Basil the Great vs. Lydia

It’s a big day in Lent Madness 2014 as, after a long and winding road, we have made it to the Round of the Elate Eight. The original field of 32 saints has been narrowed to eight. The light at the end of the Golden Halo is slowly emerging and by the end of the week we’ll be down to the Faithful Four.

Yesterday we wrapped up the Saintly Sixteen in a tight race that Lent Madness bracketologists say will go down in history as the closest battle ever.

NOTE: We closed the poll at 8:00 am. Once the Supreme Executive Committee has certified the results, we will announce the winner later this morning — either Charles Wesley or Thomas Merton. In the interest of fairness and the love of Jesus, we will make sure this is a clean election before proceeding.

We begin this round with Basil the Great vs. Lydia. Basil made it this far by defeating Christina the Astonishing and Antony of Egypt. Lydia advanced by besting Moses the Black ad John of the Cross. The other match-ups of this round are Phillips Brooks vs. Julia Chester Emery, Harriet Bedell vs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Anna Cooper vs. Thomas Merton or Charles Wesley.

The Elate Eight is also known as the Saintly Kitsch round. After basic biographies, quotes and quirks, what else could there be? There are always some folks who take offense to this approach — we call them Kitsch Kranks and have written about this phenomenon in years past. This is not to belittle or demean our saintly heroes but to have some fun and gaze in wide wonder at the breadth of devotional practice. So kindly relax and enjoy the spirit of the Madness as we push ever onward to our goal.

After a one week hiatus due to Lent Madness missionary journeys, Tim and Scott returned with their latest Monday Madness video. And Archbishops John and Tom, fresh off their national television debut, offer their Daily Update as they preview today’s contest and answer viewer mail. There are just so many ways to immerse yourself in the Madness!

BasilshirtBasil the Great

Basil the Great: Cappadocian Father; opposer of not one but two heresies; advocate for the Nicene Creed (or what would eventually become the Creed); sibling to saints; founder of communal monasticism, composer of prayers, Doctor of the Church; revealer of Heavenly Mysteries; advocate of the poor and needy; and generally all-around nice guy.


Yes, that Basil.

Because of his work to reform (or change…but isn’t “reform” a much snazzier word?) the Church, heis the patron saint of reformers, monastics, and Russia (where the venerated St. Basil’s Cathedral resides, but more on that later).

So, if you’re thinking about suggesting that the way we’ve always done things may not be the best way or if you want to nail a few theses on a church door, you may want to wear this lovely medal as a reminder that the spirit of Basil is with you. This and body armor may protect you. May…

Arianism, the heresy that Jesus was begotten of God, not eternal with God, was a big controversy in Basil’s day. Legend says that Arian and his supporters had this cheer used at the Council of Nicaea: “If you want the logos doctrine I can serve it cold or hot: God begot him, but before he was begotten he was not!”

Should you find yourself in a dispute with heretical Christians about the true nature of Christ, you can simply wear this shirt as you recite the Nicene Creed, even if they do have a better cheer.

StBasilsMoscow’s Red Square, one of the most stunning buildings is the Cathedral of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, aka the Cathedral of St. Vasily the Blessed aka St. Basil’s Cathedral. Over 450 years old ago, Ivan the Terrible ordered the Cathedral constructed. The design was so original, legend has it that Ivan blinded the architect so he couldn’t re-create another like it (apparently that Terrible moniker wasn’t for show).

The Russian Basil is not Basil the Great, but rather Basil, the Fool for unnamedChrist who shoplifted and gave to the poor. But since it’s a rather uncommon name for a saint and a stunning Cathedral (now officially a museum), take a look.

And, since you can’t take the Cathedral home with you, there’s a nifty wall decal you can put in your foyer to impress family and visitors.

MousedetectiveShould you be victim of a dastardly deed in Victorian England…and be a mouse, you can always call on Basil the Great Mouse Detective. He catches criminal, solves hijinks, and plays the violin and chess. No information could be found on his particular viewpoint on Arianism, but given his moniker, we will believe he could recite the Nicene Creed with gusto in a crisp British accent. His story is available in the Basil of Baker Street books by Eve Titus or in film in The Great Mouse Detective by Disney.  He is not, alas, included in the Lent Madness Book of Saints.

Basil is from the Greek βασιλεύς basileus, meaning “king.” Basil’s parents had high expectations whenBasilplant they named their son, expectations he lived up to. Basil is well-known outside Lent Madness circles as a popular herb, legal in all 50 states. There are over 160 varieties, and while its leaves are the most well-used part, its seeds are soaked into a gelatinous goo and added to certain drinks and desserts in Asian cuisine. Native to India for over 5,000 years, it was known and used in the ancient world for medicinal and culinary uses. Who knows, maybe Basil ate basil?

Laurie Brock



unnamedLydia, while being your basic Patron Saint of Mystery when it comes to miracles, legends and basic life stories, nevertheless has inspired much devotional material the world over.

