Algoma Deanery Week of October 17

Good day!

Coming Up:

Saturday, October 29th Emmaus is having a Fall Rummage Sale.  That also happens to be the day of our Deanery Council meeting (9am – noon) for all of you wardens and treasurers out there.  (I don’t remember if we set a location for that meeting…I’ll let you know when I know.) 🙂  

A Liturgical Note For You….

Why Do I Not Wear a Cross That’s Visible When I’m Vested? I’m a Christian, Aren’t I? 

The bottom line is that what we wear when we are presiding or assisting during a worship service is an indication of our position in the church.  We visibly show our role or our signs of office.  There are just two people who wear crosses displayed over top of their vestments – a bishop and an altar server.  Servers wear a white server’s alb to indicate their status as one of the baptized. They change the colour of their cincture to correspond to the seasonal colour of the altar hangings since they are servers at the altar. [Lay Readers do not change the colour of their cincture – they always wear a white cincture.] And servers wear a small cross hanging from a wide ribbon – usually a red ribbon. That completes their outfit as an altar server – everyone who sees them at the front of the church knows exactly what function they are filling.

Now for the bishop.  The bishop has five signs of office that are displayed during a worship service.  1. The Miter: The miter was originally a small peaked cap with strings attached to fasten it under one’s chin. It was worn all of the time by a bishop but gradually became the larger and more pointed headwear that we see today and so, eventually, it was only worn during liturgies.  2. The Crosier:  The crosier is the bishop’s staff. It is shaped with a crook to look like a shepherd’s staff in order to represent the bishop’s pastoral and administrative role as her people’s shepherd.  3. The Ring: The bishop always wears a ring – originally known as a fisherman’s ring – that reminded the bishop of her link to the ministry of the apostles. The ring also serves as a sign of the bishop’s marriage to the church (to Christ) and all of the responsibility that goes along with that bond.  4. The Pectoral Cross: The bishop wears, at all times, a large cross known as a pectoral cross. The pectoral cross reflects the order of dignity of the office of bishop and served originally as a reliquary of the True Cross, which encouraged the custom of wearing this cross close to the breast.  Now, here comes a big difference between us and a bishop.  When a bishop vests for a worship service, she arranges the pectoral cross on the outside of her vestments so that all can see this sign of her office.  Lay Readers, clergy, and anyone else vested in liturgical garments NEVER does this.  Even an altar server who does wear a server’s cross does not wear any other cross on the outside of his or her liturgical garb.  5. Distinctive Vestments and the Colour Purple: The bishop has very distinctive vestments that only she wears but we won’t get into all of the different items of clothing.  The bishop is also the only clergy person who wears a purple shirt.  Purple actually used to be associated with all clergy but gradually became the colour for bishops.  Purple was seen as a royal colour because it took a whole lot of effort to “milk” the glands of little snails to get enough dye for a garment – so that garment was very expensive.  As Peter says (1 Peter 2:9), we are all a royal priesthood for God – but, today, only the bishop wears that colour on our behalf. 

There is one more sign of the bishop’s office but it is not something worn or carried – it is her chair in the cathedral. The chair is called a cathedra and is placed prominently near the left side of the main altar. It represents the seat of diocesan authority that is vested in the bishop — the chief priest, teacher, and pastor, the one to whom all the people in the diocese look for guidance.  This chair is usually quite elaborate but the bishop also has a chair in every church in her diocese since they are all her churches, served by incumbents appointed by her since she can’t be in every church, every Sunday.  

For Your Devotions:

Monday, October 17th is the memorial of Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop, martyred around 115 AD. Actually, most experts place his death at least five years before that. Ignatius was born about 35 AD – just a few years after the crucifixion of Jesus and so he lived at the same time that many of the apostles were still alive! Being a church history geek, I find that really exciting. On the way to his death, Ignatius continued to write to fellow believers and it is in these letters that we find extremely early records of our three-fold church structure (i.e. bishops, presbyters, and deacons) already in place. In these letters we also find his arguments against the Docetists who claimed that Jesus’ human form was only an illusion and therefore his sufferings weren’t actually real. Some people say calling Ignatius a martyr is not accurate because he actually wanted to die in order to be with God and to become a word of the Lord instead of just another human voice. To read more:

 Tuesday, October 18th is the Holy Day of St. Luke the Evangelist. The link I’ve provided has a great video that provides many fascinating facts about this man who is believed to be the Luke – the beloved physician – mentioned in Paul’s writings and who was the only one who remained with Paul to the end. Because of our modern concept of ‘physicians’ we think that Luke must have been independent and well-off but, it was actually common at that time to train household slaves in medicine so that the family would have access to their own private doctor. For more info:

 Wednesday, October 19th is the memorial of Jean de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues, and their Companions who were missionaries and martyrs in New France in 1642-49.  The link provides an astounding story of eight Jesuit priests who journeyed to Quebec to proclaim the gospel among the Hurons but were captured by other nations. Father Jogues did manage to escape his captors after 13 months of torture. He received a hero’s welcome home in France where Pope Urban VIII gave him permission to celebrate the Eucharist despite his mutilated hands (a number of his fingers had been cut off, chewed off, and burnt off). You would think he would have stayed in France but, no, he could not resist the call to mission and went back. By the way, Jogues and others actually visited the Sault area in 1641! To read about the people named as the first Canadian martyrs, go here:

Yours in Christ,


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