We Are Closed. Please Support The King’s Jubilee

Due to repeated illnesses and multiple little strokes, it was clear that I could not keep up with this business. Customers were not satisfied with my service. I forgot things and mixed up orders. Orders were unreasonably delayed. It was not making money. to be honest, the business never really turned a profit. I started the business in the hopes that it would be able to support ministry among the homeless: The King’s Jubilee. I ask that you support that directly instead.

Thank you and God bless.

Custom Icons for Parish Life Conference

It was an honor to make a couple of the icons for this year’s Parish Life Conference for the dioceses of the eastern region. St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church has some fine large portable icons by the hand of Constantine Youssis that are usually in their Narthex. For the PLC, they wanted a St. Paul and a St. John the Baptist to go with these. This is what we were able to come up with. These are both by the hand of Constantine Youssis, as well.

Saint John the Baptist

Saint John the Baptist

The Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul

An herb to help you not lose your head named for a saint who lost his.

Shrubby St. John's Wort native to PA

Shrubby St. John’s Wort native to PA

There is a genus of plants that consists of nearly 400 species with nearly worldwide distribution. It is kind of amazing. These plants all have bright yellow blossoms. Some of the plants are perennials. Some need to reseed. Some are shrubby bushes. Some are trees, growing almost 40 feet tall. They are almost all called St. John’s Wort, with other descriptors or qualifiers before it. it’s genus name, hypericum, comes from the fact that they bloom just prior to the feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist on the summer solstice, June 24. The faithful would take branches of the flowers and place them over the icons in their homes and in their churches for the feast day.  Some varieties continue blooming until the feast of St. John’s Beheading on August 29.

St. John's Wort - hypericum perferatum

St. John’s Wort – hypericum perforatum

The petals of the flowers contain hypericin which is an antidepressant. For millennia people have been using the flower petals for tea for this purpose. Now drug stores sell 300mg capsules of powdered, dried St. John’s Wort that one may take three times a day. It is the only antidepressant I know of that doesn’t list suicidal thoughts as a possible side effect. (Miscarriage is a possible side effect, however.) Doctors prescribe it as it has been proven effective. We have three varieties of St. John’s Wort growing here at “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art. The photo above is from our front yard. It is a close up of a blossom on a native PA shrubby variety.  We have hypericum perforatum by the driveway side of the house and Four-petal St. John’s Wort, a native of Florida, back by the barn.

Non-native St. John's Wort in front of Telford-Souderton Post Office

Non-native St. John’s Wort in front of Telford-Souderton Post Office

I find it interesting that our local post office has loads of St. John’s Wort in front of it. Our local postal workers all seem to be happy and well adjusted. They have a couple of native bushes and then loads of these woody stemmed perennials, with giant blooms. The bees only bother with the natives. It provides a graphic lesson in the importance of planting natives. Only natives provide food for the bees and insects, butterflies and birds.

Four-petal Florida St. John's Wort

Four-petal Florida St. John’s Wort

Last summer, our plants each had one blossom on them the day before the feast and burst into full bloom on the day of the feast. This year, our native bush had only one blossom open two days after the feast. It is just now starting to fill with blooms. I think it is observing Old Calendar, this year.

 

St. John the Baptist icon by the hand of Constantine Youssis

St. John the Baptist icon by the hand of Constantine Youssis

A Saint for Our Time

Verily, we celebrate the memory of thy Prophet Nahum. Through him we implore thee, O Lord, save our souls.

Verily, we celebrate the memory of thy Prophet Nahum. Through him we implore thee, O Lord, save our souls.

By the mid 14th century the Byzantine Empire had accumulated quite a few enemies both external and internal. They had forgotten to let their theology inform their economy and government as in earlier days and it had cost them the empire. They had lost most of their territory to the Ottoman empire and most of their people to Islam. Then there was the civil war with Serbia, where they lost most of the remaining territory to Stefan IV. 100 years later Constantinople finally fell. When it did, the nobles and church leaders could not even raise an army among their own people, because they had neglected them for so long. Why should they come to the aid of the elites? It wasn’t their war.

It was during this time that there was a significant devotion to Prophet Nahum in the rural areas of Europe, in areas that felt oppressed and neglected by the powers that were vying for dominance. St. Nahum wrote a beautiful prophetic song about Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. It came to pass very specifically then. We are told that the Old Testament is given to us for our admonition and instruction. There are lessons and warnings for us so we do not repeat the mistakes of those nations. The Byzantine Empire fell and it is not coming back, just as it was prophesied to Nineveh: “trouble will not come a second time.”

There was a cult of the Prophet Nahum as the Byzantine Empire was waning and that is interesting. The parallel is not as compelling as it is to the USA today, however. The Byzantines were basically enjoying their privileged position and trying to hold on to the vestiges of a bygone era without understanding and applying the elements of the faith that had given them that greatness. The US, through its corporations, its banking, and its massive military presence and 10 to 15 active military engagements at any given time, controls, colonizes and oppresses an overwhelming majority of the world’s population and consumes the lion’s share of the world’s natural resources. The US likes to think of itself as bringing freedom, but it does not. In Yugoslavia, we brought death and elimination of most of the Christian population. In Iraq, the Catholics and Orthodox and Jews who had been living and worshipping there safely and undisturbed for generations have been killed or driven out and their temples burned. In Afghanistan, the heroin producers are the only ones who have benefited by the US occupation. In Syria, we are supplying arms to massacre Christians. Our plants in India and Africa pollute and kill the ground. We export death in our GMO seeds and Round-Up. We are the only nation that openly discusses and approves of torture methods. Internally, we incarcerate more of our own people than any nation in history, with a strong racial bias against blacks and Latinos. Income disparity is well beyond the tipping point at which other empires (including the Byzantine) have fallen. Upward mobility has vanished. Elections have become a sham due to gerrymandering and dirty tricks and corporate ownership of lawmakers. So-called Christians have been more concerned with being blue or red than being Christian, so have lost effective witness.