You can buy postcards of the church in Philippi where she was baptized, to gaze at adoringly, and tounnamed plan your next vacation. (Which will be Lent Madness themed, of course.)

You can also buy a necklace with a tasteful icon of Lydia on the front. On the back appears what looks like to me a snail shell motif, which just raises so many questions. Is it commenting on Lydia’s profession as a Milker of Snails? Is it seeking to reconcile her to the marine crustaceans at last? Make your own judgments here.

Speaking about marine crustaceans, are you curious about those snails that Lydia used for dye? Apparently, so is the rest of the world. This Italian restaurant in Toms River, New Jersey, formulated an appetizer using those very snails, and you, too, can make it at home, for the full Saint Lydia experience. (Provided, of course, you can find the snails somewhere, and you are a very good and well-trained chef.) No word on whether they turn your mouth purple.

unnamedNext, we have not one, but two, versions of Lydia as a doll for children. One is made of felt, and even comes complete with a tiny basket, filled with rolls of dyed purple fabric. 

unnamedThe other is a peg doll, suitable for even the tinest would-be church planters.

Buy them for your children and your grandchildren! Have them act out Lydia’s life: planting churches, assuming egalitarian leadership roles, and donating massive wealth to the struggling Christian community!

What better role model for the little ones than St. Lydia!


Megan Castellan


Basil the Great vs. Lydia

  • Lydia (51%, 2,529 Votes)
  • Basil the Great (49%, 2,392 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,916

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155 Comments to "Basil the Great vs. Lydia"

  1. Amelia+'s Gravatar Amelia+
    April 8, 2014 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Just had to vote for Lydia after that cooking video. Good thing it didn’t have basil in it.

    • stephen wickman's Gravatar stephen wickman
      April 8, 2014 - 8:55 am | Permalink

      Agreed, but what are those little green things on the cutting board? May be the peppers but look suspiciously like…basil! BTW, best scungilli I ever had was at the Queen Restaurant right across the streen from the Jay Street-Burrough Hall stop for the F Train, in Brooklyn. Average age of the waiters was about 60 and they wore golden coats that looked like the lining off of the windows.

      • Geri Swanson's Gravatar Geri Swanson
        April 8, 2014 - 10:45 am | Permalink

        Stephen, I have bee n to the Queen Restaurant also. I have and still do on occasion, work at the NYC Dept of Ed building at 65 Court Street. Many retirement parties, baby showers and bridal showers are held there.

    • April 8, 2014 - 9:47 am | Permalink


  2. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    April 8, 2014 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Where are the comments I usually see? Must have missed something?

  3. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    April 8, 2014 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Where are the comments I usually see? Must have missed something?

  4. Rhee's Gravatar Rhee
    April 8, 2014 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Just voted for Basil the Great and made the tally exactly even! Yikes!

  5. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    April 8, 2014 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Whew! Voted again for Lydia, who remains a reminder of how little we know about those “first” Christians who show up briefly in Paul’s letters and attract scholarly attention. And then–since we are now in the season of the kitsch–there’s that song that Groucho was wont to sing. Or is this another case of mistaken identity, like the two Basils (both of which I’m very attached to, by the way)?

    • Anna Dee Lastick's Gravatar Anna Dee Lastick
      April 8, 2014 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      John Lewis did you just say you voted AGAIN for Lydia??!!! What is this, Chicago? For shame! Now I shall have to vote 3x for Basil and give out more bottles of muscatel!

    • Judi's Gravatar Judi
      April 8, 2014 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      I understand that when you said you voted again for Lydia – a previous bracket – NOT twice today.

  6. Thomas Van Brunt's Gravatar Thomas Van Brunt
    April 8, 2014 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I could smell the garlic! But I voted for the Basil.

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      April 8, 2014 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Smells delicious!
      Still loving Basil for his retort to the Emperor: “Perhaps you’ve never met a real bishop before.”
      This Basil is so refreshing….

  7. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    April 8, 2014 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Lydia, Lydia! Woman ahead of her time. Must vote for Lydia today!

  8. Anne Burton's Gravatar Anne Burton
    April 8, 2014 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Basil, Basil, he’s so great. Basil, Basil, he’s elate!

    • Ellen Lincourt's Gravatar Ellen Lincourt
      April 8, 2014 - 9:17 am | Permalink


  9. Maggie Proctor's Gravatar Maggie Proctor
    April 8, 2014 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Where can I get the Lydia doll? The little purple one with the basket of purple cloth? Also, would like to find the pendants with snails on the reverse. Go Lydia!

    • Megan Castellan's Gravatar Megan Castellan
      April 8, 2014 - 8:48 am | Permalink

      Etsy has the necklace, if you head over there and search for St Lydia.

      • rellingrw's Gravatar rellingrw
        April 8, 2014 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

        beautiful kitsch, my compliments

    • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
      April 8, 2014 - 5:29 pm | Permalink

      I want one of those dolls too!

  10. CathyB's Gravatar CathyB
    April 8, 2014 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    The kitsch for Lydia is pleasantly persuasive, but the colorful onion dome of the cathedral put St Basil over the top for me on this grey morning.

