25 January 2021

What were the Minor Orders?

As so often, I need help from readers who possess the capacity to help me. As so often, my train of the thought has been stimulated by a fine recent piece from the ever-admirable Peter Kwasniewski. And, as so often, PF is at the bottom of it all.

In that first Christian millennium, what and who were the occupants of that great wealth of Minor Orders? And I think I mean, primarily, what and who were they sociologically?

Back in the days of Christendom, were all those Doorkeepers and Acolytes, Readers and Exorcists ... as we might say ... full-time employees of the Church, maintained by the Church? Or, like the servers and readers and Eucharistic Ministers and Permanent Deacons of today, were they essentially keen and worthy part-timers, not paid by the Diocese, who put on an alb on Sundays and, with the intention of enriching the Liturgy, lend a hand?

I think this matters, because it bears upon the question of what are the laity; what is their calling. There are massive practical consequences, such as "Are we clericalising the Laity?" (See PK's article in NLM). My strong instinct is to say "Yes we are and we shouldn't be". But I haven't thought all this through properly.

I do find some very suggestive help in the old Pontificale Romanum. It is in what the Bishop says to the candidates before Ordination to the Subdiaconate: "Up till now, you are free, and it is licit for you at your will to move over to worldly callings. Because if you receive this order [the subdiaconate], it will no longer be possible for you to jump back from what you have set before you ... [Hactenus enim liberi estis, licetque vobis pro arbitrio ad saecularia vota transire; quod si hunc Ordinem susceperitis, amplius non licebit a proposito resilire ...]."

And he goes on to specify celibacy, and the subdiaconal obligation to be in Ecclesiae ministerio semper mancipati.

So ... all those in minor orders could walk away, grow their hair, and get a different, secular, job, and (this seems to be implicit) find a wife. I am afraid that I cannot follow Bishop Schneider's opinions, expressed in a recent article, that "to carry out any, even a more humble, service in public worship, it is necessary that the minister receive a stable or sacred designation" [My emphasis]. The pre-Conciliar Pontificale makes it perfectly clear that those in minor Orders are at liberty, if they feel like it (pro arbitrio), just to walk away from (transire) that ministry and grab a votum saeculare. When the Pontiff made clear that subdeacons were semper mancipati (like pieces of merchandise permanently purchased), he implied that this had not previously been their status.

But, as long as they remained functioning as doorkeepers, etc., were they an integral part of the clerus Romanus; fed a mensa pontificali, recognisable by their tonsure? Or were they like the modern laity lending a hand? 

This method of enquiry ... getting into the ancient Roman texts ... offers us the the most robust and simple way into the problem of what were the occupants of the 'Minor Orders'; and what are the men and women admitted to the two 'ministries' invented by S Paul VI?. And what is a layperson?

24 January 2021

Bobby Mickens

 I love to read the bits of Mickens which are free, before he shows us a clean pair of heels and disappears behind his paywall ...

"One day, in maybe 50 or 100 years from now, these words, or others similar to them, but probably even lengthier, will be the preamble to the papal encyclical or conciliar document that will finally open the ordained priesthood to women. Then there will be paragraphs about Mary of Magdala, who was the first to proclaim the real presence of the Risen Christ to the 'other' disciples. Seriously.".

(1) During the years when we were resisting the sacerdotal ordination of women in the Church of England by saying "it would create a new barrier between ourselves, Rome, and Orthodoxy", we were continually given the reply: "The next pope but one will authorise it in the RC Church." It is interesting that this timespan has now been authoritatively lengthened. Poor Cardinal Martini of Milan, you will remember, spent longer as The Next Pope than any other man in history.

(3) I have lived long enough to know that it is the unexpected that happens. Bobby still has upon him the engaging gloss of youthful naivete; he really does believe that in the distant future, papal encyclicals and conciliar decrees will be whizzing around; that Mary of Magdala will still be plying her fish-trade on the Sea of Tiberias. The happy ingenu! Moi, I don't think the Apostle Junia will still be gliding across the dance floor on her zimmer frame in a century's time. Still less, that the critical issues of that moment will still be those of the 1980s. Things move on. Stuff happens. As the late Euripides so wisely and so often reminded the Athenian Demos, "polla d'aelptos krainousi theoi; kai ta dokethent' ouk etelesthe, ton d'adoketon poron heure theos ... "

(4) Mickens still clings to the old 1960s ultrahypersuperueberpapalist superstition that a papal encyclical can change everything.

