοι την θάλασσα. Shooting broke out two days later in Patras. The Turks had seized the fortress, and the Greeks had taken the seashore.

            On March 25 the revolutionaries declared the Revolution in the square of Agios Georgios in Patras. Therefore, it was at Patras that the Revolution is held to have officially began on March 25, 1821 in the chapel of Agios Georgios. The Orthodox metropolitan of Patras and member of the Filiki Etairia Germanos, who was absent from Patras, returned to the town and blessed the freedom warriors. On the next day the leaders of the Revolution in Achaia sent a document to the foreign consulates explaining the reasons of the Revolution. However, some three hundred Turkish forces, mainly cavalry, under the command of Yussuf Pasha, heading from Ioannina to Euboea changed their direction and landed in Patras on April 3. The reinforcements joined the Turks of the castle, ransacked and destroyed the town. The consuls of the foreign powers who had been supportive of the revolt, namely those of Sweden, Prussia and Russia and the French consul Pouqueville who had given refuge to Greek revolutionaries, evacuated the town. The English consul Green who had kept a neutral stance refusing to accept Greeks in his consulate, and the French consul Pouqueville, in their written accounts describe the events and the extent of destruction as horrific. The irregular and unequiped revolutionary mob could not risk serious resistance. A possible exception was Panagiotis Karatzas, a local shoe-maker, who along with his men thwarted Turkish attacks on nearby settlements. Finally, the Turks, confined to the citadel, held out until being stormed by the French troops in 1828.

            Modern times

            The Apollo Theatre in Georgiou I square, a work of the architect Ernst Ziller, built with the contributions of the thriving 19th century commercial class
            Patras was liberated on 7 October 1828 by the French expeditionary force in the Peloponnese, under the command of General Maison. In 1829 the then Governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias approved a very ambitious new urban plan for the city - which was still in ruins - presented to him by the French army engineer Stamatis Voulgaris. The plan was not carried out until the mid-19th century and then only with great adaptations conforming to the interests of powerful land owners. Patras developed as the second largest urban centre in late 19th century Greece after Athens.

            The city benefited from its role as the main export port for the agricultural produce of the Peloponnese. It was the main centre for the organisation of production of raisin, offering warehouse, banking and insurance services. However, this early era of prosperity was short lived; the completion of the Corinth Canal in 1893 challenged the predominance of its port. Besides, in 1894 raisin export prices in the international markets began to plummet, due to overproduction and international circumstances, which triggered a prolonged crisis with deep financial, political and social repercussions, known as the Great raisin crisis. Trade with western Europe, mainly Britain, France and Italy, did much to shape the city's early identity as a significant port and cosmopolitan urban centre in early 20th century Greece.

            In the early 20th century, Patras developed fast and became the first Greek city to introduce public streetlights and electrified tramways. The war effort of World War I hampered the city's development and also created uncontrollable urban sprawl with the influx of Greek refugees from Asia Minor. During World War II, Patras was a major target of Italian air raids. At the time of the Axis occupation, a German military command was established and German and Italian troops were stationed in the city. On 13 December 1943, in the nearby town of Kalavryta, the German troops executed all the male population and set the town ablaze. After the liberation in October 1944, the city grew fast to recover, but in later years was increasingly overshadowed by the urban pole of Athens.


            View of the interior of the Church of Aghios Andreas.
            The city is the seat of a Greek Orthodox archbishopic. As in the rest of the country, the largest denomination is the Orthodox Church, which represents the majority of the population. There is also a living community of Roman Catholics.

            The most significant church in the city is the church of Saint Andrew, in the south west of the city center. The construction of the church began in 1908 under the supervision of the architect Anastasios Metaxas, followed by Georgios Nomikos. It was inaugurated in 1974. It is the largest church in Greece and the second largest Byzantine style church in the Balkans. It holds relics of the apostle Saint Andrew, which were sent there from St. Peter's Basilica, Rome in September, 1964, on the orders of Pope Paul VI.

            Other historical churches of the city are: the church of Pantokratoras (1832) in the upper town district, the Metropolis (Cathedral) of Patras (1846) dedicated to Panayia Evangelistria in Mezonos street, the church of Ayios Nikolaos (1885) situated next to the steps of Ayiou Nikolaou street, the church of Pantanassa (1859), the church of Ayios Dimitrios, the Catholic Church of Saint Andreas (1937) in Mezonos street, the Protestant (Anglican) church of Saint Andreas (1878) in Karolou Street and the old church of Ayios Andreas (1836–1843) situated next to the new one, in the location of Apostle Andreas' martyrdom. It was built in basilica style by the architect Lysandros Kaftatzoglou.