  11. April 8, 2014 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Basil — in loving memory of Dr. T

  12. Ray's Gravatar Ray
    April 8, 2014 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading the two biographies and think Basil’s bio is especially inspired. Kudos to the author.

    • Jann Briscoe's Gravatar Jann Briscoe
      April 8, 2014 - 9:23 am | Permalink

      Agreed! A true punder!

  13. Lane Johnson's Gravatar Lane Johnson
    April 8, 2014 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Can kitsch change your mind? I began sure that I would vote for Basil, but that purple doll is so appealing. . . What to do?

  14. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    April 8, 2014 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Well the kitsch for Lydia might be better than Basil’s but he gets my vote today.

  15. Another Peg's Gravatar Another Peg
    April 8, 2014 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Wow, Lydia’s dolls are adorable. And the cooking video is primo kitchen kitsch! You’ve got “Santa Lucia” playing in the background while the intrepid chef makes a snail sauce with a name that means Brother Devil. I couldn’t love it more (especially the directions to the restaurant). In short, Lydia’s kitsch is to dye for… but I’m still voting Basil, even if that makes a pesto me.

  16. Sara Homeyer's Gravatar Sara Homeyer
    April 8, 2014 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Basil is well known. Always vote for one of the “forgotten” women saints, I say! [Besides, my grandmother was a Lydia.] And PURPLE! This is Lent after all.

  17. Bruce Smith's Gravatar Bruce Smith
    April 8, 2014 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    In your article about Basil (not Fawlty) you refer to the presbyter behind the Arian heresy as “Arian”. His name was Arius and he would have voted at Nicaea for a Binity. I don’t think he was allowed to vote, though. Anyway, to Arius and others, Christ was divine, but was created by God… maybe before the rest of us, but still created. “There was when he was not.”

    • Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
      April 8, 2014 - 10:41 am | Permalink

      Bruce, YES – thanks for the editorial observation. I think Arius was among those whose invitations was “lost in the mail.”

  18. Margaret Moran's Gravatar Margaret Moran
    April 8, 2014 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    I was confused by St. Basil not being the cathedral guy, and just then I saw the word “donate” in bright color at the side, and it struck me that this was a message: go with the saint that gave all that wealth away to a struggling Christian church. LYDIA!

  19. Justin's Gravatar Justin
    April 8, 2014 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    If basil doesn’t win, the fix is on, this shouldn’t even be close

  20. April 8, 2014 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    “Lydia, oh Lydia of have you made Lydia…..” Even though this Lydia is not the same as the one Groucho Marx sang about. I can’t get her name out of my head, not to mention her leaving a mark organizing early Christain communities at no small risk – wealth or not!

  21. April 8, 2014 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    “Lydia, oh Lydia of have you made Lydia…..” Even though this Lydia is not the same as the one Groucho Marx sang about, I can’t get her name out of my head, not to mention her leaving a mark organizing early Christain communities at no small risk – wealth or not!

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      April 8, 2014 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

      The line is “Have you *met* Lydia?” I’m listening to the clip right now. (It’s two comments down.)

  22. Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
    April 8, 2014 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Don’t you spot it? The video was from TOM’S RIVER, and Lydia was converted BY A RIVER. Clearly the work of the Holy Ghost. Lydia! (I missed seeing Lydia the Tattooed Lady, though).

  23. Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
    April 8, 2014 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    In fact, here it is!

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      April 8, 2014 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      Nice! Thanks for posting; was hoping somebody would….

    • Mark Willems's Gravatar Mark Willems
      April 8, 2014 - 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Then, there’s this:

    • Katrina Soto's Gravatar Katrina Soto
      April 8, 2014 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Thoroughly entertaining. Thanks!!

  24. gian's Gravatar gian
    April 8, 2014 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    I do not feel this morning like voting for somebody who was so concerned with establishing dogma and definitions. After all, God is a mystery and every baptized person is welcome to His table. No, definitivamente no voto hoy por doctores de la Iglesia.

    • Carol Justice's Gravatar Carol Justice
      April 8, 2014 - 11:35 am | Permalink


      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        April 8, 2014 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

        True, Gian, God is a mystery, but there are things about him that we are capable of knowing, and Basil helped us in that regard. I voted for him.

  25. Megan Elizabeth's Gravatar Megan Elizabeth
    April 8, 2014 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    I love the kitsch round! As a first-time Lent madness participant (and a newly minted Episcopalian as of last Sunday – woot woot!) – thanks to the right Rev. George Wayne, our Bishop, I am so enjoying learning about saints throughout history. Still have no idea how I’m going to vote. ALTHOUGH the fact that I learned Ivan the Terrible’s name was technically pronounced E-VAHN in college history, it kind of makes me lean towards snail cooking……

    • Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
      April 8, 2014 - 11:03 am | Permalink

      Megan, W00t woot and welcome!

      • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
        April 8, 2014 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Woot-woot back at you!
        All the worship, none of the guilt !