God bless his cotton socks! Long may he cling!

23 January 2021

A Welshman speaks about Betjeman

This is from the Interview with Archbishop emeritus Rowan Williams, in the new magazine MONK which I mentioned on Sunday January 17.

" ... I have a very soft spot for John Betjeman. I don't think he's one of the great 20-th century English poets, but he is a very considerable poet, and there is one of his poems in a teashop in Slough or somewhere like that. It's a very unlikely place, and the loving couple who are having tea are rather shady characters, but Betjeman says they're just touched with glory at this moment simply because they love each other ... very incarnational ... embrace of the ordinary ..."

Bathonians might not be impressed that Williams mistakes Bath (where the poem is in fact situated) for Somewhere Like Slough. Oh dear! Should interviews be reproduced without any editing at all? Indeed, in the paragraph above, and in the paragraph I reproduced earlier, it has seemed to me necessary slightly to arrange the syntax. Readers with an academic interest in the sometimes loose vernacular sentence structures even of a donnish retired Archbishop will find the interview, as printed in MONK, valuable material! But here is Betjeman's poem.

"Let us not speak, for the love we bear one another --

       Let us hold hands and look."

She, such a very ordinary little woman;

       He, such a thumping crook;

But both, for a moment, a little lower than the angels

       In the teashop's ingle-nook." 

21 January 2021

Self Reinvention (4).

But you are wondering what became of the Feudal Property which Athelstan Riley bought in Jersey, so as to secure a quasi-noble status. It was at a place called La Trinite. And, here again, Riley rewrote History. The House had previously been distinctly ordinary ... Riley substantially rebuilt it to look like a ... you guessed ... a traditional Norman Manor House. Indeed, it is probably the finest such 'typical' property within the ancient Duchy! So fine that, during the Occupation, the German CO occupied it and the Rileys had to remove themselves to an estate cottage. But it was important to the entire 'Project Riley'. So, in 1918, in his new Coat of Arms, Riley got the Heralds to include (on a canton) the arms used by previous families which had held the property and the seigneury (a red canton with nine golden billets).

Did I mention that Riley was not short of money? I am going to conclude by plagiarising the The Liturgical Arts Journal (March 6, 2018) to add a few words about his London Residence, Number 2 Kensington Court (by 2018, the Milestone Hotel). It was built for him (did I mention that he employed the best, most expensive people to do such work for him?) in 1895 by the Sir Thomas Jackson who also built a great deal of Oxford in the last part of the nineteenth century. It included a little Oratory by Kempe (Did I ...er ...) the altar piece of which was subsequently removed so that the little room could become part of the hotel's dining complex. Riley's daughter Morwenna Brocklebank gave it in 1950 to Cavendish Church in Suffolk, where it still languishes although no longer used as a Altar piece. (Such pre-modern fripperies can play no role in modern feminised Anglican liturgical extravaganzas such as Messy Church!)

It is a medieval Flemish carving restored by Ninian Comper, and defiantly bearing Riley's first Coat of Arms, impaled with Molesworth for his wife).



The reason why Riley equipped his Church with so many vestments and altars? Behind the church, he built what he hoped would be a home for retired (Anglo-Catholic) priests. I am sure he envisaged them all strolling down each morning to say their private Masses. Sadly, the scheme never took off. It has been suggested that retired clergy prefered little townships with cinemas and shops to Cornish hamlets beside beautiful inlets of the sea. Incidentally, Riley was not a papalist (indeed, he was involved in controversy with the Arch-Anglo-Papalist Fr Fynes Clinton). The Mass those clergy would have celebrated would probably have been the Order in the Prayer Book of 1549, which Riley, like Lord Halifax, favoured because it was 'Anglican' without being as marred by Cranmer's Zwinglian theology as subsequent Prayer Books were. (Possibly, this liturgical disposition may have deterred Ultramontane clerics.)

Little Petherick Church also has a very 'Comper' Rood Screen, which includes renderings of the Riley Arms.

There are, of course, no such things as 'the Coat of Arms belonging to your name'. Firms which offer to sell such things to tourists are being a little reticent in the information they offer. In English Armoury, you have Arms if you have inherited them in direct line, or if they are granted by the College of Heralds. Riley's father John had petitioned for, and been granted, Arms in 1857. But they alluded to a commerial past. A ship looking rather like a tea clipper. Three bees suggesting Hard Work. But Athelstan did not work. Athelstan did not go merchandising round the World ... (there was also a chevron and a couple of crosses).  