            The entrance of the new Archaeological Museum of Patras.
            Patras and its region is home to various Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Monuments, including the Roman Odeon, the Fortress of Rio and the Fortress (castle) of Patras. More specifically, the main sights of the city are:
            • The Roman Odeon, the most significant ancient monument, is situated in the upper town and was built around 160 AD, during the reign of either Antoninus Pius or Marcus Aurelius. It has been restored and partially reconstructed, and is used as an open-air theatre for performances and concerts during summer months.
            • The medieval Patras Castle, in the location of the ancient acropolis overlooking city, was initially built in the 6th century AD by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, having many additions from the period of the Frankish and Venetian rule of the city, up to as far as the time of the Despotate of Morea and later the Ottoman Empire. Its current outline dates back to the second Venetian rule of the town (1687–1715). Today, its interior is used as a public garden.
            • The Roman Amphitheatre, situated near the Roman Odeon, in Ifestou street, is one of the most important and impressive monuments of the city. It is dated in the dues of the 1st century AD, at a period of the biggest development of Roman Patras. Its area has been only partially excavated.
            • The monumental church of Saint Andrew of Patras was founded in 1908 by king George I and was inaugurated in 1974. It is dedicated to Saint Andrew, the patron of the city and is situated near the seafront, between the areas of the new and the old port. It is the second largest temple of byzantine style in the Balkans (after the Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade). The central cupola is 46 m (151 ft) tall and is the base for a 5 m (16 ft) gold-plated cross and twelve smaller ones, symbolizing Christ and the twelve apostles. A congregation of at least 5,000 can attend a sermon within the church.
            • The municipal Theatre Apollon, built in 1872 after plans by the German architect Ernst Ziller. The building is characteristic of the 19th century neoclassical style and is located in the central square of the city.
            • The Achaia Clauss wine industry and tasting center, which is located on the outskirts in Petroto village. It was founded in 1861 by the Bavarian Gustav Clauss and is most famous for its Mavrodaphne.
            • The Patras Archaeological Museum exhibits the history of Patras from the prehistoric era to the late Roman period. The exhibition is divided into three thematic sections demonstrated in the three large separate halls of the museum: the Chamber of Private Life, the Hall of Necropolis and the Hall of Public Life.
            • The remains of the Roman Aqueduct, which connected the acropolis with the springs of Romanos. The aqueduct measured 6.5 km (4.04 mi) from the water cistern to the castle. For the greater part of this distance, the water passed through a man-built underground pipe, over passing valleys and gorges on carefully constructed archways, parts of which still stand, in the area of Aroi.
            • The Roman bridge over the river Milichos, which dates from 114 AD. It is situated in Agyia, in the northernn suburbs of the city, at the junction of Aretha street and the National Road.
            • The Turkish baths' building (16th century), in Boukaouri street, still retain their initial use, and are one of the few Turkish baths surviving in Europe.

            Parks and Squares

            • Georgiou I Square, the central square and the heart of the city. Its was named after king George I. The square's fountains were installed in 1875 at a cost of 70,000 drachmas each, a huge amount for the finances of Greece and Patra at the time. It was and continues to be the center of political and cultural life in the city, hosting all significant activities, political gatherings, rallies, cultural events and, most importantly for some, its carnival.
            • Ethnikis Antistaseos Square (Olga's Square) is known by the name of queen Olga, wife of king George I, and was planted with trees bearing the name "The queen's garden". Today the square is officially known as Ethnikis Antistaseos, but its old name (Olga's Square) is the one in most regular use.
            • Trion Symmahon Square bears the name of the Three Allied Powers who fought for the liberation of Greece ; England, France and Russia. The square features a flower clock and links the Ayiou Nikolaou pedestrian way with the seaside front and the dock of Ayios Nikolaos.
            • Psilalonia Square (Greek: Ψηλαλώνια or formally Πλατεία Υψηλών Αλωνίων) is one of Patras's most popular squares. It is located 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from downtown Patras, next to the city's main north-south street, Gounari Street. It features a fountain, many sidewalks, palm trees and playgrounds. A bronze statue of Germanos of Patras stands on the northern end, while a memorial plaque to people executed during the Axis occupation of Greece stands on the south-western corner. It is surrounded by several shops, restaurants and cafes and a number of modernist buildings. It was completed in the mid to late-19th century, when trees were added, along with neoclassical buildings. After World War II and the Greek Civil War however, and through the 1960s and 1970s, most neoclassical buildings were replaced by eight-storey residential buildings. In the west end, a 15 m (49.21 ft) tall cliff overlooks the Trion Navarchon pedestrian street, and offers a wide vista across the western Gulf of Patras, including the mountains of Aitoloakarnania.
            • The Spinney of Patras (Greek: Δασύλλιο), is situated in a pine-tree-covered hill, which is dubbed "the Gulf of Patras' veranda" due to the panoramic view it offers. The spinney is ideal for recreational walks and jogging, with its specially formed paths and the shade offered by the tall trees. The pine trees that cover the spinney were planted in March 1916 by students of Patras' Primary Schools under the supervision of the Austrian forest specialist Steggel.


            • Apostolos Vakalopoulos, History of Modern Hellenism, the Great Greek Revolution (1821-1829). Vol. 5 The preconditions and the foundations of the revolution (1813-1829). Thessaloniki 1980
            • Thomopoulos, St.N, History of the City of Patras from Antiquity to 1821, Patrai 1952, (ed. Triantafyllou, K.N.)


              Thursday, November 29, 2012

              Thurs, Nov 29, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Obedience, Revelation 18, Psalm 100, Luke 21:20-28, Saint Francis Anthony Fasani, Order of Friars Minor Conventual, Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

              Thursday, November 29, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog:

              Obedience, Revelation 18, Psalm 100, Luke 21:20-28, Saint Francis Anthony Fasani, Order of Friars Minor Conventual , Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

              Good Day Bloggers! 
              Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!
              Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

              P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

              We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

              "Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


              November 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

              “Dear children! In this time of grace, I call all of you to renew prayer. Open yourselves to Holy Confession so that each of you may accept my call with the whole heart. I am with you and I protect you from the ruin of sin, but you must open yourselves to the way of conversion and holiness, that your heart may burn out of love for God. Give Him time and He will give Himself to you and thus, in the will of God you will discover the love and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call.” ~ Blessed Virgin Mary

              November 02, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

              "Dear children, as a mother I implore you to persevere as my apostles. I am praying to my Son to give you Divine wisdom and strength. I am praying that you may discern everything around you according to God’s truth and to strongly resist everything that wants to distance you from my Son. I am praying that you may witness the love of the Heavenly Father according to my Son. My children, great grace has been given to you to be witnesses of God’s love. Do not take the given responsibility lightly. Do not sadden my motherly heart. As a mother I desire to rely on my children, on my apostles. Through fasting and prayer you are opening the way for me to pray to my Son for Him to be beside you and for His name to be holy through you. Pray for the shepherds because none of this would be possible without them. Thank you."
              ~ Blessed Virgin Mary

              October 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

              "Dear children! Today I call you to pray for my intentions. Renew fasting and prayer because Satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition. I call you, little children, to holiness and to live in grace. Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love for which you yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call." ~ Blessed Virgin Mary


              Today's Word:  obedience  o·be·di·ence  [oh-bee-dee-uh ns]

              Origin:  1150–1200; Middle English  < Old French  < Latin oboedientia.  See obedient, -ence

              1. the state or quality of being obedient.
              2. the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance: Military service demands obedience from its members.
              3. a sphere of authority or jurisdiction, especially ecclesiastical.
              4. Chiefly Ecclesiastical .

              a. conformity to a monastic rule or the authority of a religious superior, especially on the part of one who has vowed such conformance.
              b. the rule or authority that exacts such conformance.


              Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 100:2-5

              2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence with songs of joy!
              3 Be sure that Yahweh is God, he made us, we belong to him, his people, the flock of his sheepfold.
              4 Come within his gates giving thanks, to his courts singing praise, give thanks to him and bless his name!
              5 For Yahweh is good, his faithful love is everlasting, his constancy from age to age.


              Today's Epistle - Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9 

              1 After this, I saw another angel come down from heaven, with great authority given to him; the earth shone with his glory.
              2 At the top of his voice he shouted, 'Babylon has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, and has become the haunt of devils and a lodging for every foul spirit and dirty, loathsome bird.
              21 Then a powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone, and as he hurled it into the sea, he said, 'That is how the great city of Babylon is going to be hurled down, never to be seen again.
              22 Never again in you will be heard the song of harpists and minstrels, the music of flute and trumpet; never again will craftsmen of every skill be found in you or the sound of the handmill be heard;
              23 never again will shine the light of the lamp in you, never again will be heard in you the voices of bridegroom and bride. Your traders were the princes of the earth, all the nations were led astray by your sorcery.
              1 After this I heard what seemed to be the great sound of a huge crowd in heaven, singing, 'Alleluia! Salvation and glory and power to our God!
              2 He judges fairly, he punishes justly, and he has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her prostitution; he has avenged the blood of his servants which she shed.'
              3 And again they sang, 'Alleluia! The smoke of her will rise for ever and ever.'
              9 The angel said, 'Write this, "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb," ' and he added, 'These words of God are true.'


              Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 21:20-28

              Jesus said to his disciples: 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you must realise that it will soon be laid desolate. Then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it. For this is the time of retribution when all that scripture says must be fulfilled. Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come! 'For great misery will descend on the land and retribution on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every gentile country; and Jerusalem will be trampled down by the gentiles until their time is complete.'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the turmoil of the ocean and its waves; men fainting away with terror and fear at what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.'
              • In today’s Gospel we have the continuation of the Apocalyptic Discourse which gives two signs, the 7th and the 8th, which should take place before the end of time or better before the coming of the end of this world in order to give place to the new world, to the “new Heavens and the New Earth” (Is 65, 17). The seventh sign is the destruction of Jerusalem and the eighth is the upsetting of the old creation.

              • Luke 21, 20-24. The seventh sign: the destruction of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was for them the Eternal City. And now it was destroyed! How can this fact be explained? Is it possible that God is not aware of this? It is difficult for us to imagine the trauma and the crisis of faith that the destruction of Jerusalem caused in the communities both of the Jews and of the Christians. Here it is possible to make an observation on the composition of the Gospel of Luke and of Mark. Luke writes in the year 85. He uses the Gospel of Mark to compose his narrative on Jesus. Mark writes in the year 70, the same year in which Jerusalem was surrounded and destroyed by the Roman armies. This is why Mark writes giving an indication to the reader: “When you see the appalling abomination set up where it ought not to be – (and here he opens a parenthesis and says) “let the reader understand!”) (he closes the parenthesis) - then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains” (Mk 13, 14). When Luke mentions the destruction of Jerusalem, for the past fifteen years Jerusalem was in ruins. This is why he omits the parenthesis of Mark and Luke says: “When you will see Jerusalem surrounded by the army, then you must realize that it will soon be laid desolate. Then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it; for this is the time of retribution when all that Scripture says must be fulfilled. Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come. For great misery will descend on the land and retribution on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every gentile country; and Jerusalem will be trampled down by gentiles until their time is complete”. Hearing Jesus who announces persecution (6th sign) and the destruction of Jerusalem (7th sign), the readers of the persecuted communities in the time of Luke concluded saying: “This is our day! We are in the 6th and 7th signs!”

              • Luke 21, 25-26: The eighth sign: changes in the sun and in the moon. When will the end come? At the end, after having spoken about all these signs which had already been realized, there was still the following question: “God’s project is very much advanced and the stages foreseen by Jesus are already being realized. We are in the sixth and the seventh stages, how many stages or signs are still lacking until the end arrives? Is there much lacking?” The response is now given in the 8th sign: "There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the turmoil of the ocean and its waves; men fainting away with terror and fear at what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken”. The 8th sign is different from the other signs. The signs in heaven and on earth are an indication of what is taking place, at the same time, at the end of the old world, of the ancient creation, it is the beginning of the coming of the new Heaven and the new earth. When the shell of the egg begins to crack it is a sign that the novelty is about to appear. It is the coming of a New World which is provoking the disintegration of the ancient world. Conclusion: very little is lacking! The Kingdom of God is arriving already!

