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Posts tagged Lives of the Saints (97)
Nos 1 to 10
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Gustav Holst
Lives of the Saints
For Theophany
Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh
Abbot Elfric unpacks the meaning of the gifts of the Three Wise Men.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

THESE three astrologers came and offered him symbolic gifts. Gold symbolised that he is true King; frankincense that he is true God; and myrrh that, though he now lives immortal evermore, he was mortal then.

Some heretics believed he was God, but not that he reigned anywhere: they offered frankincense to Christ spiritually, but would not offer gold.

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No. 1
Charles Avison
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
A Battle of Wills
Two strong and determined men refused to back down.
Based on ‘A Book of Golden Deeds’ by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

WHEN the Emperor came to the Sunday service that week (he was staying in Milan), Bishop Ambrose refused to let him in.

Theodosius reminded him that King David was a murderer and an adulterer, yet still attended the Temple in Jerusalem. 'If you have sinned like him’ replied Ambrose, ‘repent like him’.

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No. 2
John Field
Lives of the Saints
The Christmas Egg
Anglo-Saxon abbot Elfric tentatively likened the new-born Jesus to an egg.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

THE Word begotten without beginning of the Almighty Father was always God from God, Wisdom of the wise Father. He is not made, because he is God and not a creature; for the Almighty Father created all creatures through that Wisdom, and quickened them through the Holy Spirit.

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No. 3
Anonymous (English)
Christmastide
Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
His Bright Nativity
Northumbrian poet Cynewulf wonders at the mystery of the Bethlehem manger, where all the light of heaven was shining.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)

O EÄRENDEL! Brightest messenger sent to men of middle-earth, radiance of the Sun, steadfast and true, outshining the stars, ceaselessly lighting from thyself the ebb and flow of all things!

Shine thy bright Sun upon us, come thyself and light us, who have sat in darkness, in gloom of endless night, these long years, wrapped in sin, enduring the dark shadow of death.

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No. 4
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. 5
Sir Arthur Sullivan
Anglo-Saxon History
Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
The Bishop and the Chatterbox
One week into a Lenten retreat with the Bishop of Hexham, a boy’s miserable life is turned right around.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

DURING the Lenten fast, Bishop John and a few monks used to retire to a cottage in woodland across the Tyne, beside a graveyard dedicated to St Michael the Archangel. One year, John persuaded a young lad to stay with them whose head was all scabs and scales and sorry wisps of hair, and who had never been able to speak a word.

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No. 6
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. 7
2 two-part story
Dmitry Bortniansky
Poets and Poetry
Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
Eddi’s Service
Rudyard Kipling’s poem about St Wilfrid’s chaplain and an unusual Christmas congregation.
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

EDDI, priest of St Wilfrid
In his chapel at Manhood End,
Ordered a midnight service
For such as cared to attend.

But the Saxons were keeping Christmas,
And the night was stormy as well.
Nobody came to service,
Though Eddi rang the bell.

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No. 8
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
St Wilfrid and the Fishers of Men
Driven out of Northumbria, Bishop Wilfrid goes to the south coast and saves a kingdom from starvation.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

WHEN Wilfrid came to Sussex in 681, he found that the region had been suffering three years of continuous drought. Though they lived by the coast, the locals could do no more that snare a few eels in the muddy rivers, and sometimes forty or fifty would link arms and leap from a cliff-top, preferring to drown in the sea rather than starve.

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No. 9
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
St Bede and the Singing Stones
The Northumbrian monk is duped into wasting one of his beautifully-crafted sermons on a row of dumb rocks.
Based on The Golden Legend
(1275)

AS BEDE came to the end of his life, his eyesight started to fail. He did not ease up in his duties, though, and with the help of a guide continued to make his rounds of the nearby villages, preaching in the open air to any who cared to attend.

One day, his guide led him to a place where there were many standing stones, but no people. Bede, peering owlishly, nonetheless embarked on a sermon.

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No. 10
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Polywords (183)
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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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!
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Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
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From our Archive
By Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894)
An enduringly popular, bitter-sweet poem by the author of ‘Treasure Island’.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
Britain’s colonies were founded to supply her Government with gold, but instead they supplied her people with liberty.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens tells the story of King Henry II and the enchantingly beautiful Rosamund Clifford.
Her enemies made Jane stronger, but her lover struck a blow from which she might never recover.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
Anglo-Saxon abbot Elfric tentatively likened the new-born Jesus to an egg.

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Polyword ‘Leave’
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 ‘pull along’ (3 letters), and ‘examine someone’s background and credentials’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with DOOR and finish with STEP.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.