Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Hospitaller Carrack - Santa Anna

On 26 October 1530 Grand Master Philippe Villagers de Lisle Adam of the Sovereign Military Order of St. John arrived with 400 knights in three galleys, SANTA CROCE, SAN FILIPPO and SAN GIOVANNI, as overlords of the Maltese Islands which had been presented to them by the Emperor Charles V.
Malta was destined to become a secure base for the Order’s naval operations against the Turks. The knights at the time sailed one of the largest carracks, the SANT ANNA frequently referred to as the “Gran Caracas of Rudi”, which had a fighting complement of 300 besides 400 infantry and cavalry. This three-masted ship had a hull that tapered above the waterline and large castles fore and aft as shown in this 16th century painting exhibited at the Sanctuary Museum at Zabbar. She was destroyed in a fire a few years after the arrival of the Order in Malta.

The SANT ANNA belonged to a class of big ships, which were to fade away from the maritime scenario of the Mediterranean by the middle of the 16th century. In fact the SANT ANNA was one of the last carracks to sail in the Mediterranean. She was built in Villefrance-sur-Mer, France.  Launched towards the end of December 1522 in Nice. Ironically, it was the day in which the Hospitallars lost their island of Rhodes to the Ottoman Turks. In fact the Knights of St John quit Rhodes in 1522 and spent the next eight years roaming until they finally settled down in Malta in 1530. The carrack SANT ANNA had served during this period both as a man-of-war and a hostel, hosting distraught Knights.

The carrack SANT ANNA was one of the biggest ships roaming the Mediterranean at the time. It was so big and powerful that it could withstand an attack from a fifty strong galley squadron. It carried big guns on its main deck whilst the two upper decks were armed with small caliber guns. In fact the main armament of the carrack consisted of fifty big guns classed as culverins and reinforced cannons which were all distributed on the two main gun decks, on the bows, the stern and the waist of the ship. Short and at the same time heavily cast reinforced guns were located on the sides of the carrack.
The SANT ANNA also carried small caliber guns on its mast tops, whilst smaller guns called bombards, falcons and falconets were also fitted onto this ship. Such a powerful gun battery brought the Hospitallars historian Giacomo Bosio to state that the carrack was unsinkable even if attacked by a whole galley squadron. Notwithstanding its huge hull indispensable for such a huge number of guns, the SANT ANNA behaved excellently under sail but its size constrained to a slow speed.

The carrack housed on the poop a big wooden chamber called the great council room, which was reserved, as the meeting place for the Grandmaster and his Council. The ship also had an oven so that the crew could be supplied with fresh baked bread. This was a luxury for those times. Most of its contemporary galleys could not afford any space for an oven and the crew had to satisfy themselves with hard biscuits.

Throughout its eighteen years at sea, the carrack was involved in some of the most spectacular Christian expeditions against the Barbary Coast. In 1532 the carrack participated in the amphibious action against Coron.  On 30 May 1535 the carrack SANT ANNA sailed out of the Grand Harbour in Malta on an expedition against La Goletta in Tunis. Unfortunately, its massive size made the carrack sail slower than the other galleys, with the result that the carrack was left on its own at a distance. It was not possible for the galleys to tow the carrack. Eventually, the carrack succeeded in arriving at La Goletta to participate in the Christian attack on the Muslim fort. The Muslim gunfire caused only minor damage to the carrack. On the other hand, as the carrack had the highest freeboard and the most powerful guns, it caused the greatest damage to the Muslims fortification. While firing over the galleys, the carrack protected them from the enemy’s fire. Moreover, the carrack served as a hospital ship. During the bombardment wounded knights and soldiers were taken on board for medical assistance by the Knights infirmary staff.

The story of the carrack SANT ANNA came to an end in 1540. In that year, it was decided that the ship was to be laid up. It was left to rot in the Maltese Grand Harbour, meanwhile serving as a store and perhaps a hostel for distraught pilgrims and sailors.

Giacomo Bosio, one of the Hospitallers chroniclers speaks highly of the carrack as being the best floating fortress of the Mediterranean. Indeed, whenever it was employed against the enemy it won the day easily. The great canvas that exists and is exhibited at the Zabbar Sanctuary Museum is the earliest testimony of the ship in Malta but unfortunately the representation is more consonant with the profile of a great galleon rather than that of a carrack.