              • Luke 21, 27-28: The coming of the Kingdom of God and the appearance of the Son of Man. “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect; hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand”. In this announcement, Jesus describes the coming of the Kingdom with images taken from the prophecy of Daniel (Dn 7, 1-14). Daniel says that, after the misfortunes caused by the kingdoms of this world, the Kingdom of God will come. The kingdoms of this world, all of them, had the figure of an animal: lion, panther, bear, and ferocious beast (Dn 7, 3-7). These are animal signs which dehumanize life, like it happens with the neo-liberal kingdom, today! The Kingdom of God then appears with the aspect of the Son of Man, that is, with a human aspect (Dn 7, 13). It is a human kingdom. To construct this kingdom which humanizes is the task of the persons of the community. It is the new history that we have to take to fulfilment and which brings together people from the four corners of the earth. The title Son of Man is the name that Jesus liked to use. In the four Gospels this name appears more than 80 times (eighty)! Any pain which we bear from now, any struggle in behalf of life, any persecution for the sake of justice, any birth pangs, are a seed of the Kingdom which will come in the 8th sign.
              Personal questions
              • Persecution of the communities, destruction of Jerusalem. Lack of hope. Before the events which today make people suffer, do I despair? Which is the source of my hope?
              • Son of Man is the title which Jesus liked to use. He wants to humanize life. The more human it is the more divine as Pope Leo the Great said. Am I human in my relationships with others? Do I humanize?

              Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


              Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


              Saint of the Day:   Francis Anthony Fasani, O.F.M. Conv

              Feast Day:  November 29
              Patron Saint:  Order of Conventual Friars Minor

              St. Francis Anthony Fasani, O.F.M. Conv., (August 6, 1681—November 29, 1742) was an Italian friar of the Order of Conventual Friars Minor who has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church. He was a friend of another Conventual friar, the Blessed Antonio Lucci.

              He was born Giovanniello Fasani on August 6, 1681, in Lucera, in the Province of Foggia, then part of the Kingdom of Naples. He was the son of Giuseppe Fasani and Isabella della Monaca.[1] He began his studies at the Conventual friary in his town and there entered the Order, taking the religious names of Saints Francis and Anthony. Fasani professed his religious vows in 1696.

              Religious Life

              Once having professed his vows, Fasani began theological studies in Agnone and continued them in the General Study Centre at Assisi, close to the tomb of St. Francis. It was there that Fasani was ordained to the priesthood in 1705. He stayed in Assisi and completed his theological studies there in 1707.

              From 1707 until his death in 1742, Fasani spent the rest of life in residence in his hometown of Lucera and endeared himself to the faithful of that town and all of Daunia and Molise. In 1709, he received the degree of Doctor of Theology and, from that time on, Fasani became known to all as "Padre Maestro" ("Father Master"), a title which is still attributed to him today in Lucera. Fasani also fulfilled many duties in the Franciscan Order, being a respected teacher of scholastic philosophy and was entrusted with the position of Master of novices and the junior professed friars. He was later appointed to serve as the guardian of the community of friars and the pastor of the town. He came to be elected Minister Provincial of his province in the Order.[2]

              Fasani was known for having a deep life of prayer and was considered to be a mystic, becoming greatly in demand as a confessor and preacher. He constantly preached popular parish missions, gave retreats and led Lenten devotions and novenas - either in his own town or wherever he was requested.[1] It was reported by his contemporaries that he would levitate while at prayer. At the same time, he was a steadfast friend of the poor, constantly seeking out the financial support for efforts to meet their needs.[3]

              Fasani died in Lucera and was buried in the parish church there. Upon the news of his death, children could be heard running through the streets shouting, "The saint is dead! The saint is dead!"[3]


              The proceedings to open the cause for his canonization began several years after his death. Testimony to his holy given was given by many people of region. Among them was his old friend, Lucci, who by then was a bishop in the region. Progress did not take place, however, until the 20th century, when he was beatified in 1951, and subsequently canonized in 1986.[1] His feast day is celebrated by the Franciscan Order on 27 November.


                  1. ^ a b c Vatican News Service "Francis Anthony Fasani"
                  2. ^ American Catholic "St. Francesco Antonio Fasani"
                  3. ^ a b Patron Saint Index "Saint Francesco Antonio Fasani"

                    Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


                    Today's  Snippet  I:  Order of Friars Minor Conventual

                    "The Confirmation of the Franciscan Rule"
                    by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494),
                    Capella Sassetti, Florence.
                    The Order of Friars Minor Conventual (OFM Conv), commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, is a branch of the order of Catholic Friars founded by Francis of Assisi in 1209.

                    The Order of Friars Minor Conventual sought to spread the ideals of Saint Francis throughout the new urban social order of the Middle Ages. Some friars settled in the urban slums, or the suburbs the medieval neighbourhoods where the huts and shacks of the poorest were built outside the safety of the city walls. In London, the first settlement of the friars was set in what was called "Stinking Lane."

                    Since the suburbs were also the place where hospitals were set up, the friars were often commissioned by the city government to facilitate the care of the sick. The friars also helped to construct sturdier buildings, replacing the previous huts, and constructed churches. Robert Grosseteste, then Bishop of Lincoln, marvelled that the people "run to the friars for instruction as well as for confession and direction. They are transforming the world."

                    The movement of the Conventual Franciscans into the cities was controversial and split the Franciscan Order into two factions: those who desired the traditional Franciscan life of solitary meditation in rural areas, and those who desired to live together in friaries and work among the urban poor like the Conventual Franciscans. This latter group was first known as the "Friars of the Community," but by 1250 they were also referred to as Fratres Conventuales, however, their official title remained Fratres Minores until the division of 1517, when these followers of Saint Francis became definitively known as Fratres Minores Conventuales or the Friars Minor Conventual.

                    Though keeping Francis' remains in the Basilica of St. Francis, generally the Conventuals did not remain at the sites associated with Francis's actual presence. The Friars of the Community sought to take Francis's ideals to the far reaches of a universal Church. After the founder's death, they began the task of translating Francis's earthly existence into a socially relevant message for current and future generations.

                    The Conventual Franciscans nestled their large group homes into small areas of land surrounded by poverty. They used their abilities to combat the hardships and injustices of the poverty stricken areas where they settled. The friaries focused on disciplined austerity, generosity, harmonized prayer, and service to others.