We have become a pariah state.

Judgment is coming.

Nahum 3

Woe to the city of blood, full of lies,
full of plunder, never without victims!
The crack of whips, the clatter of wheels,
galloping horses and jolting chariots!
Charging cavalry, flashing swords and glittering spears!
Many casualties, piles of dead,
bodies without number,
people stumbling over the corpses—
all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute,
alluring, the mistress of sorceries,
who enslaved nations by her prostitution
and peoples by her witchcraft.
“I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty.
“I will lift your skirts over your face.
I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame.
I will pelt you with filth, I will treat you with contempt
and make you a spectacle.
All who see you will flee from you and say,
‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’
Where can I find anyone to comfort you?”
Are you better than Thebes,
situated on the Nile, with water around her?
The river was her defense,  the waters her wall.
Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength;
Put and Libya were among her allies.
10 Yet she was taken captive  and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed to pieces at every street corner.
Lots were cast for her nobles, and all her great men were put in chains.
11 You too will become drunk;  you will go into hiding and seek refuge from the enemy.
12 All your fortresses are like fig trees with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken,
the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.
13 Look at your troops—
they are all weaklings.
The gates of your land  are wide open to your enemies;
fire has consumed the bars of your gates.
14 Draw water for the siege,
strengthen your defenses!
Work the clay,
tread the mortar,
repair the brickwork!
15 There the fire will consume you;
the sword will cut you down—
they will devour you like a swarm of locusts.
Multiply like grasshoppers,
multiply like locusts!
16 You have increased the number of your merchants
till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky,
but like locusts they strip the land
and then fly away.
17 Your guards are like locusts,
your officials like swarms of locusts
that settle in the walls on a cold day—
but when the sun appears they fly away,
and no one knows where.
18 King of Assyria, your shepherdsslumber;
your nobles lie down to rest.
Your people are scattered on the mountains
with no one to gather them.

19 Nothing can heal you;
your wound is fatal.
All who hear the news about you
clap their hands at your fall,
for who has not felt
your endless cruelty?

A Woman Saint on a Deacon’s Door?

St. Marina Altar Door

St. Marina on a Deacon’s Door

We customarily think of icons of Archangels or Archdeacons for the deacon’s doors on our iconostases, but during the Middle Ages in the Balkans, there were several churches who opted for St. Marina for one of their deacon’s doors. They chose her because of her power over demonic forces and those possessed, so she could be there always to protect the altar from intruders.

St. Marina was born in a pagan household in Pisidian Antioch. When she heard of Jesus Christ when she was twelve, she immediately converted and determined to live her life totally committed to Christ as a virgin. Her father disowned her for this. The governor, Lopharius Ebrotus, wanted to take her for his wife. When she refused, he tried to persuade her to sacrifice to idols. She refused to honor any but the living God. So the governor tortured her by having her body scraped and combed with iron combs and rubbed with salt, vinegar and lime, then threw her bleeding into prison. She was miraculously healed and encouraged by a resplendent vision of the Cross with a dove on it. At night, a demon came to tempt her and she exposed him and bound him with the sign of the Cross and cast him away. The next day the governor was amazed that she appeared totally unharmed. Instead of being convinced, he had her thrown into a cauldron of boiling lead. She asked that it be made like her baptismal waters and blessed it in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and was unharmed. Her tormentors were so enraged that they finally beheaded her. At the moment of her beheading the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to receive her, as witnessed by many who were there. She suffered in the year 270, during the reign of Diocletian. One of her hands is preserved in Vatopedi Monastery on Athos. There is a St. Marina Monastery in Albania, where more of her relics continue to work wonders and healings.

This Icon is tempera on wood and woodcut. It is an altar door from 17th century Bulgaria. Margaret is an English translation of the name Marina.

O glorious Marina betrothed to God the Word, thou didst abandon all things earthly and contest victoriously as a virgin. For thou didst trample on the invisible foe when he appeared, O holy trophy-bearer, and thou dost now bestow gifts of healing on the world.

We Made Custom Awards for Communauté Positive

The Fondation Communauté Positive Internationale / Pennsylvania chapter is holding their second annual awards banquet tonight. Cranford Coulter, owner of “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art, designed, made and donated the awards for the occasion. Each one is absolutely unique, to reflect the uniqueness of the individuals and the gifts they bring to the community. Each one has a photo of a daylily blossom on it. Daylily blossoms only last for one day, then die and are replaced the next day by another glorious bloom, reflecting God’s wondrous provision for us in His mercy and grace. These photos were from blooms in Mr. Coulter’s yard from his collection of over 40 varieties of daylilies scattered around the small yard which is the home of the Coulters and “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art. As each award was created, the photo that was used for it was deleted, so it could not be used for anything again. This is so the plaques themselves become virtual daylilies, as it were. They remain small tokens for the great energy and generosity and hours of service these people have given in their service to the poor and homeless in Philadelphia. Communauté Positive thanks them. “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art thanks them. May God bless them all.

(Note: It may take a while for them all to load in your browser.)

anty bazile best bey bryant dardignac desir haggertyaward holden mazur otusanyo riddick sabb sisco stokes suttles thomas truitt walker

The Saints Are Marching In!

rsb26Every day more icons are being added to our  site. We are up to the saints with names beginning with R now. The shopping cart works. Paypal checkout works and is integrated with the US Postal Service for shipping. This means so much more efficiency. I can concentrate on making icons and developing the ministry, instead of transferring information from one form to another. I am almost done catching up on orders placed on the old site.

Thank you for your patience and your patronage.