30 June 2010

Tempus Thomasinum

A curious little 'Thomas' season is about to start.

On July 3, the Novus Ordo Calendar will observe S Thomas the Apostle. Bugnini moved him here so as to extricate him from the Major Advent Ferias just before Christmas. July 3 is truly, however, his date among Syrian and Malabar Christians who believe that he evangelised India. I think he is worth a votive, said for those ancient and venerable Christian communities.

July 5 is the memorial of Blessed Thomas Belson, a lay martyr executed in Oxford in the hysteria which followed the Armada (what a shame that very worthy enterprise was not successful). He and his group were arrested in the Inn called the Catherine Wheel, opposite S Mary Mag's church (and now built over by Balliol College, c'est magnifique mais ce n'est pas la gare).

July 7 is the Translation of the relics of S Thomas of Canterbury; observed in the Basilica of S Thomas the Martyr in Oxford and in the RC diocese of Portsmouth. At S Thomas's we also observe S Thomas's Sunday on the first Sunday of July, which this year is July 4. If you are within reach of S Thomas's, make sure you get across to the 10.00 Mass that Sunday; we have a visiting preacher so you will not be subjected to the homiletic meanderings of the pp.

Then, on July 6 (Common Worship; it is the day of his martyrdom) or July 9 (according to the old preconciliar RC calendar for the regions of England, which needed to find him a date which did not coincide with the Octave Day of SS Peter and Paul) we observe S Thomas More.

On the JP2 principle that "There are no such things as coincidences", I wonder what mystical rationale one might devise for this?


Joshua said...

Previous to the reform of the Calendar at the decree of Julius Cæsar, which was as it were a præparatio Evangelii, July was yclept Quintilis, the fifth month; and lo! we do count five* dates at the head of this month, whereon a holy Thomas, that is, a twin or double, is commemorated - memorials of Thomas being doubled and redoubled, since there are four holy Thomases thus remembered.

And five plus four is nine, the number of the Angelic choirs; and all the Angels do attend upon the Church's solemn worship. Again, July to-day is accounted the seventh month; and Thomas being interpreted the twin, seven plus two is nine again.

[*Counting not the external solemnity on Sunday the 4th, which of necessity varieth from year to year.]

According to the Golden Legend, regarding St Thomas of Canterbury - "Thomas is as much to say as abisme or double, or trenched and hewn, he was an abisme profound in humility, as it appeared in the hair that he wore, and in washing of the feet of the poor people, double in prelation that was in word and in ensample, and hewn and trenched in his passion." It would seem that utterly the same could be said of the other Thomases, for all saints are humble, all teach by word and example, and all were martyred.

Rubricarius said...

The third Supplemnto to the Memoria published by the Pian Commission in 1951 states (p.168) that St. Thomas (Ap) was also mentioned in Martyrologium Hieronymianum as a first translation of his relics on July 3rd.

Chris said...

Sarum, apparently, kept a Feast of the Relics of S Thomas of Canterbury on the Sunday following his Translation.

Jacob Hicks said...

Well, Chris, Fr H has always been very influenced by Sarum...

Rubricarius said...


The church of St. Magnus the Martyr, Lower Thames Street, is observing such a feast this coming Sunday with a procession of a relic of St. Thomas Cantaur, lent from my collection, to the approximate site of the chapel dedicated to him on London Bridge.