Well, for this Sunday which is the 4th Sunday, we are sadly skipping over the great St. John of the Ladder which could be a fun lesson, but we get to teach the Annunciation.  This feast is always on March 25th, perfectly 9 months before our celebration of the nativity of Christ.

This is a coloring craft to cut out and set up as puppets using a glue stick and a couple of brads.

Click here for the craft.

Instructions:

  1. Cut out the images on the thick outline.
  2. Place a bit of glue on the far edge of the tab on Mary, and wrap it around to make it a stand.
  3. Fold her feet up and let her stand.
  4. Connect the wings to Archangel Gabriel and glue him onto a wooden craft stick.
  5. Have the kids tell the story of the Annunciation using the puppets.
  6. Check here for more info on the story.

Click here for a simple coloring page.

Revealing to you the pre-eternal counsel,
Gabriel came and stood before you, O Maiden,
and in greeting said:
“Rejoice, earth that has not been sown!
Rejoice, burning bush that remains unconsumed!
Rejoice, unsearchable depth!
Rejoice, bridge that leads to Heaven!
Rejoice, ladder raised on high that Jacob saw!
Rejoice, divine jar of manna!
Rejoice, deliverance from the curse!
Rejoice, restoration of Adam;
 the Lord is with you!”

From the Vesperal Stichera of the Vigil of the Annunciation

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Click here for a Holy Cross craft.

 

Christ conquered death by death, and upon those in the tomb bestows life.

Here is a little coloring page of Saint Gregory Palamas: Coloring page.

We are going to color the figure and glitter in the halo.  Then the picture can be glued to a piece of construction paper to make it a bit sturdier.  Add a popsicle stick to make it easy to hold.

Last year on January 10th, I read about Saint Ammon, the Egyptian Ascetic.  This year I again am struck by the words written of him:

 THE VENERABLE AMMON, EPYPTIAN ASCETIC

For fourteen years, Ammon prayed to God and struggled to conquer anger within himself. He attained such perfection of goodness, that he was not even conscious that evil existed in the world. He was particularly knowledgeable in Holy Scripture. He died at the beginning of the fifth century.

 He was not even conscious that evil existed in the world.  I love this concept.

Lars Brownworth created a free podcast that has both kept me entertained and taught me about a huge chunk of history.  Each night when the kids go to bed I spend an hour or two cleaning up, preparing schoolwork or food, or drawing.  The perfect way to fill in that busywork is with podcasts.  This free podcast series called 12 Byzantine Rulers is about 6.5 hours long, and it has sparked a love of history in me.  I plan to read more about the Byzantine world, and Brownworth gives reading recommendations too.

The Hagia Sofia was a major character in this story, and when the podcast told of the 1453 Turkish take-over of Constantinople I was heartbroken.  The church looks different now since it was turned into a mosque and then a museum and has been through earthquakes, but many who visit the Hagia Sophia say it is the most amazing place they have ever been.  It was built in only 5 years and finished in 536AD by Justinian.  5 years!  I hope to either commission or (someday) draw an historical version of the Hagia Sophia in an architectural style to hang in my living room.

Besides the Hagia Sophia the podcast offers so much adventure and political drama and mystery.   There are many characters to hate and love.  Brownworth speaks of the tensions between the East and West parts of the empire and in the end says that when Constantinople is overrun, all the scholars escape to the West.  He points to that as the beginning of the Renaissance.  He even makes the claim that without the Byzantine empire, we would not even know of Plato. The people of Constantinople were well-educated and thoroughly mystical people.  I love itit‘s better than any film I have seen lately.  Enjoy!

This illustration for a bookplate was commissioned by a friend for his wife Sarah.  Her saint is Seraphim of Sarov.

Troparion of St. Seraphim, Tone 4
Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one,
and longing to work for Him alone thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labor.
With penitent heart and great love for Christ thou wast favored by the Mother of God.
Wherefore we cry to thee:
Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim our righteous Father.

This first piece by Gerome has always been intriguing to me since I first viewed it in high-school Humanities class.  I am thinking of doing a gun-slinger or duel illustration soon, and these are some images I found for a chill of inspiration.

File:Jean-Léon Gérôme - Duel After a Masquerade Ball.jpg

Jean-Léon Gérôme – Duel After a Masquerade Ball

Eugene Onegin and Vladimir Lensky’s duel – painted by Ilya Repin using Watercolours, white lead, and Indian ink on paper.

I am not able to find any information on this piece.