Ascension and the Last Called

First SolidusAscension Thursday, though the Catholic Church, or at least my diocese, has moved the commemoration to Sunday so that more people can celebrate it.

Carolus IV

Today is also the feast of St. Matthias the Last Chosen – the apostle who was chosen by lots after the Ascension to replace  Judas Iscariot.  Incidentally, and probably rather oddly, I always liked the name Iscariot – it has a ring to it.Apostle 23 JUL 1999

In any event, The Orthodox, especially the Russians, trying to claim that their church outranked Rome, claimed that Andrew was “the First Called” (Πρωτόκλητος, in the Greek; Первозва́нный in Russian) – and he was according to John 1: 35-42 – and that he founded Christianity in Rus’ (as the Russian Lavrentian Chronicle would have it);  The highest imperial order, and now the top Russian state order is the Order of Andrew the First Called.  So if Andrew is “The First Called,” then Matthias must be “The Last Called.”  He’s sort of the Gerald Ford of the Apostles, as it were, not being elected to high office by The (Son of) Man Himself, and so, perhaps, not being seen as quite as legitimate as the others.

Carolus IV, Römisch-deutscher Kaiser
Carolus IV, Römisch-deutscher Kaiser

Today is also the birthday of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, one of my favorite Holy Roman Emperors, which is another odd thing – that I have a favorite Holy Roman Emperor (Charles V is also up there too) – whereas most people probably don’t even know what a Holy Roman Emperor is.  As Voltaire quipped: the realm was “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.”  Most would probably just assume they were direct successors of Caesar Augustus or Constantine.



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