                    Saints of the Order

                    After the separation from the OFM Franciscans, the Order has three saints:
                    • Joseph of Copertino
                    • Francis Fasani
                    • Maximilian Kolbe


                    • Robinson, Paschal. "Order of Friars Minor Conventuals." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 29 Nov. 2012 <>.


                      Today's  Snippet  IIPapal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

                      Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
                      The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (Italian: Basilica Papale di San Francesco, Latin: Basilica Sancti Francisci Assisiensis) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor—commonly known as the Franciscan Order—in Assisi, Italy, the city where St. Francis was born and died. The basilica is one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy. With its accompanying friary, the basilica is a distinctive landmark to those approaching Assisi. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

                      The basilica, which was begun in 1228, is built into the side of a hill and comprises two churches known as the Upper Church and the Lower Church, and a crypt where the remains of the saint are interred. The interior of the Upper Church is an important early example of the Gothic style in Italy. The Upper and Lower Churches are decorated with frescoes by numerous late medieval painters from the Roman and Tuscan schools, and include works by Cimabue, Giotto, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti and possibly Pietro Cavallini. The range and quality of the works gives the basilica a unique importance in demonstrating the development of Italian art of this period.


                      Basilica and friary, as seen from the plain below
                      The Franciscan friary (Sacro Convento) and the Lower and Upper Basilicas (Italian: Basilica inferiore e superiore) of Francis of Assisi were begun in honor of this local saint, immediately after his canonization in 1228. Simone di Pucciarello donated the land for the church, a hill at the west side of Assisi, known as "Hill of Hell" (Italian: Colle d'Inferno) where previously criminals were put to death. Today, this hill is called "Hill of Paradise".

                      On 16 July 1228, Francis was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in Assisi, and he laid the foundation stone of the new church the following day, although construction may already have been begun. The construction having been begun at his order, the Pope declared the church to be the property of the papacy. The church was designed and supervised by Brother Elias of Cortona, one of the first followers of St. Francis and the former Vicar General of the Order under St. Francis. The Lower Basilica was finished in 1230. On Pentecost 25 May 1230, the uncorrupted body of St. Francis was brought in a solemn procession to the Lower Basilica from its temporary burial place in the church of St. George, now the Basilica of Saint Clare of Assisi. The burial place was concealed for fear that St Francis' remains might be stolen and dispersed. The construction of the Upper Basilica was begun after 1239 and was completed in 1253. Both churches were consecrated by Pope Innocent IV in 1253.

                      Pope Nicholas IV, a former Minister-General of the Order of Franciscans, raised the church to the status of Papal Church in 1288. The Piazza del Loge, the square leading to the church, is surrounded by colonnades constructed in 1474. They housed the numerous pilgrims flocking to this church. In 1818, the remains of St Francis were rediscovered beneath the floor of the Lower Basilica. In the reign of Pope Pius IX the crypt was built so that the faithful might visit the burial place of the saint.

                      On 27 October 1986 and January 2002, Pope John Paul II gathered in Assisi with more than 120 representatives of different religions and Christian denominations for a World Day of Prayer for Peace.

                      Earthquake of 1997

                      On the morning of September 26, 1997, two earthquakes hit that region of Italy in rapid succession, registering 5.5 and 6.1 respectively on the Richter Scale. There was widespread devastation and many ancient buildings were destroyed or damaged. While a group of specialists and friars were inspecting the damage to the Basilica of St. Francis, an aftershock shook the building, causing the collapse of the vault. Two Franciscan friars who were among the group and two of the specialists were killed. Much of the cycle of frescoes of the life of St. Francis by Giotto in the Upper Church of the Basilica were destroyed in the collapse. The church was closed for two years for restoration.


                      The basilica was designed by a follower of St. Francis, Brother Elia Bombadone. The construction may have commenced before the official laying of the foundation stone. (see above History). The Basilica was designed on two levels, each of which is consecrated as a church. They are known as the "Basilica superiore" (The Upper Basilica), generally called "The Upper Church" and the "Basilica inferiore" (The Lower Basilica), generally called "The Lower Church". The Lower Church was structurally a large crypt supporting the upper one. In the 19th century a lower crypt was constructed beneath the basilica. Architecturally, the exterior of the basilica appears united with the Friary of St. Francis, since the lofty arcades of the latter support and buttress the church in its apparently precarious position on the hillside.

                      The architecture is a synthesis of the Romanesque and Gothic styles, and established many of the typical characteristics of Italian Gothic architecture. As originally built, both upper and lower churches had a simple cruciform plan with an aisless nave of four square bays, a square crossing, a transept that projected by half a bay one each side, and an apse, the lower being semicircular and the upper polygonal. To the left of the church stands a free-standing bell tower of Romanesque design.

                      The Lower Church was built entirely in the Romanesque style, having a low semi-circular ribbed cross-vaults over the nave and barrel vaults over the transept arms. However, the space has been greatly extended with a number of lateral and transept chapels added between 1350 and 1400. The main entrance to the nave is through an ornate Gothic doorway built between 1280 and 1300, and later enclosed with a simple Renaissance style porch of 1487 by Francesco da Pietrasanta. Set in the tympanum of the Gothic doorway is an ornate rose window which has been called "the eye of the most beautiful church in the world"

                      The Upper Church has a façade of white-washed brick divided into two horizontal zones of about equal height, and with a simple gable of height equal to the lower zones. There is a single large doorway in the Gothic style, divided by a column and with a rose window set in the tympanun above the two cusped arches. Above the door, in the second zone is a large and ornate rose window in which most of the decorative details are Romanesque in style. Surrounding it are carved the symbols of the Four Evangelists, combining with the window to create a square composition. Above it in the gable is an ocular window. To the left of the façade and visible from both the forecourts of the Upper Church and the Lower Church is the Benediction Loggia in the Baroque style which was built in 1754, when the church was raised to the status of basilica.

