Monday, March 07, 2011

Since When is the Spring Equinox on the Christian Calendar?

St Michael & All Angels' to host a celebration of the spring equinox, March 20

On Sunday, March 20, St. Michael's and All Angels', Columbia will host a celebration of the spring equinox and pray for the healing of the Earth.

Participants will observe the transition from Winter to Spring at the time when day and night, light and darkness are in balance with prayers for the intention of healing our earth and increasing our awareness of God’s creation as a gift deserving of our stewardship.


03/09/2011 Addendum: The following popped out today as I read Galatians 4:10-11 (King James Version).

"Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."


  1. A congregation of wiccans. perhaps?

  2. Who else would do such a thing during Lent?

  3. Kelso8:12 PM

    It can only be the 1979 BCP, the favorite book of the ECW (no no no...not the Episcopal Church Women...the Episcopal Church Wiccans! Don't say "same difference" that's not helpful).

  4. Maybe the service can be included in the 2029 BCP.

  5. St. Photina

    Feastday: March 20
    1st century

    Samaritan martyr. According to Greek tradition, Photiona was the Samaritan woman with whom Jesus spoke at the well as was recounted in the Gospel of St. John, chapter four. Deeply moved by the experience, she took to preaching the Gospel, received imprisonment, and was finally martyred at Carthage.

    Another tradition states that Photina was put to death in Rome after converting the daughter of Emperor Nero and one hundred of her servants. She supposedly died in Rome with her sons Joseph and Victor, along with several other Christians, including Sebastian, Photius, Parasceve, Photis, Cyriaca, and Victor. They were perhaps included in the Roman Martyrology by Cardinal Cesare Baronius owing to the widely held view that the head of Photina was preserved in the church of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.

  6. Check out the little addendum I added today.

  7. At the time of the Elizabethan phase of the Reformation the Church of England was split over the issue of the retention of the Church Year. Those who had spent the Marian persecutions in Geneva, sitting at the feet of John Calvin, wanted to do away with the Church Year and feast days altogether while those who had spent the Marian persecutions in Zurich or in seclusion in England favored retaining them. The first group would eventually morph into the Puritans and they frequently drew attention to the passage that the Underground Pewster cites. The 1559 Prayer Book retains the Church Calendar and the feast days of New Testament figures and noted early Church fathers. A lot of minor saints were dropped.

    In the Celtic Church, on the other hand, there were saints every where. They were men and women who were recognized for their holiness and godliness. Like the Anglican Church, the Celtic Church did not canonize its saints. Saints days were purely a matter of local custom, usually commemorating the death of a particular local saint.

    If a church is thoroughly orthodox in its Christian beliefs there is no harm in it holding a spring festival at the spring equinox to serve as a brige between the church and the community and to which all members of the community are invited, including the pagans. In such a case the church would be making use of an occasion that the pagans celebrate to accomplish the purposes of the church--relationship building with an eye to future evangelization.

    The problem here is not the occasion being celebrated or even the emphasis upon ecology and the environment--there are a lot of Christians and unevangelized, unchurched people who care about such things--but the orthodoxy of the Christian beliefs of the church.

    The use of the spring equinox as the occasion of such a celebration does not itself throw the church's orthodoxy into question. The denomination and locality of the church makes its orthodoxy suspect as does the language it uses in its announcement. But the latter could be a way of attracting non-Christians.

    We seem to forget that the Christian Church has a long history of using pagan celebrations to spread the gospel. While we cannot assume that this is the case in this particular instant, I think that we should keep this in mind and not rule out the use of such occasions to further the cause of the gospel.

    It is not catering or succumbing to the culture but being as our Lord said as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.

  8. Robin,

    While the history of Christianity contains plenty of examples of the assimilation of pagan holidays, I doubt that is what is going on at this particular church.

    I admit that I missed their class "Dreams: A Pathway to the Soul" in January, but I have heard their rector speak, and I am convinced that they are on the revisionist path.

    A glance at their steeply falling numbers is a pretty good indicator that there is trouble, but I would greatly appreciate a copy of the liturgy that they are going to use. Now who can I find that is willing to go to the service??? Hmmm...any volunteers?