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For the Journey

Kevin Branson, of the blog Journey to Rome, reviewed The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You, which I wrote with my friend Regis Flaherty, who’s something of an expert in this area, having also written Catholic Customs: A Fresh Look at Traditional Practices. Kevin also does quick hits on a few of my other books. May his tribe increase and his crops be abundant.

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Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Scott and Kimberly Hahn and I closed out the Year of St. Paul with a special two-day event at spacious St. Thomas More Church in Bethel Park, Pa. There were three talks and a weekend-long book fair. The parishioners were lovely.

Father Z provides reports and commentary on the breaking St. Paul news — namely, what was found in his tomb, and the discover of the oldest icon of St. Paul (fourth century).

Happy feast day, everybody. Celebrate!

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Good Sam’s Museum

Israel has opened a “mosaic museum” in the West Bank, reports The Art Newspaper.

The $2.5m Museum of the Good Samaritan, housing nearly 50 mosaics and a collection of antiquities, was opened at the Christian pilgrimage site where the Bible’s “Parable of the Good Samaritan” is believed to be set. The site also comprises the restored Good Samaritan Inn, a reconstructed Byzantine church, and Second Temple-era dwelling caves.

The museum’s preserved and restored mosaics and other relics from the fourth to the sixth centuries originate from Christian, Jewish and Samaritan historic sites, based on themes in the parable, Dr Magen said. He also said that excavations at the site show it to be the location where King Herod’s palace once stood.

There’s a good chance the St. Paul Center will return, with Steve Ray, to the Holy Land in 2011. Maybe we can see this museum together.
Hat tip: Jim Davila of PaleoJudaica.
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Classics in Pittsburgh

Zee Ann Poerio of Excellence Through Classics asked me to spread the word about summer classics programs in the Pittsburgh area. I’ve been to ETC programs before, and they’re always very good. Some of them are geared to elementary school teachers, but Zee would love for more homeschooling parents and kids to be involved. If you need more information, contact Zee at

JULY 22 – JULY 24, 2009

In collaboration with local, state, national, and international organizations including the Pennsylvania Classical Association, The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Wayne State University Press, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, and the Primary Latin Project in the UK. Elementary and Middle School teachers will learn creative ways to bring the ancient past into the present through history, culture, language, art, food fashion, and technology. No previous background in Classics is required. Certificates of attendance will be issued and ACT 48 Credits provided for PA Teachers.

WEDNESDAY – July 22, 2009 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM TOUR, TEA with lunch, & CLASSICS TALK Following a tour, and tea with lunch, our Guest speaker Barbara Bell, Director of the Primary Latin Project in the UK and author of Minimus: Starting Out In Latin and Minimus Secundus will speak briefly about tea customs in the UK and will present a Classics talk in the Gilfillan Farmhouse at 1950 Washington Road, (Upper St. Clair) Pittsburgh, PA 15241. Built circa 1857 in the Greek Revival Gothic Architectural style, the Gilfillan Farmhouse is an historic landmark.

THURSDAY – July 23, 2009 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM THE MUSEUM AS A MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESOURCE Includes multiple presenters in collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Art at 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Highlights will include a Minimus:Starting Out in Latin training session for teachers by Barbara Bell, a Fashion Show of ancient costume by Norma Goldman, a scholar in ancient costuming and Pittsburgh native, Hands On Technology and Archaeology with Andrew Reinhard of Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, and Art, Mythology, and Ancient Coins by Zee Ann Poerio of Excellence Through Classics. (Includes lunch in Museum Cafe.)

FRIDAY – July 24, 2009 9:00 – 2:00 PM CLASSICS WORKSHOP & BOOK FAIR Book talks by Barbara Bell, Norma Goldman, and James R. Clifford, Jr.; Interactive technology presentations and classroom activities by Andrew Reinhard and Zee Ann Poerio; and Ancient Roman military exhibit by George Metz (Gallio Velius Marsallas) of Legion XXIV at the Barnes & Noble at 301 South Hills Village Mall, Pittsburgh, PA 15241 (Includes boxed lunch.)

Participants will receive free resources, giveaways, lesson ideas, and be eligible for door prizes at each event. Please visit the ETC website for updates and complete list of speakers at Contact Zee Ann Poerio, at: for more information or to request a registration form. Registration is $25.00 for each event.

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Saving the Monastery

While I was in Israel, Reuters reported on the happy resolution of a nasty situation I blogged on some time back.

Christian monastery in Turkey wins back land

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – One of the world’s oldest functioning Christian monasteries has won a legal battle to have land it had owned for centuries restored to it, after a Turkish court ruled on Friday it could not be claimed by the state.

The dispute over the boundaries of Mor Gabriel, a fifth-century Syriac Orthodox monastery in eastern Turkey, had raised concerns over freedom of religion and human rights for non-Muslim minorities in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country and European Union aspirant.

In a statement, the Syriac Universal Alliance (SUA), a leading Syriac group based in Sweden, said a Turkish court in Midyat had reversed an initial decision by the land registry court to grant villages some 110 hectares (272 acres) of monastery land.

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A Little Vindication

BMCR reviews Alden A. Mosshammer’s The Easter Computus and the Origins of the Christian Era (in the Oxford Early Christian Studies series). What’s it all about? It’s about …

… Dionysius Exiguus, the sixth-century putative inventor of Anno Domini dating. Skeptics … noted that Dionysius’ dating of the nativity was quite likely wrong … The Venerable Bede had observed back in the early eighth century that Dionysius’ dating of Christ’s birth contradicted biblical, annalistic, and patristic evidence, which favored the years BC 2/3. Most modern scholars thus have assumed that Dionysius willfully broke with tradition, and calculated his own (incorrect) nativity date.

Mosshammer effectively undermines this accusation in a lengthy, highly technical, and meticulously-argued study … That he largely succeeds is a testament to his clearly extensive knowledge of antique calendrical traditions.

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The World’s Liturgist

Pope Benedict XVI has named an American, Dominican Father J. Augustine DiNoia, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. Father Gus (now Archbishop-designate Gus) has been with the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2002, and before that he was the doctrine guy for the U.S. bishops. When I was doing newspaper work, he was the perfect source, peerless in clarity and brevity. When I’ve visited Rome with my friend Scott Hahn, Father Gus has always been a gracious and entertaining host. Catholic News Service tells the story of his well-deserved promotion and points us to sound files of his lectures.