Source: Copied from ... g.php.html'

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Aug 1st Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians

Friday, August 1, 2014 This was the day chosen by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) for a worldwide day of Public Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in supplication for our persecuted brethren in Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East: The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter asks all of its apostolates around the world to dedicate Friday, August 1 to a day of prayer and penance for the Christians who are suffering terrible persecution in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. August 1 is the First Friday of the month and the Feast of St. Peter in Chains, which is celebrated as a Third Class Feast in FSSP houses and apostolates.  It is the feast in which we read of the great power of the persevering prayer of members of the Church: “Peter therefore was kept in Prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:5) This feast of our Patron should be an invitation to the faithful to join us in Holy Hours and other fitting prayers to beg the Most Holy Trinity that these members of the Mystical Body may persevere in the faith, and that, like St. Peter, they may be delivered from this terrible persecution. May such a day serve as a reminder to us of the stark contrast that stands between our days of vacation and ease, and their daily struggle for survival as they are killed or exiled from their homes. (Source) It is a day, we believe, chosen wisely by that Fraternity: we please upon all our Catholic brethren, East and West, attached to the Ordinary Form (Mass of Paul VI) or to the Extraordinary Form (Ancient Mass), whatever their theological bent, to join this worldwide prayer day. Whether you consider yourself a more liberal, conservative, traditional, or just plain Catholic, let us join together in this worldwide Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, together with all the Angels and Saints. It is also appropriately chosen because Pastors and Chaplains will have 10 days to prepare properly, to contact projects that help Christians in need and collect all kinds of contributions for the Christians of the Middle East (from Aid to the Church in Need to CNEWA, the Syrian and Chaldean Catholic Churches, and other organizations), and, in particular, to add to their bulletins and convey to their congregations how to participate next Sunday, July 27. Please, spread this initiative around. No need to link to us, or to even mention you saw it here -- just copy, paste, and just let this idea spread around throughout the world, through the web, through social networks, to your family and friends. Bishops, Pastors, priests, join us. First Fridays are a special day of the month, and nothing better next First Friday, August 1, than for all Catholics around the world to join in Adoration before Our Lord to implore his mercy and kindness for our most neglected brethren in Iraq, Syria, and throughout the Middle East.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nun: The Arabic Letter 'N' A Sign of Genocide

From Rorate Caeli blog:

Nun (ن), the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet (the equivalent of letter N in our Roman alphabet), is the first letter of the word Nasara (نصارى : Nazarenes), the way Muslims have called Christians since the beginning of their invasion of the Christian world in the 7th century -- Christians under Muslim rule never called themselves thus, since the intent of Muslims was to portray Christians as a contemptible and disobedient sect.

It is the same name of the equivalent letter (נ) in the Hebrew alphabet (also a Semitic language), and it reminds us of the words of Jeremiah, also crying for an exile of his people sent to Mesopotamia:

For the rest of the article and the text of an interview granted by the Syrian (Syriac) Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Ignace Joseph III Younan, to Sergio Cenofanti of Vatican Radio (in Italian).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chiesa di San Pancrazio

The church of San Pancrazio is found in central Genoa, in front of the piazza named after the same (St Pancrazio) . A church at the site was first linked to the nearby Benedictine Abbey of San Siro in the 11th century. A document from the 16th century notes that the church had been for centuries endowed by prominent Genoese families including the Calvi and Pallavicini.[1] The present layout dates into the 18th century. In 1684, the church was demolished by the bombardment of ...Genoa by the naval forces of Louis XIV of France. The architect Antonio Maria Ricca designed the present structure. The church was again damaged by aerial bombing during the Second World War. It is now attached to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta as evidenced by the cross above the portal.

The apse frescoes were completed by Giacomo Antonio Boni, while the triptych of the Life of St. Pancreas, attributed to Adrian Ysenbrant, has been reconstructed within a decorative marble main altar.

The sign over the entrance says there is Mass in Latin on Saturday at 1700 hours

On Your Knees, Punk! Bishop says Ditch The Bow

On Your Knees, Punk! Bishop says Ditch The Bow

Sunday, July 13, 2014

François-Marie des Bans Commander of St. Remy

François-Marie des Bans, son of Pierre des Bans (1607 /-1685), was born on January 10, 1647 in Mareuil and was baptized 5 years later, on December 10, 1651, to sponsor Beauvillier François, comte de St-Aignan, probably absent in the region at the time of his birth.

Perhaps inspired by the presence of a chapel of the Order of St John of Jerusalem near the family lands, he was presented and received into the Order of Malta on July 8, 1659, probably with letters from the Grand Master.  After a year spent in Malta, he was accepted as member of the Order and spent six months in various campaigns at sea against the Turks and the Barbary pirates before receiving the habit.  For more than 30 years François-Marie served  in the order of Malta in the Mediterranean, best performing his vocation as soldier-monk on Malta and at sea.

Recognized by his peers, he was awarded the commandery of St-Rémy de Verruyes (Deux Sèvres) in 1692. This appointment does not preclude his return some years later in Malta, where he wondered however about his vocation, at the same time still ensuring the management and restoration of his commandery. Returning to St-Rémy and lacking a temperment for administration, François-Marie had to engage in several trials to defend the property of the order.  He left many documents that he signed "Knight brother François de Mareuil". Against his wishes, he was appointed receiver of the Grand Priory of Aquitaine in 1709, and ten years later, Grand Treasurer of France of the order, with the title of bailiff.

