Today closes the circle that started a year ago – I have been blogging about the (mostly) British saints for a whole year! Many more to come. So of course the circle is made whole, but is not complete. I love how the temporal and sanctoral calendars work together – time is both linear and cyclical in the Church. I love that Orthodoxy is able to hold all sorts of apparent paradoxes together – if both are true, then the seeming contradiction is only part of our imperfect understanding. Madeleine L’Engle, in both her fiction and non-fiction, is a favourite writer of mine about questions of time, space and the connectons between them.
Troparion of St Ethelburga of Faremoutier
Fille d’Anna, qui était roi d’Anglie de l’Est,*
Tu vins au couvent sacré de Faremoutiers,*
Dont tu fus bientôt par tes vertus l’higoumène,*
Rendant sans cesse gloire au Dieu de l’univers.*
Sainte Edelburge, prie le Seigneur pour nos âmes!
Angel (messenger) from Albion, country of the Angles,*
Daughter of Anna, king of East Anglia,
You went to the holy convent of Faremoutiers
Where because of your virtues you were soon made abbess,
Unceasingly giving glory to the God of the universe.
Holy Ethelburga, pray to the Lord for our souls!
* from a joke, ‘non Angli, sed angeli’ (not Angles but angels) attributed by Bede to Gregory the Great, on his seeing fair-haired English children in the slave market at Rome – apparently this incident prompted Gregory to send out Augustine’s mission to Britain. Troparion provided by Claude Lopez-Ginisty (though the icon illustrating his post is of Ethelburga of Barking, in the icon of the Synaxis of the Saints of London). Translation by me, 2011.