June 11, 2014

Psalm 113

1 Alleluia! [Praise the Lord!]

Praise, O servants of the Lord,
 praise the name of the Lord!
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
 from this time forth and for evermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised!
4 The Lord is high above all nations,
 and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down 
upon the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust,
 and lifts the needy from the dunghill,
8 to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.

Alleluia! [Praise the Lord!]

On Holy Thursday, after the Passover meal of the Lord’s supper with His disciples, we read that “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Matt 26:30). The hymn they may well have sung could have been the “Hallel” (Alleluia), Psalms 113-118, used often in Jewish feasts, including Passover. The psalm exemplifies the vocation of the faithful person and faithful community: praising God at all times, including times of poverty, dust, distress and dunghills.

Verse 2 (“Blessed be the name of the Lord…”) is familiar from the ending of every Divine Liturgy.
Verse 4 (“The Lord is high above all nations”) is used on the Sunday of the Cross in Lent.

To get a sense of how the Hallel is used in Jewish worship today see www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLI65nPQmT0.

Landscape History at the Chancery

Japanese Dogwood at the Chancery

Coming up the driveway to the Chancery there’s a beautiful dogwood tree on then left. I don’t know much about trees but it’s so spectacular in bloom that I had to do some research. It appears to be a Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa or Benthamidia kousa, native to the far east and known also as Japanese, Korean or Chinese dogwood. They were introduced into the US in the 1870’s and their average lifespan is 80. But it’s a long lived tree and this tree may go back to the development of the property a hundred years ago, in 1914, and to its famous landscape architects.

Ellen Biddle Shipman

The Chancery was originally built as a private home in 1914 with the name “Westwood.” Ellen Biddle Shipman (1869–1950), a world-renowned pioneer in landscape architecture designed many features of the estate. Her gardens often appeared in magazines, and in 1933, House and Garden named her the “Dean of Women Landscape Architects”. She lectured widely, completed over 400 projects and her archives are at Cornell University.

Annette Hoyt Flanders

In an article on the history of the chancery Archivist Alexis Liberovsky notes that years later another noteworthy lansdscape architect, Annete Hoyt Flanders (1887-1946) “added additional features to the property including a terraced garden, woodland garden, cutting garden and pool, all of which contributed to the seamless blending of nature and structures at Westwood.”

In 1958 the property was donated to Metropolitan Leonty and the “Metropolia” as the Metropolitan’s residence and center for Holy Synod and departmental meetings, archives, church administration and retreats.