Today is the feast of Saint Joseph of Arimathea on the new calendar. For those of you so ordered, have a blessed feast.
Below is William Blake’s poetic preface to Milton, which refers to the legend of Joseph’s having brought the Christ Child to the lovely island of Albion:
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.
The poem has been popularized as the patriotic song “Jerusalem.”
It hearkens back to England’s better days . . .
Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church has been on the job for a year and a half. I was initially worried about his elevation to the patriarchate, but he has been doing pretty good work on the spiritual, ecclesial, cultural, political, and diplomatic fronts. I am relieved to have been wrong. The patriarch is currently visiting the Ukraine; I hope that he can help to end the schism there and to regularize its ecclesial life.
OBL News has a pleasant story with charming pictures about the patriarch’s planting a birch tree (of course) at a monastery in Odessa: “Patriarch Kirill Plants Tree.”
We should not put our trust in princes, in the sons of men. However, Russia gives me hope for the near future of Christendom.