Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Lion Sermon

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
Each year on October 16 at St Katharine Cree Church, Leadenhall Street, London, a sermon used to be preached to commemorate 'the wonderful escape' of noted fishmonger, royalist and Lord Mayor of London (in 1646), Sir John Gayre, from a lion that he met in the desert whilst travelling in Turkey (Brewer says while shipwrecked on the coast of Africa; some sources say Arabia).

While Sir John knelt and prayed, the lion approached and sniffed him, circled him, then left him alone. In gratitude to God, Sir John bequeathed, by a will dated December 19, 1648, £200 for the relief of the poor on condition that a commemorative sermon was preached annually at the church, and this sermon traditionally contained verses from the Book of Daniel, in which the prophet Daniel was similarly spared being devoured by lions in their den ...

While Gayre might have knelt before a lion, history records that he would not kneel "as a delinquent" before the House of Lords. However, it was for High Treason (charged with having "traiterously and maliciously complotted, contrived, and actually levied War, against the King, Parliament, and Kingdom") that on September 25, 1647, with three of his aldermen, he ended up a prisoner in The Tower ...

Pictured: Daniel in the Lions' Den, by Briton Rivière (1840 - 1920)

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