So, in 1918, Riley petitioned for and received revised Arms. The rather modern mercantile ship was replaced by a nice 'ancient ship'. The industrious bees disappeared. The whole thing now looks much more decently 'medieval'!

The Little Petheick Rood Screen shows these 'revised' Arms ... but dates from well before 1918. So ... a PROBLEM!

But a careful examination of the painted Arms reveals that a modern ship has been painted out, and the Ancient Ship painted over it. And the bees have been painted over ... but, in raking light, you can see the shadow of them.

Riley is up-dating his self-reinvention!

To be continued.

20 January 2021

Aztecs galore

Much talk in the public presses here about Mr Biden's ancestry! God bless him on this auspicious day!

Apparently, he has a narrative that he is descended from a Captain George Biden of the Honble East India Company who went to India (surprise surprise) and married (how very politically correct) an Indian woman. The problem is that the achives of the Company know nothing of any such person, There was a Captain Christopher Biden, but he had an English wife. Of course, he may have been into bigamy, but would that not turn him into a colonial predator and imperialist exploiter of defenceless indigenous womanhood? Wrong message.

The passion of North American presidents for genealogy reminds me of our own Tudor period ... once described by Dom Gregory Dix as the closest England ever came to the rule of the Gestapo. Tudor England was awash with New Men; and many of them were not averse to coming to an arrangement with members of the College of Heralds to ... er ... demonstrate their descent from great but by then extinct medieval families. Take the Spencers ... most famous modern member: the widely-loved Diana. As they gradually ascended the social and financial ladder, the Tudor Spencers were granted a first Coat of Arms ... which made no explicit or implicit assertion of nobility. But when they had ascended even further, they persuaded Clarenceux King of Arms to 'demonstrate' their descent from the mighty medieval Despencer family ... and to grant them a a new Coat implying their 'rediscovered' identity as a cadet branch of that familiy.

Genealogists and antiquaries, I fear, were in Tudor (and Stuart) days no less corruptible than ordinary, common men. Next time you find yourself at a party where a member of the College of Heralds is also present, try creeping up behind him and gently murmuring "Garter Dethick". You will find it makes him go all limp and twitchy. And one Tudor antiquary (Leland) went round Cornwall hoovering up nice books from suppressed monastic houses, and gathering local historical information. Medieval Catholic Cornish legend had had a fair bit to say about an immensely tyrannous and odious King Tudor. Happily, Leland's more profound and balanced researches showed Tudor to have been a pious and benevolent monarch. Even in murderous Tudor England, Leland, unlike others, lived long enough to go mad.

The genealogical ambitions of American presidents lack, in my view, any real imagination. Why doesn't this nice old gentleman employ someone to establish his descent from the Emperor Montezuma? This would give him an enviable First Nation family history ... and it would enable him to explain that his attitude towards the killing of babies is a cultural reflection of the simple, uncontaminated, indigenous  North America which existed before the colonising Spaniards and their pro-life clergy spoiled all the fun.

I believe Montezuma once sacrificed some 80,000 human beings in one single day. I know this falls short of today's Abortion statistics (in Britain as well as in America), but it indicates a striking combination of logistical skills and ideological determination which even the purposive Kamala might envy.

Biden will not wish to fail the tests set before him by History.

What would be the Aztec for "Long Live the President"?

19 January 2021

Self Invention (2)

Perhaps the best place to see Riley at work is in the little Church of Little Petherick in Cornwall. This was within the sphere of influence of Riley's aristocratic in-laws.  You would't think the Reformation had happened! The workmanship is of the best (did I mention that Riley had endless money?). Sir (John) Ninian Comper, finest of English Church Decorators, did the glass. He also did a fine banner, to the honour of S Petroc, the local Saint. On this banner is a Latin stanza. Given style and metre, is quite clearly the opening of a Sequence in honour of S Petroc. Except that ... it isn't. Since negatives are hard to prove, I will cautiously change that to "I haven't managed to find it". I place the challenge before readers! Meanwhile, my theory is that Riley (did I say he was a fine antiquary and poet and Latinist?) composed it. 

