So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

March 10, 2008

Yesterday’s epistle lectionary called for the reading from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, 12th chapter:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We are surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses to the faith that we have inherited from the Fathers–and these witnesses are the saints of the Church. There are so many saints that have gone before us, it is impossible to know them all. Sure, there are some that we all know, like St. George, St. Nicholas, or St. Patrick, but one of the amazing things to me are all the lesser-known saints of the Church. For example, the calendar today says that we commemorate St. Kessog. The hymnography tells us very little about him:

Troparion of St Kessog Tone 6

Thy life was resplendent with miracles, O Hierarch Kessog,
and as thou didst devote thy life to missionary labours,
teach us the way to devote our lives to the service of the Church
that Christ our God will have mercy on our souls.

Kontakion of St Kessog Tone 4

That God is not served by idleness is the message of thy life, O Wonderworker Kessog.
For thy ceaseless efforts thou art rewarded in heaven
and this day art praised by the Lord’s lazy and most unprofitable servants.

From this we learn that he was a wonder-worker and a missionary. A quick google search reveals that he was considered the patron saint of Scotland before St. Andrew. He was apparently killed in the year 520, but there are no details as to the manner of his death. And yet, even with so little known about him or his life, St. Kessog, the blessed wonder-worker and holy heirarch of Scotland, does not stop interceding for us.

This fact is an amazing blessing, that even if we, the members of the Body of Christ who are running the race toward the goal of union with Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, forget almost all about a saint, even one as holy as a wonder-worker, they still are there interceding on our behalf before the throne of God. The hymnography for St. Kessog also bears looking at as it asks him to intercede for us, the lazy and unprofitable servants–on Clean Monday.

Holy Hierarch Kessog, Wonder-worker of Scotland, pray to God for the salvation of our souls!

+Pax vobiscum


One Response to “So Great a Cloud of Witnesses”

  1. Juvenaly Says:

    Is it not amazing the love that our God and Saviour has for us that He would give us such shining examples of Truth and Humility. He has shown us by His life, and what is more he has shown us that although He was God and Man, we also have the example of those that are just like us in struggle.

    We can run the race, we can win the prize, and all we have to do is imitate those righteous of God. Yes, it is hard, but this is why we have intercessors. Those that deny this lose out on a great Mystery of Love and Mercy. They seek and they search for that “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” but they can not see that the example of that life is in the example of the saints in whom God is continually glorified.

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