    • April 8, 2014 - 11:45 am | Permalink

      Welcome to God’s Frozen People–NOT!! from a fellow adult-onset Episcopalian. We got here as fast as we could!

      • Carol Justice's Gravatar Carol Justice
        April 8, 2014 - 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Me too! It has been 8 years now and I have loved every day of it. Wish I had found the Episcopal church years ago but maybe I wasn’t listening hard enough!

        • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
          April 8, 2014 - 8:35 pm | Permalink

          Carol, I agree. Should have done this years ago. Oh well, better late than never!
          All the worship, none of the guilt!

        • April 8, 2014 - 8:42 pm | Permalink

          For me it’s been almost 35 years. Forward day by day (does that sound familiar?).

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      April 8, 2014 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Well met, and welcome!

    • Beth Walton's Gravatar Beth Walton
      April 8, 2014 - 7:31 pm | Permalink

      WOOT WOOT WOOT! Congratulations and welcome!

  26. Marty Garwood's Gravatar Marty Garwood
    April 8, 2014 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Although I enjoyed the cooking video, I was hoping for either Scott or Tim to have made a how-to video on snail-milking.

    • Kim B's Gravatar Kim B
      April 8, 2014 - 5:51 pm | Permalink

      There’s this video from the Smithsonian website (let me see if I can post it here):

      [vimeo 70961446 w=500 h=281]

    • Kim B's Gravatar Kim B
      April 8, 2014 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Found it!


      This video is titled “Roald Hoffman Extracting Dye from a Murex Trunculus.” Roald Hoffman is a Nobel Prize winning chemist. This video shows him and one or two other people opening up the snails’ gland that releases the goo which turns purple when exposed to oxygen.

      (I won’t try to post the video here, since my last attempt to post a video didn’t work.)
      Here’s a link to the video:

      • Kim B's Gravatar Kim B
        April 8, 2014 - 6:44 pm | Permalink

        LOL! There’s the video. Maybe I should take a computer class.

      • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
        April 8, 2014 - 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Ewwww! Poor little helpless snails, what did they ever do to deserve this?!?!

  27. Anne L's Gravatar Anne L
    April 8, 2014 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    You know, now that it’s been mentioned, planning a Lent Madness themes vacation does sound fun. And the little felt Lydia doll is adorable.

  28. Russ's Gravatar Russ
    April 8, 2014 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Great write up, Laurie! Gotta go add extra Basil to my herb garden.

  29. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    April 8, 2014 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Well, any woman who dyes stuff purple or wears purple (Are you listening, KJ-S?) gets my vote!

  30. Mabel Douwes's Gravatar Mabel Douwes
    April 8, 2014 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    This one is very easy. Purple is my favorite color – so I pick Lydia.

  31. April 8, 2014 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    I knew this contest would be tough, but I went with basil in the end. He has a much cooler church and as spring approaches I’m really craving some pesto.

    • Charlie Houghton's Gravatar Charlie Houghton
      April 8, 2014 - 11:39 am | Permalink

      But technically it is not his church. Therefore, Lydia all the way! Plus, any woman who could both run a family and a business in addition to planting a church is truly worthy of sainthood!

      • Phil's Gravatar Phil
        April 8, 2014 - 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Actually, it was Paul who established the church at Philippi! Lydia merely put out the welcome mat!

  32. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    April 8, 2014 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    No, no, people! It’s “Lydia, Oh Lydia, oh HAVE YOU MET Lydia?” Honestly, get your minds out of the gutter…
    Or is that mine in…oh, never mind.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      April 8, 2014 - 6:48 pm | Permalink


  33. April 8, 2014 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    I feel Lydia leading me toward God today. Purple dolls, a snail recipe in a restaurant behind a New Jersey 7-Eleven and a necklace with snail art. Lent Madness is nothing if not creative! Go, Lydia!

  34. Heather C's Gravatar Heather C
    April 8, 2014 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    I love the Basil write up, and it nearly swayed me (I use basil in everything I cook!) . But I vote for Lydia with the thought that for a woman to be included in the canonical texts, she was likely more important to early Christianity than we know.

  35. Susan Fiore's Gravatar Susan Fiore
    April 8, 2014 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Even though the Nicene Creed is ‘the too-abridged version’ (Jesus life between birth and death isn’t worth a mention?), we know Basil’s influence was vast. Lydia? Insufficient data.

  36. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 8, 2014 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    I love kitsch!!!! I want a St. Basil medal. Also, a shout-out to Mark D for posting this Marx brothers video.
    Groucho’s stellar performance notwithstanding, I had to stick with my original choice
    Basil for the golden halo! :-)!!!

  37. Ellen Ekstrom's Gravatar Ellen Ekstrom
    April 8, 2014 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Maybe my lady Lydia will win this one.

  38. jpr's Gravatar jpr
    April 8, 2014 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Another bit of Lydia “kitsch” to add: The anti aging face cream and serum my sister sent me for Christmas not only come in purple containers but also contain “pro-biotic snail serum” (mixed with lots of other fragrant essences). Hmmmm…. (I voted for Basil anyway.)

    • Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
      April 8, 2014 - 11:13 am | Permalink


  39. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    April 8, 2014 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    I love the kitsch round. So much fun! Lydia, Lydia, she’s my girl!

  40. Susan Brown Snook's Gravatar Susan Brown Snook
    April 8, 2014 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    St. Vasily’s Cathedral is beautiful, but that was a whole different Basil – no fair taking advantage of other Basils’ kitsch (or architecture)! I have to go with the female church planter on this one – a kindred spirit. Go Lydia!

    • April 8, 2014 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      I noted it was a different Basil in the post.

  41. Sally Duernberger's Gravatar Sally Duernberger
    April 8, 2014 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Where can I buy the Basil Shirt? Must have the Basil shirt as a gift for a friend! Oh, and I voted for Basil!

  42. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    April 8, 2014 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Purely aside from herbs or snails, and with little interest in touting female saints, I went with Lydia mainly because I’ve never been a great fan of the appallingly fierce controversies over fine points of Christology that Basil seemed so embroiled in–all this business of schisms over the filioque clause and consubstantiality and councils here and there to argue about them (and rumor has it there were fist-fights on the floor of one of the councils)–there are better ways to do ministry, Basil. Nobody much cares except theologians.

  43. JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
    April 8, 2014 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Between the basil and the snails this should really be called the Kitsch-en round. Lent Madness — feeding our souls AND bodies since 2010.
    Voting Lydia today because anyone associated with “extra virgin” is probably super holy (and mostly because of her life example as laid out in previous blogs).
    Basil medallion looks like he may also be patron saint of the Ood (,,not that there’s anything wrong with that. But Lydia today, for me.

  44. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 8, 2014 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Anthony…..fist fights? Really?
    Oh, the ignominy!!

  45. Snacktime's Gravatar Snacktime
    April 8, 2014 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    Not a fan of Basil, with his emphasis on keeping Those People out.

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 8, 2014 - 10:28 am | Permalink

      Oooh, snarky …

    • Mariana Bauman's Gravatar Mariana Bauman
      April 8, 2014 - 10:48 am | Permalink

      Kitsch is delightful but Basil’s efforts to clarify the faith taught by the Apostles was a necessary effort to keep the Christian community together. There is no documented evidence that Basil was involved in any of the fist fights! “I cannot persuade myself that without love to others, and without, as far as rests with me, peaceableness toward all, I can be called a worthy servant of Jesus Christ.”
      – Saint Basil

  46. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    April 8, 2014 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Lydia for me. I have some purple yarn and I know I can crochet a Lydia for the Lent Madness hall of fame this year.
    Loved the little dolls.

  47. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    April 8, 2014 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    Another tough match, but I gave Lydia a bye on the snails and voted for her. She was an accomplished and successful business woman, and she used her money for a purpose that continues to benefit us today.

  48. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 8, 2014 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Ok, it’s been a real nail-biter today! First Lydia ahead by a hair, then Basil….come on,,people……

  49. Irene Cowley's Gravatar Irene Cowley
    April 8, 2014 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Ok, you guys are just getting silly. I went with Lydia this time because I feel the Church today is in more need of a generous, welcoming church planter than an intellectual who gets distracted by man’s definition of God.

  50. April 8, 2014 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t find a way to fit this into our allotted space, but here’s a video of the beautiful St. Basil’s Hymn.

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 8, 2014 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      Hi Laurie, thanks for posting, very nice!
      Go Basil!!

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      April 8, 2014 - 11:40 am | Permalink

      While I understand the role of Lydia in the founding of the church at Philippi, I voted for Basil because of his role in the Nicene Creed. Without any good reason, I just felt the creeds are more central to the church universal. That is not to discount that the church at Philippi was the beginnings of Christianity in Europe. The kitsch in either case while interesting was not really a persuasive argument for either. Difficult decision.

      I am just glad that the voter fraud from the last round was straightened out!

    • VT Patty's Gravatar VT Patty
      April 8, 2014 - 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the link, Laurie. That was beautiful.

  51. Margaret Lovett's Gravatar Margaret Lovett
    April 8, 2014 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    Whoa. Hard decision today. But had to go with Basil……

  52. Bob Corey's Gravatar Bob Corey
    April 8, 2014 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Onion domes on roman candles
    Burst festive restive heavenward urge
    Dimly downward so illumined
    Basiliad is doing Church.
    Poverty unbidden with that bid and won
    Joint appointed ointment salve
    The least of these, uncreated beings
    Dwell in mires and spires, consubstancive.

    The original Hull House, Caesarea’s New City.

    Basil, Basil, he’s my saint, If not his Halo, for none it ain’t.

  53. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    April 8, 2014 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    Groucho is definitely persuasive, but I’m sticking with Basil partly in honor of the first Basil I ever knew and had a first-grade crush on. Of course, in NC, we called him Base-ul.

