Vitreus Codex

OF THE ANGEL OF THE LORD WHO APPEARED VISIBLY TO
ST. COLUMBA WHILE STAYING IN HINBA ISLAND, WHEN SENT TO ORDAIN AEDHAN TO BE KING.

At another time, while the famous man was staying in Hinba island†, one night in an ecstasy of mind he saw an angel of the Lord sent to him, who had in his hand the glassy book (vitreum librum) of the ordination of kings, which the venerable man, when he had received it from the hand of the angel, at his bidding began to read. And when he refused to ordain Aedhan to be king, as was recommended to him in the book, because he loved logenan his brother more; suddenly the angel put out his hand and smote the Saint with a scourge, the livid mark of which remained on his side all the days of his life. And he added this word, saying, “Know for certain that I am sent unto thee from God with the glassy book (vitreum codicem), that, according to the words which thou hast read in it, thou mayest ordain Aedhan to the kingdom. And if thou art not willing to obey this command, I will smite thee again.” When, therefore, this angel of the Lord appeared for three nights in succession, having in his hand that glassy book, and committed to him the same commands of the Lord concerning the ordination of that king, the Saint, obeying the word of the Lord, sailed over to the Iouan island (Iona), and there ordained Aedhan, who arrived in those days, to be king, as he had been commanded. And among the words of ordination he prophesied future events concerning his sons and grandsons and great grandsons, and, placing his hand upon his head, ordained and blessed him.

Cuimine (Cummian) the Fair, in the book which he wrote of the virtues of St. Columba, has thus said, that St. Columba began to prophesy of Aedhan and his posterity, and of his kingdom, saying, “Believe without doubting, Aedhan, that none of thine adversaries will be able to resist thee, until thou first actest fraudulently against me and against my successors. Wherefore, then, do thou commend it to thy sons, that they may commend it to their sons and grandsons and posterity, lest they through evil counsels lose the sceptre of this their kingdom out of their hands. For at whatsoever time they do anything against me or against my kinsmen who are in Ireland, the scourge, which for thy sake I have endured from the angel, shall by the hand of God be turned upon them to their great disgrace and the heart of men shall be taken away from them, and their enemies shall be greatly strengthened over them.”

Now this prophecy has been fulfilled in our own times, in the battle of Roth‡, when Domhnall Brecc, grandson of Aedhan, without cause wasted the province of Domhnall, grandson of Ainmire. And from that day to this they are ever on the decline through means of strangers, which excites in the breast deep sighs of grief.

— St. Adomnán’s Vita Columbæ, Book III, Chapter v.

† The Columban retreat isle of Hinba is perhaps Eileach an Naoimh (Eilean-na-Naoimh) [rocky place/island of the saint], the Holy Isle, southernmost of the Garvellachs archipelago, lying in Firth of Lorne between Mull and Argyll.
‡ The Battle of Moira, known archaically as the Battle of Mag Rath, was fought in the summer of 637 by the Gaelic High King of Ireland Domnall II against his foster son King Congal of Ulster, supported by his ally Domnall the Freckled (Domnall Brecc) of Dalriada. The battle was fought near the Woods of Killultagh, just outside the village of Moira in what would become County Down. It was allegedly the largest battle ever fought on the island of Ireland, and resulted in the death of Congal and the retreat of Domnall Brecc.

Priestly Ordination

I have just returned from Incarnation Catholic Church where, this morning, Deacon William P. “Doc” Holiday became Fr. William P. “Doc” Holiday, Catholic priest.

The whole affair was similar to Thursday’s diaconal ordination. This time, though, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson was in attendance. Though Fr. Steenson is the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, he is not a bishop, so once again Bishop John Noonan of Orlando performed the ordination.

It was announced that paperwork is still being drawn-up, but Incarnation Catholic Church will become a parish in the Ordinariate and that Fr. Holiday will become its first pastor.

At the conclusion of the Mass and after photos had been taken, I received Fr. Doc’s blessing, kissed his freshly-annointed hands, and became his first penitent, making my confession in the chapel.

Afterwards, at the reception, I was pulled into a brief conversation with both Bishop Noonan and Msgr. Steenson. Bishop Noonan termed me “an expert in canon law,” an (erroneous) notion he picked-up when I met with him the first time (about a matter of ecclesiastical law), and they were both enquiring about the office of a titular abbot, wondering if this might be a way to honour certain individuals who were former Anglican clergy who worked towards the Ordinariate, but, for whatever canonical or practical reasons could not be ordained in the Church.

Msgr. Steenson and I had an extended conversation wherein I observed that, with the demise of Morning Prayer in The Episcopal Church and other Anglican sects (in favour of Holy Eucharist every Sunday), and with no strong history in the USA of Evensong in the parishes, one of the greatest treasures of the Anglican Patrimony — namely Anglican Chant — was going to be lost unless the Ordinariate made its preservation and growth a high priority. We seemed to be in agreement on this point.

We spoke briefly about the Customary of Our Lady of Walshingham. He had not studied the book, so I offered to mail him my copy due the very steep price through Amazon. Msgr. Steenson noted that the USA, Canada, and Australia were fairly united in their desire to maintain as much of the Prayer-Book tradition as possible, but the English seemed in great disarray and were not so committed to the traditional Anglican forms.

We also briefly discussed the merits of the recently abrogated Scottish Highland regimental system. (I was wearing a kilt, which started this tangent, and being a Campbell, the Government has long used the clan’s tartan which I was wearing.)

Congratulations, Fr. Doc! I would ask that my readers continue to pray for him.

Diaconal Ordination

This morning I attended the ordination of William “Doc” Holiday, a former Anglican priest and good friend, to the Catholic diaconate. The ordination took place at Incarnation Catholic Church, in Orlando, Florida, formerly the Anglican Cathedral of the Incarnation, for which, as Rector’s Warden, I had the honour of organising the process by which the parish entered the Holy and Apostolic Church via the Personal Ordinariate erected under the auspices of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum cœtibus.

John Noonan, the Bishop of Orlando, performed the ordination on behalf of the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson. The ordination and Mass were conducted in accordance with the modern Roman Rite (Novus Ordo). Mass was celebrated ad orientem, as of course, the Anglo-Catholic church’s altar abuts the east wall. Everything was done decently and in good order, though obviously the “Ordinary Form” of the Latin Rite is not at all my cup of tea (to put it very mildly). In the spirit of Christian Unity, I will refrain from commenting on the liturgical vestments supplied by the Diocese.

As the event was only announced recently, and it was conducted at nine o’clock on a business morning, there were few in attendance (the bishop’s entourage was more numerous than the parishioners). Bishop Noonan spoke briefly about the ministry of the deacon in the Church.

Deacon Holiday will be ordained to the priesthood on this coming Saturday, at Incarnation Church, at nine o’clock in the morning. Every indication is that he will, at some point, assume the rectorship of the church, as the first and likely last native Anglican-turned-Catholic priest in the community. Please pray for him as he prepares for the fulfilment of his ministry as a Catholic priest.

Finally, Ordinations!

After years of preparation and sometimes agonising waiting, I have finally heard news of Fr. William P. “Doc” Holiday’s ordination to the Catholic priesthood! He will be ordained to the Diaconate on Thursday of this coming week, and to the Priesthood on Saturday! Deo gratias! Finally, the Church of the Incarnation will have a Catholic rector, completing the transition — the conversion — of the former Anglican cathedral to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church!