                      Internally, the Upper Church maintains Brother Elias' original simple aisleless cruciform plan. Like the Lower Church, there is a nave of four bays with ribbed cross-vaulting. Unlike that of the Lower Church, it is only the diagonal ribs which are of semi-circular form. The transverse ribs are pointed in the Gothic manner, and thus rise to the full height of the wider diagonal ribs. Each group of ribs springs from a group of clustered columns. Externally the columns and vault are supported by stout buttresses of semi-circular plan. Unlike the Lower Church, the transepts also have ribbed vaulting.

                      There are tall Gothic windows with Geometric tracery in each bay of the nave and in the polygonal apse of the chancel. The windows of the apse are believed to have been created by German craftsmen active around Assisi at the end of the 13th century. The windows on the left hand side of the nave were made by a French workshop (1270), while those on the right hand side are attributed to the workshop of Maestro di San Francesco. These stained glass windows are among the best examples of 13th c. Italian glasswork.

                      As is characteristic of Italian church architecture, the main decorative feature, and the main medium used for conveying the Church's message is fresco, rather than stained glass. The earliest frescoes are some of those in the Lower Church. The work proceeded with a number of different projects and appears to have involved numerous artists, some of whom are as renowned as Cimabue and Giotto, but many of whom are no longer known by name.

                      Upper Basilica

                      Nave of the upper basilica.
                      This bright and spacious basilica consists of a single four-bay nave with cross-vaulted ceiling bordered with patterns of crosses and leaves, a transept and a polygonal apse. The four ribbed vaults are decorated alternately with golden stars on a blue background and paintings. The second vault is decorated with roundels with busts of Christ facing St. Francis and the Virgin facing St. John the Baptist. The entrance vault gives us the Four Latin Doctors of the Church: St Gregory facing St. Jerome and St. Ambrose facing St. Augustine. These are ascribed to the Isaac Master. The choir has 102 wooden stalls with carvings and marquetry by Domenico Indovini (1501). In their centre, on a raised platform, stands the papal cathedra.

                      Crucifixion by Cimabue
                      The west end of the transept and the apse have been decorated with many frescoes by Cimabue and his workshop (starting in c. 1280). The magnificent Crucifixion, with St. Francis on his knees at the foot of the Cross, stresses again the veneration of the Passion of Christ by St. Francis. Sadly, the frescoes of Cimabue soon suffered from damp and decay. Due to the use of lead oxide in his colours and to the fact that the colours were applied when the plaster was no longer fresh, they have deteriorated and have been reduced to photographic negatives. Prior to him there had been some decorations in the upper right hand section of the transept by an (anonymous) Northern Master, probably an English artist (1267–1270). He realized the two lunettes and the roundels on the west wall with paintings of the Angel and the Apostles. Another (anonymous) master, the Roman Master, painted the Isaiah and the David and the remainder of the wall under the eastern lunette.

                      Isaac rejects Esau
                      The upper part on both sides of the nave, badly damaged by the earthquake of 1997, was decorated in two rows with in total 32 scenes from the Old Testament (starting with Creation of the World and ending with Joseph forgives his brothers) and the New Testament (from the Annunciation to The Women at the Tomb), while the upper register of the entrance wall is covered with two frescoes Pentecost and Ascension of Jesus. Since it took about six months to paint one bay of the nave, different Roman and Tuscan masters, followers of Cimabue, have performed this series of scenes such as Giacomo, Jacopo Torriti and Pietro Cavallini.

                      The two frescoes of the life of Isaac (Isaac blesses Jacob and Esau in front of Isaac) in the middle register of the third bay, are traditionally ascribed to the young Giotto (1290–1295) (previously wrongly ascribed to Cimabue by Vasari). But even this has been controversial. Many critics esteem these the work of the anonymous Isaac Master and his workshop. Deducing from stylistic details, attesting to his Roman background, some think that the Isaac Master may have been Pietro Cavallini or a follower. Pietro Cavallini had painted around 1290 a similar fresco Isaac blessing Jacob in the convent of the church Santa Cecilia in Trastevere in Rome. The position of the resting Isaac looks like the same position of the Virgin in Cavallini's mosaic Birth of the Virgin in the apse of the church Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome. The Isaac Master is considered one of the first practitioners of the true fresco (buon fresco) technique.

                      St Francis preaches in the presence of pope Honorius III
                      But the most important decorations are the series of 28 frescoes ascribed to the young Giotto along the lower part of the nave. Each bay contains three frescoes above the dado on each side of the nave, two frescoes in the east galleries beside the entrance, and two more on the entrance wall. Giotto used the Legenda Maior, the biography of St. Francis by St. Bonaventure (1266) to reconstruct the major events in the life of St. Francis. The prototype for this cycle may have been the (now lost) St Francis cycle by Pietro Cavallini in the church San Francesco a Ripa in Rome. The paintings are so vivid, as if Giotto had been a witness to these events. According to Vasari, they were executed in the period between 1296 and 1304.

                      However the authorship of Giotto is disputed, due to the ambiguous attributions given in early descriptions of this work. Many Italian critics continue to support the authorship of Giotto and his workshop. But because of small differences in style with the frescoes of Isaac, it is thought that several or even all of these frescoes were painted by at least three separate painters, using the original concept of Giotto : the Master of Legend of St. Francis (the principal painter and probable supervisor of the cycle), the Master of the Obsequies of St. Francis and the Cecilia Master.

                      The first span of the ceiling is decorated with frescoes of the "Four Doctors of the Church“ ( Jerome, Augustine, Gregory and Ambrose), attributed either to a young Giotto or to one of his followers. The third span presents four heart-shaped medallions of the Christ, Mary, John the Baptist and Francis, painted by Jacopo Torriti.  The cuspidate façade of the upper basilica has a portal in Gothic style with twin doors and a beautiful rose window.