  54. April 8, 2014 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    I voted for Basil because of the way he stood up to the Emperor’s threats: “When the prefect, stunned by Basil’s defiance, said he’d never heard a bishop speak like that to him, Basil simply replied, ‘Perhaps you’ve never met a real bishop before.'” Given that ideological persecution, torture, exile, and death are the lot of so many people in the world even today, we need the courageous example of this uppity bishop!

  55. Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
    April 8, 2014 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    Random thought: is Basil’s name where we get the word “basilica”?

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      April 8, 2014 - 11:29 am | Permalink

      No, basilica comes from Greek for the “tribunal chamber of a king”! In its religious usage, the king is Christ the King, of course!

      • Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
        April 8, 2014 - 11:38 am | Permalink

        Basil is from the Greek word for “king,” so yes, we get basilica from the same root. Also the same root for basilisk, meaning “little king” and was the legendary reptile who was the king of serpents (also of Harry Potter fame). Again, info I couldn’t fit into the post. BUT I’M SHARING IN THE COMMENTS!

        • Phil's Gravatar Phil
          April 8, 2014 - 11:44 am | Permalink

          I believe that the question was whether basilica comes from the name Basil. Just a minor point, but both the name and basilica, and as you point out basilisk and the spice basil, all come from the same Greek roots. But basilica does not come from the name Basil! Common origins, yes, but not named for! Just a little clarification.

          • Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
            April 8, 2014 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

            What I said…

        • Jessica's Gravatar Jessica
          April 8, 2014 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

          The Harry Potter reference broke the tie for me. Basil it is. Thanks, Laurie!

  56. Cynthia Astle's Gravatar Cynthia Astle
    April 8, 2014 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    As another laywoman who is totally invested in the Church, I’m sticking with Lydia. I’ll be ordering my doll today!

  57. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    April 8, 2014 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    Oh where, oh where, can I get that nifty little peg Lydia doll? I voted for her, shouldn’t one of them be coming to me for that?

  58. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    April 8, 2014 - 11:35 am | Permalink

    While I understand the role of Lydia in the founding of the church at Philippi, I voted for Basil because of his role in the Nicene Creed. Without any good reason, I just felt the creeds are more central to the church universal. That is not to discount that the church at Philippi was the beginnings of Christianity in Europe. The kitsch in either case while interesting was not really a persuasive argument for either. Difficult decision.

    I am just glad that the voter fraud from the last round was straightened out!

  59. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    April 8, 2014 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    Is anybody else jonesing for Italian food now? It was a tough choice, but I think the kitsch was more relevant to Lydia.

  60. April 8, 2014 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    I would have voted for Lydia anyway, but as Basil defeated my favorite Christina the Astonishing, it’s payback time!!!!

  61. Edmund Pickup's Gravatar Edmund Pickup
    April 8, 2014 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    As Great as Basil was, I voted for Lydia as a representative of all of the faithful stewards of God. Lydia was a successful and honorable businesswoman in the days when independent women’s occupations were generally limited to something that would qualify one to be a guest on the Jerry Springer Show.

    As a progressive woman, she also serves to redeem Paul from the charges of sexism. To me, she proves that all of the haustafeln of the deutero-Pauline letters (slaves, wives be obedient, etc.) was never written by Paul, but by the conservatives of the next generation trying to reel in his radical Christian views to make them acceptable to the general populace.

    If Paul weren’t progressive on women’s issues, Lydia would have never been his greatest supporter. Without her support, Paul’s journeys would have never happened, Christianity might never have gotten to the UK, and I might be a Druid.

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      April 8, 2014 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Dang, now I wish I’d voted for Lydia. I would do anything to redeem Paul in others’ eyes.
      I adhere strongly to the pseudepigraphical author theory because I feel like Paul has been a loving soul-friend to me throughout the years.
      I hear his voice clearly in Philemon, but certainly not in 1st Timothy.

  62. Lois's Gravatar Lois
    April 8, 2014 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Voting for Basil in honor of my brother, who took that as his baptismal name when he was re-baptized into the Orthodox church.

  63. April 8, 2014 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    And speaking of the Protecting Veil, here is a link to the late Sir John Tavener’s piece of the same name, performed by YoYo Ma: But even though it’s a favorite piece, and basil is a favorite herb, I still cast my vote (once and only once!) for Lydia.

  64. Adam's Gravatar Adam
    April 8, 2014 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I flipped a coin on this one, I like them both. The toss gave me Basil, but I won’t be heartbroken if Lydia wins. (My original choice for the Golden Halo lost in the first round.)

  65. April 8, 2014 - 12:28 pm | Permalink
    • Kim B's Gravatar Kim B
      April 8, 2014 - 6:08 pm | Permalink

      “I’m not kidding ya. Lydia.”

      Thank you for sharing this. 🙂 Definitely fits into the kitsch category.

      • VT Patty's Gravatar VT Patty
        April 8, 2014 - 7:32 pm | Permalink

        We’re not getting rid o’ ya! Love it!

