Thursday, December 22, 2016

Great Martyr Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions

I had planned to go to Liturgy at a parish in my eparchy on the Julian calendar today to celebrate the Conception by Saint Anne of the Most Holy Theotokos, but there didn’t seem to be the usual morning Liturgy at that parish, so I went to my home parish a few blocks south. On the Gregorian and Revised Julian calendars today, we commemorate the Great Martyr Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions, also known as Anastasia the Healer. While I chose today to post my previous blog due to today’s feast on the Old calendar, a secondary topic of my recently revised book is very relevant to today’s commemoration of St. Anastasia on the New calendars.

St. Anastasia received the honour of “Deliverer of Potions,” or Φαρμακολύτρια (Pharmakolytria), due to many healings from the effects of potions, poisons, spells and other harmful substances through her prayers and intercessions. Not only is the root of Pharmakolytria, φάρμακον (pharmakon), the origin of the English word pharmaceutical, there’s only an iota of difference between the beginning of St. Anastasia’s name (Ἀναστασία) and the origin of word anesthesia, ἀναίσθητος (anaisthetos). While the root of St. Anastasia’s name, ἀνάστασις (anastasis) means “resurrection from the dead,” the origin of the word anesthesia, ἀναίσθητος (anaisthetos) means “without feeling or perception.”

The Reason I Became Catholic: My Wife

Since beginning RCIA and then being received into the Roman Catholic Church on 11 March 1993, I have often been accused of becoming Catholic simply because my wife was Catholic. More often than not, such benign accusations have been in the presence of my mother-in-law, who’s been quick to answer, “That’s not true,” and would then prompt me to explain the rest.

In truth, it was around a three year process, including the process of RCIA, of me carefully studying the teachings of the Catholic Church before I was fully initiated as a Catholic. So while it is true that I didn’t simply become Catholic because my wife was Catholic, what motivated me to more fully investigate the Catholic Church was my marriage to a Roman Catholic. One could also say that I transferred ascription to the Ukrainian Catholic Church because I was married to a Ukrainian Catholic, but it would be better to say that my wife simply preceded me by nine years to the Church we had both been moving towards all our lives.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Commemorate the Saint, but have some Fun

Thirteen days ago, Deacon Steven D. Greydanus wrote on his NCR blog: “Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas, original inspiration of Santa Claus or Father Christmas, and beloved figure of irascible social-media memes celebrating the famous incident in which the good bishop, attending the Council of Nicea, became so enraged at Arius’s blasphemies that he struck him.”

It’s been a few years since I read about that incident, but I’m not sure the words “so enraged” correctly describes it. The words I remember were, “filled with righteous anger,” but the Saint of the Day podcast on Ancient Faith Radio does say, “so incensed with the blasphemies of Arius.”

Nonetheless, today on the Julian calendar is the feastday of our Father Among the Saints, Nicholas, the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra.