Green Martyrs

In UK those in vows with the Community of Aidan and Hilda defied Covid hardships and held their annual Retreat at Kings Centre, Northampton, joined for the first time on zoom with others from Norway, UK and USA.

Although all are new monastics, a small number who, unlike the majority, fit work and home life around their four daily rhythms of prayer, may receive their green habit.  Three received their habits this week. If they wish, they may choose a monastic name.  Thus one of them chose to be known as Mary of Bethany.  Of course, those in vows who are Quakers choose to jettison all titles, and remain as simply Jane Smith or Bob Brown.  And those in vows who are, for example, Lutherans, who eschew the cult of saints and put no one on a pedestal except Christ, will not choose this option.  Nevertheless, because as a Community we seek to weave together the God-given strands in Christianity which have become separated, we rejoice in those who choose a name such as Mary of Bethany, because she wishes to sit at the feet of Jesus in contemplation, and make her home hospitable.

Brother Cassian, our novitiate overseer, linked the green habits with the ancient Irish espousal of green martyrdom. Many Irish Christians sought to give their all as 'martyrs' of Christ.  A few were red martyrs because they shed blood rather than deny Christ to Roman authorities. Some were white martyrs because they went into  exile from their homeland to lay down their lives for Christ in a foreign land, but others were green martyrs (in Irish the word refers to the blue-green colour of death) who led ascetic, sacrificial lives in their own homes.

Today 'greens' refers to people who commit to  create an eco-friendly world.  This was a major theme of the retreat,  We all went home with seeds to plant in our gardens or  windowboxes. In a workshop we were encouraged to download green charters such as Earth Protector www.stopecocideearth. 

Those in habits share with all in vows a commitment to care for creation, so we think that the choice of the colour green for these habits is a happy conjunction


Posted at 20:14pm on 27th January 2022
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