  66. mkahn's Gravatar mkahn
    April 8, 2014 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Ok the REAL contest of the day is tonight.GO LADY IRISH. Sorry for the non-topic comment but this cradle Episcopalian shares her bracket enthusiasm with the women’s NCAA. May Muffet and her Notre Dame women win the championship

  67. Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
    April 8, 2014 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    For the biologically minded, the thing that may be a snail depicted on the Lydia pendent (Helix?) is not the same type as those used to milk the dye (various Muricidae). For the graphically minded, the design is circular not a whirl as one would expect for a snail, and it appears on the back of pendants of some other saints.
    Voting for Lydia. If she had not supported the early church would there have been a Council of Nicaea where Constantine arrived “resplendent in purple and gold”? Purple for Lent!

  68. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    April 8, 2014 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

    The basil in my herb garden did not survive the winter.
    The purple of my crocus came back bright.
    I am not big on religious disputes bitter.
    Planting church is how we spread the light;
    and what Lydia got profoundly right;
    so I vote for her kitsch which is just out-of-sight!

  69. madamesenora's Gravatar madamesenora
    April 8, 2014 - 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I love the Nicene Creed and cannot imagine church without it. I also love basil, so this was an easy vote (and I’m still concerned about whether those snails were humanely treated before they gave their lives for purple dye!)

  70. April 8, 2014 - 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Basil goes with everything!!

  71. Mark Willems's Gravatar Mark Willems
    April 8, 2014 - 3:23 pm | Permalink

    While not precisely kitsch, this is evidence that being an Old Dead Guy does not stop Basil from having a formative impact on the lives of young women.

  72. Christine CO's Gravatar Christine CO
    April 8, 2014 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

    It sounds as if the Cathedral (now museum) in Moscow has an identity crisis. Which is it? Cathedral of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God,or the Cathedral of St. Vasily the Blessed? Or was Ivan trying to kill two birds with one cathedral?

    I can’t forgive Basil for besting Christina the Astonishing (too bad we can’t see what kitsch she has!), and besides, as a needlewoman in many types of crafts, I have to go with the cloth dyer.



  73. Andrea Feist's Gravatar Andrea Feist
    April 8, 2014 - 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Basil all the way! I am still thinking about his quotes from the last round.

  74. April 8, 2014 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

    One word: purple. That is all.

  75. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    April 8, 2014 - 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Then there’s the Newbery winner–From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Basil kitsch is never-ending?

  76. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    April 8, 2014 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I read all the comments after I voted and am still glad I stuck with Basil. The deciding factor for me was the Nicene Creed, which I dearly love.

  77. Linda Dunn's Gravatar Linda Dunn
    April 8, 2014 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

    :ydia has always been a choice of my heart, but today, it’s Basil, by a head.
    ps. It’s not nice to tease the constituents with great kitch when said kitch is not available readily. Sources, please.

  78. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    April 8, 2014 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Super churchy…no way. But I did go to Russia once and when they say prayers in those incredible cathedrals, the Russians cross themselves at the end of each prayer touching the floor after the forehead. Halfway through the Service I tried it
    too ( there’s nowhere to sit) and the locals smiled at me warmly for doing it their way. I’m going for Basil this time. Is that kitchy enough?

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 8, 2014 - 4:48 pm | Permalink

      You bet it is!!!! I am not,as young or “agile”(har har har de har) as I used to be,
      I doff my plumed hat to you.

  79. MaurineRuby's Gravatar MaurineRuby
    April 8, 2014 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Love this round!! There’s also a wonderful children’s book by Marty Rhodes Figley simply called “Lydia.” Thanks for Groucho, John Taverner, and the hammered dulcimer as well. Great kitsch, everybody!!

  80. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    April 8, 2014 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    oops ‘kitschy’ I should spell it, right?
    Unless we want to talk about cooking some more! Episcopalians are always cooking and we’re also known to drink a little wine! Cheers everybody!
    Hey, we could try purple wine! Umm… Maybe not. Madamesenora has a point.

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 8, 2014 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

      I am making pasta for dinner tonight,
      Yum! Good karma too.

  81. April 8, 2014 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

    A vote for scungillydia, though the off-color version of the song almost ruined it for me:
    O Lydia! Oy Lydia!
    You gave me chlamydia

  82. kit's Gravatar kit
    April 8, 2014 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

    oh dear…. an other close one. I voted for Basil, but I’m not so invested in this one. I’m still mourning the loss if Thomas M. And the resulting scandal. What are you thinking folks!!!???

  83. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    April 8, 2014 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

    OK, I was waffling, but the Muppets clip clinched it for Lydia (there’s a horrible almost-a-pun in there, I think, but we’ll go on). To make up for it, I’ll put basil in my pasta primavera tonight. They’re both awesome people!

  84. Rev. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Rev. Lucy Porter
    April 8, 2014 - 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Basil’s writing on prayer causes me to vote for him in another round. Basil is the only herb we grow in our (mostly) flower garden.