On Saturday, August 31, 1720, François-Marie des Bans of Mareuil died after 28 years of loyal service in the commandery of St-Rémy where his body is buried in the chapel.


Translated from the French,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Homily by Msgr Dr Antony Conlon at the Solemn Profession of Fra' John Eidinow – 16th JUNE 2014 at Merton College.

 By Peter Allingham on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 8:45am

“They live together without separate property in one house under one rule, careful to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Never is an idle word or useless deed or immoderate laughter, or a murmur, if it be but whispered, allowed to go unpunished. Draughts and dice they detest. Hunting they hold in abomination, and take no pleasure in the frivolous pastime of hawking. Soothsayers, jesters and story-tellers, ribald songs and stage plays they eschew as insane follies. They cut close their hair, knowing as the apostle says that “it is a shame for a man to have long hair”. They never dress gaily and wash but seldom. Shaggy by reason of their uncombed hair, they are also begrimed with dust, and swarthy from the weight of their armour and the heat of the sun.”
Rather like the passage in Acts which gives a somewhat idealised account of the earliest Christians living like a cooperative, we may accept St Bernard’s commentary on the Hospitallers of the 12th century as somewhat hyperbolic. Nevertheless it is suggestive of that same hard core religious fervour that the often harsh environment of the Middle East has nurtured throughout the centuries. It was their absolutely uncompromising code of honour and militancy that decided Saladin to order the mass execution of surviving Knights of the Temple and the Hospital after the battle of Hattin in 1187. He could not afford to let them live. The religious zeal they exemplified was not uncommon in those days. Few religious orders of the Church have since retained in every case the original observances of their foundation. Social, medical and political concerns have all influenced change. But all that have survived and are flourishing have sought perennially to rekindle the flame of the esprit de corps of their foundation and raison d’etre. While adapting in practical and administrative terms to centuries of social development and scientific advance, they have also preserved the core of evangelical principles and aims that inspired their founders. Not to do so would be to retreat in confusion rather than advance with confidence. But, as Blessed John Henry Newman observed in the nineteenth century when dealing with change and development, the primacy of the absolute over the relative has been increasingly jeopardised if not jettisoned altogether. Much more recently Pope Benedict XVI has also drawn attention to the dangerous temptation to apply solutions of convenience to problematic human conditions. The planned early elimination of patients suffering from distressfully terminal illnesses is but one contemporary example of abandonment of all sense of the sanctity of innocent human life. Regrettably, it is not the only one. It is particularly appropriate in the context of our Order’s historic contribution to medical care and relief of poverty to concern ourselves with such moral issues. We must always consider how we can best defend the religion that motivates us and champion care of the sick, aged, vulnerable and unborn from natural conception to natural death. No member of the Order, worthy of the name, can be indifferent to these concerns. The physical austerities of Outremer may no longer apply but the robust conviction that once inspired them most certainly does.

At every level, to take up the sword and the cross in symbolic gesture is to commit oneself to a crusade of justice, charity, personal sanctity and public witness. You, John, Sir Knight, this evening, publicly declare your vocation to Justice and all that it implies in the long evolution of hospitaller and devotional exercises that your vows imply. We all know from observation of your progress through noviciate and from the manner in which you have allowed yourself to be guided that your preparation has been both thorough and lengthy. No aspect of our religion has been neglected or ignored. Therefore we, your confreres, confidently anticipate both the soundness of your sense of vocation and the diligence with which you will try to live it and fulfil its duties and responsibilities. To do this you will need the structures and signposts of spiritual direction. None of us who is pledged to a vocation of any kind can survive well and indefinitely without governance, guidance and support. That is why The Order has yet preserved the rule and regulation of our affairs beyond the stage when community life still directed our efforts. Linked to charity above all, obedience, fraternal correction and commitment to daily prayer are intrinsic elements of religious life. You will need both courage and at times endurance to fulfil these responsibilities with diligence. Know that you do not face these exigencies in isolation. The prayers of all of us, and where appropriate the counsel of those in whom you confide will aid you. The saints and blessed of the long centuries of the Order’s history also stand ready to intercede for you in the celestial Kingdom. Indefectibly, the sacramental life of a Catholic must be the foundation upon which you build the fortress of your faith, witness and contribution to the work of the Order. Fidelity in this regard will always keep you anchored to orthodox belief and render virtuous your natural qualities. Finally, may you keep before you and seek to imitate the pattern of our Holy Patron, the martyred Precursor of the Lord, who said of himself in regard to his Master, “He must increase and I must decrease.”


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