Ave, gemma monachorum,

gloria Dumnoniorum,

     nos, Petroce, respice.

(I once finished it off with adapted stanzas in the same metre largely borrowed from a Common of Abbots in, I think, a Parisian 'neo-Gallican' Missal, but I won't bother you with that.)

Riley added to the church a superb Chantry Chapel, with a cenotaph to his wife. He included his own Coat of Arms with the helmet affrontee. In English Heraldry, this usage is confined to Knights. Riley was never given a knighthood. But he had clearly researched the Heraldry of Jersey well enough to know that the seigneurs there placed this knightly mark of status on their Arms. 

And he took advantage of the presence, during the first World War, of a Belgian refugee carver. Here I had better do some explaining.

West Country churches ... Devon and Cornwall ... were fitted up in the late Middle Ages with benches, because this appears to be the point at which the congregation began to be seated. At the end of each bench was a Bench End. These could be carved with any manner of medievally relevant things (ofyen the Emblems of the Passion). 

If you look at the set in Little Petherick Church, you will find one which has on it Riley's Arms. It is exactly the same as all the rest in colour and texture and style ... you wouldn't notice it unless you happened to know that Riley's family had been nowhere near there in  the Middle Ages and that, in any case, those Arms were not granted until several hundred years after the other bench ends were carved.

Again, you will observe Riley deftly inserting himself into a narrative which had erred only in not having included him 400 years earlier!

But I need to make some revelations about Riley's Coat of Arms. Next time.

I conclude this section by remarking upon a superb collection of old vestments collected abroad by Riley and given to the church. I hope they are still there ... there was a time when an incumbent unsympathetic to Catholicism explained to the parishioners that, as Rector, he had the right to burn them ... and was so minded ...

Yes; naked vile bullying Clericalism was as common in the C of E as it was in the post-Conciliart Catholic Church!!

But why did the church need so many vestments and aktars?

To be continued.

18 January 2021

Self Invention (1)

Imagine yourself a Victorian Englishman with a fair bit of money ... but of ambiguous social status. You have no title, not even that humblest of handles, a sweet little baronetcy. Your father was in trade. You have no ancestral pile in the countryside. Additionally, you are an Anglo-Catholic with an illusory view of the Church of England as being in unbroken succession fro the medieval provinces of Canterbury and York. How you would love to have a Church which expressed that continuity, and, in doing so, expressed your own continuity with English History, both nationally and locally. 

This was the position of Athelstan Laurie Riley (1858-1945). How might he set about solving his problems of identity?

Riley was learned ... a natural 'antiquary'. He knew that, in England, things like titles were rigidly controlled by the Crown. You might declare yourself Baron of such-a-place on your own authority, but this would simply make you a laughing-stock. The English Establishment was a close-knit body with a sense of inner coherence.

Riley first tried Cyprus. Could he purchase a feudal estate there ... perhaps, restore some crumbling castle, and adopt the dignities formerly associated with previous owners of the Crusading period? But Cyprus was a long way away ...

Normandy would be a better bet. And, by a happy chance, there are little island fragments of the Duchy of Normandy which remained under the English Crown when it lost mainland Normandy. And, by custom, when a feudal property fell vacant or a family became extinct, a new purchaser of the property  acquired the old dignities and titles.

So he bought a feudal property in Jersey.

To be continued.

17 January 2021

Rowan Williams

 A former pupil of mine has started a journal "MONK: art and the soul; an imaginarium" £15, $25, E20 for a large and lush product not supported by advertising.  If you looked at it, you would not, I think,  feel you had wasted your money.

Here is a paragraph from a long interview with Archbishop emeritus Rowan Williams; his words seem to me to apply to the Ordination rites of the post-Conciliar Roman Rite quite as much as it does to the modern rites of the Church of England:

" ... it's no kind of strategy for mission if we say we have to make [things?] less mysterious or less strange. I'm not a Latin Mass Fundamentalist , or a Prayer Book Fundamentalist, but I do think we get it seriously wrong if we think it's all got to be streamlined somehow, and simplified and made accessible. When I used to take ordinations according to the new Anglican Rite I used to feel really impatient because we were always explaining. There was always another paragraph telling people what's going on. I just thought, why can't we get on with it?"