  85. aleathia (dolores)nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores)nicholson
    April 8, 2014 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe the snails felt a thing when their little shells were smushed to smithereens, therefore I have no pangs of anguish to suffer and not one iota of guilt about the purple dye that oozed out of their teeny-tiny remains. Having said that, the Lydia doll complete with her teeny-tiny basket just ensured that I made the right voting choice. The Groucho and Muppet videos along with the kitschy doll further validated my choice…”Lydia…Oh, Lydia…la-la-la…” May the next round of voting be as easy! Basil who ?????

  86. Kim B's Gravatar Kim B
    April 8, 2014 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Lydia the church builder wins my vote again. I think Basil the Great would agree that Lydia’s hospitality and her work building the church were awesome prayers that she offered to God. After all, Basil wrote that “we should not express our prayer merely in syllables, but also through the attitude of our soul and in the virtuous actions we do in our life.”

  87. Susan T's Gravatar Susan T
    April 8, 2014 - 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I am in EfM and still recovering from Gibeah story in Judges. I like onions, and I love pesto, but must vote Lydian: women to the purple! Advance!

  88. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 8, 2014 - 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Aleathia, I truly hope that those poor snails didn’t feel anything when their shells were unmercifully pounded to Kingdom Come, but as an animal lover, that really grossed me out! I mean come on! Can’t purple dye be manufactured these days without resorting to such cruel measures?!?!
    Jeeeez Louise!!!!!

  89. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 8, 2014 - 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Aha!!! I just googled this and learned that snails have a nervous system and therefore feel pain!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  90. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 8, 2014 - 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Dear St. Francis of assissi, please cover yer eyes!

    • Kim B's Gravatar Kim B
      April 8, 2014 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Madeleine, are you a vegetarian? Just curious.

  91. Ann W.H.'s Gravatar Ann W.H.
    April 8, 2014 - 8:46 pm | Permalink

    In case the “gelatinous goo” description of soaked basil seeds hasn’t completely grossed you out (what is this, the glop round? snails on the one side, soaked seeds that are sometimes compared to frog spawn on the other?) & you want to give it a go, please bear in mind that this isn’t the basil most people use in cooking — it’s holy basil (how appropriate) or tulsi, which tastes quite different. Google “falooda” for a sweet drink recipe using tulsi seeds/tukhmaria (it’s actually really good in summer, but now I am stuck at the office jonesing for falooda. Or summer).

  92. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 8, 2014 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kim, actually I am not a vegetarian, although I’m careful to only purchase free-range chicken, etc.
    Hey, one has to draw the line somewhere 🙂

    • Kim B's Gravatar Kim B
      April 8, 2014 - 9:14 pm | Permalink


      I draw the line at Cayenne peppers, but that’s a different line, I guess. 🙂

  93. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 8, 2014 - 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Also, under no circumstances will I eat veal. My personal care stuff(shampoo, soap etc.)
    Is cruelty-free also.
    Whoo, time I got off my soapbox and went to bed!
    Later y’all

  94. Leonora's Gravatar Leonora
    April 8, 2014 - 10:54 pm | Permalink

    When in doubt, vote for working women. They work harder.

  95. Ann Willis Scott's Gravatar Ann Willis Scott
    April 8, 2014 - 11:44 pm | Permalink

    There is NOTHING left to say about either of these Ancients. My face is stretched from laughing. Thank you, thank you. Once, again, however…I voted for the tattooed lady!

  96. aleathia (dolores)nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores)nicholson
    April 9, 2014 - 1:52 am | Permalink

    Dear Madeleine…..just how big are the little shelled ones’ nervous systems? Great sacrifices have to be made to get that authentic purple dye. Now, I haven’t gotten one complaint about folks who dine on big ole juicy, slimy snails in restaurants…..Who cares about their nervous systems…Do they feel pain? I bet diners just slurping away on them don’t give a rat’s patootie ! Of course, should one find a pearl while crunching away only to discover a broken tooth or denture…..Well, do ya get my drift here? Go Lydia ! Go Huskies with that clean sweep !

  97. Martha Frances's Gravatar Martha Frances
    April 9, 2014 - 3:44 am | Permalink

    I agree with the Rev. Alan Jones that we ought to be worshipping with the “Te Deum laudamus” in place of either (any) creed. Nicaea took centuries to steady & even then it was in reaction to what the largest arguments were about–not very helpful in finding how to live our lives as authentically as Jesus lived his. So, I have no struggle w/ voting for Lydia who obviously ran a business & a household & probably used basil in her spaghetti sauce which she probably took to the Agape meal prior to the Eucharist where everyone got drunk. What hospitality! I’ve gone with Lydia again tonight!

  98. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 9, 2014 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Dear Aleathia,
    To me, it’s not a question of size(see: “no man is an island” from For whom the Bell Tolls), and while I’m sure the diners slurping ’em down don’t give a rat’s teehinder, if they lose a filling out of a tooth, well, karma’s a funny thing ain’t it?

  99. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 9, 2014 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    And, I have to wonder……here it comes……what would Fred Rogers have to say about all this? Hmmmmmmm. …..

Comments are closed.