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Homily for 9/9/07 - P16 - Martyr King Edward

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  • Fr David Moser
    Moscow, August 21, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church instituted a holiday to honour Christians who lived on the islands of Great Britain
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 17, 2007
      Moscow, August 21, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox
      Church instituted a holiday to honour Christians who lived on the
      islands of Great Britain and Ireland and were canonized before the 1054
      schism that divided Christendom into the Western Catholic and Eastern
      Orthodox Churches.

      The holiday will be an annual event observed on the third Sunday after
      Pentecost in the Julian Calendar.

      The Synod, which met on Tuesday, also ordered that these saints' names
      be included in the Menology after their Christian exploits have been

      One of these saints, whose memory we celebrate today, is the Martyr King
      Edward of England. This saint, who lived from 964 to 979, shows us an
      example of one who received from God the rule over the empire of Great
      Britain, as the servant in the parable who received from God 5 talents
      and like that servant in the parable, he worked to increase what God had
      given him, giving even his life in pursuit of that heavenly treasure.

      The Martyr King Edward had a younger half brother, Ethelred, who was his
      rival to ascend to the throne of Britain following their father’s death
      in 975. The dispute over who would ascend to the throne was settled by
      the archbishop of Canterbury, St Dunstan, the chief hierarch of the
      English Church, who selected Edward and anointed him the king of all
      Britain. Upon his ascent to the throne, Edward began immediately to use
      his authority to set the Church in Britain back into good order. A great
      disarray had fallen over the Church at that time in England as the
      secular aristocracy attempted to use the Church and her material wealth
      as their own. Edward faced civil unrest – even an armed conflict – led
      by one of the nobles which was bent upon seizing the properties given to
      the monasteries by the previous King Edmund and installing married
      clergy and their wives and families in the monastic churches in place of
      the monastics. The new young King Edward opposed this uprising and
      sought to restore the monasteries to the monastics. Because the young
      King Edward stood firmly in support of St Dunstan, the archbishop of
      Canterbury, on behalf of the Church and her restoration, the nobles who
      sought to control the monasteries and their lands joined together with
      the Queen in a plot to replace Edward with his more easily swayed
      younger brother Ethelred.

      On March 18, 979 King Edward was out riding and sought to briefly visit
      his younger brother in his home. The King’s stepmother, Queen
      Ethledritha (Ethelred’s natural mother) came out to greet him as he
      approached and invited him to stay and dine. The King declined stating
      that he only wished to greet his younger brother. Even so the Queen
      continued to implore him to stop, if even briefly, and the King finally
      agreed to take a cup of wine with her there. One of her servants came up
      to the king and greeting him with a kiss offered the King a cup of wine.
      He took the wine, but as he began to drink, the servant acting as Judas
      himself, plunged knife into the young king killing him. The Queen then
      took the body and hid it in the hut of a blind beggar who lived nearby.

      But God did not allow His servant to remain hidden for long. That very
      night there came from the cottage of the blind woman a great light. The
      woman herself, crying out “Lord have mercy,” miraculously received her
      sight. Not only this, the stream into which the King had fallen when he
      was murdered was found to have healing properties, such that those who
      would bathe their eyes in its waters were frequently cured of blindness.
      The Queen, seeing that the body could no longer be hidden in this
      manner, for such a miracle could not be suppressed, took the body and
      buried it in the marsh. But even this could not hide the relics of the
      Martyr for within the year a pillar of fire began to appear over the
      marshy grave of the Martyr King Edward. When the local people came to
      investigate, they found the body of the martyr and removing it from the
      swamp brought it to the nearby Church where the Martyr King was then
      reburied. From the marshy grave where he had been thrown by his step
      mother, after the body was removed, there arose a spring of sweet water
      which also was found to have miraculous healing properties. As the news
      of the martyr-king’s wonderworking intercessions spread, so also did the
      account of his step mother’s treachery. Even some of those who plotted
      with her abandoned their struggle against the Church and sought to honor
      the martyred King. One of these nobles took the relics of the Martyr
      King from the humble church where they lay and brought them to the
      convent at Shaftsbury where they were venerated by all.

      Even during this translation (transfer) of his relics there were many
      miracles of healing and the Queen herself repented of her evil deeds.
      Just like St Mary of Egypt, when the Queen sought to come into the
      convent to venerate the relics of the saint, she was prevented from
      entering the convent by an unseen barrier. She realized that this was
      due to her sins and therefore like St Mary, she spent the remainder of
      her life repenting of her sins. The veneration of the Martyr King Edward
      continues today and his relics rest in a Russian Orthodox Monastery in

      Here we have an example of one who was given a great gift by God – the
      control of an empire – and he took that gift and used it not for his own
      wealth, but sought instead to use his authority and position to defend
      the Church against her enemies. Each of us is likewise given gifts by
      God – whether it be 5, 2 or even only one “talent” of wealth. These
      gifts: our life, our possessions, our position, our resources, all that
      we possess, are given to us for one purpose – to glorify God. In the Old
      Testament, God demanded from his people a tithe, a tenth part, of all
      they possessed as support for the priests and the temple. But that is
      only a shadow, that is only small image of the truth that has been
      revealed to us. We know that it is not the tithe, the tenth part, of all
      our substance that belongs to God, but that everything we have comes
      from God and is offered back to him. This is the call for each of us
      then, to offer to God not a tithe, but the all that we have. This does
      not mean that you must give everything to the Church (although it is
      important to support the Church through your gifts) but rather that
      everything that you have, everything that you do, every event of your
      life must be focused on the glory of God. God asks of you nothing less
      that your whole life given in service to Him. Every day that you live,
      every moment, every penny that you spend, do so in such a manner that
      will give glory to God and bring His grace to you. Whether you spend
      your time in manual labor, in serving others, in teaching or in some
      other profession or craft – do what it is that you do for the glory of
      God and in the service of His Body, our Holy Mother Church. In this
      manner emulate the Martyr King Edward and all the saints so that you may
      offer to God the grace filled fruits of your life.

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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