                      Lower Basilica

                      Side entrance to the lower basilica.
                      Brother Elias had designed the lower basilica as an enormous crypt with ribbed vaults. He had acquired his experience by building huge sepulchres out of hard rock in Syria.

                      The doors are surmounted by a large rose window, flanked by two smaller ones, called "the eye of the most beautiful church in the world" The decorations on the left wooden door were executed by Ugolinuccio da Gubbio (circa 1550) and those on the right door by an anonymous Umbrian artist (1573). They portray stories from the lives of St. Francis, St. Clare, St. Louis and St. Anthony. On the left wall of the porch stands the bust of Pope Benedict XIV who granted this church the title of Patriarchal Basilica and Cappella Papale. Pope Benedict XVI’s theological act in 2006 of renouncing the title of "Patriarch of the West" has had the consequence of the basilica changing its name to that of the Papal Basilica of St. Francis.

                      Entering the lower basilica, one sees at the other side of the vestibule the chapel of St. Catherine of Alexandria, erected about 1270. It was enlarged by Gattapone da Gubbio and decorated at the expense of Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, papal legate in charge of the Papal States (from 1350 to 1367). He was initially buried here but his body was later transferred to Toledo, Spain. The frescoes with the eight episodes from the life of St. Catherine were painted in 1368-1369 by ‘Andreas pictor de Bononia’. This painter, called Andrea, is most probably Andrea de’ Bartoli (c. 1349 - 1369), the court artist of Albornoz (and not Andrea da Bologna, as usually, but wrongly, attributed). The saints in this chapel were painted by Pace di Bartolo d'Assisi (1344–1368). The stained glass windows are the work of Giovanni di Bonino of Assisi (mid 14th century).

                      On the left side of the entrance is the small Chapel of St. Sebastian with a canvas by Giorgetti and episodes of the life of the saint on the walls painted c. 1646 by G. Martelli (Irene taking care of St. Sebastian; St. Sebastian before Domitian). The left wall of this chapel is decorated by some paintings by Ottaviano Nelli (15th century) and a painting of St. Christopher (Umbrian School, 14 th century).

                      On the right side of the entrance there are two monuments by anonymous artists: in the first span, the mausoleum of Giovanni de' Cerchi, surmounted by an early 14th century porphyry vase (a gift of a queen of Cyprus) and the mausoleum of John of Brienne, king of Jerusalem and emperor-regent of Constantinople. Above this last burial monument stands a statue of the Blessed Virgin and on its left the figure of a crowned woman seated on a lion, made by Cosmatesco (1290).

                      The badly deteriorating frescoes on the walls and the vaults of the third section of this entrance are the work of Cesare Sermei and G. Martelli (1645). The chapel on the right side of the third section is dedicated to St. Anthony the Abbot. The niches in the wall contain the burial monuments of the Governor of Spoleto (by then part of the Papal States) Blasco Fernandez and his son Garcia, both assassinated in 1367 (anonymous local artist, 14th century).

                      The lower basilica consists of a central nave with several side chapels with semi-circular arches. The nave is decorated with the oldest frescoes in the church by an unknown artist, called Maestro di San Francesco. They feature five scenes from the Passion of Christ on the right side, while on the left side equally five scenes from the Life of St. Francis. By this juxtaposition, the Franciscans wanted to contribute to the idea of their founder as a second Christ.

                      They are connected by a low blue-painted ceiling decorated with golden stars. Most images on the lower walls have decayed to leave almost no trace, except on the right wall fragments of Virgin and Child with an Angel by Cimabue.

                      These frescoes, executed in tempera on dry plaster, were completed about 1260-1263. They are considered by many as the best examples of Tuscan wall paintings prior to Cimabue. As the popularity of this church increased, side chapels for noble families were added between 1270 and 1350, destroying the frescoes on the opened walls.

                      The first chapel on the left is the San Martino Chapel, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. It was built by the Franciscan Cardinal Gentile Partino da Montefiore and was decorated between 1317 and 1319 with ten frescoes depicting the saint's life by Simone Martini. This dedication most likely referred to the Cardinal's position as Cardinal-Priest of the Basilica of St. Martin "ai Monti" in Rome, and was intended to be his burial place. It was probably incomplete at the time of Montefiore's death (October 1312), thus he was interred in the neighboring Chapel of St. Louis. Martini also painted a triptych depicting the Madonna and Child with Two Hungarian Royal Saints with a row of five attendant saints in the St. Elizabeth Chapel (southern arm of the transept). These are among the greatest Martini's works and the finest examples of 14th century painting. Over time, however, his use of lead paint has led to the darkening of several sections of these works.

                      St. Martin leaves the life of chivalry and renounces the army (fresco by Simone Martini) in the San Martino Chapel.
                      The other chapel on the left is dedicated to St. Peter of Alcantara.

                      The chapels on the right are dedicated to Saints:

                      ~ Louis of Toulouse and Stephen I of Hungary, with frescoes by Dono Doni (1575) and stained glass, attributed to Simone Martini.

                      ~ Anthony of Padua, with frescoes by Cesare Sermei (1610,)
                      ~ Mary Magdalene. This chapel, built by Teobaldo Pontano ( the Bishop of Assisi from 1296 to 1329), contains some of the best works of the workshop of Giotto and maybe by the Master himself (about 1320). (It was wrongly attributed by Vasari to Puccio Capanna.) 
                      On the lateral walls are scenes from the Life of Mary Magdalene (above the portrait of Teobaldo Pontano), while in the vault there are roundels with busts of Christ, the Virgin, Mary Magdalene and Lazarus.