Of course, Williams will have read Catherine Pickstock's After Writing, which uses various tools to elucidate the 'stammering' and 'oral' quality of the Tridentine Roman Rite. If certain things had fallen out differently, Archbishop Williams could have been one of us. 

After a couple of pages, he explains " ... I did, for a long time, think about [joining the Catholic Church], but ...

He explains his "but", and then goes on "It always seems to me that the great strength of the Roman Catholic Church, here and elsewhere, is the sheer taken-for-grantedness of prayer, and the on-going sacramental presence."

Once, when visiting Pope Benedict, Rowan was told that there was a slight delay while the Holy Father prayed before the Blessed Sacrament; he replied "Why can't I pray before the Blessed Sacrament too?" As a young priest, he had introduced Benediction in his parish.

I have heard that when, at his retirement, Williams paid his last visit to Benedict and knelt down to ask his blessing, the two of them were in tears.

16 January 2021

Extraordinary Form ORDO, and Ordinariate directions, for the Chair of Unity Octave

The Chair of Unity Octave ("Unity Week") starts on Monday January 18 and ends on Monday January 25.

This observance was begun by Anglo-papalists in the early twentieth century specifically to pray for the Unity of all Christians in communuion with the See of S Peter and S Paul. It was encouraged by a succession of Roman Pontiffs and endowed with indulgences (see below).

                                              EXTRAORDINARY FORM

Before the 1960s, January 18 was the Feast of the Chair of S Peter at Rome (while February  22 celebrated his Chair, that is to say, his episcopate, in Antioch). The Feast of the Conversion of S Paul on January 25 still survives, even in the Novus Ordo.

In the Good Old Days, the Wantage Sisters ... who now comprise our Ordinariate Sisters in Birmingham ... the praying heart of the Ordinariate, as our Ordinary puts it ... used to publish an annual ORDO  "in strict accordance with the Use of the Western Church". This was widely used both in Anglo-Papalist churches and in Anglo-Catholic churches generally. The latest one was probably that of 1969. Before January 18, the following information is printed:

                                               CHURCH UNITY OCTAVE BEGINS

Ad lib, during the Octave: one 2cl Vot M For the Unity of the Church. Cr (on Sunday only), Common Pref (pref Trin on Sunday). P[urple]

This will undoubtedly have been lifted from what was authorised for Roman Catholics in England, Scotland, and Wales on the very eve of the liturgical alterations of the late 1960s. What it means is that it is lawful to say daily one Mass of the Votive for Christian Unity (Ad tollendum Schisma if your Missal, like mine, is pre-1962; but the texts are the same in the 1962 Missal) on the Sunday within the Octave (even if it be Septuagesima); and also on each of the weekdays, because they are all (even the Conversion of S Paul) days occupied by III class feasts and so admit Second Class Votives. No Gloria, of course. Only one Collect; Secret; Postcommunion; is said ... in other words, no commemorations.

My own practice is to start the Octave with a (perfectly legal) Votive Mass of the Chair of S Peter on January 18 (Mass as on February 22 except that the Alleluia is said; the colour is white) and to conclude with the Mass for S Paul on January 25. It was the idea of linking up the two Apostles which gave rise to the Octave.

Alleluia for the Chair of S Peter: Alleluia, alleluia. Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam. Alleluia.

I have thought it worth while providing this information because I do not think it is in the available Extraordinary Form ORDOs in Latin, English or French.


In the current Encheiridion: Plenary under the usual conditions for a Catholic who shall have taken part in any functions in the week; and shall have been present at the conclusion of this week (i.e. on 25 January). Partial for whosoever shall have devoutly recited an approved prayer for Unity.

                                                       ORDINARIATE MISSAL

The same Mass for Unity, of course, is provided for use in Liturgical English in the Ordinariates. The rubrics make clear that it can be said on any day except Solemnities, the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, All Souls, Ash Wednesday, Ember Days, Rogation Days, weekdays of Holy Week and of the Easter and Pentecost Octaves. Such votives ARE allowed BUT ONLY FOR "a real necessity or pastoral advantage" on Obligatory Memorials and the weekdays of Advent, Christmastide, Lent, and Eastertide. Pretty permissive, eh?

I have reproduced an old thread.

15 January 2021

Ten glorious years ...

... since the erection of the Ordinariates. It seems so much longer, because it feels as if this is where we have always been. As, in a sense, we have.

