Posts tagged Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (3)
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Elias Parish Alvars
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
The Keeper of the Gate
A widow cast her precious icon into the sea rather than see it dishonoured by government agents, but that wasn’t the end of the story.
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition

A WEALTHY widow from Nicaea near Constantinople kept an icon of Mary, a criminal offence at the time. Rather than see it harmed again - a soldier’s sword had already left a scar on its cheek - she set it afloat on the Aegean Sea.

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No. 1
Alexander Borodin
Lives of the Saints
The Kingdom of Greece (1832-1973)
‘I can walk’
A mother is determined to see that her disabled daughter gets the help she needs.

IT was August, the Feast of the Dormition of Mary, and among the crowds was a mother and her seriously disabled daughter, aged twenty. After the services were over, with the priest’s blessing she tearfully laid her daughter on the marble paving right beneath the icon of Mary, and there day after day they remained, from morning service until late, in unbroken prayer.

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No. 2
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
The Emperor and the Nun
The young Roman Emperor Theophilus backed away from marriage to the formidable Cassiani, but he could not forget her.

WHEN sixteen-year-old Theophilus succeeded his father Michael II as Roman Emperor in 829, the boy’s stepmother Euphrosyne organised a ‘bride show’: Theophilus must choose a wife from among the Empire’s most eligible young ladies, by handing a golden apple to one lucky winner.

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No. 3
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Lives of the Saints
The Restoration of the Icons
By the early eighth century, sacred art was thriving in newly-Christian England, but in the East seeds of doubt and confusion had been sown.

WHEN St Augustine preached Christianity to King Ethelbert of Kent in 597, he carried a silver cross and a painted icon of Christ. A century later, icons were putting a human face to the spoken word up in Bede’s Northumbria, from church walls to the pages of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

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No. 4
2 two-part story
Georgy Vasilyevich Sviridov and Matthew Locke
Lives of the Saints
‘Filioque’
It started as an honest mistake, became a diplomatic standoff, and brought down an Empire.

IN 587, a provincial Synod in Toledo recited the Creed approved by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and declared that the Holy Spirit proceeds ‘from the Father and the Son’. Apparently, the bishops quite genuinely thought this was the Creed as used in the East, for they repeated Chalcedon’s declaration that the Creed must never be altered.

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No. 5
2 two-part story
Vassilis Tsabropoulos and Byzantine Chant
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
The Voice of an Angel
A tenth-century Greek monk is joined by a total stranger for Mattins.
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition

AT daybreak one Sunday morning in 982, a monk on Mount Athos could be heard chanting before an icon of Mary. At his side, taking it in turns to sing, was another monk – not his own elder, who had left him alone for a night and gone to nearby Karyes, but a visitor, a total stranger who had knocked on his door in the small hours and introduced himself as Monk Gabriel.

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No. 6
3 three-part story
George Frideric Handel
Modern History
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
Bede and the Paschal Controversy
The earliest Christians longed to celebrate the resurrection together at Passover, but that was not as easy as it sounds.

CHRIST died and rose again at Passover, the week-long Jewish festival at the first full moon of Spring. Christians had always wanted to celebrate Easter at that time each year, but no astronomer could determine the vernal equinox or full moon with precision.

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No. 7
2 two-part story
Francesco Geminiani
Mediaeval History
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330-1453)
Our Lady’s Mantle
Shortly after Askold and Dir founded Kiev in 862, they launched a brazen but ill-fated assault on the capital of the Roman Empire.

IN 988, Vladimir the Great, Prince of Kiev, converted to Christianity after receiving exuberant reports of the beauty of worship in Constantinople. A century earlier, however, Kiev’s pagan founders, Askold and Dir, had thought quite differently, crossing the Black Sea to lay siege to the Imperial capital while its Emperor, Michael III, was away dealing with an Arab assault on the eastern border.

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No. 8
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Lives of the Saints
St Helen Finds the True Cross
The mother of the Roman Emperor goes to Jerusalem on a quest close to her heart.
Based on ‘Elene’ by Cynewulf
(8th century)

EMPEROR Constantine the Great secured his crown by displaying the sign of the Cross in battle, and soon afterwards, in 326, he encouraged his Christian mother, Helen, to go to Jerusalem to find Christ’s original, true Cross.

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No. 9
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
The Spear of St Mercurius
Roman Emperor Julian was ready to destroy an entire Christian community over his wounded pride.
Based on a sermon by
Elfric of Eynsham

ON his way to Persia to do battle, the Emperor Julian ran into Basil, Bishop of Caesarea. They had been at the same Christian school, and Basil, after offering him some bread, joked that he had benefited rather more from their education than Julian, who was now a pagan.

To Basil’s amazement, Julian was furious.

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No. 10
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Polywords (185)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
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Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
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A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
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Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
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Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
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Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
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A word search game with a dash of strategy.

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Polyword ‘Late’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know which ‘Barry’ is the title-character of a novel by Thackeray (6 letters), and ‘thwart, perplex’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with STAR and finish with DUST.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.