                      The nave ends in a richly decorated semicircular apse, preceded with a transept with barrel vaulting. The frescoes in the right transept depict the childhood of Christ, partly by Giotto and his workshop and the Nativity by the anonymous Maestro di San Nicola. The lowest level shows three frescoes representing St. Francis posthumously intervening in favour of two children. These frescoes by Giotto were revolutionary in their time, showing real people with emotions, set in a realistic landscape.

                      Maestà with St. Francis, by Cimabue.
                      On the transept wall Cimabue painted an image of Our Lady enthroned and Saint Francis (1280). This is probably the nearest likeness existing, showing the actual appearance of St. Francis. This static painting in Gothic style is in stark contrast with the lively frescoes of Giotto.

                      This Chapel of Saint Nicholas of Bari, at the northern end of the transept, was commissioned by the papal legate Cardinal Napoleone Orsini and it contains the tomb of the cardinal’s brother, Giovanni Orsini, who died between 1292 and 1294 . The funerary monument is set in a niche above the altar, with the recumbent effigy of a young man placed inside a mortuary chamber and flanked by two angels. The reliefs were carved by an Umbrian sculptor, probably of local origin. Between the tomb and the stained glass window appears a frescoed triptych attributed to Giotto's school, representing the Madonna and Child with Saint Francis and Nicholas . 

                      The cycle decorating the walls of the chapel, completed by 1307, comprises twelve scenes painted on the ceiling and on the walls illustrating the life and miracles of St Nicholas A scene of the chapel’s dedication is painted above the arch of the entrance on the southern wall: the Redeemer receives the homage of Giovanni Orsini, presented by St. Nicholas, and of Napoleone Orsini, presented by Saint Francis. The stained glass windows show Cardinal Napoleone presented to Christ in the summit and his brother presented to Saint Nicholas in the zone below. At the southern end of the transept cardinal Orsini commissioned another chapel, dedicated to St John the Baptist, which was probably originally built for the tomb of Napoleone Orsini himself, but the cardinal was never buried there and the tomb remained empty . The parallel architectural arrangement of both Orsini chapels suggests that they were conceived together. However, the decorations of the chapel dedicated to Saint John the Baptist were never finished . Pietro Lorenzetti ( or his workshop) executed a frescoed triptych with a Madonna and Child with Saints John the Baptist and Francis.

                      14th century Madonna dei Tramonti by Pietro Lorenzetti on canvas.
                      The left transept was decorated by the Sienese painter Pietro Lorenzetti and his workshop between 1315 and 1330 (attributed by Vasari Pietro Lorenzetti and also (wrongly) to Giotto and Puccio Capanna) . This cycle of tempera frescoes are his masterworks. They depict six scenes from the Passion of Christ. The fresco of Deposition of the Cross is especially emotional. There were about 330 work-stages needed to complete this cycle. 

                      Beneath the monumental "Crucifixion" scene, Pietro Lorenzetti has executed a fresco of Madonna and Child, accompanied by Saints John the Evangelist and Saint Francis (the so-called Madonna dei Tramonti). The fresco is accompanied by a frescoed niche containing the liturgical implements and a fictive bench. The juxtaposition of the Childhood and the Passion frescoes emphasizes the parallel between the passion of Christ and the compassion of St. Francis.

                      Papal altar with frescoes
                      The papal altar in the apse was made out of one block of stone from Como in 1230. Around the altar are a series of ornamented Gothic arches, supported by columns in different styles. The fine Gothic walnut choir stalls were completed in 1471 by Apollonio Petrocchi da Ripatransone, with the help of Tommaso di Antonio Fiorentino and Andrea da Montefalco.

                      Once featuring frescoes depicting an allegory of the Crucifixion by Stefano Fiorentino (destroyed in 1622), the walls of the apse are now covered with a "Last Judgment" by Cesare Sermei di Orvieto (1609–1668).

                      The paintings in the lunettes of the vaults (1315–20) depict the Triumph of St Francis and three allegories of Obedience, Poverty and Chastity by the so-called Maestro delle Vele (Master of the Assisi vaults), a pupil of Giotto (about 1330). The stained glass windows in this lower basilica are attributed to Giovanni di Bonino and his workshop.


                      Tomb of St. Francis in the crypt
                      Halfway down the nave one can descend into the crypt via a double stairway. This burial place of St. Francis was found in 1818. His remains had been hidden by Brother Elias to prevent the spread of his relics in medieval Europe. By order of Pope Pius IX a crypt was built under the lower basilica. It was designed by Pasquale Belli with precious marble in neo-classical style. But it was redesigned in bare stone in neo-Romanesque style by Ugo Tarchi between 1925 and 1932.

                      The ancient stone coffin with iron ties is enshrined in an open space above the altar. In 1934 his most faithful brothers were entombed in the corners of the wall around the altar: brother Rufino, brother Angelo, brother Masseo and brother Leone.

                      At the entrance of the crypt, an urn with the remains of Jacopa dei Settesoli was added to the crypt. This woman of Roman nobility was the most faithful friend and benefactress of St. Francis. She was at his side in the Porziuncola at the hour of his death.

                      Friary of St. Francis

                      Courtyard of the friary
                      Next to the basilica stands the friary Sacro Convento with its imposing walls with 53 Romanesque arches and powerful buttresses supporting the whole complex. It towers over the valley below, giving the impression of a fortress. It was built with pink and white stone from Mount Subasio. 

                      It was already inhabited by the friars in 1230. But construction took a long time, with as result different styles intermingling : Romanesque with Gothic style. A major part was built under the reign of Pope Sixtus IV, a Franciscan, between 1474 and 1476.

                      The friary now houses a vast library (with medieval codices and incunables), a museum with works of art donated by pilgrims through the centuries and also the 57 works of art (mainly of Florentine and Sienese schools) of the Perkins collection.

                      The belfry, in Romanesque style, was finished in 1239.


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