Praise be to God for all the graces which, from 1559 onwards, ultimately led to the Ordinariates. And for the graces which have followed. And God Bless good Pope Benedict. May God reward him for the courageous pontificate which did so much to redirect the Latin Church. How unfortunate it is that some 'traditionalist' voices are now finding it convenient to try to rubbish him. They should have a greater sense of decency.

I did not go to Westminster Cathedral to witness the events of January 15, 2011, because it somehow seemed more real to go that day to the Oxford Oratory and to witness the Reception into Full Communion of a distinguished and entertaining former Head Server of Pusey House. Those were the days when Pusey Chapel was the antechamber to the Catholic Church for so very many of Oxford's brightest and best. (Incidentally, I have derived great pleasure from the recent news of the Reception of another member of my old congregation at the ecclesia Sancti Thomae Martyris iuxta ferriviam, in one of England's Oratories. What a gift the Oratorian communities are to God's Church. Nod nod ... wink wink ... if you approach an Oratorian priest about reception into full communion, he may not put you into a queue labelled RCIA with the date 'Next Easter', but instead may tutor you individually and receive you when you both consider it's the right time. I think a lot of Ordinariate clergy do the same.)

But I did go into London a few days before 15 January 2011 for a surreal event: the ordination of our three bishops to the diaconate! Men who, for years, had worn dalmatics under their chasubles when celebrating a solemn pontifical High Mass .... for example, at their half-dozen annual Chrism Masses ... were now being solemnly clothed in the vestment! Surreal indeed ... it seemed like a joke. (The ceremony happened in the chapel of Allen Hall, formerly part of a Perpetual Adoration Convent. It was in that Chapel that the future Dom Gregory Dix went to pray before being received; and it was there and then that he believed himself called, instead, to remain unreceived and in the C of E, and to work for Reunion from that end of the broken bridge. No such ideas, presumably, disturbed the thoughts of our three Right Reverend candidates for the diaconate! Water .... Bridges ....)

Surreal, too, in that a homily was preached by a venerable cleric who repeated all the erroneous ideas about the nature of the diaconate which I had hoped had disappeared with the 1970s. I sat there bemused.

I hope it is not irreverent to surmise that my amused reactions may have been at least understood by Providence. Because ... I presume incense was not normally used in that chapel ... the, er, fire alarm kept going off. And ... you will have guessed ... not least during the Consecrations. It must have been a nightmare for Bishop Alan Hopes, who was celebrating the Mass. And who also deserves our gratitude for the ever-kindly help he so generously gave us.

14 January 2021


I sympathise with those who wanted us out of the EU because I myself know what it is like to want out of gruesome amalgamations. I've never liked the Yewk Aye, which, after all, dates only from the early 1920s, despite all the pseudo-History we unload on to gullible tourists..

My hopes for 2021? If Ms Sturgeon gets Scotland out of the Yewk Aye, that will leave it looking rather stupid, won't it? Then, as the Good Friday Agreement envisages, we could be heading into the zone where a referendum will draw nearer on the departure of the Six Counties into the Republic of Ireland. Splendid, as far as I'm concerned. 

That would leave just the historical kingdom of England, together with what Bankers term "the Crown Dependencies": i.e., Man, the Three-legged island; and some fragments of the Duchy of Normandy. People might even learn to refer once again to the Atlantic Archipelago as "the Three Kingdoms". Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

I'm a simple soul. I could live with that. Especially if it meant we were spared seeing the (post 1800)"Union Jack" on flagpoles. A flag with absurd complexities. Enthusiastically 'patriotic' flag-flyers often fly it upside down by mistake. Would-be tourists to this island would do well to learn the design carefully just for the simple pleasure of counting the number of occasions they see it inverted. Are we the only country in the world in which the 'National Flag' is so commonly hoisted the wrong way up? What is the symbolism of this?

The flags with the most appealingly simple designs are, surely, those of Greece and Brittany. Nobody ever flies them upside down. Texas, ditto.

Moi? I think of myself as a Citizen of the Colonia Claudia Victricensis, my ancestral town. I am very proud of that. Very very proud. Like the man from Tarsus, I value what follows, the affirmation "Rhomaios eimi".

But ... oops ... Saul of Tarsus, himself a man not indifferent to matters of citizenship and civic pride, seems to have posed awkward questions to people who, like me, are over-proud of the citizenship of our coloniae: " humon pou to politeuma huparkhei??"